A Travellerspoint blog

July 2019

Outstanding Sandbar dive site in Palau

The colors were just incredible with the photos just not doing them justice; there was never any trash in the crystal clear waters either

The colors were just incredible with the photos just not doing them justice; there was never any trash in the crystal clear waters either

Garden eels; these interesting critters covered the sandy bottom but if you got close then the eels would quickly retreat into their holes

Garden eels; these interesting critters covered the sandy bottom but if you got close then the eels would quickly retreat into their holes

Clownfish; nearby, cleaner wrasse, which eat parasites and dead tissue off larger fishes' skin, decided to  go after us and their little nibbles can be painful in places like ears and underarms

Clownfish; nearby, cleaner wrasse, which eat parasites and dead tissue off larger fishes' skin, decided to go after us and their little nibbles can be painful in places like ears and underarms

Reticulated butterflyfish; these fish thrive mainly on a diet of coral polyps, tentacles of featherdusters and Christmas-tree worms

Reticulated butterflyfish; these fish thrive mainly on a diet of coral polyps, tentacles of featherdusters and Christmas-tree worms

Humphead bannerfish; on the internet I see you can buy one of these for your saltwater aquarium for $78 (better to see them in their natural environment)

Humphead bannerfish; on the internet I see you can buy one of these for your saltwater aquarium for $78 (better to see them in their natural environment)

Large school of barracuda; Palau is justifiably famous for its wall dives but it also has many wrecks from WW 2 that are popular dive sites

Large school of barracuda; Palau is justifiably famous for its wall dives but it also has many wrecks from WW 2 that are popular dive sites

This star pufferfish looks in need of serious dental work; these fish are solitary and defend their territory so he must be assessing my threat potential

This star pufferfish looks in need of serious dental work; these fish are solitary and defend their territory so he must be assessing my threat potential

Checkerboard wrasse; both its sex and appearance change during its life, and the coloring at each stage is variable based on location

Checkerboard wrasse; both its sex and appearance change during its life, and the coloring at each stage is variable based on location

Sand perch; typhoons are rare, as Palau lies outside the main typhoon zone; the strongest typhoon that struck Palau since reliable records was Typhoon Haiyan in 2013

Sand perch; typhoons are rare, as Palau lies outside the main typhoon zone; the strongest typhoon that struck Palau since reliable records was Typhoon Haiyan in 2013

Spiky sea cucumber; supposedly sea cucumbers are very low in calories and fat and high in protein, making them a weight loss-friendly food

Spiky sea cucumber; supposedly sea cucumbers are very low in calories and fat and high in protein, making them a weight loss-friendly food

Striped surgeonfish; this species is territorial, with a large male defending a feeding territory and a harem of females

Striped surgeonfish; this species is territorial, with a large male defending a feeding territory and a harem of females

Orangespine unicornfish; tbey have a blade-like spine in the tail that points outwards when bent which is used for defense and is as sharp as a surgeon's scalpel

Orangespine unicornfish; tbey have a blade-like spine in the tail that points outwards when bent which is used for defense and is as sharp as a surgeon's scalpel

Yellow-mask angelfish; Palau is home to saltwater crocodiles (luckily I never saw one!) which are generally considered extremely dangerous, although there has only been one fatal human attack in Palau within modern history, and that was in the 1960s

Yellow-mask angelfish; Palau is home to saltwater crocodiles (luckily I never saw one!) which are generally considered extremely dangerous, although there has only been one fatal human attack in Palau within modern history, and that was in the 1960s

Masked bannerfish; these fish have very fine hair-like teeth that enable them to eat small organisms inaccessible to most other fish

Masked bannerfish; these fish have very fine hair-like teeth that enable them to eat small organisms inaccessible to most other fish

I have a hard time identifying schooling fish; these may be bream or snappers of some variety but I'm not sure

I have a hard time identifying schooling fish; these may be bream or snappers of some variety but I'm not sure

Neon damselfish; juveniles of this species will school above soft corals and then dart into their hiding places when threats (like me) approach

Neon damselfish; juveniles of this species will school above soft corals and then dart into their hiding places when threats (like me) approach

The President of Palau met with President Trump at the end of May; I wonder if Trump has any clue where Palau is or what an underwater paradise exists here

The President of Palau met with President Trump at the end of May; I wonder if Trump has any clue where Palau is or what an underwater paradise exists here

Regal angelfish; they are valued by aquarium hobbyists for being one of the few reef safe angelfish as its diet is composed primarily of sponges, and does not include corals

Regal angelfish; they are valued by aquarium hobbyists for being one of the few reef safe angelfish as its diet is composed primarily of sponges, and does not include corals

Posted by VagabondCowboy 03:30 Comments (1)

Sprawling Seoul has so much to see (pt 1)

View from a 123-floor, 555-metre (1,821 ft) supertall skyscraper located in Seoul; Lotte World Tower, which opened to the public on April 11, 2017, is currently the tallest building in South Korea and the 6th tallest building in the world

View from a 123-floor, 555-metre (1,821 ft) supertall skyscraper located in Seoul; Lotte World Tower, which opened to the public on April 11, 2017, is currently the tallest building in South Korea and the 6th tallest building in the world

There are 3 floating islands on the Han River next to the Banpo Bridge; some scenes from the blockbuster movie Avengers: Age of Ultron were shot here

There are 3 floating islands on the Han River next to the Banpo Bridge; some scenes from the blockbuster movie Avengers: Age of Ultron were shot here

Heunginjimun Gate is the east gate of the old city; it was first built in 1398 with the current gate dating from 1869

Heunginjimun Gate is the east gate of the old city; it was first built in 1398 with the current gate dating from 1869

The neofuturistic Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is the centerpiece of South Korea's fashion industry; the DDP was one of the main reasons for Seoul's designation as World Design Capital in 2010

The neofuturistic Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is the centerpiece of South Korea's fashion industry; the DDP was one of the main reasons for Seoul's designation as World Design Capital in 2010

Seoullo 7017 was a favorite sight of mine since it was transformed from an old, elevated highway into a series of 17 pedestrian walkways; there were many pianos, benches and other areas for people to get above the crowds flowing beneath them

Seoullo 7017 was a favorite sight of mine since it was transformed from an old, elevated highway into a series of 17 pedestrian walkways; there were many pianos, benches and other areas for people to get above the crowds flowing beneath them

Cheonggyecheon Stream is an 11 km long pseudo-bayou flowing from Gwanghwamun to Dongdaemun; in 2005, it was redeveloped from a dirty creek into an ecological park with visitors now walking along a well-lit path and under 22 bridges

Cheonggyecheon Stream is an 11 km long pseudo-bayou flowing from Gwanghwamun to Dongdaemun; in 2005, it was redeveloped from a dirty creek into an ecological park with visitors now walking along a well-lit path and under 22 bridges

The Blue House is the executive office and official residence of the President of South Korea; the house, part of a 62 acre complex, was named for the blue roof tiles

The Blue House is the executive office and official residence of the President of South Korea; the house, part of a 62 acre complex, was named for the blue roof tiles

A 170 year old umbrella pine anchors the large garden in front of the President's reception hall; I had been told I'd receive an audio guide for the tour but I didn't (I was the only non-Korean) so I spent 2 hours listening to the Korean presentation

A 170 year old umbrella pine anchors the large garden in front of the President's reception hall; I had been told I'd receive an audio guide for the tour but I didn't (I was the only non-Korean) so I spent 2 hours listening to the Korean presentation

Sungnyemun Gate, listed as Korean National Treasure 1, served as the southern gate when the city was walled; the busy street is where the old city walls once stood

Sungnyemun Gate, listed as Korean National Treasure 1, served as the southern gate when the city was walled; the busy street is where the old city walls once stood

The Banpo Bridge is the world's longest bridge fountain (1140 m) that set a Guinness World Record with nearly 10,000 LED nozzles shooting out 190 tons of water per minute

The Banpo Bridge is the world's longest bridge fountain (1140 m) that set a Guinness World Record with nearly 10,000 LED nozzles shooting out 190 tons of water per minute

Thankfully I still have PowerBars so I won't have to eat the hotel breakfast; like in the US, you have to be careful here at crosswalks since cars often run red lights

Thankfully I still have PowerBars so I won't have to eat the hotel breakfast; like in the US, you have to be careful here at crosswalks since cars often run red lights

Massive statue of Sejong the Great dominates 555 meter long Gwanghwamun Square in front of Gyeongbokgung Palace; Sejong the Great was the fourth king of the Joseon dynasty

Massive statue of Sejong the Great dominates 555 meter long Gwanghwamun Square in front of Gyeongbokgung Palace; Sejong the Great was the fourth king of the Joseon dynasty

Unlike Japan, everyone on the subway here is on their phone; friends don’t even speak to each other but are focused on their phone

Unlike Japan, everyone on the subway here is on their phone; friends don’t even speak to each other but are focused on their phone

Half of South Korea's over 51 million people live in the Seoul Capital Area, the fourth largest metropolitan economy in the world; I think shopping is the national pastime here, especially for young people

Half of South Korea's over 51 million people live in the Seoul Capital Area, the fourth largest metropolitan economy in the world; I think shopping is the national pastime here, especially for young people

The old city hall of Seoul was built in 1925 and now houses the library while the new glass building, completed in 2012, houses the office of the mayor and all city functions

The old city hall of Seoul was built in 1925 and now houses the library while the new glass building, completed in 2012, houses the office of the mayor and all city functions

In Korea, the cities were dominated by young people with little evidence of an older generation while in Japan we saw plenty of older people working and remaining active

In Korea, the cities were dominated by young people with little evidence of an older generation while in Japan we saw plenty of older people working and remaining active

This winnowing machine at the National Folk Museum was used for separating grain from chaff; monsoon season in Seoul is June through September (these are also the hottest months)

This winnowing machine at the National Folk Museum was used for separating grain from chaff; monsoon season in Seoul is June through September (these are also the hottest months)

The National Folk Museum of Korea is housed in the space below this replica 5 story pagoda; Korea is known for its very spicy food but I have no first hand experience with it

The National Folk Museum of Korea is housed in the space below this replica 5 story pagoda; Korea is known for its very spicy food but I have no first hand experience with it

The first stop on our walking tour of Seoul was Jogyesa Temple which was all decked out for Buddha's birthday; the older members of our tour group were already pooped and we'd just gotten started

The first stop on our walking tour of Seoul was Jogyesa Temple which was all decked out for Buddha's birthday; the older members of our tour group were already pooped and we'd just gotten started

In the subway stations it was a little disconcerting to see masks to be used in the event of a chemical attack; Seoul now has the world's 4th largest metropolitan economy after Tokyo, New York City and LA

In the subway stations it was a little disconcerting to see masks to be used in the event of a chemical attack; Seoul now has the world's 4th largest metropolitan economy after Tokyo, New York City and LA

My visit coincided with Buddha's birthday so all of the temples were adorned with thousands of colorful lanterns; Seoul received 10  million international visitors in 2014, making it the world's 9th most visited city and 4th largest earner in tourism dollars

My visit coincided with Buddha's birthday so all of the temples were adorned with thousands of colorful lanterns; Seoul received 10+ million international visitors in 2014, making it the world's 9th most visited city and 4th largest earner in tourism dollars

One of the many cool modern buildings; Seoul reminded me of Hong Kong or West LA with the sea of high rises and traffic congestion

One of the many cool modern buildings; Seoul reminded me of Hong Kong or West LA with the sea of high rises and traffic congestion

The Royal Tomb of Queen Jeonghyeon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; her tomb is one of several from the 15th and 16th centuries in what is now a small forest in central Seoul

The Royal Tomb of Queen Jeonghyeon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; her tomb is one of several from the 15th and 16th centuries in what is now a small forest in central Seoul

This statue at Queen Jeonghyeon's burial mound at Seolleung was designed to symbolize strong sovereign power; Korea has thrived despite being surrounded by (and sometimes invaded by) China, Russia and Japan

This statue at Queen Jeonghyeon's burial mound at Seolleung was designed to symbolize strong sovereign power; Korea has thrived despite being surrounded by (and sometimes invaded by) China, Russia and Japan

This red spiked gate marks the entrance to the tomb of King Seongjong who was the ninth ruler of the Josean Dynasty (1457-1494); his burial ground lies in what is now Gangnam, an upscale area of southern Seoul

This red spiked gate marks the entrance to the tomb of King Seongjong who was the ninth ruler of the Josean Dynasty (1457-1494); his burial ground lies in what is now Gangnam, an upscale area of southern Seoul

Signage in Korean wasn't very helpful and, often, there was nothing in English; 2 years of military service is required for young men in South Korea with women serving on a voluntary basis

Signage in Korean wasn't very helpful and, often, there was nothing in English; 2 years of military service is required for young men in South Korea with women serving on a voluntary basis

Olympic Park from Lotte World Tower; South Korean citizens enjoy the world's fastest Internet connection speeds and the most years of tertiary education in the world

Olympic Park from Lotte World Tower; South Korean citizens enjoy the world's fastest Internet connection speeds and the most years of tertiary education in the world

Posted by VagabondCowboy 22:22 Comments (0)

History and nature bless western North Carolina

We had great weather for our trip to Roan Mountain; the Appalachian Trail crosses most of the Roan's crest with the Roan High Knob Shelter being the highest backcountry shelter on the entire 2,174-mile trail

We had great weather for our trip to Roan Mountain; the Appalachian Trail crosses most of the Roan's crest with the Roan High Knob Shelter being the highest backcountry shelter on the entire 2,174-mile trail

My parents did great on the sometimes steep walk through the Craggy Gardens; rhododendrons surround this trail but we booked our trip based on historical blooming dates and we're too late this year

My parents did great on the sometimes steep walk through the Craggy Gardens; rhododendrons surround this trail but we booked our trip based on historical blooming dates and we're too late this year

Mobile Bunny; Josh Cote made my favorite sculpture at the Grove Park Inn with steel wire on an antique tricycle ($2200)

Mobile Bunny; Josh Cote made my favorite sculpture at the Grove Park Inn with steel wire on an antique tricycle ($2200)

The former weaving room of Biltmore Homespun Industries in Asheville now houses the antique car museum; the company was famous for its woodcarving, furniture, needlework and homespun fabric

The former weaving room of Biltmore Homespun Industries in Asheville now houses the antique car museum; the company was famous for its woodcarving, furniture, needlework and homespun fabric

I finished well in the black at Harrah's Cherokee thanks to this deal; a $250 million expansion of the casino is underway which is adding another hotel, exhibition space and a parking garage

I finished well in the black at Harrah's Cherokee thanks to this deal; a $250 million expansion of the casino is underway which is adding another hotel, exhibition space and a parking garage

The weavers at Biltmore Industries each had their own style so customers would often request their garments be made by a particular person

The weavers at Biltmore Industries each had their own style so customers would often request their garments be made by a particular person

This IBM employee punch clock is from the early 1900s; Biltmore Industries grew from a small start-up as a craft education program to become one of the largest producers of handwoven wool in the world

This IBM employee punch clock is from the early 1900s; Biltmore Industries grew from a small start-up as a craft education program to become one of the largest producers of handwoven wool in the world

The dye house at Biltmore Industries has dye vats on the right and washing machines on the left; the finished cloth was washed for hours with Ivory soap and hot water to pre-shrink and soften the fabric

The dye house at Biltmore Industries has dye vats on the right and washing machines on the left; the finished cloth was washed for hours with Ivory soap and hot water to pre-shrink and soften the fabric

I'm Hare Now; this whimsical, $3900 sculpture on the grounds of the Grove Park Inn is sure to bring a smile

I'm Hare Now; this whimsical, $3900 sculpture on the grounds of the Grove Park Inn is sure to bring a smile

Bet it didn't have Coke Zero!; famous visitors to the Grove Park Inn-Houdini, Billy Graham (he lived nearby), Edison, Ford, Michael Jordan, Daniel Day-Lewis, Anthony Hopkins, David and Amy Sedaris, Alex Haley, Gershwin, John Denver

Bet it didn't have Coke Zero!; famous visitors to the Grove Park Inn-Houdini, Billy Graham (he lived nearby), Edison, Ford, Michael Jordan, Daniel Day-Lewis, Anthony Hopkins, David and Amy Sedaris, Alex Haley, Gershwin, John Denver

Craggy Gardens, on the Blue Ridge Parkway 14 miles NE of Asheville, is covered with purple Catawba rhododendrons in mid-June but they bloomed 2 weeks early this year

Craggy Gardens, on the Blue Ridge Parkway 14 miles NE of Asheville, is covered with purple Catawba rhododendrons in mid-June but they bloomed 2 weeks early this year

Cow; the metal is purposely rusted and then sealed to give it a durable patina; this can be yours for $3200

Cow; the metal is purposely rusted and then sealed to give it a durable patina; this can be yours for $3200

The view west from Craggy Gardens; most of western NC remains forested with lots of great hikes, including the Appalachian Trail

The view west from Craggy Gardens; most of western NC remains forested with lots of great hikes, including the Appalachian Trail

President and Mrs. Roosevelt were loyal customers of Biltmore Industries; the business thrived until the 1950s, when the economies of modern industrialization usurped the demand for handwoven wool

President and Mrs. Roosevelt were loyal customers of Biltmore Industries; the business thrived until the 1950s, when the economies of modern industrialization usurped the demand for handwoven wool

From the 1920s through the 1940s, Biltmore Homespun was the material of choice for Thomas Edison, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, and Grace Coolidge, who had her own signature Biltmore Homespun Coolidge Red yarn

From the 1920s through the 1940s, Biltmore Homespun was the material of choice for Thomas Edison, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, and Grace Coolidge, who had her own signature Biltmore Homespun Coolidge Red yarn

There were many beautiful goldfinch in Cherokee; we saw dozens of elk along with their newborns(from afar) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There were many beautiful goldfinch in Cherokee; we saw dozens of elk along with their newborns(from afar) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Roan Mountain hosts the world's largest natural rhododendron garden; the mountain is clad in a dense stand of Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest and smelled like thousands of Christmas trees

Roan Mountain hosts the world's largest natural rhododendron garden; the mountain is clad in a dense stand of Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest and smelled like thousands of Christmas trees

The Grove Park Inn served as a rehabilitation hospital during WW2; during her stay, Helen Keller was given handwoven wool to remind her of her time in Asheville

The Grove Park Inn served as a rehabilitation hospital during WW2; during her stay, Helen Keller was given handwoven wool to remind her of her time in Asheville

Mrs. Herbert Hoover with the president of Biltmore Industries on a visit to Asheville; when George Vanderbilt died in 1914, Edith Vanderbilt approached her friend, hotelier Fred Seely who bought Biltmore Industries and moved it to the Grove Park Inn

Mrs. Herbert Hoover with the president of Biltmore Industries on a visit to Asheville; when George Vanderbilt died in 1914, Edith Vanderbilt approached her friend, hotelier Fred Seely who bought Biltmore Industries and moved it to the Grove Park Inn

Roan Mountain lies on the NC-TN border although the town of Roan Mountain is entirely in TN; the 1885 Cloudland Hotel was built on the mountain straddling the state line but closed in 1927

Roan Mountain lies on the NC-TN border although the town of Roan Mountain is entirely in TN; the 1885 Cloudland Hotel was built on the mountain straddling the state line but closed in 1927

Grovewood Village, where the free Biltmore Homespun Museum is located, is considered by most Ashevillians to be one of the city’s best-kept secrets

Grovewood Village, where the free Biltmore Homespun Museum is located, is considered by most Ashevillians to be one of the city’s best-kept secrets

Loves Me, Loves Me Not; this $4800 sculpture graces the grounds of the 1913 Omni Grove Park Inn (10 presidents have stayed here)

Loves Me, Loves Me Not; this $4800 sculpture graces the grounds of the 1913 Omni Grove Park Inn (10 presidents have stayed here)

Ticks were everywhere at Craggy Gardens; despite putting on bug spray, we picked dozens of ticks off after our short walk

Ticks were everywhere at Craggy Gardens; despite putting on bug spray, we picked dozens of ticks off after our short walk

Twisted, jagged, rocky crags give Craggy Gardens its name, but these high elevation summits are home to the most spectacular floral display along the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway corridor

Twisted, jagged, rocky crags give Craggy Gardens its name, but these high elevation summits are home to the most spectacular floral display along the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway corridor

Posted by VagabondCowboy 16:56 Comments (0)

Great Art Deco/Art Nouveau museum in Takayama, Japan

This 1926 fountain by Lalique once graced a shopping arcade on the Champs Elysees and has been called the greatest work in Art Deco; after the arcade closed the fountain was lost but rediscovered in 1989 and now the showpiece of this museum

This 1926 fountain by Lalique once graced a shopping arcade on the Champs Elysees and has been called the greatest work in Art Deco; after the arcade closed the fountain was lost but rediscovered in 1989 and now the showpiece of this museum

Peacock Lamp, Tiffany, 1905; items for sale in the museum gift shop were almost as impressive as those in the permanent exhibition

Peacock Lamp, Tiffany, 1905; items for sale in the museum gift shop were almost as impressive as those in the permanent exhibition

The pieces here reminded me of my visit to the Ecole de Nancy Museum in Nancy, France (also a sister city to Takayama); I've always admired Art Nouveau works which transformed everyday items into works of art

The pieces here reminded me of my visit to the Ecole de Nancy Museum in Nancy, France (also a sister city to Takayama); I've always admired Art Nouveau works which transformed everyday items into works of art

Japanese Fan-shaped Vase, Galle, 1889; in 1901, together with Prouvé, Majorelle, Daum and Vallin, Galle founded an Art Nouveau movement known as École de Nancy (The Nancy School)

Japanese Fan-shaped Vase, Galle, 1889; in 1901, together with Prouvé, Majorelle, Daum and Vallin, Galle founded an Art Nouveau movement known as École de Nancy (The Nancy School)

Crane-necked Bottle, Galle, 1900; at $13, admission is relatively expensive but if the subject matter is of interest then it is money well spent

Crane-necked Bottle, Galle, 1900; at $13, admission is relatively expensive but if the subject matter is of interest then it is money well spent

Dining room from the Wiener Studio representative of the Vienna Secessionist movement; designed by some members of the movement, the Vienna Secession House, hosted exhibits by artists who felt that style came from necessity

Dining room from the Wiener Studio representative of the Vienna Secessionist movement; designed by some members of the movement, the Vienna Secession House, hosted exhibits by artists who felt that style came from necessity

Rose de France Vase, Galle, 1900; one of only six sights in Japan to get three stars from Michelin

Rose de France Vase, Galle, 1900; one of only six sights in Japan to get three stars from Michelin

Table Lamp, Ishii, 1996; this Japanese artist is famous for blending Japanese aesthetics with the historical Art Nouveau influences

Table Lamp, Ishii, 1996; this Japanese artist is famous for blending Japanese aesthetics with the historical Art Nouveau influences

Midnight Perfume, Lalique, 1912; Lalique is buried with so many other greats in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

Midnight Perfume, Lalique, 1912; Lalique is buried with so many other greats in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

Gruber, 1900; this wonderful museum, on the outskirts of Takayama, was one of the nicest surprises of my 4 month trip

Gruber, 1900; this wonderful museum, on the outskirts of Takayama, was one of the nicest surprises of my 4 month trip

For such an exceptional museum, its website is really poor; it is more like the brochure copied and pasted on the web with little information on the contents of their collection

For such an exceptional museum, its website is really poor; it is more like the brochure copied and pasted on the web with little information on the contents of their collection

Promoted as the leading Decorative Arts Museum in the World, the Takayama Museum of Art, features glass art works and furniture of European Art Nouveau and Art Deco style which flourished at the end of 19th century

Promoted as the leading Decorative Arts Museum in the World, the Takayama Museum of Art, features glass art works and furniture of European Art Nouveau and Art Deco style which flourished at the end of 19th century

As best I can tell, the person who started this collection is a famous physicist; searching on google in English doesn't pull up Japanese entries unless they've already been translated

As best I can tell, the person who started this collection is a famous physicist; searching on google in English doesn't pull up Japanese entries unless they've already been translated

Winter Vase, Freres, 1905; I wish they showed a video on how some of these pieces were made so that we could better appreciate the artistry

Winter Vase, Freres, 1905; I wish they showed a video on how some of these pieces were made so that we could better appreciate the artistry

This dining room is by a Scottish architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who was a dominating artist from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century

This dining room is by a Scottish architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who was a dominating artist from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century

Heart-marked Bowl, Wiener Werkstatte, 1916; the museum is about 4 hours by train from Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto

Heart-marked Bowl, Wiener Werkstatte, 1916; the museum is about 4 hours by train from Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto

Dragonfly, Galle, 1889; this museum has received 3 Michelin stars (the highest rating and very prestigious) each year since opening in 1997

Dragonfly, Galle, 1889; this museum has received 3 Michelin stars (the highest rating and very prestigious) each year since opening in 1997

For a world-class museum, they had little information in English; only some info sheets in poor English which contained biographical sketches on a few of the artists

For a world-class museum, they had little information in English; only some info sheets in poor English which contained biographical sketches on a few of the artists

Pumpkin Vase, Daum Freres, 1910; the Daum family worked at the beginning of Art Nouveau and were creators of one of France's greatest glassworks (it still operates in Nancy today)

Pumpkin Vase, Daum Freres, 1910; the Daum family worked at the beginning of Art Nouveau and were creators of one of France's greatest glassworks (it still operates in Nancy today)

Jack in the Pulpit Vase, Tiffany, 1913; Takayama is small enough that you can enjoyably walk anywhere in nice weather

Jack in the Pulpit Vase, Tiffany, 1913; Takayama is small enough that you can enjoyably walk anywhere in nice weather

Admiration Vase, Ishii, 1991; the museum had a small section devoted to Asian artists who were inspired by the Art Deco and Art Nouveau movements

Admiration Vase, Ishii, 1991; the museum had a small section devoted to Asian artists who were inspired by the Art Deco and Art Nouveau movements

Vase, Marinot, c. 1920; Marinot was a painter considered a member of Les Fauves, before becoming a major artist in glass

Vase, Marinot, c. 1920; Marinot was a painter considered a member of Les Fauves, before becoming a major artist in glass

Some Art Nouveau pieces, like this one by a modern Japanese artist, seem to have prioritized form over function; of course, they may be so expensive that you would only display them

Some Art Nouveau pieces, like this one by a modern Japanese artist, seem to have prioritized form over function; of course, they may be so expensive that you would only display them

Posted by VagabondCowboy 04:26 Comments (0)

Spectacular snorkeling in Palau - Part 2

Devil scorpionfish; spotted this venomous species while snorkeling around the dock of Sam's Dive Shop

Devil scorpionfish; spotted this venomous species while snorkeling around the dock of Sam's Dive Shop

Tiny (but very colorful) mandarinfish; in 1985, the first President of the Republic of Palau was shot to death in his driveway with the assassin never identified

Tiny (but very colorful) mandarinfish; in 1985, the first President of the Republic of Palau was shot to death in his driveway with the assassin never identified

This was my view for 8 days; I could watch the tides in the distance but wished the country had some nice beaches to enjoy

This was my view for 8 days; I could watch the tides in the distance but wished the country had some nice beaches to enjoy

Diving in Jellyfish Lake is not allowed: 1)bubbles from tanks can be harmful if they collect beneath the jellies' bell and 2)at about 15 m below the surface, there are high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide, which can be absorbed and cause death

Diving in Jellyfish Lake is not allowed: 1)bubbles from tanks can be harmful if they collect beneath the jellies' bell and 2)at about 15 m below the surface, there are high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide, which can be absorbed and cause death

In addition to golden jellyfish, there are moon jellyfish in Jellyfish Lake; this species is 10-16 inches in diameter and drifts with the currents

In addition to golden jellyfish, there are moon jellyfish in Jellyfish Lake; this species is 10-16 inches in diameter and drifts with the currents

This famous Natural Arch in the Rock Islands is 15 meters long and 9 meters high; sometimes during high tides boats can pass underneath it

This famous Natural Arch in the Rock Islands is 15 meters long and 9 meters high; sometimes during high tides boats can pass underneath it

There are no natural beaches around the main part of Palau; the islands all look like this with the only exception being a man-made beach at the Pacific Palau Resort ($99 for a day pass!)

There are no natural beaches around the main part of Palau; the islands all look like this with the only exception being a man-made beach at the Pacific Palau Resort ($99 for a day pass!)

Black-tip reef shark; there are many Seventh Day Adventists on the island who close their businesses (including the largest grocery store) on Saturdays

Black-tip reef shark; there are many Seventh Day Adventists on the island who close their businesses (including the largest grocery store) on Saturdays

Bluestreak fusiliers; this species will dart into the coral as I get closer and always seem to move as a group

Bluestreak fusiliers; this species will dart into the coral as I get closer and always seem to move as a group

Pincushion sea star; this unusual species creates its own little habitat by providing shelter for small shrimp that hide under it, and copepods that live on its' outside

Pincushion sea star; this unusual species creates its own little habitat by providing shelter for small shrimp that hide under it, and copepods that live on its' outside

Colorful clams; Palau became more well-known to Americans after the television show Survivor was set in Palau in 2005

Colorful clams; Palau became more well-known to Americans after the television show Survivor was set in Palau in 2005

Feather duster tube worm; they have a crown of feeding appendages or radioles in two fan-shaped clusters projecting from their tubes

Feather duster tube worm; they have a crown of feeding appendages or radioles in two fan-shaped clusters projecting from their tubes

All of the rock islands have been undercut over time by water/wave action; this makes many of the islands look like forested mushrooms

All of the rock islands have been undercut over time by water/wave action; this makes many of the islands look like forested mushrooms

It's a 45 minute boat ride from Koror to the island and then a 15 minute hike up and down a hill to reach Jellyfish Lake; rangers are there to check your $100 Rock Islands permit

It's a 45 minute boat ride from Koror to the island and then a 15 minute hike up and down a hill to reach Jellyfish Lake; rangers are there to check your $100 Rock Islands permit

It's very impressive that the Palau government has limited development despite having pristine islands and great snorkeling areas

It's very impressive that the Palau government has limited development despite having pristine islands and great snorkeling areas

Eclipse butterflyfish; the sun was very intense so, like others, I wore a shirt in the water to keep from getting sunburned

Eclipse butterflyfish; the sun was very intense so, like others, I wore a shirt in the water to keep from getting sunburned

Gorgeous red sea fan on the side of the wall; the colors underwater were amazing snorkeling but also diving despite the photos that are heavy on the blue spectrum

Gorgeous red sea fan on the side of the wall; the colors underwater were amazing snorkeling but also diving despite the photos that are heavy on the blue spectrum

Shy clownfish; the distinctive crossroads of three of the world’s main ocean currents at Palau causes the incredible variety of sea life

Shy clownfish; the distinctive crossroads of three of the world’s main ocean currents at Palau causes the incredible variety of sea life

Saddled butterflyfish; this species is found at depths between 0 and 30 m in coral reefs and feeds on filamentous algae, small invertebrates, coral polyps and fish eggs

Saddled butterflyfish; this species is found at depths between 0 and 30 m in coral reefs and feeds on filamentous algae, small invertebrates, coral polyps and fish eggs

You can see how large the titan triggerfish is when compared to the many pyramid butterflyfish; they are also much bigger than the other triggerfish

You can see how large the titan triggerfish is when compared to the many pyramid butterflyfish; they are also much bigger than the other triggerfish

Clown triggerfish; there was a tremendous variety of reef fish snorkeling along Big Drop-off and they photograph better than when diving

Clown triggerfish; there was a tremendous variety of reef fish snorkeling along Big Drop-off and they photograph better than when diving

Bouquet of carnation coral; we saw species of this soft coral in a variety of shades of orange, lavender, pink and red

Bouquet of carnation coral; we saw species of this soft coral in a variety of shades of orange, lavender, pink and red

Oriental sweetlips pair; they are a species of grunt but their more common name sounds so much better

Oriental sweetlips pair; they are a species of grunt but their more common name sounds so much better

Pyramid butterflyfish; several times we had to tell Chinese visitors to not stand on the coral and they even try to swim right over you as if you're not there

Pyramid butterflyfish; several times we had to tell Chinese visitors to not stand on the coral and they even try to swim right over you as if you're not there

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