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lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

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Thursday, 22 January 2009 08:02

Gallery – USA 2006

IMG_1085PS The scientific meetings taking place all around the World are always good opportunities for some travelling and learning about new places. So it was in January 2006, when I extended my stay in USA to spend some time in Arizona and New York during two weeks. It was very nice to leave the frozen Prague and to land in hot evening south Arizona city Tucson some 20 hours later.

IMG_1071PS As most of the west-coast states of USA, Arizona bears a wealth of National Parks and other sightseeing. One of the most interesting places around Tucson is indeed the PIMA Air and Space Museum – on one side of the road there is a museum with maybe all types of aircrafts ever made in USA IMG_1445PS and on the other side, there is a air base with the largest depository of military aircrafts in the World – the arid climate of southern Arizona is perfect for conservation and storing of thousands of air-fighters, gunships, bombarders and other planes that might be put into operation in few days. The view of long rows of F-16s` or heavy bombarders B-2 is really fascinating but scary at the same time. The modern technology lovers will also be interested in visiting the Kitt Peak mountain in the Arizona desert which is the peak with the highest concentration of optical telescopes in the World – there are more than twenty of them on the peak of the mountain! There are also many nature reserves around Tucson, we only had time to visit the Saguaro National Park – saguaro is that typical tall and branched cactus, which appears almost in every western movie from close to Mexican borders.
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After the conference we set out for a small round trip around Arizona with my schoolmate Jitka. We headed towards Phoenix and then westward to visit on of many ghost-towns around there – Vulture Mine – there are many of such sites in Arizona – they are the only remainders of the gold rush times there. IMG_1701PS The only interesting stop on our way to Grand Canyon was the Flagstaff city, which best sight is the fact that the city itself lies on the Route 66 – the most famous and cultic road of USA that from west to east connects the coasts of Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.... well and the Grand Canyon – what to say about that...everybody must see it with its own eyes! It is huge, but really huge scar on the face of Earth that extends from east to west. The proportions are only relative – there is nothing that this canyon can be compared to so one has to make an impression only from the plain numbers – the other side of the canyon is from 6 to 30 km far from you and the deepest parts of the canyon go as deep as 1.8 km! IMG_1887PS While it is really interesting place, spending one day at the southern edge of the Canyon was more than enough, the feel of the Canyon starts to be a bit monotonous...not mentioning the heaps of tourists on each viewpoint and the hotels standing right at the edge of the canyon. The change of the climate surprised me a lot – while few hundreds kilometres south in Tucson the temperatures were around 20, 25 centigrade, here around Grand Canyon, we were more north, at higher altitude and do not forget that it was January – I spent here the worst night of my whole stay in USA when the minus 15 temperature got me out of the light tent in the middle of the night and I ended up in the car waking up every hour to start up the engine and to heat up a little to survive till the next morning :-) . I personally liked most the part on east, where the Grand Canyon ends and where the Colorado river starts to cut into the red colored sediments – the canyon already has a „human“ scale here, there are not that many tourists here and you don’t meet any hotel or souvenir shop!

 

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IMG_2519PS Although every place is too far in USA and you simply need a car to be able to travel, the driving between all the parks and monuments was not boring at all – the landscape as well as the climate change quite often and also the view of the straight road running tens kilometres ahead of your car is a new experience for driver used to the European roads – it would be possible to set the speed control to 60 miles per hour, block the steering wheel and take an half-hour nap while driving...

 

IMG_2215PS Our next destination was the Navajo National Monument with the famous Monument Valley, which is World-famous because of the Marlboro cigarettes commercials. The Monument Valley is at the border of Arizona and Utah and it is really a fascinating view. The only drawback is that without the paid guide you cannot get any closer to the rock sculptures, you have to stay at the roads far from the rock pipes…but that is just OK – who knows how would these famous rock formation end up if all the people visiting park every year had the access to them.IMG_2068PS The Navajo National Monument was the farthermost point of our Arizona journey – here we turned south and followed along the boundary with New Mexico to the Canyon de Chelly and to the Petrified Forest National park with unique wealth of petrified and silicified trees – often you can see the whole tree chunks of huge dimensions and with beautiful colors at the chunk cross sections.

IMG_2369PS On the way back we drove on Route 66 again which led us to the small and nice city Holbrook that still seems to live its life in sixties and where is probably the best Mexican restaurant I have ever visited in my life! Also the stay in the Wigwam Motel was an experience – the rooms, or better to say cabins have a shape of Indian wigwams and it stands here since the famous hippies’ times.

 

Holbrook was actually the last point of our common trip; Jitka drove me to Phoenix and I left for few more days to spend in New York.IMG_2740PS One of the conveniences of having foreign friends is that they can provide you an accommodation in places and cities, where you would have to pay good amount of money for overnight – and I was lucky enough that my friend had a flat at Manhattan – the heart of New York! It is quite normal that one has different image about places where it has not been before and the same happened to me and my picture of America – USA is very interesting country, the landscape is beautiful, you can find people who do not know much about the world beyond the oceans but that happens everywhere. IMG_2779PSbw It was the same with New York – first I was a bit scared of this huge city but at the end I was wishing to come back soon to this amazing place! Well it is not that amazing for living – I would not like to live there, but being there as a tourist is really an experience and I don’t mean only the furious drive of the Hispanic taxi-driver from the airport to Manhattan with seven other frightened tourists…Although I had only few days for visiting New York, I decided to explore it alone – my American friend – guide had probably a little different ideas about interesting places in New York than average European as I am and so I left her in the middle of the day after she guided me through the “best shops” of 5th Avenue in the morning.

IMG_2759PS It is pretty difficult to describe New York in one word – one has to feel it as a complete unity, as a real melting pot mixing up all diverse cultures, nations and ideas, the place with no rest where there still something happens. In view of other sights the Statue of Liberty or Empire State Building seem to be only a dull tourist attraction – much more interesting is to visit shops and markets in the China Town, forgotten corners and Italian fast-foods in the western part of Manhattan or the cold financial centers around today Ground Zero – World Financial Center on west side or the famous Wall Street on the east side, only a stone-cast from the Brooklyn Bridge. IMG_2868PS The New York underground is also worth to see – the London underground appears quite trivial then! I cannot forget to mention the visit of the B&H Store at the corner of 9th Avenue and 33rd Street – that place is an Eden for every lover of photographic technique. And one thing came to my mind at the end – and nobody will be surprised – New York is the place with the highest concentration of McDonalds in the World, but I need to say that the local burgers taste much better than in Europe so now I can better understand why so many Americans eat them so much…well, it might also be that I was too hungry during my New York strolls to be a good taste judge J . I hope I will have chance to come back again to New York one day, at that time I was there in 2006 I only had my first DSLR for few months and so I did not enjoy this city that much in sense of photography… All pictures from the trip to USA in 2006 are in gallery under the key word “USA 2006”…

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 February 2011 08:13
 
Comments (26)
  • Harry Humphries  - Harry Humphries

    I am planning to visit a beautiful place with my friends where we will be taking pictures of the natural scenes; we have decided to take the Cheap Assignment to get our homework done. Please help us by suggesting a place where we can enjoy the beauty of nature, is there any praiseworthy place in Asia? I will be thankful for the assistance!

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