Mainly Birds but A lot more minimalism: Less is More: Lens-Artists Challenge No 43

Thank you to Amy for hosting this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge where Less is More. Recently I did a study in black and white Minimalism For this challenge I will focus on colour.

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Noosa National Park

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Noosa Botanical Gardens

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Questions of Gender: 99 Word Flash Fiction

I was a girl. I wore dresses but I didn’t have those monthly cramps and pains my friends suffered. Lucky, I thought. Perhaps I was. Boys attracted me. I fell in love but no pregnancy happened for me. My friends all had babies, cooking and changing diapers. My husband cooked for me. My friends led a conventional life but I did what I wanted – no constraints were placed on me. Menopause came unnoticed. No mood swings or hot flushes unlike my friends. Lucky me I thought. Now I wonder as talk is of grandchildren – was I ever a woman?

In response to Charli’s prompt “gender”.

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Bridges Old and New: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

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Lennox bridge is the oldest stone bridge on the Australian mainland. It is located in the Blue Mountains and we were lucky enough to stumble across it when we were in Sydney recently.

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In 1831 Major Mitchell employed David Lennox, a recently arrived stonemason, to build a permanent road over the eastern escarpment of the Blue Mountains.

 

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With a gang of personally selected convicts and using local quarried stone the experimental bridge was finished in 1833.

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It was the first stone bridge built on the mainland and formed the major route over the mountains for the next 100 years and is still used today as a rather hairier way of traversing the mountains.

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In contrast a few days later whilst in China we saw one of the most modern bridges that I had seen.

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At first it was seen from a distance and along the banks of the river people fished as they probably had done for hundreds of years.

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Again out of the bus window.

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Finally I managed to capture it from a little closer. I think it is beautiful but then much in China I found beautiful.

In response to Cee’s Fun Foto prompt – Bridges

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Street Puddle: Wordless Wednesday

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In the Valley of the Kings: Travel Thoughts 9

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Roger and I woke at a reasonable hour the day we visited the Valley of the Kings. Those on the tour that had decided to forgo the pleasure of the balloon ride which took in all the sights of Luxor and surrounds as well as a glorious sunrise had been woken at 3am to head off on their adventure.

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Only four of us had declined the balloon trip and we had an adventure of our own that I valued possibly higher than being cramped in a balloon, fearful and desirous of jumping out.

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We went with our guide to a small village in the valley of the Kings area where we were going to collect the balloon riders. Our guide loved his water pipe so he settled us in a local cafe ordering coffee for us and a hookah for himself. Across the road was Spongebob – a baby clothes and adult fashion store. Was it called Spongebob because of the square pants or the sponge to mop up baby accidents.

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Once smoking our guide was happy.

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and we watched the woman (one of the few women we had seen working in Egypt) prepare our coffee.

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There was a constant parade of traffic past Spongebobs in both directions.

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Before our coffee was made the call came that the balloon had landed. We needed to be off. Our coffee was given to us in the bus in crockery cups that our guide promised to return later in the day. Over the rough roads we bumped at speed and we wore most of our boiling hot coffee.

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The trip along the way was fascinating with barren hills showing the evidence of recent digs for graves and I wondered if some were ancient houses dug into the hillside.

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As we got closer to where we were to pick up the ballooners we saw others coming in to land.

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and the furling of the balloon of those that had just landed. It looked like a mammoth task but there seemed to be plenty of hands helping.

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The Valley of the Kings is the burial ground of the kings, queens, high priests and nobles from 1539 – 1075 BC. The bodies were mummified to ensure that it could reanimate in the afterlife. Great treasures, as well as mundane household items and food were buried inside the tombs with the deceased for their life in the afterworld. We were driven by auto train into the depths of the valley and the feeling was surreal – and a little eerie.

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The cliffs towered up above us. It was in the Valley of the Kings I made my only mistake. I did not buy permission to take my camera as I considered the couple of hundred Australian dollars not to be worth it and our guide had promised someone who sold photos would meet us at the bus on our return thus being able to purchase some for a small amount.  I left my camera on the bus as it would have been confiscated but phones were permitted. They weren’t for cameras after all.

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We entered our first tomb. The man in gray at the door with the white turban  was a temple guard. They were stationed all through the tombs.

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On entering I knew I had made a big mistake. I have never seen such beauty and if I thought that the pyramids were going to be the most jaw dropping place we visited – I was wrong. I got out my phone and surrepticiously took some photos.

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If only I could read what these heiroglyphs said.

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I saw a temple guard arguing with a woman over the use of her mobile phone without camera permit. Money changed hands. I became a bit wary and when I saw a man pursued by a guard when he wouldn’t hand his phone over. He was caught at the entrance and his phone confiscated.

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My photography became blurred as I worried about the guards.

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There were no perfect shots to be had in this state of mind but I did see the guard coming towards me and I quickly turned my phone off. He came up and accused me of taking pictures. I lied – well kind of lied – I said show me the pictures I’m supposed to have taken. He grabbed the phone off me and of course it was turned off. He couldn’t get anything to come up. I said “See. I was just holding it.” I grabbed it back off him and said ” I’ll keep it in my bag so there is no question about what I am doing” and walked off, feeling guilty I had done the wrong thing but incredibly relieved that I had my phone back in one piece..

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The tombs became progressively more and more colourful. Inwardly I cried but who could be upset when being faced with the most beautiful sight I think I had ever seen painted on the walls of these underground burial chambers.

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Of course you had to pay extra to go into Tutankhamun’s tomb and again our guide had persuaded us that it wasn’t worth the visit. According to him the paintings weren’t that well preserved. That Tutankhamun was a minor king and not worthy of mention. The only reason he is known is because when Howard Carter discovered his tomb in 1922 it was the only intact tomb to have been discovered, most having been plundered years or centuries earlier. Naturally everything that was there has now been removed and the new museum in Cairo has replicated the tomb on site and all the treasures will be displayed.

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Until 2005 62 tombs had been discovered in the Valley of the Kings. There is evidence of digging everywhere in the area and 63 was finally discovered. It is believed that there are probably more to come.

If you are ever in Egypt make the Valley of the Kings a must visit. Buy a camera permit. The photos were a waste of time – not what I wanted to have in my photographic memory banks but the images inside those tombs will live with me forever.

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Bell Tents in the desert:Wordless Wednesday

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Takeaway Chinese: Delicious: Lens-Artists Challenge 41

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On a recent trip to China we found the food to be a little disappointing. I am quite convinced that there was wonderful food to be had but it was a cheap trip, assumed we wanted food like Starbucks, Macdonalds and Kentucky fried and the Chinese equivalents were located near these outlets. Not those that had the wonderful food. We did however go to a market where the food was delicious although it was all of a takeaway, snack variety. The sticks of potato scallopy things were wonderful. You’d never want to eat another bag of crisps after having these.

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Even the chicken feet looked inviting.

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Fruit on a stick – a healthy alternative.

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I’m not sure if these were olives or cherries or something altogether different.

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Octopus Balls – if you like dumplings you’d love these.

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Sweet potato – yum but not sure what the black and white is.

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Squid – I didn’t try it.

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Although we didn’t find much food that really made us drool the fruit was superb. Everywhere.

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And it was as cheap as chips – actually much cheaper than the chips in the first photograph. DE-licious.

Thanks to Patti for hosting this weeks Lens-Artists Challenge.

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