I wander in these busy streets and ask myself where do the shop owners will put all the things they have hanging outside their shops. Is there enough space inside to put everything they display outside? I enjoy these buzzing streets. I watch people negotiating prices. Shop owners counting their revenue for the day on calculators. People stopping to chat or arguing about the quality of some fabric. It’s all very lively.
It is getting late. The sun has set and the sky is turning quickly to dark blue. Soon it will be night. The street lights are not yet on. The shops are small. One next to each other. Few steps up from the road where cars, motorbikes, bicycles go to and from. The man in white was going to pick up his wrist watch. He had left it for repair a day or two before. During those couple of days he was constantly checking with his right hand the left wrist as if all of a sudden realised he had lost the watch his father gave me many years before. So, he was in a hurry to pick it up and feel again the familiar reassurance that old watch gave him.
“The street looks really nice with all these candle lights”, I said. “The atmosphere suddenly changed as soon as the sun set”, she said. “Just before sunset there were all these people walking quickly towards Boudhanath, to start walking around it and recite their prayers. They all see a bit in a rush. Now that is dark, they are quietly walking in the narrow streets near the pagoda where they stop to light these candles.”
“By prostrating before a stupa, we turn our face away from our egos and toward our enlightened nature. By circumambulating—walking around the stupa in a clockwise fashion and reciting prayers—we keep the image of enlightenment at the center of our attention.”
Boudhanath is a stupa in Kathmandu. Located about 11 km from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa’s massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal.
The Boudha Stupa dominates the skyline; it is one of the largest stupas in the world. The Stupa is on the ancient trade route from Tibet which enters the Kathmandu Valley by the village of Sankhu in the northeast corner, passes by Boudha Stupa to the ancient and smaller stupa of Charumati Stupa (often called “Little Boudhanath”). It then turns directly south, heading over the Bagmati River to Lalitpur – thus bypassing the main city of Kathmandu (which was a later foundation). Tibetan merchants have rested and offered prayers here for many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many decided to live around Boudhanath. The Stupa is said to entomb the remains of Kassapa Buddha (Wikipedia).
I was back in Kathmandu last April. I had not been back for many years. I lived there of a year in 1999-2000 when I started working in international development in food-for-work project funded by the German agency for international cooperation (GTZ at that time). This is why Nepal and Kathmandu are special places for me. The first night I was back, I went for a walk to Thamel to take some street photos. I stayed in Nepal for three weeks for work and will post over the next week or so some of the images I took.
On our way back from Lapland we had a stopover in Rovaniemi. We had enough time to visit the Arktikum, the science centre and museum about northern nature and culture. In one of the side rooms the museum has a photo exhibition about the 60 years of the city of Rovaniemi. It is a very simple display. One TV screen shows a slideshow of black and white photos about the 60 years of the city. I sat and started to watch it. I took my camera and started to take photos of the photos I was seeing. They are very nice images of everyday life, people and their jobs, sport, music, concerts. A great set of images about the city and its citizens.
You can see the images below. The images are straight out of the camera. The only edit has been the change of format from RAW into JPG. I have not cropped any image nor changed resolution or contrast.
The train was riding smoothly. Not too full. Only few people standing. It was difficult to tell the age of the man sitting few rows from me. he was probably younger than he looked. Scrappy beard. Worn out baseball hat. Oversize jeans. Old jacket. Metal rings to his hands. A bottle of beer half full in his right hand.
The was talking aloud but not anyone in particular. The other passengers let him speak. At one point he put the bottle between his feet and kicked it. The beer started to flow on the floor of the carriage. Passengers lifted their feet and took their bags. He began to speak with a loud voice. Getting angrier. The people next to him stood up and moved away which made him apparently angrier. He pointed his hands towards some of the other passengers and shouted things I could not understand.
All the seats next to him were empty now. Only one person remained sitting. A young girl. Who had taken the earplugs off and began to talk talk to him. He first shouted to her btu stopped almost immediately looking almost surprised that a young teenager would not be scared by his behaviour and anger fit. She spoke with a soft tone. No judgment. No anger. The train stopped. Two security guards appeared and took the man out from the train. He did no resist them. Before leaving the carriage he gave a last look at the young girl who was still sitting alone and was putting the earplugs back on.
The announcement was clear. The train from Milan that we had to catch was travelling with 55 min delay. Instead of 21:15, we would (maybe) leave by after 22:00. We were in Mantova. We had come from Ferrara and had been travelling for three days. We had walked a lot. Visited great cities. All we wanted was to get home. We had to kill time at an empty station where everything but the toilets was closed.
I started to think about the commuters to/from Milan who have to take this train everyday. Getting back home by 21:15 or 22:00 is really different, especially when you have to get on the train the following morning by 07:00. The kids are probably already sleeping when you get home and may be still asleep when you get up to get to the station in the morning. Then the frustration of the train being late every single day.
I walk to the toilet. A young woman with the cleaning cart is on the platform next to them and is chatting with a staff of the railways. There is no paper. I come out and ask her about paper. She says that the paper is finished. I see some paper on her cart and ask her if I can take it. She says she cannot give it to me as those are the last ones and the company that hires her has no money to buy more. She says that her salary has not been paid for for four months and adds that the railways have not been paying her company for the cleaning services they provide. The chap she is talking to nods as is he was to say: this is how things are in his country.
The speaker announces the arrival of the delayed train on track 4. We get there. The train slowly approaches the platform looking tired of being constantly late. The doors open after bip: bip, bip, bip. The commuters hurry off on their way to their homes knowing that tomorrow it will probably be the same.
Piazza delle Erbe is one of the many squares in the historic center of Padua. For centuries, with Piazza della Frutta, it was the commercial center of the city. In the two squares is one of the largest markets in Italy. Unlike Piazza dei Signori, the civic theater of celebrations, Piazza delle Erbe was the site of the folk festivities. The square is dominated by the imposing Palazzo della Ragione. The area was active in pre-Roman times. By the time of Imperial Rome, homes gave way to businesses. Its present design is from the tenth and eleventh centuries. The space was occupied by a number of shops and stalls selling all kinds of goods, from the edible to luxury goods. With the construction of the Palazzo della Ragione in the early thirteenth century that areas were assigned to specific types of goods. (Wikipedia)
The Pontifical Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica in Padova, dedicated to St. Anthony. Although the Basilica is visited as a place of pilgrimage by people from all over the world, it is not the titular cathedral of the city, a title belonging to the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Mary of Padua. The basilica is known locally as “il Santo”. It is one of the eight international shrines recognized by the Holy See. Construction of the Basilica probably began around 1232, just one year after the death of St. Anthony. It was completed in 1310 although several structural modifications (including the falling of the ambulatory and the construction of a new choir screen) took place between the end of the 14th and the mid-15th century. The Saint, according to his will, had been buried in the small church of Santa Maria Mater Domini, probably dating from the late 12th century and near which a convent was founded by him in 1229. This church was incorporated into the present basilica as the Cappella della Madonna Mora (Chapel of the Dark Madonna). Sant’Antonio is a giant edifice without a precise architectural style. Over the centuries, it has grown under a variety of different influences as shown by the exterior details. (Wikipedia)
I had to take a break from Padova. I travelled last week and did not have the street photos from Padova with me. This is where I left it last week. I am sitting on a marble bench in downtown Padova. I wanted to sit after having walked the whole morning. I sit and feel my back stretching. I sip some water from my flask. People walk around me. Some eat an icecream. Others are into their calls on their smartphones. Some seem to be in a hurry. Some walk slowly as if they are killing time. I take my camera out. Zoom to about 35mm and start taking taking photos of pedestrians walking past me.