Calendar

November 2018
S M T W T F S
« Sep    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  

Categories

free counters
Free counters!

Uncommon Rainbows

I was lucky and thrilled to see a somewhat rare weather phenomenon a few days ago here at The Farm. Iridescent clouds form, according to this website,

When parts of clouds are thin and have similar size droplets, diffraction can make them shine with colours like a corona. In fact, the colours are essentially corona fragments. The effect is called cloud iridescence or irisation, terms derived from Iris the Greek personification of the rainbow.

You can read more on the website. A few other sites I checked mentioned that although these types of rainbows are not extremely rare, they are rather uncommon.

It was lucky that the clouds broke from being overcast earlier in the day. I took a few photos of the rainbows, which were quite close to the sun. The disc of the sun was blocked by other clouds, but the glare was still intense, so I had to drastically underexpose in order to capture the colors in the clouds. The rainbow on the right in the first photo below was highlighting a pileus cloud that was on top of a cumulus cloud. The same website has a simple explanation of a pileus cloud. It lasted about 15 minutes, whereas the iridescent cloud on the left coloring the cirrocumulus clouds persisted for about an hour. These pictures, unfortunately, don’t give a true rendition of how beautiful the event was.

Iridescent clouds

The one on the right appeared only briefly, but the one on the left lasted for an hour.

Here’s how the cirrocumulus cloud appeared from the second floor window of the house at The Farm, followed by a close up view using the telephoto zoom lens on my camera.

Cirrocumulus Rainbow

From the window of the house at The Farm. Our neighbor’s house is the dark shape at the bottom of the photo. I wanted to give some scale to the photo, so I didn’t crop it out.

Iridescent cloud close up

A close up taken with the telephoto zoom lens on my camera, approximately 150 mm.

There were some other interesting cloud formations that day. The first one below is the cumulus and pileus clouds as they appeared after the rainbow dissipated. The other photo shows some rain clouds off to our south, moving toward Thailand. I converted these to black and white to add more drama, in my opinion, and as a change of pace from the usual color photos I post. There wasn’t much color in these to begin with, so I think B&W is appropriate.

Pileus and cumulus clouds

The pileus cloud sits atop the cumulus. It looked like a strong thunderstorm might develop, but it fizzled out after awhile.

Storm clouds

Looks like a heck of a storm heading for Thailand.

Finally, here’s a sunset that was captured the day before the above photos were made.

Sunset

Lots of nice sunsets lately with all the moisture in the air.

A Few Sunsets

My view of the western horizon really isn’t too good here. There’s the wat on one side and a house on the other, both of which intrude into the second-floor photos from Nai’s house I take of sunsets. Walking up to the small road that runs through the village doesn’t offer any better views. I’d have to ride my motorbike a couple of kilometers to some rice paddies where I would have an unobstructed view. It’s hard to predict, though, if the sunset is going to be something special that would reward my ride over the washboardy, pot-holed village road. For now, I’ll content myself with the view that I have.

So, here are a few nice sunsets we’ve had over the past month or so. Please forgive those two buildings that make the scene less than ideal.

Sunset in Laos

Sunset with the house intruding.

Sunset in Laos

Sunset with the wat intruding.

Sunset in Laos

Sunset–where are the house and the wat? I took this one with the telephoto zoom lens, which avoided the two interlopers.

New at the Expo

Slowly, but surely, new recreation venues are being added to the Expo grounds. I was out there during the Chuseok holiday during the day and again a few Saturdays ago. As I’ve mentioned before, the Big O show goes off nightly, and I was surprised at the long line of people who had bought tickets to watch it and were waiting to enter the amphitheater. On that evening, at least, there were some large crowds taking advantage of the site.

In addition to a few outdoor food vendors who’ve set up shop on the long Ocean Plaza walkway, there are a few indoor restaurants that have opened at the Expo Digital Gallery. There’s a mini-mart, a small Japanese noodle shop, a coffee shop, and two Korean food restaurants. You can also get international fare at the food court in the aquarium. For some reason it was closed the night we were there, so it may have some odd operating hours.

Other new additions include a small pirate-themed children’s play area and a rather tacky (in my opinion) putting green. I think a decent mini-golf course would be a much nicer addition, if the powers-that-be are thinking of adding more areas of that type.

Pirate playground

Pirate Playground

Putting Green

Putting Green

There’s also a small area near the Big O where you can rent a kayak, and, in that same area, you can ride a zip line, as evidenced by the poster below. It wasn’t operating the first day I noticed the poster, but a few weeks later it was being used quite a bit. It’s only about a very slow 25-30 second ride from one side of the small lagoon to the other, near the aquarium. It didn’t look all that exciting, but I would guess people are paying a hefty price to ride it. I’ll have to try to find out what the going rate is; anything more than $5 would, in my opinion, be a ripoff.

Zip line poster

Zip Line Poster

Kayaking center

Kayaking Center

Zip lining at the Expo

Zip lining Above the Kayakers

Kayaking

Kayaking

Kayaking

Kayaking

Kayaking

Kayaking Near Big-O

I wouldn’t recommend this (being a former Montana outdoor guy), but, in another new addition, you can set up “camp” near the MVL Hotel. This is “camping” Korean style–densely packed tents set up in a gravel parking lot. No trees, but I guess you’re right on the ocean, if that’s any advantage. This is more like apartment living, except there’s no one above you. In this highly urbanized country, this is about as close to the “great outdoors” as many Koreans will get. I think I’ll pass on this one.

Camping at the Expo

Camping at the Expo

Although the area is, usually, attracting large numbers of people, the crowd is nowhere near what it was for the Expo. Because of that, it’s easy to get some photos that would have been difficult to get last summer. Here are a couple of the Theme Pavilion, sans people.

Theme pavilion entrance

Theme Pavilion Entrance

I can’t make up my mind which of these two I like better.

Theme pavilion detail

Theme Pavilion Detail

Theme Pavilion detail

Theme Pavilion Detail 2

Here’s another area that was empty on this particular day, which was one of the Chuseok celebration days.

Quiet Expo

A Quiet Expo

Empty roads, too, on that day.

Empty Expo road

Empty Expo Road

There are still a couple of boats docked near the MVL Hotel. During the Expo, tours were held on both of them. One of the boats is just a regular large ship (I guess), while the other is a Maritime Police boat. I haven’t noticed any tours going on at either of them, but perhaps my timing has been bad. Here’s a close-up of the anchor on the regular boat, and the second is of the Maritime Police boat.

Anchor on Expo tour boat

Anchor on Expo Tour Boat

Maritime Police boat

Maritime Police Boat

The Big-O is starting to show some signs of wear at its base, but it’s still standing tall.

Base of the Big-O

Base of the Big-O

The Big-O

The Big-O

There have also been several concerts held at the site, so I’m very happy to see that this marvelous (for Yeosu) area is getting used (except for the putting green and the camp area). I’ll keep checking it out every so often and keep you posted about anything new and exciting or new and not-so-exciting.

Also, a fitting end to the day, from my dorm apartment. More later.

Sunset in Yeosu

Sunset in Yeosu

P.S. – Oh, yeah, forgot to mention that my apartment didn’t get “flooded” from the typhoon. I don’t think the wind was blowing from the wrong direction, the rain wasn’t as heavy as forecast, and the storm raced through the area, its peak lasting only a few hours. Lucky me!

Some Yeosu Photos

There hasn’t been a whole lot going on around here lately, but we have had some gorgeous late summer/early fall weather; deep blue skies, plenty of sunshine, moderate temperatures and lower humidity have chased away the mostly oppressive summer days. This time of year and the middle of spring feature the best weather in Yeosu, in my opinion. I’ve been out and about, hiking, bicycling, walking and taking plenty of photos. Rather than making one or two huge posts, I think I’ll dole out a few photos at a time, hoping that y’all will keep coming back for more. (Plus, I get pretty lazy, at times, about processing all my shots. :wink:) Some of these might be interesting, some not. Enjoy, or not. Let me know what you think.

This is from earlier in the summer when the mist/fog lent an air of mystery to things. The humid conditions didn’t stop the local golfers, however, as the lights were on for the night owls.

On one of my walkabouts, I spotted these bright red flowers in a small garden plot on a small side street next to a small house. I think they’re pretty. Anyone know what kind of flowers they are? (I’m definitely not a flower guy, but I was, and am, a proponent of Flower Power).

Finally, it seems that we just don’t get that many good sunrises and ‘sets in Yeosu, at least from my vantage point, especially compared to those I had the pleasure to see in the Dominican Republic and Morocco. Lately, though, we’ve had a few nice sunsets. Here’s one. (Sorry, there ain’t nuthin’ I can do about the power transmission towers and lines in the photo–it was taken from the balcony outside my dormitory apartment.)

I’ll definitely try to get some more photos posted in a more timely manner, probably 3 or 4 shots per post, mostly just random stuff from around Yeosu, so stay tuned for more later.

Final Vacation Photos

Here are a few more photos from my recent trip to Laos and Thailand. This is one of my favorite views of Bangkok, looking into the Silom area and taken from the statue of King Rama VI in Lumphini Park. I probably should have tried to take a panoramic shot to give a better sense of the beautiful skyline that surrounds the park, but this small sample will have to suffice for now. Maybe next time.

After a few days in Bangkok, it was on to Phuket and Patong Beach. We spent a week there, lazing away the days on the beach while getting a sunburn and enjoying the nightlife. I’m always tempted to try the para gliding offered at the beach, but the price seems too steep (about $20) for the short ride (about 2 1/2 minutes). It’s kind of fun, though, to watch people taking off and landing.

The beach is usually crowded, but it’s not too bad to sit under an umbrella and read a book or “people watch.” You can’t see the lifeguard station in this shot, but at least one or two people had to be rescued every day due to the strong undercurrent in this area. The guards kept warning people out of the restricted area, but there were always a few people who ignored the warnings or accidentally strayed into the red zone. Fortunately, no one drowned.

Near day’s end.

Ok, that wraps up my vacation shots. I’ll try to get some Yeosu photos up soon, although this week sees the beginning of a 3-week kids’ camp and next week marks the start of a week long camp for children of faculty members, so I’ll be quite a bit busier than I have been.

A Few Photos

Here’s a couple I took earlier this summer, and did some HDR processing with them. The first one is the golf course across the highway with the watering system going full blast, shot with my telephoto zoom lens, which I don’t use all that often. Hmmm, don’t see anyone running for cover. With fall here and winter not too far behind, they probably won’t have the water on too much any more.

And here’s one of the few sunrises or sunsets that I’ve been able to capture here, for one reason or another. I’m gonna try to get down to the ocean early some morning and get some sunrise shots. This one is looking north from the balcony outside my dormitory apartment around sunset.

In case you didn’t see it, the Yanks stunned the Rangers in the first game of the AL Championship Series, coming back from 5 runs down to win 6-5. Agonizing to watch at first (with Texas up 5-0 early on), it got fun in the 8th inning when New York scored 5 runs. Next game–tomorrow. More of the same, I hope.

Lao Photos-Food

As promised, here are some photos from my recent trip to Laos. I guess we can call this the food-themed post. If you ever make it to Vientiane, one pleasurable thing to do is to eat at one of the many outdoor restaurants lining the Mekong and watch the sun slip below the Thailand horizon across the river. It’s quite laid back, though you’re right next to the main road along the Mekong, Fa Ngum Road. Along here you’ll find the Inter (City) Hotel and the Bor Penn Yang rooftop bar, from where I took the first photo below. There’s also a lot of construction going on; apparently, the authorities are building some flood protection devices, as well as creating a new park in this area. The first photo shows some of this construction. This is near quitting time, so a few of the restaurants set up some of their seating on a portion of the construction area that won’t be used again until the next morning. As you can see, you can sit at a table or sit down on floor mats, Lao style.

Mekong_Construction1

The menus in these eateries are quite extensive, featuring Lao, Thai and some Western food. Here’s a shot of a variety of fresh food waiting to be used in some mouth-watering delight.

Mekong_Food1

Nai is preparing to wolf down a plate of Mekong clams.

Mekong_Food3

My favorite dish is grilled Mekong river fish. Here are a couple of the restaurant workers (sons of the owner, I think) grilling a variety of fish, prawns, meat, chicken and other goodies. Ahhh, cripes, I wish I were there right now, out of this cold weather, chowing down on grilled fish, stir fried rice and spicy papaya salad.

Mekong_Food2

And, of course, the aforementioned sunset.

Mekong_Sunset1

I’ll get some more photos up soon, but this week marks the beginning of my 4-week schedule from hell, so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to post again There will definitely be more later.

Laos News (On the Good Side)

There were a couple of nice things that happened in Laos this past Sunday. First, Nai told me that his village was having a big celebration that night for a couple of reasons. The Laos soccer team, in an exhibition match prior to the upcoming South East Asia games, knocked off the Thai team 3-0 in Vientiane, which, of course, boosted the smaller impoverished nation’s national pride. The games will be held in Vientiane, marking the first time ever that the event will take place in Laos. They are not without controversy, however, as you can read here and here.

That same day, the rowers in his village powered the winning boat in the Vientiane Boat Racing Festival, thus adding to the celebration. It was also the end of Buddhist Lent, which is detailed here in a nice story that includes a description of the launching of candle-lit banana leaf boats on the Mekong, a ceremony I hope to see in the future. All in all, it was a big day in the village, and there was a big party that evening at the temple next to Nai’s house to cap it off.

Korea had its recent celebrations, too, with the 3-day Chuseok holiday. Yesterday, a few of my students loaded me up with traditional food, including delicious songpyeon rice cakes, fruit and other goodies left over from their celebration. I won’t have to buy groceries for a week!

Since I previously posted moonrise over Yeosu, here’s a sunrise shot I took a few weeks ago from almost the same location. More later.

Sunrise Over Yeosu

Yeosu_Sunrise_1

Christmas in Vang Vieng

Nai and I went to Vang Vieng, one of our favorite areas, for a few days around Christmas time and, in fact, spent Christmas Eve and Day there. The village was lit with a few holiday lights and fake Christmas trees, but nothing spectacular. The most notable sign that it was a holiday were the hordes of drunk, loud and sometimes obnoxious younger backpacker-type tourists celebrating the season. Like I stated earlier, this time of year is the peak of tourist season, and if I’m ever back in Laos in December, I’m going to avoid Vang Vieng.

Despite the crowds, we still had a decent time, relaxing along the river for the most part. Here are my favorite “Christmas” decorations (and any other time of year for that matter) along the Song River.

Hammocks_1-w

Of course, not everyone was partying and getting smashed on Beer Lao. Quite a few people took advantage of the great weather, kayaking and tubing down the river, a popular pastime here.

Nam-Song-Kayak-w

So, after a hard day of “hammocking” (as opposed to kayaking) along the river, it was time to go back to our room at the Riverview Guesthouse and sit on our balcony to watch the sun go down.

More-NK-Sunsets_2-w

Here’s another view from the balcony, looking over some newly built river side guesthouse bungalows towards the surrounding mountains.

Nam-Song-Guesthouse2-w

New bungalows had also been built across the river, reached by crossing a footbridge.

VV-GH-and-Mtns_1-w

One of the highlights of the trip was my introduction to a fantastic Lao dessert (name unknown). Made with coconut and cream, these were cooked over an open fire in small, covered containers. Eaten fresh and hot from the fire, these were delicious!

Lao-Dessert_1-w

Lao-Dessert_2-w

After spending four days in Vang Vieng, it was time to go back to Vientiane and sit along the Mekong and watch the sun go down. Vientiane actually seemed more peaceful than Vang Vieng. Notice how low the river is compared to the photos of it I took last August.

Vientiane-Sunset_3-w

So, all in all, it was a nice visit to Laos, as usual. I’ll post some more photos to the Photo Gallery eventually, so keep checking in. More later.

Baseball Tournament, Holy Week

The last couple of Saturdays the camp has hosted a high-school age baseball tournament, consisting of 8 teams, which means all four fields have been in use. Each team plays two games, beginning about 11 a.m. and finishing around five, I’m told. (Because I’m usually in Boca Chica on Saturday afternoons, I’m not around for the finish of the games.) There are quite a large number of supporters, family and friends, I assume, who have been turning out for the games, and, with the 20 or so members of each team, the complex has been quite crowded. One of the best parts of the tournament has been the enthusiasm of the players. Cheering, chanting and hand clapping punctuate the play, and with the green, yellow, red and blue uniforms dotting the fields, the complexion of the campus is drastically changed. Very interesting and exciting. I don’t know if the tournament will be played this Saturday, since this is one of the big holiday seasons in Latin America, Semana Santa–Holy Week.

RBI_Baseball

Speaking of which, we get a few days off, beginning today. The Dominican players are going home after practice today, but the rest of us, from other countries, are staying at the campus. Last year the Yanks put us up in one of the Juan Dolio resorts, just down the road about 30 kilometers, for a few days, but not this time, for various reasons. There’s quite a large contingent of foreign players here right now, probably in the neighborhood of 15 or so. Last year, too, the holiday coincided with the player turnover which takes place near the beginning of April. We’ll get a lot of new players in then and lose some, who will be moving on to Tampa. In the meantime, though, I’ll enjoy the days off, probably spending a lot of time in Boca Chica.

My jogging times are back up to over an hour, so I’m 100% recovered from my recent illness. With all the physical fitness attempts, I figure I should at least be allowed to take a few batting practice sessions to keep up with recent Yankee signee, Billy Crystal. I ain’t askin’ for a contract–just a chance to strike out against one of our young guns. 🙂

There haven’t been too many nice sunsets or sunrises lately that I’ve been able to photograph. There was a gorgeous sunrise the other morning, but I was out jogging. The one below is about the only one I’ve been able to “bag” recently. More later.

Palm_Sunset

P.S. For anyone who is wondering how Nai is doing, well . . . he was doing pretty good, but now the doctor tells him that he has malaria! Go figure. He’s also been complaining about one of his eyes hurting him. This is one of the results of the motorbike accident that is still lingering and it’s something I’m worried about. He says he can barely see out of it, and I can’t figure out whether it’s bruised, or a scratched cornea or a detached retina, which is serious. I warned him to see a doctor right away, which he did. The doc seemed to feel that it might be ok. Nai said he would send me an email, written by his friend, explaining what the doc told him. He’s pretty despondent right now and weak, but I hope he’ll get through it all ok.