BOLIVIA - Cordillera Real and Sajama National Park

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Great thanks to the awesome: www.bolivianmountainguides.com.  I was very happy and impressed with their service and professionalism. 

 Photo by Eduardo from the Bolivian Mountain Guides

Photo by Eduardo from the Bolivian Mountain Guides

 Huayna Potosi and an old cemetery of miners 

Huayna Potosi and an old cemetery of miners 

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 Looking towards Lake Titicaca from Peak Austria

Looking towards Lake Titicaca from Peak Austria

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 The top pf Pico Austria

The top pf Pico Austria

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 Condoriri 5,648m from Pico Austria 5,350 also known as the Matterhorn of Bolivia.

Condoriri 5,648m from Pico Austria 5,350 also known as the Matterhorn of Bolivia.

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 sunrise on the Pequeno Alpamayo 5,434m.

sunrise on the Pequeno Alpamayo 5,434m.

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 Pequeno Alpamayo - direct route

Pequeno Alpamayo - direct route

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 Summit of Pequeno Alpamayo.

Summit of Pequeno Alpamayo.

 Acohuma and Chachacomani from the summit of Pequeno Alpamayo. 

Acohuma and Chachacomani from the summit of Pequeno Alpamayo. 

 The large bulky mountain is Chachacomani 6,074m fromt he summit of Pequeno Alpamayo. 

The large bulky mountain is Chachacomani 6,074m fromt he summit of Pequeno Alpamayo. 

 Innominado 5,320m seen from the summit of Pequeno Alpamayo.

Innominado 5,320m seen from the summit of Pequeno Alpamayo.

 View of the Cordillera Real looking north from Pequeno Alpamayo.

View of the Cordillera Real looking north from Pequeno Alpamayo.

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 The summit ridge of Pequeno Alpamayo 5,434m.

The summit ridge of Pequeno Alpamayo 5,434m.

 Pequeno Alpamayo 5,434m

Pequeno Alpamayo 5,434m

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 Volcan Sajama 6,520m

Volcan Sajama 6,520m

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 Volcanoes Parinacota and Pomerade

Volcanoes Parinacota and Pomerade

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 Laguna Atla in Lauca National Park in Chile

Laguna Atla in Lauca National Park in Chile

 Volcan Sajama

Volcan Sajama

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 Sajama Village with Volcan Sajama in the background

Sajama Village with Volcan Sajama in the background

 Volcan Acotango from Sajama Village

Volcan Acotango from Sajama Village

 The base camp of Volcan Sajama at 4,800m

The base camp of Volcan Sajama at 4,800m

 The road to the trail head on Acotango.  The road was built and is maintained by the government owned sulfur mine.

The road to the trail head on Acotango.  The road was built and is maintained by the government owned sulfur mine.

 Volcan Sajama and sunrise on Acotango

Volcan Sajama and sunrise on Acotango

 Volcanoes Parinacota and Pomerade and Chungara Lake in Chile from Acotango 

Volcanoes Parinacota and Pomerade and Chungara Lake in Chile from Acotango 

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 Volcan Acotango

Volcan Acotango

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BOLIVIA - Tiwanaku and La Paz

The ancient ruins of Tiwanaku are  located in Bolivia, near Lake Titicaca, at an altitude of almost 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level, making it one of the highest urban centers ever constructed.  The city reached its peak between roughly A.D. 500 and A.D. 1000 and had at least 10,000 people living in it.  At this point only a small portion of the city has been excavated. 

Some remarkable artifacts have been discovered and examined at Tiahuanaco, not the least of which was a large monolithic Sun Gate which must have been an important part of the Kalasasaya, the chief temple of the ancient city. Its upper part is covered with an intricate sculpture that has been described as a calendar almost as long as the monolithic gateway. In fact, the Sun Gate has also been called the Calendar Gate. This calendar sculpture depicts a solar year, but not one that fits into the solar year as we know it.

 

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Canada - Alberta

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 Mt. Nestor 

Mt. Nestor 

 Mt. Joffre 

Mt. Joffre 

 Mt. Joffre

Mt. Joffre

 Mt. Joffre

Mt. Joffre

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 The basecamp for Mt. Joffre

The basecamp for Mt. Joffre

 Cirque Peak 

Cirque Peak 

 Wapta Icefield from Cirque Peak

Wapta Icefield from Cirque Peak

 Lake O'Hara from lower slopes of Mt. Huber

Lake O'Hara from lower slopes of Mt. Huber

 Mt. Huber

Mt. Huber

 View from Huber Victoria Col

View from Huber Victoria Col

 Basecamp for Mt. Huber and Mt. Victoria

Basecamp for Mt. Huber and Mt. Victoria

 Mt. Huber 

Mt. Huber 

 The summit of Mt. Victoria

The summit of Mt. Victoria

 Mt. Victoria summit ridge

Mt. Victoria summit ridge

 Lake Louise from the summit of Mt. Victoria 

Lake Louise from the summit of Mt. Victoria 

 Lake Oesa

Lake Oesa

 The summit of the Tower of Babel 

The summit of the Tower of Babel 

 Consolation Lakes

Consolation Lakes

 The Valley of 10 Peaks

The Valley of 10 Peaks

 Sentinel Pass

Sentinel Pass

 Kananaskis Country from the summit of Mt. Chester

Kananaskis Country from the summit of Mt. Chester

 Mt. Chester and Chester Lake area

Mt. Chester and Chester Lake area

 Lake Louise and Mt. Victoria 

Lake Louise and Mt. Victoria 

 Mt. Lefroy and the Death Trap glacier leading to the Abbot Hut

Mt. Lefroy and the Death Trap glacier leading to the Abbot Hut

 The summit of Mt. Joffre

The summit of Mt. Joffre

 Pink snow on the Wapta Icefield

Pink snow on the Wapta Icefield

 Wapita Icefield

Wapita Icefield

 The Iceline trail and the Yoho Valley from Mt. Rhonda

The Iceline trail and the Yoho Valley from Mt. Rhonda

 Wapita Icefield from Mt. Rhonda

Wapita Icefield from Mt. Rhonda

 Peyto Lake from Mt. Rhonda, small blue Peyto hut is visible below

Peyto Lake from Mt. Rhonda, small blue Peyto hut is visible below

 Mt. Rundle 

Mt. Rundle 

 En route to Mt. Woolley

En route to Mt. Woolley

 The Twins Tower from the Woolley Shoulder 

The Twins Tower from the Woolley Shoulder 

 Mt. Alberta 

Mt. Alberta 

 Mt. Alberta

Mt. Alberta

 Mt. Alberta

Mt. Alberta

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 Twins Tower and Mt. Columbia in the distance 

Twins Tower and Mt. Columbia in the distance 

 Mt. Little Alberta

Mt. Little Alberta

 Mt. Athabasca from Nigel Peak

Mt. Athabasca from Nigel Peak

 View to the north from Nigel Peak

View to the north from Nigel Peak

 Mt. Kitchener and Snowdme 

Mt. Kitchener and Snowdme 

 Mt. Andromeda and the Athabasca Glacier from Nigel Peak

Mt. Andromeda and the Athabasca Glacier from Nigel Peak

 The pass between Moraine Lake and Lake McArthur

The pass between Moraine Lake and Lake McArthur

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 At the Abbot Pass

At the Abbot Pass

 The Abbot Hut - Alpine Club of Canada 

The Abbot Hut - Alpine Club of Canada 

 Lake O'Hara from the slopes of Mt. Lefroy 

Lake O'Hara from the slopes of Mt. Lefroy 

 Mt. Lefroy 

Mt. Lefroy 

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 Mt. Lefroy - the view of Mt. Victoria

Mt. Lefroy - the view of Mt. Victoria

 Mt. Victoria from Mt. Lefroy 

Mt. Victoria from Mt. Lefroy 

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 The Goodsirs from Mt. Lefroy 

The Goodsirs from Mt. Lefroy 

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 Mt. Athabasca and Mt. Andromeda

Mt. Athabasca and Mt. Andromeda

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 Bow Lake from the Bow Summit

Bow Lake from the Bow Summit

 Bow Lake from the Observation PEak

Bow Lake from the Observation PEak

 Ha Lin Peak in winter

Ha Lin Peak in winter

 Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

 Mt. Temple summit in early winter

Mt. Temple summit in early winter

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 Photo by Tyler Stalman

Photo by Tyler Stalman

 Photo by Tyler Stalman

Photo by Tyler Stalman

 Bow Lake

Bow Lake

 En route to the Abbot Hut

En route to the Abbot Hut

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The Grand Brazeau 

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 Bow Lake from Mt. Jimmy Simpson 

Bow Lake from Mt. Jimmy Simpson 

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 Grizly Peak in the Kananaskis Country

Grizly Peak in the Kananaskis Country

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 Peyto Lake 

Peyto Lake 

 Peyto Glacier

Peyto Glacier

 Mt. Lougheed 

Mt. Lougheed 

 Hector Lake from Mt. Little Hector 

Hector Lake from Mt. Little Hector 

 On the summit of Storm Mountain 

On the summit of Storm Mountain 

 Elizabeth Parker Hut at Lake O'Hara 

Elizabeth Parker Hut at Lake O'Hara 

 Photo by Tyler Stalman

Photo by Tyler Stalman

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 Mt. Edith Cavell 

Mt. Edith Cavell 

 Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

 Mt. Edith Cavell  summit ridge.  The Tonquin Valley is visible on the right.

Mt. Edith Cavell  summit ridge.  The Tonquin Valley is visible on the right.

 Spirit Island on the Maligne Lake 

Spirit Island on the Maligne Lake 

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 The Iceline  trail in the Yoho National Park.  Takawa Falls is in the valley below.

The Iceline  trail in the Yoho National Park.  Takawa Falls is in the valley below.

 Mt. Woolley and Mt. Diadem 

Mt. Woolley and Mt. Diadem 

 The Ramparts of the Tonquin Valley 

The Ramparts of the Tonquin Valley 

 Mt. Alberta 

Mt. Alberta 

 On the Peyto Glacier 

On the Peyto Glacier 

 Mt. Aberdeen, Mt. Lefroy and Mt. Victoria from Mt. Fairview 

Mt. Aberdeen, Mt. Lefroy and Mt. Victoria from Mt. Fairview 

 Mt. Assinibone 

Mt. Assinibone 

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 The view from Mt. Temple, the Valley of 10 Peaks and the Paradise Valley 

The view from Mt. Temple, the Valley of 10 Peaks and the Paradise Valley 

 The summit ridge of Mt. Temple with Lake Moraine below

The summit ridge of Mt. Temple with Lake Moraine below

 The view of Mt. Nestor and The Spray Lake in the Kananaskis Country

The view of Mt. Nestor and The Spray Lake in the Kananaskis Country

 The view of Bow Lake from the Bow Summit 

The view of Bow Lake from the Bow Summit 

 Mt. Hector and Little Hector 

Mt. Hector and Little Hector 

 Mt. Rhonda from the Peyto Glacier 

Mt. Rhonda from the Peyto Glacier 

 The Peyto Lake

The Peyto Lake

 The Basecamp for Mt. Brazeau 

The Basecamp for Mt. Brazeau 

 The Grand Brazeau 

The Grand Brazeau 

 The view from the summit of Mt. Brazeau

The view from the summit of Mt. Brazeau

 Maligne Lake, Mt. Warren and Mt. Brazeau 

Maligne Lake, Mt. Warren and Mt. Brazeau 

 The summit ridge of Mt. Edith Cavell

The summit ridge of Mt. Edith Cavell

 Upper Paradise Valley seen from Mt. Temple 

Upper Paradise Valley seen from Mt. Temple 

 Moraine Lake from Mt. Temple

Moraine Lake from Mt. Temple

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 En route to Lake O'Hara

En route to Lake O'Hara

 Mt. Huber and Mt. Victoria

Mt. Huber and Mt. Victoria

 Mt. Lefroy and Lake O'Hara in winter 

Mt. Lefroy and Lake O'Hara in winter 

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 Ha Ling Peak and the Three Sisters from Mt. Rundle above Canmore 

Ha Ling Peak and the Three Sisters from Mt. Rundle above Canmore 

 Mt. Rundle 

Mt. Rundle 

 Mt. Lougheed 

Mt. Lougheed 

 Kananaskis Country

Kananaskis Country

 Spray Lake from Mt. Lougheed 

Spray Lake from Mt. Lougheed 

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 Waterton Lakes National Park 

Waterton Lakes National Park 

 Cameron Lake in the Waterton Park

Cameron Lake in the Waterton Park

 Waterton Park

Waterton Park

 Mt. Warren and Maligne Lake 

Mt. Warren and Maligne Lake 

 Maligne Lake 

Maligne Lake 

 Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake

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 Maligne Lake 

Maligne Lake 

 Observation Peak 

Observation Peak 

 The summit ridge of the Observation Peak looking north

The summit ridge of the Observation Peak looking north

 The view of Bow Peak and Mt. Temple in the distance from the Observation Peak 

The view of Bow Peak and Mt. Temple in the distance from the Observation Peak 

 Bow Lake 

Bow Lake 

 Bow Lake 

Bow Lake 

 The view from Mt. Jimmy Simpson 

The view from Mt. Jimmy Simpson 

 Wapta Icefield from Mt. Jimmy Simpson 

Wapta Icefield from Mt. Jimmy Simpson 

 The view of the Peyto Glacier from Mt. Jimmy Simpson 

The view of the Peyto Glacier from Mt. Jimmy Simpson 

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 Bow Lake

Bow Lake

 Bow Lake

Bow Lake

 Bow Lake 

Bow Lake 

 Mt. President in Yoho National Park

Mt. President in Yoho National Park

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Togo and Benin

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 Benin

Benin

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Accra, Ghana

Accra, Ghana

 Lome, Togo

Lome, Togo

 Lome, Togo

Lome, Togo

 Lome, Togo

Lome, Togo

 Lome, Togo

Lome, Togo

 Togo

Togo

 Togo

Togo

 Togo

Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Local market in Sokode, Togo

Local market in Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Main square in Sokode, Togo

Main square in Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Togo

Togo

 Togo

Togo

 Ouidah, Benin

Ouidah, Benin

 Togo

Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 Sokode, Togo

Sokode, Togo

 The Royal Palaces of Dahomey, Togo

The Royal Palaces of Dahomey, Togo

 Ouidah, Benin

Ouidah, Benin

 Benin

Benin

 Ghana

Ghana

 Mother and son in Northern Benin

Mother and son in Northern Benin

 Ouidah, Benin, the road of no return

Ouidah, Benin, the road of no return

 Ouidah, Benin

Ouidah, Benin

 Benin

Benin

 Gamvie, Benin

Gamvie, Benin

 Gamvie, Benin

Gamvie, Benin

 Gamvie, Benin

Gamvie, Benin

 Benin

Benin

 Benin

Benin

 Benin

Benin

 The sand of the African Gold Coast

The sand of the African Gold Coast

 Kumasi, Ghana

Kumasi, Ghana

 Volta River, Ghana

Volta River, Ghana

Benin - Voodoo Festival

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 Zangbeto - the guardians of the night in the Voodoo religion. According to the Yoruba tribe tradition, there are no people under the haystack costume, only the spirits of the night.  Zangbeto are a source of wisdom and continuity. 

Zangbeto - the guardians of the night in the Voodoo religion. According to the Yoruba tribe tradition, there are no people under the haystack costume, only the spirits of the night.  Zangbeto are a source of wisdom and continuity. 

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 Voodoo priestess 

Voodoo priestess 

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 Drummers waiting for their turn in the voodoo ceremony

Drummers waiting for their turn in the voodoo ceremony

 The Voodoo Pope

The Voodoo Pope

 Voodoo priest

Voodoo priest

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Ghana - The Gold Coast and the Land of the Ashanti

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 Street furniture store in Accra, Ghana

Street furniture store in Accra, Ghana

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 Fancy coffins made to order in Ghana - this one is for a photo enthusiast

Fancy coffins made to order in Ghana - this one is for a photo enthusiast

 A coffin for a beer enthusiast

A coffin for a beer enthusiast

 One of many colourful street vendors in Accra, Ghana

One of many colourful street vendors in Accra, Ghana

 Accra, Ghana

Accra, Ghana

 Accra ocean front

Accra ocean front

 Accra, Ghana

Accra, Ghana

 Accra Street

Accra Street

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 Ghana, the land of smiles

Ghana, the land of smiles

 Accra, Ghana

Accra, Ghana

 Strong core in Accra, Gahana

Strong core in Accra, Gahana

 Street vendor in Accra

Street vendor in Accra

 Largest recycling dump in the world.  All sorts of appliances, computers, cars etc are taken apart and resold for scrap.  It is a toxic and tedious job.  

Largest recycling dump in the world.  All sorts of appliances, computers, cars etc are taken apart and resold for scrap.  It is a toxic and tedious job.  

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 Recycling 101

Recycling 101

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 The workers burn plastic cables to separate copper wiring for scrap.  Toxic and dangerous.

The workers burn plastic cables to separate copper wiring for scrap.  Toxic and dangerous.

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 Accra water front

Accra water front

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 Fishing boats in Accra

Fishing boats in Accra

 Mending the nets

Mending the nets

 Local girls getting water in the morning from the River Volta

Local girls getting water in the morning from the River Volta

 Volta River

Volta River

 Religious signs like this one are everywhere in Gahana

Religious signs like this one are everywhere in Gahana

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 The Land of the Ashanti in Kumasi, Ghana

The Land of the Ashanti in Kumasi, Ghana

 The King of Ashanti

The King of Ashanti

 At the audience with the Ashanti king

At the audience with the Ashanti king

 An Ashanti chief with a big umbrela

An Ashanti chief with a big umbrela

 An Ashanti elder 

An Ashanti elder 

 Ashanti chiefs, the bigger the umbrella, the more important the chief.

Ashanti chiefs, the bigger the umbrella, the more important the chief.

 Chiefs and the Kente cloth

Chiefs and the Kente cloth

 The King's musicians

The King's musicians

 ? (a walking salad bar) ?

? (a walking salad bar) ?

 Ashanti King's procession, the keys to the kingdom 

Ashanti King's procession, the keys to the kingdom 

 The King is coming - the horn blowers

The King is coming - the horn blowers

 King's advisors

King's advisors

 The King has the biggest umbrellas!

The King has the biggest umbrellas!

 King's guard

King's guard

 King's gold

King's gold

 Chewing gum for the chiefs 

Chewing gum for the chiefs 

 The largest market in Africa is in Kumasi

The largest market in Africa is in Kumasi

 Local barber shop 

Local barber shop 

 After hours, the streets of Kumasi turn into one huge open market.  Recycled clothing from Europe and the USA is everywhere.

After hours, the streets of Kumasi turn into one huge open market.  Recycled clothing from Europe and the USA is everywhere.

 Trying to make a living by selling used clothing in Kumasi

Trying to make a living by selling used clothing in Kumasi

 Kakum National Park Canopy walk

Kakum National Park Canopy walk

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 The Gold Coast of Ghana, the source of slaves for 400 years.  A beautiful coast but too dangerous for swimming due to strong currents and sharks.

The Gold Coast of Ghana, the source of slaves for 400 years.  A beautiful coast but too dangerous for swimming due to strong currents and sharks.

 Finishing is a big business in Elmina, Ghana

Finishing is a big business in Elmina, Ghana

 Drying fish in Elmina, Ghana; the Elmina slave castle is in the background

Drying fish in Elmina, Ghana; the Elmina slave castle is in the background

 The Elmina slave castle built by the Portuguese in 1481

The Elmina slave castle built by the Portuguese in 1481

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 The slave castle of Elmina.  It was used as a set in the movie "Cobra Verde" by Werner Herzog.

The slave castle of Elmina.  It was used as a set in the movie "Cobra Verde" by Werner Herzog.

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 Koffi, our leader

Koffi, our leader

 The cell of death where rebellious slaves were starved to death in the Elmina slave castle

The cell of death where rebellious slaves were starved to death in the Elmina slave castle

 Slave holding cells from where they were led to waiting ships in the Elmina slave castle

Slave holding cells from where they were led to waiting ships in the Elmina slave castle

 Salve holding cells in the Elmina slave castle

Salve holding cells in the Elmina slave castle

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 Salve branding iron, Cape Coast slavery museum

Salve branding iron, Cape Coast slavery museum

 Elmina

Elmina

 Elmina

Elmina

 Elmina

Elmina

 The slave castle of Cape Coast built and operated by the British

The slave castle of Cape Coast built and operated by the British

 Cape Coast

Cape Coast

 Cape Coast

Cape Coast

 The slave castle of Cape Coast

The slave castle of Cape Coast

 Cape Coast

Cape Coast

 Cape Coast

Cape Coast

 Kids doing acrobatic tricks 

Kids doing acrobatic tricks 

 Elmina fishing port

Elmina fishing port

 Elmina fishing port

Elmina fishing port

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 The fishing port on the market day in a busy place

The fishing port on the market day in a busy place

 A balancing act

A balancing act

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 Business women

Business women

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 St. James Castle in Elmina

St. James Castle in Elmina

 St. James Castle in Elmina

St. James Castle in Elmina

 The view of Elmina Fort from the St. James Castle in Elmina

The view of Elmina Fort from the St. James Castle in Elmina

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 Ghana - the land of smiles

Ghana - the land of smiles

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 The beautiful coast of Ghana

The beautiful coast of Ghana

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Nepal - Annapurna Sanctuary Photos

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 Start of our walk from Trisulli Bazar

Start of our walk from Trisulli Bazar

 Dhaulagiri at sunrise 

Dhaulagiri at sunrise 

 Dhaulagiri

Dhaulagiri

 Dhaulagiri II

Dhaulagiri II

 Annapurna IV

Annapurna IV

 The sunrise over the eastern hills of NEpal

The sunrise over the eastern hills of NEpal

 A book about Alex Macintyre who died on Annapurna I 

A book about Alex Macintyre who died on Annapurna I 

 En route to Annapurna BC - Siduwa Teahouse 

En route to Annapurna BC - Siduwa Teahouse 

 Typical accommodations along the trail.  No stars but no tent either :-)

Typical accommodations along the trail.  No stars but no tent either :-)

 The all to the Annapurna BC follows a deep gorge with spectacular waterfalls 

The all to the Annapurna BC follows a deep gorge with spectacular waterfalls 

 Hinchuli - the south east flank 

Hinchuli - the south east flank 

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 The last teahouse before the ABC 

The last teahouse before the ABC 

 Annapurna IV 

Annapurna IV 

 Annapurna I in all its splendour - 10,000ft of steep wall 

Annapurna I in all its splendour - 10,000ft of steep wall 

 Looking down the Annapurna Glacier.  The pointy peak on the right is Machapuchare. 

Looking down the Annapurna Glacier.  The pointy peak on the right is Machapuchare. 

 Annapurna BC, the actual climbing BC is at the foot of the mountain - another day walk from here. 

Annapurna BC, the actual climbing BC is at the foot of the mountain - another day walk from here. 

 Annapurna I and the Annapurna Glacier 

Annapurna I and the Annapurna Glacier 

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 The icefall of Annapurna IV and Himalchuli 

The icefall of Annapurna IV and Himalchuli 

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 The Fang 

The Fang 

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 The Heliport at the Annapurna BC 

The Heliport at the Annapurna BC 

 Look what I found! 

Look what I found! 

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 It was great to do this trek with Kumar - we shared so many adventures

It was great to do this trek with Kumar - we shared so many adventures

 Annapurna I 

Annapurna I 

 Machapuchare 

Machapuchare 

 Annapurna I at sunrise 

Annapurna I at sunrise 

 Our ride! 

Our ride! 

 Annapurna IV from the helicopter.  On the far right is the Fang. 

Annapurna IV from the helicopter.  On the far right is the Fang. 

 Himalchuli and the icefall

Himalchuli and the icefall

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 Annapurna I and the Annapurna Glacier from the helicopter. 

Annapurna I and the Annapurna Glacier from the helicopter. 

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 The Roc Noir.  Gangapurna is on the far right.   See the Mesocanto La photos for the photos of these peaks from the other side! 

The Roc Noir.  Gangapurna is on the far right.   See the Mesocanto La photos for the photos of these peaks from the other side! 

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 Annapurna I on the left 

Annapurna I on the left 

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 Gangapurna - the triangular peak at the top of the photo 

Gangapurna - the triangular peak at the top of the photo 

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 Gangapurna 

Gangapurna 

 Annapurna III - the mountains not he horizon are not he border of Nepal and Tibet (China)

Annapurna III - the mountains not he horizon are not he border of Nepal and Tibet (China)

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 The north face of Machapuchare 

The north face of Machapuchare 

 Annapurna II - almost 8,000m high 

Annapurna II - almost 8,000m high 

 Pokhara Airport 

Pokhara Airport 

 Machapuchare from Pokhara 

Machapuchare from Pokhara 

Annapurna Sanctuary Trip Summary

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October 31, 2017 Marfa Tatopani 1,190m – Shita 1,935m

We hired a jeep in Marfa to take Walid, Diana, Kumar and me to Tatopani and to take David and Gilles to Pokhara.  We left Marfa early in the morning and arrived in Tatopani around 12.30 pm.  We drove through the Kali Gandaki gorge, which is the deepest gorge in the world.  We had fantastic views of the Dhaulagiri east face and the spectacular icefall that I saw from the Mesocanto Pass in 2011.  We also had dramatic views of the gorge with steep drop-offs to the raging river below. 

We reached the dusty and dumpy Tatopani where we had a good lunch and some decent pastry.  After lunch, Diana, Walid and I hugged and said tearful goodbye to David and Gilles, then started our Annapurna Sanctuary trek.   I was not in the mood for more walking as my body was in the “relaxation mode” already.  Without doing any prior research, I was anticipating an easy stroll to the Sanctuary, 3 days max on a flat trail, as it was one of the most popular treks in Nepal.  No problem! I could do it in my sleep without trying.  Just a side hop to the Sanctuary and back.  Right…

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My naïve assumptions were shattered fast.  After lunch we started walking up to Shita.  It was hot, shirt-drenching humid, overcast and muggy. We walked passed the really dumpy Tatopani hot spring (Tatopani in Nepalese means hot water).   We walked up some shortcuts between the twists and turns in the road for 700 vertical meters.  I was drenched in sweat.  The walk was rather boring but some of the late afternoon views were nice.  We could see higher peaks obscured by the afternoon clouds.  We arrived in Shita in late afternoon to a busy teahouse.  The teahouse was packed and the place had a completely different feel from the Dhaulagiri circuit that I just finished.  It was a busy, commercialized and very touristy part of Nepal.  Kind of Shitty, Shita style.

November 1, 2017 Shita – Ghorepani 2,900m

We walked up for another 900m on a stone staircase all the way to Ghorepani.  Step after step, stairs all the way.  There was not much to see, although we did walk through some nice villages with friendly locals.  Overall the place was very clean and well-marked.  The beautiful Dhaulagiri massif dominated the skyline.  Had this been my first trek in Nepal, I would probably be very impressed. Given my recent experience though, it was just a place to walk through.  A good example of hedonic adaptation.    

The walk to Ghorepani was very fast for me as I was well acclimatized.   I covered the distance in 2.5 hours and had to wait for Walid and Diana for almost an hour.   In Ghorepani we passed the time by sitting around in the crowded teahouse with a couple from Spain and watching Walid entertaining the patrons. Ghorepani is a collection of modern large teahouses or hotels targeting mass tourism.   The village is only a one-day walk from the road to Pokhara and thus it is very popular.  

In the teahouse, I made a mistake of eating a fresh salad and got quite sick.  Since I did not feel well, I did not have the energy to walk up to Poon Hill for the fabled sunrise view.  It turned out that it was a good thing, as Poon Hill was crawling with people like an anthill.   There were hundreds of people in a small space competing for a photo of the same view.    So far this trek had too many people but it was to be expected.

November 2, 2017 Ghorepani – Torapani 2,710m

I got up this morning to walk to Poon Hill but I could not do it.  I turned around and walked back to the hotel against the mass of humanity making their way up the hill.  The stomach affliction drained the energy out of me completely.  After Diana returned from the Poon Hill, we set off to Torapani, 5 hours away.  

I was wondering how on earth I would be able to do it as I was operating at 15% capacity.  First, the crowds heading out of Ghorepani were overwhelming:  shoulder to shoulder in a long lineup of hikers so tightly packed that it was impossible to pass any of them.

It was horrible walking up the hill feeling sick and weak.   I had to stop often as I was completely drained of energy.  The views were nice and pastoral but compared to what we saw in Dhaulagiri, it was nothing special.  I was hoping that the Annapurna basecamp was worth the trouble of getting to.  I wanted to do this trek for a long time to cross it off my list.  I started to realize that it was not really a wilderness experience but an experience in crowd walking with crowded teahouses, souvenir stalls and so-so views. 

We arrived in Torapani in late afternoon.  In Torapani we stayed at the Annapurna Guest House, a dumpy place but with a bed and that was all I needed. I slept well all night and I regained most of my energy.