Stopping for a snack on the way to Agra

The road between Delhi and Agra is really somthin’ else. If you are not swerving around giant potholes, it could easily be a dead cow, a live cow, or something in between. It’s never good to make fun of the cows with your driver, so that is right out.

I’m adventurous on these things… probably too adventurous. I always like to try new foods, and I’ll eat about anything from street vendors. Usually if it looks thoroughly cooked, it generally won’t get me sick…I’ve developed a tough stomach, although I did end up getting a bit sick in Mumbai… but I think that is because I was dumb and let some mysterious ice melt in my cup.

It was a long drive to Agra, and in little towns, the traffic would slow. I occasionally jumped out of the car to get some little snack (and take photos, of course!). Here is one of an interesting chap that had some food I could not pronounce.

Stopping for a snack on the way to Agra

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Exploring the Valleys Beyond the Fjords of Akureyri

I had always wanted to visit fjords ever since reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as a kid… picturing Slartibartfast carving them up was something that always stuck in my mind. The first ones I got to visit were in Iceland after I went up north to stay in Akureyri for a few days. I had actually intended to go one place that my friend Helga suggested, but I ended up getting lost, which is okay enough. This fjord valley kept going and going as the sun started to rise over the edges. I pulled over every few miles whenever the moment seemed right to shoot, and it seemed right so often!

Exploring the Valleys Beyond the Fjords of Akureyri

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The Holidays in a Small Town

This was shot after Christmas as I spent some time alone in a Brenham, a little town between Austin and Houston. I arrived right at dusk and strolled about for a few hours, meandering around the streets as dusk set… just me and my tripod and music that seemed fitting at the time. I can’t ever decide if I like being alone at moments like those. Actually, I do quite like being alone, but it’s interrupted by fleeting thoughts that I’d like to share with someone, as much as I’d like to hear new unexpected thoughts and ideas.

Brenham is one of those old Texas towns where there is a quaint square that surrounds a courthouse-like object. I thought this might be fitting, since, according to the twitters and facebook updates, everyone really seems to be strangely in love with the government all the sudden. Those of you that know my Libertarian leanings can pretty much expect that I spend little time getting excited about the power of government..

And, speaking of the twitters (my Twitter is at twitter.com/TreyRatcliff), I have made a change to the comments so those of you that use the same email should see your avatar show up on the right. If you don’t have an avatar, you can upload your own for free at Gravatar.

The Holidays in a Small Town (by Stuck in Customs)

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Entering Another World

Sometimes don’t you just want to leave this world behind and go some place else for a bit (or forever)?

I was invited to go for a private walk of the shark reef aquarium at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I went in with average expectations and came away very impressed! There are many cool areas, including a dreamy jellyfish tank and another nearby section where you are in a sunken ship. I’ll post that one as soon as I get around to processing it… my brain has been overloaded as of late…

Entering Another World (by Stuck in Customs)

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I was able to hack the D3X into a flux capacitor to time travel to 1958

This is my favorite bakery in the world – Clear River Pecan Company.  I’ve been there about four times… it’s about two hours away from Austin in historic Fredricksburg, Texas.

The brownies here are somewhere between a solid and a liquid… sort of a sweet plasma of brownie!

I do consider myself a connoisseur of chocolate with a specialty within the magistarium of brownies.  So believe me when I say they are a 10/10.  The only other 10/10 I can find in Austin is something called “Miles of Chocolate”, which also barely surfs within the existence of this mortal coil.

I was able to hack the D3X into a flux capacitor to time travel to 1958

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Where to Party in Vegas

I just recently got back from Las Vegas and betwixt a panoply of activities that kept my mental faculties on edge, I did manage to go out and get some photos, of course. At least I am assured that these always turn out winners!

I stayed in THE Hotel. I think you are supposed to capitalize that THE. In fact, maybe it is even one word like THEhotel. Before going, I thought it was just "the" hotel at Mandalay but now I know it’s much different…. It was a great place and probably the best of 7 or 8 hotels I have stayed there. Although 2 or 3 of those should barely be on the list…

This is a shot of the restaurant area of Club Mix, which sits on the top floor of THE Hotel. I was able to see so many cool places there — I hardly knew which to process first! …more coming in the next weeks and months!

Where to Party in Vegas (by Stuck in Customs)

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Alone and Dejected in a Strange Place

I sensed a profound sadness in him. He was totally alone, seemingly waiting there for someone or something. I’ll never forget it.

His name was Marzouq. He was nice and solemn. As we talked I certainly felt an emptiness there with him. I’m not sure what it was, but it was like there was something wholly unrealized in his life. While we talked, he looked at me strangely at times, a look of not knowing what to think of me and accepting me at the same time. It was comforting, and he was nice to talk to. He created the distinct impression that he was thinking about my questions before answering.

We were there, totally alone, in an unexpected rear corner of a Moghul monument. I always like to go around the backside and try to see the things that are not obvious.

After sitting to rest and talking a bit, he motioned behind him with a quick glance and raised eyebrows, and said cheerfully, “Want to see the bats?”

I said, “Are you kidding? Let’s go.”

Marzouq ducked down about ten feet from a smallish door with hard black shadows shooting inside. He began a near crab walk even while approaching the tiny door. I ducked my head too, which felt strange in the open air. Maybe he was afraid of bats streaming out, which I suddenly realized, causing me to duck down a little more than him.

He made little grunting sounds and kept waving his hand to the side for me to follow. After entering the door, a short walk, and a few turns, we ended up in what felt like a chamber. It could have been darker in there, but I don’t know how. He grunted in a way like “watch this” and he flipped on a flashlight, shining it up into the half-domed room. There were hundreds of bats hanging there, totally silent. It was eerie as heck. I set up my camera but it was way too dark even with a slow shutter speed… and I didn’t feel like light-painting with the flashlight because I thought it might look stupid and not really capture the mood anyway. We sat in there for a while handing the flashlight back and forth and making little grunt sounds. It was very strange, but entirely delightful.

Alone and Dejected in a Strange Place (by Stuck in Customs)

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Alone in the Bhagavad

I feel like I end up walking alone through the epic book of the Bhagavad Gita. These mythical places are made manifest in unexpected ways as I look around. It feels somewhat empty inside, like it needs to be shared with someone. The only devastated remnants I have are these little pictures, which seem a poor substitute.

Alone in the Bhagavad

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The Magic of Shanghai

It was well after sundown when I finished some meetings, so I went down to the Bund to take some shots across the river of Shanghai. Even in the middle of the night, the river was full of boats coming and going, all lit up with various festive colors. Everything had an electric feel and I very much enjoyed walking up and down the river as the lights changed and new boats came and went…

The Magic of Shanghai (by Stuck in Customs)

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The State Capitol of Texas at Dusk

I went down on Saturday evening to do some shooting around Austin and caught the capitol around sunset. There are all kinds of interesting things about the Texas capitol, like this cool underground Illuminati chamber you can see here, but the one thing that all Texans seem to know is that our capitol is 14 feet taller than the one in D.C. This is a source of pride for Texans, along with the cool and trivial fact that we maintain, in our state constitution, the right to secede from the Union.

The capitol is made out of this pink granite, and it gets a little pinker at night at soon as they turn on the lights, especially against the blue sky.

The State Capitol of Texas at Dusk

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