climbing mount olympus

for our final weekend in greece, we climbed mount olympus. mount olympus, the highest mountain in greece at 2,918.8 meters, is the legendary home of the greek gods (zeus, hera, poseidon, demeter, athena, apollo, artemis, ares, aphrodite, hephaestus, hermes, and dionysus. the god of the underworld, hades, stayed home). according to the mythology, the jagged peak of olympus, stefani, was zeus’ throne, and the gods threw up obstacles to keep mortals from reaching the heights, but we were not to be dissuaded. scenery on the way up. our group started our ascent on friday from the “village” of prionia, which…

more exploring tinos

we took a long hike on the second day we were in tinos, using a guide that abby found on the web. the guide incorporated the marked hiking paths on the island, but also included byways that the author had found on his own excursions. tinos is dotted with dovecotes, buildings that shelter pigeons. the venetians introduced pigeon-breeding to tinos and other cycladic islands, for the meat. especially during the second world war, pigeon meat was very popular. the majority of them standing today are from the 18th and 19th centuries. some of them are well maintained while others have…

going for the gold day 3, including live at the apollo (part 5)

i woke up in parikia, had an entirely adequate breakfast, and set off on the bike again to look for a local church and some caves. the church was easy to find – it was visible from the main town – but since the road didn’t actually go along the coast, i had an early dose of hill riding/pushing to do. again, the area was pretty empty because tourist season hasn’t started yet. my first stop was agios fokas, a small church located 6 km from town. the church itself isn’t particularly notable – it’s a typical chapel – but…

street photography in chengdu, sort of

as i was running around the streets, taking photos, i was struck forcefully by how many people were using their phones to take photos. more generally, i noticed how many younger people in particular had their eyes fixed on their screens, even when they were in groups. at the risk of sounding like an old fogey (and a hypocrite), this struck me as a serious problem. if steve jobs had wanted to enslave the population by turning them into appendages of technological devices, he succeeded. as something refreshingly not telephonic, here is a photo of two girls and their dad…

playing outside

after a week, i returned to chengdu, to begin work. the state department measures the quantity of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and suspended particulate matter in the air at its china missions and publishes an air quality index daily.  for most of the time i was in chengdu, the air was rated “unhealthy,” with index values over 150 and particulate matter concentrations of 50 μg/m3. (as of the date that i’m writing this, the aqi in chengdu is 186; by comparison, the new york city region’s aqi is 38.) i was warned off exercising outside, but even just walking…

migrants and refugees (1)

earlier this month, i went to the port of piraeus with volunteers from caritas, a catholic charity that provides a variety of services to the refugees coming into athens. the volunteers were there to advertise caritas’ offerings (clothing distribution, a soup kitchen, english and greek lessons, psycho-social counseling, etc.) to the people coming off the ferry from lesvos, and i was there to photograph the scene. i used my leica m6 and ilford hp5 film because i enjoy the challenge of shooting with a fully manual rangefinder. ironically, i also took some photos with my fujifilm x100s, which is a rangefinder-like digital camera with auto-focus…