Prayer Flags at a Buddhist Monastery In the Ancient Holy city of Anuradhapura, a UNESCO world heritage site
This week’s #FriFotos theme is “symbols” and there are several here in Sri Lanka I thought were worth sharing.
A group of monks in Anuradhapura wearing saffron & paprika colored robes, which are traditional symbols of Theravada Buddhist monks in Southeast Asia.
Couple with a camera at the Top of the Rock
I was in New York City for a few days last week and the frigid January temperatures made traditional street photography both unpleasant and not practical. I found myself shooting pictures from places I was sheltered from the elements (like the back of taxis and behind windscreens at Top of the Rock). I’ve pulled together my favorite images from the trip into this photo essay.
I never get tired of taking pictures of tourists taking pictures. I shot this couple on the viewing deck of Top of the Rock. Shot with ProCamera and edited with CrossProcess App.
Views of Midtown, shot from (Left) Top of the Rock and (right) a taxi
A hipstamatic view from the Top of the Rock
New York City has many urban treasures, among them a few fabulous observation deck views.
The Top of the Rock Observatory might not be as well known as the Empire State Building’s, but the views it offers are (in my opinion) a bit better. Located on the 67th-69th floor of Rockefeller Center, Top of the Rock underwent a $75 million dollar renovation before re-opening to the public in 2005. This recent renovation included outfitting the deck with glass windshields which give more clear lines of sight to the urban landscape below.
Located between 49th and 50th streets, Top of the Rock gives you clear views of Central Park, the Empire State Building, and a glimpse of the deco jewel of the Chrysler Building.
Rainy Day in Singapore Panorama of the Marina Bay Harbourfront
While I’ve had my share of spectacular views and gorgeous Tahitian sunsets in the past few months, I wanted to use this special FriFotos “view” edition to focus on a different travel reality that cares nothing about if you’re paying a luxury price point… and that is rain.
My trip to Singapore in early December was incredibly rainy, which gave the glistening southeast Asian banking city-state an extremely interesting vibe, and made for some spectacular pictures. There is nothing like a tropical downpour to make you want to curl up and give in to the jet lag, and focus on taking a long nap and reviewing the comfort of your hotel’s bed. Instead, I fought the urge and headed to Lantern, the uber-stylish rooftop bar at the exquisite Andre Fu-designed Fullerton Bay Hotel.
A Dark & Stormy at Latern
Even in the rain, you could tell the the rooftop pool at the Fullerton Bay is beyond cool, complete with hot tubs with panoramic views of Singapore’s Central Business District. The hotel is set on the Marina Bay waterfront and has a gorgeous view of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the ArtScience Museum among the most distinctive buildings in the skyline.
Latern is delightful, even in the middle of a tropical storm. The floors were slick with rain and bright orange umbrellas are set outside the elevators to cover you until you get to your table. The music they play is interesting– some really good cuts combined with the worst K-Pop covers of your favorite tunes, which made me very curious to stick around to see what was next on the song rotation. Latern has a great cocktail menu and, to fit with the weather, I ordered a Dark & Stormy (made with dark rum, citrus and ginger beer). When the rain got even heavier after the first round, I decided it was time to try some of the tapas.
As a general rule, I prefer appetizers to entrees and like the pupu platter concept of trying a bunch of small plates. Sometimes when you’re at a seriously cool bar, the food is not that great. Fortunately, that is not the case at Lantern (or really, anywhere in Singapore. You eat well in this city). The satay with peanut sauce was delicious, as one would expect in this part of the world. The signature duck spring rolls with chili dip were delicate and crispy and a nice contrast to the soggy weather. The mini Wagyu burgers were exceptional enough that my husband and I went back for another plate of them later during our stay.
One of the things you need to make peace with as a traveler is that you can’t control the weather. No doubt Lantern is even more spectacular on a sunny day or clear night. I know I’m dying to swim in that pool the next time I’m in the city. But the view was pretty interesting, rainy day quirks and all, and it was a delightful place to spend a few hours on a rainy afternoon in Singapore. It’s worth a visit even if you’re not staying at the hotel.
Poolside on a Rainy Day
The Marina Bay Waterfront on a Rainy evening
Pool Next to Lantern, at evening when the rain had cleared. Pretty nice, huh?
Address: Rooftop at The Fullerton Bay Hotel, 80 Collyer Quay, Singapore
Reservations: +65. 6597 5299
Earlier this month I traveled to Yangon, Myanmar (formerly known as Rangoon, Burma), where I spent two great mornings photographing Shwedagon Pagoda, a gilded stupa that is the most sacred site for Burmese Buddhists. In a country whose per capita income is probably about $379 US, you might be surprised at the amount of bling and sparkle on display at this holy site. Legend states that this pagoda has existed for some 2,600 years, making it possibly the oldest historical stupa in the world.
It’s always such a contrast seeing monks in simple ochre robes and nuns wrapped in pink cloth praying to glitzy, sparkly Buddha statues. Visiting at sunrise gives you an opportunity to see a wide cross section of Burmese society doing their morning prayers and offerings, as well as visiting pilgrims from other countries. My favorite surprise was seeing monks on “dome shining” duty, walking barefoot up on the 344 foot high dome, buffing the gold to make it sparkle.
These domes reminded me of those I saw earlier this year at St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine.
The top spire of Shwedagon is 638 feet high
A hall of blinged out Buddhas
Before sunrise at Shwedagon Pagoda
Morning offerings and monks on dome shining duty making sure Shwedagon sparkles
A man burns joss sticks as part of his morning ritual.
at 5:30 am, Shwedagon is open and filled with the faithful, with the golden domes sparkling in the morning light.
This man washed a Buddha statue as part of his morning prayers.
Golden Buddhas and gilded roofs contrast with the barefoot worshippers
Monks shining the dome of Shwedagon
Portrait of three young Buddhist nuns who posed for me in front of sparkly lights