Cameron Highlands Tea Plantation, Malaysia

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ruby Tuesday - Happy 53rd Independence day, Malaysia

It is the 53rd birthday of our beloved nation tomorrow. As we enter into another year of freedom, may the glorious flag continues to represent our independence.

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Merdeka spirit flying high in Penang

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my daughter and nephew show their patriotic spirit by waving little flags as they sprint up and down the garden.

I hope everyone is having a joyous and safe celebration. Peace and harmony.

Friday, August 27, 2010

PhotoHunt - Framed

The sculptures shown below are framed by protective winter cover outside the Salzburg Dom Cathedral in Austria. At first I thought the statues are undergoing restoration but I later found out that the the steel framed structures are built to protect the fragile statues from hard winter freezes. There are a few open spots to encourage airflow and it's amazing to see how well preserved those statues are under the framed glass panes.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Dior in Shanghai

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Ruby Tuesday - Russian nesting dolls

One of the most fabulous things about visiting Moscow was the souvenirs that I saw almost everywhere in the city. The Russian nesting dolls are very popular and I came across the most beautiful ones that I have ever seen. There are various types of dolls and they all have such interesting history behind them.

The Russian word for these wooden dolls is matryoshka. The most traditional nesting doll design is the one that looks like a young Russian woman dressed in Russian traditional costume with a headscarf and rosy cheeks. The nesting dolls are wooden painted dolls that come in unique styles and different sizes with one doll inside the other. Some are very simple and inexpensive and there are those that are intricately detailed and they often fetch a higher price. Some of the earliest versions had images of fairy tales, flower themes, war images, and also political leaders as well. I've seen some with American Presidents too.

The ones sold in the malls are a lot more expensive but of better quality.

Here is an example of how they come apart. Some doll sets contain identical dolls, others have individual dolls painted with different facial expressions or in different colours or costumes.

I bought a few sets of these unique dolls when I went to Moscow and gave them as souvenirs to my family. My daughter enjoys taking them apart, reassemble them separately and putting them back together.

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Meet some of my dolls. They are proud additions to my vacation mementos display.

Friday, August 20, 2010

PhotoHunt - Numerical

The shot below is a beautiful astronomical clock located on the wall of St. Mark's ClockTower in Venice. It dates back to the 14th century and displays the hours of the day in Roman numericals, the phases of the moon, the movement of sun and the signs of zodiac. It's amazing to see the clock is so well preserved after all these years and I love the zodiac signs on the clock face.

Above the blue clock face is the statue of Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. On each side are two large blue panels showing the time to the nearest five minutes, the hour on the left in Roman numericals and on the right in Arabic numericals.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Dubai Metro


Monday, August 16, 2010

My World Tuesday - Gum Store on Red Square, Moscow

While in Moscow, we paid a visit to the huge GUM Store (pronounced goom), an upscale shopping mall that occupies almost the entire eastern side of the Red Square. It features an array of designer and boutique stores, souvenir stands and gourmet corners on all three levels. For me it was lovely to just stroll around, as all these shops seem so expensive and glamorous, definitely not the place to buy your souvenirs. I considered it a tourist trap with high-prices for foreigners but what else can you expect from a prestigious mall that stands right on the Red Square. Even if you don't intend to buy anything, it is still worth to take a walk inside and appreciate the rich architectural designs of the place, the most notable ones include the glass roof and the fountain.

Here are a few of my favourite shots for your viewing pleasure.

the nice weather added to the beauty of the ornate facade of GUM store

A glimpse inside the store

this is a close up of the ornate roof of GUM. i love it, it's just outstanding, don't you think?

Friday, August 13, 2010

PhotoHunt - Orange

This week's photohunt theme is orange. This is probably my third favourite place in Rome after the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain. It's a great spot for people watching and wonderful fountains can be seen here with intricate sculpted detail. The piazza is largely lined with cafes and restaurants and they can be very expensive and touristy.

Most of the buildings in this square are painted in cheerful shades of orange and I like how orange it is as it enhances the beauty of the square. The piazza is also one of the best places in Rome to get a portrait sketched by one of the street artists dotting the square. I was more interested to watch the artisans at work, some are incredibly talented!

This is the fountain of Neptune, found on the north side of the piazza. A masterpiece in its own right and it shows the imposing statue, 'Neptune fighting with an octopus'.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Saint Statues on Duomo of Florence, Italy


Monday, August 9, 2010

My World Tuesday - A train ride through Austria

During my 3 week vacation throughout 6 distinct parts of Europe and Middle East, one of the best scenic train rides I have ever taken was from Salzburg to Vienna. The journey is less than three hours and there’s so much to discover between them. It's one of those journeys where you can travel in high-speed comfort through some of the prettiest scenery in Europe. The alpine forests, green fields filled with snow, quaint houses and the alpine backdrop reminds me one of the beautiful Swiss landscapes. Our eyes were glued to the windows watching the lovely countryside until our arrival in Vienna.

Trains are very efficient, clean and fast in Austria and they are a great way to travel between cities and towns!!

These are some pictures that I took just before arriving at our next destination.

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Wishing on a Falling Star

Friday, August 6, 2010

PhotoHunt - Colourful

There are plenty of colourful options that came to my mind for this week's photohunt theme and it took me a while to decide what pictures to post. After much thought, I finally came up with three colourful shots, each from different city.

A beautiful mixture of colourful blooms outside a restaurant in Salzburg

cute and colourful collection of dolls in a display window at Al Sogno toy store in Rome

Turkish lamps on display at the spice bazaar in Istanbul. I love the striking colours and exquisite designs. Aren't they colourful?

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Istanbul through my eyes


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