Posts Tagged ‘cities’

Walk home from A’s, 090419

April 9, 2019

My walk back from my daughter’s home….
A lady skilfully making brooms from the spines of palm fronds.
A young boy trying to make a “puLLi kOlam” under his sister’s tutelage (an unusual sight!).
Yellow carpets of Copper Pod flowers, and the occasional purple of the Jacaranda.
The ground still damp from the previous night’s short shower of rain.
No school buses.
Steam issuing from coffee urns in darshinis, with customers already sipping
The early buses, BMTC and company ones, thundering past.
Peeping past the Metro mess as I cross the road, hoping not to be hit.
Uneven footpaths, potholes to be avoided.
Two boys having great fun splashing a bucket of water on to a car, washing themselves as much as the vehicle.
Young men sorting out a variety of newspapers, before delivering them. Pourakramikas trundling their trash bins.
Such vibrant life around me…there cannot be a single moment of boredom in a city walk!

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The heights a job can take people to…..Gurgaon, 111214

December 11, 2014

I went for a walk today, and was awed by the size of the highrise buildings all around me in Gurgaon, Haryana…now a suburb of Delhi, the capital.

As I climbed back to my sister-in-law’s 19th floor flat (boast, boast…I can do 19 floors after an hour’s walk!), it suddenly occurred to me, as I crossed the 7th floor, that I could take a pic of the view from each floor and make it into a movie. So here’the 7th to the 19th floors:

I saw a few garbage collectors doing their jobs on each floor; I didn’t photograph them out of sensitivity…I don’t think they would have liked it.

While on my walk, I saw this incredibly tall fire-fighting crane:

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It belonged to the DLF Firefighting Service (apparently each Phase of this residential complex has one, this is Phase Five)

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I imagined a firefighter, high up on that small platform on top, going to the rescue of residents in apartment buildings, quite high up.

Then, I found something that I didn’t have to imagine. A speck on the building opposite me caught my eye.

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Can you see the window-cleaner?

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I zoomed in:

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Dangling by that rope (though it seemed a safe piece of equipment, it certainly gave me vertigo), he was busy with his work:

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I walked home, musing that those in “high places” in the pursuit of their jobs or careers need not always be the object of our envy. I salute people like this, who take up “high-level” jobs where they live with danger every working day, and take it in their stride.

Linkoping Cathedral, 200614

June 26, 2014

After looking at the Midsummer’s Eve celebration, I realized that the

Linkoping Cathedral

was not very far away, and we walked till the beautiful green-blue spires were near:

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It was breathtaking to watch the main spire looming up into the sky:

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The stained glass windows looked majestic from outside:

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Through them, I could also see the effect of the stained glass as it would be if I entered the cathedral:

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Here are two of the stained glass windows from the outside:

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The side view of the Cathedral:

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Some of the tall windows have been damaged,but the damage has been left wisely alone for the most part.

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In just a few places, some refurbishment has been done:

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A detail of the weather vane:

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detail of the trellis work:

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The awesome main spire:

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The Diocese nearby:

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How ironic that the school (Gymnastik) nearby incorporates the word “nastik”, which means “atheist” in Sanskrit!

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Each entrance was imposing:

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This was the main entrance:

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The doors are, predictably, solid:

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So are the locks (yes, the Cathedral was locked)

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The walls are imposing against the sky:

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The Museum was closed, too, when we reached:

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Right next to the Cathedral is the Linkoping Palace:

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The Linkoping flag has a tiger on it, which was very appropriate to someone from India!

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Was this some kind of sundial? I couldn’t make out, and there is no mention in the Wiki:

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Here’s PC, clicking it, too:

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The road with the old coach houses:

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The Cathedral as it reaches up to touch the summer sky:

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It’s very frustrating not to be able to get enough (in English) about this beautiful building and its environs…translating everything from the Swedish is a frustrating job!

June 18, 2014

It was Sunday, and I was leaving for Linkoping in the afternoon….so we decided (after clearing up a lot of ticketing mess) to go for a nice ramble, with a picnic lunch.

We started by watching this young

WHITE WAGTAIL:

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Next, we watched a flock of

TITS (Blue or Great? the debate rages between Sumana and me)

foraging:

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and sitting on the trees…

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A

BLACKBIRD

showed itself in the leaf-litter:

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A

FIELDFARE

turned over the leaf-litter in typical Thrush fashion.

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I spotted Cupid, out in the spring sunshine:

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I realized that I was not the only one watching the birds:

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He then stepped out of hiding, that black beauty:

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Even “pests” look beautiful sometimes!

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I love the way tourists and cyclists are given importance:

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I did feel welcome!

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We chose a spot near a magnificient pile:

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Family photography began happening:

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Lunch was not fast enough for some people:

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A healthy, yummy dessert!

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Having seen Cupid, it was appropriate that I look up into the sky, and saw this sunbow and the arrow of a jet contrail:

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Quite aptly, too, there were star-crossed clouds!

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Advik, whom I have christened Laddu Kumar, was looking particularly sweet.

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We came back home, I finished my packing, and Deepak *lugged* my luggage all the way to the bus stop…but that’s the next post!

Goteborg walkabout and tramabout, 120614

June 15, 2014

Sumana gave Advik his food:

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And then we went off to see the sights!

The first creature to meet me was this

HOODED CROW:

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Which strutted about as if the world was monochrome:

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Buttercups spangled the grass with shiny gold:

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Advik was, of course, happy to be out:

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So was his mother!

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We took a tram and went past Liseburg Amusement Park:

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We saw the Goteborg Museum:

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(No point in being indoors on such a glorious day!)

We went to the Asian Store to pick up a few items:

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I enjoyed watching the trams, having grown up in a city (Kolkata) where trams still run. Some are wheelchair and stroller-friendly, some are not:

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I enjoyed looking at the building facades:

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We went to the mouth of the Gothia River, where the Opera House is:

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A festooned ship was berthed

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near the “Lipstick” building:

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There was kayaking too:

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Advik found himself in the hands of the Grand-ma-fia:

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He didn’t seem too unhappy, though:

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There were Mallards in the water:

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Common Gulls were, well, common:

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As were Herring Gulls:

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and Black-headed Gulls:

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Their tails made such a pretty pattern!
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they were mewling:

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they were bathing:

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They may be common and pests, but they are still beautiful!

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More ornate buildings caught my eye:

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With details:

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The Germanic word for travel always cracks me up:

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A nearby mall, Nordstan, was festive:

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Street musicians were “busking”:

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Some people’s goodness shines out of their eyes:

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the town square was lovely:

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I saw sea-horses in the air:

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and a man on a horse:

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Jackdaws were at the water’s edge:

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There was love in the air:

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Flowers on the ground:

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There were children in the air, too!

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The sky and clouds looked lovely:

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I watched two opponents, frozen in animosity:

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We passed a beautiful theatre:

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Vigettes spotted out of the tram window:

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A Hummer as a taxi! The ultimate in consumerism:

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Some pretty wildflowers grew by the paths:

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This is for Father’s Day, which is today:

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There are wild strawberries in the Vastare’s garden:

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That was my first experience of Goteborg (pronounced yothebUri) stad (pronounced shtAt):

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Journey to Scandinavia, 110614

June 12, 2014

I started from Bangalore International Airport, which looked beautiful in the middle of the night:

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I reached Paris CDG with a bad seat and no sleep, but at the departure gate for the flight to Stockholm, I was entertained by three children:

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They were busy having a luggage fight, while an infant looked on!

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A colourful caterpillar was also a neck-rest:

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CDG airport made a beautiful monochrome:

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We flew over the lush greenery of summer:

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The sea views were lovely, too:

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A highway snaked through the green:

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I arrived at Stockholm:

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It was as if this was what Sweden was telling me:

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Without Deepak’s help, I could not have managed those heavy suitcases. He was fitter by the time we reached the Vastare home!

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On the bus from the airport to the Central Station (from where Deepak and I took a train to Goteborg), I couldn’t help clicking, in spite of drooping with fatigue:

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A nearly-full moon rose:

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I loved the sleek look of the trains:

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The station, too, was so pretty!

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Sumana’s kitchen was as hospitable and inviting as they both are:

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I was dead tired by now, and closed my day!

Gothenburg in English is Goteborg in Swedish, pronounced “yotheburi” (thanks, Sumana!)

Let me close with these beautiful sculptures in the Goteborg Main Square:

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For photos of the journeys, see my FaceBook album

here

and

here

is the garden of the home that Deepak and Sumana live in!

A walk and a climb in Highrisegaon, 260314

March 26, 2014

Yesterday I was far too knocked out by the migraine, but this morning, I did wake up in time to leave for my walk by 5.45 am. It was the lovely “ushat kAlam” ..the pre-dawn darkness slowly glowing into ambient light.

I went down the stairs…and it was dark enough that after a few floors, I had to go back to the lift and take that down to the ground floor. Out I walked, and with the tall buildings looming on every side, I walked along, being careful to get my various co-ordinates so that I would be able to find my way back through the Redwood Sequioas of Gurgaon.

Several things caught my eye. One thinks, perhaps, that each building is a compact “village”…but that is not so…most people living in the apartments are strangers to each other…they just share the cocoon, and the sense of camaraderie is pretty fragile. After I got no response to my third or fourth “good morning”, I stopped wishing anyone.

I went out of the apartment building I was staying in, and walked out to the “downmarket” area that I could see from the 19th floor balcony…from which the maid, who works in the apartment, comes. The area is divided by a “nullah” (sewage canal), with all sorts of filth in it, in which several huge-looking pigs (some actually having back-bristles like boars) were rooting around. What a difference between economic strata, separated by a road and a ditch! And yet, the residents of the building depend deeply on the denizens of this “pocket sector” (as one of Anjana’s banker friends in this area described it) meant for the “EWS” (Economically Weaker Sections). The drivers, the maids, the “ironwallahs”, the many domestic and menial services provided to the residents…they come from these “pockets”.

I noticed the early morning services in operation. Milk, in plastic sachets that were stacked in hard plastic crates, was being unstacked after being unloaded from the vans, and being delivered. Newspaper vendors sat in groups, with the day’s several papers in front of them, folding deftly, and inserting the various leaflets that make them a few extra rupees every morning, as well as the supplements of each newspaper. Maids and servants were walking to work, some with a shawl over their torsos, against the early morning’s slight nip. I was cheered to see some maids (yes) on cycles. In fact, at one place, I found several cycles, and the security told me that I could borrow a cycle if I wished, and return it after going around. That made me very happy!

I came back from the open road, and decided to walk along the buildings themselves. Between the high-rises were some even more opulent “low rises”…in this region of high real estate values, to have a bungalow or a low-rise building with just two or three floors must mean sky-high cost!

The spaces between the buildings were plentifully planted with trees and plants…and I was happy to see that not all of them were stunted and pruned to human domination…there were quite a few trees that supported a lot of squirrels, and birds…and as the sun rose, butterflies flitted along, too, as (did dragonflies. There were assigned walking paths, but I could walk along the entrances of the various grand apartments, and look up at the incredible variety of the architecture…some of which was pleasing to the eye, and some of which was…otherwise (“Neo-Gurgainyya”sums it up best for me.) The anonmyity of living in such apartments is, I suppose, both a comfort and a discomfort sometimes…but the greenery helps one in adjusting to this kind of city life.

I watched Bulbuls, Sunbirds, Pigeons and Wagtails; in the ditch, Lapwings looked incuriously at me; I saw a few Flowerpeckers in the Bottle-Brush trees, and did my chanting (108 names of Anjaneya, kanakadhArA stOtram, and some more slOkA), meditated in peace, watched some ladies doing yoga…by this time nearly two hours had elapsed.

The weather was just warming up by now, but I climbed the 19 floors to the terrace with ease, and was only slightly huffy and puffy when I reached the front door. I was happy with my morning walk, climb, observations and thoughts…

I walked into the apartment to greet everyone, especially the two children who are now the center of my universe. They ran to me and hugged me; the younger one showed his two teeth in a happy grin; the elder had some anecdote to relate….I was back in my present world..and I left behind the world of Gurgaon, the High-rise Village.

Train of thought…

November 14, 2013

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A train pulls in (I can’t say, “steams in”, any more!) One journey is over…and another, soon to begin. For a brief while, many unconnected people will share a small space together…some of them will strike up conversations, others will remain blissfully unaware of how may others are travelling with them.

Several agencies swing into action; the train is cleaned, the engine maintenance done, the catering supplies unloaded and loaded, connections between the carriages checked, and so the long list goes…before the announcement that this train is about to go out, once again, ferrying its load from one city to another….

Meetings happen, partings happen. Someone said that a station is one place where emotions can still be seen in the raw. Happiness, sadness, or even loss as someone discovers a missing wallet, mobile phone, or even luggage….

Trains and stations are bustling places…train travel is still magical to me.

Peregrine Falcons at Wash U School of Medicine, 310813

September 1, 2013

The crescent moon and the attendant star were still bright when I took the Metrolink train to Central West End Station:

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Here’s the Central West End station, where I alighted:

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Thanks to my birding friend Devin Peipert’s instructions, I left the station, and looked right up at the tops of the buildings near by. And there, in the pre-dawn light, was one of them!

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PEREGRINE FALCONS

are possibly the fastest birds on earth….reaching over 322 km/h (200 mph) during its characteristic hunting stoop (high speed dive), This makes it the fastest member of the animal kingdom.

This pose, sitting and surveying the territory for prey, is so still and deceptive!

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Just like the other fast land animal, the Cheetah, this bird has “tear marks
on its cheeks, leading from its eyes in some specimens.

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In America, they are also called Duck Hawks, giving an indication of their favourite prey. However, in urban areas, their favourite meal seems to consist of Pigeons. Both the English and scientific names of this species mean “wandering falcon”, referring to the migratory habits of many northern populations.

Trying to get a better image of the bird, so high up, I tried increasing the zoom, even though, in the early-morning dawn light, I knew the graininess would increase:

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The other one flew to the top of another building, far above my head:

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Here are two very fast birds of the skies:

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Very soon, they both flew off, and I went off, too.

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Hope to go back and see them again, soon….

I’m still laughing!

August 31, 2013

Do watch till the end….I just couldn’t believe it!

, I’m sending the friend who gave me this link, my gastro-enterologist’s bill for the tummy-ache.