Ha Long Bay, situated in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1600 islands and islets forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and relatively unaffected by human influence. The bay is located 160 km away east of Hanoi and it takes about 3 – 3.5 hours to get there by car or minibus. Ha Long literally means “descending dragon” and according to local myth, long ago when their forefathers were fighting foreign invaders from the north, the gods from heaven sent a family of dragons to help defend their land. This family of dragons descended upon what is now Ha Long Bay and began spitting out jewels and jade. Upon hitting the sea, these jewels turned into the various islands and islets dotting the seascape and formed a formidable fortress against the invaders. The locals were able to keep their land safe and formed what is now the country of Vietnam. The Dragon family fell so much in love with this area for its calm water and for the reverence of the people of Vietnam that they decided to remain on earth. This is a perfect day trip out from Hanoi. This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme, and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme, and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme, and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.
Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in. The rules are simple: 1) Create your image and post it up on your blog; 2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here; 3) Leave a comment here once you have posted; 4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity! Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately! Rendezvous au coin de la rue...
Strelitzia reginae is a monocotyledonous flowering plant indigenous to South Africa (the Cape Provinces and KwaZulu-Natal). Common names include strelitzia, crane flower or bird of paradise, though these names are also collectively applied to other species in the genus Strelitzia. Its scientific name commemorates the British queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The species is native to South Africa but naturalised in Mexico, Belize, Bangladesh, Madeira Islands and Juan Fernández Islands off the coast of Chile. It is the national flower of Madeira, Portugal since 2005. The plant grows to 2 m tall, with large, strong leaves 25–70 cm long and 10–30 cm broad, produced on petioles up to 1 m long. The leaves are evergreen and arranged in two ranks, making a fan-shaped crown. The flowers stand above the foliage at the tips of long stalks. The hard, beak-like sheath from which the flower emerges is termed the spathe. This is placed perpendicular to the stem, which gives it the appearance of a bird's head and beak; it makes a durable perch for holding the sunbirds which pollinate the flowers. The flowers, which emerge one at a time from the spathe, consist of three brilliant orange sepals and three purplish-blue or white petals. Two of the blue or white petals are joined together to form an arrow-like nectary. When the sunbirds sit to drink the nectar, the petals open to cover their feet in pollen. Strelitzia reginae is very popular as an ornamental plant. It was first introduced to Europe in 1773, when it was grown at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Since then, it has been widely introduced around the world, including the Americas and Australia, growing well in any area that is sunny and warm. In the United States, Florida and California are the main areas of cultivation, due to their warm climate. It is a common ornamental plant in Southern California, and has been chosen as the Official Flower of the City of Los Angeles. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. It is propagated by division or from seeds, and is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to grow in the garden; it is fairly tolerant of soil conditions and needs little water once established. If cared for well, they will flower several times in a year. They will thrive in rich loamy soil, especially when they get plenty of water throughout the year. They do well in full sun to semi-shade and respond well to regular feeding with a controlled release fertiliser and compost. They are sensitive to cold and need to be sheltered from frost, as it can damage the flowers and leaves. Strelitzia reginae is slow-growing and will not bloom until three to five years have passed since germination (though it can exceptionally flower at two years). It flowers only when properly established and division of the plant may affect flowering patterns. The flowers are, however, quite long-lasting once they appear. Peak flowering is in the winter and early spring. There is a yellow-flowered cultivar of this plant known as 'Mandela's Gold'. This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.
The Outback is the vast, remote, arid area of Australia. The term "the outback" is generally used to refer to locations that are comparatively more remote than those areas named "the bush" which, colloquially, can refer to any lands outside the main urban areas. Because of the low and erratic rainfall over most of the outback, combined with soils which are usually not very fertile, inland Australia is relatively sparsely settled. More than 90 percent of Australians live in urban areas on the coast.
The total population of the Outback in Australia declined from 700,000 in 1996 to 690,000 in 2006. Largest decline was noted in Outback NT, while Kimberley and Pilbara showed population increase during the same period. The sex ratio is 104 males for 100 females and 17% of the total population is indigenous.
Other than agriculture and tourism, the main economic activity in this vast and sparsely settled area is mining. Owing to the complete absence of mountain building and glaciation since the Permian (in many areas since the Cambrian) ages, the outback is extremely rich in iron, aluminium, manganese and uranium ores, and also contains major deposits of gold, nickel, iron, lead and zinc ores. Because of its size, the value of grazing and mining is considerable.
There is much beauty within the Outback, with vast, unspoilt tracts of land, desert and scrubland, hidden oases and watercourses, striking rock formations, unusual vegetation, striking soil and mineral colours, our native animals, and amazing vistas at sunrise and sunset. There is terror also, with droughts, bushfires, floods and other natural disasters...
Here is an Advent Calendar for you (sorry it's a few days late...)! You may print this and jot down notes for each day, or stick a new little treat for someone on each day's space. You may like to put in special days of significance for you (e.g. St Nicholas' Feast Day on the 6th!). I have posted it at fairly high resolution so it should come up pretty clear up to an A3 print size. This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme, and also part of the Macro Monday meme, and also part of the Through my Lens meme, and also part of the Seasons meme.
Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in. The rules are simple: 1) Create your image and post it up on your blog; 2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here; 3) Leave a comment here once you have posted; 4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity! Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!