Turgut Durduran's Site -- about Cyprus, Photography, Linux, LaTeX, Human Rights, Politics ...

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Wed, 11 Jun 2008

I was once called a "Website Wizard".
Many years ago I helped an editor/author (?) can't remember her title while she was putting together a book on Cyprus. I have provided a lot of documentation and information about Cyprus. Few months later she asked for my photo and I found one which was taken right after coming from beach and while eating a nice portion of "seftali kebab". So that is how I ended up in the blurp below.

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From: "Cyprus: Divided Island (World in Conflict)" by Tom Streissguth, Lerner Publishing Group (1998) , ISBN-10: 0822535513

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Sun, 01 Jun 2008

A day at Castelldefels Beach, Spain

Ok, this is meant to be an entry to create a reason to put out a collection of photos I took during a stroll on one day at Castelldefels Beach in Spain.

I am on a travelling spree these days, not necessarily crammed together like this by choice, but since February 2008, my agenda included New Orleans LA, two trips to Tampa FL, Hamilton ON Canada and Casteldeffels Spain. The latter was a trip to visit ICFO- Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques which is a world famous optics/photonics institute. I have been there before but that last time, we decided that spending our time in Barcelona was a better choice and it turned to be an excellent city to visit — my photos on flickr from Barcelona .

This time, being alone and tired of all the travelling, I have decided to use my "get over initial hit of jet-lag" day to take a walk in the town and get to know the place. After all, despite my attempts to hide it, I miss the atmosphere of a relaxed Mediterranean town. A side note here, my colleagues at ICFO think that Casteldeffels can be chaotic with a hellish traffic, I have not seen any of that and I can't imagine it being so bad, specially in comparison to Philadelphia. So I arrived in the morning, ate breakfast, caught up with the sleep I missed due to my red-eye flight and walked to the reception. The receptionist claimed that "downtown" Castelldefels was really far away and instead, I should take a 25 minute walk down the "mountain" (barely a hill) to the beach. Sounds reasonable. So I started walking. Well, within about 5 minutes, I was at the beach so I decided to keep walking along the beach — hey, I can't be blamed for being attracted to Mediterranean. I remembered that last time we were there, October 2008, Eylem asked about the beach and she was told that only crazy northern Europeans would go there during that season. Of course, it was much warmer than ocean water at New Jersey or Florida shores gets even in August. It was pretty idyllic. People were lying around sun tanning — mid-afternoon on a week-day —, few people doing "kite boarding", and few others taking walks. Of course, I immediately noticed existence of topless sun bathers which is quite the norm in Europe but not so in U!S!A!.

My "loooong" walk which was barely 45 minutes and included quite a few breaks led me to the Olympic Canal which I immediately recognized because (a) it is on the other side of the town, (b) near to our previous hotel and ICFO. So turned into one of the streets of the town and walked towards a shopping mall — because I wanted to get some groceries. Picked up some beer, fish-crackers, chocolates, gifts and fruits and ate a quick dinner. Then I asked the waiter about taking a shorter route back to the hotel. He pointed out at "C31" which is more or less a minor highway and told me to walk along that. I thought he meant that there would be a parallel walkway so I followed a couple that was going that way and started walking. No, there was no walkway, people were walking along the shoulder of a minor highway with cars going at 50 mph which would have been fine, if I did not have to cross exit/entry ramps. That was not pleasant so I changed my path and walked along the beach.

Why did I bother with all this writing? If nothing else, to tell you not to listen to Spanish people when they tell you that things are far away or very cold or are walkable. And like any random person writing about a foreign place, I am generalizing based on single incidents of each, so you better ignore it.

I did not take very many photos in this part except the following;

My wild guess is that they were either Gypsies or people from some Slavic country. They were having a very loud argument and I was high up on an overpass. I am guessing based on their movements, dresses and my exposure to Emir Kusturica movies
My wild guess is that they were either Gypsies or people from some Slavic country. They were having a very loud argument and I was high up on an overpass. I am guessing based on their movements, dresses and my exposure to Emir Kusturica movies
You do not get to see this in a place like Philadelphia. Even in my neighborhood where many people who discourage use of electric dryers for environment's sake, this sight does not exist.
You do not get to see this in a place like Philadelphia. Even in my neighborhood where many people who discourage use of electric dryers for environment's sake, this sight does not exist.
I just had to take this photo of a bumper sticker. After all, I was called the "donkey dung kid" once upon a time.
I just had to take this photo of a bumper sticker. After all, I was called the "donkey dung kid" once upon a time.
You do not see many "Jesus fish" bumper stickers in Spain, but I saw this grafitti
You do not see many "Jesus fish" bumper stickers in Spain, but I saw this grafitti
As you can see, it was getting late with long-shadows and I started feeling bad that I did not have my D70 along.  This is parallel to the beach which I tried since I was afraid of the sand.
As you can see, it was getting late with long-shadows and I started feeling bad that I did not have my D70 along. This is parallel to the beach which I tried since I was afraid of the sand.
More long shadows and this was the beginning of a day of silouhuettes. I seem to be experimenting with those more and more.
More long shadows and this was the beginning of a day of silouhuettes. I seem to be experimenting with those more and more.
My very wild guess is that this couple was also trying to decide whether to move to the sandy part or stay on this path.
My very wild guess is that this couple was also trying to decide whether to move to the sandy part or stay on this path.
No comment
No comment
This dog was quite restless and I do not blame him, there was a lot of action few meters away on the sand.
This dog was quite restless and I do not blame him, there was a lot of action few meters away on the sand.
Watch out, a plane may hit you!
Watch out, a plane may hit you!
Or another plane may deafen you. I think this is a campaign and I am lazy to look it up.
Or another plane may deafen you. I think this is a campaign and I am lazy to look it up.
I have never seen one of these. They use a solid plastic instead of the net. Nevertheless, it is cool to have public table tennis.
I have never seen one of these. They use a solid plastic instead of the net. Nevertheless, it is cool to have public table tennis.
And I could not stay off the sand for much longer.
And I could not stay off the sand for much longer.

And here comes the interesting part, it was very windy, it was already past 6pm, and idyllic beach had hundreds (yes, literally) of men and women doing kite boarding, playing volleyball, basketball, Frisbee and taking their dogs for walks. And a loooot of sand flying in the air. It had the vague feeling of being in a desert instead of being at the beach. The sky was not as dark as these photos depict but I felt like emphasizing the sand instead of the sunshine.

Now you know why I was afraid of the sand.

It makes sense that a windy day means a good excuse for kite boarding , I did not see that many of them the next day. It took me a while

to figure out how exactly they were doing this. It is quite elaborate and tough it seems. Some people were really good. They were pulling of nice jumps. Again, too bad I did not have my D70 with my variety of lenses with me — probably I would have never made it back to the hotel before dark. Wikipedia has quite a bit on "kite boarding".

And people...

First I thought that this lady was doing a prayer, but when I got nearer, her hair was not covered and she appeared to be doing some sort of a yoga instead. I like the contrast of the two people in the first photo.

Sports, games ...

Kids loved playing in the sand with their parents.
Kids loved playing in the sand with their parents.
This dog was quite well trained. The owner played fetch with it but with strict rules.
This dog was quite well trained. The owner played fetch with it but with strict rules.
Football at the beach -- fine soccer -- is fun.
Football at the beach -- fine soccer -- is fun.

And the best one for the end. This person took really long time to change.

These photos are also posted as a separate set on flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ulugeyik/sets/72157605384884969/.

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