WPC: Baby Elephant Playmate

Down in Chitwan, Nepal in the late afternoon, the nearby river was the favourite place for the local kids to play. The rowdy young boys played football and swam in the water together. Our resort elephant took her daily bath and her three month old calf lolloped around the riverbank looking for a friend.  The kids would chase her and encourage her to push and wrestle them to the ground.  I thought it was so great to have a baby elephant as a playmate.  I miss that place!



WPC: Glimpses of Caribbean Life (Evanescent)

ev·a·nes·cent:  soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.
I like to capture daily life from the car whenever possible.  You get tiny vignettes of people’s regular routines, a glimpse of the mundane, extraordinary or odd.  They are not always the best quality shots but I enjoy them for their evanescent quality all the same:


WPC: Earth Education


When I think about Earth Day, my strongest memories come from our time in Nepal and the opportunity I had to connect with many Nepali schools on the subject of the environment. In Nepal something like 40% of its population is under the age of 25. In recent years, private schools have sprung up all over Kathmandu in response to this rise in the youth population and the exceedingly poor education offered in public schools. Some private schools are better than others, but some are outstanding, offering education in English and Nepali, and include environmental issues in their curriculum. After the economic growth of the last twenty years, so many developing countries are now knee deep in trash and pollution, and there is a whole generation of young people who think that trashed filled rivers and polluted air are normal.  Kathmandu is no exception.  Education in understanding how to preserve the environment and build a more ecologically-friendly city is an important start to raising environmentally aware adults of the future.

I visited many of schools while I was there, learning about their eco-clubs and recycling efforts, participating in environmental projects with them and teaching “upcycling” as a creative way of making use of waste.  Of course, through necessity, poor countries know more about upcycling than their first world counterparts, but plastic particularly is seen as just trash that needs to be burnt.

Above:  Learning how to make useful items out of plastic bottles.  I showed them a technique on how make storage containers and vases and then challenged them to come up with their own ideas.

Above:  An Eco Club exhibit at a school outside of Kathmandu.  The kids came up with allsorts of decorative and practical ideas.

Lastly, one organization collected clean wrappers from packaged food and trained women how to weave them into recyclable products such as colourful baskets and bags, which were sold to tourists to create a livelihood project in the local community.



WPC: Time

I considered lots of approaches for this week’s challenge: clocks, ancient places, ancient faces, timeless graces…  but I think I like the idea of the passage of time the most.  Every year Latham and I take a picture for his birthday at the gate of our Greek home.  Here is the passage of time over twenty years.  Time indeed waits for no one.  And what a story it tells!:

WPC: Forces of Nature

I can hardly believe this week’s theme given what just happened here in Kathmandu.  Nature showed us what she could do to people, their lives, their property, and even the ground beneath our feet.  As we all struggle to find our footing again, I find myself driving around town, looking aghast at some of the changes the earthquake brought.  People are so accustomed to seeing dramatic pictures of world disasters on TV, or spectacular images of disasters occurring in movies. Perhaps people won’t think these images of broken bookcases or cracked walls are much evidence of the immense force  of an earthquake?  But for me, when I look at the destruction, it makes me remember the feeling of helplessness that an earthquake brings; feeling ant-like and hopelessly powerless, standing on a moving plate that is shaking kilometers below with enough force to do this kind of damage:

S0994437 DSCF4249 S0064147 S0094176 S0104177 S0294300 S0354329 S0884426


Travel Theme: Slow


Right to left to shows the progress from chunk of stone to lion.  These photos were taken at a third generation stone carving factory in Kathmandu, where we watched the back backing work of carving.  It takes painstaking detail, skill and experience to acquire this slowly learnt, slowly executed craft.  Some things are worth the investment of time.





This post participated in the Travel Theme of “Slow”.  See more entries here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Descent

Rappelling down a boulder with a rope.  The only caving "convenience" on offer during the whole caving experience.

Rappelling down a boulder with a rope. The only caving “convenience” on offer during the whole caving experience.

In the northern part of Luzon island in the Philippines is Sagada in the Mountain province. The town attracts a small amount of adventure tourism, including caving.   I had never done anything like it before. We were inside an underground cave for approximately 2 hours and descended about 200 metres.  What made this cave experience unlike any other was that it was left completely natural inside. No gravel path ways, signs, concrete steps or taped music.  And no lighting….save a kerosene lamp.  Just slippery limestone and marble pathways that needed bare feet to travel safely, lots of bats, even more bat shit, and the darkness!  Truly a descent into the unknown.  For the full story see my earlier post, Caving in Sagada.


See other entries for this weeks photo challenge here.