Page 4 of scenicroute Travel Blog Posts

Antarctica January 20th 2017

As well as the US inauguration, today is coincidentally International Fetish Day where people support the BDSM community by wearing purple (because #pervertswearpurple). Don't worry, I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about fetishism and sexuality, but will say that International Fetish Day is about celebrating and supporting sexual fetishes that are consensual acts between adults. So why does it need to be supported? Fetishes are usually very private, only to be shared with an intimate partner, if shared at all. They can make people feel vulnerable, dirty and abnormal. But a fetish is just the 'need or desire for an object, body part or activity of sexual excitement' (yeah, that's right, I looked it up in the dictionary). Not all fetishes are to do with whips, leather and domination - though they ... read more

North America » United States » Maryland » Baltimore January 19th 2017

For several decades in a Baltimore cemetery, someone has been dressing up, walking over to Edgar Allan Poe's grave, drinking a glass of cognac and leaving the rest of the bottle and flowers for the poet Edgar Allan Poe. Happy Birthday Poe, long dead but still getting cognac every year. Post-life goals! The 'toaster' has never been identified. His last appearance was in 2010 has left space for 'faux toasters' who have carried on the tradition. Some people complain that they have not carried on the original toasters secretive nature and will walk through crowds of people and not leave the flowers in what has been described as a 'distinctive' pattern. I've never been a huge fan of poetry (except for one of my friends who writes hilarious dirty haikus), and have honestly never read any ... read more

Asia » China » Heilongjiang » Harbin January 18th 2017

January and February in Harbin, China, are the pretty chilly. A city in the North-Easternmost part of the country, gets the cold winds from the Siberian winter. Originally a place 'for drying nets' (the literal translation of it's name), Harbin has capitalised on it's cold, cold winters... with an International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival! Because, what do people want to do when it's minus 30 out? That's right, walk around ice sculptures of buildings and wonders of the world. The original Ice Lantern Show and garden party was interrupted by the Cultural revolution, but in 1985 the festival resumed in Zhaolin Park. Sculptors come from around the world to participate, and Guinness world records have been made and broken, including the largest snow sculpture that was 250m long, 8.5m high and used over 13,000 cubic ... read more
Hadrian's Wall
Pyramids of Giza

North America » United States January 17th 2017

Nothing to see here.... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu January 16th 2017

Kaanum POngal marks the end of the Thai Pongal festival. In this context, 'Kaanum' means 'to visit'. Families will reunite and brothers pay a special tribute to their married sisters. People will go to the beach or to theme parks, or simply stay at home with their family and decorate their homes with Kolam. That was my task today - to make a kolam for the house... it did not go well. I don't know how the Tamil people I watched on Youtube did it, but mine did not look like theirs. There is clearly a knack to holding the flour that I just did not get. I finally got a response from my brother. After sending him a message say that I prayed for his well-being and hoped that 'our brother-sister ties are as strong ... read more

Asia » India January 15th 2017

Today is Maatu Pongal. For today's part of the Thai Pongal festival, I went to Victoria Park in Glasgow to the feed the crows in the park and pray for my brother's well-being. The birds were not impressed by the seeds I'd taken (ducks actively swam away) and were instead gathering round a young girl on roller blades with a loaf of bread. Clearly the fast food of the winged community. I did however manage to coax one crow down to the seeds, and after fighting off two magpies, he did have some seeds. I'm taking that as mission complete. Crows are particularly important in the festival as they represent the familial bonds of siblings. I sent my brother a message (he's yet to reply). Cattle are also given recognition today as Tamils regard cattle as ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu January 14th 2017

Today I began the festival of Thai Pongal. Thai Pongal is the first day of the month of Tamil month of Thai. The Tamil calander is used is Tamil Nadu, India, Puducherry, and by Tamil populations in Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. It is used primarily for cultural, religious and agricultural events. The calender is based on a lunisolar calendar, and has a sixty-year cycle that marks when Saturn and Jupiter come to the same position after 60 years. The festival itself marks the start of the sun's six-month journey northwards and matches the Indic solstice when the sun enters the house of Capricorn. No, I've not quite got my head around it either. Thai Pongal corresponds to Makara Sankranthi - a winter festival that is celebrated throughout India. It is for the appreciation of ... read more
Kolam inTamil Nadu

Asia » India » Andhra Pradesh January 13th 2017

Over the weekend I will be celebrating the festival of Thai Pongal. Thai Pongal is a Thanks Giving festival celebrated from the 14th to the 16th January. The day before Thai Pongal (the 13th) is Bhogi. On Bhogi, people discard old, worn-out items and celebrate the new. The old things are taken at dawn and burnt in a sacrificial fire to Rudra (a Rigvedic deity), which represents the transformation of the soul. Houses are cleaned, painted and decorated to make everything look festive. I don't have anywhere that I can build a bonfire to burn my old possessions and at the moment most of my possessions are about 200 miles away, however I did go out and buy a new shirt for work (that will be useful later on in the month - I'm looking at ... read more

Europe » Ukraine January 12th 2017

It's New Year's Eve (eve) again! Ok, so it's tomorrow. But can anyone really have too many New Years? We still have China and most of the far east to go! So I have been learning a Ukrainian carol (link below). It may sound familiar (I hope it sounds familiar) as there is a Christmas carol in English to the same tune, but this is the original song On Ukrainian New Year's eve, carolers dress up and go from house to house acting out skits ("Vertep"), singing and following a cross carried by a bachelor wearing women's clothing around the village... in many ways it's like a pantomime... except that Malanka is the last of the Christmas season and the last opportunity for a party before lent begins. Young men often dress up in seemingly halloween ... read more

Asia » Japan January 11th 2017

Kagami Biraki 鏡開き is a traditional Japanese ceremony that traditionally falls on 11th January as odd numbers represent good luck in Japan. It translates as 'opening the mirror' or 'breaking of the mochi' and refers to the opening of a kagami mochi or cask of Sake at a party. The first ceremony was held over 300 years ago by the fourth Tokugawa Shogun on the eve of war. He gathered his daimyo (feudal warlords) and they broke open a cask of Sake. When they were victorious, it became tradition. The ceremony is performed at many events, in a similar way to raising a toast in the UK. Weddings, sporting events, the launch of a new company, are just some of the events that are celebrated with Kagami biraki. Mochi is round rice dough desert. It's outer ... read more

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