BOSTON Reflections

Boston downtown area has many tall glass buildings which act as perfect mirrors with right angle of the sun. It presents some interesting photo opportunities, like the one below.

The day when I took this photo was perfectly sunny with clear blue skies. I just played a bit here with textures to make it a bit more moody.

Click me!!!

Posted in Boston, Massachusetts | Tagged | 6 Comments

Antalya Sunrise

We are planning on doing a short trip to Florida for Thanksgiving and while we are not going to see or experience warm waters like we did on this hot day in Turkey, it will be considerably much warmer than what another cold front brings us, which about to come down from Canada and will put most of the East coast into freezing temperatures.

Click me!!!

Posted in Antalya, Turkey | Tagged | 7 Comments

Old New

While walking in Phnom Penh I saw this contrasting scene. Not sure how long this house will remain to be there, probably not much longer. This is what happens to the old districts in down towns of developing cities, they disappear and get replaced with something more modern, even it the modern is not much prettier than old.

Click me!!!

Posted in Cambodia, Phnom Penh | Tagged | 11 Comments

Biltmore Magic

I’m on a business trip in Michigan at the moment with 20F temperatures outdoors and some snow on the ground, cold. I thought that posting this photo and then checking it once or twice the next day (that is today) would warm me up a bit and remind about nicer days in late summer. One of those magic days at Biltmore Estate.

Click me!!!

Posted in Asheville, Biltmore House, North Carolina | Tagged | 18 Comments

Bronze Girl

I kind of like this statue and on a few occasions I had a chance to visit New Orleans and French Quarter I tried to swing by her and take a look. It is another place where people like to take their selfies with. I’m not into selfies, can’t share any of those, but if you are, then you can Photoshop your smug into this photo if you like and pretend that you were in French Quarter. Well, hopefully no one would go that far.

Click me!!!

Posted in Louisiana, New Orleans | Tagged | 7 Comments

Tuck Tucks In Cambodia

Tuck Tucks are one of the primary transportation choices in Cambodian cities. They are everywhere and drivers are in your face asking if you need a ride. There are lot of them and all of them need business so they hassle tourists to no end about potential ride. At first it was kind of interesting, but after one week in Phnom Penh it was getting on my nerves. I like to walk the city, observe it at my own pace. It means that at every corner I’d be hassled by Tuck Tuck drivers or motorbike riders asking about if I want a ride. When it happens a few dozen times per day, even so most of them I’d take with humor, some of them were very annoying.

Unfortunately there are no other public transportation options to get from one place to another. You either walk or you have to take a ride in Tuck Tuck. Walking can be somewhat hazardous, it is very hot, there are very few sidewalks, and even if there some, they would be occupied by parked cars or bikes and the traffic on the road is very intense. So walking has its own challenges, even so you can walk most of the parts of Phnom Penh in about 30-45 minutes. To take a Tuck Tuck around Phnom Penh is usually cost somewhere from $2 to $4, you have to negotiate it before you get into it. At first it appears to be very inexpensive, but since you take it almost anywhere you go, it can run up easily up to $16-24 per day. Suddenly it is not that cheap to get around.

Negotiate and clearly agree on the price. One day I was walking early morning around the Royal Palace, minding my own business, thinking about going back to hotel and catch free breakfast. Tuck Tuck driver started talking to me and offering a ride. I declined and continued to walk. Minute or so later he turned around and was driving Tuck Tuck against the traffic next to me asking if I visited all the places in Phnom Penh. I told him that I’m not interested and he should move along at which point I turned into one of the streets. He didn’t have turn to it and I thought I got rid of this guy. A few minutes later I hear him back again talking and asking if I need a ride and asking if I have been to the Killing Fields (they all  seems to want to take you there). It was 7AM, so I thought that maybe I can check it off my list and visit it, so I asked how much it would be to go there. Killing Fields are about 7-8 kilometers from Phnom Penh and travel book said that it should be about $10-20 to visit it. This one tells me $15. So I think it is ok and decide to take a ride. This was a mistake. I did not negotiate with him, maybe because I already been talking to him on and off for the last ten minutes, and more importantly didn’t clearly specify that $15 is a round trip. About 10-15 minutes later we arrived at the Killing Fields. Guess what? First question he popped out – if I wanted to ride with him back as well, and that would be another $15. I was cut a little of guard, truly thinking that $15 was a round trip deal. I expressed it to the guy. Back and force. He was not agreeing so I started pulling out $15 cash to pay him for my ride and telling him to go. At this point he started saying “okay, okay, okay” and not taking my money, which I took as agreement for $15 round trip. Not so. Hour or so later when we got back to Phnom Penh and started giving him $15, at which point he started saying that I must pay him $30. There was large crowd of Cambodians gathered around, listening to our verbal conflict. So I had no idea (still don’t) what is the right way to resolve conflict with Tuck Tuck drivers about disputed price of the ride. There were dozen or so of the locals all talking in Khmer, me telling in English that we agreed on $15, while driver insists on $30 and does not accept anything less. I probably could leave $15 and just go away, but being there only for couple days at that point I had no idea what could happen if I did that. So after about five minutes of that spectacle I put $30 on his seat and walked away.

This whole thing left really unpleasant taste about Phnom Penh Tuck Tuck drivers, as I felt he took advantage of me. It’s not that I paid extra $15, not much, its more about being cheated, which is what I felt about that guy, and feeling stupid for failing negotiate round trip price before I took the ride.

On the positive note we had completely opposite experience in Siem Reap just couple days prior to it, where we hired Tuck Tuck driver for entire day for $20, for entire day for that much. Very nice guy. So not all of them are trying to take advantage of you.

Click me!!!

Posted in Cambodia, Phnom Penh | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Ghosts of Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is a crowed place. Any time of the day. At sunrise a few thousand people descent there to see the sun coming from behind the temple and it does not get any less crowded later on in the day as bigger buses come with many more tourists. I was really surprised at how many people were there for sunrise. Our tuck-tuck picked us up from hotel in Siem Reap at 5AM, and as we were getting closer to the entrance of Angkor Wat, more and more tuck-tucks joined us in the same direction. Dozens of them. By the time we offloaded at the entrance to it there were hundreds of people walking towards the temple.

I took this photo because of the little reflection in the water, ignoring all the people. It was a quick shot before I moved closer the temple as well. Later on we had a chance to spend some time in the temple and walk through thousand years old halls and tunnels. Last night as I looked at this photo it gave me feeling that all those walking shadows are from centuries of people who once walked on these stones and long ago been dead.

Click me!!!

Posted in Angkor Wat, Cambodia | Tagged | 11 Comments