Page 2 of Ali Travel Blog Posts

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh January 1st 2009

Happy New Year! - out with the old and in with the new - again. I wish everyone happy and fulfilling adventures for the next year. I'm in Edinburgh for the New Years - in Scotland the celebration is called Hogmanay and has it's own associated traditions - first footing (visiting friends homes), singing "Auld Lang Syne" or more accurately singing the known few words and miming/droning the rest - I think this is an international tradition now - though in Edinburgh more people know the song - Robert Burns the 19th Ayrshire Poet who wrote the piece is a national hero. The year 2008 has been one of global change and uncertainty, the global recession known as the "credit crunch", the shift in popular opinion that has resulted in a growing green movement and the ... read more
Water of Leith - Edinburgh
Fungi I
Fungi II

Asia » Indonesia » Bali » Nusa Penida September 29th 2008

I don't often get time to update my blog now - but sometimes, I'm lucky enough to see something or do something so amazing that I just want to write it up straight away. Yesterday was one of those days. Nusa Penida is a rocky, rugged island off the south-east of Bali, virtually uninhabited, undeveloped, a sanctuary of wilderness on land and a deep water wonder under the sea. I thank the Blue Planet for this experience - I'd seen the Mola Mola or Sunfish on episode - oh I forget - watch them all - it's one for sure. The episode is full of interesting deep water fish, rising up out of the blue to visit reef cleaning stations, attracting hordes of long-fin bannerfish, butterflyfish, angelfish - the reef fish tuck in to delightful parasites ... read more
Manta Rays
Mola Mola - from the front
Mola Mola - semi side shot

Asia » Indonesia » Bali » Tulamben September 18th 2008

It's 6.30am - I'm awake - eyes wide no time for coffee; and I'm heading up to the dive shop, the streets of the sleepy village of Tulamben are quiet - the only sounds are from the ever present cockerels and the hiss of scuba tanks being tested and filled. Tulamben is famous worldwide to divers as the village where you can shore dive the Liberty wreck. Thirty meters out from the rocky shore and 30m down is the sunken remains of World War II freighter the USAT Liberty. In it's former life nearly 70 years ago - the USAT Liberty was shipping materials to Australia, across the Lombok Straits, torpedoed by a Japanese U-boat and taking on vast quantities of water, the ship was beached on Bali's north shore. An eruption in 1963 left the ... read more
Into the unknown
USAT Liberty
The Liberty Wreck

South America » Argentina » Mendoza » Uspallata May 6th 2008

Uspallarta is both the name of a small village and a remote pass between Mendoza and Santiago Chile. Travelling between Santiago and Mendoza was a joy, beautiful craggy mountains, twisting roads that double back on them selves over and over, looping up the mountain. After arriving in Mendoza - I headed back to the village - spent an afternoon on horseback, taking photos when I could convince the beast to steady enough. Uspallata and the surrounding mountains were considered enough of a double for the Tibetan Himalayas to film Seven Years in Tibet (1997) - in some of the bars there are shots of a very blond bearded Brad Pitt. Hence the slightly lame title of this blog entry. I didn't stay much time in Uspallarta - it deserves more time, lots of activities, not much ... read more
Pampas Plains
Our Horses
Fields of ...

South America » Chile » Araucanía » Villarrica Volcano April 29th 2008

Sitting in a hostel common room in Bariloche, Argentina, I'm debating where to go next, south? into the increasing chill, north? a wine tour in Mendoza, east? to the coast where soon the whales will return, or west? into Chile across the Andes and to the small town of Pucón where an active Volcano can be climbed. So many options and unfortunately my time in South America is in it's final few weeks. I form a vague plan, head west, then north then east; Bariloche to Pucon, to Santiago, to Mendoza. Patagonia, Glaciers and Antarctica will have to wait - another trip - I've said this before. Part of the decision was down to one of those coincidences, speaking to people who'd just arrived from Pucon, not being sure what to do and then looking at ... read more
Villarrica Volcano (2)
Villarrica Volcano (3)
Villarrica Volcano (4)

As the cold winds blow in from the south, the year continues it's cycle in the southern lands at latitude 41 degrees it's autumn. Bariloche is a chocolate box beauty and the gateway to Patagonia, famed for it's skiing and hiking, it's hills, mountains and lakes. Visiting a ski resort inspired my lust for snow, I've missed the mountains and skiing for too many years now. But - walking past so many closed ski outfits, bursting with the latest blades and boards and goggles - I remember it's autumn, pull my inadequate bargain basement fleece a little tighter and see if it's possible to buy a wind-proof jacket for anything approaching a reasonable price - living on the road it isn't possible to carry clothing for all seasons - so I've developed a habit of picking ... read more
Flame Trees
Dead Trees on the Ridge of Cerro Otto

Waterfall photos from Iguazu National Park, both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides. I took a second trip to Iguacu / Iguazu - the most spectacular waterfalls I have ever seen - the first trip was back in November - secretly - I wasn't happy with the photographs - with a new camera (Nikon D300) and it's first serious outing - I messed up the settings, left the ISO on the value I'd used for a night trip to the Itaipu dam. So a revisit was worth it - this time with a circular polarizing filter, a tripod and a lot more experience with the Nikon D300...... read more
Waterfalls- the Devils Throat
Waterfalls and Observation Tower

Photos from the Iguaçu / Iguazu - parks and my days there. The birds are from the Iguacu bird park - and are fairly used to close contact with people - hence it's easy to get up close. The butterflies, cayman, kuati and new friends are from the Argentinian side of the falls.... read more
Red Macaw
Coi coi Heron

South America » Brazil » Mato Grosso do Sul » Bonito March 19th 2008

Bonito is experiencing an Eco-tourism boom, in the south of Matto Grosso do Sul - it has an extraordinary diversity of natural wonders, in a relatively compact area. Blessed with caves, waterfalls, crystal clear rivers, forested hills all within a 50km radius - a very small distance in Brazilian terms - Bonito is riding the eco-tourism wave very well. I travelled directly from a few days in the wet-lands of the Pantanal to the Bonito Eco-tourism Hostel - the only Hostel (HI affiliated) in the area. My aims - rappel and then dive the abyss, snorkel in the crystal clear "Rio da Prata" - with dorados, pacu and many other species of Brazilian river fish - anything else would be a bonus. March is the low season - I had been worried about an influx of ... read more
Blue and Yellow Macaw
Cave of the Blue Lagoon

South America » Brazil » Pantanal March 12th 2008

Picture a flat flooded landscape, strange pig-like, pig-sized rodents grazing on the short grassy islands, beautiful gaudy macaws glide above cawing noisily, cows wallowing neck deep in tea coloured water. Sunsets that reflect golden hues in every direction, a world you could invert and almost see the same. I ride a stocky pantanal horse, a mongrel breed that descended from those strong enough to survive the extremes of the world's largest wetland. The sunset envelopes and encloses me - the silhouettes of my amigos a few hundred yards ahead - we head back towards the farm come pousada (guest house) that has been the base for the last few days. The horse flinches, a riderless pony shambles closer, chisel teeth bared - without me would my stoic steed behave so aggressively? Unsaddled it proves so. It's ... read more
Red and Blue Macaw
Lamb and Ewe
Vacarista - Cowboy

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