This is the old North Room blog – the new one is at www.north-room.com/blog

North Room has moved

Posted in Uncategorized by Mike on July 21, 2009

We’ve moved <HERE>

(repeat:: Our new blog is now over at http://www.north-room.com/blog – check it out!)

A labour of love, we decided to redecorate and splurge out on some more upmarket virtual studio space.  Hope you like it!

And if you’re averse to change, it’s no use fighting it – there can be no further updates here.  Only memories and musings of a time gone by.  (And we’ve also managed to migrate all our old posts over to the new site – nice!)

If you are reading this via RSS, you will need to update your feed to the new one on our new site, either via the Subscribe button or the RSS link in the URL – what could be shimpler, huh?

*THIS POST WILL SELF-DESTRUCT IN 5 DAYS* (as will this site)

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Lila Rose Harris (part deux)

Posted in Friends & family, Personal work, Portraits by Mike on July 9, 2009

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Last weekend Claire and I were given the honour of becoming ‘Odd Parents’ to Lila, Jen & Simon’s gorgeous baby daughter. We were so chuffed to have been asked and, along with Jenny Stilts, made a commitment to Lila to help her Mum & Dad support and guide her.

Job no. 1 – buy her the Liverpool kit.

We’d spent the weekend with Jen & Si a few weeks earlier on Shoreham beach, where the above frame was captured.  Isn’t she cute!   The term Odd parent is no joke either – during the lovely but unusual humanist naming ceremony, we either got called Odd Parents or Mentors – Simon said he felt ODD Parents suited us better, cheeky b*******!  (I’m sure we’ll find a way to get…EVEN?) (anyone – please – I need help.)

In other news, if you noticed my email server outage post, you may be forgiven for claiming I undercooked the scope of my downtime prediction somewhat – in fact, blog.north-room.com went down for a few days because I decided to change my hosting provider (to BlueHost, who’ve been unbelievably great throughout).  The reason behind this dreadfully dull technical shenanigan is that there’s a new blog on the way and, frankly, it’s a spanker.  Should be live in the next few weeks.  Word on the street?… hot pink!

Next up though will be some shots from a shoot I did for the Hawthorne family recently, but I’ve not quite finished them as the deck is awash with work at the mo.  Watch this space.  Shouldn’t be more than a few days at most.

Thanks for stopping by!

x

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Email Server Outage

Posted in Geek Alert! by Mike on June 28, 2009

Getting my hands greasy down in the North Room server room this weekend (swine-flu DR precautions), so please note any email sent to any north-room.com email address in the next 48 hours will not be received.

Normal service will resume by Weds.  You can leave a reply here if need be.

*achoo*

Last of the WTUs: Western Oz & Japan

Posted in Australia, Landscapes, Travel, Wildlife by Mike on June 16, 2009
This is Alan.  Wife's called Sue.  (Had it stenciled on the back of his caravan)

This is Alan. Wife's called Susan. (Said so in stencil on the back of his caravan)

Had some stick lately for not posting any shots from Western Australia.  Truth be known, we didn’t stop to take that many – we were doing so much danged driving (and trying to shoe-horn in as many last ditch activities as possible before we came home) that by the end of each day all we could think about was Bundaberg Red and a dip in an ancient rock pool.  But, in the interests of completeness…

We started our epic final leg in this unfathomably massive place by picking up a converted Toyota Hiace in Fremantle and headed for the Great Western Highway.  Mile-for-mile, this is the single-most boring stretch of tarmac on Earth.  Passing Cervantes, Pinnacles, Geraldstown and Monkey Mia, we eventually arrived in Exmouth, 1500 kms later, where the unending road was temporarily relieved by turquoise waters and the Ningaloo Reef.

The reef is a National Heritage Marine Park in which the Aussie government has licensed a small number of operators to run tours and give tourists the small chance of swimming with the world’s largest fish – whale sharks.  And by sheer fluke (you can pay top dollar for puns like that…) we had scheduled this leg during the six-week period when they gather here in droves to feast after the annual coral spawn.

We got to swim with a 5m long beauty called Chompy, a 20-year old male who’d earned his nickname thanks to some Great White savagery, and Claire and I agreed that this was the most privileged thing we’ve ever done.  It was like swimming alongside a slow-moving limo.  We did get some video from it but, as I’ve not had time to cut it yet, you’ll have to make do with some stills for now…

 

This is like finding a signpost for Southport - in Frankfurt.

This is like finding a signpost for Frankfurt - in Southport.

 

 

Which meant we had to carefully plan our toilet stops.  (It's the fly on my nose that makes this shot, IMHO)

Which meant we had to plan our toilet stops. (It's the fly on my nose that makes this for me)

 

 

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Got down in the mud for this one

Got down and dirty for this one

 

 

I loved the way the light was hitting here

Mine?

 

Claire feeding a wild dolphin.  The biologists at Monkey Mia have formed a relationship with 5 wild females who come here each morning for a feed.

Claire feeding a *wild* dolphin by hand.

 

 

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The biologists at Monkey Mia have formed bonds with 5 females who come here each day - from the ocean - for brekkie.

 

 

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Sunsets here were ridiculous.

Sunsets were ridiculous.

 

 

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Skippy's nut-job cousin outside the amenities block on our campsite.  Immediately after this, he sprang off to a random point about 150 meters away, turned about-face and then belted straight back towards me. Until that moment, I had never consciously accepted - and then awaited - death.

Skippy's nut-job cousin outside the amenities block on our campsite. Immediately after this, he sprang off to a random point about 150 meters away (took him about 6 seconds) turned about-face and then belted straight back towards me. Until that moment, I had never consciously accepted - and then awaited - death.

 

 

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Claris in Wonderland...

Claris in Wonderland... (snooted SB800 to camera left)

 

 

Kookaburra lives in the old gum tree...

Kookaburra was cool

 

 

Moving on, this was a small section of Tokyo's Imperial Palace wall.

Moving on... a small section of Tokyo's Imperial Palace wall.

 

 

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Bill Murray had the same view from the bar in Lost in Translation.  We ran out of cash trying to get drunk here.

This is the view Bill Murray had from the bar in Lost in Translation. We ran out of cash trying to get drunk here.

 

 

Worked up a thirst?

So we switched to this stuff which you could pore (!) yourself!

 

 

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Here’s a photo I didn’t want to see!

Posted in Honduras, Mishaps, Travel by Mike on June 2, 2009

When I loaded up the fully-recyclable/whittled-from-a-single-piece-of-aluminium MacBook this morning, I’d intended for this post to just show my contender for 2009’s Rear of the Year, courtesy of Darcie (one of our nieces).

Then this showed up on the screen.

But isn't it supposed to look like that, Doctor?

("Happy birthday, Gonzo", said Dr Davey. "You've bust your Scaphoid...")

I didn’t blog about this at the time, but whilst Claire and I were in Honduras, and Claire was eating her delicious breakfast at Georphies, I was busily distancing myself from a moving motorbike and getting a ‘proper’ feel for some wet, Honduran gravel.  10ft or so later, I came to a stop and knew I’d hurt my left wrist pretty badly.

The flesh wound healed, but something’s still not right.  So today I wen’ to di doc’s, and di doc say…is broken.

The bad news is, I need to go under the knife and have a bone graft taken from another part of my body.  The good news is, it means I’ll be losing a couple of inches from my ass!  My Dad thinks I might even be able to fart out of my thumb, which would be nice.

So on hearing this joyous news, my attention immediately turned to my wife.  How would I prepare our candlelit suppers, clean the house for her, and iron her clothes?

“You’ll find a way, Mike, you’ll find a way”, I thought, so my mind quickly moved to my photographic commitments.  He estimates I’ll need to be in plaster for a total of 8 weeks, and the problem is that I’ve now got 4 confirmed weddings booked for this year, more in the pipe and other cool stuff planned beside – at least one family portrait session in June, more in July, then I’m spending a few quid days in August shooting with this guy in Philadelphia before my wedding bookings kick in.

I COULD leave it to fester, and hope the “95% chance of me getting arthritis in 10 years” doesn’t materialise, but if I square it away then the chances reduce to 5%.  The fact that I’m a right hander doesn’t matter – I need both to change a lens, pick-up heavy things (which I’m pretty good at), play golf, read a book, clean a dish, stick a shelf up, do the mowing, drive a car – so I figure the business case is there.  Either way, though, apparently I’m never doing press-ups again – unless it’s on my knuckles (sweet!).

So I’m biting the bullet and getting it done.  I go in this week.

For the record, I love you all.  But Claire’s my favourite…

Oh yeh – here’s the shot of Darcie on Shoreham beach last weekend.

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Jon & Richelle (updated)

Posted in Friends & family, On Assignment, Weddings by Mike on May 21, 2009
The Main Man.

The Main Man.

Two weeks ago, our mates Jon & Richelle got married at the knock-out venue of Bolton Abbey, near Harrogate.  It was a glorious setting for their big day, with the Abbey sitting amongst the ruins of an ancient priory and River Wharfe running alongside it.

Thankfully, the weather just about spared the happy couple a drenching despite some pretty moody storm clouds and numerous downpours!  Unfortunately, my lovely Mrs couldn’t make it along as Jon & Rish’s day coincided with that of Al & Rudy’s down in Plymouth (typically, you wait all year for a wedding…) but it was a super day and we partied long into the evening back at the hotel.  Much thanks to Pagey who willingly stepped into Claire’s shoes to assist me with my lights, cheers fella!  (you’ve got your successful track record to thank ;O)

So to the new Mr & Mrs S – safe travels around Cambodia guys, can’t wait to hear your stories and we’ve got our fingers crossed for you that the weather out there is kinder for you than it was for us!

M&C x

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Love Stu in this - patiently waiting for Gar to finish pouring!

Love Stu in this - patiently waiting for Gar to finish pouring!

 

To the Schusters!

To the Schusters!

 

"Yes hi.  Can you tell me what time Eurovision starts please?"

"Just make sure the caterers know we need the cake cutting BEFORE Eurovision starts, capiche?"

 

"20 quid on Norway: to win, please"

"Yep - 20 quid on Norway to win, please"

 

Dr Margo, in da house.

The Dr will see you now...

 

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MD of his own PR firm and still wearing velcro shoes!

He still wears velcro shoes as well!

 

I can see you in business here Tommy!

I can see you in business here Tommy!

 

This is the beautiful Bolton Abbey, nr Harrogate.

This is the beautiful Bolton Abbey, nr Harrogate.

 

There have been weddings here for almost a millennia!

There have been weddings here for almost a millennia! (I don't think it's always been the same rector though)

 

Tommy with the Father of the Groom.  It was great seeing Jon's Mum & Dad again.

Tommy with the Father of the Groom. It was great seeing Jon's Mum & Dad again.

 

Wisely, the Abbey's rector insisted Shoestring be frisked for whoopy cushions and bangers.

Wisely, the Abbey's rector insisted Shoestring be frisked for Whoopy Cushions before the service.

 

Who could this be?

Who could this be?

 

Hallelujah!

(Hallelujah! :O)

 

"Oh no!!  I KNEW I should have worn the green one!"

"Oh no!! I KNEW I should have worn the green one!"

 

The Schusters!

The Schusters!

 

A nice moment during the formals

A nice moment during the formals

 

There were a few actually!

There were a few actually!

 

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Jon & Rish with their two nephews. What many of us failed to notice, however......

Jon & Rish with their two nephews. What many of us failed to notice, however......

 

...was the full moon.

...was the full moon!

 

Nice cake.  I saw Stu glugging from the moat!!  LOL

Nice cake. Pretty sure I saw Stu glugging from the moat too!! LOL

 

Dr Margie rockin' the happy couple!

Dr Margie rockin' the happy couple!

 

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Our nation mourns the loss of these silky moves to Singapore!

Our nation mourns the loss of these silky moves to Singapore!

 

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More to come…

Intergalactic Tour Update: the Milky Way and, erm, New Zealand

Posted in Landscapes, Milky Way, New Zealand, Travel by Mike on April 23, 2009
Our Milky Way, above the Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

The Milky Way above the Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand.

For Claire’s birthday, we spent the night star-gazing at the Mount John Observatory on New Zealand’s South Island. The Observatory’s location, in the Mackenzie basin, was chosen because it has very little light pollution and great year-round weather conditions (70% of nights are cloud-free).  A decent place to go star-spotting then!

The picture above, however, was taken a couple of km’s away on the shores of Lake Tekapo where the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd stands.  After we’d been shown around the night sky by the resident astronomers at the Observatory, we headed back to our camper and I set the big gun up on a tripod in the grounds of the church.  It was about 2am when I took this – if you’re interested, I dialed in ISO 6400, f2.8 on my 14-24mm and left the shutter open for 30 seconds.  The church is illuminated by the ambient light from the village nearby.

Then Claire waited patiently with me for the following 30 minute exposure.  The guy at the observatory had helped me to identify the southern celestial pole (there isn’t a star there like there is in the northern hemisphere, which is known as Polaris).  The trails you can see are attributable to the Earth’s rotation during a half-hour period.

 

ISO 6400, f2.8, 30 minutes.

ISO 6400 (should have been lower, rescued it in post), f2.8, 30 minutes.

The thing we both like most about these shots are that they contain 3 galaxies – our own Milky Way which is clearly identifiable, as well as the two Megellanic Cloud galaxies which you can make out to the right of shot in each photo.  There’s an estimated 400 billion stars just in our galaxy and we can only see a fraction of a percent of nearby stars because most aren’t bright enough to reach us.  Minds.  Blown.

Anyways, astronomy lesson over.  Hope you come to terms with it all faster than we did…

Lake Tekapo reflected in the window of the Church of the Good Shepherd.

Back down to Earth. Lake Tekapo reflected in the window of the Church of the Good Shepherd.

 

Spent the day cycling around the "grape bushes" of Malborough.

Spent the day cycling around the "grape bushes" of Malborough. (*snigger*)

 

Had a great afternoon here.

Recommended. Food was as good as the vino here.

 

The Havelock Mussel Festival's Mussel-Eating Competition Loser, 2009.  He kept them down though.

Although not everyone here was enjoying what they ate! This was the Havelock Mussel Festival's Mussel-Eating Competition Loser, 2009!

 

We've just clocked up our 10,000th kilometer.  We remember most of it being on this road!

Just clocked up our 10,000th campervanning kilometer. We remember most of it being on this road!

 

One that was spared the harsh realities of our windscreen.

One that managed to avoid the harsh reality of our windscreen.

 

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These shots were taken by our Rafting co.  Had a blast but it was flippin' cold!

These shots were taken by our Rafting co. Had a blast but it was flippin' cold!

 

One of NZ'z prized natural springs.

One of NZ'z prized natural springs.

 

Nice.

Nice.

 

Mount Cook.  We're guessing this is the Head Chef!

Mount Cook. We're guessing this is the Head Chef!

 

 

Milford Sound.  Yet another totally awesome place, dude.

Milford Sound. Yet another totally awesome place, dude.

 

And you've got Mordor just up the road.

And you've got Mordor just up the road. (And of course "Auckland", where Claire reckons the Orcs came from!)

 

(Something fishy about these mountains)

Je suis artiste.... (there was something fishy about these mountains...)

 

This was a deserted beach that Claire found in Abel Tasman (thanks Zara!).  And we had not one but TWO shags here!

This was a deserted beach that Claire found in Abel Tasman (thanks Zara!). And we had not one but TWO shags on it!!

 

Couldn't tell you what kind of shags they were though, any ideas anyone?

Couldn't tell you what kind of shags they were though, any ideas anyone?

 

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Unbelievably, our trip is now nearing its end.  We head to the land of the rising sun tomorrow and we’re home in less than a week.  So here’s a couple of things to mention before you desert these parts…

1) We’re blogging on… the blog will continue once we’re back home.  I’m enjoying doing it too much to stop and I’ve also got some inordinately exciting photo engagements + opportunities lined up that I’m going to be posting the results from.   So, if you’re interested, stayed tuned!

2) One of them is some one-on-one mentoring that I’ll be getting from Cliff Mautner.  Cliff is a world-class photography veteran with 6000+ assignments to his name and 700+ weddings. He’s Nikon’s Wedding Photographer-in-Chief and, to cap it all off, was just voted one of the world’s top 10 wedding photographers by American Photo.  Check out his site, he’s an absolutely amazing photographer and has some beautiful images there http://www.cmphotography.com.

3) As well as commercial portrait & wedding photography work, I’m looking to regularly undertake pro-bono work for good causes.  If you are closely linked to any charities or good causes, please hit me up in the comments/send an email to mike {at} north dash room dot com/send them here.  Also, if you know of anyone looking for a commercial portrait/wedding photographer, please help to spread the word – the official www.north-room.com website is currently in design!

4) Remember we’re having a few swallies at ours on Saturday 9-May, from 3pm – we’d love to see you all so please come round if you can!

See you soon!

Mike & Claire x

Islabot!

Posted in Australia, Friends & family, On Assignment, Portraits, Travel by Mike on April 11, 2009
No joke, the last time I saw emotion on the face of a puppet like this, Jim Henson had just passed away.

I love you, Islabot!

 

I had the esteemed job of keeping Isla amused during our car trips around Sydders.  She couldn't wait to hear me telling her about Nikon's new 50mm f1.4 AFS.

(And I'll protect you.)

(I had the privilege of keeping Isla amused during our car trips around Sydders. She seemed genuinely taken by my news of Nikon’s new 50mm f1.4 AFS.)

A quick hello from a scorching Western Oz!  We’re 1300kms up from Perth (or Fremantle, rather – I think it might be twinned with Hove, actually) and are hoping to spend some time swimming with Whale Sharks tomorrow (Easter Sunday, don’t hate us too much).  It’s about 500 degrees centigrade here in Exmouth and Claire is nearing such an extreme shade of red that I’m now wearing Night Vision goggles so I don’t lose her.

This is just a quick segway for anyone who knows Lou & Ru (who kindly put us up, entertained and looked after us during our brief interlude in Sydney – thanks a million guys, was really nice to meet you properly) – and also to show you what their daughter Isla now looks like.  This psuedo-photoshoot now holds the record for shortest amount of advance warning (~6 minutes) as well as shortest window to do it (~12 minutes) – despite which we actually managed two wardrobe changes, and that was just for Ru! ;O)  Hope you like them L&R, see you when you get back across the pond.

M&C x

 

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Safe.

Safe.

 

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After a killer press-up sess, Isla hit me with back-to-back sets of ab-crunches and squats.

After a killer press-up set, Isla hit me with back-to-back ab-crunches and squats. ("Try boring me again with camera-talk, mate!")

 

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Claire outside the SOH.  About 4 seconds later the heavens opened.

Claire outside the SOH.

 

I honestly couldn't get the hang of Sydney's helter skelters.

Sydney's helter skelter is absolutely pants. Dead slow and REALLY painful.

 

Strawberries & cream!

Strawberries & cream?

 

Last recorded attack in Bondi: 3 weeks ago.

Was gutted I'd left my speedos on the, ermm, bus.

More to come…

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WTU: Chile & Argentina

Posted in Argentina, Chile, Landscapes, Travel by Mike on April 4, 2009
The awe-inspiring Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina

Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina. In a word, spellbinding.

Claire and I woke up before the sparrows started stretching for this and it was worth every minute of the bracing cold.  We arrived so early that it was still pitch black and we even avoided the Park’s entry fees because security hadn’t woken up.  Save for ourselves, there was nobody there.

Whilst we could barely make out the glacier’s form from the small amount of ambient light its icey exterior gave off, we could hear it loud and clear – its perpetual advancing motion provided a back-drop of gunshot-style explosions as the ice cracked and yielded to pressure from the frigid waters of Lake Argentina which it divides.  It was so eerie seeing the outline of this humungous wall of ice gradually emerging as day broke, particularly with its unique and arresting soundtrack.

If it wasn’t for us chatting to a french couple, Virginie and Théophile, whom we met at our lodgings in Valparaiso, we almost certainly wouldn’t have gone here.  I don’t even think we knew it existed.  But they both insisted that it was worth seeing so we took the 28 hour bus journey to do so.  Bottom-numbing drive aside, it was absolutely marvelous.

Argentina as a whole was actually wonderful.  I have to admit that our potted history with the Argies on the fields of both football and battle presented me with a small number of negative preconceptions about the place but the Argentines were such genuinely nice folk – warm, friendly and thoroughly welcoming.  And what a country – the 8th largest on Earth with a huge array of diversity.  Winelands, mountains, glaciers, beautiful lakes and waterfalls, even world-class archeology, with the largest collection of dinosaur fossils you can find.  Buenos Aires was brilliant too – we tangoed like retards the pros, ate and drank like kings and partied our socks off.  We’ll definitely be coming back here, not least because we only really felt like we scratched the surface.

So now we’re in Perth, Western Australia, and are heading to the beach.  Neither of us can believe how quickly New Zealand came and went, our campervan escapades there were great and we’ll have some shots from there, as well as our short stay with Lou & Ru, up here soon.  Stay tuned…

The Mitchams x

PS – homecoming party at ours on 9-May-09 – everyone welcome.  Hit me up on email if you need our address.

The glacier is an 18 mile long river of ice, 200ft high and up to 4km wide.

260ft high, 5km wide, 0 degrees C.

 

I took this from a hill about six miles away from the glacier.  If you look closely, the tiny black dot in the water just before the glacier is a passenger-carrying catamaran!

I shot this from a hill about six miles away. If you look closely, you might be able to see a tiny black dot in the water just before the glacier. It's a passenger-carrying catamaran.

 

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We went biking around Argentina's lake district (Bariloche) and this was a spot we found for lunch.

To warmer climes, this is a spot we found for lunch whilst biking around San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina.

 

"Yes - I definitely want the chips as well"

"Actually, make it half a portion of fries please, Pepé"

 

Buenos Aires, birthplace of el Che.

Buenos Aires.

 

 

La Boca - where Maradona learned his trade.  There was actually a Maradona look-alike in a bar there who I wanted to photograph with Claire, but she refused.  Don't blame her.  I crunched him in a massive sliding tackle just before we left.

La Boca - where Maradona learned his trade. There was actually a Maradona look-alike in a bar there who I wanted to photograph with Claire, but she refused. Don't blame her. I crunched him in a massive sliding tackle on his way back from the gents.

 

Valparaiso - this was next door to our hostal.  Looks dodgy.  Was dodgy.

Valparaiso, Chile - our hostal is just out of shot to the right. Cool, but a tad on the wrong side of dodge.

 

Claire at "The Three Marys".  This was such a badly shoe-horned naming of three wind-carved pieces of stone that I couldn't bring myself to taking a closer shot.

Claire at the so-called "Three Maries Stones" - naming so tenously shoe-horned in by the Chilleans that I couldn't bring myself to take a closer shot.

 

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A tiny church we came across in the Atacama

A church in the Atacama.

 

"I'm sick of this road always being ramned!"

"Honestly Gary, aren't ewe fed up of this road always being rammed?!"

WTU: Bolivia

Posted in Bolivia, Travel by Mike on March 9, 2009
Salt flat splat flat.

Salt FLAT

G’day from the spare room of Lou & Ru’s house in Sydney!  We arrived here night before last after a 14 hour flight from Buenos Aires and have been spending some quality time with little Isla who is very cute and smiley!

Since our last post we’ve done Argentina, where we dutifully engorged ourselves on mouthwatering steak & lamb and fattened up quite nicely, thanks.  Little bit jet lagged at the mo so I’ll dive straight into the fact that this post is dedicated to the Bolivian leg of our trip.

Having spent a few days in La Paz, we headed down to Uyuni and spent three days cruising through its salt lakes and scenery.  La Paz was interesting to say the least – actually it was downright bizarre in some ways.  We declined the opportunity to take a ‘tour’ of the infamous (self-governing, corrupt) San Pedro prison – some inmates have their wives and children living with them in the cells that they ‘rent’ – and we also passed up the chance to purchase Llama foetuses which the Bolivians bury under new buildings as an offering to the Gods.  (Roller – I’ve got you a six-pack…)

But the Salar de Uyuni was possibly the most bizarre of the lot – as the world’s biggest salt flat, it’s a massive expanse of white salt that stretches as far as the eye can see in hexagonal patterns created through water evaporation.  It took us three days to cross it and also the mountains that fringe it to finally reach the Chilean border.  South America doesn’t do much on a small scale.

Anyhows, here’s some shots of us gooning around there, we’ll have some more from Chile and Argentina up in the next week or two as well.

Hope everyone back home is keeping well – we were dead chuffed to hear Ray, Charls, Susie & Paul’s news of their new nippers, congrats guys, we can’t wait to meet them.  And also happy b’day Dad – have a great one mate, we’ll be thinking about you!

Lots of love to everyone else (we continue to cry ourselves to sleep on a nightly basis thinking about you all).

M&C x

 

"We speak English" proved highly amusing - we paid an extra 50 Bolivianos for an English speaking guide who spoke Spanish the whole way.  When we told him we'd paid extra, he said he did speak English - he just chose not to.

The "We Speak English" claim proved highly amusing - we paid an extra 50 Bolivianos for an English speaking guide/driver who spoke Spanish to us for the whole trip. When we told him we'd paid extra about 30 minutes in, he said he did speak English - he just chose not to.

 

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Note the bullet hole.

Bullet hole duly noted.

 

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Bolivia's train graveyard.

Bolivia's train graveyard.

 

I'm gonna get in there.

Climb on

 

Here I am.

And then in. (Taken shortly before being escorted off the premises)

 

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Claire, Chris & Danielle soul searching after three hours of intensive Spanish narration from Roberto, the 'english speaking' driver.

Claire with Danielle and Chris. We spent some time soul searching after 6 hours of intensive Spanish commentary by our 'english speaking' driver.

 

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Dear Ray & Anne.  I write to report that in a moment of abject hunger, I scoffed your daughter up like Burrito.  Tasted like chicken.

Dear Ray & Anne, I write to report that in a moment of abject hunger, I scoffed your daughter up like a Burrito. Tasted like chicken.

 

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Line

Line & Marie from Denmark. I didn't know that Danish people should never be washed above 40 degrees centigrade.

 

The Bolivians have made inventive use of their most abundant commodity.  Not that weather-proof though.

The Bolivians have made inventive use of their most abundant commodity. Not that weather-proof though.

 

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Yeeeeee hahh!!!!

Song 2?

 

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This is the Salar's Salt Hotel.  Everything is made of salt.  Really wish someone had told us to take our own toilet paper.

This is the Salar's Salt Hotel. Everything is made of salt. Really wish someone had told us to take our own toilet paper.

 

True or False: the word "salary" comes from the fact that in the old days, wages were often paid in salt.

Apparently, the word "salary" comes from the fact that often, in the old days, wages were paid in salt ("salar" - y). And ever heard of someone not being worth their salt? (Thanks to Isla's parents for these timely pieces of triv!)

 

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Fish Island.  Not sure why it's called as such but may have something to do with the salar being a lake thousands of years ago.

Fish Island. Not sure why it's named as such but it may have something to do with the salar being covered in water thousands of years ago.

 

Nice splash of colour.

Some relief from the salar's brilliant white.

 

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I honestly couldn't tell you why we did this.

A combination of heat-stroke and cabin fever?

 

The Bolivia/Chile border.  Bin there.

The Bolivia/Chile border. Bin there.

 

Behold, the legacy of the world's greatest salesman.  An Italian, in the 1920's, took a boat load of bowler hats to Bolivia to sell to the local men.  They didn't want them, so he convinced the women to buy them instead.

Behold, the legacy of the world's greatest salesman. An Italian, in the 1920's, took a boat load of bowler hats to Bolivia to sell to the local men. They didn't want them. So he convinced the women to buy them instead.

 

1/4 of a pound of midget gems please.  Actually, gimme a couple of those Llama foetuses whilst I'm here.

1/4 lb of Midget Gems please, Fernando. Actually, gimme a couple of those Llama foetuses too whilst I'm here.

 

all images copyright North Room Photography.