Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fayoum Desert Trip - Part 2

The lake from the top
 
In the first part of this series we stopped at having breakfast by the lake side, in this part we climb up to see the full lake and go to the "whales valley" to see some fossils and have a light lunch.

Our breakfast location from the first part
 
Remember that picture? I showed it in the first part and told you to keep it in mind since I am going to refer to it, check that next picture, the red dot represents the place where we had our breakfast.
 
Red dot points to the bay where we had our breakfast
 
See how large the lake is, I was astonished at its sheer size when we climbed up, and in the middle of the desert. The opening picture features the same lake but shows a bit of the foreground to make a more interesting composition and give a sense about the size.
 
Taking pictures at the top
 
Small man, large desert
 
Climbing
 
During our time in the cars, we tackled some scary inclines and declines, but this was one of the scariest, at the top of that climb, the incline was almost 50 degrees with little space to gain enough speed beforehand, you don't take these steep inclines slowly, you gain enough speed beforehand and try to keep the engine running at its optimum power band.
 
The car in front of us, that 2-step climb is very difficult
 
Our first attempt to climb this two part incline failed (look carefully at the picture above), we weren't able to climb the top most part, the car loses too much speed and power once it climbs the first part, and there is no space to gain speed for the second part, so we descended to the bottom (going backwards, scary) and tried another go with more speed, you can see the cars waiting at the top. After the first attempt, I fancied taking pictures of the car climbing, so I left the car at the bottom (before the second attempt) and asked the driver to wait until I took a good safe position for shooting, and this is what I got.
 
Wheels in the air
 
When I showed the driver this picture, he was very happy and asked mt to send it to him (which I did).
 
After we reached the top and parked the cars, everyone spread around observing the scenery and taking pictures, I was checking the climb pictures with my cousin at the back of the camera's LCD, we were standing behind our car, the blue jeep, then suddenly I found myself taking a very strong hit in my forehead and flying backwards on my back, with the camera in my hands, I didn't really understand anything, all I did was raise my right hand holding the camera to protect it, and directmy fall on my left shoulder and arm, then I noticed the blue jeep moving backwards towards me, so that's what hit me, but it was still moving, so I started rolling away trying to escape the wheels before the car finally stopped, fortunately enough the driver heard the sound of the car hitting something and stopped.
 
After checking with my cousin and the driver, it turned out that the driver decided to move the car, but failed to notice us standing behind (I assume he's used to moving freely in the desert as there are no obstacles to hit, ha!), and he didn't actually hit me, he hit my cousin first since he was closer to the car when wewere both bent down looking at the camera's LCD, with a force that made his head hit mine strongly that I was thrown back, and fortunately my cousin was able to jump over me while he was falling. It was a really stupid move from the driver, but fortunately ended up with minor scratches on my left arm, and a swollen right eyebrow, and the camera never hit the ground once.
 
Happy driver
 
After that we moved on to our next destination, the "whales valley", at that point several of us were feeling exhausted because of the strong sun and the harsh weather, I took a few pictures on the way, see that picture at the top, I like it for several reasons, the relatively slow shutter speed shows motion in the wheels and the sand below the car, and is accentuated by the bent antenna, add to that the smiling driver and the guy sleeping at the back and you know why I like it.
 
Exhausted
 
Shot from the car while moving
 
Sun behind the clouds, it was this beautiful and moving in reality
 
Whales valley rest area
 
We arrived to the valley, and the drivers opened the cars' hoods to cool them down, after all, they were old tough Land Cruisers that are built from rocks. The actual fossils were not in the place you see above, this is the rest area, cafeteria and the bathrooms. The fossils were left where they were found, surrounded by a rope to keep people from touching them, they were distributed around the cafeteria, we were given a map showing all the fossil areas, and the paths to there were marked with rocks on the sides as a means of guidance.
 
We decided to wash ourselves, rest for a while and have our lunch before walking under the harsh sun to see the fossils, when we decided to mocve, some of us prefered the shade and didn't come see the fossils, I envy them, maybe I had high expectations but I was dissapointed, I didn't find them interesting at all, and I decided not to take a single picture of it.
 
Leaving the cafeteria and going to see the fossils, taken with the 550D and the 60 Macro
 
Some coral reefs from the times when this desert was covered by water
 
More reefs
 
Interesting shapes
 
More interesting shapes
 
Even more interesting shapes "reminds me of KFC, my phrase, not the picture, ultra mega super duper zinger supreme"
 
When we returned to the cafeteria, we decided to stay there until the sun's intensity decreased so that we can start our sand boarding fun, but that's for the next post. We spent the time chatting, taking pictures, playing riddles, etc... The large number of people made it really pleasant, I don't imagine I would have enjoyed it this much were we 4 or 5 guys only.
 
Me shooting video with my Galaxy S II
 
I rarely get my pictures taken, so I am celebrating here, 550D + 60 Macro
 
550D black and white mode, JPG shooting, me likey
 
My friend found this little fox and took this photo, long pointy ears
 
That's it for this part, the next and last post will have my absolute favorite pictures of the whole trip, sunset and sand dunes, that's all I can say.
 
 
RELATED POSTS
 
Fayoum Desert Trip - Part 1
Fayoum Desert Trip - Part 3