i return this june…
we took a boat trip around magnificent Inle lake in Burma, and stopped at a house on stilts where a group of Paduang women were assembled, weaving tourist trinkets from lace and other fabrics. I was asked to make a small donation in return for some portraits which if i’m being honest, wasn’t the most comfortable situation – a bit like saddhus in Nepal and India, the padaung women have wisened to the income value their looks can draw in term of asking tourists for money in return for photos. Fair game I suppose, some times you have to play the tourist. Still, a lovely, smiley lady who seemed happy enough with life, and undoubtedly the paduang have a life which draws wonder from westerners with whom they have contact.
Bagan in Myanmar (Burma) is an area of over 20 square kilometres literally brimming with the most incredible temples, its like Ankhor Wat but on an even grander scale. Everywhere, literally everywhere, there are stupas and unexplored places to marvel at and photograph. With relatively few tourists around to elbow past, we had a dream-like few days pedalling around on bicycles, playing tomb raider under the Burmese sun. The memories of sitting atop Bagans many diverse temples watching incredible sunsets as we chatted to the local postcard kids will stay with us for many years..
What a miserable, dreary day here in the UK weather wise, truly foul. Memories of the Seychelles usually do the trick for escapism at times like this: this is the view from L’Ocean on the northern tip of La Digue. How I miss the car free cycling paradise of La Digue!
Happy 14th Baktun for tomorrow everyone…here’s Tikal, Guatemala from my second trip there in 2008.
21st December 2012 is a date when one of the Mayans ‘long count’ calendars comes to the end of its cycle, on a day which co-incides with the winter solstice – spooky for some! But Doomsday? No way. Artefacts are still being uncovered all over the Yucatan jungle that indicate the Mayans believed life goes on for at least another 7000 years!
Still – wishing I was back here in Guatemala right now! I’m sure there will be loads of impressive crazies floating about making various prophecies..
Gleaming in gold and decorated with diamonds, the main pagoda is a spectacular work of Burmese temple architecture and is the holiest Buddhist shrine in Myanmar. This is one of the many temples built around the main pagoda, where the people of the city come to worship, meditate, reflect and socialise.
The timing of our visit came several days before Barack Obama rolled into town and held a photocall at this very same location as part of his state visit to Burma, the first ever made by a US president (and a pretty symbolic move building on the country’s gathering momentum in terms of economic reform). More photos to come…
Its nearing Christmas: between all the card writing and present wrapping, I found some time for a trawl through my lightroom collections seeking images of all things December. I happened upon this unpublished image of Prague’s old town, taken this time in 2010 – judging by the popularity of my other Prague images, folk from around the world are big fans of the city in winter. With good reason! I’m off to Munich during the Christmas period so looking forward to more proper snow (and of course the gluhwein…)
Before we finish a really momentous year here in London (and a year of great upheavel for me) it feels appropriate I should post a couple of images from the Olympics and Paralympics – two events which took over my life for a large part of the year, due to my day job working at a famous payment scheme.
Day 1 at the Olympic Stadium, preparations for Jessica Ennis in the Pentathlon’s 110m hurdles
Badge Collectors – all part of the Olympic circus
Accompanying media to the boxing
Just back from Myanmar with enough photos and video to keep me going for a few years! Magical. Go if you can. Now. You won’t regret it. Developing….
I’ve been absent a while, mainly due to starting an exciting new job working on mobile payments for an Olympic sponsor. Anyway, in a brief respite from work I was able to attend the opening night of the London 2012 Olympics Velodrome on Thursday. The World Cycling Cup is being held as a four day test event to ensure the venue is fully prepared for the games – the cup came complete with the best track cyclists in attendance from across the globe. The Velodrome, indeed the rest of the park are looking absolutely fantastic! I was pleasantly surprised by the intimacy of the velodrome, you really feel close to the action and there appeared to be far fewer seats than you would expect for such a grand venue. The track was amazing (siberian pine, dozens of kilometres of it – and all hand crafted). I’ve no doubt a ton of world records will be broken on the track this summer. I’m hoping to some more of the test events and will definitely be taking my camera, the architecture in the park is pretty stunning and i want to capture some more of the setting over the coming months as anticipation builds ahead of a huge summer for London.