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Showing posts from October, 2014

You Never Miss the Water till the Well Runs Dry

Writing in the local paper. Local issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.


One of the things I liked most about living in an ex-Soviet republic like Azerbaijan was the public art. It seemed that every square had some sort of socialist-reaslist sculpture exalting the working class, Huge works in metal actually representing our lives as something admirable. In other countries I had travelled through, public art always seemed to be either religious, historical, folkloric or odd mixtures of the three. While kings, crosses and military heroes dominated public spaces elsewhere, out on the banks of the Caspian outrageously heroic factory workers marched off to glorious Monday mornings in the Baku oilfields. Politics and the joys of coalmining aside, these muscular odes to the proletariat offered a completely different roost for pigeons than the usual tragedy on the cross, despot of the day or couple…

Monumental Rock, Monsanto, Portugal

Perched high above a patchwork of olive groves and cork forests, a holy mountain juts 758 meters (2486 feet) from the surrounding plain. It's a sacred playground overlooking neighboring villages where naughty gods once used huge granite boulders as their croquet pieces, and left them scattered, forgetting to clean up after themselves. Over the centuries croquet balls morphed into houses, and then into a village. Be brave and dine under tons of rock on wild boar at the Restaurante Petiscos e Granitos, then siesta under a slab the size of a truck. Nobel Prize laureate Jose Saramago said it all when he insisted, “The traveler thinks he has seen stones of every type, that is until he sees Monsanto.

#smalltown #climbing #nature #forest #mountain #village #castle #getaway #geology #rural #local #mediterranean #rocks #rocky #stones #localfood #fruits #wildboar #landscape #legend #orchards #olives #boulders #oldstone #geologicanomaly #olivegrove #corktrees # #geologicalformations #geolog…

Ogopogo Gets its Revenge

Remember when sea monsters were scary green dragon-like creatures that swallowed entire ships and saved the ravishing maiden for dessert? Times have changed. In this lake just about big enough to be a sea lives a legend that has morphed from its First Nation tale origins into a Disney-friendly smiling reptile that adorns everything from beach towels to key chains. Dig past the marketing to its origins and you'll find the eerily named Rattlesnake Island south of Kelowna. The tribes of the area give this as the birthplace of the beast that lurks beneath the water skiers and parasailers that dot this Canadian loch. Now a Provincial Park, the behemoth's lair is a peaceful place to tie up your boat and hike due to the fact that motor vehicles are not invited to the party. 2003 saw one of the worst wildfires ever in the region scorch most of the area, perhaps the perfect setting to imagine an enraged titan seeking revenge for its Mickey Mouse transformation.

#hiking #boating #loch …