The long road home.

Hi folks!

Been a while, I know, but (as some/most of you know by now) the first week of a New Year in Russia is always a non-working week. And – suddenly – oh my goodness: it’s January 9 already. Back to work!…

Now, where was I?…

Ah yes – South America; specifically – Brazil, then Chile.

After our day of graffiti-gazing in Valparaíso, the time had come for us to head on home. Normally, such a trifle would hardly warrant a post of its own, but, normal – what’s that? I’ve forgotten…

Back in those forgotten times, flying from Latin America to Moscow was doable in a day + a night + a day. Of late: a day + a night + a non-day + a night. Thus, we flew out of Santiago in the evening, took a connecting flight in Sao Paulo, night-flight to Dubai, then an evening flight to Moscow only to arrive there early morning. Not straightforward, not normal, but that’s how it is.

These pics were taken not long after we left Santiago. I thought we’d be passing Aconcagua on the left, but I was sat on the right side. However, it turned out we were flying round the tallest mountain of the Americas the other way – so I did have a window view after all! Hopes duly up… but… then I realized why they’re stricter than usual regarding belting up when flying over the Andes:

…For it’s clouds like that can mean bad turbulence. I mean – look at that column that’s risen up like that (next pic). Not normal. Probably due to how the air has been pushed up so abruptly due to the steep mountains not far below ->

Though the ride was somewhat bumpy, the views just kept getting better:

Is that Aconcagua? Mid-left? ->

I didn’t find out. Still, whether it’s Aconcagua or not – simply gorgeous:

One thing’s for sure – there’s been some serious volcanism going on down there in millennia/billennia past. I’d noticed this when we visited Christ the Redeemer of the Andes – that the rock was clearly of volcanic origin. The view from up above only seemed to confirm this ->

We pass over the Andes, and here’s Argentina. But… desert? ->

Yep – mini-desert! Learning – and remembering – geography: always best done by being there yourself, or at least in a plane up above!

Briefly, a rainy Sao Paulo – from where we fly out again at 1.30am ->

On the screen in front of me I switch from the map to the media menu; there’s an intriguing documentary on offer, but I opt for some shut-eye instead…

The flight was a very long one, but I’ve zero photos to show you. Yes – it was dark outside for much of the journey, but also – I was sat right above one of the wings, and the plane being a gigantic Airbus-380, that meant the only thing to be seen out the window was that (just as gigantic) wing:

Many an hour later – Dubai.

A few more hours later – back in the air flying north to Moscow.

And that, folks, I do believe, finally, really – is it: my South-America December-2022 tour – done and dusted. All the pics therefrom – here and here. And now – given it’s almost mid-January 2023 already (what?!) – back to work!…

Mind blown from red hot Chile peppers – and graffiti.

Santiago and Sao Paulo are both real lucky: just an hour-and-a-half from each city there’s a resort town by the ocean. But while the temperature of the ocean by Brazil’s Guarujá is a comfortable one, that in Chile’s Viña del Mar is much less so. A cold current runs along the shore, so the water temperature is rather invigorating. Despite this, the whole shore is crammed with hotels:

Read on: Mind blown from red hot Chile peppers – and graffiti.

Flickr photostream

  • Seychelles / Jan 2023
  • Seychelles / Jan 2023
  • Seychelles / Jan 2023
  • Seychelles / Jan 2023

Instagram photostream

On the road in Jordan.

My recent tales from the Jordanian side wouldn’t be quite complete without a few words on (and pics of) the roads of the country plus the extraordinarily beautiful landscapes to be viewed all around therefrom. For we traveled no short distance along said roads – almost the full length and breadth of the country. The roads aren’t all great, but plenty are – while some are simply excellent. But the main thing, like I say, are the views from the roads; like this ->

Read on…

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Hot waterfalls – category 42+++.

Jordan. Yes, of course, it boasts the wonderful Petra; yes – there’s also the lesser-known Wadi Rum desert; and yes, there’s the famously holy Jordan River. But there’s more. There are… hot waterfalls! Oh yes: thermal springs up in the hills, whose hot water falls down below in waterfalls. And those are what today’s post is about…

This rare phenomenon here goes by the name of the Ma’in Hot Springs.

Read on…

Sweet Chile o’ Mine: Santiago and the Andes.

Hola folks!

Herewith, a continuation of my late-2022 international business trip series. You’ve had Egypt (+1); you’ve had Jordan (+1); you’ve had Brazil (+0); and now – Chile (+0)!…

You guessed it – we flew to Chile from Brazil, so of course the flight wasn’t long. That’s just as well, for I’d had my fill of extended long-hauls of late (one of which lasted 38 hours door to door!). Another bonus regarding this flight: the views out the plane’s window over the Andes – oh my good-gracious-me! ->

Mountains, cliffs, valleys, glaciers – in places fading from browny-gray to bright yellow and orange (no Photoshop) ->

Read on: Sweet Chile o’ Mine: Santiago and the Andes.

Wadi Rum: red rocks plus red desert, minus the Martians.

Hi folks!

And you thought my tales from the Jordanian side were done and dusted? No – not quite; not just yet. For there’s still the Wadi Rum (wadi = “valley” in Arabic) desert I need to tell you about and show you…

And I need to tell you since Wadi Rum is soooo awesome. A red desert, and everything else red too: red hills, red rocks, red canyons… I look at these pics and I’m already nostalgizing – and I was there only a couple weeks ago! Basically it’s the red rocks of Utah / Arizona + the red sands of the Namib desert = more redness than Mars!

But, curiously, it’s not all that well-known by tourists from afar. A bit like Kamchatka. But it should be! No, wait: but then there’d be too many tourists! But no, I can’t keep quiet about this place for such selfish reasons. All righty; conscience cleared, onward!…

Read on: Wadi Rum: red rocks plus red desert, minus the Martians.

Sao Paulo: our office on a Brazil World-Cup match day!

My series of posts from both the Egyptian and Jordanian sides turned out to last longer than the trips themselves! As a result, there’s been a delay in my starting a new series from a different continent, which took place as far back as late November. And that continent is… South America. And the countries? Brazil and Chile!…

// Perhaps I should stop writing a sentence like the next one in my posts, as what it describes seems to go without saying for every business trip! The work portion of the trip was busy bust-a-gut intense! That is – lots of: meetings, presentations, speeches, interviews, new acquaintances, hand-shakes, and a lot more besides! Perhaps I need to also stop writing sentences like this one: After the work was all done, it was time for some rest-and-relaxation/tourism time – of both a quantity and tempo of similarly bust-a-gut intensity!… So in future, perhaps I’ll just link back to this blogpost and avoid the repetition! No that won’t work; I’ll just try and be briefer somehow…

But before that “tourism till you drop”, a quick breather: some intro-photos and a few intro-words too…

I’ll start, logically, from the beginning: with the flight. Flying from Moscow to Brazil these days takes about as long as it does from Moscow to Australia (Sydney) – 19 hours up in the air – which is four hours longer than what it used to take. Before, for example, the first leg of the journey was Moscow to Paris (3.5 hours), and the second: Paris to Sao Paulo (+11 hours) = 15 hours. Now it’s 5 hours – to Doha – then +14 hours to Sao Paulo, which makes 19 hours.

But it is what it is. We just have to get used to living in the new geopolitical-transportational reality.

Read on…

Country #102 – Jordan!

Hi folks!

Just days after my previous +1 to my list of countries I’ve visited came another +1 – the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, becoming No. 102 in the list! It’s a couple weeks already since returning from the country, but I’d been so busy I hadn’t had time to put fingers to keyboard – until the other day. So now, finally, it’s time Jordanize…

After the business portion of our trip (which went well btw, having comprised the MENA ICT Forum (where I was speaking) plus our own partner event), once again we were short on time for the tourism portion. But that didn’t bother me too much since during that brief portion I managed to see something I’d been dreaming of seeing for decades: Petra – that ancient temple cut into a mountain. But it turned out there’s a lot more to Petra than I previously presumed – so much so that I’ll be covering it here (also Jordan in general) over several posts – this one today being the intro…

Read on…->

Luxor luxury living.

Rounding off my tales from the Egyptian side, I simply had to share with you my impressions of the hotel we stayed at in Luxor – the Sofitel Winer Palace Hotel. It’s so wonderful it even has its own Wikipedia page! ->

It’s an old colonial hotel built more than a century ago – and you can tell that as you walk inside: there’s a separate, service entrance on the ground floor for luggage and servants, while the guests – the aristocracy and the like – walk up a flight of grand carpeted stairs to enter:

Read on…