Sign advertising drinks and breakfast
Lens-Artists,  Themed galleries,  Travel in general

Gallery: signs of the times

Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind.

Bob Marley, Wake Up and Live

Our world is full of signs, both those we erect ourselves to convey a message, and the more subtle ones we can read in landscapes and nature. The latter include the signs that speak of changing seasons, like autumn leaves or buds on trees. There are signs in the rocks telling of seismic changes in the earth’s crust, or more subtly speaking of people that came before us.

On the other hand, our manmade signs tend to be more blunt. They shout out a warning, issue an instruction, lay down the law or cry out ‘buy this’. While I considered including both types of sign in this collection for John’s Lens Artists challenge this week, I soon realised I had more than enough manmade signs to fill several posts!

I picked out a selection, many of which made me smile when I saw them. I have to admire, and appreciate, the efforts made in many countries to provide information or instructions in English when it isn’t their mother tongue. But I do hope they won’t mind my amusement when the results aren’t quite what they intended, just as I hope I’d be happy to accept theirs at my own linguistic shortcomings!

Signs may be warning or welcoming, explain the rules or offer advice. Many speak of the culture of a country or its history. Propaganda in North Korea, revolutionary fervour in Cuba, religious observance in Nepal. But my feature photo is included simply because it is pretty; it was taken in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Street signs, Easy Street and Main Street
In Fern Gully near Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Sign forbidding people to bring food from outside
On the wall of a roadside café in Kerala
Worn wooden sign with bell attached
In a roadside restaurant in Cambodia, to call for service at a distant table
Large sign in English and Arabic with safety advice
Road sign entering the Empty Quarter, Oman
Large billboard with images of Che Guevara
Roadside billboard in Cuba
Woman passing large posters with Korean text and gesturing figures
Propaganda posters in a small village in North Korea
Sign forbidding smoking and the eating of durian
In our hotel room in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Sign asking people not to wash their feet in the toilet
In the ladies toilet at Vientiane airport, Laos
Wall painted with slogan, 'Life is like an ice cream, enjoy it before it melts'
Café wall in Tirana, Albania
Seagull on a parking sign
In Tynemouth, north east England ~ has he paid, I wonder?
Warning sign about protected relic
At the Temple of Heaven, Beijing
Sign showing multiple toilet users
I loved this sign in Goddess and the Baker, my favourite coffee shop in Chicago
Road sign, 'Don't be in a hurry to enter eternity'
Road safety advice in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Signs among trees warning of a danger zone
Road signs in Kerala
Large road sign in Spanish in a desert landscape
Marking the Tropic of Capricorn in the Atacama Desert, Chile
Woman posing in front of large 'silence' sign
Silence is required at the Peace Pagoda in Pokhara, Nepal
Sign welcoming people to Syria as a 'country of safety and peace'
Taken in Damascus in 1996
Sign warning of danger from trains
On the Tokyo subway
Sign on a tree stump advertising showers
Spotted in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Sign with an elephant in a deckchair
Boutique in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe ~ selling clothes, not elephants!
'Whale crossing' sign
In Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island
Safety sign about a slippery road
In Jing Shan Park, Beijing
Road sign marking the end of Route 66
Historic Route 66 sign in Chicago


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