Photo of the day – Non-royal wedding

Photo of the day
Well, it’s all over. Whether you woke up in the middle of the night to watch Will and Kate get married or ignored the deluge of media coverage, today’s historic Royal Wedding has said “I do” and we can all breath a collective sigh of relief that we can stop hearing about it. We’re still feeling a bit romantic here at Gadling, so today’s Photo of the Day is of another wedding couple leaving the scene of the ceremony, taken by Flickr user e.r.g.o. in Sri Lanka. He notes that the wedding was on a Wednesday morning, to coincide with the most astrologically auspicious time.

Photograph any happy couples on your travels? Add your photos to the Gadling Flickr pool and we may use one for another Photo of the Day.

Blogger Justin Delaney

Justin Delaney Introducing a new blogger at Gadling, Justin Delaney…

Where was your photo taken:
This photo was taken in Dahab, Egypt on the Red Sea – one of the coolest places I have ever been. Here I am enjoying a well deserved sheesha after climbing Mount Sinai.

Where do you live now:
I live in Dallas, TX.

Scariest airline flown:
On a flight from Bagan, Yangon Airways had me gripping my armrest in white knuckled terror. As we flew over the plains of Burma, the plane bobbed and weaved nature’s windy jabs, and I felt my stomach slingshot to the back of my throat. Their slogan, “You’re safe with us” seemed ominous under these circumstances. My terror hit a personal threshold when the flight attendant spilled a drink on some guy’s head three rows up. Panic spread throughout the cabin. I kissed the ground when we landed. A few months later, their aviation license was revoked.

Favorite city/place:
Hong Kong is my favorite city. Nothing hustles like HK. It is grimy and beautiful – everything about that city is balanced like yin and yang. Most people do not realize that beyond the forest of skyscrapers, Hong Kong is 40% parkland. My favorite place is 100 feet underwater in Indonesia, getting to know some local pelagics.

Most remote corner of the globe visited:
The rain-forest of Northern Sulawesi in Indonesia is about as far off the map as one can get. I stayed in an old bungalow on a deserted beach about a 2 hour drive and one hour walk from civilization. Not the best place to get food poisoning, but it happened.Favorite guidebook series:
I am a Lonely Planet guy.

Type of traveler:
I am definitely a flash-packer, meaning I carry a backpack, but it is filled with electronics and a Nikon DSLR. I also prefer guesthouses and hotels with free wifi and comfortable beds, though I am fine with slumming it.

When I’m not writing for Gadling, I’m…
Eagerly awaiting acceptance letters from MBA programs.

Favorite foreign dish?
In Rome, I fell hard for Pecorino al Tartufo. It is a Florentine cheese with embedded black truffles. Some people day-dream about beaches or days at the spa; I day-dream about cheese.

Next Trip
This May, I am marrying the love of my life in St. Croix and following it up with a trip to Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Dubai. My fiance, Kristin, also has a passion for travel. We have visited 25 countries together since we started dating in 2008.

Travel to Sri Lanka grows, along with obstacles for tourism

Travel to Sri LankaSince the end of the Tamil Tiger confilct in May 2009, travel to Sri Lanka has been increasing, with the country celebrating their 600,000th foreign tourist last month. This year, 700,000 are expected with tourism growing to 2.5 million a year within 5 years, reports the BBC. “The nature has blessed us with beautiful beaches, waterfalls, exotic wildlife and historic places. We as a nation have a reputation for our hospitality,” says Basil Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka‘s Minister of Economic Development. While the increase in visitors is welcome, Sri Lanka is experiencing some growing pains and challenges as a tourist destination.

India and the United Kingdom are currently the largest sources of tourists, though now it is claimed that the Eastern European tourists who came during the confict are being ignored in favore of Western travelers. Russian-speaking tourists are being turned away in the tourist boom, hotel prices have soared, and Russian guides complain of lost income. A proposed change in the visa process could discourage more visitors, though the government claims the new system is designed to help travelers.The visa can currently be obtained for free on arrival for citizens of 78 countries including the United States. Similar to the Australia electronic visa, the new visa process would be done from your home country online. Approval would take 24-72 hours and “special facilities” would be provided on arrival for tourists with the online visa. An added fee could potentially dissuade visitors who could instead spend their vacation dollars at a free visa destination.

The government hopes to allow tourism to develop naturally without direct intervention, though some small businesses feel they are struggling while larger-scale projects are planned. In northwest Sri Lanka, an adventure tourism zone is being developed with whale watching, scuba daving, and an underwater vistor center. A similar Tourism Promotion Zone is in the works near the country’s international airport to capture a similar transit market as Dubai, and increasing Sri Lanka’s flights as a major Asian hub.

Have you been to Sri Lanka? Planning to travel there now that warnings have ceased? Leave us your experiences in the comments.

[Photo of Sri Lanka’s Pinewala Elephant Orphanage by Flickr user Adametrnal.]

Anthony Bourdain enjoys Sri Lankan street food in the below video.

Photo of the Day (8.31.10)

I think that the best travel photography is the kind that captures a unique instance of the human experience and opens it up for further discussion. It intrigues the viewer to ask questions, to delve deeper and to examine the unfamiliar. It refuses to let you look away or ignore the subject. For me, this moment captured by e.r.g.o in Sri Lanka does exactly that.

The festival being photographed is called the Esala Perahera (festival of the tooth), which takes place in the city of Maha Nuvara (Kandy) in July or August. The man seen here is swallowing a burning coal as a display of relentless faith.

The image is part of a series from e.r.g.o during a three year stint in the South Asian island country. He notes “This project is my farewell to Sri Lanka. Of the six images, some are pretty and nice, while others are ugly and harsh. This has been my Sri Lanka experience.” The full series (with a couple extras from Melbourne) can be viewed here.

Do you have a story to tell with photos to prove it? Submit to our Gadling Flickr Pool & it could be tomorrow’s Photo of the Day!

Blogger Meg Nesterov


Where was your photo taken: On a plane bound for Tokyo from JFK, taken to join the elite ranks of Heather Poole’s laviators.

Where do you live now: Istanbul, Turkey. I arrived here in May to accompany my husband who is consulting on a project with Turkish company. We will eventually return home to Brooklyn, New York, where we can be found sampling the city’s many all-you-can-drink brunch specials and planning our next trip.

Scariest airline flown: Like Alex Robertson Textor, I’d have to go with La Costeña in Nicaragua to the Corn Islands. It feels like you are flying on an unwieldy bicycle, and when a fellow passenger noted that one of the controls was not working, the pilot remarked, “Oh, I don’t use that, it’s turned off!” They do serve cookies and Fanta, so not wholly unpleasant.

Favorite city/country/place: Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. After spending many childhood summers on the lake, I honeymooned there for a glorious week with my husband barbecuing, playing cards, and hiking through the woods with my grandfather.Most remote corner of the globe visited: Pisco Elqui, Chile. The town is named after the country’s favorite liquor, in an effort to reinforce Chile’s claim to Pisco over Peru. A perfect place to stargaze and think about climbing the Andes, maybe after another Pisco Sour.

Favorite guidebook series: I try to go with whatever has been most recently updated, but I like that Frommer’s guides generally have an actual, personal voice and all of their content is online.

Favorite travel author: Hard to choose just one, but I loved the books of Pete McCarthy: great insights to places and almost embarrassingly funny. McCarthy’s Bar is spot-on about travel in Ireland and the sequel, Road to McCarthy, travels everywhere from Morocco to the Caribbean. He sadly passed away a few years ago, but I still think of some passages of his books and laugh out loud.

Dream travel destination
: Playing Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? made me intrigued with Sri Lanka. I imagine days full of visits to remote temples and lying in hammocks on the beach, and nights spent in grizzled expat bars being served gin and tonics by a bartender with an eyepatch. And catching an international jewel thief, of course.

Worst place to catch a stomach bug?
An airplane. I was once suddenly ill on a London to New York flight and I can’t think of much worse than being on your hands and knees in an airplane bathroom, then returning to a middle seat.

When I’m not writing for Gadling, I’m…working remotely as a publicist for a travel PR agency in New York, handling media relations for several tour operators and hotels, and acting as “social media curator,” finding content for our Facebook page, Twitter, and eventually, blog. In Istanbul, I can be found looking for ways to escape the summer heat, playing tour guide to my visiting friends (six so far, including the inimitable Mike Barish), and bumbling my Turkish all over town.