Newcastle bridges by night

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The Gateshead Millenium Bridge
It changes lighting every minute! notice the blue color on the inset.

The Gateshead Millennium Bridge is a pedestrian and cyclist tilt bridge spanning the River Tyne, between Gateshead on the south bank, and Newcastle upon Tyne on the north bank. 
The award-winning structure was lifted into place in one piece by the Asian Hercules II, one of the world’s largest floating cranes, on 20 November 2000. It was opened to the public on 17 September 2001. 
Already acclaimed worldwide for its physical and aesthetic beauty, it has fast become a significant tourist attraction in its own right. 
Hydraulic rams, one on each side, tilt the bridge back on special pivots to allow small ships and boats to pass underneath….Wikipedia

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Another Tyne bridge.
Shown “under” is The Queen Elizabeth II bridge which carries the Tyne and Wear Metro. The line is in tunnel on either side of the river and only emerges into open air to cross the bridge.

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The Tyne Bridge (with the Millenium bridge “under”)
 if the Millenium bridge is for pedestrians and cyclists, the tyne bridge is for vehicles crossing the river Tyne.

Welcome to Leicester, England

Lived from August 2007 to January 2008

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The entrance gate to the apartment complex

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The futuristic-shape House of Performing Arts being built next door.  We find it utterly out of place that they squeezed it in the middle of a Victorian architecture rich zone.

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The town hall building

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Clockwise from top right:
– the white paint next to the natural brick colour on this building tells of two separate terrace houses. terrace housing originated in England in the the late 17th century. here, a row of identical or mirror-image houses share side walls.
– the restaurant, Marquis Wellington, founded in 1907
– bay windows, typically English, are often associated with Victorian architecture. the main purpose is to let in more light into the building.
– what a mansion!

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As early as December 1, the UK starts its christmassy activity which is geared towards everyone digging deep into his/her pockets.   Here seen infront of the town hall are carollers singing for some charitable organisation

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Despite the absence of a cross, you can always tell a building if it was a church or not, . this one is now a day centre.  The stained glass feature is perfect for waking up the artistic passions of the little tots!

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The cemetery grounds of the abandoned Gothic church next to us is now the refuge of squirrels.  Everytime we walk past, we see them scurrying around looking for food! this one is about a foot long and he actually stopped to pose for the camera!

Dolphin-watching in Bohol

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It was our last day in Bohol, in fact, the last day of our Visayan odyssey so H insisted that we have to see a dolphin, whatever it takes!

Dolphin-watching in Bohol looks straightforward. No Philippine Coastguard (unlike the one to Apo Island) nor Philippine Tourism Office (in Bais) seems to be involved that here in Panglao Island, more banca boys have the chance to make money without ripping off tourists. The price of 1,700pesos covers dolphin-watching and snorkelling at nearby Balicasag Island plus rental of one life-jacket (for me) and two snorkel masks. Sounds reasonable enough, and even made ultra-reasonable when Ryan (our boatman) qualified that if we don’t see dolphins, we pay only 400pesos!

We met him on the beach by 5:30am the next day and at around 7am, our boat was floating in deep waters waiting for the dolphins. We were floating… sailing fast… lingering slowly..then sailing fast again – all these went on for what seemed to be ages that we were starting to smell disappointment, but at the same time, feeling rather triumphant that we won’t be shelling out the extra 1,300pesos(only 400pesos), hurray!
Suddenly, lo and behold! they started to appear….starting with two jumping together in perfect synchrony, then four…then more that i started to lose count! A school of dolphins, I swear there must have been hundreds of them!!
I was almost crying with joy while continuously clicking my camera! I must put this awesomely moving moment into picture!

Suddenly, the camera’s memory card registered “FULL”.  Oh no! I need another card!
But H was so absorbed videoing the moment that he wouldn’t even take his eyes off that damn video camera.  He was deaf to my screaming “where-the-heck-is-the-extra-memory-card?”

Groping on his camera bag, I eventually found one – what a relief! – but alas! the dolphins were jumping too fast  and the boat was continuously tilting that it was almost impossible to get a stable shot. And even with the camera’s sports mode (continuous shooting), it was difficult to get a full-bodied shot.

I then soon realized that all these photographic greed is in itself interrupting this heart-moving experience so I put the camera away and went on to enjoy the sight of these wonderful creatures.
These dolphins in the wild are so beautiful, so graceful, they are like humans with the way they are showing off.  They know fully well that we (some ten boats all in all) were there just to watch them and they did not disappoint us!  I simply adore them!  And after seeing them so happy in the wild, I now abhor what they are doing in HongKong’s Ocean Park, and now, we are even doing this in our own backyard, at Manila Ocean Park! 

Dolphins.  I have added them to my list of “must-see before i leave this earth!”.