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07/09/2010

Java Wharf, Shad Thames, Bermondsey, London


This photo was taken in Shad Thames, a historic riverside street next to Tower Bridge in Bermondsey, London, England, and is also an informal name for the surrounding area.
The street Shad Thames has Tower Bridge at its west end, and runs along the south side of the River Thames, set back behind a row of converted warehouses; it then takes a 90 degree turn south along St Saviour's Dock. The street is partly cobbled.

06/09/2010

The Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho (วัดโพธิ์), Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Ratchaworamahawihan, Bangkok


This is a photo of the Reclining Buddha, taken in Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Ratchaworamahawihan (วัดพระเชตุพนวิมลมังคลารามราชวรมหาวิหาร), or the former name Wat Pho (วัดโพธิ์), also known as The Temple of the Reclining Buddha. This is a Buddhist temple in Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok, Thailand, located in the Rattanakosin district directly adjacent to the Grand Palace. Its official full name is Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn (วัดพระเชตุพนวิมลมังคลาราม ราชวรมหาวิหาร). The temple is also known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage.
Wat Pho is one of the largest and oldest wats in Bangkok (with an area of 50 rai, 80,000 square metres), and is home to more than one thousand Buddha images, as well as one of the largest single Buddha images: the Reclining Buddha (Phra Buddhasaiyas, พระพุทธไสยาสน์). Made as part of Rama III's restoration, the Reclining Buddha is forty-six metres long and fifteen metres high, decorated with gold plating on his body and mother of pearl on his eyes and the soles of his feet. The latter display 108 auspicious scenes in Chinese and Indian styles.
The Wat Pho complex consists of two walled compounds bisected by Soi Chetuphon running east–west. The northern walled compound is where the reclining Buddha and massage school are found. The southern walled compound, Tukgawee, is a working Buddhist monastery with monks in residence and a school.

05/09/2010

Misty Morning, Baie de Douarnenez, Finistère, Brittany, France


This photo was taken 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.

03/09/2010

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.