RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


Fabulous Felines – #140 – The Great Sphinx of Giza

Maybe the most fabulous feline of all time? A matter of opinion…

From Wikipedia: The Great Sphinx of Giza is a limestone statue of a reclining sphinx, a mythical creature with the head of a human, and the body of a lion facing directly from west to east, it stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt. The face of the Sphinx appears to represent the pharaoh Khafre. The Sphinx is the oldest known monumental sculpture in Egypt and one of the most recognizable statues in the world. The archaeological evidence suggests that it was created by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom during the reign of Khafre (c. 2558–2532 BC).

Twenty years ago I enrolled in the now-defunct Archaeology Certificate Program at the Cotsen Institute (UCLA). At the time it was the hardest thing I had ever done but I made it through and enjoyed every minute. My main interest was Roman mosaics. But then I fell in love with Egyptian history and vowed to visit the country before I left the planet. The opportunity arose in February 2023 and a friend and I made the long slog on Qatar Airlines to Cairo.

I could write a book! As my companion so aptly commented, she is enjoying the memories of the trip more than the actual trip itself. I’m still working my way through the approximately 1500 photos I took with my trusty Canon T7i DSLR and my new Galaxy S22 Ultra phone. (A short while after I returned home the S23 came out but I have no complaints about the S22.) I’ve been posting handfuls of photos at a time on my Facebook page (along with all my other adventures). Look for Roslyn M Wilkins if you are interested.


Monday Magical Memories – #5 – Visiting the Parthenon in Athens of the South 2014

When I visited Nashville, Tennessee in January (2014) the last thing I expected to be doing was walking up the steps of the Parthenon, temple of the Greek goddess Athena.

On a tour the day before the International Tour Management Institute symposium started, we had driven past Nashville’s replica of this iconic building in Centennial Park. I knew I had to come back on my own and investigate. So on the last day I skipped the seminars and farewell luncheon and trudged up to the park in the bitter cold. There was actually a heatwave that day… a high of 35 degrees F (1.66 degrees C)… twenty degrees warmer than the previous few days!

To see all my photos from this visit, please click here: https://onegoodlifetravels.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/visiting-the-parthenon-in-athens-of-the-south/


One Good Life in Los Angeles takes on the world – cat at the Agora in Athens

athens roman agora

As much as I enjoy living in and rambling around Los Angeles, I also enjoy discovering other places. Traveling is important. It broadens our horizons and gives us an understanding of other cultures and other peoples that cannot happen if we never leave our own comfort zone.

In 2007 I visited Greece on a two-week land and sea tour. Although we had a tour director we also enjoyed plenty of time to get around on our own.

This cat obviously wanted to show us around the Agora in Athens. He was in the process of preparing his route when I took this photo.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, please check with us first for proper usage. Thanks!


Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico – City in the Sky

acoma, new mexico

As I am stuck at home sniffing, wheezing, coughing and sneezing with this lousy cold I might as well get some blog posts out of the way.

On the same bus tour of the Albuquerque, New Mexico area that took us to the top of Sandia Peak, we visited Acoma Pueblo, the City in the Sky situated on a 367-foot sandstone bluff at an altitude of 6,460 feet. Founded in 1150 A.D., Acoma Pueblo is the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America.

We started out at the Sky City Cultural Center where our group was split into two to be loaded on to smaller buses to make the climb up to the pueblo.

acoma, new mexico

It was already a cold January day and as the bluff sticks up out of the mountainside, when we stepped out of the buses there was no protection from the wind.

acoma, new mexico

acoma, new mexico

At one point there was some light rain. But the air was clear and the views magnificent.

acoma, new mexico

Life in the pueblo is supposed to be lived as it has for centuries, with no electricity or modern conveniences.

acoma, new mexico

The row of port-a-potties attested to that fact.

acoma, new mexico

Most people who own houses here have other residences in the city. Although on the website it mentions that spiritual leaders live on the mesa year-round.

acoma, new mexico

Evidently there are no interior stairs. These ladders are used to go from floor to floor.

acoma, new mexico

Just a note that photography is limited. You must obtain a permit at the Cultural Center and no video is allowed. One gentleman tried to take his iPad on the tour but was asked to leave it behind.

acoma, new mexico

As you can see, the streets remain unpaved and some of the terrain is rough.

acoma, new mexico

This dog happily followed us around on the tour.

acoma, new mexico

No modern conveniences means no microwave ovens! Try finding room for this oven on your kitchen counter.

acoma, new mexico

After the shower, a beautiful rainbow appeared. If you look closely you will see it was “echoed” to the left.

acoma, new mexico

A new home being constructed. Note the modern windows.

At several locations on the walk we had the opportunity to purchase pottery created by local artisans. I didn’t take any photos as I was not interested in buying anything. Although it was all beautiful I am trying to keep more stuff from coming into my house. You can see some examples here.

acoma, new mexico

We were given a tour of the cemetery and the interior of the San Esteban Del Rey Mission, but no photography was allowed inside.

acoma, new mexico

acoma, new mexico

(All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, please check with us first for proper usage. Thanks!)

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Walking the Silk Road at the Bowers Museum


Bowers Museum Santa Ana

Several years ago I wrote a paper on The Silk Road for an archaeology class and a friend happened to pick the same subject matter for her paper. So it seemed only appropriate that we should visit this exhibit at the Bowers Museum together.

I have seen various exhibits at the Bowers Museum—the previous one being the Terracotta Warriors—and I have never been disappointed. The presentation of Secrets of the Silk Road is no exception. The ancient Silk Road was made up of trade routes that crossed the desert resulting in the exchange of goods and the intermingling of cultures including China, India, Persia, Arabia, Greece, and Rome. There are about 150 pieces on view including mummies, preserved food, textiles, coffins, and even eye shades, allowing us a glimpse into the life of that era.

Unfortunately, as with most special exhibits, no photography of the objects in this gallery is allowed, so you will have to visit the Bowers in person. There is, of course, a catalog available—very tempting.

Although the Silk Road was the reason for our visit, we also took a look at several other worthwhile exhibits.

Masters of Adornment: The Miao People of China. A fascinating look at the textiles and jewelry of these people of southwest China.

Spirits and Headhunters: Art of the Pacific Islands. Other than the Silk Road, this was my favorite exhibit. The cultures of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia are represented here including New Guinea, land of the headhunter. Gorgeous objects made from shells and feathers are displayed along with weapons and magical items. Again, sorry, no photography allowed.

Where Masks Still Dance: New Guinea. Forty stunning black and white photographs depicting this culture of masked ceremonies and crocodile cults.


Bowers Museum - The Arts of China

Ancient Arts of China: A 5000 Year Legacy. The evolution of Chinese technology, art, and culture as curated by authorities of Chinese history from the Shanghai Museum.

And these exhibits I have mentioned are just the highlights—we visited other areas of the museum also—but too much to talk about here.

The diversity and ingenuity of humankind never ceases to impress me. Tiny pockets of small islands have their own individual customs and art separate from the village over the hill. Yet when we depict aliens from another planet we tend to stereotype them as homogenous—all speaking one language with one set of customs for their entire planet. It boggles my mind to think of what must be the reality: a universe teeming with millions or even billions of different ways of life, languages, dialects, and means of expression. And I have a hard time coping with what I see in one museum.

Another thought that struck me as I visited the exhibits is that along with art in general, one of the things that sets us apart from animals is the penchant for self-ornamentation. I don’t see cats and dogs standing in line for tattoos or piercing their nostrils to insert bones or diamonds.

For lunch we ate at Tangata, the museum restaurant. I have wanted to eat here since my first visit and I am happy to report it was a good experience. We both ordered the mushroom/cheese omelette which was delicious. The service was prompt and our waiter very friendly. We chose to sit outside on the patio which overlooks the courtyard.

bowers-museum store

Bowers Museum store

Of course, a visit to any museum is not complete without a stop at the gift shop. I especially like the Bowers store which is full of intriguing items, all of which I would like to take home. Fortunately my wallet said otherwise and I was content to be merely a lookey loo until another day.

For more information: http://www.bowers.org (Just a note, as of May 22, 2010, the website does not seem to be working properly. I’ll check back later to verify this.)

Click here for a gallery of random photos.

(All photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)

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Night at the Museum (the Getty, that is)

Getty VillaDespite the heavy traffic on the 405, the 10, and Pacific Coast Highway, my friend and I arrived early at the Getty Villa for the 7:00 pm lecture on Mérida: The Archaeological Discovery of Augusta Emerita, a Roman Capital in Spain.

The café was open so my friend was able to purchase a glass of wine, coffee for me, and a delicious cheese plate which included several kinds of cheese, figs, apricots, dates, and some wonderful-looking bread. It was a balmy April evening so we sat outside appreciating the architecture of the museum without the usual billion people milling around (the Getty limits the number of visitors at any given time so I admit that is a slight exaggeration). The ambience was serene and peaceful in contrast to all the going-home traffic just outside on PCH which now seemed like another planet.

There was a good turnout for the lecture which surprised me given this was a school/work night. In fact I had never attended a Thursday night lecture at the Getty Villa before just because it was during the week, plus the fact that I personally do not care to drive on Pacific Coast Highway in the dark.

One benefit of an evening event is that the parking is free. Considering that parking at both the Gettys is now a hefty $15, that is definitely a consideration. (For a daytime event I now take the bus although it is a rather time-consuming, convoluted process.)

The speaker, Trinidad Nogales Basarrate, is chief curator and director of research at the National Museum of Roman Art in Mérida. I was interested to discover that the architect who designed the museum is Rafael Moneo Vallés, the architect of one of my favorite Los Angeles buildings, the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels that I wrote about previously. From the images I saw it seems that he based the design of the museum on Roman architectural elements but with a modern interpretation. Now I have to add the Mérida museum to my list of places to see before I die (so that had better be a long way off.)

After the lecture we were treated to dessert and coffee on the patio outside the café courtesy of the Getty. I’m not sure what the pastry was that I chose but it was one of the most delicious pastries I have ever tasted. I am not normally a fan of dessert, and especially pastry, but this looked so tempting I couldn’t resist. And I’m glad I didn’t.

The galleries were open until 9:00 pm to allow us to wander around. My friend and I had not seen The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire so we trotted on up to the second floor. When I first heard about the exhibit I wondered how it would fit into the museum’s parameters of Greek and Roman art. The answer is that the exhibit has an innovative twist, exploring the parallels between the Aztec and the Roman empires.

As usual with the Getty Villa, the display was first rate. The layout was easy to move around, and the signage was both informative and graphically pleasing. That is important to me as the content might be fabulous but if the presentation is lacking it detracts from the experience itself.

As with many events I attend, getting myself out the door can sometimes be the hardest part. I admit I had second thoughts about going, but it turned out to be a marvelous evening and I’m happy that both my friend and I made the effort.

(Photo copyright roslyn m wilkins)