Lasts, Osaka

Lasts, Osaka 2019

My favourite thing to do, if I go somewhere on holiday, is to spend time just wandering around. If you ever go to Osaka, chances are you will have a list of attractions you want to see (Osaka Castle, the Osaka Aquarium…), but I nearly always find that the journey there is more interesting than the attraction. The castle is quite fun though.

This picture of the lasts, is an example of something I saw on my way somewhere else.

Asiatic Lion, London Zoo

Asiatic Lion, London Zoo, February 2020

I think I have written before about my ambivalence towards zoos. And yet, I always seem to seek them out (the same with aquariums).

The weather was grey and wet as I made my way across Regent’s Park and went to ZSL London Zoo. It is rather expensive to go in (£30 for adults), but since I hadn’t been there in 15 years or so (and that was with a school party) I paid up and went in. In their defence I can’t begin to imagine how expensive it must be to run.

I expect I will update this post when I have processed my films, because there were quite a few charismatic animals, but I found this Asiatic lion having a rest in the shelter. I must say compared to the lionesses, he really did seem to mastered the whole “taking it easy” rather well. No worry lines on his face. If you are wondering, his name is Bhanu.

Leaves, Shanghai

Leaves, People’s Park, Shanghai 2011

Another leaf photo!

I’m not sure the species of tree this is – perhaps maple (it has a 5 finger leaf), but I remember thinking how beautiful it looked. On anything but the calmest of days, closeups are hard to photograph because of subject movement.

I took this photo in People’s Park which is one of the most famous attractions in Shanghai (it was built on the former Shanghai Racecourse – the idea of a racecourse in a downtown area of a city seems extraordinary to me).

Elvis Presley Birthplace, USA

Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum, Tupelo, Mississippi 2003

A road trip picture.

Once upon a time, for my holiday, I would pick 3 or places (in different states) and then spend a week or so travelling to each of them, stopping the car when I saw something interesting. Lots of time spent listening to the radio, watching the landscape slowly change outside.

I enjoyed my visit to the birthplace museum, I had a little chat with a member of staff as we looked at one of Elvis’s late jumpsuits. She was more late Elvis, while I was more early Elvis.

The house itself looked rather neat and trim. I wondered if it was like that when Elvis lived there.

Feet in the Water, El Salvador

Feet, Lake Ilopango, El Salvador 2007

Not a big picture, but I still like it.

Lake Ilopango is a formed in the mouth of a dormant volcano. I went scuba diving there once, but on this occasion, it was a cruise amongst the water hyacinths. As you can see a friend dipped her feet in water making a little plume as we went along. I didn’t take a camera, instead using a Nokia feature phone – less than 1 megapixel- but like I said – I like it.

District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2008

Sorry, not really a photo, but I was trying to give the impression of a really busy place with people coming from all directions. And a bit of the contrasting old and new.

I miss walking in Ho Chi Minh City, it has a bustling buzz. People are always doing something and there is always something to see.

Except at Tet, when the busy streets suddenly clear and the road only carries people going to visit relatives.

Tammisaari, Finland

Near Tammisaari, Finland 2004

Sometimes, I think being from the UK makes the rest of the world seem a much more dramatic place. People start to moan when the weather even gets near to 0 and when it goes a couple of degrees below, certain newspapers start trumpeting about an”arctic vortex”, when really, it is just a bit cold.

In Finland by contrast, no one mentions the weather until it gets to about -15 degrees or so. A Finnish friend asked me why I thought it was strange to ride a bicycle in the snow – it was perfectly normal to her.

If the whole cold thing interests you, I recommend visiting the Culture Museum in Helsinki. I particularly enjoyed reading about Kai Donner’s adventures in northern Finland, where it gets really cold.

Anyway, when I took this picture, it must have only been about -10. And it wasn’t windy. So no macho points for me.

But it was very quiet and still, possibly silent.