Archive | January, 2011

Saturday in Salvador

22 Jan

Benvindo ao Brasil!

A few pictures from a lazy afternoon wandering around Salvador, Bahía, Brazil. 

The signs says you’d be stupid to touch this tree. I wish I knew what it’s called. 

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The same old fruit stand I pass by every day at lunch while here for two weeks on a work assignment. The green fruit in the foreground are umbú, followed by orangey cirigüela, red acerola, then several kinds of manga
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Typical road-side fruit stand. Lots of coconuts for sale here:
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A small urban park on the way to Salvador Shopping:
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Anyone who can afford it lives in one of these gated condominium communities:
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These guava cactus are nothing special in Brazil, but it’s still unusual to a Canadian to see these growing outdoors:
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Either business is down, or else no one buys home furnishings in the summer, because there were several blocks of these stores all offering big discounts or else rapid delivery (“pronta entrega”):
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Calgary’s architects and developers could learn a thing or two from Brazilians – this is the headquarters of a local business group:
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Toronto’s Eaton’s Centre?  No, it’s Salvador Shopping, quite a swanky place:
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Bring the outdoors indoors! A great idea for a local business, and sure a welcome change from the usual kids’ fun-park:
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Snack time! Salada de frutas, suco de cajá, pastel de frango com catupiry, e um café com leite bem forte e quente!
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Brightly coloured residences seem to be in vogue, judging by recent construction:
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Just another afternoon at the beach for the locals:
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When you take public transport, you get to see parts of the city that you would otherwise miss. 
This is where the masses live:
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And after a trip to another shopping centre (Barra), here comes my bus home!
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Last look at the coast as the sun sets:
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I hope you enjoyed this brief tour through a part of Salvador, capital of Bahía, Brazil. 

Brazilian fruit

21 Jan

A few of the many unique fruit available in Brazil: manga rosa, manga amarela, manga verde, umbú, acerola, pinha, cajú, carambola, goiaba. Others not seen in this video include jaca, jabuticaba, cirigüela, laranja, mamão, mazã, abacaxí, maracajú, limão, cajá, and at least 50 more I can’t remember right now!

Powder Day at Panorama

14 Jan

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Waiting for Ski Patrol to open The Zone, at the summit of Panorama. We were amongst the first down into the glades. With 25-30 cm of fresh powder, locals were saying it was the best day in 6-7 years!

Skiing at Grizzly Shoulder

10 Jan

Yesterday was my first time up Grizzly Shoulder in the Rogers Pass.  With close to 75 cm of fresh snow fallen in the previous few days, and the avalanche hazard finally dropping out of the red zone, it was time to venture out bright and early from our lodgings at the Wheeler Hut and test the terrain.   The parking lot at the hotel was full of cars. Fortunately, a good number of them were students taking an avalanche hazards course, so that meant virtually no one was headed to our destination: Grizzly Shoulder, in the trees 800m above the right side of Connaught Creek.  [An aside, one of the course leaders was long-time guide Albi Sole, while the other was Eric Vezeau, the ice-climber from Revelstoke who survived falling through the ice on Johnston Creek in Banff Park a month ago!]

Lynn Martel (leading this ACC Rocky Mountain Section trip), Alex Watt (from Edinburgh, Scotland, on his first trip to the Rogers Pass) and I started up the “efficient” up-track and Alex got a good education in the delicate art of kick turns. As we neared tree-line, we were passed first by a young couple from Golden, and then by Gerard Meszaros from Canmore and his two companions Heather and Randa (who were headed to the Hermit area via a high traverse).  We three stopped just below treeline at the top of the shoulder, where we were suddenly exposed to a nasty, cold katabatic northerly wind. We were happy to go no higher. (Gerard and his group encountered very cold air, poor visibility, and tricky route-finding, but good snow, on their route).
Here’s a Google Maps image showing the ski run so you know where you it is.
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In the panorama taken at our lunch spot (click to enlarge), you can see the Trans-Canada highway way down below at the bottom left. The Ilecillawaet Glacier is in the first drainage visible in the far left, while Asulkan Brook (and the Asulkan Hut) is hidden behind a pair of trees to its right.  Next to the right, still in the far distance, is Mt. Abbott.  The massive peak in the centre of the image is Mt. Cheops, whence descended the massive avavalanche that killed 7 high-schoolers about five years ago.  To its right is Balu Pass, and to the right of that, above my skiing companions, is a flank of Mt. Ursus Minor.
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After a very short stop for a bite to eat at the top of the shoulder just below treeline, we traversed skier’s left a few hundred metres past some cliff bands and then dropped down a steep, narrow gully to gain more moderate, open slopes where we found half a metre of of untracked powder (and more in places). Here’s young Alex negotiating the upper gully. It was very steep here, and we were a bit unsure as to what we were getting ourselves into. But that never stopped a skier, right?
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Three happy faces at the bottom of our run all the way to the valley floor! (Alex, Lynn, myself). Alex was gobsmacked: so this is back-country skiing in Canada! Lynn and I were pretty happy, too.  Yep, that’s a helmet cam on my head.

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Here’s a little video of our run. We spent over 40 minutes on the slope, so this is just a small sampling to show you what the terrain was like.  I shot the video in HD (1080p) but reduced the size for this blog. Please let me know if you’d like a copy of the original. But be warned, it’s about 100 MB. 
 Until next time – keep your tips up!