Denver’s in the process of reworking the core of its mass transit system, and since part of the new work had a grand opening last weekend, my daughter and I hopped on a light rail train to check things out. The core of all the work will soon be Denver’s Union Station — rebuilt in 1914, and currently in the process of renovation into a high-end hotel.
But the light rail stop that used to sit directly behind (to the Northwest of) Union Station got relocated about a quarter mile further west. So what to do with the space between?
Why, build an underground bus station, naturally. The idea was to make a bus station that looks more like an airport concourse than a stereotypical bus station — and if you ask me, they were fully successful in that. I’m not sure, but suspect that the yellow tile trimming the walls is a hat-tip to the similarly-colored tile used in the original Union Station train tunnels (check out the cover of The Fray’s self-titled second album for a historical peek at them).
This is the Denver-resident half of a pair of panels, which together tell a story of the still-lost Maya kingdom of Sak Tz’i’ (White Dog). We know the name of the site from inscriptions on the panels, it was once one of a number of kingdoms that battled along today’s Guatemala – Mexico border. But while we know the site’s name, and the rough area in which it was located (since its name glyph appears throughout the area), no one knows the location of Sak Tz’i’.
Such is the ambivalent nature of many ancient artifacts you can see in museums today. You get to see the artifacts, but many were ultimately purchased from looters (and by continuing such purchases, museums in the more-affluent parts of the world perpetuate the vicious cycle). By removing the panels from their original site, looters destroyed evidence about the site’s history.
I recently returned from a trip to the Yucatán peninsula — fortunately I’d received my pre-ordered Olympus E-M1 body and 12-40mm f/2.8 lens before we left for the trip (the lens’ arrival preceding my departure by all of two days), so thought I’d write up some quick thoughts on how the combination behaved for me in real-world travel.
First off, I like to take the shine off my camera gear before travel in the 3rd world (on the assumption that this will make it a bit less attractive to the average petty thief). Both the E-M1 and 12-40mm lens have quite a bit of flashy trim and lettering on them, so it took me longer than usual to “de-bling” them for travel. Still, at least they both have a black finish, so a 3rd party lens cap and about 20 minutes’ work with black gaffer tape did the trick.
You’ll also notice in the above image that I’ve set up my E-M1 with a Peak Design “Cuff” — I’ll write up a full review of this item later, but it proved to be a very helpful ally as well.