Loved finding this crocodile bench at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay complex. Of course, it begged the question, “do crocodiles live in Singapore?” And the answer is Yes! The type is the Estuarine Crocodile, a saltwater croc found in coastal areas, rivers, and occasionally parks in Singapore. Adult males can reach 20 feet. They are the largest of all living reptiles, as well as the largest riparian predator in the world. They are listed as “Critically Endangered in the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore. Development is ripping out mangroves and other natural places the crocs live, so they show up in unexpected places where humans are as they find new territory. Someday these carved wooden bench may be all they have to show for a huge reptile that roamed Singapore’s waters.
The National Orchid Garden within the main Singapore Botanic Garden houses the largest orchid collection of 1,200 species and 2,000 hybrids. Having begun its breeding program in 1928, the orchid garden is a leader in orchid studies and a pioneer in the cultivation of hybrids, complementing the nation’s status as a major exporter of cut orchids. The equatorial climate ensures the high humidity these beautiful orchids need to flourish. The Botanic Garden itself was begun in 1859 and has been ranked Asia’s top park attraction since 2013, by TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards. It was declared the inaugural Garden of the Year, International Garden Tourism Awards in 2012, and received Michelin’s three-star rating in 2008. We were delighted last month to be among its 4.5 million annual visitors.
The new Westin Hotel in Sarasota is quite modern in design. These lightboxes, sconces, really, cast interesting shadows in triangular shapes on the walls of one of the upper floors by the elevator. peaceful as a few potential passengers passed him by.
A friend and I were having lunch in the new Westin Hotel in downtown Sarasota. Above my head was a chandelier of goblet bowls and stems. I was way down low, as chandeliers go. Surely a unique chandelier, and there were multiple in Sarasota’s newest hotel.
We were strolling the streets in Old Havana and came across a very tiny park tucked into the corner of a city block. I was attracted to it because of its intimacy in the middle of the city. I noticed a couple of guys in the park but didn’t want to be obtrusive so I grabbed one shot as a I walked past. It was later, at home as I downloaded all my photos, that I saw the one man was gracefully dancing while the other fellow relaxed on the bench and watched him. Perhaps a fellow dancer or a coach. At any rate, it is an action shot, but one I didn’t expect to get there and then.
The sun had been up only a few minutes when I opened the balcony door in our stateroom on the Norwegian Sun to see the MS Hamburg entering Havana Harbor. The early morning light combined with the quiet of a day not yet started produced a satisfying serenity as a took in the stillness of Old Havana.
These hands belong to a local musician who has spent a lifetime making music. I imagine today he is better than ever, having decades of experience as a guitarist and perhaps other instruments as well. Here he strays from his familiar blues genre to venture a special rendition of Ave Maria at his friend’s late mother’s memorial service this Sunday afternoon.
Christmas is my favorite holiday, although after 20 Christmases in Florida it is still a little weird not having snow and cold to carry me though the festive season. But you don’t need snow and cold to embellish, and that’s what Christmas decorating is all about. I like to embellish my table when guest are coming. Last month we entertained our fellow 2017 Sicilian travelers at a potluck dinner for 10. In addition to using Christmas china and “crackers,” the centerpiece consisted of objects from Italy, such as a Murano glass sculpture of birds, a ceramic statue of a judge, a marble statue of Paulina (Napoleon’s sister) and Italian flags, as well as silver bells, candles, a crystal cat, glass trees and deer, and holiday sparkly fruit and berries. Of course, there was no room on the table for food, so we did a buffet!
“Complexus,” a 70-foot-tall red Corten steel sculpture by John Henry, is a piece of public art installed at the corner of Tamiami Trail and Gulf Stream Boulevard in Sarasota. Dubbed “Pick Up Sticks” by locals, it was reflected in the glass building, One Sarasota, when I was shooting scenics from the top of the new Westin Hotel across the street. There are other reflections to identify in this photo—how about the car, the street sign and the traffic light? More?
Happy New Year, you dog you! Actually, that is only for people born in the Chinese Calendar Years are Dogs: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and, drum roll, 2018! The Chinese New Year doesn’t begin until Feb. 16, but since today is our New Year’s Eve, we will explore that idea now, with a photo of the “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” installation on the Ringling Museum grounds in Sarasota, a creation of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, sculptor, photographer, installation artist, architect and social activist,
Each of the bronze animal heads measures approximately 4 feet high and 3 feet wide, elevated to between 9.8 and 12 feet high on their columns. Each sculpture weighs approximately 800 pounds. This group of works has been exhibited worldwide since the official launch of the Zodiac Heads in 2011, making it one of the most viewed sculpture projects in the history of contemporary art.
The bronze statues are quite textural, and I converted them to gray scale to play up that element for this challenge. If you haven’t seen the Zodiac heads, they are on display through June 1, 2018. And because they are on the grounds and not inside the museum, you can view them for free. Or go to the museum on Mondays when the museum is free, too.