Tree, Vietnam

Tree, Reunification Palace, HCMC, Vietnam 2014

I didn’t visit the Reunification Palace while I lived in Ho Chi Minh City, only seeing it when I returned to the country on a flying visit.

The building has a rather theatrical quality, which makes me think of a film set. The gardens, but contrast, are cool, dark and rather inviting, with lots of shade to hide from the sun in. Unusually for me, I took lots of pictures of the trees which all looked unique and characterful. I liked this one best. It has a monumental quality.

Buckminster Fuller’s Room, Penang

Buckminster Fuller’s Room, Bellevue Hotel, Penang 2014

Penang Hill is really a group of hills which overlook the rest of Penang and parts of the Malaysian mainland.

Before the invention of air conditioning, it was popular with expatriates, because in the height of the Malaysian summer, it was always appreciably cooler than in George Town (where many businesses had offices). So a number of houses, hotels and a school (Uplands) were built there (you can see the remains in you go there, slowly being overgrown.

The Bellevue Hotel is a remnant of this era and if I were visiting Penang, I might be tempted to spend a couple of nights there, with its lovely view and cooler temperature. Like much of Penang, it evokes another era – perhaps 100 years ago.

There are a number of ways to get to the top of Penang Hill, the most popular is via the funicular railway (state-of-the-art, air conditioned glass carriages fairly rapidly ascending a steep hill. Vehicles must travel up a very steep road called the jeep track (transmissons screaming as they go). But, if you are feeling brave, you could try following one of the many trails which lead to the peak. If you are going to do this, remember it will take 4 or 5 hours walking and scambling through jungle. Leeches.

Once you are at the top, there are various fair type attractions (having your photo taken with a snake or an owl) and food stalls. For people with slightly deeper pockets, there is a restaurant called “Browns”, where they serve a very nice afternoon tea with scones, jam and clotted cream. Again, something which is remeniscent of another time.

View of George Town from Penang Hill, Penang, Malaysia 2015

Tree, St. James’s Park

Tree, St. James’s Park, London 2019

St James’s Park, is probably my favourite in London. In the Summer it gets very crowded, but first thing in the morning as the sun comes up, it really is lovely.

This picture isn’t first thing in the morning, but I do like the contrast between the soft pink of the blossoms and the deep green of the grass. Yes, that is the MoD Building behind the trees.

Edit – 20.06.20

As usual, when I posted this, I avoided mentioning that this was the first day of the lockdown. I wonder if posting a picture of an almost empty public space was a way of commenting on this.

Gnomes! Bath

Gomes, Holbourne Museum Bath 2016

As a picturesque city, popular with tourists, Bath has a number of small museums. The Holbourne Museum is probably the prettiest of all of them. A few years ago it had a major renovation and now boasts a very attractive cafe with views of Sydney Gardens and the canal. They regularly host medium sized exhibitions on mix of themes. Here as you can see – on gnomes – I should have gone in and had a look.

Shanghai Skyline

View from Shanghai Tower, 2019

There are long queues at the foot of the Shanghai Tower. I believe it holds the record for the World’s highest observation deck. But I didn’t take this picture from there. A little further down, there is a bookshop where for the price of an (expensive) cup of coffee you can have almost the same view.

Landscapes always look a bit small on a phone screen (panoramas even worse), but the Shanghai skyline has lots of impressive looking buildings, my favourite is the flying saucer on top of the Radisson Bleu (which is by People’s Square.