CFFC: Colors of That Grand Old Flag

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge continues with a color theme, this week the colors of our flag (whatever that happens to be). Here are some photos featuring the red, white, and blue (and sometimes other colors as well!).

Holiday lights display at a house in Niles
Decorative pottery at Hacienda El Sombrero restaurant in Mount Prospect
At Ravinia for festival to celebrate Mexican Independence Day
Back of a Hummer in Glen Ellyn

FFPC: Everybody’s Going Somewhere

Family out enjoying the nice day on their boat, on the Baltic Sea.
Getting on a small airplane for the journey from Serengeti National Park to Arusha, Tanzania
Cattle on trucks, Daraw, Egypt
In Daraw, all the traffic was stopped for a very long time at a railroad crossing.
“People movers” at Charles deGaulle Airport, Paris, France
Rush hour on Champs Elysee, Paris
Bus in Cairo traffic, Egypt (I was trying to take a photo of the building across the street but the bus got in my way!)

Marching band on the move, Vienna, Austria
Bicyclists waiting for light to change, Vienna
Canal tour boats in Amsterdam, Holland
Mother & son out for a bike ride, Regensburg, Germany
Wake of cruise ship at sunset on the Baltic Sea

Sandy’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: In Transit

Lens-Artists #84: Narrow Passageways

Amy at Lens-Artists this week invites us to explore the topic of narrow.

In my travels to “old” places – places built when there were no cars or crowds of tourists -I explored (or declined to explore) many narrow streets and other passageways.

Places like Old Town Tallinn, Estonia (where I got lost due to sidewalks and streets so narrow that I lost sight of our guide!)…
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A van that is nearly as wide as this street in Old Town forces all pedestrians to the narrow sidewalk on the left.100_0371
There were also narrow witches!
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In Stockholm, Sweden, I tried to imagine returning home to one of these narrow alleys on a dark afternoon in winter!
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Dale ends our bike ride through Stockholm coasting down a narrow cobblestone street.
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Stockholm, like many European countries, also has tall, narrow buildings.
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Even older is Old Jerusalem, Israel…Like elsewhere, vehicles have the right of way, squeezing pedestrians to the wall.
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Some of these climbing narrow streets are divided between steps and ramps.
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Watch out for motorcycles coming through!
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In ancient Egypt, clearly people were smaller to fit into narrow passageways into pyramids and tombs.

Dale and a few other adventurous souls (such as this woman from our group emerging from a pyramid) did go down these narrow steps into a now empty room in the Queen’s tomb in Giza. I took one look and decided to wait outside!
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Tourists descend a long narrow hallway covered with inscriptions and paintings to reach the tomb of Ramses IX in Valley of the Kings. These hieroglyphics declaim the deeds of the king during his reign, and there are also symbols of gods to accompany him to the afterlife.
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At the Chateau of Caen, France, a narrow stairway leads down to…where??
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On Omaha Beach, in Normandy, are the remains of WWII German bunkers, which I declined to enter, also reached through narrow passages and stairways. (I’m glad I didn’t go in – my son’s photos show empty rooms with an inch of rainwater covering the floors!)
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On the way back to our Airbnb farmhouse through the Normandy countryside, we drove down the narrow roads of villages, flanked by houses on both sides.
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A car in front of us navigates a sharp corner into another narrow street.DSC00482
A lot of traffic in Amsterdam travels its canals, which narrow on approach to bridges.
DSC00587Floating traffic jam!
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Bridges have these traffic signals indicating when it is safe and permissible to proceed (or not!).
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The day after our tour of the canals, we went to the “red light district” where we were told not to take photos of the sex workers who lived on either side of these narrow alleyways. Probably also not a good idea to photograph potential clients – good thing this one came out blurry!
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In Amsterdam, we stayed in an Airbnb 2nd floor flat, with a narrow stairway winding up to it. That was one of our son’s obligations to us for paying for his trip – carry our suitcases up and down! The stairway was so narrow and windy that he had to carry the suitcases one by one in his arms!
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WPC: Hit the Road!

Feb. 5, 2018 Tarangire National Park, Day 2:

WP Weekly Photo Challenge this week is “I’d Rather Be…” Back in the winter (although admittedly mild) weather in Chicago, I look back on our sojourn to Tanzania with longing, as I do with any trip we take, so I’d Rather Be Traveling.

I’d rather be riding in a bumpy, dusty Land Cruiser…

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Me and Dale in a safari vehicle

2-5 Sue & Dale at vehicle-Tarangire

Dale and my cousin Susan (at the door) with one of the vehicles.

and watching creatures great…SONY DSCand small…

2-5 caterpillar of silk moth

Turtle
and in between.

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I’d rather watch egrets congregating on the banks of a lake…

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and male impalas grazing.2-5 male impalas
I’d rather be photographing birds, such as this ground hornbill with a snake in its mouth…SONY DSCor this crowned plover looking for bugs next to our vehicle.SONY DSC

I’d rather be spotting animals in the distance, such as a group of oryxes (the only oryxes we saw during our safari)…SONY DSCor a male ostrich….SONY DSC
and a female ostrich.SONY DSCI’d rather be at Tarangire Safari Lodge, watching the sunrise…
20180205_064801or sleeping in our tent cabin.
2-5 Tarangire Safari LodgeSo how soon ’til we hit the road again??!

 

 

Tanzania Safari Journal: A hike and a drive in Arusha National Park

Saturday. Feb. 3. 2018

Today, our first full day in Tanzania, I awoke to a loud, animal sound, “Brau, brau, brau, brau, brau, brau, brau!”  I didn’t know what it was but found out it was one of the colobus monkeys that hangs around our lodgings, Rivertrees Country Inn. Amterdam-Tanzaia 391

I got lost looking for the dining room this morning, because we’d arrived late last night. However, I was soon set on the right track and found our table, a long table next to an open area where we could appreciate the wildlife. It reminded me so much of Costa Rica!

Since it was our first morning, our group had an introductory session so we could learn everyone’s names, their passions, and why they came on this trip.

Breakfast was buffet style: there was freshly squeezed juice (including passion fruit!), fresh tropical fruits, breads, jams, cheeses, and an omelet making station where a staff member stood ready to take our orders. Dale had an omelet, I did not. There was enough other food to fill my plate!

Our guide, David, told us the plan for today. We were going to Arusha National Park, along the way perhaps seeing some animals. We would stop at a nice rest area with good bathrooms and a small shop, and displays to read. From there, we would take a hike with an armed guide and have a picnic lunch next to a waterfall. Then we would go for a drive through the park to see animals! We met our drivers, Livingstone and Elias, in the reception gazebo, where we had been greeted last night.225.JPG

They had jars of cookies – one called “Digestives” and the other was ginger snaps – that were kept in the trucks. These cookies were good for the digestion, we were told, to help us with all the bumping around. There was also a supply of water bottles in each of the vehicles, Toyota Land Cruisers.

The Hike

The hike was an opportunity to see some animals, but especially the small things, like bugs and flowers. The guide showed us things along the way. Overall, I found it quite taxing and hot – some areas were hilly and I huffed and puffed. A year ago, I thought, I wouldn’t have been so tired from a hike like this. Also, I’d neglected to put on sunscreen and was wearing a blouse with ¾ length sleeves, so my hands and wrists got quite sunburned.

The guide pointed out a bush with small round yellow fruits growing on it. This is a type of apple. In the background, we could see Mt. Kilimanjaro, often shrouded in clouds; like Denali in Alaska, we were told we were lucky to see the mountain so clearly – it was a cloudless, blue sky day!DSC03121.JPG

Before we saw any animals, we came across what the guide told us were giraffe turds! There is actually a way to tell if the turds were from a male or female giraffe – the male turds are slightly pointed on one end; while the female turds are flat on both ends. He picked up a male turd to show us.DSC03171.JPGWe soon came to an open field with some acacia trees where we saw our first big animals: giraffes, of course!  One was lying down in the field; another was  grazing nearby.
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We came to a stream that meandered through the landscape. It was a beautiful view!

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Dale admiring the landscape. In the background is Mt. Meru.

Near the giraffes was a herd of grazing zebras. A warthog family passed by, their tails held up as they ran! We saw monkeys in trees and a giraffe completely camouflaged by the forest. Skulls of giraffes, monkeys or baboons, antelope and buffalo were displayed on some rocks, which the guide identified for us.
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Warthog family

Buffalo and antelope skulls

The sun was hot and I felt the heat. The hike seemed very long, but I didn’t complain, just kept going.  The guide stopped to show us a young acacia tree, which was covered with sharp, white, intimidating thorns! He told us that these thorns were to protect the leaves and branches of the growing tree from being eaten by giraffes! Giraffes can only nibble on the very tips, where the thorns are not developed and are soft enough for animals to consume.SONY DSC
The stream became a river and we crossed on a hanging bridge.  We saw monkeys camouflaged in the trees.

Finally we reached the waterfall. As we approached, we could hear the gushing of the water and felt a cooling mist. We had to cross the stream to get to the place where we would rest and have lunch.

Sitting on the rocks, feeling the cool mist, was a great relief. I somewhat regretted not having my lunch box, but not too much – it would have been a drag to have to carry it. My cousin, Holly, was sitting near me and offered me some of her lunch – including her hard-boiled egg, which I readily accepted. I could use some protein for the return trip! I peeled the egg and wondered whether it was okay to leave the egg shells – the chicken who laid this egg wasn’t native to this ecosystem. I had decided it was probably okay, but Holly picked up the pieces and put them in her box.
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The hike back was quite a bit shorter and cooler, because the path led through some woods.  We saw some fragrant jasmine flowers. I never realized they were so small!2-3 jasmine flowers
Those of us who had lunches waiting for us at the vehicles took them over to the picnic tables to eat. I looked up and saw a couple of baboons who had appeared nearby. There was a young one and a larger one, which I thought was the daddy, but may have been its mama. Suddenly there were more, including a female with a baby clinging to her back.

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They must have been attracted by our food – in fact, they may be used to associating human presence with food. Hopefully, people don’t give them anything, although the most daring might come over and try to snatch something! They didn’t do that to us, however.

The Drive

After lunch, we got back into the Land Cruisers and headed into Arusha National Park, with bumpy dirt roads. This was our first day out, and everything we saw was exciting.

A young waterbuck stopped and stared at us from the trees; its parents – the male with long slightly curved horns, the female without horns – grazed in the open grass nearby.

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We saw buffalo, more waterbucks, giraffe and warthog families, baboons in trees, a bushbuck, guinea fowl,  and various other bird species.

Bushbuck

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A waterbuck watches as zebras, giraffes and other waterbucks run toward him, apparently spooked by something.

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Guinea fowl


I never got tired of looking at giraffes. In spite of their ungainly shape, they move gracefully and peacefully.

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One way to tell the sex of a giraffe: the females have tufts of hair on top of their ossicones (the protrusions on their heads), while the male’s are flat.  The giraffes use a tree like this one to scratch an itch on their necks!

 

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Mother giraffe with calves. When the calves are born, they are six feet tall and then grow one inch per day!

 

We returned to Rivertrees in the evening in time for dinner.

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This building at Rivertrees, where our room was, is called the Farm House. The rooms are situated around a central lounge area, with couches, tables and chairs.

 

 

 

CFFC: Double-U

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge continues its alphabet with the letter W. The requirements are that the word starts with w and has at least two vowels.

Windows with wrought iron bars (Antigua, Guatemala)KODAK Digital Still Camera
willow trees (Chicago Botanic Gardens)125

wheels (Bicycle with folding chairs, Quebec City, Canada)20171006_142915 (3)

warhead or weapon (Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, South Dakota)20170531_112548

wastebasket (Scandic Hotel, Copenhagen, Denmark)100_0041

wood (Ketchikan, Alaska)KODAK Digital Still Camera

writing in chalk, (July 4, 2017 in Arlington Heights, Illinois)20170704_110527.jpg

Women’s March Chicago, Jan. 20, 201820180120_110234

 

CFFC: Where’s the Fire??

On our recent trip to North and South Dakota, our first stop was in Fargo.  There is an open-air museum in West Fargo called “Bonanzaville” where, after touring the indoor part of the museum with an eclectic mix of historical objects, you can wander down streets lined with historic buildings meant to resemble a frontier town.  The larger buildings are small museums in themselves, and one of them had old-fashioned tractors and trucks, including fire trucks. Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is about fire trucks and anything that has to do with fire fighting.

I will be posting more on Fargo and Bonanzaville in a future post. 

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

These fire trucks are from the early 20th century, but when I was teaching, I wrote a “Readers’ Theatre” play for my students to perform about the Great Chicago Fire, which took place Oct. 8-10, 1871.  One of the props was my tracing of a picture of a fire truck typical of the 1860s-1870s, driven by horses. I put the original picture, which I had downloaded from the Internet, on a transparency for a overhead projector; then I blew up the size of the image and traced the picture on a poster board. The end result looked like this:

fire truck 1871

When the Great Chicago Fire broke out on October 8, 1871, a message was sent out to neighboring communities to send any firefighting personnel and equipment that could be spared. Help came from as far away as Kenosha and Milwaukee. Significantly sized communities that are now suburbs of Chicago, such as Evanston, were the first to send help. Firefighters made a human chain to throw buckets of water onto the fire – the buckets full of water were passed down the line and returned the same way.  It is no wonder that the fire raged for three days!

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Fire Trucks,etc.