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Sainte-Anne-la-Palud Beach, Brittany, France

This photo was taken on the beach of Sainte-Anne-la-Palud, situated in the Baie de Douarnenez, Brittany, France, a bay in Finistère, between the Crozon peninsula to the north and the cap Sizun to the south. It is formed of a vast semi-circular basin over 16 km wide and 20 km deep. Although half-closed-off to the west by Cap de la Chèvre, it opens out again to a width of 9 km on the side of the Mer d'Iroise.


Namib Desert, Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia

This photo was taken close to Sandwich Harbour, in the Namib Desert, Namibia, the oldest desert in the world. The word Namib means place of emptiness...


Street Portrait, Laos

This photo was taken in Laos, in a small village on the bank of the Mekong river, between Huay Xai (Thai-Lao border) and Pak Beng.


Flatiron Building (Fuller Building), Manhattan, New York

This is a photo of the Flatiron Building (or Fuller Building as it was originally called), located at 175 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. It is considered to be one of the first skyscrapers ever built. Upon completion in 1902 it was one of the tallest buildings in New York City. The building sits on a triangular island block at 23rd Street, Fifth Avenue, and Broadway, anchoring the south (downtown) end of Madison Square. The Flatiron Building was designed by Chicago's Daniel Burnham in the Beaux-Arts style. Like a classical Greek column, its limestone and glazed terra-cotta façade is divided into a base, shaft and capital.


Hartmann's Mountain Zebra, Etosha National Park, Namibia

This photo was taken in Etosha National Park, Namibia, and does show Mountain Zebras, a threatened species of zebra native to south-western Angola, Namibia and South Africa. It has two subspecies, the Cape Mountain Zebra and Hartmann's Mountain Zebra, though it has been suggested these should be considered separate species. Like all zebras, it is boldly striped in black and white and no two individuals look exactly alike. The stripe can be black and white or dark brown and white.


Cliché, Red Telephone Boxes (Sir Giles Gilbert Scott), London

This is a photo of Red Telephone Boxes, some public telephone kiosks designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, which are a familiar sight on the streets of the United Kingdom, Malta, Bermuda and Gibraltar.


Old Grimsby Beach, Tresco, Isles of Scilly

This is a photo taken in, Tresco, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, England.
A variety of scenery is found on the island, including rugged granite outcrops, heathland of the exposed north coast and mainly shell beaches in the east and south.


Belfry (Beffroi, "Ch’Bédouf"), Amiens, France

This is a photo of the Belfry of Amiens, France. The city's belfry symbolises the independence and freedom of the municipality.
The belfry had various functions down to the ages : meeting place, watchtower, prison, and so on. In the spire, the bell used to ring for big events.
The lower part was built between 1406 and 1410, and the Baroque clock tower dates from 1749. The belfry suffered fire in the 16th and 18th centuries, and during World War II, but the restoration took place in the 1990s and the dome was reconstructed. A carillon with 30 bells was installed in 2001 (playing between 9am and 7pm, an air from Aristide Bruant "Â Belleville", adapted by "Chés Cabotans d’Amiens").
The belfry is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since July 2005, as part of a group of 23 Belfries of Belgium and France : they are highly significant tokens of the winning of civil liberties. While Italian, German and English towns mainly opted to build town halls, in part of north-western Europe, greater emphasis was placed on building belfries. Compared with the keep (symbol of the seigneurs) and the bell-tower (symbol of the Church), the belfry, the third tower in the urban landscape, symbolizes the power of the aldermen. Over the centuries, they came to represent the influence and wealth of the towns.


Tower 42, NatWest Tower, London

This is a photo of Tower 42, which is the tallest skyscraper in the City of London and the fifth tallest in London as a whole. It was originally built for the National Westminster Bank (NatWest), hence its former name, the NatWest Tower. Seen from above, the tower closely resembles the NatWest logo (three chevrons in a hexagonal arrangement). The tower, designed by Richard Seifert, is located at 25 Old Broad Street. It was built between 1971 and 1979, and opened in 1980. It is 183 metres (600 ft) high, which made it the tallest building in the UK until the topping-out of One Canada Square in Docklands in 1990.
On 24 April 1993 it was damaged in the Bishopsgate bombing, a Provisional Irish Replublican Army truck bombing in the Bishopsgate area of the City of London. The bomb extensively damaged the tower and many other buildings in the vicinity. The tower suffered severe damage and had to be entirely reclad and internally refurbished (demolition was considered, but would have been too difficult and expensive). After refurbishment, NatWest decided not to re-occupy and renamed the building the International Financial Centre, then sold it. The new owners, UK property company Greycoat, renamed it Tower 42, in reference to its 42 floors. It is now a general-purpose office building occupied by a variety of companies.
Tower 42 official website.
Tower 42 contains two restaurants:
Rhodes Twenty Four, which is situated on the 24th floor and operated by renowned chef Gary Rhodes; and Vertigo 42, a champagne and seafood bar located on the 42nd floor.


Tide Pool (Natural Swimming Pool) & Fort Du Petit Bé, Saint Malo, Brittany, France

This is a photo showing the tide pool and the fort du Petit Bé (at the back ground), in Saint Malo, Brittany, France.
The fort on Petit Bé was built in the 17th century. It was part of the defense belt designed by Vauban to protect the city of Saint-Malo from British and Dutch fleets.


Dr. Martens - Doc Martens

This photo was taken in Camden Town, London,
Klaus Märtens was a doctor in the German army during World War II. While on leave in 1945, he injured his ankle while skiing in the Bavarian Alps. He found that his standard-issue army boots were too uncomfortable on his injured foot. While recuperating, he designed improvements to the boots, with soft leather, and air-padded soles. When the war ended and some Germans looted valuables from their own cities, Märtens took leather from a cobbler's shop. With that leather he made himself a pair of boots with air-cushioned soles.
Märtens didn't have much luck selling his shoes until he met up with an old university friend, Dr. Herbert Funck, in Munich in 1947. Funck was intrigued by the new shoe design, and the two went into business that year in Seeshaupt, Germany, using discarded rubber from Luftwaffe airfields. The comfortable and durable soles were a big hit with housewives, with 80% of sales in the first decade going to women over the age of 40.
Sales had grown so much by 1952 that they opened a factory in Munich. In 1959, the company had grown large enough that Märtens and Funck looked at marketing the footwear internationally. Almost immediately, British shoe manufacturer R. Griggs Group Ltd. bought patent rights to manufacture the shoes in the United Kingdom. Griggs anglicized the name, slightly re-shaped the heel to make them fit better, added the trademark yellow stitching, and trademarked the soles as AirWair.
The first Doc Martens (Dr. Martens) boots in the United Kingdom came out on 1 April, 1960 (hence known as style 1460 and still in production today) with an eight-eyelet, cherry-red, Nappa leather design. Originally Dr. Martens were made by a number of shoe manufacturers in the Northamptonshire area, as long as they passed quality standards. They were popular among workers such as postmen, police officers and factory workers. By the late 1960s, skinheads started wearing Dr. Martens boots. By the late 1970s, Dr. Martens boots were popular among some British punk rock and New Wave musicians, and soon many punk fans were wearing them. The boots and shoes then became popular among other youth subcultures.
On 1 April 2003, under pressure from declining sales, the Dr. Martens company ceased all production in the United Kingdom, with production moved to China and Thailand. With this change also came the end of the company's vegan-friendly non-leather products, which were produced since January, 2000. In 2007, the company began producing footwear again in England, in the Cobbs Lane Factory in Wollaston. These products, the "Vintage" line which the company advertises as being made to the original specs, can be purchased at the Dr. Martens USA website or the Dr. Martens UK website.


Muro Alto beach, Ipojuca, Pernambuco, Brazil

This is a photo of Muro Alto beach (Ipojuca, Pernambuco, Brazil), named because of the typical huge sand dunes of the region which are full of coconut trees.
Muro Alto is situated in the region of Porto de Galinhas, Nordeste, Brazil. Porto de Galinhas boasts more than 10 miles of white sandy beaches with clear warm water and coconut palms. There are 7 linked beaches from Camboa to Maracaípe and its beautiful “Pontal”, taking in Muro Alto, Cupe and Porto de Galinhas beach (see map and official website of the area).
For the seventh consecutive year, Porto de Galinhas has been voted the best beach destination in Brazil by the magazine Viagem e Turismo (Edition 133, 01/11/2007).


West Pier, Brighton, England

This is a photo (taken back in 2005) of the West Pier, a pier in Brighton, England. It was built in 1866 by Eugenius Birch and has been closed and deteriorating since 1975, awaiting renovation.
The West Pier had been cut off from the shore (partly deliberately, for safety reasons) since 1975, but the West Pier trust offered regular tours of it until the structure suffered a serious partial collapse during a storm on December 29, 2002, when a walkway connecting the concert hall and pavilion fell into the sea. On January 20, 2003 a further collapse saw the destruction of the concert hall in the middle of the pier. On 28 March, 2003 the pavilion at the end of the pier caught fire. Firefighters were unable to save the building from destruction because the collapsed walkway prevented them from reaching it. The cause of the fire remains unknown. On May 11, 2003, another fire broke out, consuming most of what was left of the concert hall. The Fire re-ignited on May 12. Arson was suspected: the West Pier Trust refers to the fires as the work of "professional arsonists". On June 23, 2004 high winds caused the middle of the pier to collapse completely.


Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan (วัดสระเกศราชวรมหาวิหาร), Pom Prap Sattru Phai district, Bangkok, Thailand

This photo was taken in Bangkok, Thailand, and does show Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan (วัดสระเกศราชวรมหาวิหาร), a Buddhist temple in Pom Prap Sattru Phai district.
The temple dates back to Ayutthaya era, when it was called Wat Sakae. King Rama I renovated the temple and renamed it to Wat Saket.
Phu Khao Thong (Golden mountain, ภูเขาทอง) is a steep hill inside the Wat Saket compound. It is not a natural outcrop, but an artificial hill.
During the reign of King Rama III (1787 – 1851) the decision was made to build a Chedi of huge dimensions to add to the Wat Saket temple. However, the large Chedi collapsed during the construction process because the soft soil beneath would not support it. The resulting mud-and-brick hillock was left alone for about half a century, taking the shape of a natural hill and becoming overgrown with weeds. Since then it looked like a natural small mountain it received its name of "Phu Khao" (ภูเขา) at that time.
Finally under King Rama IV, a small Chedi was built on the hilltop. This smaller structure was finished under King Rama V (1853– 1910), when a Buddha relic from India was housed in the Chedi. In the 1940s the surrounding concrete walls were built to prevent the hill from eroding. There is an important festival at Wat Saket every November that includes a beautiful candlelight procession up Phu Khao Thong.
Phu Khao Thong has become a popular tourist attraction in Bangkok, but the rest of the Wat Saket temple area is much less visited.


Apple In Big Apple, Apple Store Manhattan New York

This is a photo of the Apple Store at Fifth Avenue New York.
The store in itself is all underground except for the entrance, a 32-foot glass cube, housing a cylindrical elevator and a spiral staircase that leads into the actual store.
It is located right in front of the General Motors building opposite the Plaza Hotel and Bergdorf Goodman on 767 Fifth Avenue.
With this incredible entrance Apple has created what is becoming a new New York Landmark located at a very prominent location on Manhattan.


Lao Sung, Akha Hill Tribe Woman, Laos

This photo was taken in an Akha hill tribe village in Nothern Laos.
The Akha are hill tribe of subsistence farmers known for their artistry. The ethnic group may have originated in Mongolia around 1500 years ago. Most of the remaining Akha people are now distributed in small villages among the mountains of China, Laos (where they are considered Lao Sung), Myanmar (Burma), and northern Thailand.
The Akha generally live in bamboo houses raised on low wooden stilts in hilly areas. These huts are divided by gender - one side is for the women, and the other side, occupied by the men, is used as a more public area. The Akha subsist through an often destructive form of slash and burn agriculture which can result in elimination of old growth forest, native animal species and serious soil runoff problems. They are expert farmers who focus on mountain rice, corn, and soybeans that are planted in seasonal shifts. The Akha are also very efficient hunters, though their prey sometimes includes endangered species.
The Akha put a particularly heavy emphasis on genealogy - they are taught their family history at a very early age, and their culture has a strong focus on honouring ancestors and their parents, though they dispute that this represents a form of ancestor worship. A better description of Akha religion would be animism, as they believe in a world filled with spirits, both good and bad, that have a definite physical impact on the world. They believe in a natural cycle of balance that, if disrupted, can result in illness, hardship, or even death.


Street Art, London

This is a photo of a "street art" poster I saw in London a few month ago. Anyone knows about who's the artist ? I could not find much trying to google the signature in the lower right corner...


Happy New Year ! Eiffel Tower At Night, Paris

These are two photos of the Eiffel Tower panoramic view, taken at night from the top platform of the Tour Montparnasse.
If you want to see more about history of illumination of the tower (and photos), I suggest you check at the Eiffel Tower official website.