Saturday, October 28, 2006

Welcome back to the land of smile!

Little Vivian (2 ½) from Biga, Batangas can now do what kids all over the world and especially in the Philippines do in their innocent way: smile and laugh.

Like every year since more than 10 years, Operation Rainbow Australia sent a team of reconstructive surgery specialists to General Malvar Medical Foundation Hospital in Quezon City, Metro Manila to perform cleft and palate surgery. This September, 80 kids from poor families had been able to benefit free of charge from the work of three doctors and eleven support staff. Little Vivian was one of them.

Thanks to all involved, especially Q.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Best infrastructure and safest environment In Manila

No, this picture is not taken within one of Manila’s numerous gated communities in which the wealthy, rich and well connected enjoy their life.

This picture is from Manila’s giant Chinese cemetery. You better try to catch a house there: Infrastructure works, many houses are equipped with aircons, it’s safe to walk around, your neighbors will not run noisy videoke machines. It’s just a normal life there.

Photo from February 2004.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Living Inside the Ring of Fire

The Ring of Fire (which includes the Philippines) almost surrounds the Pacific Ocean and stands for a region of huge seismic activities: 90% of the world's earthquakes and 81% of the world's largest earthquakes occur along this Ring.

Last weekend while staying in Laiya, Batangas we had a number of earthquakes. The highest measured 5.8/5.9 on the Richter scale and all occurred in the north of Mindoro some 50km away from where we stayed (see above). All happened at night and four times we ran out of our room into the darkness. It was quite a strange feeling since we had no electricity and the only points of references were the stars. Sounds romantic but wasn't. With such poor points of reference all shakes were felt much longer. Next time we will bring flashlights...

Photo below from Laiya, Batangas in October 2006.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Another weekend...

... at Biga beach ...and
Cumpleaños feliz
cumpleaños feliz
te deseamos Inés
cumpleaños feliz.
Photo from October 2006.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Birthday Tuna

Want to buy a tuna while cruising the seas? Go to Ticao island in the Philippines and you might find this fisherman. I bought that tuna and Q got lots of sashimi (literally 'pierced body' or 刺身) for her birthday.

Photo from April 2004.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

What Pope John Paul II did not see

This view was covered as Pope John Paul II arrived in Manila in 1995. However, the only thing the then Pope missed were the new skycrapers in the back. The rest is still there.

Photo from 2005.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Marry young!

Many marriages end up in divorce, creating upheaval for all parties involved – including children.

The only way out: Marry while being a child.

Photo from Manila, Philippines in May 2006.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Transsiberian train (1986 – 2006): The party goes on

This is my 100th brommel post! Time for a lone celebration, I guess. At least based on the huge amount of comments this site receives.

The celebration post covers a time span of 20 years. The picture above from Lammer is showing real Russian men along the tracks of the transsiberian train in summer 2006. I took the other picture below, showing the start of the party in 1986. It seems that the first photo was taken after the party...

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Incredible India: Neemrana Fort

Just go, relax and enjoy Rajasthan’s 15th century Neemrana Fort where the terraces outnumber the rooms.

Photo from October 2006.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Free Service for Foreigners, User Charges only for Indians

You might remember Hamlet from good old Shakespeare:

Something is rotten in the state of India.

Heaven will direct it.

It doesn't matter, it's fun.

Photo from Agra, India (October 2006).

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Public Transport in India (Part 3)

Public Transport in India...

.... or don't move too fast (i.e. watch out for the bird).

Photo from October 2006 (somewhere on a better road in India).

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Public Transport in India (Part 2)

Good bye and good luck.

Photo from October 2006, outskirts of New Delhi.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Drive Thru Mosque

The picture from September 2006 is showing the five remaining minarets of the Musalla ('Prayer Ground' in Arabic) Complex of Gohar Shad in Herat, Afghanistan. Formerly this complex comprised of a Friday Mosque, madrassa and mausoleum and a set of thirty minarets (built between 1417 and 1438). It is rather sad to note that a four lane road is now passing through (thru) the once beautiful with elaborated mosaic tilework decorated minarets.

See also Lord Byron's photos from 1933/34, who described the Gohar Shad Musalla as "the most beautiful example in colour in architecture ever devised by man to the glory of his God and himself."

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Mascara Man in Herat

This photo of a Sufi man with mascara on his eyes was taken in September 2006 at the shrine of the 11th century Sufi master Abdullah Ansari at Gazar Gah, 5 km from Herat, Afghanistan.

Does anybody know why Sufi men sometimes put on mascara? I was told to protect them from the evil eye but would like to learn if more explanations exist.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Tourists are welcome to visit the Taj Mahal

Get a zoom or just stay away?

Photo from Agra, India in October 2006.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Public Transport in India (Part 1)

It's all about karma (कर्म).

Photo from October 2006, District Gurgaon, Haryana, India. Gurgaon is also called the 'cyber city of Haryana'

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hope he is on the right way

To my knowledge this fellow from Herat, Afghanistan is a tariqah, somebody following the 'path'. This 'sufi' is most possibly a follower of Naqshbandi, which is considered a ‘sober’ order believing in silent dhikr (remembrance of God) and suhbat (an intimate relationship between student and master).

However, the tattooed sword on his left hand is worrisome to me.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Only one saw me. Why not the others?

Photo from Herat, Afghanistan in September 2006.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Out of the blue: Burqa shopping in Herat

Choice is everything in life, isn't it?

Photo from Herat, Afghanistan (September 2006).

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Afghanistan Tourism Organization

Nothing to add to this advertisement on a Russian tank....

Photo from September 2006 on route to Bamiyan.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Remnants of a crime against culture

In March 2001, six months before the September 11th bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Taliban destroyed two ancient statues of the Buddha in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. The giant Buddhas carved into a mountainside in the heart of the Hindu Kush mountains, were among Asia's great archaeological treasures.

The larger of the two statues (built in the 5th century CE)- which stood at 53 meters - was believed to have been the world's tallest standing Buddha. The other statue measured 38 meters from the 3rd century CE used to be in the big hole behind the tank as shown in the picture above.

These giant Buddhas have been destroyed by the use of mortars, dynamite, tanks, anti-aircraft weapons and rockets. Some of the shells can still be found next to the hole of the smaller Buddha (see picture below).

Pictures from September 2006.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Sign at Kabul Airport: Unload your weapons here

I am still not quite sure about the meaning of this sign. Does it mean that ammunition shall be unloaded at this place and that it is allowed to board the aircraft with a gun or does it mean that all weapons shall be placed into the box before boarding the plane?

The picture was taken in September 2006 at Kabul airport.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

No communication problem in Herat, Afghanistan

is still listening to the world....

Photo from Herat, September 2006.

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