Beautiful, Interesting and Ooo Shiny! Images From Various Places

Posts tagged “travel

Flying Soon? Don’t be THAT GUY!

Hello my fabulous readers! Today I wanted to share with you a bit about people I’ve traveled alongside. Or more accurately, people I hope I’m never stuck sharing a plane with! Instead of a photo-and-blog format this week, however, I thought a little interpretation was necessary. *evil grin* So here you go, folks – my take on airline madness!

Have you ever run into THAT GUY on a flight? What’s your story?


Eating Mexican Food in Poland

Location: Poland
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 800 • f 8 • 1/100 sec

Yum, doesn’t this picture make you hungry? Or are you just admiring the culinary artwork?

Our group was lucky (or brave) enough to have dinner at a Mexican restaurant when we were in Poland. We were sitting at a long table outside so we could enjoy the weather. It was quite the experience! Along with the decorated food, we had a few good laughs as well. Two of our guys ordered fajitas. Apparently, these are not very common in Poland, because they were served along with written instructions on how to prepare them! That wasn’t all. They also came with bibs! Our server, who knew a little English, explained this by telling us “Fajitas are dirty.” 🙂

Earlier in the trip, we started a running gag at every restaurant we went to. We picked one member of our group, Kelli, and told every restaurant, every day, that it was her birthday. We just wanted to see what would happen! 😉 At this restaurant, most of the servers were dressed in skimpy outfits resembling Spanish dancers from the “Wild Wild West” era. All of a sudden, we heard what sounded like gun shots. A man came running out of the building dressed in all black, with a face mask and cape, and firing a cap gun into the air. Scaring the waitresses, he ran over to Kelli and dropped a cake slice with a candle at her place. Then he took off running again, back into the restaurant. Once we overcame our shock, we laughed pretty hard at that one!

I guess this is what the Polish think Mexico (and likely Texas as well) is really like! LOL

How do your international friends see other cultures, even ours?


Speaking Without Words

Location: Mexico
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 400 • f 13 • 1/400 sec

If a picture is worth 1000 words, I probably don’t have to explain what’s going on here. But just in case… I was at an orphanage in Mexico, playing with the kids. I had been given power to control the bubble solution stock (big yellow bottle). The kids had their own small bubble wands, and when they needed refills, they came to me. There was limited stock and I was trying to help them be conservative. This little boy was doing his best to convince me that he needed more anyway. However, I didn’t know any Spanish and he didn’t know any English, so we had no clue what each other was saying. Yet we still communicated all this without language.

Have you ever run into a situation like this, where someone you try to talk to doesn’t speak your language? Yep, it even occurs right here in the USA. So what do we do? Our basic tendency when we don’t feel understood is to speak louder or slower, hoping that if we enunciate better, people will understand us. But when someone doesn’t know your language at all, it just makes you look silly.

In my travels, I’ve learned that one old speaker’s addage still holds true internationally. “Communication is 20% what you say, and 80% how you say it.” People pay more attention to tone and body language than they do actual words, so learning to capitalize on that has allowed me to communicate with many people worldwide who don’t share a common language!

How about trying some clear body language? When I tried to ask an Indonesion kid the word for “rain”, I pointed to the ocean nearby (water), then to the sky (clouds), and made a motion like raindrops with my fingertips. He knew exactly what I wanted then, and gladly taught me that word as well as several others. Children in India often beg by putting their hands to their mouths, imitating eating, then put their hand out to you, hoping you will fill it. Facial expressions also are clear indicators, as long as you emphasize your feelings well. Smiles are known worldwide!

How could you indicate a question or statement using only body language and facial expressions? I’d love to hear your creative ideas!


FAILing With Style

Location: India
Camera Info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 1600 • f 20 • 1/80 sec

Ever want to try something crazy, just because you can? A friend of mine decided to have some fun while walking around a rural area of India. There was a random pole in the ground, and we still never knew what it was for. But looked like fun! The guy was quite an acrobat.

Ever want to try something crazy, and it goes terribly wrong? The rest of our group had looked away for a moment, when we heard my friend call for help.  Apparently, he had missed when trying to get off the pole.

I bet it made quite a fond memory, having a bunch of teens try to help him get a pole out of his pants. At least next time we had a group sing-along, we had an extra soprano!

So what has been your biggest FAIL when you were trying to look good?


Welcome to Poland!

Location: Poland
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens EF 70-200mm f/2.8L
ISO 200  f 2.8  1/1600 sec
(Note: This panoramic was created by digitally stitching 9 photos together)

Hey folks! I’m back from my last great adventure with more tales of shock & awe and of course, more photos! My travels took me to Poland to do a series of concerts in several cities, so we got to see a lot of the country. This week’s photo was taken in Warsaw, the capital city.

The Republic of Poland is the sixth largest country in Europe (about the size of New Mexico in the US), and has a population of about 38 million. It is a country rich in history, but the Polish people themselves are more known for their practical jokes (and yes, we had a few played on us!). It is a highly-educated place, with 90% of residents having at least completed a secondary education, and 17 have won Nobel Prizes. Yet, Poland has the highest unemployment level in the EU (12.6% in 2006).

Most Poles are Catholic (around 90%), and I enjoyed getting to see cathedrals everywhere and statues of saints and Pope John Paul II (the only Polish pope). The culture also seemed very focused on the arts. I guess this is why our group could start singing in the town square and we would fit right in. 🙂 We enjoyed their food, mostly based around pork, chicken, and vegetables. They also had great roads compared to most countries I’ve been in outside the West. Now the drivers, that’s another story. 😉

Do you enjoy short country overviews like this? I can cover some of the other countries on this blog as well. Let me know in the comments!


Essential Tips From a Travel Addict

Location: Japan
Camera info: Fuji Finepix A303 • Automatic Point & Shoot
ISO 100 • f 2.8 • 1/150 sec

Travel can be very addicting! So far, I’ve been to 10 countries and numerous states. Along the way, I’ve learned several helpful lessons. Most travelers have heard the country-specific advice, like don’t eat with your left hand in India, don’t point the bottom of your feet at people in China, or that the “ok” hand gesture is not so ok in Brazil. So here’s a few travel tips that could be applied nearly everywhere.

  • Do your research beforehand! Learn about the country’s climate, history, religion, special customs, holidays, etc.
  • Try to learn something in the local language before you go, even if it’s as simple as “Hello.” People appreciate the effort you make to understand them.
  • “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” – Unknown
  • Cross pack! If traveling with others you trust, put some clothes & essentials in another’s bag, so if yours is lost, you have something to fall back on.
  • Ziploc bags are a lifesaver. Especially when your luggage falls off the side of a boat. *sigh*
  • Be nice to the check-in staff; it’s not their fault airlines are inherently evil.
  • Food and drink is a key element of hospitality in many countries, especially out East. Unless you have a medical reason, don’t turn down what they offer you.
  • Don’t start riots. Most people won’t like you if you do.
  • Don’t drink the water! Unless you have made sure it’s been purified. This includes watching out for ice cubes and items washed in local water, like lettuce.
  • “You’re not a traveler if you can’t haggle; you’re a tourist. But you’re also not a traveler if you haggle for six hours; you’re a cheap jerk.” – Unknown
  • Make sure your travel documents are correct and up-to-date, if you don’t want to be in the sequal to “The Terminal.”

What’s your favorite or most helpful travel tip? Let’s keep the list going!


Thailand’s “Other” Capital City

Location: Thailand
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 200 • f 3.5 • 1/1000 sec (both photos)
(Note: This panoramic was created by digitally stitching two photos together)

Everyone needs time to relax, and this globe-hopper is no exception! I took this photo at the Suan Bua Resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand, during a week of rest (and more exploration). While scenic pathways, Thai massage, and colorful butterflies & flowers are a good way to relax, Chiang Mai offers many more options for the more adventurous traveler.

Chiang Mai is the unofficial captial of northern Thailand, and a haven for Western tourists and retirees who want to visit somewhere with a temperate climate, good exchange rates, and lots of people who speak English. I had a tour guide who obviously loved her job, and she showed me some of the usual tourist destinations like the Tiger Kingdom, Maesa Elephant Camp, jungle zipline tours, a hill tribe trek, and a butterfly & orchid farm.

“The locals say you’ve not experienced Chiang Mai until you’ve seen the view from Doi Suthep, eaten a bowl of kao soi, and purchased an umbrella from Bo Sang,” claims one tourist site. When I was there, the locals talked about visiting the ruins of the old city wall and moat, shopping at the night bazaar, getting an authentic Thai massage, and checking out their most famous Buddhist temple, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. All of it sounds good to me! 😀

What is the most unique tourist site you’ve seen while traveling?


Nicole’s Top 10 (and then some!)

Location: India
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 800 • f 6.3 • 1/100 sec

Happy New Year! As we get ready to start the next year, make (and break) resolutions, and throw wild parties that involve streamers and kazoos, it’s often time to look back as well. We look at all the things we’ve learned the past year and wonder, “What the heck was I thinking?” Ok, so maybe not all our memories give us warm fuzzies. But I hope most of them do!

We’re celebrating over here as well, because on January 1st, the Shine4Him Photography blog will be one year old! In honor of that, and of the New Year, I thought it would be fun to take a look back over the past year’s top posts. I chose these due to the number of comments (including Facebook and FORUS Athletics posts), how often they were searched in Google (yes, I can figure that stuff out. Creepy, huh?), as well as how much fun I had writing them. So, without further ado, let’s take a step back in time.

Expect more fun times in the year to come! This spring, I will also be adding another country to the lineup: Poland! I bet you can’t wait!

What was your favorite blog post this year?