White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA


The Loretto Chapel in downtown Santa Fe is well known for the "miraculous" staircase within. 

The chapel.

"The staircase referred to as miraculous, inexplicable, and marvelous confounds architects, engineers and master craftsmen. It makes over two complete 360-degree turns, stands 20’ tall and has no center support. It rests solely on its base and against the choir loft. The risers of the 33 steps are all of the same height. Made of an apparently extinct wood species, it was constructed with only square wooden pegs without glue or nails." (from the Chapel's website link above). It is an impressive sight.Seems like it should collapse upon itself under its own weight.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Wood Columns, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA



On the corner of Sandoval and West Alameda Streets in downtown Santa Fe, I saw many of these spectacular wood carved columns and huge old doors all together in an outdoor lot. (I peeked through the fence.)  I don't know who they belong to or why they are there together but I wish I had spent time finding out. Amazing detail and craftsmanship.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Water Pressure, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA


 If you are like me, you never think about the amazing ability of thousands/millions of folks with a city water supply to turn on the tap and have safe, clean water flow in abundance. Here's the BIG tap that the firefighters (and neighborhood dogs) get to use.

How's that for good water pressure? And if you have a really big wrench like the town water guy did, you get to turn it on full blast occasionally to clear the pipes.......

....too bad the sun wasn't out - there would have been great rainbows visible at this person's house.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bartlett Pond, White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA


On this unusual morning, Bartlett Pond magically became Tatooine, the planet with two suns.

Meanwhile, one of my neighbors has chickens who roam around during the day eating and pooping. They stay pretty close to their home and are protected in a coop at night.  I like living where chickens and children run free - they behave much the same.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA


Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico with a population of about 70,000 people.  It is located in the northeastern part of the state at an altitude of  7260 feet MSL. New Mexico became our 47th state in 1912 but Santa Fe had been a settlement  area for more than a thousand years before that. Today it enjoys a vibrant art and tourism attraction in addition to its role as the capital.

In the Santa Fe Plaza National Historical Landmark at the Palace of the Governors, Native Americans display and sell their beautiful hand-crafted jewelry, much of it made of silver and turquoise.

I am accustomed to hearing bagpipe music in Boston, not often in other cities. We chanced upon this parade on the Plaza and it sounded like home.

A harpist also played for visitors in the shade of the Plaza.

I have always loved the pueblo style architecture in the desert southwest areas of the United States.

And the blue skies are bluer and the white clouds are whiter.



It is a beautiful town.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Albuquerque to Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA


Commuter and tourist train service exists from the Albuquerque area north to Santa Fe on the Rail Runner.  We enjoyed a beautiful ride through the desert countryside on a clear Saturday morning.  Note to self: think hard before taking the train to Santa Fe in the middle of a 95-degree summer day again - it is HOT when you arrive and step out of the air-conditioned cocoon of the train. Tough on my wimpy east coast system. Beautiful trip and worth the heat but still........maybe April next time.

Comfy seats, new train cars, air conditioning, quiet, smooth ride, and double decker seating. A great way to see the countryside.

A view out the window looking west somewhere between Albuquerque and Sante Fe.

A beautiful young woman gazes out the window. I don't think she was a tourist since she got off the train before the last stop in Santa Fe.

Arrival at the Santa Fe railroad station. Cumulus clouds are already building over the distant mountains - everyone hoping for the welcome rain in a drought desert area.

The Rail Runner is a great way to see the countryside in comfort and explore both Albuquerque and Santa Fe at their respective ends. I don't know how crowded the train normally is but, on this particular day it was jammed - seemingly because most passengers had a Groupon coupon for a discount ticket.  A good example of the power and effectiveness of a bargain via the internet.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

  

Designed and directed by Joe Stephenson, these  images are part of murals that grace downtown buildings on Albuquerque's Central Avenue. This street is also the famous U.S.Route 66 as it passes through downtown heading westward.

This is part of another nearby mural. To me, this art has to be the very best and most creative way of disguising an ugly exhaust vent hood - the engine cowling on the biplane.

On a sleepy weekend morning, Central Ave slowly awakens. 

More than a half million people call Albuquerque, New Mexico home.  It is the largest city in the state and sits astride the Rio Grande in central New Mexico at an elevation of  5312 feet. Founded in 1706, the city enjoys fame throughout the world for the annual hot air balloon festival hosted each fall.

The Sandia Mountains stand east of the city and provide a dramatic background, rising above 10,000 feet. "Sandia" means "watermelon" in Spanish and is believed to derive from the reddish color along the crest at sunset.

While in town it is 95-degrees on a late June day, on top of the Sandia Mountains, the effects of altitude and a strong breeze lowered the temperature at the mountain crest to a perfect low humidity 75-degrees.

Colorful flowers bloom, the wind whistles through the evergreen trees, and the green quaking aspen leaves dance in the breeze.  It is a special and spectacularly beautiful place on the planet.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chinatown, Boston, Massachusetts, USA


The arch (or paifang) marks an entrance to Boston's Chinatown. Although named Chinatown, many folks of other Asian descent now call the neighborhood home. The area offers many popular restaurants, dim sum, Asian markets - it is very walkable, adjacent to the theatre district, close to Boston Common, and on a subway line. (And yes of course, this Boston driver honked angrily at me for daring to stand in the roadway).

Even McDonald's gets into the Asian spirit.

An Asian street market selling very small bananas.

I don't know what it says - but I think it was a restaurant. Writing these Chinese script characters looks more challenging for the neon light tube shapers when compared to the more linear English language characters.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Downtown, Boston, Massachusetts, USA


The carousel at the Frog Pond on the Boston Common is ready for the season of young riders.

Dating from 1634, the Boston Common is the oldest city park in the United States.  On this fine late spring day, many folks are enjoying the sunshine on this south-facing knoll.

The sound of bagpipers rolls through the park as this group practices.

Across the street from the Common but adjacent is the Public Garden.

Together with the Common, these two green areas are a popular magnet for both locals and tourists.

The gardeners had cleared this bed in preparation for a summer planting but left this stand of flowers. Why? Because smack in the middle is a duck nest with mama duck still sitting on the eggs! And with literally thousands of pedestrians walking by daily, this is truly an "odd duck." Kudos to the gardeners for not ousting her.

The swan boats waiting for tomorrow's customers. These boats have been pedaled around the Public Garden pond for over 130 years.  The operators seem to be mostly young folks who can pedal a bicycle-like paddle wheel setup with a full load of tourists on board.

Arguably the finest residential area in downtown Boston, this park is on Commonwealth Avenue.

Old, new, and in between.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Laps at Low Tide, White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA


I've mentioned before on an earlier blog about how much I enjoy beach walking at low tide. Beach sand is soft yet supple, firm yet yielding - just like a ........ but I digress.

 I find the hardest thing about doing laps at low tide is keeping track of how many I have completed. My mind wanders, perhaps has a senior moment, and suddenly I'm not sure if I just completed lap 3 or 4 or 5 or 6.  To solve this problem, I utilize the oldest tablet PC known to humankind - hash marks in the sand - it's always correct, needs no batteries, does not require paying an internet service provider, and it erases with the incoming tide. Of course, I must remember after each lap to make my mark in the sand - but that's a different problem........maybe I should carry a baseball umpire's balls/strikes/outs counter?.....on the other hand, in the final analysis, it doesn't really matter one bit if the count is off, I'm retired and no one's grading on accuracy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Crosby Stills Nash, Boston, Massachusetts, USA


Forty plus years ago in a rain-drenched and muddy field in Woodstock, New York, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash, with their unusual vocal harmonies, gave voice to the political and social unrest and anti-war sentiment of a generation. Today, they performed in the stately and ornate Wang Center in Boston's theatre district before a packed crowd of aging baby boomers, many of whom sang along to each song, the words firmly ingrained in their hearts and souls after a lifetime of listening. It's way cool to see adults in their 60's acting like adoring groupies to musicians near or in their 70's. Count me as one of them, I bought a ticket in the third row for this show.

The exterior street view of the theatre may be unassuming but the inside is not. It is definitely not Yasgur's farm.

Cherubs watch from high on the proscenium arch.

The spectacular concert hall.

David Crosby

Stephen Stills

Graham Nash



To close the show, they performed their signature song, "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," as the audience sang along.

In exchange for the pleasure, warmth, and joy the trio exhibited at being able to perform their music before an adoring crowd, we bestowed a standing ovation on them and their able back-up band. It was a pretty perfect evening.
 
Ah, youth, where have you gone, and how did you leave me so soon?