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Archive for November, 2014

Battle of the Paddle – Stand up paddleboarding

Thought for the day…” Success depends on your backbone, not your wishbone.”

” The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

The Swiss have a wonderful system of democracy whereby if 100 000 people sign a petition, then a national referendum can be held on any subject.  There have been 9 during 2014, ranging from more funding for the railways to limits on immigration.  More will be held today, including one on gold reserves by the national bank and another on immigration.    But it is the story in the international news at the moment that is catching the attention…..that a group in Switzerland is trying to get enough signatures to hold a petition to ban the eating of dogs and cats.    Hard to believe that in Switzerland that dogs and cats are eaten in some areas, especially the Rhine Valley.     The cats and dogs are eaten as a form of ‘mostbröckli‘.  Dogs are more commonly eaten in Korea, Vietnam and China, but it is surprising to learn of the practice in Switzerland.

Florianapolis, Brazil was the host recently for the ‘Battle of the Paddle’ stand up paddleboard competition.    A couple of photos capturing the action during the final…….

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Birds of a Feather – photo together

Thought for the day…” I used to have a handle on life, but it broke”.

”  I am not a complete idiot…some parts are missing”.

Over the years, I have experienced lots of airlines, and lots of airports.     I recently go to fly with the Brazilian budget airline GOL, who promote themselves as Gol Intelligent Airlines.   Actually a pleasant experience, as they had clean aircraft, good customer service and sensible check in procedures.    Nice to find a budget airline that is cheap but good, and also one that seems to be trying.    The same cannot be said for Berlin airports.

I had the misfortune to have my first experiences of the 2 Berlin airports, Schonefeld and Tegel.   It is very clear why Berlin needs the new airport, although in the news this week is seems that it will not open until 2018 at the earliest.   Would you believe that at Berlin Tegel TXL airport, that they are using a tent as a departure hall for flights heading to places like Belgrade and Minsk??   Admittedly, it is the sort of tent that they use for exhibitions and functions, but a tent it is.   Hard to believe that the capital city of Germany, an advanced nation, is forced to resort to using tents at its main airport.   And the fiasko of the new Berlin airport, greatly overbudget, extremely late and seemingly, not near to ever opening……not very German at all.   The good people down the autobahn in Munchen, Bayern, know how to run a good airport, as do  the Swiss with Zurich airport.

But still at the top of the list must be Singapore Shanghi Airport SIN.   Normally top in all the surveys of the world’s best airports (and for good reason t00), it is a real pleasure to use.    It is one airport that I am happy to have a long stopover in.    I cannot say the same about the tents in Berlin Tegel !!!

Two photos of Brazilian birds for the pictures today, and both taken with the Fuji X-E1 camera.

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Down By The River – Brazil

Thought for the day…” If the sky is the limit, then what is space, over the limit?”

”  Do coffins have lifetime guarantees?”

Another two photos from Brazil, and from the southern part around Florianapolis.   Florianapolis is based around one main island, and has a population of around 420 000 people.  I.T and tourism (including surfing) are the main occupations here, and the area has been voted as the best area of Brazil to live in.   Some villages still rely on fishing, but officials are attempting to make the area the ‘silicon valley’ of Brazil.   Long, white sandy beaches and small bays make it a popular tourist destination, including increasing numbers of international tourists.   It also hosts annual surfing and paddle board competitions.   The photos below come from the Barra De Lagoa area, where a small channel connects the lake to the sea.

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And a portrait of a local, complete with 2 mobile phones…….

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Paraguayian pair – two from Paraguay

Thought for the day…”Failure is the foundation of success, and the means by which it is achieved”.

” If you do not have a dream, then how can your dreams come true?”   (Jimmy Cricket)

Two photos today from Paraguay, and both taken with the Fuji X-E1 camera.    The camera was ready, because photos like these have to be grabbed fast.    In both cases, it was only seconds before the scene changed, and the moment was lost, so there was no chance to frame or plan the photos.  But the results are great, and the new Fuji camera has done a great job with the exposure and colours.   Both pictures come from the capital of Paraguay, Asuncion and from the city centre.   Not an exciting place for tourists, and the sight of shanty towns built in the city centre will surprise you, as will the broken pavements, abandoned buildings and general decay.

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Variations on a Theme. Same same but different

Thought for the day….” Same, same, but different”.

“It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure”  (Bill Gates)

Off to Paraguay for the photos today, and to the capital Asuncion.  This landlocked South American country was once a Spanish colony until 1811.  The money is called the Guarani and the capital, Asuncion is home to about 500 000 people.   Despite being the capital, Asuncion is not a fun place for tourists, as it has few great sights but does have a lot of broken houses, decay and abandoned buildings.    Paraguay is a poor country, and it certainly shows in the capital.   Paraguay has the honour of holding the world record for the largest barbeque, when 30 000 diners attended the record-breaking attempt.

Those who have travelled in Vietnam will no doubt have seen and heard the phrase “Same, Same but different”.   Today’s photos, actually the same photo, started out as one photo, but was given the photoshop treatment.    The first photo was the original colour photo, almost as it came out of the camera…..

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But then changed in Photoshop into a black & white photo, then converted to sepia to give it an old fashioned look, before editing it so that just the yellow chair and box remained in their original colours.   Finally, add the frame and bob’s your uncle…..

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Same, same but different,  as they say.

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Change of continents and 8 flights

Thought for the day…”The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails”

” You cannot live a positive life with a negative mind”.

Eight flights and a lot of airports separate the photos in the last post from the photos today.   A change of continents, or rather regions, from the Seychelles to Brazil.  Having flown from Seychelles via Abu Dhabi, Berlin, Oslo, and Sao Paulo (plus some domestic flights) then Oslo airport (code OSL) rates as the worst.   It is a disgrace for a Scandinavian capital city airport.   But leaving all that behind, some photos from Brazil….Brazil is the largest country in South America and the largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world.  It was named after the Pau Brasil tree, and now has a population of around 202 million.   It has won the football world cup more times than any other nation.  Although Brasilia is the capital, Sao Paulo is the largest city, with a population of around 18 million.

The photos are of the waterfalls at Iguazu, on the corner of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.   Depending on the season, the falls can be up to 2.7km long, and up to 82m deep.   The photos were taken from a helicopter, but if you visit Iguazu be very careful NOT to book on the larger 7 seat helicopters, as several passengers who have to sit on the inside seats will have very restricted views.  No problem from the smaller 4 seat helicopters though, as the photos below show.

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Sitting on the dock of the bay……

Thought for the day….” Vision is the art of seeing the invisible”        “Failures are stepping stones to success”

Another couple of photos from the Seychelles.    The Seychelles are the sort of place where you take photos, and take lots of them.  So many beautiful bays and beaches, and scenes like the ones below are so easy to find.     And for those people lucky enough to have waterproof cameras, the coral reefs, diving and tropical fish are amazing.    Sadly I have no photos from the diving, but hundreds of photos from dry land.    Next time I must take an underwater camera.   High standards of accommodation, relatively few tourists (so often the beaches are empty or almost empty) and around 155 islands to explore.  What a holiday paradise!!     I just hope that it does not become like some of the islands in Thailand, where tourism has taken away the very charm that made them popular in the first place.  But for now, Seychelles are still paradise.

PS.  Sitting on the Dock of the Bay    was sung by Otis Reading

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and another photo from the Seychelles.  This photo started as a normal colour photo, but was first converted to black & white, then converted to sepia to give it an old look.  See what you think…..

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More photos from a paradise holiday destination – Seychelles

Thought for the day….”It is the road that you take that decides your destiny, not your destiny which decides which road that you take”.

” You are not wealthy until you have something that money cannot buy”.

Situated just south of the Equator and in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles are made up of 155 islands which were controlled by both Britain and  France until independence in 1976.   About 92 000 people live there (lucky them!), with many of them being employed in the main industry-tourism.     Unlike the Maldvives, the Seychelles have some wonderful inland scenery too, ranging from deep valleys to tropical rain forest, which makes the Seychelles a far more interesting holiday destination.  The beaches (some of which are said to be the best in the world) are uncrowded and extremely beautiful, the sea temperature perfect for swimming and diving (especially around the many coral reefs) and when you tire of sitting on the beach under a palm tree, the tropical rain forests are quite beautiful.  Add to that some fantastic quality hotels and they are really a perfect holiday destination.

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and another from the same area…..

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Holidays which do live up to expectations…..Seychelles

Thought for the day….”  A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single cash advance? ”

” Problems are not stop signs, they are only guidelines”.

So often a holiday destination does not live up to the promises.   So often the views once you arrive do not live up to the pictures in the brochures or online.    But sometimes they do.     The latest holiday was one of those trips where the actual views were even better than the brochures had promised.  The beaches were more fantastic and the sea even more perfect.   The new camera has been VERY busy…..more than 16 GB of photos and videos……it really is beautiful…….

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and another from the same group of islands…the colours really are that incredible…

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Wonderful colours, wonderful beaches and some superb scenery…..what a fantastic holiday destination…..Seychelles.   Photos taken with the Fuji X-E1

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