2020 Photo Challenge: Shot From Above

Travel Words’ 2020 Photo Challenge theme for September is “point of view” and for this final week, the subject is shoot from above.

Looking down on Maasai villages from prop plane flying from Serengeti National Park to Arusha, Tanzania
Plane ride Serengeti-Arusha, Tanzania
Hotel room balcony view, Old Cataract Hotel, Aswan, Egypt
Ruins of Roman settlement during the siege of Masada, from Masada plateau, Israel
Looking down from the courtyard behind the abbey atop Mont St-Michel, France
Looking down on the Rhine River from Marksburg Castle in Germany
Looking down on hoodoos from the Rim Trail at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
A trail we chose to view from above rather than hike down! Bryce Canyon NP, Utah

CB&WPC: I’ve Looked At Clouds

Cee’s black & White Photo Challenge this week has the topic clouds. This is an interesting topic, because one of the things that makes cloud pictures spectacular is color – especially sunsets. I tried and rejected several photos because they just didn’t have appeal without the color. Others, however, look even more dramatic in black & white! So here’s what I chose.

I’ll start with clouds seen from above (through an airplane window).
20180128_163830 (2)
I got some dramatic sunset photos in black & white when I looked for strong contrasts between the clouds and the sky.
20170527_200853 (2)DSCN8866 (2)

20171004_173346_001 (2)
The variety of the shapes of the clouds makes this an interesting photo in black & white.

2-6 sunset from our room at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (2)
20181029_174412 (2)
Sometimes, what attracts me to take photos of clouds is the variety of shapes. It can be especially dramatic in the wide open spaces on the prairies of North Dakota…
20170524_170930 (2)20170524_160450 (2)
…or a sunburst over the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
KODAK Digital Still Camera
More subtle effects over the pond on the campus of our community.
20200108_155441 (2)
In this photo, the clouds are reflected in the rippled surface of the water.
20190817_192038 (2)
Sometimes, instead of a prairie, a dramatic landscape – such as majestic mountains – enhances the photo, offering a dramatic contrast between land and sky.
20180531_141336 (2)
The official title of the following song is Both Sides Now. But this is a pretty rendition with ethereal moving clouds. Although the song was written by Joni Mitchell, who sings it here, it was first recorded by Judy Collins, which was the first version of it I heard.

Journey to Egypt: Part 1 – In Transit and Arrival in Cairo, Cairo Traffic

December 23, 2018

Dale and I took a flight from Chicago O’Hare Airport late on Dec. 22, arriving in the morning in Frankfurt, Germany, where we had several hours and time for lunch at Goethe restaurant in the airport.

20181222_171955
Our journey started at O’Hare Airport in Chicago on the night of Dec. 22.

In the afternoon, we walked through the maze of the Frankfurt airport – down hallways, past duty-free shops, down escalators, more hallways, up escalators and finally a shuttle to the terminal where we would catch our flight to Cairo! Seriously, I walked an entire mile just in the Frankfurt airport!

 

20181223_132143d
Whew! We finally reached our gate! Our flight was already getting ready to board when we arrived.

There was a full moon! This is a view I took from the airplane shortly before our arrival in Cairo.
20181223_175604d.jpgWe were met at the Cairo airport by an OAT (Overseas Adventure Travel) representative, who accompanied us to our hotel on El Gezirah Island in Cairo – the historic Marriott Hotel. This hotel will be the subject of a future post.

On our way to the hotel, we were told about the chaos of Cairo traffic.  Drivers in Cairo, especially, seem always in a hurry to get somewhere in this city of 20 million people. So a four lane road may contain eight lanes of traffic!

20181225_160145d
Crossing the Nile from El Gezirah Island to the mainland: On this road, designed for two lanes of traffic going each way, there are actually four lines of cars going one way and at least two going the other way alongside our bus!

Egyptians say that the lines delineating each lane on the road are “only for decoration.” Furthermore, speed limits are merely “suggestions.” Drivers are constantly honking at the perceived slowness of the cars ahead of them, although it rarely does much good: it’s bumper to bumper and no one is going anywhere fast. Except maybe the motorcycles, which zip past lanes of cars and weave their way through traffic.

murals in Cairo from cab1
Murals from taxi on the way to our hotel – notice the dent and scratches in the red car closest to the photographer: nearly every car, it seemed, had suffered dents and scratches in Cairo! (Photo taken by group member Lola Pazos).

The most alarming habit of Egyptian drivers is an unwillingness of many to turn on their headlights at night, because they think having their lights on “offends the drivers coming the other way.” Apparently they are not aware of the purpose of brights!!

At the hotel, we were greeted by our guide, Mohamed, who would accompany our group for the entire tour. All of the other group members had arrived earlier and by the time we arrived had retired to their rooms for the night.

Next: The Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CFFC: What’s in the Picture?

Cee is back this week with all her challenges! Today’s Fun Foto Challenge is to use the photo she has posted to find a subject, topic or theme. She writes that this week’s possible topics are black and white, mirror, reflection, air plane, jet, cloud, vehicle, building, power lines, frame in frame. If you see other topics, you can use that too. Just tell us what your topic is.

Seen through a rear view mirror
The picture I am currently using as my profile picture was taken in December 2015 in Monterey, California. I took this selfie using the rear view mirror next to me. I was standing outside my car with my back to the coast.20151223_163909
While at Rocky Mountain National Park in May 2018, I experimented with this idea again, this time showing the scenery both in front of us and in back of us through the mirror.
20180531_162433
Just to be funny in a political context, I’m including this photo I did NOT take! 😉mueller2.jpg
Airplanes and jets
View from the window of a small airplane from Serengeti to Arusha, Tanzania, Feb. 13, 2018. Ngorongoro Crater is visible in the background.
2-13 from airplane-Ngorongoro Crater
The jet that would take us from Chicago to Amsterdam, August 2015
20150805_153153Black and white
On a rocky beach in Alaska, August 2016
On the beach at Orca Point Lodge, looking for "treasures"
Chicago skyscrapers, 2017
20170515_161936 (2)
The foliage of summer hides most of this house, but like Cee’s picture, there’s a roof in it!
20170731_171518 (2)

 

Kwaheri*, Tanzania!

Feb. 13, 2018

Our last day in Tanzania was spent in transit. We had a nice breakfast at Ang’ata Camp and bid farewell to the staff. A group photo was taken, while the drivers packed the vehicles with our luggage.

2-13 group photo at Ang'ata Camp, Serengeti
Group photo including some of the staff at Ang’ata Camp, Serengeti NP

2-13 Toyota Land Cruiser loaded with luggage
Our drivers were very efficient packers – both vehicles were loaded to the hilt!

2-13-livingstone-elias-our-drivers.jpg
Our expert drivers from High Peaks Expeditions, Livingstone and Elias!

We were headed toward the Serengeti NP Visitors’ Center and the airport, where we would catch a flight back to Arusha (one hour flight vs 9 hours by car!).

Along the way, once again on the dirt roads in the park, we saw more animals:
Lovebirds in an acacia tree
SONY DSCMale cheetah – he’s filled his belly so he’s not hunting now!SONY DSCLots of impalas, including this beautiful maleSONY DSCTopi and zebraSONY DSCVervet monkey in an acacia tree
SONY DSC
The tree the monkey was in was full of puffy white seeds or blooms.

Time allowed for us to observe another hippo pond. There were two males either fighting, or play fighting.

We arrived at the Visitors’ Center with a little time to look around. The Visitors’ Center is built around a kopje (rocky outcrop), so that we saw hyraxes very close up (not only in the rocks – they ran along all the paths and sunned themselves on a deck). From there, we also had a view of the Serengeti Plain beyond.
SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSCI spotted this colorful lizard basking on a sunny patch of rock.
2-13 lizard at Serengeti NP Visitors CenterThere was a collection of animal bones, which David (our guide) identified for us.2-13 David with animal bones at Serengeti NP Visitors CenterThere were also metal sculptures of a lion and a dung beetle.


The airport was practically next door to the Visitors’ Center and this is where we parted company with some members of our group who were staying in Africa and visiting other places. We saw the plane the rest of us would be returning to Arusha on – an 18-seater!
20180213_121249The pilot greeted David warmly – old acquaintances, apparently. When she boarded after we were all strapped in, she warned us to expect a bumpy ride, as it was very windy that day. I had been nervous about this flight, so this news didn’t calm me down!

In fact, though, the ride was unexpectedly smooth and we were able to look down at the places we had traversed – the landscapes were beautiful!

SONY DSC
Serengeti Plain

SONY DSC
Serengeti – wooded areas with rivers

SONY DSC

SONY DSC
Maasai villages

SONY DSC
Maasai compounds

SONY DSC

SONY DSC
Mountain that was once a volcano (not Kilimanjaro)

SONY DSC
Lush green – looks like the rim of Ngorongoro Crater, although that was off to the right.

Arriving in Arusha, we were taken to the Kibo Palace Hotel, where we were assigned day

20180213_163719
Arusha clock tower

rooms – this was a luxurious hotel, unlike the accommodations we had been used to! Our safari lodgings had better views though! Even so, we were greeted the same way as we had at each accommodation: People saying, Karibu! (welcome) to us, giving us hot towels to refresh ourselves and small glasses of fruit juice.
We had a three course luncheon on the patio of the hotel’s restaurant. Service was not fast – which was not expected, but I was getting antsy: I was anxious to take a shower and have time to spend at the craft market as we had been promised.

 

Dale and I, along with two others from our group, walked to the market, about six blocks away.  We had a very successful shopping trip! I bought a skirt, a “dashiki” shirt, pants with an elephant print, and another pair of shorter pants. We also bought Tanzanian coffee and souvenirs for our kids.

The market was large, with a labyrinth of alleys lined with shops. At each one, whether we went in – or even showed interest – or not, the vendors called out to us, “Lady, please come in! We have just what you are looking for!”  Some of them were more aggressive than others, and I felt bad having to say no to any of them! But actually, many of the shops had similar merchandise, so once I’d bought something, I didn’t want to buy more of the same thing. The vendors would observe what we’d bought at the shop next door and immediately hold up a similar item from their shop, waving it at us and imploring us to come in and buy something at their shop, too!  We were always polite and smiled, as David had reminded us to be; sometimes we’d stop and chat with this or that vendor. I noticed sewing machines at several of the shops that sold women’s clothing. When I was looking at a pair of pants that was gathered at the ankles, I expressed that I didn’t really want that style. Immediately, the vendor would offer to take out the elastic and before I could refuse, she was hard at work removing stitches!

Back in the hotel room, we both took showers and charged our phones and tablets. We logged into the hotel’s WiFi to update our friends back home on our travels, posting photos on Facebook.

Although I took several pictures in Arusha, I lost them all when I lost my phone!  Late in the afternoon, a driver was hired to take us to Kilimanjaro Airport, an hour’s drive away. One other couple from our group was with us, because they were taking the same flight to Amsterdam, where we would part company. We had a quick dinner/snack with them in the airport, and they rushed off to the waiting area, even though they had more than two hours before the flight was due to board! Dale wanted to follow them, so I grabbed the food I had just been served “to go”, gathered up my camera bag, mini purse, and backpack and followed him.

It was an overnight flight and I didn’t notice until we were about to arrive in Amsterdam that my phone was missing. We searched the whole area around our seats and the flight attendants did an additional search as they were cleaning up, but it was not found!

in Amsterdam we had a long layover, so I went online on my tablet. There was an email from Sprint to confirm that I had changed my password on Feb. 13 in Tanzania, which of course I had not done! I called Sprint and had the phone blocked so that whoever picked it up would not be able to access my data. Theft of cellphones is rampant in Tanzania, but I don’t think it was stolen – I think in my rush to leave the restaurant at the airport, I left it behind or it fell out of my purse and someone picked it up.

Usually Google uploads my photos automatically so they can be accessed anywhere, but for some reason, it had not done that the entire time I was in Tanzania. So I lost a lot of photos. Fortunately, my best photos were on my camera and I was also able to retrieve the ones I had posted on Facebook.

I bear no ill will toward Tanzania or the Tanzanian people due to the loss of my cellphone (and my Fitbit, as I noticed later also). I LOVED my time there and would gladly go back. In fact, I’ve already done research on other safaris in Tanzania and other countries in southern Africa!

Map of Africa
Downloaded from http://www.pinkballoon.nl/detailed-map-of-africa.html

Safaris get into your soul. Seeing all those animals in the wild and getting close up photographs of them was amazing. Taking the time to observe animal behaviors in their natural environment. Admiring the beauty of the land. Appreciating the welcoming friendliness of the Tanzanian people.

I don’t think I can go to a zoo again for a long, long time.

*kwaheri – good-bye in Swahili

ASANTE SANA, TANZANIA! I hope to return someday…

CFFC: Oh, you!!

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is the letter U – must have both an ‘o’ and a ‘u’ in the word.

Round

20170520_153853
Interlocking hoops decoration on a wall at a wedding venue

 

Fountains

DSC_0739
Peter the Great loved fountains, so he had a lot of them built on his country estate, Peterhof (near St. Petersburg, Russia)

 

Mountain

20160819_162046
Mt. Baker, Washington state, from our airplane window

 

 

Clouds

20170524_160439
Interesting cloud formations over the prairie in southeastern North Dakota

 

20180109_153147
Ripply  clouds at 4:30 yesterday afternoon, as seen from my driveway.

 

 

 

 

 

Consumers

20170519_130236_001.jpg
Looking down on consumers at Mall of America, Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

Couple

20170520_191733
Newlywed couple, (my niece Allie and her new husband Alex), prepares to cut the wedding cake.

 

Spouse

20170522_173013
My husband, Dale,  relaxes as he enjoys wine and cheese hour at Hotel Donaldson, Fargo, North Dakota

 

Dungeon

The dungeon tour
The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, Charleston, SC. It was built by the British in 1771 in a Palladian style, and was used for trade purposes during Charleston’s growth as a port. During the American Revolution, American Patriots were held prisoners in the dungeon.

 

20170326_090734
Las Bovedas, now a colorful market in Cartagena, Colombia, was a dungeon at one time (las bovedas means “the dungeons”), which is why over each shop door there is a small barred window – this would have been the only window the prisoners in the cells had.