Page 4 of Ali Travel Blog Posts

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Rio de Janeiro » Ipanema January 19th 2008

Ten years ago the Rio carnival used to be just for the gringoes - the Tourists swamped the city, the parties were wild and the residents of Rio fled. They fled to their weekend houses, to families by the coast, to quieter cities or the sea. Then travel became so difficult during the carnival period that they became trapped in Rio too. Then came the resurgence of the Bloco. A bloco is a street samba party, fuelled by Caipirinha, powered by the samba band, and bedazzled by the costumes of some of the more flamboyant members of the local gay community. A meeting point is established, a time and a place - some of the most popular blocos no longer publish this information - it's now for those in the know. January the 19th and the ... read more
Fabulous Customes and Makeup
Ipanema Girls...
Characters from the Banda

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Rio de Janeiro » Copacabana January 1st 2008

Happy New Year, goodbye 2007, welcome 2008. 2 million people, 10 cruise ships, 16 mins of fireworks and 3 great friends. Out with all the false promises and misadventures of 2007 and in with the new and shiny 2008. Best wishes to everyone! I wrote the paragraph above at 2.30am after partying with everyone in the streets. This I write at 5pm the next day - still the 1st January 2008 - Wow - what a new years party, the biggest one I have ever attended. A few friends and I headed down to Copacabana beach - we got as close as we could to the breaking waves. The fireworks are launched from 6 barges that are anchored out a few hundred meters, closer than the cruise ships shown in the photos. Just before the countdown ... read more
Last Sunset 2007 - Dois Irmaos - Ipanema
Copacabana - fireworks
Copacabana - 2 million people

In the southern interior of South America, close to the three borders of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. a world wonder continuously crashes and pounds day and night as the Igauaçu river plunge into a canyon etched into the landscape over millions of years. The name Iguaçu/Iguazú comes from the native tribal language, meaning "Big Water" and it's not wrong - the falls are stretched along 2.7 km with over 270 discreet falls and something like 1.5 million litres of water crashing over the side every second - the impression is of a flood plain just meeting the side of a canyon. Shared ownership of the falls belongs to Argentina (Iguazú) and Brazil (Iguaçu) - Paraguay used to control the territory but lost a war 150 years ago, the spoils went to the winners and Paraguay became ... read more
Mouth of the Devils Throat

Asia » Malaysia » Wilayah Persekutuan » Kuala Lumpur August 19th 2007

8.30am, brushing my teeth a day of internet cafe work ahead trying to restore whatever else I can from the travelblog database crash. The air-conditioning starts roaring loudly. People are shouting, there are some cracking noises, the sound seems quite close - getting closer. I spit toothpaste out on the floor. The hostel is on fire. I look out of my room, an orange glow is coming from the end of the corridor, people are panicking, some grabbing belongings, others running down the hallway clad only in bedsheets. I grab my laptop, my passport and money, and my backpack and get out of there - virtually everything I own is in this little room, and it's going up in flames. "FIRE!" people are yelling, I head down the stairs out on to the street, crowds are ... read more
Top of the former Cinema
Fire Engines
The Press

Asia » Indonesia » Sulawesi » Lembeh July 25th 2007

Two hours drive from Manado, Sulawesi - is Lembeh. It's a port city, the Lembeh straits and island just 2kms of dark murky sea water away. Oil sheens the surface, trash floats and sinks around old boats. Tough looking Indonesian port works and seamen carry massive loads up precariously leaning plank gangways, loading the boats. Muscles and veins bulging, blurry tattoos clearly self made they stare with wild eyes at us - strange visitors from the west. The water looks uninviting. This is where we are to dive next. The Lembeh Straits are world famed for macro-life, Frogfish, Nudibranches, Scorpion and Lionfish and many other strange and wonderful creatures, most only ever seen by divers in books. A photographers paradise. I'm really looking forward to diving here. Back on the island (Perhentian Kecil) Eve of Coral ... read more
Hairy Frogfish
Coconut Octopus
Looking over the Lembeh Straits

Asia » Indonesia » Sulawesi » Bunaken National Park July 20th 2007

Oceans, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the scuba-diver Ali. His five-year mission: To explore strange new reefs. To seek out new fish and new nudi-branches. To boldly dive where no one has dived before. Hobby or Obsession? Of all the marine environments coral reefs contain the highest diversity of species, of all the reefs in the world those in South East Asia have the highest diversity. The epicentre of this biodiversity is somewhere in Indonesia - marine biologists can debate as to exactly where. As you travel further from this point the biodiversity declines. The reefs of the Caribbean have only a third of the species numbers that those of these Indonesian reefs enjoy. It's something special. Sulawesi is home to several famous dive locations, drawing scuba divers from all around the world. ... read more
Bunaken Island
Candy Crab (Dendronephthya Crab)
Porcelin Crab

Asia » Malaysia » Terengganu » Perhentian Kecil June 21st 2007

The magnetic powers of Perhentian Kecil draw me back once again, a brief holiday is extended into a two month stay. A life of sand, sea, sun and scuba. I confess - I do not know why I am here again - I do enjoy it here. I'm "working" part-time as a divemaster, part-time as web geek. But - I've been here, I've done here, I've worn the T-shirt till it's faded down to a vague suggestion of it's original colour. Time spent underwater is the best time, my passion for underwater photography grows. Ambitions fulfilled: Sea horses; a sandy drift dive over stubby sea grass and we find a few each dive. Hitting 300 logged dives any day soon, most as a divemaster. That's more or less it; really nice photos and many new friends, ... read more
Pacific Lionfish
Titan Triggerfish
Nudibranch (Chromodoris Leopardus)

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Sipadan April 17th 2007

There must have been some mistake, I've died and gone to Turtle heaven. Floating around 20m down I start to count the turtles, I count and count - 55 turtle sightings on this dive. Photoblog memories from Sipadan 2007... when I die, I want to go to turtle heaven. My Camera Details I've added the turtle photo as a wallpaper: 1440x900 widescreen 1152x768 normal... read more
Jacks - Big Eye Travally
Amazing Cuttlefish Laying Eggs

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos December 7th 2006

I am sick to my stomach and beyond, everything I have eaten today is now feeding the fish, I have a thumping headache, and the boat won't stop moving. I am very seasick and it is worth it. I have never been seasick before, I've been queasy on boats before, but actually sick no. I've dived nearly 200 times and there is a first for nearly everything, the dives here were worth the pain though. First time seeing a school of Hammerhead Sharks, first time with an Octopus, my first Manta Ray. Watching the sea lions play with each other and us and even the Manta Ray - puppies of the sea - they are called "Lobo del Mar" in Spanish - Sea Wolves - I think it is a better name. The terrain underwater is ... read more
Heart of a Seastar
Green Turtle
Marble Ray

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos December 3rd 2006

Ecuador is a country of four regions, the highlands, the jungle, the coast and the Galapagos Islands. Although this region is only home to 30,000 inhabitants, it is as important to the country of 12 million as the other three regions. The natural history of the islands inspired Charles Darwin to produce his theories on natural selection and survival of the fittest, providing the clues that lead to him being convinced of the idea. The area is a national park, the same wildlife that Darwin studied 170 years ago still provides today the main attraction for the many visitors. After studying Spanish for 6 weeks in Quito, I hoped to get away cities and hopefully dive the waters around the islands. I found a last minute tour, and extended my ticket out by ten days so ... read more
Sea Lion
Giant Galapagos Tortoise
Santa Cruz Landscape

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