UA-45582785-1 ONE WHITE MAN: have camera, will travel. rj lerich

Dateline April 17, 2014: That bar in Medieval Bonifacio, Corsica

         BARS. YEP, BEEN TO MY FAIR SHARE OF BARS ‘ROUND THE WORLD BUT NEVER ONE QUITE LIKE ONE I STUMBLED INTO IN MEDIEVAL CORSICA.  It’s quite brisk in May/June in the hilltop medieval Citadel Ole Ville  in Bonifacio, Corsica, a stones throw away from the lesser known Italian island of Sardinia, visible from my boutique hotel suite’s top floor balcony.  So wrapped in my all purpose traveling long sleeve denim shirt and a well worn Ralph L. sweatshirt, I wander the narrow streets dating from the 9th century, uhh, that’s like in the 800s (think of the movies we see and visualize yourself in the market place pandering your pigs or produce or skins among the clanking of rolling wheels of horsedrawn carts on cobbled streets).  Just stop and look and think and visualize.  Quite spectack, cobbled streets and arched bridges connecting buildings.  I did find a section of restaurants and sat down, alley street alfresco, dining by candlelight, and ordered up a bottle of, Corsican Rose, mais oui, so crisp and tasty and invigorating plenty to make the spring come alive..

French cheese appetizer with Rose wine

Goose pate, cheeses and can’t recall the main course without going back and looking at my photos but it was all good for tourist fare.

What transpired to recall my adventure in Corsica?  One of my images sold yesterday and it was of Medieval Corsica, the old village Citadel seen below.

  Medieval architecture in the Citadel Old town Upper city Bonifac — Stock Photo #23059042

So, I’m leaving the citadel old ville to return to my hotel overlooking Sardinia when the desire to see what a bar in a medieval building would look like, I spotted au bar on the outskirts of ville and climbed the steps to get in through a solid wood door opening to warmth inside.  Place was quite crowded with people of all ages, concentration 24-40. No spot for a loner so grabbed a seat at table with a burly bearded woodsman type guy and 2 young folk.  Immediately the Corsican woodsman. who was probably a seaman,  introduced himself, shook my hand with a warm welcome and bought me a local beer, thick and tasty, unlike American no taste brew.  Well, this was all nice and fine and the music was of the 60s-80s and a fire was burning hot and blaze and I reveled at the antique chandeliers lighting the joint.  That sold wood door swings open with slight creak and a new couple walks in promptly going to every patron at every table in the bar and says hello,introduces themselves, shakes hands and kisses every girl!

Hmmm, me thinks to meself.  Maybe everyone here knows each other.  Hark, the door lets a guy running solo in and the same procedure is rendered including the kiss for the girls.  I start to wonder now.  Once again that big ole door allows some Corsican night sea air in along with a couple who went through the same routine of hugs/kisses/handshakes, me included in the routine of all as all entries went table to table to befriend all.

I’m thinking to meself “now this is a tradition we should have in the USA”.  Can you imagine how many new friends you’d have in a few weeks?  Plenty.  And my memory of that bar in Medieval Bonifacio, Corsica is plenty good! A warm well lighted place. Sorry Mr. Hemingway, didn’t steal it all but it was ‘clean’ as well.

Harbor marina lower town Bonifacio Corsica  

    old harbor marina Medieval Bonifacio, Corsica copyright rj lerich ‘14

All writing and photos copyright rj lerich 2014 all rights reserved

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AUG. 31-SEPT. 1&2, 2013: TRANE ‘FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS SOLD PHOTOS CORN ISLAND, TUNISIA, GREEK ISLANDS, JERUSALEM.

The trackFew of “My Favorite Things” by Trane or John Coltrane, as you may know the jazz saxophonist, popped into my head as I was ruminating what to blog about today ref: my sold photos of Aug. 31, Sept. 1&2. Trane split from the magical Miles Davis (everyone and I mean everyone, young/old, should own Davis’ “Kind of Blue”) in 1960 to form his own quartet and wisely included the broadway hit “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music on his release of 1961 with that title thus bringing Trane into the pop stream of radio. In any case, I decided today to blog about my favorite things (photos) from the days sales including background info as to the how/why/who, what /where behind only my personal favs of the days.  Some images I just shoot because they are there and the fit my genre and, of course, I think there is a need for that particular imagery. Some I shoot because they are ‘artsy/fartsy’ and, believe me, I am NOT an artsy/fartsy photog and have no intentions whatsoever to enter into local contests or to sell at art fairs or to compete in juried shows.  My intentions are to travel the world, capture iconic images of a locale and to make some coin at doing so. Is it satisfying to have my pix in some of the big name travel books (Frommer’s, Fodor’s, Hunter, Moon, Britannica, Berlitz, Rough Guide ( I think I’ve seen  them there).  Damn right it is and more so than winning a comp in Mt. Kisco or Pound Ridge or Armonk.
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A short and sweet ferry ride from Paros, Cyclades Island, Greece  brings me to the small island in Anti-Paros which I’ve written about before with it’s truly picture prefect iconic port  replete with the unique indigenous usually small one man operation Greek fishing boats and the always white block/cube cyclades one story buildings with the requisite blue heavy doors and blue shutters and happily arches leading into the tavernas with the not butt friendly woven Greek table chairs.
Anti-Paros is hardly covered in the stock photo business by anyone other than me and my work pays off regularly. But let’s get onto “my favorite things” and and besides the scenery and my version of ‘artsy/fartsy, my favs are people I befriend along the way.
THEO is can be a grumpy old ‘fook’ of a proud Greek man and was so as he yelled at me “why the hell are you taking photos of my property? Who the fook are you?” Feisty little son of a beach and tough and wiry for a guy maybe in is early 70s.
Ok, Robbie, me think to meself. How to handle this?
"Well, sir, I was admiring your lovely flower garden, vegetable plots and the architecture of your guest house.  Absolutely the nicest property I’ve seen on Anti-Paros."

Greek island architecture beautiful flower garden
See that umbrella in the middle of the garden? Well, five minutes later, Theo has the table filled with a bottle of home made ouzo and retsina and has just picked cukes/peppers and Greek tomatoes from his garden and is slicing them up for our snack as his 30 year his junior wife brings ice for the ouzo and his adult boys come out to welcome me as the guest of honor at the house and inquire as to where I’ve been since last year. Both boys are employed as the island garbage men and also are electricians and plumbers on their own time.  Nice boys and always respectful. Theo grumps about this ‘n that but after a few minutes he’s one of these guys I know around the world with a smile from one ear to the other as he tells me of the Swedish couple coming in tomorrow to rent the two room ‘suite’ for 40 euros for the kids and mom/pop.
What a guy.  What a gardener. And what an interesting friend to have who relates his 40 years of sailing the world on an Australian tanker to return to Anti-paros to build his guest house, the first one on the island, decades ago.
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I’ve written about my times at The Western Wall and being invited to knock back a few Shabbos morning slivovitz with the manager of The Western Wall so I won’t get too deep on this photo that does sell quite frequently. As I stood at The Wall myself and observed the scene there was just something about something, I don’t know what to call it, ironic, maybe, of seeing a young man an Israeli soldier, deep in prayer in his military regalia complete with an AR-15auto rifle and a yrmulke skull cap.  I could get into a whole philosophical thought on this but I’ll leave that to you if you so chose.  Some powerful photo in my humble.
ISRAEL-MAY 28:  Unidentified Israeli military army man prays on May 28, 2012 at The Western Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Palestine, Israel where people come from all over the world everyday to pray. - stock photo
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After being bequeathed by one of my tennis/intellectual discussing pals an article on Tunisia with photos reminiscent of the Greek Islands but with slightly different  architecture, I just had to get to Tunisia to put my Nikon to work.  For my big annual May adventure, this one given the moniker 3-6-9 (3 continents, 6 countries, 9 flights), I secured a flight from Nice, France to Tunis, Tunisia with not a clue as to what adventures were in me future.  Booked another somewhat faded grand dame of a hotel directly on the famed Avenue Habib Bourguiba where the Tunisian Arab uprising took place just the year before and directly in front of the hotel described as being on “the Champs Elysee” of Tunis (capital of Tunisia).  Secured an avenue side suite replete mit balcony with view of the landmark metal clock tower just down the tree lined and cafe overflowing boulevard that was packed with Tunisian all day coffee drinkers just that, all day.  To repeat, I love night photo work and this one just sold is one of ‘my favorite things’:
Clock Tower avenue Habib Bourguiba Ville Nouvelle Tunis Tunisia — Stock Photo #23085560
Those vans you see bottom right are in front of the military complex surrounded by tanks/machine guns/all manner of artillery and from where I was clearly told to cross the street and not walk that side with Nikon or mit-out Nikon.  I promptly obliged.
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And finally back to Corn Island, Nicaragua where one of my few ‘artsy/fartsy’ Armonk style fol-de-roil pix sold.  I was walking the one road of the island and espied a few local fishing kayaks (yes, the boys and men go out in these very lightweight plastic kayaks and fish or dive for lobster without scuba tanks!) and thought I could create an iconic image of what I view as “Corn Island”, where much of the livelihood is earned through fishing and lobstering.
kayak small fishing paddle boats Caribbean Sea Big Corn Island Nicaragua Central America - stock photo
The same day, someone must have been writing an article on the island as this one also sold. Why is it a Coltrane fav thing of mine? I like my composition but that’s one man’s opinion only.  Note the house in background.  Who wants a nice and very peaceful waterfront rental? If all works well, I will have it for rent for my friends to find their own adventures in my bit of the third or is it really the first world?
landscape seascape palm coconut trees Caribbean Sea Content Point Big Corn Island Nicaragua Central America - stock photo
"Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things”
/rj lerich sept. 3, 2013

MY SOON TO BE REBUILT WEBSITE:  http://www.rjlerich.com/
 
ALL IMAGES AND WRITINGS COPYRIGHT RJ LERICH ‘13 AND NOT TO BE COPIED OR USED FOR ANY COMMERCIAL PURPOSES WHATSOEVER WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL.

SEPT 4, 2013: SOLD PHOTOS OF PEOPLE AND PLACES: CARTAGENA, MONACO, MANAGUA and BARCELONA.

PEOPLE, PEOPLE. PEOPLE like to read about, hear about, talk about, gossip of, belittle, praise, honor, revere, worship, idolize, identify with, distance from and a thousand other descriptives  with and of the species. Me? I try not to nose around and in effect, I try not to be a ‘rubber necker’ when the situation does not involve me. My life is too interesting, busy and fascinating to have to live through others.
But we all do love and find our fellow mankind fascinating so I’ll give my impressions of people related to these photos of mine that were bought on September 4th, 2013.

long hair senior motorcycle man wearing leather jacket and American flag bandana motorcycle helmet - stock photo

Whoa! Speak of bad-ass people.That’s a nasty looking senior cat known for terrorizing the citizenry and bucolic roads of Pound Ridge, Bedford and The Salems on his old rumbling Harley. And who would have thought that of a “nice Jewish boy” (yours truly)?
Smiling relaxed confident middle age senior man with eyeglasses  — Stock Photo #23043278
And the same guy confident in the Dow breaking 16,000 year end!
Train station  Monaco France Europe French R
No people other than the uber wealthy (who probably wouldn’t be on the train anyway) and interlopers like me who happened to like the architectural design of the train station in Monaco.

La Casa de Los Pueblos former Presidential Palace and the Cathedral of Santiago in Plaza of the Republic Revolution Managua Nicaragua Central America - stock photo
Here’s the story of the people in the story behind this sold photo of the Plaza of The Revolution in Managua, Nicaragua: As you know, I’ve been to many places in the world and in the third world where I am the One White Man Travel and even though this is a center of somewhat limited tourism in the historic district (what remains of it after the devastating earthquake  of 1972), I was the tourist attraction for one young hustler.  Here is the common situation from Turkey to Bequia to Managua: I am spotted by the hopeful thieving hustler. I enter the National Museum here in Managua and spend an hour or two viewing the history of Nicaragua knowing that the hopeful wanting to gain some of my riches will be still, after hours,  awaiting my exit from the museum.  Sure enough, as I exit, there he is just whiling away the past two hours waiting for One White Man Travel.  Starts to follow me with the common call “my friend, my friend. Amigo, por favor.” One White Man, of course with my compact metal camera tripod in hand, turn, face him directly and yell as loud as I can “Not your friend.  No quiero hablar contigo (I don’t want to talk with you). Get the fooook away or I’ll break your f00king nose!”  Said perpetrator literally runs.  Works all the time.  Anyway, there is a minimal amount of tourism in this small historic district which is a shame.
Old Cathedral ruins of Cathedral Santo Domingo Managua Nicaragua Plaza of the Republic - stock photo
Different view, different year of the same cathedral which was left with only the facade standing after earthquake.  This from wiki: “The 1972 Nicaragua earthquake  on Saturday, December 23, 1972 near Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. The earthquake caused widespread casualties among Managua’s residents: 5,000 were killed, 20,000 were injured and over 250,000 were left homeless.”
My native friend from Corn Island, Nicaragua have fantastically horrific tales of hurricanes that hit the island in the 70s.  I’ll get into that when the related photos sell.
La Concha Acustica the acoustic shell music stadium on Lake Managua Nicaragua with active volcano in background - stock
 photo
Above is the one of a kind, fabulous and unique Concha Acoustic Shell music stadium on Lake Nicaragua right near the prior shown photo of the cathedral. Through One White Man’s I don’t know what to call my ‘talent’: chutzpah, smile, friendliness, guts ( a bit redundant with chutzpah), I somehow talked myself without much effort at all, to become the international visiting photographer for the Ruben Dario National Theater in Managua.  Ok, this is THE NATIONAL theater of the country! Here’s how the story unfolded: the Ruben Dario National Theater is like any other theater and only open at hours for shows and not for public inspection.  I wanted to see the inside of the theater off hours so entered the secure zone, passed out a card and in my poor at that time Spanish, I asked to get inside the theater.  Next I knew, security was escorting me to the office of the second in command of the goldarned National Theater! for a private meeting with the wonderfully bubbly and warm and motherly Damaris Garaycuadra and her right hand man and my good buddy Yader Sanchez (who is awaiting a Yankee cap on my next visit)  are giving me a private viewing of the red velvet seated theater and the marble halls and crystal chandeliered common areas.  That night I am invited to the opening of a show and invited to take photos of the crowds, the show, the interiors, etc.  Limo sent to pick me up at my hotel as well.  Now I am always invited to stay in the Crown Plaza in the Theater’s suite at ‘family’ rates as if I was Dylan coming to perform! Whenever I have the time in Managua I stop down at the theater to say hello and did so when the Acoustic Shell photo was taken.  Damaris and Yader absolutely REFUSED to allow me to wander outside the theater in that particular zone to photograph the shell and other landmarks so,voila!, pooof!, I’ve now got two burly armed guards and Yader accompanying me on the streets of historic Managua, pistols and machine guns in hand, to get my work, including this photo, done.  True story and the people of Nicaragua, as evidenced by Damaris, Yader and the others on staff are fantastically warm, welcoming and open folks.
night scene car light streaks  of square restaurant Naval Museum Iglesia Church of Santo Domingo Cartagena de Indias Colombia South America - stock photo
No people directly involved in this sold photo of the Naval Museum and Church of Santo Domingo in Cartagena, Colombia until I mentioned to the manager of the restaurant from where I set up the shot that I had been robbed that afternoon in downtown Cartagena, only one of two places I’ve been robbed in the world.  Theft aside (not armed theft but a backpack diversion tactic theft of a camera lens), Cartagena is a wonderful city to adventure in, maybe not to the extent of adventure I had, but to wander through with valuables better left in your hotel room.  Marvelous Spanish colonial architecture dating back 500 years, flower vines creeping on colorful buildings, parque Bolivar where I easily made lifetime friends once they realized I was there to befriend and not to be hustled and women selling their sliced fruits bedressed in colorful native outfits that bring a smile to me eyes.  Park Bolivar, where the locals sit, meet, cool down and chat of the day’s happenings.  My theft became fodder for the talk and the news rapidly spread with obvious anger from my friend known as ‘Lopez’. All  I had to say to anyone was ‘Lopez’ and a knowing and accepting nod was bestowed upon me. Lopez was a tourist guide who met the cruise ships on arrival and tried to hustle up  personal tours for the day.  A fair guy with many interesting stories who is awaiting a large jar of Costco multi-vitamins on my next visit.  By the way, cheap and quick direct flights available from either Jet Blue of Spirit. Go.
anchor sculpture harbor of Cartagena Colombia South America  view Bocagrande beach resort - stock photo
No people but a composition I liked as I wanted to show the amazing development of hotels on Bocagrande beach (watch out for thieves!) akin to Miami with a view from the Cartagena waterfront with anchor sculptures.
macro detail of hand made knitted kilim turkish handbag
 patterns made in turkey - stock photo
No people again but y’all know my fascination with  and collection of bags from around the world.  Ain’t never seen anything like these lovely handmade rug kilim bags with details that I negotiated to buy in Istanbul, Turkey.  These are absolutely wild and I think when I get to moving out and about today, I’ll give my leather Greek bags a rest and strap one of these delicacies over my shoulder.
Famous Art Work Tile Mosaic La Rambla Barcelona Spain
And finally a people pic from directly on La Rambla in Barcelona in front of my hotel.  Some of you may know of La Rambla as the tourist mecca that runs about 1 mile from Catalunya Park to the Statue of Columbus with a pedestrian, tree lined, cafe infused,  shop filled, juggler or human statue or balloon bending performers and nightime hookers across from the National Opera house. I would surmise that 19 out of 20 pedestrian/bike riders/joggers/dog walkers/ladies of the night haven’t a clue that the mosaic tile work they are strolling and that I photographed from directly in front of my room is a famed tile artwork by the spectacular artist Joan Miro. I sit in my 4th floor balcony directly on La Rambla, sipping a 12 year old whiskey and watch the world and life meander by for hours and hours as my mind wanders with the flow.
And finally, my sister will sing the praises of La Rambla as I sent her there recently to experience my world.
Lady With Microphone 608
HUGS AND KISSES!  rj lerich/
MY SOON TO BE REBUILT WEBSITE:  http://www.rjlerich.com/
ALL IMAGES AND WRITINGS COPYRIGHT RJ LERICH ‘13 AND NOT TO BE COPIED OR USED FOR ANY COMMERCIAL PURPOSES WHATSOEVER WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL.

DATELINE: SEPT. 6-7, 2013: LESSER SOLD PHOTOS FOR A CHANGE: MEXICO, MALTA, CYPRUS, EL SALVADOR, PERU, AMSTERDAM, GREEK ISLANDS AND NICARAGUA

Sales of my photos/videos slow down on weekends as designers are entitled to time off for good behavior! My narrative concepts change often, as you know, so for this edition I thought I’d showcase and detail some of the sold pix of Sept. 5-6-7, 2013 that do not turn over frequently so don’t look for photos of Greek octopus dripping in Mediterranean olive oil.
Believe it or not, Malta, the Mediterranean overrun mit development island nation sits on much limestone and many of the tourist beaches are just that, limestone. Not too soft on the tush but tourists, mainly Brits, Germans and Irish sit on the limestone slurping their beer and then take a Med dip to cool down a bit from their same home country brew beer they happily  find in Malta.  Ok. Not my style but that’s ok.

Limestone beach sliema malta
I was informed by the hotel staff that I was lucky to secure a sea-view room as they are scarce at
Seaview hotel room malta

my hotel, The
Diplomat, in seaside, comfy limestone beach town of Sliema in Malta.  
I may have been lucky in my waterfront room at The Diplomat, while another famed Diplomat guest and terrorist group leader was not quite that lucky during his last stay at the hotel and his last stay, period: Fathi Shaqaqi  (1951 – 26 October 1995), was the Palestinian who founded and led the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organisation and was the initiator of suicide bombings.
Shaqaqi was shot on 26 October 1995 in front of the Diplomat Hotel in Sliema, Malta by two gunmen thought to have been from Mossad, the Israeli secret service,  Fathi] had come to Malta four times since 1993. He was on his way to Tripoli to visit Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who was promising to help finance Shaqaqi’s factions Two assassins carried out the killing. A man on a motorcycle shot Shaqaqi as he was returning to his hotel and shot him in quick succession with a gun equipped with a silencer and a container to hold the used cartridges. Shaqaqi’s killers escaped on the motorcycle. Abandoning the motorcycle, a third individual drove them to the Msida Marina from where they most probably boarded a fast boat which took them out at sea and eventually to a ship offshore from where the whole operation was directed.According to a book about Mossad, Mossad Director-General Shabtai Shavit was on the ship personally directing the operation. The Maltese police were only able to identify Shaqaqi’s body three days later. His funeral in Damascus on 1 November 1995 was attended by some 40,000.Quote from Wikipedia.
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I was hired to photograph promo stills for the famed Actor’s Playhouse (the Village in NYC) production of
 Raw-042209
Neat concept show featuring all black men changing from suits to their birthday suits for the production. Honest.
This handsome actor was one of the best models I’ve ever worked with taking my direction perfectly and with a killer smile I haven’t seen since.
Minister Beau Harris New York Actor Portrait
Me nervous photographing 12 young African-American actors in the nude? Nah…been to and fell into the groove at nude beaches in Greece, Croatia, Montauk! and Ibiza. Feels good swimming in the burp-day suit.
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Y’all remember Berlin from the UN divided days before the wall came down in ‘89.  Well , believe it or not, there is one divided capital still remaining in the world so, being the KING RAT (rob’s adventure trips), I had to find my way to and photograph Lefkosia (also called Nicosia), Cyprus while it is still divided with one side Greek and the other Turkish surrounded with a wall and manned by the United Nations still today!  I had to pass through UN security check points
( like “Check Point Charlie in Berlin) to enter the Turkish side. Also, if your passport shows that you entered Cyprus in the Turkish side, guess what? The Greeks won’t allow you into their side of the divided island. Talking to the shopkeepers, waiters, street cleaners, street vendors alerted me to the still very existent feud between the Hatfield and the McCoys, so to speak. 
I did photograph the infrequently sold interior of the Turkish Selimiye mosque in the capital Turkish side of Lefkosia.
Interior Selimiye Mosque St. Sophia Cathedral Lefkosia Nicosia Cyprus
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                   Keychain El SalvadorSouvenir Key Chain   souvenir memento key chain change purse hand made woven colorful fabric made in Nicaragua - stock photosouvenir change purse knitted nicaragua central america - stock photocolorful hand woven bags purses key chain made in Masaya Nicaragua Central America - stock photo
Key chain pics, shoulder bags, my little wallet bags: I buy them in all countries I adventure in. I photograph them in the Farms studio. They sell.  The first two above I bought in El Salvador, Central America and they are here as the are on the rarely sold list.
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The City Hall building on Plaza de Armas in Lima, Peru does not sell often but did sell this weekend so I am glad that One White Man Travel was the tourist attraction yet again in the middle of Lima’s historic district.
la municipalidad de lima municipal building city hall on plaza mayor armas lima peru - stock photo
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If you’re a restauranteur, better hope I don’t have a hankering for your cuisine! I used to dine now/then at The Saigon Grill, upper west side NYC. Had the urge for Vietnamese and headed there a while back. “CLOSED”, the sign said.
Ok, had a thick NYC style corned beef/tongue at Artie’s instead.
combination tongue corned beef sandwich on seeded rye bread at Jewish deli New York City - stock photo
A few weeks later as I was near Central Ave. in Yonkers, I had an infrequent calling for a Nathan’s Famous hot dog and those thick fries they put out. Ok. Drove right past that old huge location and ‘voila’, the darn building was demolished.  I mean down to the ground! So, once again, if you’re a purveyor of food in a retail establishment, cringe if you see me relishing a meal at your celebrity table.  Disaster may strike soon!
In the days of the Saigon Grill’s operation, I did happen to photograph this infrequently
sold but good looking  plate of bun xao.  Guess I’ll have to be off to The Far East soon for more authentic Vietnamese.

Vietnamese food  bun xao
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Just gotta have an artery clogger?
Pepperoni pie 591
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The Dutch are easy.  As long as you agree that “I Amsterdam”, you can climb on the sculpture in front of the Rijkmuseum.

editorial tourists at i amsterdam sign by
 rijksmuseum amsterdam — Stock Photo #13414573
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Ah yes. The Hamptons of a paradisiacal  Kuna indian island in Panama complete with hand carved kayak.
Panama seaside — Stock Photo #13065324
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My friend Giorgio “call me George”, is a great guy who owns the first ever guest house on Ios Island, Cyclades, Greece and operates it with his widowed black dressed forever mom and his niece, the exotic Malina from Athens, who moves like a cat and purrs around the small dining area, beach side. As every ferry comes into the port of Ios, you’ll see Giorgio (I don’t call him George, preferring the Greek) holding up his “rooms to let” sign along mit 35 other motel owners hawking their rooms.  Giorgio’s Meltemi Pension is not uptown in the alcohol infused crazy college bar strewn Chora.  He’s 5 minutes from the port and he owes me a free week’s stay as I bartered my photos of his guest house for a week’s lodging.  The Greek Islands are great and this is what to expect as far as lodging goes in 90% of classic guest houses: neat, simple, clean and priced less than a simple dinner for two in White Plains at around 35 euros for a double!

interior of basic budget Greek Island triple hotel room Ios Cyclades Greece - stock photo
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Yes, even in San Salvador, El Salvador (not as scary as you’d think), you can get a luxury room, this one being in the best hotel in town.  Think I paid about USA 100 or so but could not crash the party for the newly elected Nicaraguan president who showed up a few hours after I did, he with fanfare of sirens. Me just as One White Man Travel.
By the way, the women of El Salvador are amongst the most beautiful I’ve flirted with in the world.

hotel room suite with queen beds office sansalvador el salvador central america - stock photo
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Before I made Corn Island, Nicargua and Bequia, St. Vincent my second/third homes, I would frequent the
un-Cancun, Isla Mujeres, formerly the more “authentic” Mexico.  Want to hire a fishing excursion for a few hours,
sans Bogie as Harry Morgan and rummy Walter Brennan? Here are the luxury Isla Mujeres vessels for you.

fishing boats on the beach Isla Mujeres Mexico - stock photo
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And if you think it’s easy to sell photos of famed Santorini, Greek Island, well, on one agency site there 28,000 pix of Santorini to choose from.  Fortunately for me, this one caught the eye of a buyer and put a few drachmas in me pocket. Photographing Santorini is like photographing the Eiffel Tower: there aren’t many ways to do so that has not been done already and this composition caught my eye as new and fabulously exciting!


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And finally, I was immensely proud of my travel mates, my pushing 60 years old and in great shape sister and her college roomie, Debbie F., when they had the guts and stamina to cast fear aside (not really) as they wound their way up the steep, narrow (me of 5’10” and 200 lb couldn’t turn around up there), long and SHAKY, very shaky,  metal spiral staircase to the top of La Merced church, fee for the intrepid $1, from where, bell ringer by my backside, I photographed the famed and stunning Cathedral of Granada in tourist mecca of colonial Granada, Nicaragua.

Cathedral of Granada Nicaragua Central America Spanish tile rooftops panorama - stock photo
Some shot, huh?!
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And that was the weekend of sold photos that made me a few shekels but don’t do so on a daily basis as other gems of mine do!
Have a great, healthy and happy week.
hugs/kisses, rj lerich //Sept 9, 2013

My dear readers, The original purpose of this blog journal was not to make sales from my photos but to merely entertain a few friends and family with stories behind my worldwide images. I am hearing from certain parties that they have an interest in owning some of my works. As such, I’ve listed just two of my ten sales agencies just below where my photos may be purchased at unbelievably low prices in a variety of sizes. Click on the links (which are totally safe as I would never betray the trust of my readers/friends/family) and you will go to my galleries where you can review my portfolio and search for any particular image/subject you want to view or purchase as a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD.
http://www.shutterstock.com/g/hellobob?rid=7258
http://www.dreamstime.com/Rjlerich_portfolio_pg1#res18732

PROFESSIONAL PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE VERY REASONABLY PRICED ON MY PERSONAL WEBSITE. IF YOU DON’T SEE THE PRINT YOU DESIRE, LET ME KNOW AND I WILL MAKE IT AVAILABLE ON THE SITE.
http://www.rjlerich.com/ 
 
ALL IMAGES AND WRITINGS COPYRIGHT RJ LERICH ‘13 AND NOT TO BE COPIED OR USED FOR ANY COMMERCIAL PURPOSES WHATSOEVER WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL.

SEPT. 8-11, 2013 TALES FROM MY SOLD PHOTOS WORLDWIDE: PANAMA, BEQUIA, SOUTH BEACH, CORN ISLAND, ISRAEL, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, GREEK ISLANDS AND MORE!

Commuter bus, Panama City, (no,not Florida, you spring breakers!) Panama, yes, Central America, last country before South America, just to sneak in a geography lesson for us geographically challenged Americans.
commuter bus panama city panama - stock photo
The bus owners in Panama and much of Central America, for that matter, take great pride in their means of livelihood as evidenced by the intricate and arguably beautiful artwork a la Keith Haring they adorn their buses mit. Often on my first morning in a new locale, as this was, I’ll have a general direction in mind, fling open to the hotel doors to see where my RAT leads me. A bit skeptical of safety issues, I stay well aware of my surrounding and, even in shorts and polo, walk with determination as if I am heading to my dot.com business office.  You, obvio, cannot miss these traveling works of art not just for the colors but for the sound and sight of pollution belching from the mufflers. Two days wandering Panama (remember, stress the ‘ma’ not the ‘na’ to sound like you’re a local or, at least, an in the know pronunciator ) and moi, I’m hacking away like a 3 pack a day Camel smoker.  Next time I’ll bring my hospital mask and save myself and scare off would be thieves!  I guess I should talk to everyone, every day about loads of my pix as I was talking to my sister just 2 days ago about above bus belch issue and, voila!, the pic sells.
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The FDR or West Side Highway of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, fortunately sans the morning traffic as one white man stands in middle of highway, Nikon on tripod, snapping the highway bordered by coconut trees and with lovely new benches on left side to peruse the seaside.

the malecon boulevard santo domingo dominican republic - stock photo
The whys? Somehow I found myself booked into a typico fancy international could be anywhere in the world non-descript expensive hotel on this malecon, with casino next door, hookers for take-away like a taco. Doing the first morning wander and me thinks “hmmmm…some photo buyer somewhere in the world is going to want to prove that Santo Domingo is a modern city” with good perimeter highway system.  Me thinking this as the farmer in horse drawn wagon clip clops down past me with his produce heading to market. So, I was right and people do buy the pic now/then.  By the way, on that morning’s stroll, I made it several miles into the historic district, found a native hotel overlooking the Central Park replete with large, old church, shoe shine men and hair cutters and friendly dark skinned gorgeous Dominican girls smiling that smile sitting on the tree shaded benches and I booked a room immediately and moved within hours to Central Park hotel to be in the thick of real Dominican life and not having to talk to the chiropodist from Chappaqua about pilates at the club back home who I met over my one and only breakfast at the casino-international caliber hotel.
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Although behind a tree works in many of the lands I frequent, the kind management of of the Bequia Turtle hospital and sanctuary, Brother King, his name is, and a friend of mine for years, took it upon himself to construct a more official structure than ‘that tree over there’ for when nature calls.
outhouse
 bathroom by the sea - stock photo
No reason to be piss-shy here as the gentle lapping of the waves will bring the necessary results quickly.  Let’s not ask about where the refuse goes after the flush and let’s also remember not to swim within 300 feet either side of this outhouse in Bequia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
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These two lads are 2 of the 4 children of my good friend Marva who lives in a small cinder block house with her 4 offspring by 4 dads, mom with a bit of dementia, maybe,  and dad who likes to sit most of the day, and now with dad of the younger boy, Oscar, a very nice and very talkative, thoughtful speaker of a man who, fortunately did not pull his machete out when I came to visit Marva and explained she had been only my platonic friend for years and nothing more.

two young children brothers smiling portrait with jungle tropical plants in background Big Corn Island Nicaragua Central America - stock photo
Lovely Marva with the best smile in the world, bathes the youngest lad in the cement basin built next to the house outside with water that gravity flows from the cistern above the house.  To utilize the facility, the family crosses the bridge over the water run off from the hills canal  to the jungle seen in background above and communicate with nature under the palm tree leaves as the body takes care of natural business.  Oh, failed to mention that Marva at 32 is now a grandma as her 16 year old had her first baby last year so we can add 1 more mouth to the house bringing the count to 9.  Lovely, lovely people from my neighborhood called South End in Corn Island, Nicaragua.  As I ride my motoscooter down the local dirt roads, the kids will yell out “Mr. Robert!  Mr. Robert!” Not much makes me happier than that, honestly.
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The famed international destination: South Beach, Ocean Drive, Miami early one morn.  As you know, often I’ll book a one night layover, n/c, in South Beach merely to get some work done and not for the hot night life which certainly does exist. Nice for a day if you get the chance: wander with the crowds, take a little Miami swim, eat the overpriced, over hyped by pretty Eastern Bloc foreign girls promoting the eats at that restaurant. Me? There’s a fine pizza joint one block back from the beach that makes a NY pie better than a NY pie.
Ocean drive  south beach park miami florida
In any case, this fine morning I noticed the comfortable seats and thunked to meself ‘that’s a seller’ and set up and snapped.  If I’d had a coupla’ model couples, any age, any ethnicity, any sexual preference posed on benches in variety of emotions, the pic would sell probably 20 X more frequently but I did not have so I did what I could and viewing the pic brings back nice memory of walking in the early morning peace of South Beach before Russian and Spanish and Italian and Portuguese dialects are heard up and down Ocean Drive.
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This lovely Peruvian gal smooching her son in my photo studio made it to America the Beautiful after a donkey ride over the mountains from her little farming village in the Andes hills  to fulfill her dream in the land of dreams where the streets are paved mit gold.  Once in NY, she did the nanny thing, saved her $$, went to school to become an RN, wisely bought a condo and had this baby with the lawyer who helped her with her green card amongst other matters.
Mother and son kissing
She secured the position of head nurse at the nursing home where my mother spent her last years which is how I met her.
Honest, hard working gal who could cook a lomo saltado to melt in your mouth.  Mildly obsessed ( I guess those two words could be considered an oxymoron) with having children as she was all of 32 with only one child.  A no-no for Latin women and a no-no for me without yet being madly in love with her.  Great lady and I hope her life is meeting her expectations now and that she has at least 2-3 more kids now.
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I shoot architectural work as you may know.  Had this local gig without a set designer and set up the kitchen as I saw fit for promo purposes. Think I used 3 lights for the shot and had to balance the interior light with the ambient in order to show the lovely view as one prepares their baguette quaffing a first growth.

Kitchen island with wine and baguette french bread
Fun job. Architectural photog takes lots of work and knowledge and expensive equipment, all of which
 I have.
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Tel-aviv, Israel is a particularly fine place to take an early morning bike ride, swim or jog or just a cool breeze stroll on the 8 mile beach which now features a spectack promenade, albeit without the history of the Promeade d’ Anglais I’ve featured from Nice, France, but a gorgeous promenade nonetheless. 
beach Mediterranean Sea Jaffa Tel-aviv Israel — Stock Photo #12633527
Israel, in general, is beautiful and the plentiful condo developments that I passed in the shared van enroute ‘tween Tel-aviv and Jerusalem are quite a site to behold with townhouses, fresh and new, bathed in flowers and tropical landscaping.  You do know why Israel is called the land of flowers, don’t you?
There’s a Rosenbloom on every corner!
*:) happy
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I’m particularly proud of this sold photo for a number of reasons with, perhaps the main reason being I actually made it to this island that none, yes none, of my over-educated friends have ever heard of. SABA is one of the Dutch Netherlands Antilles islands about a 30 minute flight on a really small island, uh, like tiny,miniscule, small  hopper from the popular St. Martin. Why a tiny prop plane?  Here from Wikipedia:

"The airport’s infamy arises from its physical position and layout: it is flanked on one side by high hills and at both runway ends cliffs drop into the sea. Additionally, the runway at the airport is relatively short (400m);this creates a slightly higher risk for landing and takeoff since the safety margins are not as great as would be found at a typical commercial airport.
Although the airport is officially marked as closed to traffic (X), regional airline propeller aircraft are able to land there under waivers from The Netherlands Antilles’ Civil Aviation Authority."  OFFICIALLY CLOSED to traffic (X). You got that part.  The prop plane lands and jams into reverse engine.  Think 400 meters=1300 feet, maybe from the movie theater in Bedford Village to the spectack Bedford Presby Church (which even after living in this community for more than 3 decades still knocks me out with it’s beauty)? Me, not afraid whatsoever.  Danger in travel is my business plus I am studying/flying out of Danbury to get my pilot’s license so I have not qualms but I will say the landing and takeoff are quite a breathtaking  experience.

Saba Museum Dutch Netherlands  Antilles — Stock Photo #23058694
The photo from Saba that sold is of the National Museum shown above.  For islanders (and me,now) Saba is called ‘The Rock’ and the typical islander must escape from “The Rock” at least once/twice a year as it is a small but incredibly (to me) beautiful island which is, in fact, just that, a rock, very hilly and filled with valleys the best  known one called “The Bottom” as that’s where it is, the bottom. I drove the whole island seeing many unreal landscapes with almost all the houses in a quasi gingerbread style as the museum shown above.  I drove the ‘road that couldn’t be built’. Honest. That’s what the one main  road is called with the reason self-explanatory.  Engineers determined in the 1920s-30s that a road could absolutely not be built  on the rocky cliffs and natives would have to continue to traverse from one of the only 4 communities to another on foot or on donkey as they had done for centuries.  Well, one determined Saban would not stand for this as cars were coming into popularity throughout the world at that time.  He sent away for a correspondence course, that’s like a mail order lesson book for you younger folk, and taught himself how to build and engineer “the road that could not be built” which I have the pleasure of saying I drove one end to the other. I’ve got many more Saban stories, such as the honesty of the people with no locks in use, but that will have to wait for the next Saba photo to sell.
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The Dom Rep,as you know, is a very popular winter get-away  with most of my peers as there are gorgeous and luxurious resorts such as the famed Casa de Campo which really, to me has a quite humorous website: well to do looking guy with modelesque wife watching as he shoots an expensive trap shotgun with, of course, a Range Rover, in the background.  The next pic on the site is of guys playing polo, just like down the road in Greenwich. I guess all the hedge-fund guys are moving to the Dom Rep!  Me?  Prefer the real Dom Rep or the real anywhere for that matter and when I adventure in the D.R., I always make a stop in Santo Domingo„ the lovely historic capital.  Surprisingly, the armed guards let me stick my nose and my Nikon lens through the fence surrounding the National Palace to take this  tripod mounted shot of the pride of the country.
palacio nacional the national palace santo domingo dominican republic beautiful government building - stock photo
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Having adventured in about 20 different Greek Islands, I must say that my favs are the smaller, lesser known and, often, more traditional “Greek” than the usuals of Mykonos, Rhodes, Crete and even Santorini.
Syros, the capital of the Cyclades, is still relatively small and is not much visited or known by Gringos. After I read about the capital building in marble and the marble tiled streets surrounding same, I had to make my way to Syros recently where, in the mid-shoulder season, I booked a room with, yes, you got it, another Giorgio, non-English speaking other than “50 euros.  50 euros!” which I negotiated down to 25 for a three bed room mit a/c, hot water, tv, coffee maker, fridge and huge patio directly overlooking the yachts in the port. Locked meself out of my suite one night, thoughts of sleeping on the patio as Giorgio was not in residence, but a neighbor down the hall was English speaking Greek man and could read the sign that said ‘in emergency, call Giorgio” with phone number and Giorgio told us where the master key was hidden so I could open my room and quickly pour a much needed ouzo!
The marble capitol building just sold. Nice place to do government business and then have a Greek coffee under the finikas trees, wouldn’t you say?
Ermoupolis Town Hall marble streets Syros Island Cyclades Greece with outdoor cafe - stock photo
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And another view of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin from the Reichstag side. I prefer the one of the other side that sold the other day, but this one works too.
night scene Brandenburg Gate lit with car pedestrian traffic at night on Unter den Linden Berlin Germany Europe - stock photo
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Zagreb, Croatia is a lovely, safe and clean city.  Let’s secure tickets to an upcoming show at the National Theater just to be there.  Hello Bob! Quite the incredible structure, wouldn’t  you say?
the croatian national theatre in zagreb croatia across from mimara museum - stock photo
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This was a commissioned assignment in Oia, Santorini.  No set designer so I created the scene in what’s called a traditional cave house where the owner’s grandpa actually used to live with his donkeys.  Grandson, my good friend Spyros, moved the donkeys and rebuilt the literal cave house into a flat with view of the caldera over Oia. Note the curved arch over dish area which is how the old abodes were constructed thousands of years ago.   Kitchen is small but it works.
kitchen in maisonette apartment in the greek islands santorini town of oia cave house - stock photo
Took me 3 different light exposures as I was only traveling with one NIkon strobe.  Took lotsa thought.
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A load of my photos were sold on these 4 days but I must get on to other projects so I’ll leave you with a bit of food for thought, an authentic Latin Ceviche photographed in Nicaragua. Kerry Morgan’s restaurant doesn’t always have the jumbo shrimp in catch, but when they do, one ceviche per day is a necessity!
shrimp ceviche seviche latin america style with tomatoes peppers chillies and onion with lime slice as photographed in  Corn Island Nicaragua Central America - stock photo
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The world awaits you and I hope you found this edition of One White Man Travel informative and perhaps a bit humorous as well.
robb lerich sept. 15, 2013





 


 
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My dear readers, The original purpose of this blog journal was not to make sales from my photos but to merely entertain a few friends and family with stories behind my worldwide images. I am hearing from certain parties that they have an interest in owning some of my works. As such, I’ve listed just two of my ten sales agencies just below where my photos may be purchased at unbelievably low prices in a variety of sizes. Click on the links (which are totally safe as I would never betray the trust of my readers/friends/family) and you will go to my galleries where you can review my portfolio and search for any particular image/subject you want to view or purchase as a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD.

http://www.shutterstock.com/g/hellobob?rid=7258
http://www.dreamstime.com/Rjlerich_portfolio_pg1#res18732

PROFESSIONAL PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE VERY REASONABLY PRICED ON MY PERSONAL WEBSITE. IF YOU DON’T SEE THE PRINT YOU DESIRE, LET ME KNOW AND I WILL MAKE IT AVAILABLE ON THE SITE.
http://www.rjlerich.com/ 
 
ALL IMAGES AND WRITINGS COPYRIGHT RJ LERICH ‘13 AND NOT TO BE COPIED OR USED FOR ANY COMMERCIAL PURPOSES WHATSOEVER WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL.

DATELINE CASABLANCA-ADVENTURES IN MOROCCO JANUARY 9, 2014

Before I start today’s blog, I want to explain the title of my blog: “One White Man, Travel” has nothing whatsoever to do with racism which is a human feature that I personally detest. I wander the world and befriend and am befriended by people of all ethnicities and brought into their lives and homes to gain an understanding of the workings and similarities worldwide between ethnic groups and folks ranging from my thirdworld  friends living in houses without electricity, outhouses in the yard to millionaires living in penthouses in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. The reason I have named my blog “One White Man, Travel” is because I often find myself to be the lone white man, literally, in my chosen location and this is what stimulates me: not to trivialize but the sights, the sounds, the aromas the music, the fashions all set my brain and sensibilities on fire and knowing that I am often in the forefront as One White Man, I am happiest and always planning the next adventure trip of most desired culture shock as the One White Man, travel.—————————-

I had just arrived in Casablanca, Morocco for an adventure through Casa(as it is called), Marrakesh and Essaouria when another altruistic event occurred as frequently happens with me worldwide.  Had not much of a clue as to how to get from Airport to my 5 star this trip, in the heart of Casa just one block from the Old Medina, the old fortified shopping center where vendors purveyed all from leather bags to calf brains and goat heads and exotic fruits. I inquired of a Moroccan departing plane in front of me as to best transport to Casa without having to drop $80 USA cash. Our conversation led to this view from my hotel room:

                          Hassan II mosque night scene casablanca morocco

Ok, After the well Moroccan dressed gentleman and one white man(me) retrieved our luggage, I follow him through customs and outside is waiting his associate in the oft times African necessary Range Rover. I am invited in with a trust factor of maybe 85% and we start our journey, which turned out to take about 1 1/2 hours, to what I hope will terminate at my hotel.  Scenery of desert mixed with oasis and dusty little towns replete with men driving horse-drawn carts filled with cut wood tree branches and women toting wicker baskets of fresh fruit and vegetables unlike what’s available even at Whole Foods!

Casablanca finally looms in the distance with high rise office buildings, common mosque roof tops with requisite minarets and the early evening glow of purplish artificial light which I had only seen prior in Cairo. Dust softens the scene to an impressionist like softness and my adventure continues as the men drop me direct at my hotel with the view from my hotel escape balcony (I snuck outside quickly) which I captured in the above photo of the famed Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in the country and the 7th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 metres (689 ft).

                       Morocco tagine ceramic cookware — Stock Photo                       Moroccan food tagine lamb with raisins almonds onions — Stock Photo

After my first taste of an authentic tagine dinner, lamb to melt off the bone like butter, almonds, fruits, vegetables with a carafe of white wine-an oft-times tough commodity to find in Morocco, I headed out for a strolI in the purplish evening glow of famed Blvd. Mohammed V., I was truly in “One White Man, Travel” heaven being the only caucasian meandering as invigoration surrounded my being and I was ready to become acquainted with Casablanca and the Moroccan lifestyle immediately.

The next morning, I attacked the winding, cobbled streets  in the Old Medina coming upon produce vendors, tourist trinket shops, gold filled jeweler’s windows, shoe repair and the butcher displaying the fresh calf brains.  Along my route there were scenes of the ancient architecture such as this by the jeweler who attempted to fix my broken tripod head as I had been swinging it ‘round n’ round walking through most neighborhoods to warn intruders not to mess. Absolutely beautiful to me to notice the architecture with metal doors adorned with lovely designs of yester-century.

                 back alley street scene in old medina shopping district of casablanca morocco with detail door architecture and old bicycle - stock photo  

Stopping at one of the ubiquitous outdoor cafes for a fresh oj and cups of tea, of course, I wallowed in the sights as the masses of business people, many men wearing their daily ‘dresses’, students in the hippest jeans and nike sneex and the occasional bum joining me for a spot of my tea, I noticed the dichotomy between a mosque outside the Old Medina and a modern architectural sculpture reminiscent of I.M Pei’s Pyramid at The Louvre.

              mosque with modern architecture on blvd. Mohammed V by old Medina in downtown Casablanca morocco - stock photo 

Not finding Bogie or Bacall, I bid adieu to Casablanca the next day as I hopped the train to Marrakesh to constantly get lost in the winding motorcycle filled look-alike roads of the Marrakesh neighborhood my riad (hotel  converted from ancient mansion) and with pleasure and necessity hiring a local boy or man to lead me directly to the front door of my home for a few days.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s edition of “One White Man, Travel” and come back for more adventures. If you care to comment, scroll down and near the bottom you will find a comment section.

All the best, Robb Lerich

All photos and writing copyright rj lerich 2014 all rights reserved.  Not to be copied for any commercial purposes without permission of rj lerich. contact at www.rjlerich.com, my website.

DATELINE: JANUARY 7, 2014-THE CRYSTAL CLEAN & CRISP DALMATIAN ISLANDS, CROATIA.

I EXPLORED A BIT OF CROATIA a short while ago with stops in 2 major cities (Zagreb and Split) and two Dalmatian Islands(Brac and Hvar, on the young and restless map of the most happening islands of Europe) and what a crispy adventure it was. After Zagreb, the almost spotless and, again, Speilberg like movie set scenery, I ventured to Bol, Island of Brac as research showed that Bol was the location of the most photographed iconic beach representing Croatia in all the travel agencies of all the gin mills in all the world…Oh, no…stop mit the Bogie/Casablanca sketch again!  The harbor scene is the photo that sold yesterday and what an absolutely beautiful harbor it is surrounded by the medieval architecture, cypress trees, cafes (of course) and stone tiled walkway rather than sand or boardwalk.      beautiful harbor port bol town in europe croatia dalmatian islands brac - stock photo

The flight was on another prop puddle jumper bringing me to where, I had not much of a clue other than it was the airport nearest Bol.  No cabs around.  No bus station and no trains and NO PEOPLE! Ok, so the option on this not too English fluent Croatian island was either hitch or open my mouth or sign language skills to the one guy hanging in the airport. He obliged and, after hearing my tales of “how the heck do I get to Bol?”, we were on our way to either a mugging or my hotel. He did not pull a knife and I did not have to karate chop him with my web-belt degree in the martial art.

Settled in the Croatian style hotel of stone block construction built to withstand the seaside storms, I hit the trail to the iconic beach that came to a perfect point in the Dalmatian Sea, passing mostly families or well behaved teens doing a slight bit of rabble rousing with respect to what they suspected to be the German man passing by. A rocky coastline led me to the iconic point of beach where I settled between Croats and French and took my obligatory swim in the Dalmatian Sea and refreshing it was.

Back to work, I wandered the back alleys above the harbor to find numerous  neighborhood wine bars easily identified by wine barrels in front of the drinking emporiums.                        Wine bar croatia

        Barrel and boat

Back in the village, I spotted an open doorway, took a peek and wandered into an empty drinking or dining establishment with heavy wooden tables seating capacity of at least 25, bench seating and wine barrels surrounding the room against the typical medieval style stone walls as seen in photos above.  Ok, outside a bear of a man complete with fisherman’s beard and blue watch cap offered me dinner in his broken English. Had a gorgeous fish dinner which you know was neither frozen nor imported from Chile and, mais oui, but of course, complemented with a 1/2 bottle of Croatia’s finest from the vine.  Tasty it was, the Croatian vintage the certified waiter-fisherman-oneofile supplied me with.  After dinner, complimentary taste of the local after dinner warming agent, somewhat like pastis with a pungent punch,  hit the spot as the sun was falling, teenagers being teens and lovers walking the seaside as the spectacular hand made, indigenous sailboats bobbed in the harbor, sails snapping ever so gently.

One of the beauties, to me, of my business of selling photos each and every day is that the memory flood gates open daily and I am back where I love and need to be: foreign shores as One White Man, Travel.

Happy trails! rj lerich

See my pro photography website:  www.rjlerich.com

DATELINE-OIA & PAROS JAN. 6, 2014: LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE!

Back to Santorini yet again as this was the most interesting of all my photos that sold the other day.
                                  Dog sleeping greek islands 
Santorini, supposedly the lost island of Atlantis, get’s very, very hot (or as the Greeks say it “poli zesty, poli zesty!”) and the dogs of the town of Oia have their spots. This young fella found his one morning as I was eyeing the often walked streets of the village before the masses of tourists arrived, keeping my eyes open for yet more compositions I found iconic of the Greek Islands. I don’t know how iconic the Greek Rover is but the layout impelled me to shoot this ‘grab shot’ as I thought it might work well as a greeting card.
The light in Santorini is my favorite around the world being what we photogs call very ‘soft light’ spreading evenly and smoothly sans harsh shadows.
The iconic white Cyclades style building and the light blue painted roof tell the story along with the ever so halcyon Mediterranean water of the Caldera below the cliffs.
Yes, I let the woof-woof lie as I quickly grabbed a vertical and a horizontal to add to my large Greek Island portfolio.
    Now on to the island of Paros in also in the Cyclades group, this pic used to be one of my best sellers but now the competition is so intensely fierce that it is pushed to the wayside and  only turns every now and then.
                                 a cafe setting in the greek islands with beautiful flowers Paroikia Paros Cyclades Greece island - stock photo
Nothing humorous to relay about the typical Greek cafe but we can see the somewhat uncomfortable and ubiquitous woven Greek chairs which come in different sizes, the older ones fitting only a pre-teens butt with the rest of us to suffer shifting tush around and around.  I return to the same scene of the crime whenever I am in Paroikia, the capital of Paros and always the bougainvillea present a different story, some years flowering beautifully as above and some years barren. By the way, the bougainvillea and other trees amazingly grow through holes cut in the tiled streets. Neat and clean.
And finally, to keep this blog short/sweet and easy to read, this pic of a seaside cafe with the typical stone tiled floor with white paint borders and the usual blue solid window frames. Inviting, in’t it?
                          greek island cafe coffee shop with classic cyclades architecture in paros logaras greece - stock photo
The owner is an oft-times grumpy and all time wiry seaman, Gregorio, who I’ve known for twenty years and still find it difficult if not impossible to get a greeting after being away for a year or two.  His son, Manolis,  a man of few words, whose favorite words in English are “two euros” for a tiny cup of coffee.  “Two euro”, “two euro”, “two euro”.
For some reason, Gregorio’s is the fav watering hole of the ex-pats in the neighborhood in this town 20 minutes from the capital. Logaras is lovely, still, thank the lawd, quite authentically Greek with a number of good, solid tavernas and an award winning beach for cleanliness and a nudist beach about a lovely 20 minute walk over the cliffs.
There we go. A short and sweet walk down my memory lane of my worldly adventures.
All the best! rj lerich
All photos and writing copyright rj lerich 2014 all rights reserved.  Not to be copied for any commercial purposes without permission of rj lerich. contact at www.rjlerich.com, my website.

DATELINE: WICHU-WALA ISLAND-1-3-14 SOLD PHOTO LIVING WITH THE KUNA INDIANS OF SAN BLAS, PANAMA

HERE’S THE PHOTO  I shot in Wichu-Wala, Panama THAT SOLD TODAY:                                kuna indian hut with cayucas sunrise panama 1054 - stock photo

I was living on the San Blas island of Wichu-Wala in the Caribbean of Panama. Yes, Panama in Central America, not Panama City, Florida, you spring breakers. Transport was in cayucas as shown above and residence was in abodes of bamboo and thatched roof. Me, One White Man Trave and 3 other white folk tourist, a dentist, dentist’s gold digger gal and a big mama from Washington State, were the only non-Kuna indians on the small island of maybe 150 population.  Then there was The Father from the church over the sea, the old fashioned plumbing over the sea and the big Saturday night event, this White Man’s slide show for 45 Kuna at the one bar seaside on the island.
I was in Panama traveling from the Pacific to the Caribbean and found myself leaving my downtown Panama City hotel early a.m. outfitted in my Panama Bob adventure man fedora, playing the part as best I could. 
             Middle age senior man with fashionable hat in yard
            Panama Bob backyard Bedford copyright rj lerich
The plane was a puddle jumper with 20 capacity, prop drive, headed for my drop on Porvenir Island with the runway cut between a strip from the farmland, sheep/goat/cows shuffled to the side by the airport man as we were about to bring the plane down.  Wichu-Wala was far too small for a landing strip so the WW Lodge’s cayuca (a hand built kayak hand carved from one solid tree trunk) arrived to shuttle me to Wichu-Wala not knowing what to expect other than another Robbie Lerich adventure amongst the Kuna indian residents. Between some kind of a fish holding tank built with cinder block perimeter walls containing a few large fish idling in the murky water and the Wichu-Wala community center, brown skinned/black haired boys playing basketball shooting hoops into makeshift hoops of discarded metal tubing, was the path that opened to the six room Wichu-Wala Lodge, the only facility of it’s type on the island. Three rooms with ensuite bathroom sans bidet were separated by makeshift, paper thin walls akin to oriental room dividers, separated One White Man from the dentist and the big mama from Washington. As it was still early morning, we were instructed to come to the mess hall, dirt floor and all, for breakfast and instructions for the day’s schedule.
 
The plan was to meet in another hour at the kayak to be ‘cayucaed’ to a tiny uninhabited island, called Pigeon Island, to spend a few hours relaxing/snorkeling/ doing whatever one could on an island of maybe 2 acres. The ‘cruise’ in the cayuca, powered by a small, clamped on outboard engine,not rowed like most of the natives did in their private yachts, was absolutely beautiful with the classic puffed, cotton ball white clouds puffing away in the baby blue sky as we cruised between 5 or 6 islands, some with residents doing their daily work of making beaded bracelets or sewing molas to sell to tourists back in the city on the mainland.
                                                                              

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kuna indian panama 639 - stock photo
A half hour cruise between small, tropical paradisaical islands and the open Caribbean took us to Pigeon Island for a few hours of beaching/relaxing/swimming or, as I tend to do, talking with the one family whose week it was to inhabit the one bamboo house and sell their shakiras (beaded arm and leg bracelets NOT  made in China!) and molas.  One family of the local tribe is allowed to have the island for one week to make a little money.  Sounds like a fair system to me. I took a swim in the quite warm sea and got to work creating my compositions as I marveled in awe of the scene that could only be envisioned by my over-educated peers at home as a Speilberg created backdrop.
                                   Panama native boat San Blas islands                                     Panama kuna indian house on island
A few hours later we 4 white people and the 2 boys commandeering the boat shown in photo above left for Wichu-Wala with a bit of a blow coming up.  Being a he-man but not an idiot, I put my life jacket on as the sky darkened and the waves built in height and intensity and the dentist’s gal started to get that panicked look on her face.  I guess they don’t cruise in solid wood kayaks on the Jersey shore.
Wichu-Wala came into view eventually and I started my afternoon’s work of wandering  with an eye for composition in this island of bamboo/thatched roof homes, some with washing machines churning inside with tv sets turned up or radios spouting the latest news from the mainland as the family laundry dried in the gentle Caribbean breeze.  The ladies were out mingling in groups in front of their houses as they stitched molas of brightly woven fabric into what I consider to be works of art although the adventurous might wear them at home in suburbia to elicit discourse at the local grocery store.
                                  Panama native house san blas islands
No malls, no super markets and solely a ‘mini-market’ purveying sugar/rice/beans/soda and propane and kerosene.  Some merchandising mix, no?  In any case, I stopped to befriend the owner of the market and learned of the culture including protocol for a divorce which my new friend had recently experienced.  One night after closing his emporium of goods, he arrived at his house to find all his worldly possessions outside on the dirt path in front of his bamboo haven.  That’s it.  Divorce finalized short, quick and sweet with nary a lawyer in sight or a divorce court. Voila!  I guess he was not too thrown off kilter as he introduced me to his new wife, an attractive Kuna some 35 years his junior.  Smiling old devil he was.
A huge celebration was on the horizon as a local girl was turning into a women with the onset of menstruation which I understood to be at around 12-13 years of age for the Kunas.  Now this celebration was no simple affair and natives of the same tribe were invited from all the surrounding islands for the 3 or 4 day event with much music/dancing and drinking of the local homemade grog called chica which was made from cane/fruit juices and saliva.  Honest injun!  Now this is from memory of a few years ago but to my recollection the beginning of the ceremony involved the young woman being nude and bathed in cold water for a full day until the evening fell and she was allowed to dry and warm.  Then comes a day when the girl is ‘rolling stoned’ and literally painted black the purpose of which is to ward off evil spirits who would naturally be attracted to her youthful beauty. And now the fun begins with drinking/native dancing/music/dining all done into the wee wee hours and continuing for a number of days.  Mr. Mini Market invited me to the celebration saying all are welcome but unfortunately I was heading to the Pacific coast to the island of Contadora where a filming of the Survivor tv show was taking place.
That night, wandering again after a lobster dinner included with my room at the lodge, I was very fortunate to see the beginnings of the coming of age party as there were groups of natives dancing dances I had never seen before to local musician’s music I had never heard before from instruments I had never seen before, night lights of kerosene burning against the full moon lighting the dirt path walking boulevard with smoke billowing to the white puffed clouds.
Was I a lucky guy to have created this life for meself? Staying in 5 star hotels in Prague and Paris of course do it for me but what beats the luxury of the first world are the people I meet around the third world and the cultures I am invited into for an inside view of the realities of life with a dirt floor, saliva and sugar cane booze and warm hearts.
I could go on and and on with more adventures with the Kuna but this blog is getting a bit long, we are all busy and, thus, Tales from the San Blas islands with the Kuna indians of Panama will have to wait for the next time my photos of same are sold.
                             kuna indian home panama - stock photo
                                     HOME SWEET HOME!
All the best, RJ Lerich
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DATELINE-DECEMBER 29, 2013 GREEK ISLANDS: Oh no! Not more RJ Lerich Greek Island photos sold in one day!

OK, MY DEAR READERS AND PHOTO VIEWERS, I just must tell you about the background of some of these pix.  I know I’ve written about the Greek Island photos of mine in prior blogs but evidently someone somewhere in the world is writing an article or publishing a book on the Greek Islands and they took a hankering to my style as 11 RJ LERICH Greek photos were bought in one day recently from just one of my 10 agents.  A number of the images were shot in the postcard perfect and, arguably, the most visited tourist island in the universe, Santorini, otherwise known as Thira by the island snobbies. And, yes, they were in my favorite village of Oia, pronounced “eee-yah” not “oovay-ah” as one of my busmates, an American, was saying in asking the bus driver where Oia was.  He did not respond. One White Man told her proper pronunciation.  Driver now responded and all was well with the tourist.
                               blue dome churches and classic cyclades architecture over the mediterranean sea in oia santorini the famous greek island - stock photo
As I tell anyone requesting advice on where to go in Santorini, get to Oia, walk a 1/2 mile or so on the marble tile streets and take any anonymous left and wander the cobbled, typical white outlined (to look like separate stones) narrow and often steep walkway and amazingly, you should come upon this well photographed site seen above. Is it spectacular even for someone like meself who has seen the scene ( I like that, ‘seen the scene’) numerous times. Darn right. It may make you say “oo0y-vaiy, Moishe, can you belief da view?” outloud. On the far left wall, on the ledge, an overseeing and nimble cat is taking in the scenery as well.  Tourist cat.
This one was part of a series I shot hanging over a wall as I had to get this scene that all came together in my compositional eye. Yes, in Oia, Santorini again and down the marble street and look left where the pedestrian blvd. splits to the sunset zone.
                              blue dome churches and classic cyclades architecture over the mediterranean sea in oia santorini the famous greek island - stock photo
Amoudi bay is a small, historic fishing village 214 steep, old, worn steps below the town of Oia at the base of the cliff. I lugged a backpack of photo equipment down the cliff passing the occasional fisherman and donkey in order to capture this scene somewhat early in the a.m. before the sun was high in the sky which created a special photograph technique as the lighting was very uneven.
                              amoudi bay the fishing harbor port built into the caldera on the greek cyclades island of santorini town of oia ia on the mediterranean sea - stock photo
If anyone is interested in how I captured this scene with even lighting, send me an email and I’ll gladly discuss the use of soft, graduated, neutral density filters with you.
I imagine there must be more churches (in the case of the Greek Islands, the ubiquitous blue domed/white block design) per capita than anywhere else in the world. In this sold photo of one of my favorite villages on Santorini, the village of Imerovigli (great views, obviously, and a number of reasonably priced ‘hotels’), we can spot at least 3 blue domes standing out in their religious glory.
                            landscape of Imerovigli houses blue dome churches on volcanic cliffs of Santorini Cyclades Greek Island from Thira-Stefani town over the Mediterranean sea - stock photo
One of my favorite small Cyclades island, Anti-paros, has a classic port with, of course, nothing but the white block buildings with nary a high rise nor McDonald’s in site, thank the lord of travel! And yes, 3 blue domed churches are just to the left of this scene. I know it well as I try and stop there annually as a taverna I know puts out the absolute tastiest marinated/grilled octopus bathed in Greek healthful olive oil.
                           the beautiful  classic port harbor of antiparos island in the cyclades greece with boats and hotels and classic greek island architecture - stock photo
In quick succession, these 3 photos of mine sold featuring the small island of Ios from where I have a few great anecdotes which will have to wait for a shorter blog entry. Ios is small and typical of the Cyclades with landscapes of rocky coastlines and the common scrub brush.
                          panoramic view of Cyclades Greek island of Ios with Mediterranean Aegean sea and mountains typical whitewashed buildings Greece - stock photo
How about the three mountain top non-blue domed churches above the town Chora (like a capital) followed down the slope by, yes, another blue domed church. Some setting for a Sunday sermon, wouldn’t you say?
                          panoramic landscape of typical Greek island architecture white washed Cyclades buildings churches with view of Mediterranean sea harbor Ios island Greece - stock photo
Now I had read about the newly constructed amphitheater over Milopotas, the most popular young person’s beach on the island, so I just had to put my late 50s bones and body on my motorbike to wind my way up the mount, yes, passing more farmers on donkeys loaded with watermelon and grapes, in order to add this well selling amphitheater photo to my portfolio.  Some setting for a show, wouldn’t you say? “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…”
                          modern amphitheater overlooking the Aegean Sea and Milopotas beach on Cyclades Island of Ios Greece - stock photo
And finally, my latest island discovery, the spectacular Milos: multi beaches with fishermen’s homes built into the cliffs, limestone formations, unpopulated in the shoulder season, loads of great tavernas and friendly Greeks. Sparse beaches such as this one in Appolonia with tavernas seaside and generic Greek fishing boats of unique design. The refreshing Mediterranean awaits.
                        view of harbor and beach fishing village of Pollonia Milos Cyclades Greek island Greece - stock photo
And finally, this hidden miniscule settlement named Firopotamus with a few fisherman’s house built into the sea along with a guest house and, of course, a grand church with a white dome! I think they had not the time to paint the dome blue as it was newly constructed. Next year I’ll return via my 125cc motobike and see if we have a blue dome to complete the settlement in authentic style. Note the ancient ruins at the top left.
                      
                                       fisherman houses built into rock cliffs on Mediterranean Sea Firopotamos Milos Cyclades Greek Island Greece with Greek church - stock photo
 

my true and often humourous travel adventure blog
my professional photography website

"Daydreams are doable. The turn-on is not in scale, spectacle, or cost. It’s  in the doing. Anything you haven’t done is an adventure. Wanting to is the principal requirement. If you can do and want to, don’t not.
In short, while alive, live.” Forbes, Malcolm

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