Many of the walls in Pompeii were painted with frescos. The city must have employed an army of artists, most of them with talent. I really enjoyed the one above.  I wanted to add little comic book bubbles above the heads of the two sitting figures:

Marcus: Maybe we should evacuate? Vesuvius is acting very angry this morning. 

Gaius: Nah. Forget Vesuvius. Let’s just sit by the beach, drink more wine, and watch this weird dude with a stick.  Carpe Diem.

Plaque outside the Pompeii sports complex.  It says the stadium was built for “perpetual use.” This seems a bit presumptuous.

How do you recreate the Earth’s biosphere (200 million square miles of surface area with an insanely complex carbon cycle) including a desert, rain forest, savanna, wetland, and ocean (ecosystems that have been evolving separately for billions of years) and make it work inside a 3-acre sealed complex of tinker-toy terrariums? Well, you don’t.  But boy, they sure had fun trying.

Biosphere 2 suffered from CO2 levels that fluctuated wildly and most of the vertebrate species and all of the pollinating insects died… also overstocked fish dying and clogging filtration systems, unanticipated condensation making the “desert” too wet, population explosions of greenhouse ants and cockroaches, and morning glories overgrowing the “rainforest”, blocking out other plants… The oxygen inside the facility, which began at 20.9%, fell at a steady pace and after 16 months was down to 14.5%. This is equivalent to the oxygen availability at an elevation of 4,080 meters (13,400 ft)…  (Wikipedia)

The face of a condor is visible in the rocks above these Ollantaytambo ruins. The condor was an important symbol for the Incas, representing the third and highest plane of existence. Unfortunately, we did not see a condor during our travels. We stuck mainly to tourist areas. Not that we would have had much luck. The Andean condor is a threatened species and according to our guide at Machu Picchu, they recently fled the area. He hadn’t seen one for ten years.