Arguably, Tokyo is the most populated cityin the world, with 36 million inhabitants during the day and 22 million at night. It is impressive how this city runs so smoothly with that many inhabitants. What would happen if it would come to a sudden standstill? The opening chapters of TWO JOURNEYS (my 2011 CORONA PANDEMIC novel) describe just that.
Below some pictures that I took in Tokyo during past visits and that inspired me to place my post apocalyptic work in this mega city.
Highrises in Tokyo. The sheer bulk of these buildings is overwhelming.
Alan, the hero of Two Journeys visits Tokyo around Christmas time.
Should an epidemic of the proportions described in Two Journeys strike, the lights (above) would extinguish rapidly, the trains such as the one below (famously overfilled) would halt.
View of the skyline of Doha, Qatar. On the left the Corniche, on the right the Persian Gulf. These are all business towers, in the streets there isn’t much action (as explained here).
Doha Qatar – skyline
Below: a section of the Doha souk where traders specialize in selling pets, birds, dogs, cats, tropical fish… you name it. Exotic ones too, like this parrot. Nice fluffy kittens and puppies, most very passive or sleeping. Personally I couldn’t buy anything here, I felt pity for most of the poor animals. The health of these animals is doubtful too, many cats and dogs are reared under terrible conditions, like in mass production. I am not sure the government in Qatar controls this in any way. Interestingly, few pets are actually visible in the streets: no dogs, and the cats that roam about are all obviously wild outcasts, and ignored.
Another part of the souk of Doha. Like most areas in Doha, this is a modern, new area, so not overtly exotic. The shops are interesting for tourists that like to purchase gold and jewelry, I’ve heard that it is possible to make a good deal. A few dozen restaurants line the pavement… and as a special service to the clientele, air conditioners (those big grey boxes visible in the picture) are put on the pavement (outside!) to blow cold air at the diners. Now, that’s exotic. People in Qatar have few worries about CO2 – energy is free, there are hardly any trees, and it is already hot and human, so what negative effect could climate change have in addition?
I had forgotten why I took this picture. I now remember that it wasn’t because of the building in the background, but because of the cars: all 4WD vehicles. It is rumored that the average Qatari has a 4WD for going to work, a sports car for going to dinner and a special desert car for the weekend.
This picture, taken at the corniche, shows a spa with the picture of the Qatar emir – which is shown all over. I took this photo mostly because of the full moon over the Persian Gulf.
Before Qatar struck gold with natural gas, pearl fishing was one of the main industries (referred to in Jules Verne’s “20000 leagues,” if my memory doesn’t fail me). This sculpture, with a man-high pearl, can be found in the port. There isn’t much art in the streets, not untypical for an Islamic country, although that doesn’t leave much to see and enjoy.
We traveled to the tip of the Amalfi coast, and just as we arrived, the sun hit the horizon. Isn’t this simply amazing ? And is that a green ray? The spot where I made this movie is a secret travel tip, but per your request I can provide the map coordinates to this very secluded spot and the excellent restaurant located there ;-) (do ignore the sounds of the jerk with the tractor that you can hear in the background ;-)
A bit of rain, a small room underneath the roof in a quaint hotel in the old town – that was Stockholm! Cyclists raced through the streets, endangering tourists and themselves, an amazing sight! I had a chance to try out “oumph”, a soy-based veggie substance that tastes surprisingly good, but as far as a quick internet search revealed, it is currently only available in the Nordics :-(
All in all, of you have a chance, try to visit this amazing capital!
When traveling to foreign countries I always attempt to find a few attractions off the beaten track. Botanical gardens are such a spot; as a biologist by I have visited gardens in places such as Paris, London, New Mexico, Hawaii … and now in Kyoto.
In a corner of the Kyoto Garden is an absolutely impressive collection of bonsais. In fact, it has inspired me to start growing a bonsai myself. I’m still in the information stage, so very little progress to report except that growing a bonsai doesn’t seem to be trivial. I will keep you posted!