Archive for the Travel Category

Varied Landscapes

Posted in Personal, Speculation, Travel with tags , on August 28, 2010 by davidnm2009

I’m at the beginning-stages of time-zone confusion, so this may be somewhat incoherent. But here goes anyway…

Today’s been, umm, rather odd. I’ve been travelling, to go to a conference. I’ve travelled rather a long way, as it happens. I’m typing this post from Seattle, rather than Stevenage. It’s fair to say that it’s not very much like Hertfordshire!

And I saw some rather amazing things from the plane.

I’d never imagined this, but it turns out that clouds actually cast mirror-like reflections on the sea. I was quite startled to see this – there was a great big fat puffy stormcloud, with a shiny reflection underneath it! It must have been miles wide, and so was its shadow.

The plane I was on went over Iceland at one point. I saw one of the ice-caps. It looks oddly similar to photos of the southern polar cap on Mars. (No, seriously, I thought it did…) It had a similar sort of pattern of contour-like striations.

Later on, the plane went over Greenland. That was dramatic. There were barren, rocky peaks, icebound inlets and glaciers below us. It looked incredibly harsh, and incredibly hostile. Then, as the plane moved in over the island, the peaks subsided under a dead-white sheet of ice. We presumably didn’t go anywhere near the relatively-fertile bits of the island (the southern coast) as I didn’t see one hint of green down there.

I did have a thought, though – the surfaces of the icy moons of Saturn and Jupiter. Dial down the sunlight and take away the blue sky, and they might look a bit like that.

Next up was the Arctic portion of Canada. I begin to get an idea what they mean by ‘deep wilderness’. There were lots and lots of lakes and lots and lots of rivers, and not a single hint of human occupation. And it took the plane hours to cover the distance.

And then we finally arrived at Seattle, except that it took the plane an appreciable time to fly over it before it reached the airport. Apparently, large city is large.