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I often view natural landscapes as lovers of sorts. In such places, nostalgia sometimes arises, and it's easy to equate tides, vistas, and any terrain of nature to a past lover if you only open your mind and imagination. From the curves of the wheat blowing in the open fields, the delicate petals of flowers, to the strong and towering stature of forest trees and vast moutain ranges.

I suppose some people just past by such scenes and think, or feel, absolutely nothing. However, each time I'm in a natural landscape, my mind begins to wander, romantic visions arise and I'm carried off to some magical mental state, if only for a brief period of time. It is here that I momentarily believe in the notion of fairy tales. Of all the landscapes, I dislike the ocean and sea most. Violent, unsteady and often aggressive. The great unknown, the depths and darkness of which remain a mystery to most humans, incapable of ever being wholly experienced or felt. The behaviors of the tide, waves and rhythm often resemble a cocky, aggressive, alpha male. For the sea rushes to kiss the shore day after day, no matter how many times it's pushed away. An overall machismo type of behavior that I despise in men, and I guess natural landscapes also. For those who somehow find peace, comfort and happiness in the open waters, these photos are for you, taken during a trip to San Diego, California last summer.Read more... )
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I've never once seen bloody animals being sacrificed, goats with sliced throats or any other celebratory or religious customs of Muslims celebrated on the streets of the USA. However, I remember readers sending me photos of these religious traditions, which may seem barbaric to some, playing out on the streets of different Russian cities. I've always struggled with the question of immigration vs. cultural heritage. To what extent should immigrants in a new country part with their cultural ties, and assimilate into the new environment? I think it's a delicate balance, and there are no easy answers.

When I was in San Diego a few months ago, my visit coincided with one of the most important Mexican holidays - Cinco De Mayo. Most Americans think this is Mexican Independence Day, but in fact it's a day to commemorate the Mexican army's victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. The holiday is widely celebrated in the USA, with many festivals and ordinary citizens eating Mexican food and sipping margaritas in the warm sun. I was in Old Town San Diego, a huge Mexican mecca in California, during Cinco De Mayo and encountered all kinds of festivities, food, beautiful dancers and mariachi bands.Read more... )
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We all know that some women age gracefully, and others do not. For me, this has absolutely nothing to do with appearance, sagging breasts, or how thick or thin an older female is. It's about the eyes, the soul and overall spirit in life. On a brutally hot day in May, I was walking around Old Town San Diego when I encountered a remarkable woman named Sonia. Immediately she captured my attention with her colorful brush strokes and vibrant paints sitting in tin foil. I sat down to take a rest, and we struck up a conversation. After only 15 minutes, I had a mental snapshot of her entire life.Read more... )
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Hello everyone! If you dream of eternal sunshine, ocean views and an overall relaxed lifestyle, San Diego is the place for you. During the past week, I was reminded how landscapes and mentalities strongly differ depending on where you're traveling in the USA. In San Diego, people are more laid back, casual and less pretentious. There's a hippie, surfer, earthy vibe emanating from a lot of residents. Life there appeared more organic and suited to my personality type. It's a pity that I don't crave so much sun and warmth, otherwise I would seriously consider moving there. The downside is that the cost of living is very high, and California is one of the most heavily taxed and regulated States in America.

Have you ever noticed the State flag? It still has "California Republic" emblazoned on it, honoring the point in history when California wished to be a stand alone republic...
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