This Bedouin man has to be one of the most-photographed people in the world. When climbing steps at Petra, Jordan, thousands of tourists are confronted by the seller and his selection of wares. I thought of Petra this afternoon, when climbing steep narrow steps in a 16th-century Dutch house. They were not unlike the stone steps at Petra.
Julian Luke of Toronto, Canada exploring a temple at the top of the steps.
At Petra, history is embedded even in the simplest stones.And the coloured stone at Petra never fails to impress. (These photos have not been altered; these are the actual colours of this magnificent ancient Nabatean city).
The well-known Jordanian photographer Zohrab and Renee Binkowski of Berkeley, Calif. admiring the swirled colours in cave dwellings during a trip in March 2010.
A group of Bedouin men pause for a tea break.
Gillian da Silva of Toronto with a local "camel wrangler."
The group from the March 2010 Journey to Jordan, posing in front of the Treasury building. From left: Rebecca Self, Renee Binkowski, Donna Hammer, Yara Dabis, Zohrab, Karyn Entzion, Christine Mason Miller, Gillian da Silva and Julian Luke.
Want to experience the magic of Petra for yourself? Join me March 1-9, 2012 for a Journey to Jordan. Read more about the trip here.
Reflection in a traffic mirror at Montreuil-sur-Mer, France. Victor Hugo's novel Les Miserables is said to have been inspired by his September 1837 visit to Montreuil-sur-Mer.
Each year, Hugo's Les Miserables is performed in an outdoor son et lumière show at the end of July and beginning of August.
The distinctive late 18th-century and early 19th-century architecture and cobblestoned streets remain largely unchanged from Hugo's day.
The late-afternoon light highlights the brickwork and crooked shutters. Flower-filled window boxes are de rigueur in this "ville fleurie."
House numbers at the second-floor level.
One of Montreuil-sur-Mer's oldest hotels.
Photo taken from steps leading from the ramparts down to a main street.
The 11th-century St. Saulve Abbey, photographed in early morning light Sept. 2, 2011 from a window at L'Hermitage.
"I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, his cloak was out at the elbows, the water passed through his shoes - and the stars through his soul." - Victor Hugo
An unquestionable truth becomes more pronounced with every birthday that passes: time is limited. Focusing on the people we love and work that sustains our spirit becomes more important than ever.
So on this birthday, I'm "hearing blessings dropping their blossoms around me," as the mystic poet Rumi said. I'm thinking about the doors I still can open and the opportunities yet to emerge. I'm also choosing to savour the moments in which I find myself and try to forgive my imperfections, real or imagined.
"There's courage involved if you want to become truth.
There is a broken-open place in a lover. Where are
Key moments of my life occurred in New York and the missing Twin Towers. I went to New York straight out of journalism school and lived in the city for eight years. While a reporter at the United Nations, I worked part-time for an international organisation with an office on the 46th floor of One World Trade Center.
One of my colleagues introduced me to her cousin, who later became my fiance. I saw San Francisco, Las Vegas and Tucson for the first time with him. Sadly, three years later, he was murdered.
In 1999, I met the man who would become my husband at an ecommerce conference at the World Trade Center. We had a drink at Windows of the World, with its spectacular views of the city, before going to dinner elsewhere. It was the last time I saw the Twin Towers, other than in movies, television news footage or photographs. I didn't take photos of the World Trade Center, believing the buildings were a permanent fixture of lower Manhattan. In December 2009 I was in New York and studiously avoided looking at the altered skyline.
While I have tried not to think too much about September 11th - so painful are its implications - events of that fateful day are impossible to forget. When planes flew into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, I was living in Paris. My husband phoned and told me to turn on the television. For the next two weeks, I was practically glued to the television, watching the horrors unfold on BBC and CNN.
I was stunned not only by the tragic loss of life, but the collapse of the supposedly-indestructible Twin Towers. The buildings were engineered to withstand the elements and natural disasters, such as earthquakes. On the 46th floor, our coats in the closet swayed visibly, as the building oh-so-imperceptibly moved with the wind. The fact that the buildings so quickly imploded was astonishing.
After United States airspace was closed and flights grounded, I phoned the American Embassy in Paris to offer our guest room to a stranded family (travelers due to fly had given up their hotel rooms, returning from Charles de Gaulle to find most hotels fully booked). The Embassy's response: "How many people can you take?" In the end, our apartment wasn't needed. But an American friend based in Washington, D.C. came for dinner. While David stayed home to prepare the meal, Mike and I took a long walk around Longchamp in the Bois de Boulogne, commiserating about the shocking events in our country.
I'm not going to talk about how George W. Bush took the worldwide goodwill extended towards us in the aftermath of the tragedy and squandered it. This is not the day to write about Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Blair, who sent us down a disingenuous and ruinous path of war in Iraq, forever altering the way the world perceives us. This is not the time to write about all those lives - both soldiers and civilians - killed in Iraq and Afghanistan or to consider the vast treasure expended in such campaigns, draining our economy.
Today I'm focusing on honouring the men and women who lost their lives in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the downed Flight 93. I'm thinking of the family members left behind and the valiant firefighters, police, medics, rescue workers and ordinary New Yorkers who risked their own lives to save others. Also, I'm thinking about the ghost buildings forever etched in my mind's eye.
Just back from a quick trip to Montreuil-sur-Mer, France and England. On
Saturday we walked along a canal (as though we aren't surrounded by
canals in Holland!) near Ripley, after a lovely family lunch.
Narrow house/canal boats line the canal.
A man sits on the deck of his home.
Zebra-patterned chairs in the shade.
Weekend canal traffic.
A certain adorable cherub who accompanied us for lunch and a stroll along the canal.