The sun is shining merrily, heating me up despite the early April chill. Across the river a marching band is playing Highway to the Danger Zone, the brass section really putting in some extra oomph. All around the cherry trees are in bloom, their flowers white with just a hint of pink; a sea of blossoms against the pale blue sky. A light breeze caresses the branches, sending some delicate petals raining down on me. It is simply a perfect moment.
The gorge is like a deep fissure in the ground, carved by the water over thousands of years. The walls are uneven, shaped by the flow of the water, with patches of moss growing here and there. In front of me is the waterfall, a stream of white water that comes crashing down into the creak below, throwing spray high into the air and filling the cave with mist that makes it nearly impossible to take a photo. I let my gaze follow the walls upwards to the small hole high above where the stream flows into the cavern. As the water tumbles over the edge it breaks into little droplets, forming clouds that billow in the air like smoke in time with the rush of air and whoosh of the water as it comes down.
The sign at the door said no photo so I’m on the balcony trying to take it all in. Below me is the main floor of the casino, a large hall with plush red carpets, brown panels on the wall that look like leather and all around the room the fixtures and fittings are polished to a golden sheen. About 50 gambling tables, topped in green or red cloth depending on the game, are spread out in the room. At each one of them sits a dealer clad in dark green a jacket, buttoned all the way up, with golden … Read the rest
Everyone has seen it in some movie or other, the cast stand in front of that fountain in Las Vegas looking at the show in front of them. This is just like that, except it’s not a movie. In front of me is a large pond bordered on this side by the promenade and on the opposite, the Wynn Palace casion with the central building right in front and the wings set at an angle like open arms welcoming you in, it’s facade bathed in a warm golden orange. From the middle of the pond dozens of water jets, lit … Read the rest
I have wandered into the central square of a European city. Around me are old, European style buildings in pastel colors, their facades covered in the kind of decorations you might see in Italy or Spain, their lower floors fronted by arcades. The ground is covered in worn down, black and white stone tiles laid out in a zebra stripe mosaic. In the center is a fountain surrounded by tourists with their cameras. It’s quite astounding how European the place looks, the only thing indicating that I’m in fact thousands of kilometers from Europe are the Chinese characters on the … Read the rest
I’m sitting here in the lift, waiting for it to bring me to the top, contemplating my situation. It’s really quite strange when you think about it, you travel hundreds if not thousands of kilometers to some small town somewhere where everything is overpriced. When you get there you spend a large portion of your time sitting in a chair that’s suspended several meters above the ground with nothing but a thin metal bar keeping you from falling out, and you get get slowly pulled towards the top of the hill, all the while being exposed to the elements. When … Read the rest
The walkway is raised above the road, allowing pedestrians to navigate the streets without having to deal with the heavy Hong Kong traffic. It’s a couple of meters wide and covered but with open sides, and follows the street for several hundred meters, branching off here and there to follow the smaller side streets. Normally it’s nothing special, just a convenient way to get around, but today is Sunday, when all of Hong Kong’s maids (most of them Malaysian migrant workers) have their day off. Since they have no place of their own they can’t go home, and since Hong … Read the rest
The room looks like the basement of a school or something, thats been temporarily converted to a disco; an open space with low ceiling, bare white walls and a couple of support pillars. Against the back wall is a DJ booth on a raised platform and behind it, the letters “XXX” painted in white on a black background. On the left wall is an LED matrix display showing the words “Absurd TRAX – dj sniff”, and on the right wall is powerful light. The entire place is awash in red and blue light and the air is imbued with the … Read the rest
I’m in the most amazing market I have ever seen! The entire street is full of stalls, crammed so tightly together it’s impossible to know where one ends and the next one begins. In the the middle of the stalls is a narrow passage that is so full of people, both locals and tourists, that you can hardly turn around without bumping into anyone. Nearly every vendor in the market is selling things for the upcoming Deepavali festival. There are entire walls covered in garlands of artificial flowers; there are tables laden with boxes of fireworks; and from the canvas … Read the rest
Even with the lens of my camera set to the widest setting, a photograph cannot do justice to the tree in front of me. I’ve seen big trees before, ones that are much taller than average and ones whose trunk is so thick it would take ten people, their arms wide open touching finger tip to finger tip, to reach around it, but nothing like this. This is gigantic in every way. The trunk is thick and tall with knots and bulges here and there, forming a stout base that stands halfway down a slope and extends upwards, towering above … Read the rest