A cleaner fish swims out of the mouth of a green moray at the tropical aquarium of the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg, Germany, on Dec. 29. Christian Charisius/Reuters
A young Palestinian woman paints a mural to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Israel's offensive in Gaza. Hatem Moussa/AP
Protesters demanding the formation of a Indian new state called Telangana in the northern part of Andhra Pradesh state lie on the road in Hyderabad, India, on Dec. 29 as protests over delay in creating a new state continue. AP
Confetti is thrown out of an office window during an 'air-worthiness test' over New York's Times Square on Dec. 29 to prepare for New Year's Eve celebrations, which have been held in Times Square since 1904. Seth Wenig/AP
Lindsey Vonn from the US clears a gate during the first run of the Women's Slalom World Cup race in Lienz, Austria, on Dec. 29. Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters
In a market in Lima, Peru, a vendor sells effigies of Chile's President Michelle Bachelet to be burnt on New Year's Eve. During the New Year's celebration, it is a local tradition for Peruvians to burn effigies of unpopular figures from the past year. This year, effigies of Bachelet and Victor Ariza, a Peruvian military officer who spied for the Chilean government, will be burnt. Mariana Bazo/Reuters
A woman looks out the window of a bus in downtown Moscow on Dec. 29 as a heavy snowfall hit the city. Ivan Sekretarev/AP
Camel riders from Jordan's Badia forces patrol the desert for smugglers and infiltrators near the Syrian border on Dec. 29. The Badia use camels along the 40-mile stretch of the Syrian border strewn with black basalt rock, which cannot be patrolled by car. Majed Jaber/Reuters
A torchlight procession with participants in viking costumes lights up Edinburgh's main street, The Royal Mile, to start the beginning of Hogmanay, five days of concerts and events to celebrate the Scottish New Year. David Cheskin/AP
The Mayon Volcano's crater glows as lava flows out of it in the Philippines on Tuesday. The Philippine government's vulcanologists said Sunday that the Mayon Volcano has been calm over the weekend but warned the public that there could be an explosive eruption soon due to the clogging of magma inside and the swelling of its surface. Romeo Ranoco/Reuters
Palestinian security officers perform acrobatics during a celebration marking the 45th anniversary of the founding of the Fatah movement in the West Bank city of Jenin on Dec. 29. Mohammed Ballas/AP
A woman waves to Israeli magician Hezi Dean through an eight ton block of ice at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on Dec. 29. In an attempt to break David Blaine's November 2000 record, Dean plans to stay in the ice for 64 hours and emerge at midnight on Dec. 31. Gil Cohen Magen/Reuters
Pakistani investigators examine the site of Monday's suicide bombing in Karachi, Pakistan, on Dec. 29. The overnight suicide attack on a Shiite Muslim procession in Pakistan's biggest city killed more than 30 people. Shakil Adil/AP
As the summer travel season begins,we asked Monitor writers, past and present, to tell us about places that have moved them the most. Their postcards take us from a walking safari in Zambia to the monasteries of Bulgaria to a marathon in Havana.
The tranquility of floating among flowers in the turbulent land of Kashmir
It was 6 in the morning, and the only sound I could hear was the rhythmic dip ... dip ... dip of the heart-shaped paddle of our guide, Lasa, into the murky waters of Dal Lake in Kashmir.