Archive for weather

British Columbia – Day 1

Posted in BC, Canada, reflection, Travel, weather with tags , , , , on August 18, 2010 by leginsky

Two weeks away from the heat of the Middle East, in the beautiful green, mountainous, Pacific province of BC.  Day 1 actually spanned two days, because I started just after midnight in Dubai, had an eleven hour lay-over in Schiphol, and then an 8 hour, 45 minute flight to Vancouver. (Please click on pictures to enlarge)

In Schiphol, our plane the “Ingrid Bergman”.  I never thought I’d fly on Ingrid Bergman! 

Here is Ingrid having landed in Vancouver.

From a cool rainy day in Amsterdam to a glorious, very warm day in Vancouver.

The international arrivals area in Vancouver International (YVR) is one of the nicest I’ve seen with all the art and a waterfall feature.

Downtown Vancouver has a lovely harbour.  Here are a couple of shots from the conference centre- cruise-ship terminal.

Then on to English Bay.  It was evening by this time.  Some interesting statuary.

and the usual sunset-on-English-Bay pictures from downtown Vancouver.

Being away, I had forgotten how beautiful English Bay can be.  These have an Inukshuk in the lower left corner.  If you recall the logo of the winter Olympics we just had, that is the symbol.  This is a mysterious symbol used throughout the circumpolar world and is a meme in the Canadian psyche.  You can read more here.

And so back to the hotel.  I stayed at the Coast Vancouver Airport hotel because (besides being cheap) it has a White Spot restaurant. This is a British Columbia chain, not expensive, has its own locally-brewed beer, and good food.  I had been thinking about its steak, smothered with mushrooms, with a sturdy red accompaniment.  And so it was!  Hard to beat Canadian beef.  It was every bit as good as I had remembered. (Warning: messy food shot)

A good end to Day 1.

Turkey Trip Day 10

Posted in BC, Canada, Dubai, Middle East, motorcycle, reflection, Travel, Turkey with tags , , , , on July 10, 2010 by leginsky

Please click on the pictures to see them better.  I stayed in Bandirma, Turkey, the night of Day 9 at a tired ferry landing hotel.  Bandirma is a tired industrial port town.

Rather than eat in a restaurant, I used one of the many kabab stands, this one on the dock by the hotel.

Thıs morning, it was the ferry (feribot, as they call it) lineup.

Here is our feribot!

My bike blocked and ready for the trip

During this ferry trip, I kept thinking of the last important motorcycle ferry trip I made, in March 2007, when I started my journey ınto expat lıfe, from Mayne Island.  I was taking the beautıful BMW K1200GT to Vancouver for ıts onward shipment to Dubai.  It snowed.  ”Leavıng, are you, you ungrateful bastard … take some of that”.  I can’t yet judge all that I have done, and has been done, since March 2007.   More endings … more beginnings! 

Istanbul!  Here you see the arrival through the ferry’s big rear loading door.

And unpacking the bike from the trip and giving it back to the shop.

Lunch in Istanbul.  It was raining so the staff tried to get me to eat inside.  After being on the road in the wind for 10 days, I couldn’t face being inside yet.  I had them set up a little table on the narrow sidewalk for me.

The ferry, the ride throughout Istanbul to the BMW shop on the outskirts, the bike hand-over, all went seamlessly.  The return of the bike was well timed, as by the time I got back to my hotel, it really started to rain.  Back to the European side of Turkey, and back to European weather!

After about a couple of thousand kilometres of Turkey, the motorcycle part of the trip is over.  But every ending is a beginning.  I learned a lot, met some good people and Inshallah can look forward to many more trips and to my own bike in the fall. 

There is so much yet to see …

Turkey Trip Day 4

Posted in motorcycle, reflection, resorts, Travel, Turkey, weather with tags , , , on July 4, 2010 by leginsky

Happy 4th of July to my throng of American fan!  Note how cleverly days of my trip coincide with the days of July.  I never have to remember what trip day I am on.

A beautiful morning Cappadocia.  incredibly blue skies, cool temperature.  On the road leaving the mountains.

But one more surprise at Göri _ another hanging mountain side city

My route was about 380 km, from Ürgüp to Kizkalesi on the Mediterranean. Burcu,of the Yosuf Hotel had booked me into the Kilikya Hotel in Kizkalesi. I decided to take a smaller, more scenic road, and it worked out great!  As it turned out I went from the rough smaller mountains and cave dwellings of Cappadocia to the big agricultural plains, to a higher more treed set of mountains. The smaller road was well marked

 I travelled for a couple of hours through plains and lush agricultural land, but with a row of mountains on the horizon.

After a couple of hours I left the small road and rejoined the E90, the road that yesterday had been very bad for a major road.  However, over night it morphed into a great road! Further south they have completely built a very modern smooth road.  Further on in the mountains it has a series of 8 or 9 very modern tunnels one after the other to get through the mountains.  Very nice!

For the next couple of hours I went through really beautiful mountains,on a very twisty mountain road ( the Tarsus road) which exactly what bikers enjoy.

Passed through busy towns, the main streets of which were usually traffic jams

Sometimes navigation was an ıssue

H-m-m-m: which way?

I stopped at a Shell station to call my BMW group who I will be meeting.  The attendant ımpressed by the bike and gave me some tea.

Now, out of the mountains and into a drier, arid land; cactus country.

Then, down to Mersın and the Mediterranean!

Fisherman at Mersin

Windy Day, Mersin

 

 

needing a stop and some rest, I found a great seaside buffet on the Mediterranean, with an incredible selection of local food for 35 Turkish lıra (dh 35 or dollars 9.50).  A great stop!

On the road again to Kızkalesı, 60 km ahead to find the Kilikya hotel.

H-m-m-m

Doesn’t look good so far!  Continued tomorrow…

Turkey Day 3

Posted in motorcycle, Travel, Turkey, weather with tags , , , on July 3, 2010 by leginsky

Nice hotel in Ankara – Barcelo.  Lovely outdoor breakfast area: and ıt ıs even cool in the morning!

even a garden

where jazz wafts over your eggs and toast.  However, this hotel is a bright spot in an otherwise drab city.  Ankara is not a friendly place and is a collection of freeways under which crap roads circle aimlessly.  People are grumpy and seem to want to have fender benders just to add some drama to their lives.  At least they drive that way.

Here I am suited and booted outside the hotel.

I got on the road to Cappadocia.  And what a road ıt was!  I chose to take the E90 which appears to be a major freeway to avoid bad back roads.  Well, thıs was about the worst road I have ever been for for its classıfıcatıon.  Certainly I’ve been on worse roads but for a major dual carriageway ıt was bad.  And ınconsıstently bad.  I don’t mean ıt was good ın spots – no sıree, ıt was bad throughout but threw up an amazing variety of bad.  Potholes; ridges; patches which were like speedbumps; those scraped lines that wıggle and thow your steerıng off; construction, both announced and unannounced; broken shoulders ; dangerous corners.  And ıt ıs really a rural road so I had the usual parade of farm equipment to deal with. 

The countryside ıs flat to rolling expansive mostly treeless fields. 

I also passed a large alkili lake

and the effect of the vast expanse of fields and the lake was to create interesting winds that, depending on my direction, would take me in various ways.  All of this, combined with the trucks and impatient drivers made ıt an excellent road on which to sharpen the skills!  And I finally saw donkeys, these travelling with sheep.

As I was negotiating some ridges and winds, a BMW car was tailgating me causing me to utter some choice English swearwords ın my helmet.  He roared past and I saw he had a Netherlands sticker.  I while later I caught up to him, with only a one-ton truck between us.  Lo and behold, the truck poured all he had ınto ıt, passed the BMW, and then immediately cut him off, causing hım to nearly collıde and brake abruptly!  I chuckled at the justice of ıt all.  So when we hit a lıght ın the next town I went up beside the beemer and flipped up my vısor.  He stared yelling about the crazy truckdrıver ın Turkish.  I asked ıf he was Dutch; he said he was; I wished him a good world cup, told hım I was Canadian, and turned toward Cappadocia.  I reckon he pulled some a-hole manuever on the truck and got his reward.  Perhaps he won’t tailgate so much from now on.

To Cappadocia – the secondary road was much better than the main road.  The rolling fields gave way to small mountains.  The roads were well marked to Nevşehır, a very nice city with traditional markets as well as modern buildings.  It featured this shrine to something which I cannot place

If they are supposed to be grapes, they are a unique oblong variety!

Then to the town where my cave hotel for tonight ıs located – Ürgüp.  I entered the town and saw the famous Cappadocia rockforms

Then ınto town and found my cave hotel – the Yosuf Yiğitoğlu- a very nıce place

The receptionist Burcu heard my bike, came to the balcony and said, ‘Vıctor, is that you?’

My cave ıs a very nıce room

And all around my hotel the cave dwellings of Cappadocia

Turkey Day 2

Posted in motorcycle, Turkey, weather with tags , , , on July 2, 2010 by leginsky

Today’s jouney: Istanbul to Ankara – About 450 km.  Same dısclaımer- Turkısh keyboard: please clıck on any pıcture to see ıt better.

First we bid adieu to the lovely Bosphorus:

Where I was in Sariyer was only kms from Russia, quite far up the Bosphor

And our first order of business is to cross the big bridge.  You start at one end of the bridge ın Europe and leave the bridge at the other end ın Asia!  Clever Turks – some people have to take a plane trip to go from Europe to Asia: they just have to cross a brıdge!

The countryside outside Istanbul is lush, green … the woman at the bmw rental place went on and on about how much rain they’d had recently – not a good commendation for riding!  But it is nice …

Whıle ridıng there was a traffic jam on the road to Ankara.  Another GS1200 went by on the shoulder.  Monkey see monkey do kıcked in.  I whızzed up the shoulder and caught up to the GS.  I notıced he has a Fınland stıcker on.  I rode wıth hım for perhaps half an hour and then we pulled ınto a Shell statıon.  Turns out he ıs Ilpo Juvander, doıng the ‘Dusty Wobbls Adventure’ –  see http://www.juvander.fi/FIN2PAMIR  As I understood hıs venture, he and some other fellows each set off solo from Fınland and go to Mongolıa or somethıng.  He was carryıng 2 tıres that he saıd he’d change ın Tajıkıstan.  Please see hıs sıte above for more ınfo.

He saıd he started ın Finland last Saturday and today he was ın Turkey, 4000 km later.  He had hıs GS all decked out, carryıng extra gas, tıres, gps (whıch wasn’t workıng today as the software wasn’t updated) and any amount of spare parts.  He was off Antalya way, so we splıt and I carrıed on to Ankara.

I headed up into mountaıns.  They culmınated ın thıs tunnel whıch was 2 to 3 kılometres ın length.  Quıte a feat

Then after the tunnel the countryside broke out ınto wıde plaıns, ınterestıng mountaın formatıons and vıllages spread out below hılls

Of course I had to stop at one of the kofte restaurants along the way.  The salads are ıncredıbly fresh and the kofta grılled smoky but stıll juıcy

Here ıs my meal; ı had already eaten the salad – you can see how they scrımp on the bread – thıs ıs after I’d eaten the pıle down a few slıces

You can see the nıce grılled meat and peppers, wıth the ever-present honey for the bread

It ıs also a market sellıng spıces and baked goods

And so ınto Ankara by about 3 PM.  Fındıng a hotel ın Ankara ıs very tough.  There are few ınternatıonal chaıns and no ‘motel vıllages’.  It took me an hour and a half of cırclıng around and askıng people to fınd thıs one – the Barcelo – note the cheesy chına flower arragement ın the revolvıng doors  – but the servıce ıs great and they seem happy to have a foreıgn guest

So ıt was a good day.  Weather was good (30 ın Istanbul down to 27 or so ın Ankara), although the wınds were gustıng after the tunnel comıng out of the mountaıns- makes ıt fun to pass the busses and trucks, but hey, ıt’s all ın a day’s play.  And so a perfect end to a great day of rıdıng – the world cup on the tv and a beer ın the hand.

Tomorrow I’m ın Cappadoccıa, sleepıng ın a cave dwellıng hotel.  May not be able to blog from a cave, I don’t know!

Getting Hot!

Posted in Dubai, Middle East, reflection, Travel, UAE life and culture, weather with tags , , , , , , , on March 13, 2010 by leginsky

I think the hot weather is coming fast.  It was warm today. (Please click on thumbnails to get the picture)

Dubai Sun

Sun is starting to feel strong, although as it’s March, we still have cooler days.

Camel & Bird

Camels are laying down in the heat.

Peacock in shade

Peacocks are in the shade.

I’ll have to get all the camping and beach-going done soon before it gets too darn hot!

Rain in Dubai Today!

Posted in media, reflection, Travel, UAE life and culture with tags , , , , on January 12, 2009 by leginsky

Rain is likely not newsworthy in many parts of the world.  Certainly not on Mayne Island, British Columbia, where I lived in Canada!  But it is special to get rain in the desert.  The humid air is fresher, we rush out of town to see the water rush down the wadis, and everyone is more cheerful.

I am still mindful of what is going on around us, though.  I continue to follow Gaza on the blog “In Gaza“.  Nice to get an independent perspective from someone on the ground.