Cameron Highlands Tea Plantation, Malaysia

Friday, December 31, 2010

Skywatch - Happy New Year


Here are a few sunset shots captured at the Batu Ferringhi beach in Penang recently. A beautiful moment to cherish, to enjoy and to remember.

My resolution for 2011: move forward positively, healthily and happily.

May this new year bring everyone good health, much joy, love and peace.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Christmas sweet treat

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Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, December 20, 2010

Changing of the Guards in Athens

One of the best things about Athens is the chance to see the changing of the Guards at Syntagma Square. It is a popular spot for tourists who come to watch the changing procession and visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Fortunately for us, the weather was beautiful and our timing was impeccable that we were able to witness the changing of the guards ceremony. It draws quite a large crowd and I was quite impressed.

The changing of the guards ceremony is conducted in front of the Parliament building in the public square everyday. It takes place 24 hours a day, every hour, on the hour, you can't miss it. The big parade is on Sundays at 11am, where more guards participate accompanied by a military band. We did not manage to see the big ceremonial changing on Sunday, but it was still amazing to watch.

The guards who wear traditional Greek uniforms, seem to take this tradition very seriously. They are trained to keep a straight face, very disciplined and wouldn't respond to all visitors trying to get a funny reaction out of them.

The commander in charge even stood by to keep a watchful eye on the guards and make sure they were focused on executing their routines well .

As their commander kept watch, we observed the guards performed the routine of stomping, swinging their limbs, military stunts and marching in unison, with the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the background. It was fun to watch and is definitely something everyone should see while in Athens.

The Evzones are carefully selected for the honour of participating, and they must stand over six feet tall and have the ability to stand motionless for a few hours. They have pom poms on top of their shoes and wear a short pleated skirt with long white stockings.

Do you like the pom pom on my shoes? I like their fancy footwork. :)

After the Guards finished their routine, we were allowed to take pictures with them but they are strict on some criteria like


If an Evzone feels insulted, he will slam his rifle down hard in order to get your immediate attention or either their commander will give a shout out to any annoying onlookers, so you better not mess with them. Obviously, I didn't get into trouble and managed to take a few decent pictures with the guard but I get a scary feeling and my heart beats real fast.

That's My World

Ruby Tuesday

Friday, December 17, 2010

PhotoHunt - Male

The statues shown below were taken outside the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, one of the most famous art galleries in the world. Within the walls of the courtyard, there are 28 male statues of famous figures from the worlds of politics, science, art, literature, the judiciary and also religious figures. The sculptures are amazing and I love the intricate sculpted details of each piece.

Here are some fine examples of statues built in honour of these great individuals.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WW - Hall of a subway station in Vienna


Monday, December 13, 2010

Nature's Umbrellas

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On my way out a few weeks ago, I spotted these growing on someone’s front lawn. I'm not sure if they're edible but a wrong guess could be fatal. They were white with a few brown spots on the top side. Unfortunately, I 'm unable to find any information on the fungi in the photos shown here.

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I couldn’t resist taking more pictures of them. The front yard was teaming with life, going steady and continuous. It reminds me a lot of the Smurf mushroom village.

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on a closer inspection, I must admit, I found its soft leathery texture to be quite amazing.

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the close up of the underside of the mushroom!

Macro Monday

That's My World

Friday, December 10, 2010

PhotoHunt - Funny Mime Artist

While in Rome, I came across many mime artists trying to make ends meet as tourists toss extra change into their containers.

There was even a headless mime artist who was sitting motionless while showing off his coolest dance moves with his legs, vying for people's attention. This was the first time I've ever seen one and it's kinda bizarre but very funny to watch.



Thursday, December 9, 2010

Skywatch - A night to remember


This is one of my favourite night shots taken at Izmir dockside, Turkey in March. The mood was very pleasing and I like the city lights in the far background, reflections and the way the ship stood out against the crisp, cool night sky.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Wild Blueberries from Turkey


Wordless Wednesday

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul

My very first impression when we saw Istanbul's Blue Mosque was how magnificent and incredibly massive it was. We caught our first glimpse of the mosque a few years ago but it was a brief visit and I didn't manage to take too many pictures due to time constraints. Nevertheless, I was so delighted to have had the opportunity to visit it again this year and had a great time taking even better pictures with our DSLR camera.

For those of you who have been following this blog for a while, you must have already seen a few shots of the Blue Mosque in my previous post but I haven't include any shots of the interior, so here are more photos and details of the mosque.

The official name for the Blue Mosque is the Sultanahmet Mosque, named after Sultan Ahmed I, which was built between 1610 and 1617. These days, it's more familiarly known as the Blue Mosque. The name comes from the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. More specifically, the interior was decorated with more than 20,000 shimmering blue-green Iznik tiles with more than 50 different patterns, calligraphy and the domes are so beautifully tiled with delicate geometric designs.

I also noticed hundreds of stunning stained-glass windows with various designs that were a sight to behold as the sunlight cast through them, showcasing their beauty. Apart from that, the floors were covered with lush carpets, and high above I saw many ornate chandeliers. It's a refreshing change from the ornamental cathedrals of most European cities I've encountered.

I found that people of all faiths are welcome provided that they are appropriately dressed. Apparently, no shorts above the knees or bare arms and you need to remove your shoes prior to entry. Plastic bags are provided to carry your shoes in. I used my shawl to cover my head but later found out the head covering of a non-Muslim wasn't required.

While the interior should not be missed, the outer courtyard is equally impressive too as this give you one of the splendid views of the cascading domes and the amazing architecture.

One of the six minarets that stands majestically against the blue sky and as far as I could tell, this is the only one mosque with six minarets in Turkey.

The Blue mosque is beautifully lit up at night. I find it amazing to be able to see both day and night.

That concludes our visit to the Blue Mosque. The outside is spectacular and the inside awe inspiring. It is well worth the visit. On the plus side there is no entry charge but donations are most welcome.

The mosque is open between 9am-6pm daily, except for praying times lasting about half an hour, five times per day and mid-day on Fridays.

Ruby Tuesday

That's My World

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Skywatch - Winter wonderland in Moscow

During our last day in Moscow of March, we went for a leisurely walk nearby the Moscow River.

It was a fine day with white clouds floating in the blue sky but the weather was too cold and my hands were numb. I could not even talk and was unable to take many pictures. The bitter cold wave told me that the journey ahead would be tough though we had prepared carefully.

We braced ourselves against the chill wind from the peak all the way to the river bank. As we made our way down the bank, I couldn't help but admire the beauty of the snow.

Along the way, we saw a nice ski jump hill

After a long walk down the hill, we finally reached the river bank. I was filled with a soothing sense of tranquility and calmness and I felt so small standing there in the open area.

Looking across the Moscow river is the Moscow Olympics Complex

The snowy scenery literally took my breath away. Despite the bitter cold, I enjoyed walking around from sight to sight and getting the taste of Moscow's beautiful landscape. It was a refreshing change as we never get to see snow in our homeland.

The Moscow skyline from the riverside is amazingly beautiful too.

This is my entry for Skywatch this week. Hope you enjoy these photos of the snowy landscape in Moscow.