Pick Pocket haven at the Reina Sofia
The steep stairs of the Reina Sofia modern art gallery are a favorite hangout for pick-pockets. They generally follow tourists up the stairs, pretending to be scouring a map. As they close on the tourist's wallet or purse, they reach from beneath the map and voila, a vacation gone under the cover of the map.
I was a couple of steps behind my wife as we were ascending the same stairs, when I looked over and saw the guy in the attached photo with his hand in her backpack-purse. I said, "hey that guy has his hand in your purse!" At which point he turned and said, "no I don't!" I snapped his picture, but in the days of digital cameras taking eons to snap, he managed to disguise-at least his face - with the same map.
We showed the photo to the police, and they said they'd keep an eye out for the guy. Yet an hour later, as we were descending the museum's glass elevators, we looked out over the stairs as the same guy walked up behind an elderly man, pulled out the map, and pulled out the poor guys wallet. At which point we were all banging on the glass walls of the elevator, catching the attention of the police, beginning a foot chase with us, the police and the thief. The thief escaped, I'm sorry to say.
Funeral Pyres at Pashupatinath
I was strolling with my two-year old son, enjoying the monuments and architecture in the sweltering heat along the lake of Bangkok's Lumpini park. With our backs toward the lake, the corner of my eye caught what I thought was a huge boa constrictor coming over the lake's retaining wall. We turned to learn it was not a behemoth snake, but instead, I thought at the time, a Komodo Dragon, famous for eating whole goats and celebrities' toes. Needless to say, we quickly put some distance between us and the beast. Later, while explaining our brush with death with a few locals, they explained the lizards were not Komodos but Monitors, and were indeed used to being hand fed, but with picnic food rather than actual hands.
"Jandina IV" wind-tunnel model of fighter ace Lt. Gen. Jay Robbins' P-38J
Royal Grand Palace
"Piccadilly Lilly" (B-17) at Chino Airport
This is a photo of my grandfather's B-17 (231551) flying over Wendover, Utah sometime around Christmas, 1943. He and the plane shipped out that New Years Eve to join the fight against the Nazis, as part of the 457th Bomb Group's "Fireball Outfit" of the 8th Air Force. Among other things, my grandfather designed the group's insignia, seen here: http://www.web-birds.com/8th/457/457.html
group's base of operations was from Glatton, England. All told, the group flew 236 combat missions, losing 86 planes and 729 men, either killed, wounded or taken prisoner.
Here are other sites dedicated to the 457th "Fireball Outfit:"
F-22 Raptor Towed Into Place
Swans in Galway, Ireland
Elephants Entering River in Nepal's Chitwan National Park