A walk inside Wat Pho, Bangkok

Irene and I went for a lovely stroll in Wat Pho and stared in awe at the Reclining Buddha. We also came across two ladies who were dressed up in pretty outfits. They allowed me to take their photos and I promised to share them when I got back to South Africa. So this afternoon when I stared at the 50 GB of photos I brought back with me I thought let me start with where I had made promises to people.

Wikipedia: “Wat Pho (Thai: วัดโพธิ์, IPA: [wát pʰoː]), also spelt Wat Po, is a Buddhist temple complex in the Phra Nakhon District, Bangkok, Thailand. It is on Rattanakosin Island, directly south of the Grand Palace.[2] Known also as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, its official name is Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn[1] (Thai: วัดพระเชตุพนวิมลมังคลารามราชวรมหาวิหาร; rtgsWat Phra Chettuphon Wimonmangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan; IPA: [wát pʰráʔ tɕʰê:t.tù.pʰon wíʔ.mon.maŋ.kʰlaː.raːm râːt.tɕʰá.wɔː.ráʔ.má.hǎː.wíʔ.hǎːn]).[3] The more commonly known name, Wat Pho, is a contraction its older name Wat Photaram (Thai: วัดโพธาราม; rtgsWat Photharam).[4]

The temple is first on the list of six temples in Thailand classed as the highest grade of the first-class royal temples.[5][6] It is associated with King Rama I who rebuilt the temple complex on an earlier temple site, and became his main temple where some of his ashes are enshrined.[7] The temple was later expanded and extensively renovated by Rama III. The temple complex houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand, including a 46 m long reclining Buddha. The temple was also the earliest centre for public education in Thailand, and still houses a school of Thai medicine. It is known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage which is still taught and practiced at the temple.[8]

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Fort Cochin

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“India has always had a strange way with her conquerors. In defeat, she beckons them in, then slowly seduces, assimilates and transforms them.” ~ William Dalrymple, White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India

The dusty, tarred and paved alleys / roads of Fort Cochin especially in and closer to the old town / harbour entrance can be explored at a leisurely pace for hours on end. On my first visit I ended up getting lost and walking with a heavy backpack for an extra few kilometres. Some great little snack bars and restaurants can be found in this area, which is mostly alcohol free (I did find one official bar doing limited sales). Late afternoon through the road network ending with an ice-cream is a must-do. Morning walks are also great and present some lovely photo opportunities with golden rays striking through the alleys and trees. Think… relaxing lazy days, market buzz in the distance, dogs napping nearby, the odd fly buzzing around and crows waiting for a titbit: I love India! Further along the dusty, tarred and paved alleys / roads of Fort Cochin is the promenade where people gather at the waterfront to exercise, socialise and or just watch the sun go down. I said earlier that Fort Cochin could be described as the cutest little town I have discovered this far in India; it’s maybe also the most “innocent”. The photo below is of two bicycles parked off while their owners watch the sun slowly go down. A gent is seen reading in the background with two passers-by heading along the dusty sand pathway.

Canon South Africa 6D, F4, 1/250 sec, ISO 320

Happy New Life (not happy new year)

I really try hard not to send rubbish out and especially at a time when some of you really believe or strongly hope that upon the changing of a year things will change for the better for you. No shallow well-wishes or videos with nursery rhymes this time around. 
 
The love of my life found this and I am now sharing it with you. It’s written by an author I enjoy and I have added one of my photos from 2015 that hit home for me; it’s called “Live a Life You’ll Remember” after a song. 
 
Read and consume the information below; contemplate it. 
 
“One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through.
 
Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters – whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.
 
Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents’ house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?
 
You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened.
 
You can tell yourself you won’t take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that.
 
But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister.
 
Everyone is finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.
 
Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away.
 
That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home.
 
Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts – and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.
 
Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them.
 
Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.
 
Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood.
 
Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.
 
Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the “ideal moment.”
 
Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back.
 
Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person – nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need.
 
This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.
 
Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life.
 
Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust.
 
Stop being who you were, and change into who you are” ~ Paulo Coelho (must read: The Alchemist)
 
If this inspired you just a little then read further and listen below why the song inspired me:
 
“Hey, once upon a younger year
When all our shadows disappeared
The animals inside came out to play
Hey, went face to face with all our fears
Learned our lessons through the tears
Made memories we knew would never fade
 
One day my father—he told me,
“Son, don’t let it slip away.”
He took me in his arms, I heard him say,
 
“When you get older
Your wild heart will live for younger days
Think of me if ever you’re afraid.”
 
He said, “One day you’ll leave this world behind
So live a life you will remember.”
My father told me when I was just a child
These are the nights that never die
My father told me
 
When thunder clouds start pouring down
Light a fire they can’t put out
Carve your name into those shining stars
He said, “Go venture far beyond these shores.
Don’t forsake this life of yours.
I’ll guide you home no matter where you are.”
 
One day my father—he told me,
“Son, don’t let it slip away.”
When I was just a kid I heard him say,
 
“When you get older
Your wild heart will live for younger days
Think of me if ever you’re afraid.”
 
He said, “One day you’ll leave this world behind
So live a life you will remember.”
My father told me when I was just a child
These are the nights that never die
My father told me
 
These are the nights that never die
My father told me
Hey, hey”
 
Link to song: click here
Live a Life (Large)
 

South Bank PSJ (Port St John’s)

“Great kings and emperors are reduced to dust. Scientists and philosophers disappear. Athletes and sportsmen come and go. Memory and intelligence fade away. Youth and beauty, fame and possessions, power and pelf disappear. Mountains crumble. O man, this world is illusory. Seek God and enjoy eternal bliss” ~ Sri Swami Sivananda

web23 (Large)

Port St Johns river mouth – Umzimvubu River

Baby Canon South Africa 550D, Sigma South Africa 10-20mm, F10, 1/100 sec, ISO 100

The Mighty Umzimvubu

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart” ~ Helen Keller

Web Prepared (Large)

I’ve honestly never found anything appealing about the river mouth at Port St Johns. Perhaps on two previous occasions I’ve stopped there before sunrise and thought “no way am I shooting here”.

Understandably, I felt just a little disappointed when top photographer John Costello of John Costello Photography, who I had just met face-to-face, said we would shoot the river mouth the next morning. I did not want to be rude or seem unappreciative so I said “that would be great”. In the back of my head I was thinking that a shoot was about to be wasted. But it was an opportunity to shoot with a really good photographer.

I should have had more faith, lots more faith in John who surprisingly showed me many wonders and specialities of the mouth in a stretch of maybe 400m. He pointed out things that I, as a busy city boy, couldn’t see (feel).

Strangely enough, I met another photographer the night before who gave me a lecture on “feelings” and “emotions” in photographs. There are no coincidences in life so I made a mental note to strive more on “feeling” before just pulling the trigger.

John told me the colour in the sky on the morning of the shoot was not the best and, yes, I did battle with the RAW photo files when I got home. The photo below has been edited to get a little closer to my infamous orange (yellow) that I so like (but not some others). Lol.. John also told me that it’s very important to take / process photos that you as the photographer / artist like, and not try keep the “experts” happy. John still snorted “what experts!!”. PS – John if I’ve misquoted you please correct in the comments below 🙂

Baby Canon South Africa 550D with Sigma South Africa 10-20mm – F10, 6 sec (sky 0.8 sec), ISO 100. Final touches with Raya Pro Panel (https://snapflycook.wordpress.com/…/raya-pro-panel-a-new-p…/) by Jimmy Mcintyre

5 Star Durban Amapondo IBackpackers Amapondo Backpackers Outspan Inn Spottedgrunterresort Port St Johns Community of Port St Johns, Wild Coast Amapondo backpackers Port St Johns Rotary Club of Port St JohnsCremorne Estate, Port St Johns Port St John Fishing Port St. Johns SA-People – for South Africans in South Africa and expats The Transkei Wild Coast Wild Coast

Various in Durban

“Those who have even a little control over their thoughts and speech will have a calm, serene, charming face and sweet voice. Their eyes will be lustrous. Our thoughts, emotions and words create vibrations in every cell of the body and leave an impression there. So raise the right thought and lead a happy life” ~ Sri Swami Sivananda

It’s a cloudy and windy day in Durban. It might even be cold but I’m not venturing out right now to see for myself. Instead, I’m going to processsome photos and learn at least one new Photoshop skill. Before I get into that, I needed to have a little cleanup of the litter on my desktop.. photos I’ve worked on but not posted (one or two might have appeared before but I’ve lost track). All photos were taken in and around Durban.

Golden Mile - Copy (Large) I Pray - Copy (Large) Into the Night - COPY (Large) La Vue - Copy (Large) Madevu - Copy (Large) Morning Golden Mile - Copy (Large) Pigeon Parking - Copy (Large) Pray then Play - Copy (Large) Smith Street - Copy (Large) Wilson's Rise - Copy (Large) Wilson's Wharf - Copy (Large) Yacht Sunrise - Copy (Large)