Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

December 7, 2017

I Kissed A Sphinx

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The Pyramids of Giza.

Today was the day to see the famous pyramids of Giza. We set off in our Uber taxi about 10am, drove through interminable high rise buildings until we came to this pyramid sticking up into the sky just behind a big building.

I kissed a spinx
Me and the sphinx

Here is the photo of the day. Me kissing the sphinx. For real. I am so stoked with this photo. No-one would ever believe I really kissed a sphinx unless I had this documentary evidence for said event. For real.

a pyramid of giza
The pyramid

And here is the pyramid, or one of them with the tour buses, tourists, scammers and hasslers all intermingled. There was no let-up from getting harrassed by camel riders, horse riders, wannabe guides, trinket sellers. It was never-ending and relentless. Kind of spoiled the whole thing really.


This kid was one of the hordes of school groups that swarmed over the grounds like a plague of locusts.

a day at the pyramids
Horse, pyramid, schoolkids

Typical scene at the amazing pyramids of egypt.

the sphinx
The sphinx

And here is the lady herself in the natural setting.

boat of pharoah
pharoah’s boat

This is one of the fair dinkum ridgy-didge boat of the pharoahs. Housed in its own special building. You have to cover your shoes before you get in.

December 6, 2017

Marsa Matrun and Siwa Oasis

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Ocean and Oasis

Marsa Matrun is 300 kilometers west of Alexandria, sitting on edge of the Mediterannean Sea.

net haul
Setting nets

The water is so sparkling clear and blue. There are no tourist because it is winter time, but the weather was beautiful.

Ocean Panorama
Ocean panorama

This is the view towards Rommel’s Cove. Erwin Rommel had his underground headquarters built into the rock during the second world war.

Rommel's Bay
Rommel’s Bay

It seemed like most of the fishing boats were hauled up and getting work done on their hulls.

fishing boats hauled in
Fishing boats

And on into the desert. We caught a bus to Siwa, which is an oasis in the far west of Egypt. This was our half way cup of tea stop. Nothing there for miles and miles.

western desert egypt
Western Desert

An oasis

And when you get there, there is vegetion all around. Date palms and olive trees abound. There is water flowing out of the ground. All is fertile.

pigeon roosts
Pigeon Roosts

I had to ask what these were for. I thought they were some kind of grain storage.

tombs of the dead
Tombs of the dead

We did a tour and on top of this hill are all these ancient graves. spooky.

Siwa Oasis panorama
View of Siwa Oasis

A panoramic view of the oasis from the top of the dead hill.

ali and me
Our guide Ali

Our guide and tuk-tuk driver was Ali. He was a really funny guy. I tried out the Zoolander Blue Steel look. I hope you think it was successful.

temple of Amun
Amun temple

The inscription was all in ancient Egyptian script. Dunno what it said.

salt pool
Salt pool

The water in this pool was so salty you just floated.

ruined city
Ruined City

The old city on top of the hill was in ruins.

November 30, 2017

A Ride on the Trams

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Alexandria, Egypt

I got up late this morning. It is overcast and raining. I have breakfast at the street cart again. Beans, pitta bread and salad, with a strong cup of coffee. I am ready to go. A tram comes past and I get on it. It is going west. That will do.

cafe culture
Cafe Culture

Everywhere along the way people are at the cafes having a cuppa to start their day.

street food
Street food

Most people just grab something off a street cart. It is cheap and it is tasty. Probably pretty healthy too.

green tram
green tram

A tram going the other way. The driver does not like me taking his photo. Some people here do, some do not.

tenement living
Tenement living

There are lots of high rise buildings. Streets are narrow and buildings are tall.

hanging out the window
Hanging out the window

Just watching the world go by.

fruit and veggies
Fruit and vegetable stall

There is always time for a chat.


And always time to check out what is happening around da joint.

street food cart 2
Another street cart

People are still eating on the way back.


Get it into you, boys.

rubbish donkey
Rubbish donkey.

This poor old ass has to cart rubbish around.

recycling bike
Rubbish bike

This guy has a machine to do it.

fish don't sell themselves
Selling fish

And chatting.


Ten points for a happy smile and a clap.

city life
The big city

November 29, 2017

Bad Start – Good Finish

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 2:47 pm

Alexandria, Egypt.

I got to the airport at Dubai nice and early. I had checked in online so I thought I was sweet. No hassles getting weighed with my carry-on luggage. I could have had more weight but you never know. Boarding time comes and I check in and get on the bus. Then they start a big panic looking for the Australian. That was me I said. I had to get off the bus to the plane and go back to check-in. They said I needed a visa before I boarded the plane. I told them it is Visa On Arrival. I wait for about a half hour freaking out thinking I have missed my flight, what am I gonna do?

the corniche alexandria
The Corniche at Alexandria

Strangely they eventually let me on the flight. This is 11:30 at night. I am dog-tired. We get to Alexandria and I pay my VOA visa fee, get my visa, no problems as I had expected. Got to customs and they start searching everything in my bag. Then they made me stand in front of the X-ray machine thing and scannned me. I did not know what was going on. This is 2am in the morning. Very tired and wasted. No sleep. They finally let me in after checking me out. I guess I was not a baddie.

people transporters
Hi-Ace vans transport people all over

I find a chair in the airport and try to sleep till morning. Not very successfully. I am very grumpy by the time the sun comes up. There is no shuttle bus, I have to take a taxi. Get to my hotel and I cannot check in till mid-day. I go for breakfast. I find some amazing street food – beans and lebanese bread and an awesome cup of coffee and some nice people to share it with. This is better.

hauling in the nets
Hauling in the nets.

After breakfast I go for a wander along the waterfront, called the corniche in this neck of the woods. The fishermen are hauling in the nets, I watch this for a while. They catch a few kilos of tiny fish – a measly catch. I go for a walk looking for a sim card for my phone. All sorted. Look for a birds of egypt book. I find a small one. Not satisfied. Get some lunch at KFC and go to bed for a well earned snooze.

On the street where you live
Old brownstones on my street.

a tram
A tram.

room with a view
View from my balcony

By mid-afternoon the traffic is bumper to bumper and everyone is bipping their horns, Sounds like India. I really like this city. Just need to get some big sleep.

November 28, 2017

Camel Racing UAE

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A Day At The Races.

On the way down from the mountains to the beaches, I stopped off at this camel racing track. I found a camping site right next to the track and settled down for the night.

At the track
The track

During the late afternoon and evening, the jockeys were training the camels around the track. They would lead about half a dozen camels around, urging them on. The owners would drive along the track in their four wheel drives tooting their horns and shouting encouragement.

Practice run
Practice run.

I had a good restful sleep under the stars. No noisy hoons during the night. Just a gentle breeze for company.

Proud jockey
Phone in hand.

There were all types of people riding the camels. It was like the United Nations of camel racing.

Urging on the camel
Urging on the camel

Early in the morning, the races had already started. They were up and going by the time I got out of bed to behold a sight beyond imagination. Riderless camels bouncing down the track, with hordes of four wheel drives pouring down the road like avenging mosquitos. The dust!

A plague of toyotas
A Plague of Toyotas

After they had gone past, I could not see a thing.

dust storm
Dust storm

A camera man was stuck on top of a van filming the race. Maybe it was for post-race analysis.

filming the race
Filming the race.

robot jockey
Robot jockey

The jockey was a little robot that flailed the whip every now and again. I would have preferred monkey jockeys myself.

November 27, 2017

Never Camp in a Wadi

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Masafi Wadi Flash Flood

I was half way up the wadi at Masafi when I heard the rumblings of the thunderstorm. I got out of there quick smart. Half an hour later it started to bucket down. It absolutely poured. I just stayed in my car and waited for it to end.

After the storm
After the storm.

There was water everywhere. I looked into the wadi near where I was parked and there was a roaring creek where it had been a dry riverbed hours before.

Flooding wadi
Flooding wadi

Heaps of people came out to gawk at the water flowing down the wadi. There was even a traffic jam because of all the rubber neckers and gawkers.

Storm water drain is full
Storm water drain is full

Police were out in force and the ambulance went roaring up the road.

Dry wadi country
Dry wadi country

This is the type of country that collects the water. It just funnels down these wadis whenever there is a thunderstorm. They are very dangerous.

Wadi Bih Scenery
Wadi Bih Scenery

After that I went to the coast, then up to Wadi Bih. It is very mountainous up there.

The road up to Jebel Jais
The road up to Jebel Jais

The road snakes up the mountain to the top of Jebel Jais which is quite high. My ears were poppping and it was a bit chilly.

Mountain panorama
Mountain panorama

Just over these mountains was Oman.

Fishermen working at Sha'am
Fishermen working at Sha’am

After that I went to the northern coast just before the border to Oman. Nice little fishing village at Sha’am. The nets went out for a long way and they dragged them in with their outboards then hauled the nets back on board the boats by hand.

A very scenic background
A very scenic background

November 19, 2017

From Kerala to Kalba

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India and United Arab Emirates.

These are the photos from my tourist camera, the little panasonic point and shoot. They range from the lush green rice paddies of Kerala to the desolate desert dunes of the United Arab Emirates.

Kerala paddies
Rice paddies at Kerala

The green of Kerala. Lots of rain and hugely fertile. They probably do a couple of crops of year of rice.

India rail
India Rail

The chaos and madness of Indian trains as opposed to the order of the UAE road system. Near Shoranpur on the way from Calicut to Kochi.

fish traps
Fish traps.

These fish traps were loaded onto the fishing boats. For bait they use a mixture of bread and fish. We used to use square traps made out of wood frame and wire mesh.

arab dhows
Arab dhows

These boats were fitted with diesel motors and were used for fishing. Still the traditional dhow design.

car ferry from Delmah Island
Ferry from Delmah Island

This is the car ferry from Delmah Island back to the mainland at Ruwais. It took about 2 hours.

Ruwais ferry terminal
Ferry Terminal.

The ferry terminal at Ruwais. This was mainly an industrial area and I did not hang around.

Captain Oats UAE
Captain Oats.

Breakfast in the dunes. Oats, raisins, sugar and UHT milk. Yum. Washed down with a cuppa tea. Just like home.

Liwa dunes
Dunes at Liwa

The interior of the country. Dunes as far as the eye can see.

Dune panorama
Dune panorama

The road to Liwa stretches on forever. I got out of the car and the silence was deafening. I had never heard such absolute silence before, even in the Australian outback.

Reed tunnel
Reed tunnel

The reeds at Al Wathba Wetlands near Abu Dhabi.

October 15, 2017

Kozhikode Tourist Photos

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Calicut – Kerala.

I got into Calicut just before mid-day and had some dinner near the bus station. Then I found my hotel and went out to get some money. On the way I found the Sunday markets where they were selling all sorts of stuff, second-hand and new.

the estuary at Calicut
The estuary

In the afternoon I went for a walk to the estuary and poked around the river mouth and the beach.

Working on the nets
Fishermen and nets

Playing around with the nets.

going to sea
Going to sea

I used to do this many years ago. Heading out to sea every night, punching a nor’easter home. No fish and a wet arse.

Black Kite
Black Kite

This Black Kite was just sitting on a rock close to some fishermen. I do not know why it did not fly away.

Indian Pond Heron
Indian Pond Heron

A reflective shot. Narcissus in feathers.

under the bridge
Under the bridge

Lots of action under the bridge late afternoon. woohoo!

recycling on the beach
Recycling some of the crap

So much rubbish on the beaches everywhere. Terrible.

Looking south
Looking south

Down the beach looking south towards Beypore.

kids processing green mussels
Kids getting mussels

Some kids were getting green mussels off the rocks. A couple of kids were diving and getting them and these kids were detaching them from the black gunk.

still working
Late evening net sorting

Late in the evening as the sun was going down, these fishermen were still sorting out their nets.

October 13, 2017

From Karnataka To Kerala

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Shimoga – Madikeri – Kannur

Catching the bus from Shimoga early in the morning to Madikeri up in the hills. Passing lots of fields of corn.


Coming into Madikeri. Pictures of passers-by. Stop.

coming into town
Coming into town.

Climbing a hill above my hotel. Taking someone’s dogs for a walk. The dump is on top of the hill, garbage goes over the cliff.

Coorg View
View of Madikeri

Tourist ride to the top of a big mountain in a Mahindra jeep. Mandalpatti at 1700 meters.

View of Western Ghats
The Western Ghats

Catching another early bus to Virajpet from Madikeri. I had to change buses at Virajpet. This is the interstate special speed bus that I caught.

Interstate bus – Karnataka to Kerala

Passing through Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. It is full-on rainforest jungle that stretches for miles and miles. Very wild country.

jungle road
Road through Brahmagiri jungle

The bridge over the river just before Iritty. I am now in Kerala.

cross the bridge
Bridge at Iritty

So many tuk-tuks lined up in this town. I have never seen so many tuk-tuks.

too many tuk-tuks
Oversupply of Tuk-tuks

And a lineup of gawdy buses. All dolled up like pox-doctor’s clerks.

party buses
Party buses

Finally arriving in Kannur, having lunch at the bus stand. Searching for my hotel with the tuktuk driver. Totally in the wrong place when it is all sorted eventually.

View from my hotel
View from my hotel room

Present participles are ending.

October 10, 2017

Goa and Karnataka

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From Goa to Karnataka.

Goa was my favourite place in India. Luckily I stayed out of town and away from all the tourists and beaches. I had a nice guest house by the river which was very quiet. I hired a scooter and just went out to the lake and birded most of the time. And exploring when I was in the mood.

Gravel Barges
Gravel Barges.

These were on the opposite side to the ferry from Divar Island. It looked like they were loading up with gravel or sand.

safety first
Safety First in India!

Welding without a safety helmet. He did have a little square of dark glass. I never saw a worker use safety gear. They were grinding metal, stone without safety glasses or any protection. I was horrified. There must be billions of accidents at work every day.

washing elephant
Washing the heffalump

I caught the sleeper bus to Hampi from Goa and stayed about four days. This elephant was getting washed in the morning. After that I crossed the river in a boat.

Coracle and street cart
Crazy Transport solutions

This is a street food cart getting carted across the river in a coracle! Far out brussel sprout. You see some weird crap in India.

milking buffalo
Milking the buffalo

This lady milked the buffalos behind my room morning and afternoon. Old skool.

funny kid
Funny kid

I bumped into this kid with chilli stalks stuck to his head! He was very funny. I had to take his photo. This was at a small village close to Hampi – Kamalapura.

fisher dude
fisher dude

I caught another bus to Shimoga and then went to Chikmagalur where I went for a walk around the lake just out of town. Some guy asked me to take his photo, so I took his mate instead. doh!

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