Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Irrawaddy River, Burma - 7

Hi, When we woke up for our last day of touring off the river boat we had a beautiful sunrise.

I think these are fisherman getting an early start on their day.

Our first stop was a monastery the outside of which was decorated with carvings of scenes.  Each of the scenes was described in both Burmese and English.

Inside were, as we had come to expect, numerous statues of Buddha.  This one was dated from the 13th century.

The other statues were much newer.  I think this one was from the 18th century.

Some of us then walked through the area near the monastery.  This provided an opportunity to see numerous structures, including these temples (above and 2 below),

this gate to an area with numerous sitting Buddhas,

and these statues that appear to be monks.

Other structures include this ruin of an old Library,

and a number of colonial buildings.

As we found previously, the local people willingly posed for photos.  The children were wonderful (above and below).

These monks were enjoying a bit of respite and conversation and

these older women were resting outside their homes.

Carts pulled by a team of cattle are still quite prevalent and

trucks are overloaded in the traditional Asian way.

We returned to the boat briefly.  The sun was now coming into our windows from the opposite side of the river and glinting off the water.  This provided a nice silhouette. 

That evening we were taken to the top of a high tower.  This gave a commanding view of the surrounding temples.

We arrived in time to view sunset.

After sunset I took a cart ride around the temple grounds.  I asked my driver to stop so I could take this photo.  Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Irrawaddy River, Burma - 6

Hi, We began our day with a visit to shop that manufactured and sold lacquer ware.

When we arrived the owner explained the processes used to produce these beautiful pieces.

After the initial shape is formed from woven bamboo it is covered with a number of layers of a lacquer made from tree sap.  Each layer is allowed to harden and is then polished before the next layer is applied.

The final base layer, brown in this case, is then decorated by hand.  After decoration is completed protective layers of clear lacquer are applied and polished.  Having seen the items made Ruthe and I purchased a tissue box holder.

Our next destination was the Ananda Phaya temple (above and below).  While Ruthe went inside I took these exterior views.

As per usual there were a number of Buddhas including

four standing, one of which is shown above.

While outside I photographed some older temples I had seen from the bus on our arrival.

Our next stop was another temple, this one atop a hill over looking the Irrawaddy River.  We stopped on the way up for some pictures.  Note the temples across the river.

The temple at the top of the hill was pretty typical, however,

a steep flight of stairs led from the street where we exited the bus to the temple area.

I don't know the significance of this wheel but it was the only time I saw one during our trip.

All temples have gongs.  I think they are struck by people who have had a good thing happen in their lives.  However, this was the only time I saw one hung between two human statues.

Another decoration in the temple.  Thanks for looking.

Friday, February 7, 2014

First revenue run of new Amtrak electric locomotive

Hi, I went out this afternoon with friends Bill Kalkman, Jim Kleeman, and Rodney Peterson for a first look and photograph of Amtrak's new ACS64 locomotive on its first revenue run. The locomotive was the power for Train #171, the New York City to Lynchburg, VA train.  All of the photos were taken at Perryman, MD.

First up, though was a southbound Acela at 2:55 PM (above and below).

Train #171 followed 10 minutes behind (above and below).

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Railfanning 1-29-2014

Hi, I spent last Wednesday railfanning along the Maryland Midland with friends Dale Diacont, Bill Kalkman and Jim Kleeman.  While we were out I was surprised to find friend Terry Chicwak from Cleveland also out shooting.  Running into Scott Shultz, another local railfan, was fun too.

When I went to check on the railroad's plan for the day I encountered one of the crew coming out of the office.  He said they would run light engine with one unit to Thurmont, MD to pick up a car and then proceed to Highfield, PA where they would drop the car and pick up a train for the return trip.

I have been looking at this spot on the east side of Sabillasville, MD for years and mentioned it as we drove west from Thurmont.  Bill and Jim knew the way to get to it (above and below).

We photographed the short train one more time, on the west end of the Sabillasville horse shoe

before proceeding to Highfield, PA to set the car out for pickup by CSX.  The former Western Maryland line that comes east from Hagerstown, MD splits at Highfield into the Dutch Line to Gettysburg and Hanover, PA and the former WM mainline, now the Maryland Midland.  The lines rejoin at Emory Grove, MD.

The crew spotted their car at the far west end of Highfield and then came back into town to make their pickups.

CSX left three cars west of the Dutch Line/Maryland Midland junction.  The box cars would be set out in Thurmont on the return trip.

After picking up these cars they moved to the east end of town on the Dutch Line where CSX had left about a dozen empty cement hoppers.

After picking up the cement hoppers the crew backed west again past the junction with their own track and headed east back to Union Bridge (above).

We caught the train at Sabillasville again.  The train had to crawl as the conductor walked it across a broken rail here and then stopped so the conductor could walk to the front of the train.  This allowed for some different views (above and below).

We then raced ahead to Lantz,

a spot along route MD 550 west of Thurmont, and


While the crew worked at Thurmont we positioned ourselves at the Graceham Cemetary and

just beat the train to a spot east of Loys.  There is a brick plant here and the siding to the plant is on the left.

From Loys we set up at Detour, and then


Our final shot of the train was just west of downtown Union Bridge.

The crew then grabbed a two more engines and headed up to the cement plant with empties (above and below).

After switching the crew came out of the plant with a long string of loads which they brought down the hill to the wye

where they pulled out onto the mainline and backed into their yard.

Thanks for looking.