Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island a Tender Port. Latitude 21′ South.

Hamilton Island is a very interesting Island one of the Whit Sundays. Cockatoos, Lorikeets and Fruit bats live wild all over the island, but are not welcome by the natives, because of their mess and noise. We as tourists, had fun viewing them and taking their pictures. This was our third stop on the Circumnavigation of Australia.

What a special day! After tendering to land we took a cruise in the Denison Star (max 60 passengers) around the Whitsunday Islands. The Denison Star is a beautiful part of Australian Maritime history, made of Huon Pine, a tree only found in wilderness areas of Tasmania. This pine is the slowest growing tree in the world.

Why the name Whitsunday you ask?– that is the day Cap Cook discovered the islands. For those of you who don’t remember your Religious calendar –Whit Sunday is the seventh Sunday after Easter Sunday.

We are still a bit south of the Great Barrier Reef but in places there was a scum on the water that is from the coral, called sea saw dust. Wild Cockatoos, lorikeets and fruit bats are all over this island. We heard noise from all three of those, plus the swack from sea gulls and ravens.The cockatoos are just like pigeons any where else and become pests around the outside eating areas–Like the Ibis type bird we saw in Brisbane at the Museum.

A beautiful sunny day with just a slight breeze to keep us almost cool. There are 74 islands and more and more resorts being built on the islands. Oprah did a show in Australia and stayed in one of the new resorts.

As a beside, food here is a little over twice as expensive as in NM! For example a BLT Australian costs 12$ Aus.The exchange rate is about the same $1 for $1.

Talking to the locals;

Cockatoos will come in the house-open the screen door, or tear a hole in it, go in house and make a mess.

The bats are especially noticeable at sundown but they were flying all over when we were there as there was road work going on in the hill near their main nest. I have no idea of the numbers of bats,but I’m sure they must be in the hundreds.
The fruit bats appear to have a wing span of about 3 feet, The locals said if you are in the right place at the wrong time you might get scratched. A child died a while back on Cook Island because of a bat. Their scratch results in Lysse a virus similar to rabies. The locals would like to get rid of them, but the environmental groups won’t let the govt do anything.

Another wonderful day in an Australian Paradise



When we sailed up the Brisbane River into Brisbane we were met by this little group of Musicians. So nice to be welcomed!

Brisbane is a beautiful city. We journeyed by water taxi from our ship up the Brisbane River beyond the South Bank Museum area and viewed downtown, beautiful homes, recreation areas, and other interesting sites along the River. The exit from the river at the South Bank area featured a beautiful array of multicolored Bougainvillea and walk- way of tropical plants. The South Bank Park area is a beautiful in which to stroll. We visited the Aboriginal Museum and walked through the library. The buildings are open air, and very inviting. All over the city the bougainvillea were proudly displaying their many colors and in the Park they are growing in a beautiful archway. Beautiful birds could be see and heard all around. One interesting bird that we saw all over South Bank and at the Brisbane Museum trying to eat food off picnic tables is a type of Australian White Ibis, a large pest to shoo away from your picnic table.

Welcome to Brisbane Welcome to Brisbane





















A few photographs from Brisbane






Egypt Sites

Inside Karnak Temple

Ram-headed Spinx-Symbol of god Amun

Ram-headed Sphinx is the symbol of the god Amun

One-armed man

One-armed man

Second Pylon in Karnak Temple

Towards the second pylon

Karnak Temple statue

with Palm headress

Karnak temple looking out

Looking through the columns towards an oblisk

Entrance to Karnak Temple

Columns at Karnak Temple

Looking up towards the sky

Sites of Egypt Colossi of Memnon

Amenhotep III (18th Dynasty) built a mortuary temple in Thebes that was guarded by two gigantic statues on the outer gates. All that remains now are the 23 meter (75 ft) high, one thousand ton statues of Amenhotep III. Though damaged by nature and ancient tourists, the statues are still impressive.

Ancient Egyptians called the southern of the two statues “Ruler of Rulers”. Later travelers called them “Shammy and “Tammy”, which may have been a corruption of the Arabic words for “left” and “right”. Today they are known locally as “el-Colossat”, or “es-Salamat”. The statues are made from carved blocks of quartzite quarried either at Giza or Gebel es-Silsila. The Northern statue depicts Amenhotep III with his mother, Mutemwia, while the southern statue is of Amenhotep III with his wife, Tiy and one of his daughters. On the sides of the statues are reliefs depicting Nile gods joining together plants symbolizing Upper and Lower Egypt.

The Colossi of Memnon (known to locals as el-Colossat, or es-Salamat) are two massive stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. For the past 3400 years (since 1350 BC) they have stood in the Theban necropolis, across the River Nile from the modern city of Luxor.[1][2]

1 Description
2 Name
3 Sounds
4 Gallery
5 See also
6 References
7 External links


The twin statues depict Amenhotep III (fl. 14th century BC) in a seated position, his hands resting on his knees and his gaze facing eastwards (actually SSE in modern bearings) towards the river. Two shorter figures are carved into the front throne alongside his legs: these are his wife Tiy and mother Mutemwiya. The side panels depict the Nile god Hapy.

The statues are made from blocks of quartzite sandstone which was quarried at el-Gabal el-Ahmar (near modern-day Cairo) and transported 675 km (420 mi) overland to Thebes. (They are too heavy to have been transported upstream on the Nile.)The blocks used by later Roman engineers to reconstruct the eastern colossus may have come from Edfu (north of Aswan). Including the stone platforms on which they stand – themselves about 4 m (13 ft) – the colossi reach a towering 18 m (60 ft) in height and weigh an estimated 720 tons each [3][4][5] The two figures are about 15 m (50 ft) apart.

Both statues are quite damaged, with the features above the waist virtually unrecognizable. The western (or southern) statue is a single piece of stone, but the eastern (or northern) figure has a large extentive crack in the lower half and above the waist consists of 5 tiers of stone. These upper levels consist of a different type of sandstone, and are the result of a later (Roman Empire) reconstruction attempt. It is believed that originally the two statues were identical to each other, although inscriptions and minor art may have varied.

The original function of the Colossi was to stand guard at the entrance to Amenhotep’s memorial temple (or mortuary temple): a massive cult centre built during the pharaoh’s lifetime, where he was worshipped as a god-on-earth both before and after his departure from this world. In its day, this temple complex was the largest and most opulent in Egypt. Covering a total of 35 hectares (86 acres), even later rivals such as Ramesses II’s Ramesseum or Ramesses III’s Medinet Habu were unable to match it in area; even the Temple of Karnak, as it stood in Amenhotep’s time, was smaller.
Side panel detail showing two flanked relief images of the deity Hapi and, to the right, a sculpture of the royal wife Tiy

With the exception of the Colossi, however, very little remains today of Amenhotep’s temple. Standing on the edge of the Nile floodplain, successive annual inundations gnawed away at the foundations – a famous 1840s lithograph by David Roberts shows the Colossi surrounded by water – and it was not unknown for later rulers to dismantle, purloin, and reuse portions of their predecessors’ monuments.

Memnon was a hero of the Trojan War, a King of Ethiopia who led his armies from Africa into Asia Minor to help defend the beleaguered city but was ultimately slain by Achilles. The name Memnon means “Ruler of the Dawn”, and was probably applied to the colossi because of the reported cry at dawn of one of the statues (see below). Eventually, the entire Theban Necropolis became generally referred to as the Memnonium.
Soundsn 27 BC, a large earthquake reportedly shattered the eastern colossus, collapsing it from the waist up and cracking the lower half. Following its rupture, the remaining lower half of this statue was then reputed to “sing” on various occasions- always within an hour or two of sunrise, usually right at dawn. The sound was most often reported in February or March, but this is probably more a reflection of the tourist season rather than any actual pattern. The description varied; Strabo said it sounded “like a blow”, Pausanias compared it to “the string of a lyre” breaking, but it also was described as the striking of brass or whistling. The earliest report in literature is that of the Greek historian and geographer Strabo, who claimed to have heard the sound during a visit in 20 BC, by which time it apparently was already well-known. Other ancient sources include Pliny (not from personal experience, but he collected other reports), Pausanias, and Juvenal. In addition, the base of the statue is inscribed with about 90 surviving inscriptions of contemporary tourists reporting whether they had heard the sound or not.

The legend of the “Vocal Memnon”, the luck that hearing it was reputed to bring, and the reputation of the statue’s oracular powers became known outside of Egypt, and a constant stream of visitors, including several Roman Emperors, came to marvel at the statues. The last recorded reliable mention of the sound dates from 196 (A.D.). Sometime later in the Roman era, the upper tiers of sandstone were added (the original remains of the top half have never been found); the date of this reconstruction is unknown, but local tradition places it circa 199, and attributes it to the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus in an attempt to curry favour with the oracle (it is known that he visited the statue but did not hear the sound).

Various explanations have been offered for the phenomenon; these are of two types: natural or man-made. Strabo himself apparently was too far away to be able to determine its nature: he reported that he could not determine if it came from the pedestal, the shattered upper area, or “the people standing around at the base”. If natural, the sound was probably caused by rising temperatures and the evaporation of dew inside the porous rock. Similar sounds, although much rarer, have been heard from some of the other Egyptian monuments (Karnak is the usual location for more modern reports). Perhaps the most convincing argument against it being the result of human agents is that it did cease, probably due to the added weight of the reconstructed upper tiers.

A few mentions of the sound in the early modern era (late 18th and early 19th centuries) seem to be hoaxes, either by the writers or perhaps by locals perpetuating the phenomenon.

The “Vocal Memnon” features prominently in one scene of Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt. They also show up in Oscar Wilde’s fairy tale “The Happy Prince.”

Read more: http://www.touregypt.net/collmem.htm#ixzz2d8EYYjAR

The Colossi of Memnon

Sydney Australia

Early Morning on Opera House

Early morning light on the Opera House

Sunrise in Sydney

Sydney at Sunrise

Moon over the Harbor Bridge

Moon over the Harbor Bridge

Sydney Opera House at Sunrise

Opera House at Sunrise


Sydney Harbor Bridge at Sunrise

Sydney Harbor Bridge at Sunrise

Sydney Fort Denison

Fort Denison


Sunrise on the Ship

Sunrise on the Ship

Sydney in Spring

Sydney in Spring

On Observatory Hill

On Observatory Hill looking toward the Bridge

Harbor Bridge

Harbor Bridge from Observatory Hill

ship between opera and bridge

Our ship Between the Opera House and Bridge


$8 cup of Coffee

$8 Cup of Coffee

Sydney Australia
The Holland American Circumnavigation of Australia started in Sydney, followed by Brisbane, Hamilton Island, Townsville then Cairns, and that is just one side of Australia! The Great Barrier Reef is the next wonderful area to visit and view.

Cruising into Sydney as the sun rose brought out all the cameras on board ship and we watched and recorded the sun rise on the Sydney Opera House, and the Sydney Harbor Bridge, two of the most iconic structures on the planet.

It was October which is Spring in the Southern Hemisphere. The beautiful purple Jacaranda mimosifolia blooming in great profusion all along the walkway in the Rocks area of Sydney add more color to this historic area. We wondered around the Rocks area and climbed up to observatory hill after having an $8 cup of coffee. Yes everything is very expensive in Australia, especially in Sydney!
Click on the pictures to enlarge them

Known as the Harbor City, Sydney is the largest, oldest and most cosmopolitan city in Australia with an enviable reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful and livable cities in the word, Brimming with history nature, culture, art, fashion, cuisine, and design, it is set next to miles of ocean coastline and sandy surf beaches. Recent immigration trends have led to the city’s reputation as one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in Australia and the world.

The history of Sydney and the convicts.

The settlement of Sydney began its life as a penal colony, with a total of 568 male and 191 female prisoner convicts with 13 children, 206 marines with 26 wives and 13 children, and 20 officials having made the voyage.
Their earliest huts were composed of cabbage-tree palm, while the convicts were housed in huts made of boards wattled with slender twigs and plastered with clay. By 1790, however, there were 40 convicts employed making bricks and tiles, 50 brickie labourers, and 4 stonemasons.
The total convict population that year was 730 persons, with 413 under medical treatment. In fact free settlers did not begin arriving until 1793. See The Rocks, for more history on these early colonial days.

Transportation of convicts to New South Wales (NSW) was finally abolished in 1840 and shortly afterwards, in 1842, Sydney was declared a city. The population grew rapidly during this period, helped by the discovery of gold and the gold rush of 1850 – one year after the Californian gold rush of 1849. Australia received many American and Chinese immigrants at the same time.
In 1901 the six British colonies in Australia formed a federation to become the Commonwealth of Australia. This marks the period of the modern country. Sydney continued to grow and by 1925 became a metropolis of 1 million people. This grew to 2 million by 1963.
Today Sydney has diverse demographics with people from over one hundred countries contributing to its population of over 4 million.


Trip around Australia

A trip around Australia;

Yes one could drive around Australia, but it is a very large country, about as large as the Continental US, and much of it is desert with long endless roads except for the ever-present Road Trains. Holland America to the rescue– Circumnavigation of the country in a Cruise ship!


Check out the above website to see the size of Australia compared to the US, and you will see why one can’t see much of the country if planning to drive unless one plans many weeks of driving.

The Holland American Circumnavigation started in Sydney, followed by Brisbane, Hamilton Island, Townsville then Cairns, and that is just one side of Australia! The Great Barrier Reef is the next wonderful area to visit and view. For the next few months I hope to share my photos and experiences while on this amazing trip around Australia. Please join me!

nCircumavigation Map of Australia


iPhone 5s and iPad Photography and apps

Just bought an ipone 5s

iPhone and iPad apps— What fun!
Pictures from plane

I have great fun with my iPhone and the apps. Every day it seem there are more apps available, many for free, and others for a nominal fee. I especially check out the apps for photography and art. Oh Yes, I do use it as a phone also!
This was taken from a plane and then put together with an app.
What do you think?

Big Bird



CassowayBig Bird–No not the yellow big bird from Sesame Street, but the big black bird from Queenlands Australia. The Casuarius casuarius or cassowary for short. The southern cassowary is a fruit eater that is very important to the Australian rain forests as it spreads the seeds of the fruit it eats throughout the forest. They are large flightless birds, the females can weigh up to 160 pounds, and have a larger hornlike casque than does her mate.The males are smaller than the females and they are the ones who raise the chicks. Both males and females have glossy black feathers, with scaly legs

Cassaway. cassowaries

Different birds have different length of wattles, the beautiful red folds of skin that hang down in front of the neck. There are just three toes on their feet, and on the inside of each foot is a spike.

These particular cassowaries I photographed in a Bird Park in Bali Indonesia. For more information on the birds I refer you to a recent article in the September 2013 issue of the National Geographic, or Google it!

Buildings of Dubai

The buildings of Dubai include an amazing array of architectural variety. Some are beautiful, some unique, some old and many very new. Not being an Architect I can’t give a professional evaluation of the buildings, rather a view of the laymen tourist. I will look up to see if and which buildings have won some type of prize.

Bird in Abu Dhabi

A bird that I photographed in Abu Dhabi that I think is a jackdaw (Corvus monedula) is a lively, diminutive member of the crow family (5). It appears to have totally dark plumage from a distance, but on closer inspection it can be seen that it is dark grey in colour with a lighter grey nape and sides of the neck (2). The beak is short and slender, the eyes are a unique pale blue, and it walks with a quick ‘jaunty’ step (6), all of which allow this bird to be distinguished from the carrion and hooded crows or the rook (2). Males, females and juveniles are similar in appearance (2). The name ‘daw’ for this bird has been used since the 15th century; it is probably imitative of the call (7), but also means ‘simpleton’ (6). ‘Jack’ is often used for small animals, and, like knave, means rogue, yet it may also be derived from another call, ‘tchack’ (6). This bird is indeed smaller than both the rook and the carrion crow, and is a renowned thief (7).
Jackdaw Black birdJackdaw
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Family Corvidae
Genus Corvus (1)

2.Mullarney, K., Svensson, L., Zetterstrom, D. and and Grant, P.J. (1999) Collins Bird Guide. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, London.
3.Naturenet (July, 2002)
4.RSPB (September, 2009)
5.Lack5., P. (1986) The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. and A.D. Poyser Ltd, Calton.
6.Bruce Wilmore, S. (1977) Crows, Jays, Ravens and their Relatives. David and Charles Publishers Ltd, London.
7.Greenoak, F. (1979) All the birds of the air; the names, lore and literature of British birds. Book Club Associates, London.


An Irish Flower Garden

An Irish Flower Garden

A visit to a beautiful and well tended Irish Flower Garden in Clonakilty, Ireland County Cork

Because of abundant rains the colors seem more vibrant, regardless of the type of flower.
For more pictures from Ireland check the archives November 29 2012. That Post features pictures of the ancient, historical, and religious sites as well as some UNESCO sites. Ireland has a rich and ancient history.
Email me at Doris@fordsfotos.net if you are interested in purchasing any photos. Continue reading

Temple of Karnak

Temple of Karnak in Egypt:

Karnak Temple in Egypt is located in Thebes which is now (Modern Luxor), and is actually a temple complex, formerly known as Ipet-isut (Most select of places) by the ancient Egyptians. A city of temples built over 2000 years and dedicated to the Theben triad. The great temple at the heart of Karnak is so big, St Peter’s, Milan and Notre Dame Cathedrals could be lost within its walls. The Hypostyle hall at 54,000 square feet with its 134 columns is still the largest room of any religious building in the world.

“In ancient Egypt, the power of the god Amun of Thebes gradually increased during the early New Kingdom, and after the short persecution led by Akhenaten, it rose to its apex. In the reign of Ramesses III, more than two thirds of the property owned by the temples belonged to Amun, evidenced by the stupendous buildings at Karnak Temple complex. Although badly ruined, no site in Egypt is more impressive than Karnak. It is the largest temple complex ever built by man, and represents the combined achievement of many generations of ancient builders. The Temple of Karnak is actually three main temples, smaller enclosed temples, and several outer temples located about three kilometers north of Luxor, Egypt situated on 100 ha (247 acres) of land. Karnak is actually the sites modern name. Its ancient name was Ipet-isut, meaning “The Most Select (or Sacred) of Places”.

The Temple of Karnak is a “vast complex built and enlarged over a thirteen hundred year period. The three main temples of Mut, Montu and Amun are enclosed by enormous brick walls. The Open Air Museum is located to the north of the first courtyard, across from the Sacred Lake. The main complex, The Temple of Amun, is situated in the center of the entire complex. The Temple of Monthu is to the north of the Temple of Amun, and next to it, on the inside of the enclosure wall is the Temple of Ptah, while the Temple of Mut is to the south. There is also the small Temple dedicated to Khonsu, and next to it, an even smaller Temple of Opet. Actually, there are a number of smaller temples and chapels spread about Karnak, such as the Temple of Osiris Hek-Djet (Heqadjet), which is actually inside the enclosure wall of the Temple of Amun.”

Read more: http://www.touregypt.net/karnak.htm#ixzz2UuEWOe6M

The Karnak Temple in Egypt was a highlight of our visit to Egypt. The carvings on the columns are quite well preserved in places, and some paint can be seen on rare occasions. The tall ornate columns standing in a row dwarf the visitors strolling by as they look up to admire the awesome sites.
In The Temple of Karnak one an easily visualize -“The carving of the one armed man who was the God of Fertility and the Eastern Desert, worshiped since pre-dynastic times. He was later associated with Amun as Amun-Min. He was shown as a human male with one arm and one leg and an erect, large penis. His right arm was raised, holding a flail. The flail is sometimes seen as a symbol of intercourse. The flail forms a V, while the upraised arm was thrust into the V.”
Read on about the scenes in The Temple of Karnak

“This area (Karnak Temple) is very significant because it reveals much of the history of this area through scenes that are displayed in the complex. There are battle scenes between pharaohs and enemies, and rulers were made a permanent part of history through these memorials. Many remarkable displays of the history of this time are still standing, such as the statue of Pinedjem I which is 10.5 meters tall. The sandstone that was used in the temple’s complex was brought from over 100 miles away on the Nile River. Another amazing feature of the Precinct of Amun-Re is the panora of a freize that displays very clear images of ancient characters that still stands today. In 323 AD, when Constantine the Great recognized the Christian religion, the complex was closed down, and Christian churches were built.”

Karnak Temple Complex

A visit to Chan Chan

Chan Chan

Review the map on the Post of March 24th 2012 for the route taken for the South American trip.
The largest Pre-Columbian city in South America, Chan Chan is an archaeological site located in the Peruvian region of La Libertad, five km west of Trujillo. Chan Chan covers an area of approximately 20 km² and had a dense urban center of about 6 km². Chan Chan was constructed by the Chimor (the kingdom of the Chimú), a late intermediate period civilization which grew out of the remnants of the Moche civilization. The vast adobe city of Chan Chan was built by the Chimu around AD 850 and lasted until its conquest by the Inca Empire in AD 1470. It was the imperial capital of the Chimor until it was conquered in the 15th century. It is estimated that around 30,000 people lived in the city of Chan Chan.

Chan Chan was added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on November 28 of 1986. The city is severely threatened by storms from El Niño, which cause heavy rains and flooding on the Peruvian coast. It is in a fertile, well-watered section of the coastal plain The city’s ruins are additionally threatened by earthquakes and looters. Present-day visitors to Chan Chan can enter the Tschudi Complex, believed to be one of the later citadels built in the city. There are also several other Chimú and Moche ruins in the area around Trujillo. This site was discovered by the Conquistador Francisco Pizarro.

The city is composed of ten walled citadels which housed ceremonial rooms, burial chambers, temples, reservoirs and some residences. Chan Chan is a triangular city surrounded by walls 50–60 feet high. A distinguishable aspect of Chan Chan is that there are no enclosures which open to the north. The tallest walls shelter against south-westerly winds from Peru’s coast. Northern-facing walls gain the greatest exposure to the sun, serving both to block the wind and absorb sunlight where fog is frequent. The numerous walls throughout the city create a labyrinth of passages.

The walls themselves were constructed of adobe brick and were then covered with a smooth surface into which intricate designs were carved. There are two styles of design present in these carvings: one is a ‘realistic’ representation of subjects such as birds, fish, and small mammals; and the other is a more graphic, stylized representation of the same subjects. The carvings at Chan Chan depict crabs, turtles, and nets for catching various sea monsters. Chan-Chan

Chan Chan, unlike most other coastal ruins in Peru, is located extremely close to the Pacific Ocean. In 1998, The “Master Plan for Conservation and Management of the Chan Chan Archeological Complex” is drawn up by the Freedom National Culture Institute of Peru with contributions from the World Heritage Foundation – WHR, ICCROM and GCI. The Plan is approved by the Peruvian Government, with involvement at the highest levels up until today.
From Wikipedia

Ski Dubai- Yes its true!

Ski Dubai a Ski Slope in a Shopping Center–Yes–in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.–Where else! Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort with 22,500 square meters of indoor ski area. It is a part of the Mall of the Emirates, one of the largest shopping malls in the world. located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Ski Dubai is best viewed while eating at the Cheesecake Factory, great food and great view for one price.
Sledding, Skiing, and rolling down the hill in a ball are a few of the highlights offered at this unusual indoor ski slope. For people who live in a sandy Desert area just walking in, touching and making snowballs in all that snow is worth the admittance price.

Ski Dubai Highlights;








Snow in the Desert

Dubai and the Burj Khalifa

Dubai and the Burj Khalifa

What a city!
A lot could be said about Dubai, but it probably has all been said before. I want to focus on some of the buildings that one can see in Dubai. The first one of course will be the Tallest building in the World–the Burj Khalifa. It is an amazing building to view and to go into. The high-speed elevator will zip one to the 124th floor in less than one minute.

I feature a few pictures of the Bruj Khalifa with different views, day and night, and from the ground and from the 124th floor.

For an amazing picture from the 124th floor look at-Joe McNally’s Instagram photo http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/20/joe-mcnally-burj-khalifa-skyscraper-photo-picture_n_2917817.html–The picture I wish I had taken when I was there!

Burj Facts
1. Burj Khalifa is located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

2. It’s 828 metres tall (2,717 feet).

3. The exact height was not revealed until final stages of the construction.

4. It was officially opened on Jan 4, 2010.

5. It was previously known as Burj Dubai.

6. Burj means Tower in Arabic language.

7. It’s renamed after Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi.

World records

8. Tallest building – previously Taiwan’s Taipei 101 (509m).

9. Tallest free-standing structure – previously Canada’s CN Tower (555m).

10. Tallest man-made structure – previously USA’s KVLY-TV Mast (629m).

11. Tallest man-made structure ever – previously Poland’s Warsaw Radio Mast (647m).

12. Building with most floors (160) – previously USA’s World Trade Center (110).

13. Highest elevator installation.

14. Highest outdoor observation deck (~440m)

15. Highest mosque at 158th floor.

16. Highest (insert here) which requires another long list to be completed ;p

17. Fastest elevators at speed of 64km/h, or 18m/s.

18. It would take just a minute to reach from ground level to top floor.

Architecture facts

19. Burj Dubai has more than 162 floors.

20. It has 49 office floors.

21. It houses 1044 residential apartments.

22. It has a floor area of 334,000 square metres.

23. There’s 57 lifts in the tower.

24. There’s 28,261 of glass-panels on the exterior of the tower.

25. Its top spire can be seen from 95km afar.

26. The architecture features a triple-lobed footprint, an abstraction of the Hymenocallis flower.

27. The Y-shaped floor plan aims to maximize views of the Gulf.

28. Over 1,000 pieces of art from prominent Middle Eastern and international artists will adorn the tower and the surrounding Emaar Boulevard.

Environmental facts

29. The tower’s peak electricity demand is estimated at 50MVA, equivalent to roughly 500,000 100-watt light bulbs.

30. It’s expected to use an average of 946,000 litres of water each day.

31. During peak cooling conditions, the tower will require around 12,500 tons of cooling, equivalent to the cooling capacity of about 10,000 tons of melting ice.

Construction facts

32. Construction began in September 2004.

33. The tower’s architect and engineer is Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (Chicago).

34. The main constructor is Emaar Properties, a joint venture by Korea’s Samsung C&T, Belgium’s Besix and UAE’s Arabtec.

35. The construction project manager is Turner Construction Company.

36. Bill Baker is the chief structural engineer.

37. Adrian Smith is consulting design partner.

38. It took some 22 million man-hours to be completed.

39. On downside, foreign construction workers were pay as little as $4 per day.

40. Over 45,000 cubic-metres of concrete, weighing more than 110,000 tonnes, were used.

41. Concrete used was enough to lay a 2,065km-long pavement; and equivalent to the weight of 100,000 elephants.

42. Total weight of aluminium used is equivalent to that of five A380 aircraft.

43. Total length of stainless steel bull nose fins used is equal to 293 times the height of France’s Eiffel Tower.

44. The foundations were dug to depths of 50m.

Financial figures

45. Total cost estimated at US$1.5 billion.

46. The price for the offices spaces reached as high as US$4,000 per sq ft.

47. Residential spaces as high as US$3,500 per sq ft.

48. The building is part of the a 490-acre flagship development called Downtown Burj Khalifa.

Random stuff

49. Burj Khalifa is about twice the height of Empire State Building (443m).

50. It’s taller than Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak (552m).

51. It’s the first world’s tallest structure in history to include residential space.

52. It will feature the world’s first Armani Hotel, which occupies 15 of the lower 39 floors.

53. The exterior temperature at the top of will be 6°C cooler than its base (some say 10°C).

54. Jan 4, its opening date, was the birthday of Sir Isaac Newton.

55. Around 12,000 people are expected to live and work in the tower when it’s fully occupied.

56. The tower’s official website is www.burjkhalifa.ae.

Komodo Dragons on Komodo Island Indonesia

A visit to Komodo Dragons on Komodo Island Indonesia

Dragon toenails Check out my Toenails!

Dragon walking A Dragon walking near the entrance to the Park

Komodo dragons

Look at the long Tail />

Komodo dragons smell with their tougues Komodos smell with their tongue
Komodo dragon Komodo near Kitchen


Check out the Smithsonian magazine of February 2013 for more information on the Dragons.

Some information on the Dragons-Taken from Wikipedia

The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), also known as the Komodo monitor, is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Padar. A member of the monitor lizard family (Varanidae), it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of 3 metres (10 ft) in rare cases and weighing up to around 150 kilograms (330 lb). Their unusual size has been attributed to island gigantism, since no other carnivorous animals fill the niche on the islands where they live.

However, recent research suggests the large size of Komodo dragons may be better understood as representative of a relict population of very large varanid lizards that once lived across Indonesia and Australia, most of which, along with other megafauna, died out after the Pleistocene. Fossils very similar to V. komodoensis have been found in Australia dating to greater than 3.8 million years ago, and its body size remained stable on Flores, one of the handful of Indonesian islands where it is currently found, over the last 900,000 years, “a time marked by major faunal turnovers, extinction of the island’s megafauna, and the arrival of early hominids by 880 ka.”

As a result of their size, these lizards dominate the ecosystems in which they live. Komodo dragons hunt and ambush prey including invertebrates, birds, and mammals. Their group behaviour in hunting is exceptional in the reptile world. The diet of big Komodo dragons mainly consists of deer, though they also eat considerable amounts of carrion. Komodo dragons also occasionally attack humans in the area of West Manggarai Regency where they live in Indonesia.

In the wild, an adult Komodo dragon usually weighs around 70 kg (150 lb), although captive specimens often weigh more. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, an average adult male will weigh 79 to 91 kg (170 to 200 lb) and measure 2.59 m (8.5 ft), while an average female will weigh 68 to 73 kg (150 to 160 lb) and measure 2.29 m (7.5 ft).[15] The largest verified wild specimen was 3.13 m (10.3 ft) long and weighed 166 kg (370 lb), including undigested food. The Komodo dragon has a tail as long as its body, as well as about 60 frequently replaced, serrated teeth that can measure up to 2.5 cm (1 in) in length. Its saliva is frequently blood-tinged, because its teeth are almost completely covered by gingival tissue that is naturally lacerated during feeding. This creates an ideal culture for the bacteria that live in its mouth. It also has a long, yellow, deeply forked tongue. Komodo dragon skin is reinforced by armoured scales, which contain tiny bones called osteoderms that function as a sort of natural chain-mail. This rugged hide makes Komodo dragon skin poorly suited for making into leather.

The Komodo dragon does not have an acute sense of hearing, despite its visible earholes, and is only able to hear sounds between 400 and 2000 hertz.
The Komodo dragon uses its tongue to detect, taste, and smell stimuli, as with many other reptiles, with the vomeronasal sense using the Jacobson’s organ, rather than using the nostrils. With the help of a favorable wind and its habit of swinging its head from side to side as it walks, a Komodo dragon may be able to detect carrion from 4–9.5 km (2.5–5.9 mi) away. It only has a few taste buds in the back of its throat. Its scales, some of which are reinforced with bone, have sensory plaques connected to nerves to facilitate its sense of touch. The scales around the ears, lips, chin, and soles of the feet may have three or more sensory plaques.

The Komodo dragon prefers hot and dry places, and typically lives in dry, open grassland, savanna, and tropical forest at low elevations. As an ectotherm, it is most active in the day, although it exhibits some nocturnal activity. Komodo dragons are solitary, coming together only to breed and eat. They are capable of running rapidly in brief sprints up to 20 km/h (12 mph), diving up to 4.5 m (15 ft), and climbing trees proficiently when young through use of their strong claws. To catch out of reach prey, the Komodo dragon may stand on its hind legs and use its tail as a support. As it matures, its claws are used primarily as weapons, as its great size makes climbing impractical.


Bridges of the World
As I travel I have noticed how many bridges remind me of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco especially this one:

Where was this picture taken?

Where was this picture taken?

The 25 de Abril Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril “25th of April Bridge”), is a suspension bridge connecting the city of Lisbon, capital of Portugal, to the municipality of Almada on the left (south) bank of the Tejo river. It was inaugurated on August 6, 1966 and a train platform was added in 1999. Because it is a suspension bridge and has similar coloring, it is often compared to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA. In fact, it was built by the same company (American Bridge Company) that constructed the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and not the Golden Gate, also explaining its similarity in design. With a total length of 2,277 m, it is the 23rd largest suspension bridge in the world. The upper deck carries six car lanes, while the lower deck carries two train tracks.
Bridge that is similar to Golden Gate Bridge

similar to Golden Gate Bridge

“REAL” Story of the Mayflower

“Real story of the MAyflower:


Two chartered English companies controlled Virginia; the First Virginia Company of London (Southampton and other local Lords and Burgesses had shares in this), and the Virginia Company of Plymouth. The First Virginia Company of London went bankrupt and was therefore unable to service the colony. Neither was it prepared to allow freedom of worship to the negotiators. However, in 1619 the Leyden delegation secured a tract of land in Virginia made out in the name of a sympathizer, Rev. John Wincob, a name that is often forgotten.

The option of land was never taken up, but one of the leaders of the Second Virginia Company, Thomas Weston, persuaded the Leyden puritans to join them. A complicated – and harsh – Agreement of Ten Articles was drawn up which the would-be settlers had to agree to. The terms of the agreement left the Leyden contingent very short of money, so they were unable to provision themselves properly for the first few months of survival in the New World. 

Some prospective Leyden settlers withdrew at this stage, and they were replaced (by the London shareholders of the Company) with others from England. Among these was Miles Standish, a soldier, and Christopher Martin, the latter causing trouble later when he, as the Treasurer of the venture, as well as being Company agent, refused to account for £700 which he had spent in Southampton.

In 1620 the London adventurers chartered the Mayflower under her master Captain Christopher Jones of Harwich. She was a good, stout, and ocean going ship of 180 tons. The Leyden contingent, however, could not afford such a big or good vessel. They needed a ship which could be used when they actually arrived in America, rather than a chartered one, so they bought the Speedwell. The 60-ton ship was refitted in Holland, and they hired a less experienced Master, Captain Reynolds. It is thought, but cannot be proved without a doubt, that the Speedwell was built originally in Southampton in 1606. A ship of that name and tonnage was certainly built there.

Whatever; Southampton was chosen as the rendezvous point for the voyage to America. The Mayflower sailed from London with about 70 immigrants on board and arrived in Southampton about the 29th July where others joined her. One cannot be precise about the date because in 1752 when the New Gregorian Calendar was introduced officially, the difference between the old Julien calendar and the new was adjusted to 11 days. In 1620, however, the difference was considered to be 10 days. 
 The Speedwell left Holland on 1st August (Gregorian time from now on) from Delft Haven near Rotterdam with less than 50 emigrants aboard. On arrival at Southampton the ship had to have another refit at West Quay with money the Leyden “Saints” could ill afford. She was overmasted for a start and would have wallowed in heavy seas. Quarrels and disagreements broke out and Thomas Weston for the Company refused to let the Leyden people have any more money because they would not sign an amended contract. As a result the group had to sell some of their belongings, food and stores, to pay Southampton its harbour and other dues.

The party from both ships spent nearly 2 weeks in Southampton, which at that time was recovering from a downturn in trade and was a fairly prosperous town. At least one new member, John Alden, a cooper, joined the emigrants. It is thought that he was the son of George Alden who lived in what is now called the Old Town. (Rate Roll for All Saints Parish 1602) There were, however, two Alden families in Southampton at that time. Longfellow’s romantic poem “The Courtship of Miles Standish” keeps his memory alive, however, whichever family he originally belonged with.

It is possible that other Southampton families joined the Pilgrims, or at the very least had sympathy with them. Certainly, Steven Hopkins and his second wife, Elizabeth, had connections with Hampshire. His, but possibly not her, children were born in Hursley, and his first wife was buried there.

In Southampton in 1620, the congregation of the French Church, St Juliens, in Winkle Street, which was licensed by Queen Elizabeth I in 1567 for use by the Huguenot refugees, had almost as many English worshippers as Huguenot families.
Now as this was obviously from preference, it must be presumed that the choice was made because of the more rigid, Puritan-like customs of the “foreign” church. In 1635 after an official Visitation, however, the English were ordered to return to their own churches.

On the other side of the coin, some of St Julien’s congregation, notably the Dellamotte’s who had been among St Julien’s Elders, had joined the less rigid Anglican congregation. Judith, Philip Delamotte’s, widow, was buried in St John’s in 1640 and her granddaughter, Martha was christened an Anglican.

The Speedwell and the Mayflower eventually sailed from Southampton for the New World on the 15th August, but twice they had to turn back. The second time they limped into Plymouth where it was decided that the Speedwell was unseaworthy. She was leaking like a sieve, so was abandoned. Some of the Pilgrims left the ship and the venture there, but others transferred to the Mayflower in what must then have become extremely crowded conditions for such a long journey. The Mayflower was hardly the Queen Mary in the first place! The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth for America on September 16th and arrived at Cape Cod on 21st November.

Cape Cod was not the intended place of disembarkation and on arrival such was the distrust among the colonists-and between them and the Company-that the famous Mayflower Compact was drawn up and signed on board before anyone was allowed to disembark. 

This agreement was thought necessary because there was unrest and it was felt that some of the non-Separatists, called “Strangers,”(the others, particularly those from Leyden, were called “Saints”) among the passengers would defy the Pilgrim’s leaders if they were landed in a place other than that specified in the land grant they had received from the London Company. Although not meant as a democratic document – more a way of quelling mutiny -the Compact became the basis of government in the Plymouth Colony and eventually, America. After it was signed, the Pilgrims elected John Carver as their first governor, the first free election of the New World.


”In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these present, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620.”

There were 41 signatories of the 102 passengers, 37 of whom were members of the “Separatists”. This compact established the first basis in the New World for written laws. Half the colony failed to survive the first winter, but the remainder lived on and prospered. 
alden John (prob. Soton) 
Allerton Isaac 
Mary Allerton (wife) 
Allerton Bartholomew (son) 
Allerton Mary (daur) 
Allerton Remember (daur) 
Allerton Jon ( sailor. no relation) 
Billington Don 
Billington Eleanor (wife) 
Billington Frances (relationship unknown) 
Billington John (son) 
Bradford William 
Bradford Dorothy May (wife) 
Brewster William 
Brewster Mary (wife) 
Brewster Wrestling (son) 
Brewster Love (son) 
Britteridge Richard 
Brown Peter 
Butten William 
Cartier Robert 
Carver John 
Carver Katherine (wife) 
Chilton James 
Chilton Susanna (wife) 
Chilton Mary (unknown r’ship) 
Clarke Richard 
Cooke Francis 
Cooke John (son) 
Cooper Humility 
Crackson John 
Crackston John (son) 
Doty Edward 
Eaton Francis 
Eaton Sarah (wife) 
Eaton Samuel (son) 
Ely ???? (sailor) 
English Thomas 
Fletcher Moses 
Fuller Edward 
Fuller Ann (wife) 
Fuller Samuel (son) 
Fuller Samuel (not related. Doctor) 
Gardiner Richard 
Goodman John 
Holbeck William 
Hooke John 
Hopkins Steven (Hursley, Hants connections) 
Hopkins (Fisher)Elizabeth (2nd wife) 
Hopkins Giles (son) 
Hopkins Constance (daur) 
Hopkins Damaris (daur) 
Hopkins Oceanis (son born at sea)
Howland John 
Langmore John 
Latham William 
Margeson Edmund
Martin Christopher
Martin nee Prower, Marie
Minter Desire
More Elinor 
More Jasper (brother) 
More Richard (brother)
More Mary (sister)
Mullins William
Mullins Alice (wife)
Mullins Joseph (son)
Mullins Priscilla(m. John Alden)
Priest Degory
Prower Solomon
Rigdale John
Rigdale Alice (wife) 
Rogers Thomas
Rogers Joseph (son)
Sampson Henry
Soule George
Standish Miles
Standish Rose (wife) 
Story Elias 
Thompson Edward 
Tilley Edward
Tilley Ann or Agnes (wife)
Tilley John (brother to Edward
Tilley Joan (Johns wife)
Tilley Ellizabeth) (daur)
Tinker Thomas
Tinker ?????? (wife)
Tinker ?????? (son)
Trevore William (sailor)
Turner John
Turner – two sons 
Warren Richard
White William 
White Susannah (wife)
White Peregrine (son b. at sea)
White Resolved (son)
Wilder Roger
Williams Thomas
Winslow Edward
Winslow Elizabeth (wife)
Winslow Gilbert (brother)
 A great deal has been written about and around the Pilgrim Fathers and there are several commemorative sites one can visit, both literally and on the Internet. In Southampton, as well as the obvious Mayflower Park right on the Waterfront, there is the Mayflower Memorial on the other side of the road which was erected in 1913, and the Mayflower Theatre in Commercial Road. Southampton also has a plaque which was presented to the Mayor in 1970 by the Society of Mayflower Descendants to commemorate 350 years from the date of the sailing of the Speedwell and Mayflower.

The Mayflower Memorial

There are some very good websites specifically about the Pilgrim Fathers, the Mayflower, and the families that the ship carried. Just a quick look using any of the popular search engines will come up with quite a list. Those that can be 
recommended are:

http://pilgrims.net/plymouth/history/  (needs to be typed in the address bar) 
http://www.mayflowerfamilies.com  (an Ancestry.com site)
http://members.aol.com/calebj/mayflower  A very large site packed with well researched genealogical information by Caleb Johnson.

List of published sources used for this piece:

Handbook accompanying the Mayflower Exhibition, Southampton 1970
A Social History of England by Asa Briggs
History and Topography of Buckinghamshire by J J Sheehan
 Pilgrim Fathers Southampton Record Series
Southampton Guide Book Milestone Publications 

Viktoria Turner 
History Research

Salute to the Mayflower in Mayflower Park Southampton

Salute to the Mayflower in Mayflower Park Southampton

Visit of the Wise Men

Wise Men story as reported in the Bible


In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another path.

Just think–If there had been observatories then, like this one in Chile, they would have recorded the “star at its rising”.

Cerro Tololo-Observatory located high in the mountains of Chile

Cerro Tololo-Observatory located high in the mountains of Chile