A windmill under renovation, Kinderdijk, the Netherlands. Click photos to enlarge.
Last Friday, I was standing on a bridge at Kinderdijk, watching workmen renovate this windmill. On a side road, a car pulled up, filled with members of a wedding party. I watched as the family started walking towards the bridge, followed by a photographer. I took a few discreet shots from a distance, then as they approached the middle of the bridge, I spoke to the photographer (who jokingly asked to switch cameras), then to the bride and groom. They graciously allowed me to take a few impromptu photos.
Here's the happy couple, Lydia and Sadiq.
Lydia and Sadiq with their family members.
The beautiful bride.
The bride's young attendants.
I emailed photos to Lydia, who gave me permission to post a few here.
Father and son.
More windmills at the UNESCO World Heritage site in South Holland.
The canals currently are filled with duckweed.
Apparently Kinderdijk is a popular location for wedding photos, as David and I saw two more wedding parties the same morning, including a bride and groom arriving in a gorgeous cream and teal '57 Chevy!
Open door at restaurant in the French Quarter, New Orleans.
Four leading Alabama church leaders, the US Department of Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center and a coalition of other civil rights groups all have sued to block Alabama's draconian - yet passed in 2011(!) - immigration law, which was to take effect September 1st. Today a federal judge issued a temporary injunction until September 29, to consider the law's constitutional implications.
As it stands, the law is "a sweeping attempt to terrorize undocumented immigrants in every aspect of their lives and to make potential criminals of anyone who may work or live with them or show them kindness," the New York Times says in an editorial.
Read more about the country's most inhumane immigration measure to date. Read it and weep that in 2011, any thinking person could support such inhumanity: the Alabama law defies every principle of decency, fairness and equality. Shame on Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and the state legislature for their unconscionable actions!
Among previous posts about warrantless wiretapping at Paris Parfait:
Technorati Tags: Alabama, Alabama churches, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Alabama immigration law, Alabama state legislature, AT&T, Electronic Frontier Foundation, human rights, immigration, lawsuits challenging Alabama immigration law, New Orleans, New York Times, news and current events, photography, politics, Southern Poverty Law Center, travel, US Department of Justice, warrantless wiretapping
A touch of pink in a village restaurant high in the Himalayas, Nepal.
The people of Libya, Egypt, Syria and Tunisia have many things in common, chief among them the desire for freedom - something many of us take for granted. They want reforms including free and fair elections and better employment opportunities. They want choices that are not dependent upon tribal ties, social class or inherited wealth.
All they want is a seat at the table - a chance to participate in their own lives; to make decisions without constantly being dictated how they must live and what repressive restrictions they must accept.
We've watched dramatic bids for freedom in Tunisia and in Egypt and now unfolding in Libya. Syria remains a dangerous flashpoint, where Bashar al-Assad loyalists continue to attack, jail or murder peaceful citizens who dare to dissent.
As Syrian political cartoonist and opposition activist Ali Ferzat said in an Associated Press interview (before being beaten and having his hands broken by government thugs): "There are two things in this life that cannot be crushed: the will of God and the will of the people."
Update: Izz al-Arab Matar, a 22-year-old university student, was killed Tuesday at Bab al-Aziziya. His cousin, London-based writer Hisham Matar wrote in today's Guardian about his loss: The short life and cruel death of Libyan freedom fighter Izz al-Arab Matar.
Technorati Tags: Ali Ferzat, Bashar al-Assad, Egypt, Hisham Matar, human rights, Izz Al-Arab Matar, Libya, Nepal, photography, political cartoonists, politics, Syria, the Arab spring, the Guardian, the Middle East, travel, Tunisia
I've previously written about Ali Ferzat, the prize-winning Syrian political cartoonist I met in San Francisco. He is hospitalised with a broken hand and multiple injuries, after being attacked early this morning in Damascus by Syrian government-sponsored thugs.
The assault on Ali Ferzat is the latest in a series of Syrian government attacks against its own citizens, who seek freedoms and reforms. Today the Syrian government suspended Ali Ferzat's website.
Ali's work is published in Le Monde and numerous publications and has been exhibited around the world.
A hand-drawn and inscribed image of Ali's signature "The pen is mightier" is one of my prize possessions. I also have a triptych of his political cartoons framed.
Ali is an inspiration, not only as an artist, but an activist. In an interview last week with the Associated Press, Ali noted: "There are two things in this life that cannot be crushed: the will of God and the will of the people." His views are shared widely in Syria, where Assad continues to suppress protesters and dissenters.
In his concern to escape the fate of his counterparts in Egypt, Tunisia and now Libya, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has launched a brutal and murderous campaign, killing or arresting thousands of dissidents. His actions have been condemned by human rights organisations, the United Nations and world leaders.
I hope and pray Ali Ferzat will heal quickly and return home to his family and friends - and continue his important work. I also hope Syrians ultimately will be free of Assad's iron-fisted rule. Here is a link to Ali's most recent cartoon (press the Display Media button), which says it all.
Previous mentions of Ali Ferzat on Paris Parfait:
Dancing is part of the welcome festivities for new students at the Delft University of Technology.
"On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet."
~ Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
Scroll down the page for more images from the University of Technology's Welcome Day in Delft's Market Square.
As the new school year begins, the Delft University of Technology makes its new students feel welcome. Musical entertainment, games and other festivities in Market Square encourage the students to join clubs and participate in sports and activities.
These photos were taken during the school's welcome day in August, 2010. At the time I was too busy to post them. I decided to post the images now, as they're representative of the sort of warm reception incoming students are given in Delft.
Two of the city's most famous landmarks - Nieuwe Kerk and the Town Hall - and environs are viewed from a unique vantage point.
"The one real object of education is to have a man in the condition of continually asking questions." ~Bishop Mandell Creighton
In Delft, the Netherlands, the Nieuwe Kerk church tower is reflected in a large directional compass in the center of Market Square.
If you saw the film Girl with a Pearl Earring, you may remember that Griet - the character played by American actress Scarlett Johannson - paused for a moment on this spot, then walked in the direction of the Nieuwe Kerk. Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer's home was on the street opposite the church.
The church's tower was restored, after a lightning strike on May 3rd, 1536. The resulting blaze destroyed the tower, organ, bells and stained glass windows. Wind spread flames to hundreds of timber homes and businesses west of the church. On October 12th, 1654 a gunpowder explosion razed parts of the city.
The ornate Town Hall, also seen in Girl with a Pearl Earring's opening moments. The film was based on a book by Tracy Chevalier. The original Girl with a Pearl Earring painting (1665) is at Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis, The Hague.
The Town Hall at dusk.
This building is on the Oude Langedijk, directly across the street from the church. It stands on the site of Johannes Vermeer's home. Vermeer lived and worked in Delft all his life (1632 - 1675). His paintings often depicted people going about their daily lives. An image of one of my favourites, The Little Street, is part of the online Google Art Project.
The church tower is reflected in the windows of the same building.
The church tower at night.
Across the market square is Vermeer Centrum, a museum dedicated to Johannes Vermeer's life and work. The building is on the site of the Guild of Saint Luke, a trade association for painters, of which Vermeer was a member. Curiously, not a single original Vermeer painting remains in Delft, although several are displayed at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
A stone plaque marking Johannes Vermeer's final resting place in the Protestant Oude Kerk. Built in 1240, it is the oldest church in Delft.
The church's design features raditional arches and 27 stained-glass windows, as well as the sculpted pulpit from 1548.
Detail of a 19th-century hand-carved walnut pulpit, featuring the acanthus leaf.
Joep Nicolas made 25 of the church's 27 historical windows. After his death, a relative completed the last two vitrines.
The church's brick exterior.
An arched passage.
Oude Kerk's leaning bell tower.
The leaning tower long has been the subject of debate among Delft residents, concerned about its structural engineering and stability.
Technorati Tags: Amsterdam, art, books, Delft, Dutch history, film, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Google Art Project, historical sites, House of Orange, Joep Nicolas, Johannes Vermeer, Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis, Market Square, Nieuwe Kerk, Oude Kerk, Rijksmuseum, Scarlett Johannson, The Hague, The Little Streets, The Netherlands, Tracy Chevalier
Families enjoy a day at the beach at the Red Sea resort Aqaba, Jordan. On the opposite shore is the Israeli port city of Eilat.
Click photos to view detail.
Sailboats dot the horizon.
Familes play paddleball at a beach on the North Sea, the Netherlands.
A trampoline keeps children entertained.
Flying a kite at the North Sea.
Favourite things on a slow-down Saturday: hydrangeas and books. A 19th-century English ironstone pitcher holds a bouquet of hortensia (as they're known in Europe). Among the books on my 1930s library table:
Aitor Lara's Maestranza
While David is watching rugby games (in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup September in New Zealand), I'm sorting out things around the house, in between long stretches of reading. Time to slow down, before fall kicks into high gear... What's on your weekend agenda?
Circular "window" in a brick wall, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
"The Paradox of our Age," by the Dalai Lama, hanging in a residence window in Utrecht:
"We have bigger houses, but smaller familes
more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees, but less sense
more knowledge, but less judgement.
More experts, but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness.
We've been all the way to the moon and back
but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbour.
We built more computers to hold more information than ever
but have less communication.
We have become long on quantity
but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods
but slow digestion;
tall men, but short character;
steep profits but shallow relationships.
It is a time when there is much in the window
but nothing in the room."
Sign in the window: "I love communicating."
"7 days, more light" etched in frosted glass on a shop window in Delft.
The famous Leonard Cohen quote, highlighted in this advertising sign in Utrecht.
Meanwhile, the class war in America continues, with the rich calling for the overburdened poor and middle-class to pay more. Jon Stewart slams the GOP pundits and Fox "News" cheerleaders for their idiocy.
The despicable US Chamber of Commerce is lobbying the "Supercongress" to reform Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, simply so the rich won't have to pay higher taxes. As if that's not bad enough, shockingly even our Democratic president is calling for cuts to Medicaid and Social Security - although neither program has anything to do with the US budget woes. Not only did the president not stand up to Republican hostage-takers during the debt crisis negotiations, now he wants to cut Democratic entitlement programs to which we have contributed our payroll taxes all our working lives??!! Really not feeling the love, Mr. President.
Technorati Tags: class warfare, Delft, entitlement programs, Environment, Fox "News", GOP pundits, human rights, Jon Stewart, leche-vitrines, Leonard Cohen, Medicare, photography, President Obama, Republicans, rich vs. poor, Social Security, Supercongress, The Dalai Lama, The Netherlands, US Chamber of Commerce, US debt crisis, Utrecht
Dolls and furniture at the Foire Nationale aux Antiquites a la Brocante et aux Jambons, Chatou, France.
Today would have been my late grandmother Lucille's birthday. As children, when my brothers and I spent the weekend with our grandparents, Grandmother would bring a wooden table from a carport closet and set it up in the driveway. She also provided us with old enamel and aluminum dishes and utensils for making mud pies and hosting tea parties for dolls. Grandmother referred to our toys as "play pretties." She called little beads of caked dirt on our necks - after a day of playing outdoors in heat and humidity - "dinah beads." She made sure we scrubbed ourselves clean in the bath.
I've written previously that she was a talented seamstress and made a wardrobe of beautiful clothes for my Barbies. She also made a dress like one I admired on the cover of Seventeen magazine and later, a dress copied from the pages of Vogue.
She and her friends had occasional "quilting bees" and Grandmother's attention to detail resulted in beautiful and unique quilts. She sewed most of her own clothes, until her eyesight worsened, making sewing difficult. She always took pride in her appearance, visiting the hairdresser once a week. On Sundays, she donned her finest clothes for church.
Grandmother had carpentry skills, making lamps out of unlikely objects and side tables out of stacked wooden cable spools. She filled these tables with her collection of little porcelain figurines. A perfectionist, her home was immaculately kept. She was a good cook, making the best caramel pie ever (no one in our family has been able to duplicate it, using her recipe). Every year at Christmas, I make a "refrigerator roll" dessert using Grandmother's recipe.
Grandmother also had a green thumb: her house was surrounded by gorgeous hydrangeas and rose bushes. And she and Granddaddy planted a huge garden full of vegetables.
Our grandparents loved me and my brothers (and later my baby sister) unconditionally - but not uncritically. I wonder what Grandmother would make of me living abroad. I know she was proud of me and supportive when I went off to journalism school and later to New York to pursue my dreams. Still she worried that I wouldn't find a good man to take care of me - not understanding I could take care of myself. I think she'd be happy I've accomplished many things on my own, plus I married a good man.
I'm sorry Grandmother didn't live to know my daughter Jordana, who has inherited her amazing abilities with a needle and thread and a sewing machine.* They met briefly, when Jordana was a baby. By this time, Grandmother had suffered a series of debilitating diabetes-related strokes, but she managed to say, "My, doesn't she have such pretty eyelashes!" Just thinking about that episode brings tears to my eyes.
Throughout the years, I've often felt Grandmother's presence, as though she's watching over me. In her memory, I'm off to buy a huge bouquet of hydrangeas (or hortensia, as it is known here).
*Jordana is a young designer for an American fashion house.
An ancient wing of Reales Alcázares de Sevilla, a palace that once was a Moorish fort.
I can't stay away. At every opportunity, I return to this magical city, where I am dazzled by its beauty, its art and architecture and its rich history. I am enamored of Sevilla's arch-filled palaces, lush green gardens and airy tiled courtyards.
In a city full of night owls, I am completely at home. Even with my limited Spanish, I can order a variety of tapas, smoky Iberico ham and chilled dry fino. I can walk along the Guadalquivir River and over the bridge to Triana, the working-class home to flamenco and handmade tiles. I can bicycle or ride the tramway to Plaza de Espana, where water once again fills its "moats." I can listen to the plaintive wail of Spanish guitars drifting down narrow alleyways in the moonlight.
Beginning next month, I'll briefly be in Sevilla for a photo project. In early November, I'll be back in Sevilla, collaborating on a project with a Spanish photographer. Later my husband will join me for a working holiday in Cordoba, El Rocio and other areas of Andalucia. My mother would say I'm "wishing my life away," but I can't wait to return to Spain!
An open-air balcony overlooking landscaped gardens and tall palms.
A dark tiled passageway at Alcazar Palace.
Marble pillars and floors, along with elaborate stucco-relief and tiled walls and ceilings at Alcazar. Such magnificent Moorish architecture is one of the myriad reasons I adore visiting Spain.
In Spain's machismo culture, a handful of female matadors are making their mark. Veronica Rodriguez, 23, is pictured during a bullfight at Plaza de Toros de Sevilla, July, 2010. Click photos to enlarge.
Veronica Rodriguez watches another young bullfighter in the ring.
Have you traveled to Spain? What's your favourite city or place to visit? While I am fond of Madrid and Barcelona, Sevilla holds a special place in my heart.
Technorati Tags: Alcazar Palace, Andalucia, Barcelona, Bullfighting, Cordoba, El Rocio, historical sites, Madrid, matadors, photography, Plaza de Espana, Plaza de Toros de Sevilla, Reales Alcázares de Sevilla, Spain, travel, Veronica Rodriguez
Plastic mannequins with formal hairstyles modeling knit tracksuits at a shop in Madaba, Jordan. Click photos to enlarge.
A row of mannequins model traditional clothing in downtown Amman.
In Bhaktapur, Nepal, the mannequins basically are large plastic hangers.
Curiously, all the mannequins I saw in Nepal resembled Eastern European blondes.
The mannequins in Jordan also had Western features, which suggests no one is manufacturing mannequins specifically for Middle Eastern or Asian markets.
A world away, check out New York magazine's Fall Fashion issue. Interesting that the "Fall Leanings" section doesn't seem to show anything new. It's true that fashion trends return again and again, usually updated to reflect the times.
What's on your shopping list for fall? For me, it's new boots to withstand cold and wet winters in the Netherlands. But I'll be be wearing warm-weather clothes while spending part of the autumn in Sevilla and other parts of Spain.
Cool temperatures, blustery winds, grey skies and scattered showers, interspersed with bouts of sunshine...that's the Dutch summer!
Molens van Kinderdijk, the Netherlands. Nineteen windmills built in 1740 remain. The mills drain excess water from the Alblasserwaard polders - which are below sea-level - and divert the water into the Lek River.
Reeds blowing in the wind at Kinderdijk. While Kinderdijk is a UNESCO World Heritage site, the mills and surrounding land are maintained by the Dutch foundation Wereld Erfgoed Kinderdijk.
The same windmill viewed from different angles. As always, click images to view detail.
A blue rowboat is docked next to this working windmill.
I'm looking forward to visiting Kinderdijk in the winter, when ice skaters take to the frozen surface.
The windmills of Kinderdijk at twilight.
If you visit the Netherlands, don't miss the opportunity to see Kinderdijk!
Mother and son, Panuti, Nepal.
Please take a moment to watch this short video:
Little girl, Panuti, Nepal.
Friends in Panuti.
Girl in green, Panuti.
Bungamati, Nepal. As always, click photos to enlarge.
Mother and son, Bungamati.
Mother and daughter, Bungamati.
Sunflowers in a shop window in the French quarter, New Orleans.
"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you."
- Maori Proverb
Sunflowers needed, real or virtual. Today I saw a little Dutch boy struggling to carry a cheery bouquet of sunflowers taller than he was. The determined look on his face gave me hope...
Evening sky, the Netherlands.
Thinking of all my friends and colleagues in London and other cities in England.
"I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
"I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
and dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
"I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,
"But not to call me back or say good-bye;
and further still at an unearthly height,
A luminary clock against the sky
"Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night."
- Robert Frost
Out of the dark, something beautiful emerges... Rain-spattered lily pads, the Netherlands. Click photo to enlarge.
"My faith did not start with a leap, but rather a series of staggers from what seemed like one safe place to another. Like lily pads, round and green, these places summoned and then held me up while I grew. Each prepared me for the next leaf on which I would land and in this way I moved across the swamp of doubt and fear." - Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies
...plus three new pots of orchids.
One of the neighbourhood storks spent over an hour perched on this chimney (if only I had a better telephoto lens!)
A bird and hot air balloon fly overhead (click photo to view detail).
At sunset, a bird flies over an historic church...
...and the sky, clouds and trees are reflected in a canal.
Not every adorable child likes to have their picture taken. This little girl in Bungamati, Nepal was dressed for a religious ceremony. Bits of dried rice were in her hair, along with a red powdery paste.
This little boy acted as though he'd never seen a camera. His expression didn't waver, even when I showed him his picture. Maybe he'll be pleased when copies of the photos arrive via post.
Children in Panuti, Nepal volunteered to pose for the camera.
This child in Bungamati was standing on a shrine and not interested in meeting me.
And the girl in pink wasn't too happy either, although her mother was very kind.
1930s mural, Coit Tower, San Francisco.
In 2011, ominous echoes of the 1930s...
Matadors wearing "Coats of light" prepare for bullfights, Plaza de Toros de Sevilla, Spain. Click photos to enlarge.
In Spain, the government has declared bullfighting "an artistic discipline." From the Guardian:
"The ministry of culture said in a statement: "As it is understood that bullfighting is an artistic discipline and a cultural product, it was considered that the ministry of culture was the correct place for its development and protection."
"Supporters, who see bullfighting as an integral part of Spain's cultural identity, hope the announcement is a step towards protecting the tradition from further regional bans."
Read the full article here.
If you are opposed to bullfighting - look away now!
Young matador Rafael Cerro in the bullring at Plaza de Toros de Sevilla, July 15, 2010. Click photos to enlarge.