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epi, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

It was quite early on a misty morning and we were heading toward the Hluhluwe – Umfolozi gate.

To my surprise a large herd of elephant came rumbling across the road, not in a line, but bursting from the bush along a wide front, a tsunami of leathery, grey behemoths.

As a matron stood threateningly, ears set forth from her head and trunk waving back and forth one tiny fellow stopped briefly to push the car in front. I nervously played with the gear shift and considered that a rapid u-turn might be necessary.

See Elephants in Hluhluwe – African wildlife here

Rhino in Hluhluwe

rhino, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

as I was driving through Hluhluwe there seemed to be a huge number of rhino that were roaming the grassy areas beside the road. I believe that these rhino were white rhino because they tend to have a hump behind their shoulders and they have a broad snout that is well suited to eating grass. The black rhino browses on shrubs and has more of a pointed snout.

Apparently when a herd of orphan elephants was introduced to the area they went on a killing spree and killed 36 rhino. the killing only stopped when a few older elephants were introduced to the herd. I suppose elephants require guidance from the older members of their herd and without it they run amok.

See this you tube video of mine on rhino in Hluhluwe

You might wonder why both rhino are grey in colour and yet one is called the White rhino and the other is called the Black Rhino, it is supposedly related to the thought that the wide lipped rhino was pronounced as the white rhino by some afrikaans speakers and the name stuck, so if the one species is white, the other is black.

The horn on the rhino in my video is absolutely massive, hope he weathers the predation of poachers.

Dubai2, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Dubai …. Where do I start? It’s not a place that I would typically choose to visit, firstly because of the money involved and secondly, I tend toward natural settings and shopping and touring in the UAE is anything but that.

As one of the stewardesses said on the emirates flight over “You’re living in a bubble”. Emirates is undoubtedly a top-of-the-line airways, no slouches hired for their crew. Mum said that it was how stewardesses used to look, very glamorous, bone thin and fashionable in an eastern kind of way.

The airport in Dubai is unbelievable, a combination between casino and palace, chrome and marble everywhere, but surprisingly, the toilets in the departure lounge were of the squat variety, with place to hang your dish-dash and hose to flush everything clean.

It seems that Dubai is the crossroads between Asia, Africa and Europe. In the above picture I capture the image of a plane load of Pilgrims on their way to Mecca. There seems to be a kind of civilization here where money, arts and the finest of everything intermixes, all under the umbrella of social modesty and unbridled opulence. Needless to say Kim Kardashian’s visit to the Atlantis was a controversial one in a country where there are such rigid moral codes, but as would appear, money bends anything. I toured the aquarium under the Atlantis and took some amazing video there.

See this video on touring Dubai at night, visiting the Burj al Arab and the Burj Khalifa.

giraffe thumb, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Admittedly, the speed limit is 40 k in the reserve, but I was in a bit of a hurry to get back to the town and it was late afternoon. Coming around a corner in the bush I came up really fast against several giraffes that were grazing upon acacia trees in the middle of the road.

see video on giraffes in Hluhluwe here

sushi 101, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Jeff has spent several years in Japan and is what you might conservatively call a foodie – so who better to teach us about Sushi. I personally have long favoured a place called Hockey Sushi in Guelph, first visited with Maggie her boss and his family about a year ago, but Jeff suggested that we needed to try Kisara, a small restaurant on the corner of Wellington and Gordon. Admittedly we had tried to visit several times before, but the restaurant has been open intermittently. I remember this spot was once occupied by an establishment called The Red Papaya, but there were some less than stellar goings on and the restaurant closed.

See the video on sushi 101 (Guelph) – a lesson in sushi here.

IMGP5962, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

We hiked through a jumbled terrain of massive slabs fallen from the cliff face and rounded boulders that have been washed by epic wind-spawned storms.

As entrances go these sea caves far surpass others that I’ve seen, though admittedly there are few sea caves to rival Rover’s some distance further along the shore.

In the picture above Jeff and I have been hiking and reached the end of dry land. Further progress would have to be through Georgian Bay’s icy water. What I found most intriguing about Cave Point was its sea caves part way up the cliffs. For the most part it looked like difficult climbing and I’d imagine few if any people have ever visited some of those harder to reach places.

SeeĀ video on our trip to Cave Point (Georgian Bay)

Our initial idea had been to see if we could locate low-lying bedding plane squeezes close to the water line as we are aware that not every opening in this area is a sea cave, there is huge potential for solution caves and as has already been discovered, there are nearby that are intensely decorated with speleothems.

Yesterday was living proof (thankfully), that caving is more about the brain than the body. Branko, Ricci, Jeff and I explored an Ontario cave that has long attracted a certain kind of interested adventurer, but has kept something of its true extent hidden to all but the most dedicated explorer.

Branko – a large man (well over 6 foot with a sturdy frame) squeezed through a tortourous gap that he called ‘the jaw’ to access thus-far remote and difficult terrain.

See video of Branko going beyond the Jaws of Death getting stuck underground, here.

In returning back from his incredible exploration Branko become momentarily stuck underground in a situation that an ordinary person would have found appalling. Again – mind over body, where most would have been contemplating a gloomy future of hypothermia and eventual death beneath a cold, grey bed of rock, Branko found it within himself to think logically and calmly, resting and practising relaxing techniques to ensure that panic did not swell his muscles. As Branko said, “This is between me and the rock”. And in the end Branko seems to have negotiated his way beyond the impasse and returned to the surface unscathed.