Not the best time to run out of media space on my blog, partway through travelling!

So my blog came to a grinding halt three days ago.

Unable to upload the photos to accompany the post, I couldn’t understand what was happening and I’m using a mobile phone to write and post the blog as we travel, so not all the options are available in comparison to logging in to my site on a computer.

The next day I realised that I had used up my free media allowance for the original blog, so I looked at the options and bought my domain…..but…on reading the instructions for moving the blog to my domain, transferring my existing blog to my new domain is not something I want to do on my phone. It looks like it needs backups, downloads and a quiet afternoon on the computer with no disturbances, not something Im going to get on this trip!

So I created another blog to continue the journey.

Once I’ve posted the first post on the new site, I will add the link to this post for anyone to click onto if you would like to follow me….I’m heading into new territory on the 3/3….watch for the link….

Running around, trying to get ready

Car bought, now it was time to get ourselves sorted and packed, ready to hit the road.

Initially we needed to repair the GPS which meant a visit to the Creek which is the oldest part of Dubai .

Post rush hour, this wasn’t a “sit in traffic forever” journey, the roads that are built to service the city are amazing 4,5,6,7,8 lane highways, daisy loop junctions, and now a lot of development has been done on raised roads and links around developed areas, the road planning is far sighted but the sheer volume of traffic makes rush hours, as in any city, a tedious time to travel around

After the GPS service we had a little time left on the parking meter so had a quick wander around the Abra station ( small boats for crossing the Creek) and the Dhow wharf. The Dhows are sailing mainly to Pakistan and the goods piled up for loading are a diverse mix of air conditioning units, refrigerators, food in bulk, car parts…the list goes on.

Then a swift return through the Souk, a tourist destination on the Creek, beautifully arranged displays of spices, perfumes, pashminas, clothing but each stall with its own tout welcoming you to buy…a smile, a joke and a fast walk deflects the hard sell…

It was time to retrieve the car and head off for yet another urgent trip errand on the other side of the city…

Because we could, we used Beach road instead of the highway, always interesting to take an amble down beach road to see what’s changed on the Dubai waterfront…

Then we remembered it was Valentine’s day so it had to be a meal out.As I wanted to see the Museum of the Future at night, we decided to revisit an old Dubai watering hole, Fibber Magees, Dubai’s oldest and most iconic Irish pub, just next to my old office on Sheik Zayed road…a little trip down memory lane…

The evenings plans fitted in well with visiting the Satwa area to have spare car keys cut, so I had a little wander around the fabric shops whilst the keys were being cut.

The Museum of the Future wasn’t lit up sadly, but it’s still an impressive building

and then to Fibbers for drinks and a meal…as it was Valentine’s day, ladies were on free drinks…my head hurt on the morning of the 15th!

Off we go….

The new journey has just started. I can’t quite believe I’ve just had a little walk along the Corniche in Beirut, some Pigeon Rock shots and then a sobering reminder of what war, disaster ( remember the Port explosion), economic strife and corruption has done to a once vibrant city and to its people.

I’ve visited Lebanon a few times but in the 15 years since I’ve been here it’s quite different now. An air of neglect hangs over the city, women and children begging every few steps along the Corniche, battered old cars but an obvious disparity between rich and poor as in the space of 10 mins I counted at least 10 Range Rovers driving past.

One wonders how they are affordable in a country where 6 drinks were billed at 1,440,000 lebanese pounds!! To have paid by euro debit card would have cost 90 euro, but if we found an exchange to change euro into dollars the bill would be $25.00….The OH exchanged the euro in a side of the road exchange and the dollars were paid, phew, need to have your wits about you! And best not to wonder how the luxury cars are bought methinks!

The wine was lovely, white for me and red for the OH from the Kasara vineyard, but excessive at 90 euro, reasonable at $25! I’ve never had a million pound bill before, kept for posterity!

The reason for the Beirut overnight stop is that we have chosen to travel to Dubai using Middle East Airlines as we can buy extra bags on the return journey up to 30kg each for under 50 euros and we have a box of shell books to bring back to Cyprus, kindly gifted to us on our last visit to Muscat.

The use of MEA instead of our usual EK plus a night in the Lancaster Raouche hotel, free airport transfer and a decent room and breakfast has saved 300 euro each.As we are not time constricted, why not, a night in a different city is always interesting!

Some shots from the city…

Almond time….

It’s spring in Cyprus, it’s 2022, it’s still a pandemic but hopefully curving downwards…maybe we can get back to a normal life sometime soon…

Spring is the time here for Almond trees to start flowering, the buds burst into white or pink flowers and it’s a joy to drive round a corner to be confronted by an ethereal cloud of white or pink flowers, dressing the tree like wispy candy floss…the sight adds a lift to the heart!

Just a few shots from yesterday, my first chance to get close up to a flowering tree, trusty iPhone shots! Next week it’s Almond tree photography expedition week !

Zanzibar: Intensely blue skies and rainbow sunsets- Part 2…

Zanzibar, June 2017:  After a couple of days at the north of the island, I felt that the final day and night we had booked up there was wasted time, we had seen everything at the North tip and because I think you know by now if you read this blog, I’m not a beach bunny… I want to go somewhere and see it all.

I wanted time in Stonetown, I’d been reading up on the history and whilst you can say “Oh, we’ll come back another time”, well, practically, you probably won’t return and I so wanted to see Stonetown… so much history and the historical connection to Oman, another of my travel places, (a link about the connection history ) Slavery was a big part of the connection, sadly…

So, after breakfast, I found a room in an old traditional hotel in Stonetown at a good price (wifi and online booking is such a godsend in this day and age, instant confirmation…let’s go!) we cut our losses at Kendwa and headed off to town.

Stonetown is utterly fascinating and I was in my element, poking around the ancient streets, checking out the doors… see links to my earlier posts about the doors and old town , my Stonetown desire was all about the historical doors initially…

We went on a walkabout, we had about 36 hours in town and sleep could be minimal.

What a place… such history, such vibrancy, I just loved Stonetown.

At sunset, we headed down to the main beach, with everyone else in town, it appeared.

Sunset was a big moment that night, the streets were humming with life, street food everywhere, it was totally unexpected and so vibrant.

It was just after Eid, so I think that after Ramadan, there were a lot of people out, enjoying the beautiful moment after a month of piety …The beach was packed, loads of people in the water as the sun went down, swimming, playing, and enjoying life…

it was lovely to be part of the exuberant crowd and catch the glorious Stonetown sunset…

Cyprus Dragonfly Diaries-1-Calopteryx splendens

2019 saw me joining into Dragonfly recording in my area of Cyprus.

I know…it seems like a random thing to do, but, you know I like to take photographs and, why not ? Fresh air and enjoying nature is something that I have discovered is beneficial to my mind, so this is a double benefit.

There is a Dragonfly study group in Cyprus and a chance photograph of mine of a dragonfly into a local biodiversity Facebook group, led to a very old friend of mine contacting me to ask if I would be interested in accompanying her for her monthly recording for said study group.

As she lives in the next village and completes records for our local river valleys, I jumped at it.

In the company of a knowledgeable person, nature is that much more interesting.

So 4 times a month, we head off out to 2 river valley sites which are diverse in nature, searching for damselflies and dragonflies. At this stage, as there is diversity in nature and searching for one thing leads to another, I discovered how beautiful butterflies are too, especially for photography…( the butterfly posts are yet to come…)

To be quite honest, I didn’t have a clue what a Damselfly was, what it looked like and how you need to to have acute awareness to spot the tiny ones.

Once I blundered around for a while, marvelling at my friend’s ability to spot the tiniest of creatures, I was thrilled to start spotting them myself.

Damselflies are insects of the suborder Zygoptera in the order Odonata. They are similar to dragonflies, which constitute the other odonatan suborder, Anisoptera, but are smaller, have slimmer bodies, and most species fold the wings along the body when at rest, unlike dragonflies which hold the wings flat and away from the body. An ancient group, damselflies have existed since at least the Lower Permian, and are found on every continent except Antarctica.

One of the most obvious and to me, quite beautiful and easily spotted, owing to its shining body, is Calopteryx splendens ssp. amasina ( Bartenef, 1911). The Common name is Banded Demoiselle.

Below is a typical site for finding Calopteryx in the river areas. Wading is required. I have just bought wellingtons for the winter wading, beautiful wellingtons, black with red roses and a smart little tie thingy at the top…how wellingtons have changed! I want to wear them everyday! However, I digress, the wading environment is always beautiful…

A selection of photographs of the exquisite Calopteryx from locations in the Esouza and Diarizos areas in the Paphos district of Cyprus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo challenge : Evanescent…

This week, WordPress weekly photo challenge asks us to show us a moment in time that holds meaning for you.

My photo was taken under the bridge that connects the mainland of Oman to Shannah port for the ferry to the island of Masirah.

I was using my new camera, a Fujifilm X-T20 and I had little idea of the settings when I took this, having been taught manual photography in the Nikon world. Each time you move, you have to understand the product-speak to relate to what you know..

( I am impatient, black mark) but a lesson to self, this is a camera that needs to be loved and cared for, the results are incredible

My past is in art and I see this shot in this way, even though the exposure is all wrong, the colours are intensified, it just gives a clue to what you can do to play with a picture…This shot is my played out and edited result…

 

Evanescent

 

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 16 – Behind

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This is one of my favourite pictures from a visit to Phu Quoc, Vietnam in 2015.

Sadly I lost the original in an Apple storage incident and this copy is all I have left now. It was shot quickly on iPhone 6, it’s not a great photo, but I just loved the beautiful, smiling girl behind the tank of seahorses.The scene is not one you come across often and there is a white seahorse in there too, too good to miss.

Seahorses are sold for snacks in areas of Vietnam. The street was full of shops selling dried fish, fungi and unknown wonders and all of them had a small tank of seahorses outside.

I finally found an English speaker who told me why they were there…. I wish I hadn’t asked!

Joining into

hughs-weekly

Want to join the fun? Here’s what you need to do.

1. Take or choose a photo that you’ve taken that shows an object, person or something that is behind something else. 
2. Create a new post on your blog entitled “Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 16 – “Behind”
3. Add the photo(s) you have taken to the post and tell us a little about what you are showing.
4. Create a pingback to Hugh’s post or leave a link to your post in the comments section on Hugh’s page so that other participants can view your post.

Not sure how to create a pingback? Click here for a step by step guide on how to create one.