This is an unexpected visitor

There I was, minding my own business in the part of the temple where I probably was not supposed to be. But sometimes when you are just wandering around, you can meet interesting people. It reminds me of the Douglas Adams book about Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. If you are lost, follow someone that looks like they know where they are going, and you will end up somewhere you probably needed to be anyway.

So here I was in the back halls of the temple and this guy popped onto the scene. He seemed friendly enough. There was not a lot of spoken words, but there was a lot of international wild gesticulation which appeared to indicate that he worked part time at the temple to help clean up. Since we were in a remote part of Malaysia, I don’t think he got to see many white people with devil-blue eyes, and he seemed to enjoy twisting his head this way and that while grunting at me.

After just a short while, we ran out of things to wildly flail our arms about about, and I asked him if I could take a photo. He happily agreed, and started twisting his head again, looking into the camera.

It was a nice experience all around, and a gentle reminder that the most interesting things seem to happen when you are somewhere that you are not supposed to be, talking to someone you probably have no business talking to in the first place.

This is an unexpected visitor

The Batmobile

Everyone likes the Batmobile yes? It’s especially cool when you see one on the side of the road in Texas that some comic-book redneck has souped up to be something that is on the edge of street-legal. I jumped out quick to grab a shot before the owner could come out and hit me with some sort of a 2×4, which I only assumed me might be carrying. Actually, you never know… around Austin it’s just as likely to be a doctor or lawyer (assuming one of those two to be an honorable, upstanding profession!

The Batmobile (by Stuck in Customs)

Le Fleur de Lys, where I really should have dined

Do you see that gentle shape there in the room with me? It’s made up of hundreds of other tiny little things that are perfect and delicate. Each is alive and real. I’ll let you zoom into the full-sized version and see if you can deduce their Linnaean taxonomy. (you can zoom in by clicking on the image to go to the Flickr page, then click on All Sizes, then Original — it works like this for all my shots…. I always put the highest rez version online for you, should you decide it is time to dive in for the full experience)

The restaurant is called the Fleur de Lys, and it’s in THE Hotel, attached to the Mandalay Bay. You will probably also see that wine cellar on top with a nice little table for two. I think I need to get back to that place one day… I do love French food.

Le Fleur de Lys, where I really should have dined (by Stuck in Customs)

A Chilly Morning in Boston Common

I had an 8 AM meeting in Boston but woke up round 6 to go walk around the Boston Commons and frolic in the snow. There was no frolicking involved. There was a lot of freezing involved, and it reminded me of a bad morning I had in Kiev with a gypsy cab in a blizzard. I wanted to get down to the harbor for some some other sunrise shots, but did not end up with time… but maybe that’s a good thing because it would have been even colder down there!

Morning in Boston (by Stuck in Customs)

The Parisian boulevard where I should not have been standing

While I was working on this, I was thinking how nice it would be to have someone near me who could speak French… I always love the sound of it, and the words can make matters seem ephemerally okay.

Paris is one of those places where the streets are always a little wet, at least in my head. If they are wet, then they are slippery and traffic will be crazy… so it sounded like a capital idea to go out into the middle of the Champs-Élysées to get a quick one!

The Parisian boulevard where I should not have been standing

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

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

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)

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)

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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