Berlin

I dealt with a whole new level of jet-lag on this trip. The plane leaving Delhi departed at 2:50am. Yes, you read that right. And apparently that’s a common time because the airport was packed with other bleary-eyed, vaguely-confused people like me. I had a quick 2 hour nap the day before, little sleep on the 8+ hour flight to Vienna, and nothing on the short hop from Vienna to Berlin. In Berlin we had to get right to work to maximize our time. Our brains were a bit fried, but we made the best of it.

Luckily, after an action-packed, whirlwind 3 days we finally had a little time to ourselves to sightsee. I’ve been to Germany before, but never Berlin. Our translator took us around to see some of the highlights, including the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie. We also visited the Reichstag Building, seen here reflected in a well-placed rain puddle-Reichstag Building, Berlin Germany
The Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom)-Berliner Dom Berlin Cathedral in Germany
After seeing the Brandenburg Gate, we had lunch near Hackesche Höfe, where there are a series of beautiful interior courtyards all linked together. Hackesche Höfe- Berlin, Germany
This old man was playing his accordion outside the restaurantMan playing the accordian in Berlin
But there were hidden little surprises down every street. In Potsdam I found an old building with Cold War tilework panels around the first level. The building was blocked with construction barricades, but I snuck in to get a closer look. Each panel was about 10 feet high. There were mig jets, rocket launches, and archaic 70s-era computers. But my favorite was this Russian Cosmonaut with his CCCP helmet. Cold war artwork in Potsdam, Germany
All of these images were taken with a Canon 5D Mark II, and I was mainly using a wide angle 16-35mm lens.

Palaces of Jaipur

Palaces, Forts, Temples… there are a number of amazing ancient buildings in Jaipur, India. Hawa Mahal is known as the “Palace of Winds.” This is a view from behind, showing the rear of the main facade where the royal women could watch activities on the streets below without being seen.Hawa Mahal in Jaipur
The entire facade is covered in a unique honeycomb pattern and has countless small windows and tiny green doors that can be opened to look outside. Green door in Hawa Mahal in Jaipur
Amer Fort (also known as Amber Fort) is part of an enormous fortress complex on the north end of town. There are miles of giant stone walls, forts, and assorted buildings. Amer Fort, Jaipur IndiaAmer Fort, Jaipur IndiaAmer Fort, Jaipur India
Inside Amer Fort is Sheesh Mahal, or the mirrored palace.Amer Fort, Jaipur India
My hotel was right across the street from Jal Mahal, which I heard referred to as the Water Palace or the Floating Palace. It is particularly beautiful in the evening light before the sun disappears behind the local hills. Jal Mahal, The Water Palace

Faces of India

Here are just a few people that I have met during a very busy week in Jaipur, India.Young boy in Jaipur, IndiaGirl in the market Jaipur, IndiaMan in Jaipur IndiaBut this last girl is the one that I’ll always remember. We called her the Magic Girl because she was performing slight-of-hand coin tricks on the sidewalk in front of the Floating Palace on the north side of Jaipur. She seemed to be the ring-leader of the street kids there. She was confident, quick, and naturally intelligent. She was also the only one of the kids with any performing abilities. They all looked to her to know what was going on. In any other environment she’d be a CEO in the making. I’d like to think with her survival skills she’ll make it somehow. But I’m not sure that’s she seen a day of school, and her opportunities are slim to none. She hung around us during the 45 minutes that we were taking photos near the palace. She talked me out of a few bucks and all of my candy. The rest of the evening, the Magic Girl would come up in conversation every now and then. It seemed we were all thinking about her. The Magic Girl, Jaipur India