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Saturday, 25 August 2007

Incognito Contest Sept-Oct 2007

At this sacred place, visitors from around the world inscribe their wishes and prayers on small wooden tablets, which are hung on hooks under a large tree in its inner courtyard. Shinto monks from the nearby temple convey the wishes to the gods while they chant and say their daily prayers. At the start of the New Year, the tablets are burned in order to symbolically “release” the prayers to the gods and the heavens, where it is believed they are granted.

Published in incognito

This boulder – which looks like it’s about to topple at any minute – has probably been here longer than the ancient civilization that resides on this coastline. This is a land of temples, the sea and sun. One of its temples, located right on the shore, was the first in the area to be built of stone, and it even could allow the sea in to become a water shrine. Now there is a breaker wall built up to help preserve the structure from erosion.

Published in incognito

I am standing in a small room overlooking the meticulously tiled courtyard of an ancient theological college. It is a stunning example of Arab-Andalous architecture. Its tile work and stucco decoration are complemented by exquisite cedar work carvings. The main courtyard has a low pool at its center built with more handmade tiles, and is surrounded by arched doorways leading to its lovely prayer halls. This pattern of a courtyard surrounded by rooms is replicated again and again as you follow the long hallways around the building. Mini-courtyards around mini-rooms (that some describe as ‘cells’ because they’re so small) are on the ground floor, and upstairs its same except the courtyards are replaced by balconies.

Published in incognito
Sunday, 11 February 2007

incognito March-April 2007

I am standing on large dunes overlooking a lagoon and a small traditional fishing village. This area is a National Park and the town has recently become a tourist beach haven. Hundreds of stairs lead to the top of these huge shifting sand dunes and stunning views.

Published in incognito
Monday, 04 December 2006

incognito Jan - Feb 2007

I am in a dark cavernous world at high noon – it’s sweltering outside and ever so cool in here. The sandstone walls and sandy floor are lit by sunbeams that shine straight in at noon, and at other times they curl in and light the stratified walls their crimson, coral, and rose glory. As I walk through the narrow crevice with its sensuous sculpted walls, I remember that rushing water formed its curves.

Published in incognito
Wednesday, 25 October 2006

incognito Sept-Oct 2006

I am standing at a medieval castle in the main city of a long isolated island off of a small seaside country. The castle is an imposing square building built of dolomite blocks. To get here I had to pronounce the island’s long name (heavy on the vowels) satisfactorily to the ticket purveyor.

Published in incognito
Thursday, 19 October 2006

incognito Nov-Dec 2006

I’ve ascended 365 steps and am standing at the largest Buddhist stupa in this small country.  I am surrounded by monkeys, monks, and soldiers.  It is an odd combination at one of the oldest holy sites in this area.  From its high spot overlooking the valley – large eyes painted on all four walls peer out symbolizing Buddha watching over you.   This stupa, near the capital city, was built over 2,000 years ago.  Pilgrims climb its steps daily before dawn and circle its golden spire.

Published in incognito
Thursday, 21 September 2006

incognito July-Aug 2006

 

I am surrounded by stone. Stone houses, stone ovens, stones piled into fences to line the edge of olive groves. The people of this region chose to build their stone homes round, with cone shaped roofs, looking something like beehives. The houses have tiny windows and are naturally warm in winter and cool in summer.

 

Published in incognito
Thursday, 21 September 2006

incognito May-June 2006

 

I stand at the edge of the sea at the home of the most praised poet of this country. His surrealist style is mirrored in a fantastical custom-built home, now a museum, run by a foundation in his name. His extensive collections of everything from busts to bottles to boats fill the house and spill out into the yard.

Published in incognito
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