An image that I took from a plane while we were waiting for clearance to fly; as you can see the weather wasn’t co-operating and it was raining quite heavily so there some obvious delays. This was taken in Toronto on my way back to San Diego from my Italy trip; not the ideal route but I thought I’d make a pit stop and see my family 🙂 Happy Friday and enjoy the weekend.
Going back to my trip to Abu Dhabi from last year, here is another image from my one only attempt to go on a morning walk. These are the stairs and ramps that take you to the corniche from the underground tunnels that connect you the city. I had previously posted about the underground tunnel and I must admit its one of my favorite images that I took. In case you can’t tell, I had symmetry on mind that day 🙂
Today’s post is from my Venice archives on a trip I took to Italy back in 2009 for my friend’s wedding… wow, I’m sure I violated some grammatical rule with that sentence… I’m sure I got the point across though 🙂 Anyway we recently spoke on the phone and he was wondering how come I don’t post anything from my trip to Italy? Did I not enjoy my time there? I cracked up laughing because truth be told I had a blast and the only regret I had was that I didn’t stay longer! The reason that I rarely post any pics is because I posted many of them long time ago to my flickr account and I don’t like to recycle images. I went back to my archives and I managed to find one more to squeeze out… so this one is for him 🙂
Its been a few hot & humid days in San Diego which is not the norm, specially the humidity! All of this heat made me think of my time in the UAE, even though I was there before their “hot season” started it was definitely hot & muggy. This shot was taken at the Yas Marina which is the island that they hold the Formula 1 race at; we stepped out of the building for no more than 5 minutes so I (the tourist :)) can see more of the track. I snapped this image and a few more that I shared in a previous post. (more…)
This one is from my trip to Trento, Italy in September of 2009. This was a really short trip, 5 days to attend one of my childhood friends wedding, we grew up together in Abu Dhabi and then lost touch for about 17 years or so until Facebook reconnected us!! Trento is small town in the northeast of Italy, its closest major Italian city would be Verona which is about an hour train ride. The beauty of cities like Trento is that you get the true Italian experience, the town has not lost its soul to tourism! Its like travelling to another time & place, everyone is so friendly and welcoming, not sure how to describe it but you feel like you are in Italy. When I was in Rome, Florence, Venice a few years back you can’t help but notice the commercialization of these cities!
I took this image when everyone started to head towards the church for the wedding ceremony. They rented this vintage car for the occasion and while waiting for them to come out I saw this and I just loved how the clouds where touching the mountains that morning with the car in the foreground. The lady that came out of the path kind of ruined it but its an image that takes me to a happy time and I thought I’d share; I’ve learned a lot on how to deal with people walking into the frame, with photography the learning curve never ends….
Here is another one from the archives, actually I think there is going to be a heavy reliance on my archives for the next couple of days/weeks. I really want to get back to posting often but that thing that is called real life is taking a toll on me; all is good, just super busy with my real job. This one is back from Abu Dhabi and it was across the very famous Sheikh Zayed mosque (I believe its currently the largest mosque in the world). A few minutes earlier when I was trying to photograph the mosque I was talked to by security, they didn’t want me to take pictures of that housing complex across the water but he was OK with me taking pictures of the mosque; I actually had to show him on my camera! The more I think about it its probably because that part of the world really likes to go all out when it comes to architecture, each housing complex has its own unique design and trademarks. Unlike North America where there are about 4-5 main builders with their own style that we just see over & over, so perhaps they didn’t want someone to copy the design?!?! (more…)
This one is from the archives of South Africa, this was our break area at the safari where people would meet up for drinks and coffee before heading out for a drive. Our morning wake up call was at around 5 am and we wouldn’t return back to camp until around 10:30-11 am where we would be served breakfast. After that usually everyone goes for a nap until we are served lunch at 2:30pm, but I’m the type of person once I’m up, I’m up, I need to be lacking sleep over a series of days to start needing the afternoon naps. I used to walk around the camp, take pictures, mingle with the staff and just enjoy nature as some of the less dangerous animals did tend to get close to the camp. The room behind the glass doors was the “breakfast” area, dinner was served outside in a hut type of setting; it really felt like Survivor where would all sit around bonfire. Good times….
I took this image on our last evening drive in Kruger Park, I thought its a fitting way to say goodbye to the memories of our world cup trip last year. Our experience was nothing but positive, it was really unfortunate how the security situation was blown out of proportion and I’m sure as we witnessed had its impact on attendance! We were definitely glad to see that the tournament was pulled off without any major incidents, the people of South Africa and rest of the continent deserved it.
But really there is something about Africa, its such a raw and beautiful place. This is just a glimpse of whats out there…
This weekend I went back to playing golf for the first time in over 2.5 years, the primary focus for me was to not swing so hard and injure myself after not playing for so long. My mind thinks in a strange way and this reminded me of crocodiles 🙂 The night before I was watching a documentary about crocodiles in Northern Australia; one of the ways they break their meal into smaller digestible portions is by spinning around at a very high speed to tear the ligaments & joints of their prey.
Each animal has its own unique traits, according to wikipedia, a crocodile bite measure 5000 pounds per square inch of pressure when biting down, compared to a white shark that measures 400 punds per square inch. But with all this force Crocs don’t chew on their prey to break them into smaller portions, they take one bite to capture their prey and spin around violantly to tear them to smaller portions and in essence kill them. If they are lucky they get to eat the whole prey but more often then not they are joined by another fellow crocodile. Even with all this force they still don’t have much strength to open their jaw and thats why we see them always taped shut when captured, they just don’t have the strength to open their jaw.
This particular picture was taken of a crocodile during our Safari in South Africa. I was using my 70-200mm for this shot but it was about 50 yards away from us, we were walking on foot by then 🙂 The ranger told us not to get too close to the water because they are quite sneaky and coud jump at us, he did think that the likelihood of that happening was very low since there were only 2 crocs in the area and one of them was the one above, he doubted the second one was with him in that lake. Oh yeah, a week before we arrived in our lodge, one the two crocodiles was found in the swimming pool of our lodge!! Apparently they can “smell” water and they are always attracted to it.
June 25, 2010 was our final match of the world cup, 8 out of 8! We did it, we made it to every single game and it was almost over. We were happy to see Spain play Chile because it was two strong teams that couldn’t afford to lose specially Spain who were facing a must win match, but at the same time the mood was slightly somber, we knew it was the end. Me & my brother were flying out the next night! Our little escape from reality into football heaven was just about to end.
Chileans were by far the most festive fans that we’ve seen at this world cup. Through our stay in South Africa we heard the infamous Chi-Chi-Chi-Chile chants (made world famous by the mine rescue operation in Chile a few months later). However that day we got to see them in numbers chant and dance to their songs. They were super friendly, welcomed everyone, danced, sang, posed for pictures, just created an amazing atmosphere for our last world cup experience.
As far as the game goes Spain scored two goals in the first half, they were up 2-0 by the 38th minute after Iniesta had scored. David Villa scored the first from 40m out when the goalkeeper came out to clear the ball from Fernando Torres outside the 18 yard box but only for it to land to Villa. Chile was also reduced to ten men after one of their players received two yellow cards. Even though that Chile scored a quick conciliation goal in the 47th minute, Spain’s Tiki-Taka was its best. In a way they put us to sleep with their masterful possession of the ball, they just kept on passing the ball and creating a chance when they felt like it or at least it appeared that way. Chile never posed much of a threat to tie the match and it ended with a 2-1 scoreline. With Switzerland failing to beat Honduras, Spain ended up topping the group with Chile in 2nd place which earned them a date with Brazil in the round of 16…
We didn’t leave the stands until every player left, it was really over! From now on, its back to watching the games on TV….
Giraffes were abundant during our stay at the Mohlabetsi Safari Lodge, they have an interesting role in the cycle of life. They primarily feed on vegetation and co-exist in packs, you seldom find one alone and if you do then its gone stray from the group.
They also rely on these birds to eat some form of insects of their skin, so in a way they are source of food for these birds.
However they could also end up as a meal to a lion or crocodile if they are not careful.
I guess every thing has its unique role in the cycle of life…
June 14, 2010 was our 2nd match day, one thing for sure it was a sea of Oranje (Dutch national team) jerseys. Its quite something to see the Dutch play, they completely dominate the stadium with their bright orange shirts. We had seats in the upper deck and it was shaded, which generally is a good thing but when its winter in Africa, you really want to sit under the sun. The last 20 minutes of the game were not enjoyable at all, I kept on wishing that the game would end. In a way it was an indicator of the how the game was, it was either this one or the USA vs England that was our most boring match! Luckily they were the first two, so it was all uphill from here on. Oh the game was between Holland and Denmark, Holland won 2-0, Agger scored an own goal in the 46th minute while trying to head the ball out with his head. Kuyt followed in the 85th minute with a tap in after the ball had hit the post. It was an ugly win but littler did we know that they would turn up in the later rounds until they lost the final to Spain.
This was also our first Soccer City experience, it is quite a Stadium, world class in every way. Really loved everything about it specially earlier in the tournament. At this point security has not been that organized and you could easily pass a lot of “off-limits” streets. Our driver, Derek, managed to get us pretty much up to the gate which was quite a treat, later on it became a hassle!
Phalaborwa airport has got to be the most unique airport I’ve ever been too. We took a flight there from Johannesburg to start our 4 day safari, by the time the plan slows down from the landing it has to make a U-turn because you quickly run out of runway! The plane stop in the middle of the terminal, shown above, there are 2 guys sitting in a fire truck waiting for the plan to stop so that they can empty out our luggage, very neat 🙂
Here’s another picture of the outside and one of the inside of the terminal. The safari was quite wild…
June 6, 2010 – we were somewhere between Doha, Qatar and Johannesburg, South Africa. By now though, you couldn’t avoid the world cup fever, once we got to Qatar you could see that the the world cup theme was everywhere. We also happened to find out during that layover that they were bidding for the 2022 world cup which they won!!! I don’t know how but I’ll keep my thoughts to myself on that one.
Todays images are about the pride of a nation… South Africans were very proud to be hosting the world cup, they were very proud to welcome the world, they wanted us all to feel welcome which we really did. The message was clear: the world cup was on African soil and they were so proud. One of the neatest things that we saw was the side mirror flag covers, they are quite a nice way to show your support. This particular one was taken of our Safari van, yes even out in Kruger Park they were feeling the world cup fever.
Here are a few more shots of the rainbow nation’s flag… thats what they call South Africa down there 🙂 The images were taken during 2 different games: England vs USA & Netherlands vs Denmark. I will talk about the games on the actual anniversary days, at least that is my plan for now….
June 5, 2010 is when we finally took off from Toronto to Joburg. In total the duration of our travel was 48 hrs with a 12 hour lay over in Doha, Qatar and a 3 hr lay over in Washington, DC. Luckily we met up with a friend in Doha and that gave us a recharge before the last leg of the trip, it felt like it was never ending at times, just like the roads in these pics…
which by the way where taken on our way from Phalaborwa airport to Mohlabetsi Safari Lodge.