Girl hanging natural rubber sheets

For the Karen New Year festivities being celebrated in a rural village, I stayed at a house which was also being used by the household to harvest and process natural rubber. The girl who lived here was hanging sheets of natural rubber to dry. This was a few miles from Hpa An, Myanmar (Burma). Photo taken in December 2014.

Girl hanging natural rubber

Destruction of Palmyra’s Temple of Baal (Bel)

I was in Palmyra 11 years ago. It was one of those ancient places in Syria that projected the influence and power of Rome. This is the Temple of Baal (or Bel). It no longer exists. The barbarity and inhumanity of the Islamic State, in its self-congratulatory frenzy of wiping out monuments and people not representing the glory of Islam, destroyed much of Palmyra last year.

Temple of Baal

Read more here


In this karst-littered limestone region within Myanmar, I had already traversed a large cave-system and a water channel under a giant hill, and wandered out into this larger flatter landscape. A woman was working next to a field collecting her crop, and she had parked this bicycle nearby.

Happy Girl

Walking along a pilgrimage path in the mountains around Kyaikto in Mon State, Myanmar, a path sprinkled with small shops selling trinkets, food and drinks, I came across this girl in one of the stalls. The background colour gave everything a slight pink hue. And she had a great smile!

Old Testament and New Testament history

I’d previously posted a link to the wonderful online video lectures from Yale University, in particular the course on “Introduction to the Old Testament” by Christine Hayes. I’m now about half-way through the course on “New Testament History and Literature” by Dale B. Martin. This makes a good companion to the Christine Hayes videos. I’ve posted both videos below for your convenience :)

Do note that a significant time-commitment is required to go through all these videos, but the rewards are many. Go for it!

Introduction to the Old Testament With Christine Hayes:

New Testament History and Literature: