Remembering Sensational Syria

Syria Video by Irene and Rick Butler- Syria “wowed” us with its rich culture, its fascinating history, its ancient sites,…

Egypt’s Sinai Region

Mt Sinai The Sinai Peninsula is a stunning desertscape of rugged limestone and granite mountains with substantial areas of shifting…

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Thaipusam Hindu Festival 2015 – Batu Caves, Malaysia

Hindu Deities

The Hindu deities on the wall of Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur appear ready to leap onto the floor and dance! The temple resounds with the festive beat of drummers and prayer chants for Thaipusam –the annual religious Hindu festival of mammoth proportions that will take place at Batu Caves, 13km (8mi) north of the capital. Although this year’s main ceremony day is February 3rd, in conjunction with the full moon of 10th month of the Tamil Hindu calendar, the celebrating for many begins at Sri Mahamariamman. It is early evening on February 1st and outside the temple is the five-ton silver chariot that will carry the Hindu deities to Batu Caves in an all-night procession. Men straddle the sizable chariot adding the final touches of fresh flower garlands the thickness of a young girl’s waist. A local fellow leans toward us, “Up until a dozen years ago the…

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India – Third Time Around

A Mumbai Street Market

The Milieu of Mumbai One doesn’t just walk the streets of Mumbai….we find ourselves weaving through the masses, bumping shoulders with locals, besieged with vendors calling, “just take a look”, are dazzled with street-shop colour, enticed by whirling wheels to sample juice from ubiquitous sugar cane grinders; the scorching air wafts with tantalizing food scents…

Cyprus

Cyprus

Nicosia (Lefkosia) Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty and love smiled fondly at Cyprus, the island of her birth, giving it an extraordinary beauty, a tender climate, and plenty of sunshine. Is it any wonder so many earthlings over the centuries have desired to own this Mediterranean Island? And being at the crossroads of Europe,…

Athens Greece

Herodes Atticus Odeon...

A forest of people move through the Acropolis entrance with it being “free admittance” Sunday. We pass through the Dionysos Theatre and up an embankment to the unmistakable arches of Herodes Atticus Odeon…and after 16 years since we have last tread on Athenian soil – it is once more before us… The Parthenon – personifying…

Tirana Albania

Scanderbeg Square

If size matters, the Skanderbeg Square in Tirana is definitely in the winner’s circle, or more accurately – oval. The large central section is the length of two footballs fields. It is lorded over by an equestrian statue of Skanderbeg, who fought for freedom from Ottoman rule. This Albanian national hero replaced the huge statue…

Pristina Kosovo

NewBorn Monument

The first monument we come upon in Pristina is of large block letters spelling “NEWBORN”- first unveiled in brilliant yellow on February 17, 2008, the day Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. And every year since, before the February 17th Independence Day celebration the monument undergoes a paint-job, and is unveiled in a ceremony flaunting its…

Skopje Macedonia

A city of monuments! Skopje has amazing statues of historic figures and national heroes…here, there, and everywhere. All are impressive – but if I had to choose a favourite, it would be the monument in the city’s main square “Plostad Makedonija”. A gigantic marble fountain with water spurting in a sequence of heights around lions…