1. The Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
The above was taken with my back toward the Blue Mosque, near a tea vendor with a giant metal contraption strapped to his back.
Inside, below, notice the Arabic script for both Muhammed and Allah (I think), sharing stage time with the Virgin Mary looking down with Jesus from above. It’s
two, two, two churches in one. (Actually, it’s now a museum,
reflecting almost 1500 years of Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and
Islam, now in one cool secular building.)
2. The Cape of Good Hope, Western Province, South Africa
Dang, that’s a cool cliff. The baboon thing was about twenty minutes later.
Not on the cape; just a cool double-rainbow I saw driving to Johannesburg, so, well, here. I swear I haven’t tinkered with the color — and it was like that from horizon to horizon.
3. Bruny Island, Tasmania, Australia
Fairy penguins as viewed through night-vision goggles. You must do this sometime.
Beware! It’s the Giant Demon Bunny of Bruny Island! Run for your lives! (Actually, it’s also known as the albino wallaby. Sounds a lot less scary, though.)
4. Besakih Temple, Bali, Indonesia
Bali. Words fail. A difficult place, though, because even months after the bombings everybody seemed to be palpably hurting.
I’m pretty sure this was actually in the middle of a traffic circle. Bali is what you might call a god-rich environment.
Incidentally, the Man Sarong, while mandatory in the temple where this was taken, is not a look I intend to pursue.
5. Avana Harbour, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Supposedly a bunch of Maori guys hopped in their canoes near this spot and paddled across open ocean all the way to New Zealand.
Hard to see why anyone would leave, though.
Although, sadly, I had to eventually myself. I was glad not to be using a canoe. This is the Rarotonga airport, or most of the terminal, anyway. And those bags were actually more than I needed for the whole trip. Pack light.
6. Sibelius Monument, Helsinki, Finland
Sibelius monument, proctology view.
A better angle. The teeny blob at left holding up a cell camera is my former Jeopardy opponent and now dear friend Leslie Shannon, whom I adore. The game where we met is in the book. (We actually had our first conversation onstage at Radio City Music Hall. How much fun is that?) Also she laughs like this: giggiggiggigg. Man, she’s cool to hang with.
7. Batu Caves, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Is this a great place for a Hindu temple, or what? And look, over there! — it’s Harrison Ford being chased by a boulder!
Must. Go. Now. To. Airport.