Burma (or Myanmar, as it was renamed by its military-led government in 1989) is a country of 50 million people. It has an extremely long coastline along the Indian Ocean, and is bounded by India and Thailand to the east and west. The north is bounded by mountains and beyond them, China. But despite its location and its vast natural resources, it is one of the poorest countries in the world.
Last month, on September 27, a movement of peaceful protest instigated by monks, over worsening economic conditions, was suppressed by the killing of an unknown number of protesters, including a Japanese photographer who continued to take photographs as he lay dying the street. (The government claims that nine people were killed, but other sources indicate that there may have been as many as 200 deaths.) Since then thousands of suspected protest instigators have been arrested and incarcerated.
This is a tragic reminder of the general protests and tragic repercussions of the 8/8/88, a general protest march which started on the eighth minute of the eighth hour on August 8, 1988. The military crushed this peaceful uprising by shooting directly into crowds and killing over 2000 people. General Ne Win, the country's military leader at the time, simply commented "When an army shoots, it doesn't shoot in the air. It shoots to kill."
Ne Win is no longer alive, but the severe repression that began when he took power in 1962 continues. In a 1990 election, the NLD, The National League for Democracy, won 82% of the parliamentary seats. The military junta refused to recognize these results, and its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has since received the Nobel Peace Prize, has been under almost constant house arrest ever since.
The Himalayas are a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. The greater span of the range includes the Himalaya proper, the Karakoram, the Hindu Kush, and a host of minor ranges, which spells a transition from lush forests to ice and snow. The mountain range is home to the world's tallest peaks with over one-hundred exceeding 7,200 metres (including Mt. Everest).
Of colour, the rich browns of the mountains, their snow-capped tops that resemble white clouds, lush greens of the lowland forests, stretches of blue sky, and the teals found in the rushing, life-giving rivers are just waiting to be discovered. Although it's not the same as being there -- to see these wonderful earth tones -- let's take a journey through pictures to the largest mountain range on planet Earth.
The Himalayas stretch across the six nations of Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Their peaks and valleys hold the sources of three of major river systems in the world, being the Indus basin, the Ganga-Brahmaputra basin and the Yangtze basin. This teal-green supply of silt-rich water allows for so much to grow around it, as it passes its wealth down the spider-web rivers to even more fertile lands, allowing for the greens of plant-life to flourish.
What happens when an eccentric architect has the soul of a painter? He drafts a technicolour blueprint and creates elaborate canvasses out of brick and mortar. Portmeirion, the celebrated Italianate village on the west coast of Wales, and famous location of the 60’s cult television series “The Prisoner,” was built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis as a retirement project.
If Rainbows Were Architecture
The fairy-tale hamlet he created (30 years before Disneyland) is like a three-dimensional picture postcard exhibiting an unparalleled array of colours. Portmeirion is often cited as an example of “picturesque architecture.” Picturesque simply means that something is proper to be pictured. In the picture that is Portmeirion, foreground and background are the real ground of a rainbow we can walk through.
Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The estimated population in July 2007 was 28,674,757. Although the culture is primarily Amerindian and Spanish, traditionally, it has been influenced in its cooking, clothing, music, dance, and art by a number of African, Asian, and European ethnic groups. Because of this blending, Peru is a country so vibrant in colour.
Please see the bottom of this post for how you can help in the Earthquake Relief Efforts in Pisco, Peru.
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the world's largest coral reef system, composed of roughly 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for 2,600 kilometers (1,616 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometers (132,974 sq mi). The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia, and can be seen from space.
From jellyfish to whales and a wide variety of fish, the reef supports such a diversity of life, including many rare, endangered species. The reef has skeleton deposits dating back half-a-million years, but among these deposits lives a world of colour. Coral alone can be from red to blue, and even white. Despite its stone appearance, coral is actually alive and growing. Corals have been growing in the region for as long as 25 million years, but have not always formed coral reef structures. Four-hundred species of corals, both hard corals and soft, are found on the reef.
Colorful Sea Life of the Great Barrier Reef
More than 1500 species of fish live on the reef, including the Clownfish (below), Red Bass, Red-Throat Emperor, and several species of Snapper and Coral Trout.
The Big Island, also known as the Island of Hawaii is an amazingly beautiful place and I was lucky enough to call it home for the first 17 years of my life. The Big Island is made up of just about every different type of landscape you can imagine... Volcanoes and Deserts... Rainforests and Grasslands... Beaches and Valleys... even Mountains and Snow...
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The Big Island was home to King Kamehameha the Great, who by the early 1800s had united most of the Hawaiian Islands under his rule. He named his Kingdom Hawaii after his native island... leading to the confusion we have today with the Island of Hawaii in the state of Hawaii. It wasn't until 1959 that Hawaii became the 50th State of the U.S.
Color Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii
The Big Island has surf breaks on just about every side of the Island. The warm tropical waters and hot afternoon sun make any day surfing a great day surfing.
The Scottish Highlands are one of the most sparsely populated regions in Europe and are popularly described as the most scenic. The winding roads guide travelers and residents alike through purple-speckled mountain ranges, tall forests, rolling hills and along lake sides.
Like Ireland, the Highlands are lush with green grasses, but also see a number of colorful shrubs. Most commonly purple, heather -- a type of perennial shrub -- sweeps the area, from mountain tops to roadsides, also appearing in a range from white to pink, and sometimes even red, contrasting with the surrounding green meadows and forests. Although they may brown, the heathers' flowers don't necessarily fall. Other shrubs that sweep the Scottish Highlands range from grey to brown and green to yellow, but when the rain comes, the hills are alive with a vivid green.
The Painted Desert stretches itself across Arizona from the Grand Canyon to the Petrified Forest, and runs along and to the north of the Little Colorado and the Puerco Rivers. Although the Navajo and the Hopi people have lived in this area for one thousand years at least, the name 'Painted Desert' was given by the Spaniards because of its beautifully colored strata.
The colors of the desert are layers upon layers of strata comprised of minerals and organic decaying material, both plants and animals. These hardened dunes, mesas, and buttes can be found through out the badlands, and are distinct because of their bold bands of red, orange, yellow, and grey. Even more dramatic, sunrise and sunrise paint the desert even bolder with glowing reds and oranges, and twilight seizes the strata with its deep blues.