Riding Through Port-au-Prince

haiti-2011-125-2-1He was waiting there, like he always does.  Just standing…and…waiting…

I have been cycling (this sounds more manly and adult than saying “riding my bike”) for about three years now. This is because my almost sixty-year-old knees remind me every day they are almost sixty years old. Riding a bike doesn’t make them feel almost sixty years old.

I love riding through the eastern Kentucky countryside,  riding through woods and past streams, riding past newly cut hay fields, and fields of cattle and horses. We ride past tobacco in the fields and in the barns, a wonderful smell that brings back memories of fall in Kentucky. We ride past fields of wildflowers.

What an idyllic experience to cycle through eastern Kentucky.

Until…

Many times we are snapped out of this pastoral bliss by the canine consternation, when your body goes from producing hot sweat to cold sweat.

Many people have dogs that protect their property from dangerous, middle-aged bicyclers that roam the rural routes, usually in packs, looking for free air to feed their flat tires.  Most of these mutts are not a threat. However,there are those who are threatening and we get to know those very quickly.  We ride many of the same routes and we know where the dogs come a-runnin’.

One particular mongrel stakes out his spot in the middle of the road when he sees us coming.  We lovingly refer to him as “Cujo”.   He has mastered the game of “chicken”, because he will not move.  He makes us decide the path we will ride, then the chase begins.  He is big, about mid-tire high, and muscular, a bad combination for possible contact with your high velocity velocipede.

Last week the aforementioned happened.  Cujo decided he wasn’t going to chase me, so he decided to stop me. He blocked my path like Dick Butkus plugging a hole.

My helmet now has a dent in the side after hitting the pavement with my head inside.  There was various scrapes and blood. There was groaning, but I didn’t cry.  Even now my insides feel like that side of beef looked after Rocky pounded on it in the meat locker

I took this photo of a man calmly riding his bike through the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  There can’t be a calm ride through these streets.  It is ultimate chaos.  He has to dodge cars and trucks and motorcycles and buses and other bicycles navigating without lanes, carts pulled by animals, and  tap-taps (Haitian taxi’s) loaded with people and their belongings.  He also has to avoid goats, pigs, chickens, oxen, and “lions, and tigers, and bears”.  Oh MY.

Every day he is playing a real-life Frogger navigating the streets of Port-au-Prince.

I just had to miss one dog in the middle of the road in peaceful Stacy Fork.

If you like this photo, you can see more of my pictures here.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Moving Through Florence

Florence is a beautiful city.  I wish I could expound on its history and setting and sound worldly and knowledgeable  but I cannot.

You see when my wife and I were planning a trip to Italy, she wanted to do a tour so we would know what we were seeing and know the history and the meaning of it all.  At least that’s what I thought she was thinking.  As it turned out, not having faith in my honed sense of direction, all she was thinking was to prevent us from getting lost or kidnapped in a foreign country.  Nevertheless, I was able to convince her that we would  be able to navigate on our own and it would be more relaxing.  I’m sure the tours did not stop for gelato every half hour like we did.  I hate looking at watches and having to be somewhere at a certain time, especially on vacation.  We did download a few of Rick Steves’ tours on our iPhone and iPod and that was very useful.

Like Rome, there were some things that amazed me about Florence.  I was struck by the number of people riding bicycles in the city and weaving their way in and out of traffic and through pedestrians, and there were a lot of pedestrians.

As you may be able to tell from my previous blogs, I like to photograph motion.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it is because it requires some skill and technique.  To show motion in a still photograph is pretty cool.  Since the digital age, more and more photography is relegated to the processing programs.  I think I like motion because it still has to be done through the camera lens.

Anyway, I took numerous shots of bicyclists in our three days in Florence.  This shot is my favorite of all of them.  I did it in black and white to give it more feel and drama.  This was taken outside of the Uffizi gallery along the Arno River.

Don’t be fooled by this photo and think all I like to take is motion shots,  I shot a couple of thousand pictures in Italy…one good thing about the digital age.

If you like this photo, you can see more here.