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Julian Worker - Writing
|Look at these writing samples||Iran - Hassle Free Customs.||The Murals of San Francisco.||Bhutan- The Paro Festival.||Dawn Boat on the Ganges at Varanasi.||Stanley Park.|
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Mr One Dollar - Through customs in no time.
We then encountered a long queue of people holding their passports. At the head of the line was a large overweight gentleman in a grey tunic sitting on a wooden chair similar to the ones we had had at school twenty years previously. The customs official’s hair was thinning and combed backwards, though he had a fine walrus-like moustache. He was slowly checking passenger’s paperwork, whilst smoking a large cigarette. Mr One Dollar wheeled the trolley past the queue, which concerned me, so I indicated to him that we should join the queue at the back rather than pushing in at the front. He shook his head and smiled. As we drew level with the official, Mr One Dollar said something to him. The official looked at me over a distance of about 5 metres with an expression that reminded me of a languid bloodhound. He blew some smoke in our direction and said, in perfect English with a rather fierce tone, “Where are you from?” “The UK,” I said, brandishing my passport and smiling. He glared at me, “Do you have a visa for Iran?” “Yes, I do,” I replied and started to leaf through my passport. He waved his hand imperiously and said, “OK, you can go, please.” He didn’t even look at my passport let alone the visa.
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The Murals of San Francisco - Art For Free .
One aspect of the art scene which doesn’t receive a great deal of publicity is the amount of ‘free’ art that was available for all to see, both on the streets of the city and at its major tourist attractions, some of which has been created amidst great controversy. There are nearly 600 murals in San Francisco with the richest concentration in the Mission District. This area has been predominantly Latino since the early 1970’s. Balmy Alley in particular has some of the oldest Mission District murals including early works of members of the Mujeres Muralistas, a group of women artists who pictured the beauty of their culture. The Chicano and civil-rights movements of the 1960’s inspired a new wave of muralists to continue the tradition of the great Mexican painters such as Diego Rivera.
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Bhutan - The Paro Dance Festival.
Musicians accompany every performance and play a variety of instruments from drums to high-pitched flutes. The most atmospheric is the deeply resonating yak-horn that lends an immense sense of importance and solemnity to the dances, which have evocative names, such as the Dance of the Lord of death and his consort; the Dance of the Lords of the Cremation Grounds and The Dance of the Four Stags. My personal favourite was the Dance of the Terrifying Deities. In this dance, each dancer’s mask is primarily of one colour, with the eyebrows high-lighted in another. The teeth are bared in an evil grimace. Every mask has five small horns, each with a skull at the base of it and each with a piece of differently coloured ribbon attached to it, which lends a sweep of drama to head movements. As a costume, the dancers wear a light coloured cape over a highly coloured brocade dress, which has flowing sleeves that mimic the pattern of the dress, as do the pants that are worn underneath.
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Varanasi - The Dawn Boat on the Ganges.
As the fiery ball of the sun began to rise over the eastern bank of the Ganges on our left-hand side, the lighted candles on banana leaves, offered in prayer to the gods, started to float past our boat. The oars lapped gently in the water as the high stepped bank, on our right hand side, gradually became a hive of industry. Woman’s saris, individually vivid as they were picked out by the sun’s earliest rays, were being readied for washing; men stood almost naked lathering themselves with soap; goats lay watching events unfold; religious rituals commenced; ablutions began; prayers were being said and people immersed themselves and each other in the Holy River, as smoke drifted across from a nearby cremation. The day had begun on the ghats at Varanasi.
Heading upstream, we first passed the Munshi Ghat, where the city’s Muslim population comes to bathe, even though the river has no religious significance for them. Dhobi wallahs or professional washermen then began to appear, standing in the water up to their knees in a long line, washing clothes and then slamming them repeatedly on large flat stones with such great force, that you hear the sound echoing across the water, almost before seeing the washermen themselves. Large areas of the bank were even now, covered with their laundry, drying already in the warm glow of early morning. There is religious merit in having your clothes washed here and the Brahmins, the highest of the sects in Hindu society, have their own washermen to avoid caste pollution. Just as we approached Harischandra ghat, the most sacred smashan or cremation area, I noticed two white bundles float past us. “What were those?” I asked my friend Sandeep. “They are children sir; we do not burn children.” I also found out that people, who have died of a high fever, in the past it used to be smallpox, are not cremated but are just thrown into the river, in deference to Sitala the goddess of smallpox.
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Stanley Park - Visit the 120 year old park.
Stanley Park is the result of remarkable foresight. In 1886 the newly-created Vancouver city council petitioned the federal government to set aside the then swampy peninsula as a park. The petition was granted and in 1888 Lord Stanley, the Governor General of Canada, dedicated the park ‘to the use and enjoyment of people of all colours, creeds, and customs for all time.’ Today, Stanley Park welcomes 8 million visitors per year and for most of those people it is Vancouver’s outstanding attraction. The park occupies 1000 acres of a headland that juts into the Burrard Inlet. There are beaches on the western side, magnificent rose and rhododendron gardens, intriguing sights, and plenty of fresh air. The dense forest comprises Douglas fir, hemlock, and western red cedar, with an underforest of deciduous maples and alders. The 5.5 mile walk around the Stanley Park, mostly along the seawall, is a must for all visitors. It orientates you wonderfully and the outstanding views just keep coming. The walk should be done counter-clockwise starting from the Georgia Street entrance. The first building you pass is the Tudor-style Vancouver Rowing Club. The next sight is the wonderful collection of Totem Poles, a photographer’s delight. Near the poles and right by the path is a statue of Harry Jerome, who in the early 1960s was the world’s fastest sprinter. The view towards the ‘sails’ of Canada Place is particularly fine from here. The Nine O’Clock Gun still resounds across the harbour each evening. Depending on which story you believe, the gun either called the herring fishermen home or allowed ships in the harbour to set their chronometers. The red and white Brockton Point lighthouse is a popular place for fishermen. Just inland is the Brockton Oval described by the brilliant Australian cricketer Don Bradman as the most beautiful ground in the world.
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