Amsterdam is an ancient city built in rings around a canal system, and there are very few cars inside the canal belt. Most people ride bikes to work, to school, on dates. You rarely see a fat Amsterdam local. My ancestors were Dutch. I’m not fat. Connection.
Nyoman’s hands are creating a meditation mala for me out of rudraksha seeds, a very spiritual seed from trees that grow only in a few regions of the world, such as India and Indonesia. Nyoman lives on the island of Bali. Every time I visit Ubud, I visit her shop, appropriately named Ubudahh (a play on words). And I usually find something interesting, and unique, as she and her coworkers design and hand-make many items in the shop.
BIG & POINT OF VIEW
Gunung Agung is a still-active volcano, and it is the spiritual center of Bali. It is also the highest point on the island. Agung (pronounced agung) is so huge, it influences the weather, as you can imagine that it is doing just that in this photograph.
Abu Dhabi’s Saadyat Island Bridge connects the island of Abu Dhabi (bet you didn’t know it was an island?) to Saadyat Island (right, could have used it for the “Connect” photo submission…but here, doesn’t the bridge look more like “big” than like a “connect”?). Saadyat Island will be the home of the Abu Dhabi version of The Louvre (bet you didn’t know that either, eh?), and there will also be a version of the Guggenheim Museum there also. Saadyat is slated to become a world-class arts and cultural center. This is the bridge you’ll cross to get there when Venus de Milo visits.
Where I am now in the Middle East, it’s 0800 hours; that’s 8 o’clock in the morning to the those unfamiliar with the 24-hour clock, or as some call it, Military time. Where many of you live, it’s now closer to midnight (12 am or 0000, zero-hundred hours). That’s the thing about time—it’s always relative. I guess everything is relative. Some people like to say there are some absolutes, but they’ve never been able to convince me. Not even death. I mean, how absolute is that? Some say you die, and that’s it, the end. Dust is dust, your bones shed their meat, or worms eat it. And you exist as nothing but bone and memory in someone else’s mind. And some people say that you, your spirit, your soul or whatever we call it, that thing inside you that makes you uniquely you—that thing, they say, leaves your body and goes…well, that’s another one of those relative things, too, depending on whether you believe in a god, or a particular god, a slew of gods, or no god. What happens after you leave your body and go wherever you go—that, too, is relative, depending on a bunch of other relative stuff.
Some people say taxes are absolute. But they’re not. Big corporations, and GW Bush, got away without paying taxes. There are some countries, like the UAE, where there is no personal income tax. And no sales tax. Also, if you live in a country, say like America, where they do require you pay income tax, you don’t have to; you can opt to live off the grid, or go on the lam, or go to jail. So, what exactly might there be that is not relative to something or someone else? Certainly not time, which is actually what we’re supposed to be talking about here.
Apparently, I don’t have enough time. I probably could squeeze an hour or so more out of a day and make my Photo 101 course requirement of a photo a day. But I don’t. Therefore, I’m going to post another 5-in-1 photo thingy. And you’re just going to have to forgive me, or relatively speaking, not. And if you don’t, you’re probably sleeping right now anyway, unless you’re in Australia or Christmas Island, so you won’t even be aware of this until you rise tomorrow morning. And I’ll be here sleeping then, so if you don’t forgive me, I may never know about it.
This is not at all what I intended to talk about…again. What I was going to talk about when I started to write was that I’d just noticed that today (where I am), it is Friday the 13th. Now, I’m not paranoid about superstitions like this. I’m not truly superstitious. You know, that might be one of those relative things, too. I don’t freak out about it being Friday the 13th. But I am aware of it. Ladders do not freak me out. But I do not walk under ladders. I’m not freaked out by umbrellas. But I do not open one in the house. I really don’t like breaking a mirror, but I’m not paranoid about it. I will notice if a black cat is running a trajectory to cross my path, I might side-step the thing. I always blow out every candle on my birthday cake. I’ll make a wish on the first star I see in the evening sky. I’ll pick up a toad knowing it won’t give me warts, but I’m a little uneasy about touching its skin. If I see clover growing, I will inadvertently stop, brush my hand over it, check for four-leaves. I’ve found plenty. I am pretty lucky. But I’m not superstitious, I’m just being careful in case there is something to all this jazz. I know none of this is important to you, you are probably asleep. You don’t care. So…the rest of Photo 101.
NATURAL WORLD & LEADING LINES
In the natural world, you might find anything growing next to anything else. Here, we find the large banana leaves nestling next to the frail and young mango.
I see this plant every time I’m in Bali, it grows in everyone’s garden, by the road, on volcanoes. Does anyone know the name of this plant?
WARMTH & QUALITY OF LIGHT
What could be colder than steel, or a construction site of cement and steel, with steel cranes working from the top floor? But in this photo, it seems a much kinder, warmer place at sunrise on one of the rare cloudy days in Abu Dhabi. Because the city is growing so very quickly, cranes are not a rare sight these days.
Some people say there are something like a thousand varieties of banana in the world. In a local fruit market in Bali, you can find at least six or seven, ranging from ones that are three inches long, to ones that are way longer. You can also find many other fruits, like mangosteen, dragon fruit, and rambutan—all sweet and tasty. One fruit you may not want to try, the bigger one in this photo, is called durian. Some countries ban the transport of durian in public transportation. Why? It stinks. Really stinks, really bad. Some people, like the Japanese, will not only eat it but pay an obscene amount of money for it—aphrodisiac. Some people like the taste of it. But some people, say like me for instance, think it has the consistency and taste of dog poop cross bred with garlic. Everything—remember—really is relative.
MYSTERY & LIGHTING EFFECTS
This is a photo of a _______ in the city of _________ during _________. What’s a good mystery without a little mystery? Click photo to see it larger, it’s just goofy.
No mystery in what this is, a finely-crafted statue of the Buddha from Nepal. But there is a mystery in many things relating to the spiritual world. And there is a mystery about whether or not the Buddha actually said many of the sayings now attributed to him. Some people believe he said them, others don’t. Again—relativity at work in our daily world on so many levels.
And just so you know and don’t judge too harshly, I’m a Post a week kind of guy, not a post a day. And just who are those guys who post five times in one day? Posting must be relative, too.