Author Topic: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure  (Read 11299 times)

Offline mmgfarb

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Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
« Reply #195 on: October 01, 2017, 12:29:55 PM »
"JS [is] a fetid cesspool of unvarnished linguistic manure, with lots of useless drivel and post-padding." -Moishebatchy

Offline as2

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Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
« Reply #197 on: October 01, 2017, 01:29:57 PM »
Absolutely amazing. I think my favorite shot might actually be the stars; ironic for a trip focused on the underwater world
Absolutely without a doubt, my favorite pic of the entire trip.

Yes, it's a great shot, but I think I still like the Maui one better.

Offline Joe4007

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Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
« Reply #198 on: October 01, 2017, 05:23:34 PM »
Awesome read. Thanks for taking the time and effort
+1!

Couldn't agree more regarding coconut water!

Online Something Fishy

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Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
« Reply #199 on: October 15, 2017, 07:56:50 PM »
This boggles my mind as well. It a private freaking island. I'll pitch a tent if I have to. Clearly I'm low maintenance, and so is DW, because she's on board since day 1.

This is my philosophy as well, but I suppose I can understand this side too:

The animals. The small boats and planes.
+ A stingrey​ in the 100 miles around the island.

Oh well. More available dates for me then ;D.
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Offline as2

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Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
« Reply #200 on: October 15, 2017, 07:57:45 PM »
This is my philosophy as well, but I suppose I can understand this side too:

Oh well. More available dates for me then ;D.
Lol, yup!

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Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
« Reply #201 on: October 15, 2017, 07:58:55 PM »
Absolutely without a doubt, my favorite pic of the entire trip. Ye the half under half above water shot is awesome but this tops it. Amazing tr and as always, you don't disappoint with the pics. Happy Anniversary Fishies!

Thank you!

Yes, it's a great shot, but I think I still like the Maui one better.

I suppose the diplomatic thing for me to say is that I love them both equally :D.
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Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
« Reply #202 on: October 15, 2017, 08:00:55 PM »
+1!

Couldn't agree more regarding coconut water!

Glad to see I'm not the only one. I thought we were weird, considering it's like the coolest thing to do when on vacation somewhere warm.
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Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
« Reply #203 on: October 16, 2017, 06:37:56 PM »
Glad to see I'm not the only one. I thought we were weird, considering it's like the coolest thing to do when on vacation somewhere warm.
Count me in on this one as well. That stuff is disgusting.

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Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
« Reply #204 on: October 18, 2017, 03:03:34 PM »
The boat ride was quite choppy, but before long Barry dropped us off at the same dock we had met in the beginning of the week.

Off to the airport in a real taxi; no tuk-tuk this time:





We were flying a tiny, local airline called Aerolineas Sosa to La Ceiba on the mainland, and continuing on to the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa. Once there we'd transfer to Copa, have lunch in Panama, and fly home.

When we arrived here in the beginning of the week, the airport was completely deserted. This morning however it was practically teeming with activity. There were 5 or 6 passengers, a teenager who supposedly works for the airline, and the owner of the airport hanging around at the bar (who ended up cornering us and made us pay the entirety of the $2 airport use fee).

Check-in (aka checking our passports against a hand-written list):



Boarding pass, consisting of a laminated bit of cardboard:



There was just one problem: too many passengers had shown up for the flight. No worries, says the pilot. He'll be back in half an hour for the rest of us ...

Aerolineas Sosa is such a hinky-dinky airline that the plane waiting was some random dude's Cessna:



Now there was nothing to do but hope he'll be back, or we're seriously stuck: this was the first flight out of four for the day, and there were no other flights leaving the airport today. As you can see in the picture, the plane we had come in was still parked there, so I suppose we could have chartered it again if need be.

Well there he goes:



I davened shachris while waiting, and watched this monster (he was a good foot and a half across) try to extricate himself from behind the door:



After a while, lo and behold: our plane was back!

Time to go:



The plane was a Cessna 206 Stationair 6 II, so a tad larger than the 182 we came in on. Unfortunately this meant that I didn't get the cockpit seat this time, and instead was seated behind the pilot.

Crossing over open ocean to the Honduran mainland:





Farms and the Rio Bonito approaching La Ceiba:



Cool pattern:



Final approach:



Taxiing past an airplane graveyard:



La Ceiba is a lovely-looking airport, what with the beautiful Nombre de Dios mountains and Pico Bonito National Park as a backdrop:





Moving up in life... Aerolineas Sosa had a real check in desk here! It almost looked like a real airline:



Next stop: Tegucigalpa!

Flying into TGU has been on my bucket list forever, and I specifically planned my itinerary to take advantage of this opportunity. Tegucigalpa appears on pretty much every "10 most dangerous airports in the world" and similar lists, and for good reason. The approach is incredibly difficult, consisting of extreme drops and turns, and then proceeds extremely low over the surrounding buildings and terrain. Once you hit the ground, you find yourself on the shortest runway of any international airport in the world, which ends - because of course it does - in a steep cliff with a major roadway beneath it. Needless to say, there have been a number of serious accidents here over the years.

Only a few pilots from each airline are certified to land here, and need to fly this route at least once in 60 days to remain current. I suppose that the good part is that you know your pilot has a ton of experience landing here...

Here's what it looks like from the ground:



Takeoff is bonkers as well, with mountains rising sharply all around the airport. The climb is extremely fast and steep, and generally heads directly into bad weather.

The History Channel named TGU the second most extreme airport in the world; it's well worth watching the 13-minute documentary they did on it (beginning at 57:34):



So... being a hopeless aviation geek, how could I pass up the chance of flying into here?

Time to board!



The plane today was a BAe Jetstream 31, a small 19-passenger British affair. At least it was a "real" plane for a change, with a pressurized cabin, twin engines, a co-pilot, and an actual livery:





The interior was unbelievably small. While it was obviously far roomier than the last two Cessnas we flew in, you kinda expect those to be cramped. But when you walk onto the Jetstream it's disconcerting how a plane with 2-1 seating could be so tiny inside.

I knew I needed a window on the left side if I wanted to see and photograph the TGU approach properly, so I was glad that the single seats were on the left side; no way in the world I would've fit if I had a seatmate.



As is often the case with small propellor planes, the engines absolutely dominated the view out the windows. On top of that, the windows were small, filthy, full of glare, and tinted purple . So yeah, overall wonderful conditions for photography .

So you do what you gotta do and roll with the punches... Incorporate the annoying bits into your composition, throw all your Photoshop skillz at the color and glare issues, and hope it all works:



The view of mountains were stunning, and accompanied us throughout the flight. This definitely ranks as one of the most beautiful flights I had ever taken:





The flight was short and very turbulent, and before we knew it we had begun the crazy approach to Tegucigalpa. True to expectations, it was the most epic descent of my life: mad drops, steep banks that didn't seem to end, and flying closer to buildings than I had ever seen:







We hit the ground surprisingly softly, but this was followed by ridiculously heavy braking. We reached the end of the runway (made it!) and turned around towards the terminal (no taxiways here...). During the turn I got a good view of the recent modifications to the airport: an entire hillside has been cut away in an attempt to make the approach slightly less dangerous:



Our plane is pretty much just an oversized bean:



Apparently we were now back in civilization... TGU is a large, thoroughly modern airport, and so we had to wait at a carousel for our bags. While hanging around I spotted this absolute gem:



Hmmm... analogue Trip Advisor. Unfortunately most of the entries were in Spanish, but there were enough English bits of wisdom to keep me entertained till my bags came:







What really got me was that every page had an official stamp at the top, so someone actually reads all this.

I've never seen an airport located so smack dab in the middle of a city, and a national capital no less. There's literally nothing between the terminal and a random strip mall but a small local street:



A crop from the above picture - check out these electric lines. Even Cuba wasn't so bad :



Hung around at the gate for a while (no lounge access here, even for international J pax), and it wasn't long before we were boarding the third flight of the day, bound for Panama this time.

Copa business was exactly as it was when I flew them to Cuba a few years ago: nothing fancy, basically domestic F and perfect for these relatively short flights. Got settled into seats 1A and 2A, and went through the reverse dance as the way in: taxi to the end of the runway, turn around, and take off.

Way better view of the cut-off hill this time:



The steepest climb out I've ever experienced:





Most of the city consists of gang-ruled slums. It's striking to see the endless spread of these shantytowns:



Close-up view:



As is the norm here, we headed right into bad weather spilling over the mountains:



Once we reached cruising altitude we got our first KSML of the trip, which was predictably inedible:



Approaching Panama City I noticed a ton of these developments. Apparently they're pretty hot right now, but I dunno, it just looks thoroughly dystopian to me:



First view or the canal, with the new Post-Panamax locks in the foreground and the old Miraflores locks behind it:



When I visited the canal two years ago, construction on the new channel was just getting underway, but by now it was fully operational already. Not too shabby.

Bridge of the Americas, with Panama City behind it:



The tide was mostly out, and the waves were looking pretty on the shallow water:



Cool patterns in the tidal mud:



Landed in PTY, and hightailed it to customs. Our layover was only around three and a half hours, and we wanted to go into town and have lunch at Pita Plus, so we were kinda running tight. Arrived at customs and the line was humongous. Nothing to do but grin and bear it, but that was a loooong half hour.

Finally got to the agent, where our entry to Panama was unceremoniously and adamantly denied.

"You're coming to Panama for three hours? I'm not buying it."

Explanations and placations were getting me nowhere, so I did something I really hate to do: I pulled the Jew card. I'm still not sure if he had any idea what I was hocking to him about kosher, but it sure resulted in a speedy stamp in my passport .

Got assigned an official taxi by the dispatcher, and got in only to find that our driver had lived in Sheepshead Bay and enjoys Russian kosher food. What are the odds?

He was familiar with Pita Plus and offered to wait for our return trip at no extra charge. Not a bad deal, and certainly more reassuring than having to wait for an Uber.



When we got to the restaurant we found the Panamanian TV show NEXtv inside filming a cooking show:







Like last time, the staff was super helpful and before long we were feasting. Unfortunately however, the main reason for coming here was no longer. I had called it the best burger I ever had, but no one seemed to have any idea which burger I was talking about. For some reason I couldn't pull up a picture of it, and so went with their regular double burger. Still pretty good, but definitely not in the same league than the first time around:



Assorted sides (seriously, that kibbeh is epic):



We ate a ton and left stuffed to the gills, and with a bunch more food for the flight home.

Hopped in the taxi, drove back to the airport, got my water taken away by the secondary US security (y'all are safe now!) and back it was in the pointy end of the plane.

We were way too full to eat much, but the locally-sourced KSML was surprisingly quite tasty:







Fell asleep after an exhausting day to the sight of a lovely sunset:



And that, as they say, is that.

The end.
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Online jj1000

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Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
« Reply #205 on: October 18, 2017, 03:10:57 PM »
Amazing stuff!

Can we please make a smallest places Something Fishy has sat/slept etc...? All POIDH.
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Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
« Reply #206 on: October 18, 2017, 03:30:23 PM »
Great finish! (Congrats!) What a trip.

Online whYME

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Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
« Reply #207 on: October 18, 2017, 03:32:04 PM »
Can we please make a smallest places Something Fishy has sat/slept etc...? All POIDH.

Well we can start here

Now the real fun started. While the camper supposedly sleeps five, it only really fits three adults - on two beds. The bottom bunk was not bad: there was plenty of room for two, and a camera bag divider did a nice job of maintaining, uh, a secure Demarcation Line. The top bunk, on the other hand, while being plenty wide, only had a clearance of twelve inches or so :o . I volunteered to climb up and be the guinea pig.

Oh. My. Flipptin'. Felusa. You have never felt something as claustrophobic as this. Once I was in, my fate was sealed; no way I'm getting out of there without some major gymnastics. I couldn't roll over; I couldn't bring my arms up or down. In fact I woke up at one point in the middle of the night freezing cold, as my blanket had fallen down and there was simply no way for me to retrieve it.

And it goes without saying that the bed (shelf?) was not exactly long enough. Chaim'l and whYME were laughing for half an hour straight when they caught sight of this:




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Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
« Reply #208 on: October 18, 2017, 03:40:25 PM »
Assorted sides (seriously, that kibbeh is epic):



Did the portions shrink since we were there? Or did you only remember to take the picture after it was half eaten?






Offline tageed-lee

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Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
« Reply #209 on: October 18, 2017, 03:41:49 PM »
Thanks for finishing your TR! Epic from start to finish...

"Aircraft engine not properly assembled. loose screws."  :o  ;D