Mask (n) – Something, often a trait that disguises and conceals!
Perfume masks the stench of foul and offensive odors; Spices mask the taste of putrid and rotting meat; Music masks the voices of others or voices within ourselves; And likewise, people mask who they really are!
The American band, Carpenters, has captured this very subtly and melodiously in their very popular song The Masquerade:
Are we really happy with
This lonely game we play
Looking for the right words to say
Searching but not finding
We’re lost in this masquerade
Everyone wears a mask some day, in some form and that is what this scene made me feel when I saw it at Bangla Road, Phuket, Thailand. So how many masks can you identify in this photo – here are some that I could:
- Saddam Hussain
- Osama Bin Laden
- Adolf Hitler
- Bart Simpson
Can you identify some more?
Elephant is the national animal of Thailand and has historical and cultural significance for Thai people. In the older days, Thai Elephant ( Chang Thai ) was predominantly used for warfare, but in more recent days, the Thai Elephant has typically been used to tow logs in the logging industry.
As we were walking out of Phuket Fantasea, we passed through the shopping arena where there were stalls selling various Thai mementoes. One one of these stalls, we found these really cute mementoes of the Thai Elephant and I could not resist getting a shot of the same.
When I was taking this photo, there was a lot of noise in the background. It was dark and any light in the background would be a distraction for the photo. Plus, there were too many elephants on display and that made composition of the photo really important. I decided to focus on one elephant, got as close to it as possible with camera set to maximum aperture ( f/3.5 with my 10-22 mm lens I was using ) in order to take this picture. This type of composition and the high aperture setting automatically reduced the depth of field and softened the noise in the background as well.
As we were walking out of Phuket Fantasea after the show, my eyes fell upon a vendor with a cart stacked up with ugly ducklings of all possible sizes. While I did not particularly find the look of this soft toy appealing, they looked really nice when stacked up together.
There is an ongoing debate with my wife on the identity of this creature – she is willing to bet that these are chimpanzees, not ugly ducklings :). The matter is sub-judice and until it is resolved, I shall stick to calling them ducklings!
Now that we are talking about ducklings, here are some interesting duckling trivia:
- A female duck makes a loud “quack” sound whereas the male duck / drake makes a raspy, muffled sound.
- It’s a myth that touching a duckling will cause its mother to stop taking care of it.
- When ducks are sleeping, half of their brain is still working. When sleeping at the edge of a group, ducks have a tendency to sleep with one eye open.
- Ducks can detect predators within a second.
- Eggshells of ducks have pores that allow it to breathe. The pores exist on the blunt edge of the egg and can be 7500 or more in number.
- The longest living duck ever was the Mallard Drake, that holds a record for living 27 years. Normally, ducks have a lifespan of 20 years.
- Baby ducks are precocial and are ready to leave the nest within hours of hatching.
- Finally, did you know that a duck’s quack doesn’t echo?