mud brick structures of the southwest usa

close up of adobe wall in taos

a thousand years old, taos, in modern day new mexico, was around the same time as the chaco culture center. the adobe houses make for a less grand city compared to chaco but the adobe houses are quite nice. Other examples of continuously habited towns that are world heritage sites include Vigan (disappointingly small though), Hoi An in Vietnam (again, a bit unimpressive) and the very excellent Lijiang in China. Sorry I was on film then so i can't post pictures)

mud roofing technology in mesa verde
bridge in hoi an

creature feature

the prairie dog

the small manta i saw in tubbataha is still bigger than me (about the size of 5 people if placed side by side.) it is a manta and not a stingray because you can easily see the head's separate from the body whereas a stingray's head is like on the uh, body.

we approach a small school of fish

small school of fish begin to attack me

fellow diver is engulfed by the fish and is horribly eaten

the whale sharks that i saw in donsol were as large as a motorized bangka. the plankton-rich water however made photography difficult.


american vintage travel posters part 2 + 1 for borneo

close up

there is actually much more to the "lost idol of sarawak" than is illustrated in the poster, as you can see from the pictures. it is a sort of tree coffin and wasn't ever lost, i think.
i went looking for this all over borneo and didn't see it throughout the entire breadth of the island. i thought it didn't exist and was about to go to peninsular malaysia but then located it.

since i cannot find the exact place in the postcard, i just posted a picture representative of bryce

this is the volcano now

placard at the volcano site .

american vintage travel posters.
The spectacular lake of lava in Volcano National Park hasn't existed for more than a 100 years so I had to settle for a modern day shot. Mark Twain supposedly saw it like this.

aerial shot
i believe the maximum height you can achieve with adobe structures is 4 storeys and the Square Tower (pictured) cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde demonstrates this. It cannot be approached from the angle in the postcard, so i had to settle for an aerial shot. the cliff dwellings (there are many in the area) were an evolution of the Greathouse architecture from the american indians. it actually kind of seems like a "step down" to me but i'm sure they had their reasons. of course, it could also be why the anasazi disappeared right after. this is around 1200 AD already.
For my Bryce & Grand Canyon pictures, the park rangers couldn't place the area and just told me that they were artistic renditions, which i don't necessarily believe. i am of the opinion they are actual photos reduced to 3 or 4 colors (it can be done by macromedia fireworks (and probably corelphoto-paint & adobe photoshop as well)

Producing color photograph posters would've been cost-prohibitive in that era so it would've been more economically feasible to make these reduced color ones which look like paintings, but aren't. furthermore, you could see i was able to find the others which were more or less accurate. the hawaii poster does demonstrate artistic renditions are possible, but given the relative permanent nature of the stone sites of Bryce & the Grand Canyon, i am inclined to think otherwise

off the beaten path

in the picture (i apologize for the overexposure) you can see a tree suspended precariously over a vertical drop. these small vertical hills (say 30 feet) are all over the area where Java man was found, (near the cities of Solo and Yogyakarta, Indonesia) so i guess it made finding things a little easier. the picture is the actual site of the find. i have never seen an area with so many small sheer vertical hills.

the killing fields is a sober place to visit, just 15 minutes from pnomh penh. the exact number of deaths is in debate, but the number puts pol pot in hitler's league. mass graves surround the marker (some are pictured beside the memorial, bottom.) i went there expecting a sad place but when you get there the sheer scale and number of the pictures & remains of the victims of the holocaust will overwhelm you.
close by and somewhat inappropriate, is a firing range where i nonetheless tried an AK47. you can also do grenades.



Tornado of Fish

sipadan, made infamous by the kidnapping, is jacques cousteau's favorite dive destination* and mine as well.

Borneo has the finest diving I have seen, with large schools of fish that will engulf you like a net, as this school of barracuda did me.

Cold weather countries have their four seasons and apres-skiing hot cocoa. Tropical countries have the world's best underwater sites.

retracing old travel posters

I had to do detective work to find out that the arch in the poster labeled"See America" is actually in Arches National Park.

The White Throne in Zion was the easiest to find, but still not without some trouble.


Few civilizations are so culturally rich that they inspire great works in other countries.

One should note that Borobodur is a Buddhist temple and Prambanan is Hindu, though there has been a lot of idea exchanges between the two religions so you see similarities. Indeed, the temples were 'recycled' by the two for their own use in different eras, depending on which religion was in fashion

circa 1000AD

The people of the world a millennium ago used their knowledge of masonry to erect large residential structures. A limitation of the Anasazi and the Khmer civilizations was the lack of a "metal age" which would have allowed further building innovations

the khmers

angkor wat is merely part of a much larger area designated as the temples of angkor, with many temples built during different periods. One such separate structure, The Bayon, is characterized by scores of faces (each larger than a man) that smile benevolently at you .

american indians

Teepees are equated with American Indian residential units but it wasn't limited to this. The Chaco (Anasazi) built cities of stone called Great houses around 1000 AD (around the same time as the temples of Angkor & castles in Europe)Though mostly rubble now, it is a testament to their technological development. Size ranged around 3-4 acres.


geology hour

The Pinnacles, Gunung Mulu

halong bay

el nido

karst (limestone) formations in el nido and ha long bay are similar to those found in guilin/yangshuo (China).
the only other visually different type of limestone I have seen are the ones near Kunming, China (sorry on film) and the Pinnacles in Gunung Mulu Park, near Brunei. These look more fin like, rather than the regular, fat rock shape at the other places.

wind carved kinabalu summit and checkerboard zion

chocolate hills

in varying degrees of magnification, you can see that the chocolate hills of bohol are actually coral rather than karst formations such as you can see in ha long bay or el nido