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Entries about ecotourism

Sue is fit

sunny 40 °C
View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

Through all the climbing, walking, swimming, running, carrying, and staying awake challenges we've had on this trip, Sue has kept up with me or pulled ahead. I'm impressed and pleased, and made the right decision of travel partner and life partner.

I was recently offered my choice of either 2 camels or 2 Egyptian woman in exchange for Sue. In light of Sue's recent performance I respectfully declined the offer.

Posted by chrisvasil 05:27 Archived in Jordan Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Goodbye Turkey, Hello Syria

sunny 36 °C
View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

It's amazing how immediately after crossing the border there is a lot less vegetation, and then a couple hours later it's almost nothing but desert.
Also the desert isn't sand like I expected - it's dry soil and rocks. The soil is really and fine, like dust almost - perhaps clay, but not sand.

We arrived in Aleppo, Syria and were treated well... Sue and I had a double room (first time that happened on the trip), and according to Lonely Planet the room cost about ten dollars. After a thorough examination of the room we concluded we weren't staying in the room mentioned in the guidebook as having peepholes in the shower room.

We went out for dinner, and it was amazing - for most people in our group the falafel stand refused to take their payment, and gave them free food (we weren't so lucky, but they were about 50 cents CAD so that wasn't a big problem... A lot of Syrian kids wanted to talk to us, and one person from our group in particular was surrounded by about 30 people the whole time.
Toward the end an older gentleman shooed away the kids, so we had space.
But it was cool, we were treated like celebrities.

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Fresh squeezed fruit juice was great and cheap, 60 cents cad for a big glass. Great way to start a day.

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We also bought a bit of clothes in Aleppo, pics to follow.

Posted by chrisvasil 07:20 Archived in Turkey Tagged ecotourism Comments (1)

Paragliding in Olu Deniz

sunny 36 °C
View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

Was awesome. We were so glad to even be able to do it (see above) as the one we were supposed to do was cancelled (so we got up at 5:30AM for nothing).

It started about an hour late, but it was worth the wait. About 30 people (maybe 15 passengers, plus the same amount of pilots, plus equipment) all crammed into 2 minivans from the early 80s. After 10 minutes of driving we stopped at the side of the road and moved into one slightly larger truck.

The road up was treacherous, the driver going at about 80 km/h up a one-lane dirt road up a mountain, not slowing down for curves even though if he missed one the truck would have rolled down the mountain. On turns where the road was wider than the truck, the driver stayed toward the edge that looks down the cliff, which magnified the ambiance. Similarly disconcerting were points where there was oncoming traffic, which the truck didn't slow down to avoid. It was a total of 45 minutes of driving before we got to the expected takeoff point, 1900 meters (over 6000 ft) above where we would land. After getting our gear on they decided we couldn't go from there, so we went up to the next takeoff point, which was 1950 meters up. For that the truck needed to turn around, a three-point turn on a one-lane dirt road along a cliff. The back of the truck was past the edge of the cliff, and the tires were about half a foot away, but we got out fine.

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The takeoff involves running off a cliff and hoping to take off before falling. Actually in my case there was no running: the wind lifted us without any encouragement. Paragliding itself was awesome, though more passive than you might expect: a seat is stitched into the backpack, and the driver drives while I just sit in the front seat and watch. We never go much more than 30 km/h, so it's a pretty relaxed thing. The scenery over Olu Deniz was lovely: the sea, blue lagoon, and a couple towns. The way down was about half an hour. At a couple points we did some exciting stuff: spinning (really fast) in the air (driver was turning hard right for about 30 seconds, so we were spinning faster and faster until it felt like a roller coaster; at another point he dropped for awhile, almost in freefall, also felt like a roller coaster.

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Posted by chrisvasil 07:20 Archived in Turkey Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Irving Ecocenter

21 °C
View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

This is a massive (several kilometer-long) sand dune and saltwater marsh protruding into the sea, with a boardwalk along the whole length. So we walked about a kilometer on the boardwalk, and walked back to where we started along the beach. The jellyfish were big (close to a foot in diameter), purple, and plentiful, at least to a point where I wouldn't have gone in the water. We walked past one about every minute, though I believe that was the only place in the maritimes where we saw the jellyfish.
When leaving the ecocenter our car wouldn't start, so we asked information if we could use their phone to call for help. When I discribed the problem (ignition not turning, can't shift out of park, steering wheel not turning) the person on the phone said my steering wheel is locked and told me how to fix it. When I got off the phone the person at information told me the same thing. Ugh.
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Posted by chrisvasil 01:07 Archived in Canada Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Parlee Beach

sunny 22 °C
View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

Parlee Beach was amazing, by far the best beach I've ever been to. There are lots and lots of shrimp in the water (with a net it would probably take 2 minutes to fill a bucket), and lots of hermit crabs (if you put them close together they fight until one cowers and runs off). We also briefly picked up 2 regular sized crabs, with very hard shells which is apparently a sign that they are old and delicious. Unfortunately we didn't have any way to cook so we didn't take any of the wildlife with us. Also unfortunately when we went back the next day they tried to charge us $10 per person, and so we decided to go to the next beach along the coastal drive. As good as the others were, no other beach we went to had anywhere near as much aquatic life as this one. As well as having great wildlife, you can walk out a few hundred meters and still have water to your waist - so even so it would have been an excellent beach.

Posted by chrisvasil 01:05 Archived in Canada Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

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