Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Merchants and Pirates were for a long period one and the same

Indeed, even in today's Wall Street corporate mindset, its nothing but a refinement of a piratical morality. On the other hand, there is something fascinating and exciting about the concept of being a pirate on the open sea, well if one forgets the short lived danger and murderous business of being an actual pirate. 

When I was touring some of my favorite Caribbean Islands this year, one thing that stood out for me was its deep rooted history of pirates. After all, many of these Islands are surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, an international trade center and port calls. One Island in particular, St. Thomas, US Virgin Island, seems to host one of the most notorious pirates in recorded history, Edward "Blackbeard" Thatch, who inspired the creation of Johnny Depp's character, in Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Romanticized stories of piracy on St. Thomas are common; stories of Blackbeard and Bluebeard pirates are the most well known.

Blackbeard knew how to inspire fear: in battles, he would put smoking fuses in his long black hair and beard.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.

I feel guilty neglecting this new little blog of mine, work has consumed my life. I'll be a better blogger after April and will update with more new pictures from Latin America and the Caribbean. Now about this beautiful quotes by Gilbert K. Chesterton, which speaks to me in more ways than one. Whenever I'm traveling somewhere, I pay special attention to places of worship and the mythologies/stories often told about whom we choice to worship or document in history books and display in museums.So during my visit to Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace Museum, in Istanbul, Turkey, what captured my attention the most is how early Christianity and Islamic architect, paintings and writings intersect in a harmonious, yet powerful ways. I'm always fascinated about those periods we often romanticize or look on through the lens of a believer and wonder how we would feel if time travel existed and we can experience it even for a day. In the words of Khalil Gibran, "I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit." 

Some of these historical pieces on display at the museum are hard to authenticate, such as the The Ark of the Covenant of Moses (PBUH), or foot print of Prophet Mohamed (SAW) so to speak. Regardless, here are some of the pictures I captured on camera and few send to me by the security guard at the Topkapi Museum (out of the blue he volunteered to email me some of the more sensitive images) since we were not allowed to flash our camera on some of these ancient pieces.

Topkapi Palace Museum pre & post Christ 

The Ark of the Covenant of Moses
The Sword of David with Torah quotes engraved on it