Showing posts with label Bugs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bugs. Show all posts

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Slovenian bees at work

Clicking on the above photo will reveal it in a much more flattering resolution.


Wednesday 13 July 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Caught in the Act


Wednesday 27 October 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Caterpillar close-up


Tuesday 23 June 2009

A room full of cockroaches (Day 15)

We woke up in Hotel El Kennaria in Marrakech. We didn't sleep too good, but it didn't bother us much, since the plan was to move to another hotel. After a few morning photos of the street bellow from our room's window, we were glad to leave this hotel behind. We checked into the nearby Hotel Mimosa, which was recommended to us by a couple we know back home. This was the single hotel recommendation we got before the trip and accordingly our expectations were high.

The staff at the Hotel Mimosa were extra friendly and we also liked our modest room and also the insides of the hotel. On top of that, everything looked very clean.

After we dropped our backpacks by the bed, we went straight out to get a breakfast and a glass of fresh orange juice. We discovered a really nice café and pastry shop in a street just off the Djemaa el Fna square.
Delicious pastries were flushed down with freshly squeezed juice. This was the one thing we just couldn't get enough of during our three weeks in Morocco.

Once again we were running out of local currency and it was time to find a working ATM machine to withdraw some Dirhams.
We only had Maestro/Cirrus cards that (as we found out) didn't work with all local banks and ATMs. We finally found La Banque Centrale Populaire ATM that was ready to cooperate.
I expected one of many banks with western bank logos on their ATMs would work with our Maestro/Cirrus cards, but no luck. I guess it would help to have a Visa card for backup when going to Morocco. However if you have problems withdrawing money from various ATMs, be sure to look around for La Banque Centrale Populaire logo. It worked for us.

After a visit of a quite interesting nearby palace we decided to take an inside look at a Hammam (a traditional public bath). Not a fancy - touristy one, but a real one. The kind Moroccans go to.

Since this was our first time visit, we didn't know what to expect. A young receptionist from the small hotel we were staying in, tried to prepare us for the visit (you can check out a few tips on public hammam etiquette here). He found this situation at least funny, if not hilarious and was giggling all the time.
He directed us to a corner shop where we got the necessary hammam items we were missing: black soap (savon noir) and two scrubbing mitts. After a short negotiation this added up to 25 dirhams. We already had shampoo and towels.
The receptionist tried to tell us that the price for entering the hammam could not be more then 15 dirhams, we didn't manage to get in for less then 60 dirhams (and we tried - hard).
We entered through two separate doors - one for men and the other for women. I went in dressed only in my underwear. It became hotter and hotter as I went deeper into the hammam and didn't stop until I reached the last room which was really hot. I grabbed a bucket, filled it with hot water and began the routine. There were a couple of locals who pointed me to a thing or two, but unfortunately conversation wise, that was it. None of them spoke any English, not even the guy from the reception who came in after a while and gave me a scrubbing massage of some kind.

It really was a very interesting (sauna like) experience, lasting way over an hour and also included a quick scrub, so I guess even if it was overpaid, the price wasn't all that bad.
M. had a similar experience but got tired of it a bit earlier then I did. So we met at the entrance, where she was occupied talking to a local couple. They seemed disappointed when I showed up - this meant an end to their conversation with a freshly scrubbed and of soap smelling blonde.

We were too exhausted for any further activity. The hammam experience also made us quite hungry, so we went to grab some food from one of the stalls on Djemaa el Fna. It was quite amusing watching two locals repair a light at the food stall next to ours. It was like watching an episode of MacGyver on TV, with a good deal of suicidal tendencies feel to it. The whole time through my meal I was waiting for someone to get electrocuted. Fortunately the Moroccan MacGyver saved the day and there was light again.

After a cup of tea, we went to sleep. Well... that was what we wanted to do.
As we got into our room and switched the light on, everything started moving. There were dozens of cockroaches running around, trying to get away from the light. After squashing a few, I gave up and decided to go to sleep despite the annoyance.
M. just couldn't believe it, but to me it seemed obvious that I couldn't win a battle against the far greater numbers of annoying little creatures.

I zipped myself into my sleeping bag and soon fell to sleep. M. followed after a while but didn't dare to close her eyes for another couple of hours.
That night we slept with the light on - at the only place in Morocco that was recommended to us back home. The only one with cockroaches too!


Sunday 12 April 2009

Flies come with the season of dates (Day 12)

Once again a swarm of annoying flies woke me up half an hour before sunset. It was impossible to ignore them, so I got up.

I found it quite strange to see so many flies in the middle of the desert. Later that day I asked one of our Berber guides about those annoying creatures. He explained that in the desert with the season of dates also comes the season of flies. Obviously those few palm trees we saw had dates on them almost ready to be picked.

Since just getting up was not enough to shake off all those flies, I grabbed my trusty Olympus photo camera, a bottle of water and headed up a nearby dune.

Flies followed me almost all the way up. At the top I just sat in the sand and simply enjoyed the silence. It is almost unbelievable how quiet it can be in the desert. I guess one could feel really alone on one side of a dune even with a group of drunken Scots attending a death-metal concert on the other side of it.

It really reminded me of those winter days with heavy snowfall, which muffles all the sounds of nature... without all that snow of course.

There was not even a bird to disturb this atmosphere. As a matter of fact, I was looking closely for some kind of a sign an animal left in the sand. All I could find in three days were dromedary tracks, dromedary droppings and some kind of desert-bug tracks.
I was also expecting to find at least some snake and desert fox tracks.

While soaking in the peaceful atmosphere and heat from the rising sun, I took some nice photos.
It is hard to resist pressing on the photo trigger all the time while in an environment so picturesque and unusual (for me anyway).

Before I knew it, it was time for breakfast again. I was the same as the day before, but we didn't complain because it was quite delicious. After cleaning up the table we formed our little desert caravan for the last time and headed back to where we started - Auberge LaBaraka.

A couple of days ago, when we were getting ready for the two night desert trip, we were a bit worried about different disadvantages of being in the saddle for too long (for instance heavy butt and leg pains). I think it is safe to say that none of us had any problems of that kind.
Also my clothes didn't smell so bad as I feared they would. Dromedaries were obviously well cared for.

When we got back to Auberge LaBaraka we had a hot shower, drank a pool of water and just relaxed in a shade for a while.

After a short discussion M. and I both agreed to leave on a first bus to Ouarzazate. Our friends from Switzerland also thought it would be better to move on. They even agreed to drop us off at the Erfoud bus station, to where we got just in time to catch the bus.

We kissed goodbye and left separate ways again. We were really sad to part with them. They were really nice and fun to be with. Andrea, Simone and Kim: thanks once again for everything!
We were sad to leave the dunes of Erg Chebbi behind, but there was so much of Morocco left to explore and (as always) so little time.

Together with M. we just had to agree that visiting a real sandy desert is such a strong experience, everyone who can afford it should do it at least once in a lifetime.
To really get a feel of it, you should stay at least a couple of nights.

This post belongs to a series of posts about our Moroccan adventure. If you liked the post, you should probably click on the suggested link to check out the rest of our trip.


Monday 19 January 2009

Up and down Jebel el Kelaa (Day 6)

Once again we woke up early in the cosy Ouarzazate Hotel with the intention of going hiking. But this time we weren't ready to give up so easily.

We got up, ate a quick breakfast we bought the day before. I put on my backpack and off we went. Well, almost...
When we tried to leave our hotel, the door was locked and the receptionist was nowhere to be found. We didn't want to give up the hike before it really begun, but there was nothing else we could do but wait.

So we went back to our room. The receptionist didn't take too long to return and we were out of the hotel in a minute.

Jebel el Kelaa was recommended to us both by Lonely Planet guide and a Swiss couple we met on the day before.
We found the northern gate out of the Chefchaouen Medina and followed a path uphill through the old graveyard. Sun was still hiding behind one of the mountains to the east, but it wasn't dark anymore.

It was easy to follow markings on rocks. Unfortunately we couldn't decipher the text accompanying them. The hike was quite pleasant. The winding track was not too steep, but it went on forever. We also had quite a slow pace and have stopped quite often to take photos.
During one of those stops we admired a group of falcons playing in midair, shooting past us while we were sitting on an edge of a cliff. They were too fast for me to take a decent photo. This reminded me that I must replace my Olympus C-5060 camera with a decent DSLR soon.

I also stopped a couple of times to disturb some dung beetles. There were quite a few of them, rolling little balls of dung around. M. is always complaining when I start bugging bugs. It was no different this time but in spite of that it was worth the effort. I got a few really nice macro shots.

Almost all the way to the top there were remains of marijuana harvest on both sides of the track. As a local explained they harvest it at the end of August and in the next months it is time to turn it into hashish.

It took us approximately four hours to get to the top.

Actually we are still not sure if it actually was the top. At 1600 meters there were a couple options to continue. We took the most obvious one and made it to the top.

There we enjoyed a meal of local bread and a few peaces of soft cheese we brought with us. As we learned buying them, those soft cheese pieces, wrapped in aluminum foil were not sold in prepacked boxes, but piece by piece. Surprisingly also cigarettes (by cigarette not box) and chocolate (by square not tablet) are sold in a similar manner in the Medina streets.
After enjoying the snack and a beautiful view we went back down. It took us two and a half hours to get back to the town. First we freshened up with a fresh orange-banana juice and then relaxed until diner.

We were pleasantly tired therefor a paella we ordered seemed even more delicious.
Another fresh orange juice followed (these fruit juices simply rule - they cost one third of the price we're used to back home and are even more delicious). As usually the day ended with a pot of mint tea.


Thursday 8 November 2007

Egyptian locusts

I have already mentioned the locust harassment that occurred close to a desert well (check the previous post for details). The Bedouins told us that some little animals are always gathering around the nearby plant called the apple of Sodom.

I took many photos. These two turned out the best and I decided to post them. As you can see there were two different kinds of locusts posing for me.

I have never seen this kind before. However I think there could be some strange correlation with the fact that this was my first time to Egypt.


Friday 9 February 2007

Bugz life #1

I have always loved macro photography. In addition to that I have been always fascinated with bugs and all kinds of insects. I don't have any fears concerning spiders and similar little creatures.
If you put 1 and 1 together, it adds up to loads of bugs-related digital photos in my archive.

That is one of the reasons for the #1 in the title. A strange gut feeling is telling me that this is not the last time I'm posting photos like these.

During winter there are not many of them around. That is why I am posting some of my older ones.

I don't want to sound like I am missing mosquitoes on a humid summer evening. Heck no! On that subject I just say: Thanks God, it's winter. I hate those bloodsucking bitches!
In spite of that, I once tried to take a macro photo of a mosquito sucking blood from my arm. I didn't get anything but a few itchy spots. I guess I would have to create some kind of artificial environment to do it and I never got that far. Maybe next summer...

Let's cut to the chase. If arachnophobia is one of your problems, maybe you should look the other way. Don't say I didn't warn you.
I don't have a clue what are the names of these creatures. I can just tell you where the pictures were taken. The first one is from the reagion of Kornati (Croatia), the second was taken on a trip to Corsica (France), the last two were taken in Ljubljana (Slovenia).

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