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Tuesday 30 June 2015

Tinside Lido

Tinside Lido.

Location: Plymouth, Devon, England
Address: Hoe Road
Date: Oct 2007
Website:  www.everyoneactive.com

   Tinside Lido is a sea water swimming pool located on the Plymouth Hoe.  The pool takes in water from the surrounding bay, some of which is pumped up into a fountain at the center.  It was built in 1935 and was closed for much needed renovations in 1992.  It re-opened a few years prior to our visit in 2007.  The lido had its Art Deco design fully restored, back to how it appeared when they held beauty contests there or bands performed overlooking the pool.  The word "lido" is used for an outdoor swimming pool and the area around it.  You may most often hear it used on cruise ships to represent the level with the pool.  "Please join us on the Lido Deck this morning at 10 AM for our aquarobics program."
  Tinside Lido is open during the summer months and many of the children from Plymouth have fond memories of  swimming here.  They would be able to look out into the sea, but be protected by the barrier the pool provided.  When we walked along The Hoe with a member of our English family, the pool was closed for the season.  Coincidentally, both our English family member and the Tinside Lido celebrate their 80th birthday this year.
Happy Birthday!

View Along Hoe Road above Tinside Lido.

Map of Our World
Tinside Lido

Post # 60

Thursday 25 June 2015

10 Birds That Might Steal Your Breakfast in Maui

Please do not feed the birds.
  1. Sparrow
  2. Myna
  3. Red Crested Cardinal
  4. Swan
  5. Flamingo
  6. Parrot
  7. Cattle Egret
  8. Black Crowned Night Heron
  9. Penguin
  10. Nene
  You need to always be on the lookout and whatever you do, do not go back to the buffet and leave your plate unattended.  Think that an extra slice of toast would go well with your bacon and eggs?  Think again!  By the time you return, there might be nothing left on your plate.  If there is anything left it has already been worked over by tiny beaks and feet.  This is a list of birds to keep an eye out for.  Our experience was at the Hyatt Regency Maui, but you should be cautious anywhere on this Hawaiian island.

1 ) Sparrow
Sparrow on a plate.

Sparrows are the most abundant and never miss a chance to share in the buffet.  As soon as someone gets up from their seat, sparrows descend onto their plate and start picking through the leftovers.  At the bottom of this post are 2 videos of sparrows caught in the act.

2)  Myna
Myna and sparrows enjoy the buffet.

Myna birds fight their way through all the sparrows to get at your plate.  One of these birds can clear your plate faster than a whole team of sparrows.  In the video at the bottom of this post you can see a myna easily steal the majority of a plate of eggs.

3)  Red-Crested Cardinal
May I please sample a taste of your breakfast?

This is the prettiest and politest of the breakfast thieves.  They were not as bold as the sparrows and myna and we only spotted them near the tables outside.

4)  Swan
I hearby sentence you to giving me half of your breakfast.

The name of the breakfast area was called Swan Court. The swans kept watch in the water just a few steps away from some of the tables.  There wasn't much preventing them from coming over to join you for breakfast.

5)  Flamingo
Did I hear someone say hash browns?

On the lawn just behind Swan Court is where the flamingos spend their day.  Flamingos tend to prefer things like shrimp, which makes them more fond of the dinner menu than the breakfast one.  Be careful as you don't want to be the first to discover that they also love hash browns.

6)  Parrot

Hey you with the jam on your hands.  Come over here.

This parrot was standing guard at the entrance to the buffet.  Unfortunately, he was in a cage so he couldn't just go over and make himself a plate.  The closest he came to tasting breakfast was nipping at the sticky fingers that children stuck into his cage.

7)  Cattle Egret
Egrets we've had a few.

These egrets were always walking about on the front grounds of the hotel.  They were brought to Hawaii because of their habit of following cattle around and eating all of the bugs around them.  We were not bothered by any bugs while eating our breakfast.  Did this mean that some egrets were nearby possibly eyeing one of our nice desserts?

8)  Black-Crowned Night Heron
Black-Crowned Night Heron waits for a bite.

This heron stood very still by the waters edge during our meal.  This is how they hunt for food.  When an unsuspecting fish swims by they strike.  We wondered what might happen if we floated out a plate of buttered toast and jam?

9)  Penguin
Hungry Penguin.

The hotel has many birds in it's lobby, one of which is the African Penguin.  While the penguins have a regularly scheduled feeding time, you never know when one might feel like enjoying an early morning snack.  The penguins tend to follow each other around so if one escaped and headed to the buffet you can bet that one or two more would be right behind it.

10) Nene
The Nene is the official Hawaiian Goose.  It is a cousin of the Canadian Goose.  While it is not impossible that a Nene might steal your breakfast, they are a very rare bird.  One of us spotted a Nene briefly as our tour bus hurtled down the side of Haleakala.  We wish one day to have a closer encounter with one of these birds.  So next time we are in Maui this is an open invitation to all the Nene.  Feel free to try and steal our breakfast!

Below are 2 videos of sparrows enjoying blueberry muffins and a Myna flying away with a mouthful of egg.

Map of Our World
Swan Court

Post # 59

Saturday 20 June 2015

Titan Arum (Floral Showhouse)

Feed Me Seymour.

Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Address: Queen Victoria Park, Niagara Parkway
Date: June 2015
Website:  www.niagaraparks.com

  We visited the Floral Showhouse in Niagara Falls in order to see one of  the largest unbranched flowers in the world.  The scientific name is Amorphophallus Titanium and the largest flower ever recorded was just over 10 feet tall.  The common name is Titan Arum or sometimes they are referred to as the Corpse Flower.  The Floral Showhouse has several Titan Arums which originate from the jungles of Sumatra.  The closed pod in front is named Clive and is expected to open up sometime in the week of June 21st, 2015.  The other tall stalk behind is a Titan Arum in leaf and it can grow over 20 feet tall.  We believe that plant is named Morph.  Both Clive and Morph flowered back in 2012.  It is normal for it to be from 2 to 10 years before a plant blooms again.

Titan Arums.  Clive and Morph.

  Below is a chart that shows the cycle of the Titan Arum.  In the center you can see what Clive will look like when he is in full bloom.  The bloom may last only for a day or two.  Unfortunately, the bloom is also accompanied by a horrible smell.  The reason for the name of Corpse Flower is because it emits a smell like a rotting animal carcass.  This is designed to attract all kinds of bugs to the flower in order to help with pollination

Titan Arum growth chart.

  Just in front of the Titan Arum display is a little pond filled with turtles and koi.  These little guys may not be aware of what is about to happen, but we checked and both have an excellent sense of smell that far surpasses that of humans.

Turtles & Koi prepare for olfactory overload.

  So if you find yourself admiring the beauty of Niagara Falls, take a walk out of the mist and head further past the falls.  As you wander in the garden near the Floral Showhouse be sure to take a long deep breath.  If something smells awful then you just might be lucky enough to witness a rare Titan Arum in bloom.  Head inside, hold your nose and declare "One ticket please!"

Do you smell something ?  Wasn't me.

Map of Our World
Floral Showhouse

Post # 58

Monday 15 June 2015

R. L. Hearn Generating Station

CN Tower vs Chimney

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 440 Unwin Ave.
Date: Dec 2014
Website:  www.portlandsenergycentre.com

   From several places around Toronto you can spot a rather large structure.  No, this is not the city's famous CN Tower.  Just in front of the Leslie Spit, the R. L. Hearn Generating Station sits relatively unobstructed.  At 705 feet tall, it's chimney is the 3rd tallest in Canada   That is over 64 stories high.  It still has a long way to go to beat the Inco Superstack in Sudbury, Ontario which is over 1200 feet and is the second tallest chimney in the world.  In case you were wondering a power station in Kazakhstan has the world's tallest chimney at just under 1400 feet.

Hearn vs Portands Energy Centre.

  The R. L. Hearn Generating Station was built to meet Toronto's power needs.  It was named after Toronto engineer Richard Lankaster Hearn.  The building was originally a coal powered station and eventually became a natural gas powered station up until it was finally closed in 1983.  The huge chimney was built in the early 70s to try and reduce the smog output.  Since its closure the location is occasionally used as a venue for events such as Luminato in June 2014 and 2015.  Right next door, the much smaller Portlands Energy Centre (building with 2 small chimneys above) currently helps generate some of the power needed to keep Toronto going.

Headed straight for the chimney.

  While the chimney has made its way into many of our photographs, we decided it was time to give the building a closer look.  So we took a drive down to Toronto's Portlands.  This area is also home to Cherry Beach, the Leslie Spit, Polson Pier and Pinewood Toronto Studios.

Sorry, No Trespassing eh. We're Closed. Take Off !

  In 1983 the movie Strange Brew was released.  The Hearn Generating Station was used as the Elsinore Brewery exterior in that film.  Since the station also shut down in 1983, this would have saved them from countless Bob & Doug McKenzie fans showing up and claiming to have found a mouse in their beer.

CN Tower on the left.  Hearn on the right. CN Tower wins.

Map of Our World
R. L. Hearn Generating Station

Post # 57

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Flying Gremlin Attack

It's one of them!

Location: Burbank, California, USA
Address: 3400 West Riverside Drive
Date: Feb 2014
Website:  vipstudiotour.warnerbros.com

  In Gremlins 2 there are all sorts of gremlins loose in a science lab.  The poor Futtermans, who surprisingly survived the first movie, are in New York visiting Billy & Kate.  Once again they find themselves in a situation with one of the creatures.  As a result of one gremlin becoming mixed with a bat and some genetic sunblock it flies out into the city.  The Futtermans are standing in front of  the Cathedral of Saint Eva Marie when it swoops down from the sky.  The joke here is that Eva Marie Saint is an Academy Award winning actress for her work in On The Waterfront.

Greek food and Gremlins.

  This scene was filmed on New York Street at Warner Brothers Studios.  The gremlin flies down and attacks Mr. Futterman in front of A Taste Of Greece restaurant.  This was located just to the right of the awning in the photo above.  He struggles with the gremlin as they move down the sidewalk past two big store windows.  He finally manages to get the better of the gremlin and dunks him into some freshly poured concrete.  This happens at the end of the block in front of the entrance to the building below and just behind the pillar on the left.  The gremlin gets covered in concrete but still manages to fly up and land back on the church before the concrete finally hardens and he becomes a permanent gargoyle.  Concrete?  Reviewing our gremlin rules we know that you never want to get them wet or they will multiply.  We also know that concrete is a mixture of water and cement.  This scene could have ended quite differently. 

From Gremlin to Gargoyle.

    The front of this building may already be familiar to fans of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.  It served as the Daily Planet newspaper building, but in the picture above it is missing it's giant metal globe.  The stars of the show were a pre-Desperate Housewives Teri Hatcher as Lois and Dean Cain as Superman. 

See more locations from the Warner Bros. Studio Backlot.

Map of Our World
Flying Gremlin Attack

Post # 56

Friday 5 June 2015

Clamp Center

As you probably know, an entire race of strange little beings has invaded the Clamp Center building.

Location: New York, New York, USA
Address: 101 Park Ave.
Date: Nov 2014
Website:  www.101park.com

  Gremlins 2 takes place primarily inside one skyscraper.  In the movie it is Clamp Center, but in reality it is 101 Park Avenue in New York City.  The main tenant is Clamp Enterprises and they are involved in all sorts of scientific testing.  Mix Gizmo the mogwai with a little water and then some eating after midnight and eventually the building is crawling with gremlins.  Unlike the original Gremlins, the sequel is out of control.  It seems that any idea is fair game and nothing ends up on the cutting room floor.  As a result we end up with a new batch of gremlins. These include a spider gremlin, a flying gremlin, an electric gremlin, a vegetable gremlin and even one that sounds like Felix from The Odd Couple.
Because of the end of civilization the Clamp Cable Network now leaves the air.

  In one scene you can see Billy (Zach Galligan) and Kate (Phoebe Cates) crossing the street and Grand Central Station is visible behind them.  This is because the real building is just south of Grand Central.  Also visible in the movie is the big 101 over the main entrance.  The CEO of Clamp Enterprises decides to hang a huge curtain over this entrance and trick the gremlins into thinking it is night time.  Once all of the gremlins have congregated in the lobby then the curtain will be dropped and they will meet their demise.  If you are unfamiliar with the rules pertaining to mogwai and gremlins please watch the original Gremlins movie.
  If you are in New York and visiting Grand Central Station then you are just a short walk from where all the mayhem of Gremlins 2 took place.  Now let's join Tony Randall and the gremlins in a rousing chorus of the classic Frank Sinatra tune "New York, New York".

Start spreading the news.  I'm leaving today.

Map of Our World
Clamp Center

Post # 55