KrISS feed 8 - Un simple et superbe (ou stupide) lecteur de flux. Par Tontof
  • Wednesday 08 October 2014 - 17:13

    During our last visit in Hong Kong, not only did we take a lot of awesome pictures, but we also made a video which was shot a few hours before our flight to Tokyo. The venue is the very heart of Hong Kong, a skyscraper with a huge billboard.

    It was a real teamwork this once. Thanks to the guys: Nikolai Zheludovich (Vimeo), Arseni Khachaturan and Lau Fat Hing Hercules. We wouldn’t have had this without them.

  • Wednesday 01 October 2014 - 18:15

    After Hong Kong, we made for to Shanghai. Chose to go by land. On the way over, we decided to stay for a couple of days in Guangzhou – Hong Kong’s neighbour city. Below, there are a few words about what we could see there.

    We got to Guangzhou from Hong Kong by train. Once we crossed the border between Hong Kong and China, many things changed. My first impression was that we arrived to a godforsaken provincial town. Almost all English signboards disappeared, Chinese people passing by were wearing simple, dull, wishy-washy kind of clothes. The train station we arrived to was crowded and very dirty. We were about to quest the hotel which would turn out quite a challenge.

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    I still couldn’t help feeling an atmosphere of provinciality when we left the train station. I’d found Hong Kong a vivid, lively and various place. After it, Guangzhou gave me the opposite kind of impression.

    We had to find the hotel. One would think what could be easier than just typing the address in and following the route? But as it turned out, the mark on the offline map took us to some residential neighbourhood where nobody had ever heard about the hotel. Moreover, no one understood any English and could help us. It was getting very late, and having heavy bags with us we were thinking what to do. There wasn’t any Internet connection. The thing that saved us back then was a screenshot of the hotel reservation, which had a very small but quite legible map telling where the hotel was. I still don’t understand why the address in the reservation was different from the real location of the hotel.

    It was a cheap hotel. 3 stars, but cheap like a hostel. When we arrived, it turned out that our room was spacious, yet it didn’t have any windows. So, the next day we got up at about 2 in the afternoon in complete darkness. We had been waking up several times thinking that it was yet too dark and early and going to bed again until one of us finally looked at a clock.

    Raskalov Vitaliy.

    We had little time but we wanted to climb the roofs and visit Canton Tower.

    Short reference from Internet.

    Guangzhou is one of the 24 historical cities of China, its history amounts to more than 2000 years. The city was founded in 862 BC. Currently, its population goes beyond 13 million people. Guangzhou is a city with sub-provincial status, of the People’s Republic of China, it is the capital of Guangdong province, a political, economic, scientific and technical, educational, cultural and transport center of whole South China.

    Nowadays, the city is the largest tourist resort area, industrial, financial and transport center of China. Guangzhou is the world-known center of consumer goods industry, which produces articles made from silk, cotton, jute, ramie and man-made fibers. Guangzhou features about a hundred wholesale markets, different kinds of goods and hundreds of thousands industrial enterprises, factories and plants (including ship-building yards, automotive manufacturing plants, plants to manufacture equipment for textile and food industries, factories to produce newsprint paper, refined sugar, small appliances, tires, bicycles, sport equipment, porcelain, cement and chemical substances, electronic components). Articles of traditional art and folk craft like shaded and cloisonne enamel items, lacquered articles, ivory carvings, hand fans, umbrellas, nephrite articles, embroidery are still made there and fish farming and fishery are advanced as well.

    Two times a year Guangzhou hosts the Canton Fair or China Import and Export Fair (CIEF), which is one of the most significant events of a year in manufacturing and commerce. At the moment, it is the world’s third largest industrial fair on the amount of deals being made.

    Residential neighbourhoods with skyscrapers in the background.

    The Tinhe sport facility featuring the Tianhe stadium with capacity of 60 thousand people.

    A view downwards from the International Finance Center, 437 metres (1,435 ft) tall.

    Heavy smog hangs over the city because of lots of factories. Only at weekends and on holydays, there is no smog. The shot shows Canton Tower.

    Skyscraper district panorama.

    Canton Tower. The TV tower is 600 metres (1,968 ft) tall, which makes it the world’s second tallest TV tower. Until the height of 450 metres (1,476 ft), it is built as a combination of a hyperboloidal reticulated structural shell and a building core. The hyperboloidal construction of the reticulated shell of the Guangzhou TV tower conforms to the 1899 patent of Russian engineer Vladimir Shukhov.

    Canton TV Tower is a huge tourist amusement. There are glassed observatories on the 33 m (108 ft), 116 m (380 ft), 168 m (551 ft) and 449 m (1,473 ft) levels and an open observational platform on the 488 metres (1,601 ft) level. Revolving restaurants are located on the 418 m (1,371 ft) and 426 m (1,397 ft) levels and there is a VIP-café on the 407 m (1,335 ft) level.

    A city view from the highest observatory. Guangzhou is drowning in smog.

    Despite smog, eventually the city looks great at night.

    Skyscrapers in China are springing up like mushrooms. I wonder how it will be like in China after 5-10 years from now.

    Downwards you can spot observational booths, which revolve all-round the tower. There is also a free fall amusement for particularly brave ones.

    Another amusement – climbing a spiral stairs going up around the building core of the Tower. The ascent goes up for 136 m (446 ft). And if you’ve entered at the bottom, there is no way out – the door behind you is closed and the only exit is upstairs.

    Between climbing up the roofs, once we accidentally wandered to slums scheduled for demolition. It turned out to be an interesting place, which would be gone soon.

    This area is called Xian Cun.

    China is putting up buildings in leaps and bounds. As I said, skyscrapers are springing up like mushrooms. Old residential neighbourhoods are being demolished on the spur of the moment and new ones are being built. Xiancun is one of a few neighbourhoods which hasn’t been demolished and reconstructed yet. Currently, the slums appear to be low-rise, half-abandoned and very dense housing. A wall surrounds the area and the police watches the entrances.

    Although these buildings seem to be totally abandoned, there is still a glimmer of life in this neighbourhood.

    In fact, there is an ongoing social drama in the neighbourhood. Not all of the residents are willing to leave and give up their homes for demolition.

    There is an ongoing confrontation between the residents and the authorities. The residents don’t want to sign papers for pulling down their homes and the authorities are trying to force them out by giving them hard time in every possible way – they bulldoze markets, limit trash pickup, ban commerce, etc.

    Side streets

    But despite all the protests, the neighbourhood’s population is declining. It seems to me, in China it’s pointless to argue with the authorities in such issues. The authorities tend to win.

    You can spot a homeless person in the picture.

    On the one hand, you can understand the residents. Generally, they are poor people, hard workers; they have been living there for all their life, their forefathers used to live there. But on the other hand, the buildings they lived in were already in disrepair having bad drainage, no decent sewerage, and the housing development was very dense so streets didn’t make roads but just gaps between buildings which were sometimes less than 1 metre (3,28 ft) long. Living conditions there were very bad – it’s incomparable to the other, “new” China.

    Another interesting point – most of the people who have already left their place in slums are waiting to move to new buildings. But to build the new ones, the old ones have to be pulled down. So it turns out that the protesting residents when not moving from slums cause problems not only for the authorities, but also for the common people who are waiting for their new apartments.

    A panorama of the neighbourhood.

    Another side street. It’s still dark there even at day time.

    Would you be able to live like that?

    On our last day in Guangzhou, we went to the train station to buy tickets to Shanghai. It takes about 16 hours to get to Shanghai and you can buy either a sleeping place in a compartment, a couch seat or, if you have a lack of money, you can buy a standee. But we had bad luck – Chinese New Year was coming and all the tickets had been sold out for a week ahead.

    Traveling by plane was unreasonably expensive. We read on the internet that it was possible to get there by bus. Once we arrived to the bus station, we discovered looooong lines to the ticket office. Nobody spoke any English and of course, there were no signboards in English. We had a piece of paper with a few hieroglyphs telling “a bus to Shanghai”. If not this paper, we wouldn’t have managed to make ourselves understood, because everybody we tried to say “Shanghai” to, got confused and didn’t understand what we meant. They pronounce “Shanghai” in a different way.

    After we got the tickets in hand, we could finally relax for a minute. When the departure time was coming, we came to the gate and then a new adventure began. The gate was closed and there were no passengers. Whatever we asked the stuff in English they just smiled and turned their heads in confusion.

    But suddenly somebody from behind said “Friend, wait, the bus broke down. Friend, wait”. It was a Chinese, who spoke Russian a little bit. We began to wait. Then two other Chinese came, one of them started to tell us something in Chinese asking something which sounded like “Shanghai? Shanghai?”; then he saw the tickets in our hands, grabbed them, said something more in Chinese and left quickly with his companion and blended into the crowd.

    “Probably, it is the driver of the other bus. He must drive you”, said the Russian-speaking Chinese. We didn’t really like that “probably” and having no tickets in hand now we didn’t know what to do. The time was that the bus was supposed to depart in a minute. We tried to ask at an info counter about our bus but again we didn’t get a clear response.

    At that moment, it seemed to us we had been tricked nicely and those two Chinese guys are sitting down on our seats in the bus right now going to set off to Shanghai. About twenty minutes passed. Our haul disappeared from the departure board. For an instant, we felt desperate because of our impotence to do anything without speaking Chinese.

    The further events came thick and fast. Suddenly, the Chinese guy who had our tickets came – he was yelling something in Chinese and kept saying “Shanghai”; then he took us out of the bus station to a small mini-bus. We heard the Russian-speaking Chinese shouting “This is the bus driver, follow him!”. Well, that was somewhat reassuring. In the mini-bus, there were a few people with travelling bags. Everybody was staring at us like fish from an aquarium not knowing what to say as no one spoke English.

    We got in the mini-bus and set off. We were going in an unknown direction; the driver was making several stops on the way, speaking affectively to some dudes, pointing at us and then taking the wheel again. All we had left to do was just to hope we were going to a bus to Shanghai, not to some basement to make fake Adidas sneakers.

    After about 30 minutes we arrived to some empty parking with just one big bus. The door opened harshly. “Shanghai!”, said the driver pointing carelessly at the bus. We were overflowed with joy. And we didn’t care that the baggage compartment stank of fish and so did our stuff afterwards.


    It took less than 24 hours to get to Shanghai. The time passed rapidly as the bus was furnished with bunks, not seats. We simply slept almost all the way, occasionally looking through the window at endlessly crowded Chinese landscapes along the highway.

    So, we made it to Shanghai – the largest city in the world. It was really something for me. I felt like arriving to the capital of the world. I cast a glance over skyscrapers on the horizon and in my mind I was already there making cool shots from the heights.

    We were planning to spend 2 weeks in Shanghai. We rented an apartment and set to explore the city. The Shanghai Tower was the main goal of our visit, but we weren’t going to climb it on the very first day as well there was New Year coming and we wanted to climb just on the New Year’s Eve to ensure no one would catch us. So, we “saw the sights” first, climbing mostly not far from Pudong area, with some exceptions.

    The North Face shoes. By the way, its spiked sole pattern really helped the climb of the Shanghai Tower’s crane.

    Shanghai is the China’s largest city and the most populated city in the world, with the population of over than 24 million. It is one of the PRC’s four cities of central subordination, country’s major financial and cultural center and the world’s largest seaport.

    Shanghai’s three major skyscrapers.

    It was rather cold and rainy in Shanghai comparing to Hong Gong and Guangzhou, it was even snowing one day. So, there were days when we didn’t come out into the street at all because it was raining heavily.

    Huangpu River quay.

    This building is interesting – Le Royal Méridien Shanghai Hotel. It’s 333 m (1,092 ft) tall and 80 m (262 ft) of it is spires. The building was once one of the tallest in the world.

    There is quite a nice city view from the building, particularly overlooking the Pudong area.

    You can spot this building with two spires in the picture.

    Shanghai’s multi-level interchanges are striking. This one, for instance, is located in Puxi area.

    The same interchange pictured from a different building.

    Another interchange at the Nanpu Bridge entrance.

    The Nanpu Bridge.

    It’s all also well designed for pedestrians too.

    This one and the previous shot were made from the Oriental Pearl Tower.

    Shanghai’s skyscrapers amaze not only by their appearance but also from inside.

    There are interesting contrasts as well. A building this tall could spring up among slums.

    Lots of Chinese people from neighbourhood towns and villages poured into the Shanghai at New Year. It was literally no way to squeeze yourself though in the major streets. By the way, at the very New Year all the city is trembling from firecrackers going off. It seems like there is a war and an everlasting gunfire in the street. They blow up large belts with hundreds of firecrackers at once; some even go as far as doing it on their balcony. In the morning, the whole city is filled with firecracker’s scraps. It’s an amazing spectacle.

    And the culmination of our visit to Shanghai was The Shanghai Tower. I’ve written about it already. And everybody has seen the video of our climbing there.

    When we came down from the Tower, on hand we had awesome material we didn’t really know what to do with at first. Sharing it right away would be a sentence for us. We had a week in Shanghai in front of us. So, we took it slow with editing the video and went on climbing.

    At the Shanghai Tower’s crane tip.

    On the last day but one in Shanghai, we were at the Le Meridian Hotel – the one with two spires. And, all of a sudden, we discovered that Facebook, Youtube and Twitter were on.

    Oh, I forgot to mention that many of the popular social networks are blocked in China. China has them all own – an own “Youtube”, an own “Facebook”, etc. You’ll find out if you google “The Golden Shield Project”.

    This picture shows the Shanghai Tower at an earlier stage of construction.

    We had the final cut already. We decided to wait no more and shared the video on Youtube. The reaction from people and the media was lightning-fast. We had yet more than 1.5 million views on Youtube the very next day and Chinese news were reporting about two strangers who had penetrated into the country’s tallest site. That was thrilling time for us. And even more thrilling when we were standing in the airport later on the same day passing our papers to an immigration officer for examination.

    But it all went off all right. Later on, the media reported that the two strangers would face a 20-years ban against entering China. But it seems to me it was a media hoax as I’ve crossed the Chinese border after this incident.

    That’s all for now, look forward to new shots!

    The clothing is sponsored by:

  • Saturday 27 September 2014 - 15:10

    Sullen faces, crowded subways, traffic jams, and bums at train stations: these are first things that come to my mind when talking about Moscow. Overpopulated city, full of life. When you get to Moscow it feels like you are dipped into a river stream, which flows you somewhere far away. I couldn’t even imagine that Moscow (and the entire Russia) after our trip to Cairo will seem like paradise.

    Are you fed up with your daily routine? Are you sick of what surrounds you every day? Do you want any new experiences and new impressions? Our travel agency offers an easy way out of depression – a 3-day trip to Cairo.

    In this post I will tell you how you can relax in Cairo in an extraordinary way and how you can try to climb the Pyramids twice but succeed once and so one.

    We went to Cairo after our trip to Dubai. I guess it is not a surprise that the main purpose of our journey was to climb the Cheops Pyramid.

    Without any specific plan, myself, Vitaliy Raskalov and Marat Dupri came to the capital of Egypt. Ahmed met us in the airport. Ahmed is one of the locals who have agreed to show us Cairo. First thing he told us on our way to the city center was about the sandstorm, which took place the day before our arrival. He said we were lucky not too see it. Then he started talking about local color, about protests in the city. On the question of what is to be feared today in Cairo, he said that we should avoid the Tahrir Square, which was occupied by protesters. What surprise was when it turned out that the hostel we have booked was located just 50 meters from this place. It was quite pleasant and inexpensive “The Canadian Hostel” with huge rooms.

    Talaat Harb Square, located next to Tahrir Square.

    Ahmed was surprised with purposes of our journey. He understood why we wanted to climb the pyramid, but cound not get why do we need city views from the hights. Despite that, he offered us to have a look at the city from the viewing platform, located on the TV tower.

    A view from the observation point. To get there, by the way, a tourist from the abroad has to pay twice as much then the local one.


    Egyptian Radio and TV office.

    Burned during the riots building of ruling National Democratic Party.

    A view from the TV Tower. The height of the tower is 187 meters.

    On this shot you can see the highest building in Cairo. We have climbed it after we finished with the observation desk.

    After getting down from the observation deck, we decided to have a snack. We had to go by foot because traffic jams were just terrible. Also Ahmed said that to park your car where you want, you have to be really lucky: sometimes one has to park a couple kilometers away from where he needs to get. While passing the highest building in Cairo, we have proposed Ahmed to climb there secretly. It wouldn’t be too complicated: it was still under construction. Our Egyptian friend laughed and did something we did not expect. He led us inside, found the guard, had a small talk with him in Arabic and told us to go upstairs. So that’s when we saw with our own eyes the magic power of the word “baksheesh”.

    To make it clear, baksheesh is a bribe. I am positively against all that kind of stuff, you know. I don’t invoke you to bribe by no manner of means – I just want to say, that everything in Egypt is so corrupted that baksheesh works almost always and everywhere. If you’ve got the money, you can do whatever you want to.

    View from the top.

    From the above we could see an endless compact city. Above it there was the smog, which cannot be compared even to the one in Moscow, so the sun at sunset was barely visible and our attempt to make some pictures of bright colors of the setting sun had failed.

    Such smoke is everywhere in the evening. Note that I’ve increased the contrast a lot.

    The picture shows the Cairo Tower, from which my first photos were taken from. The history of this tower is quite amazing. It was built on the money, which U.S. intelligence services tried to bribe Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Egyptian president at that date.

    In the mid-50s the CIA resident in Cairo (his name was Miles Copeland) had tried to bribe Nasser by passing Hassan Tuhami, the Council member of leading the revolution, 2,999,990 U.S. dollars. But Hassan Tuhami did not give the money directly to Nasser, he gave it to General Naguib, enraging Nasser, known for his intransigence attitude towards corruption. By his decision, the money was withdrawn from the General Naguib and handed over to the Board of revolutionary leadership. At the Council meeting various proposals on how to spend this money were considered. One option was to set up a monument of Sphinx with a huge nose and a thumb, attached to it. Four other fingers had to be staring at the sky – an allusion to the fact that Americans are left holding the bag. At the suggestion of Nasser, it was decided to build a television tower so high that it will be visible from all over Cairo. Americans mined the tower to blow it at the moment of Nasser’s visit, but security services uncovered the plot.

    Roofs of Cairo. Dirty and all covered with satellite dishes.

    Density of construction in Cairo.

    Local architectural masterpieces.

    The whole time we were on the roof, two guards were following us. They’ve tried to scrounge more baksheesh from Ahmed. They forbade us to approach the edge of the northern side of the roof, explaining that we can raise the suspicion: if the police will see us, they will take us for the demonstrators, preparing another protest, and then everyone will have problems. I don’t know if that could be true but the guys were insistent.

    Just before the magic hour we had to go down as the guards started asking for some bigger amount of money for such long stay on the roof.

    It was getting dark and we have decided to go back to the hostel and get some sleep. Upon arrival we figured out that the door is locked and two bums are sleeping just behind it. We knocked at the door and shouted a bit. The bums woke up and asked sullenly, who we are and what do we need. When we replied that we stay in the hostel, located on the floor above, they’ve smiled and kindly let us in, then they went back to sleep. I’m not sure but maybe they were security guards?

    This was the end of our first day there.

    Traffic chaos.

    The next day we were to face the real Cairo in all its diversity. Ahmed was no more with us and there was no connection with him.

    Since we wanted to climb the pyramids, it was decided to go there in the afternoon and reconnoiter the situation. We did not know will we climb there secretly, or will have to use the magic word “baksheesh”, or we will have to find a companion.

    On the way we stopped at the Tahrir square to have a snack and get to the subway. Area was occupied by exploded cars. Some places were surrounded by the barbed wire. In the center of the square was located a tent camp of protesters. It was strongly advised that we shouldn’t go there (especially making photographs) since people there really dislike photo reporters. They can even break our cameras down. Actually, we have opted to pass by without stopping when they saw mass fight inside the camp.

    The Tahrir Square.

    The camp.

    Take a look at graffiti.

    Before we continue the story about our trip to the pyramids, I want to share my impressions of life in the Egyptian capital.

    Population is about 10 million people in the city and over 20 million people in the agglomeration. It’s kind like in Moscow. But the area of Cairo is almost 12 times smaller, than in Moscow! Just try to imagine it, it’s crazy! A relatively small area of Cairo is caused by very dense buildings. The population density is 36 143 people per square kilometer (Just to compare, in Moscow it is 10 580 people per square kilometer, which is 3.5 times less). So this makes Cairo one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
    Try to imagine the following: traffic jams are 3.5 times more annoying, queues are 3.5 times longer, and subways are 3.5 times more crowded. In Cairo you can get to the traffic jam even in the night time – verified fact. Overall, traffic is really chaotic. Almost no traffic lights, and even if there is one (we’ve heard that there are only 8 of them in the entire city), no one cares actually, if the signal is green or red. It is impossible to cross the road leisurely; you can only run over it. When a driver sees a pedestrian he is not slowing down at all. Streets are super noisy; drivers are honking to each other endlessly. Probably, the one who honked stronger is the right one in the disputable situation, or I don’t know how else I can explain it.

    Here we are in this anthill, among millions of people, most of whom do not speak English. While we were moving along the city, Arabs were trying to sell things to us. They get really encouraged seeing man of European appearance. Everywhere we were about to get tricked. In the shops sellers were trying to give us less change so we were forced to argue with them to get it – or name an obviously high price, but you can always try to bargain. Believe me, even if you are very sensitive and suspicious person, you still will be deceived. They do it really skillfully, but more on that I will tell you later.

    So, are you plunged into the atmosphere of Cairo?

    Entrance to the Saddat subway station at Tahrir square. For some reason there is no light. But the most amazing thing is that hagglers took advantage of this, they sell various glowing toys at the transition in complete darkness.

    In Cairo, a subway train has two cars that are for women only. When I started making photos of the train station, people looked at me really curiously, some of them even stared at me with frank condemnation. One dude started yelling something in Arabian. The reason was that actually, it is prohibited to make photos in the Cairo subway.

    From the metro station to the pyramids we had to go by taxi or local transport. At the station exit some guy started talking to us in English. He asked if we were tourists and if we were going to see the pyramids. We answered yes on both questions and he replied that he is going the same direction and will show us how to get there. We have decided to go by public transport to get some more of the local flavor.

    All the way there he was telling us different things. He said he lives not far from pyramids, but he works somewhere in the city center, so now he is on his way home, coming from work. He said he met us accidentally and just wanted to help. I did not believe him from the very beginning even though he was friendly and smiling a lot, and didn’t ask for any money.

    We have arrived somewhere not far from pyramids and the guy said that it’s already 4 PM and the complex works till 5 PM. He explained that now they already don’t let tourists inside but we can get quite close to the pyramids by camel or horse. Good luck, he has got a friend who can help us with camels and horses. So he escorted us to his friend and we spent some time communicating and bargaining. We were trying to figure out how close we can get to pyramids. When we found out that anyway we will not be able to get to the base of pyramids, we tried to cancel the trip immediately. It wasn’t that easy! We were leaving the guy’s office, but he was following us, lowering the price. I guess he did not get the reason why we didn’t want to rent his camels so he tried to interest us with nicer deal.

    As it turned out, it’s a common thing to get advantage of tourists with renting out horses and camels. And the guy with good English is standing next to this subway station every day, looking for tourists and telling them he is coming home from work. We have figured this out the next day, when we got there again and saw him at the same place.

    The only truthful thing he said was that after 4 PM tourists are not allowed to the complex. Since we really wanted to get on top of the pyramids, we have decided to use the magic power of the word “baksheesh”. We already had some good experience with “baksheesh”, so why not pay to get up – it wasn’t necessary to do it secretly for us, we just wanted to do it any possible way. Even though after 4 they didn’t let people in, next to the complex exit we saw several guys who offered to let inside for half an hour for a small fee. We have caught one, gave him the bribe and asked to conduct us inside.


    He really led us into the complex; we walked around the sphinx and went to pyramids. On the way there we asked him if he can help us to get on top of Cheops pyramid. He thought a bit and then replied that yes, he can do it – but in the night and it will be quite costly. Saying “costly” he meant one hundred dollars. So we agreed and he let us climb one of the small pyramids (as a proof he is not lying). Actually, I think we could get there with no permission at all.

    In conventional time and conditional place we met this guy. He was very attentive to the surroundings, asked for the money ahead, got them and immediately led us somewhere into the slums. It was the start of the most amazing deception in our trip. We started walking along the narrow streets, lust standing around and waiting for something. Then we went to the highway and traveled by bus a little. We ended up meeting some guys who were introduced to us as the security of the complex, they were aware of our business and were there to assist us. The guys looked at us and said that they often have issues with people climbing the pyramids, more than that, the last dude they’ve caught, looked exactly like me.

    Our guide said that in the night the general himself came to inspect the complex and he is dissatisfied with something. The guide looked really upset and told us that there is only one chance left to get inside. We had to get on horses and ride around the complex to get inside from the back of it. They gave us horses and we departed. I really liked this part: there was the night in the desert, the stars were shining bright, we were riding horses – it was beautiful. Sometimes the Arab riders were passing by with loud shouts: they were organizing the horseback night race in the desert. Sometimes we thought they were raiders who want to rob us, because the atmosphere was corresponding: the night, the desert, no one around us. Fortunately, all went well, we got to the desired entry, our guide went to the checkpoint to discuss our visit.

    Sometime later he came back and told us that the general is really mad and he is not going to leave the complex. He is still there and patrols the complex in his car in person. We had to go home – there is no way we can get to the pyramids tonight. So we went back to the very beginning of our short journey – the place we met the guide today. That’s when we realized that actually the general guy does not exist and all of it was just some beautiful game to make us get the horseback ride trip. The guide gave us the money back but asked to pay for the ride.

    Next day we decided to go straight there, by ourselves, and do not trust anyone anymore since everyone was trying to fool us anyway. We got to the desired metro station, jumped on the cab and headed to the complex. It was not the end of our adventures: closer the complex was, more often some dubious people were stopping our taxi trying to sell us the horseback ride trip. It was more than annoying and we asked the driver not to stop anymore.

    Finally, on our third day in Cairo we were next to the base of the Cheops pyramid. We started looking around, fighting off shopkeepers and riders. Some people offered to make a photo of us in front of the pyramids and all of a sudden asked money for the picture. Some people again (and again!) offered us camels and horses, but we were telling them, that we need an elephant – we do not ride all the other animals on principle.

    Going round territory, we found a secluded tomb, where it was decided to wait until nightfall. We spent there several hours, watching movies.

    When it got dark, we got out to watch the light show on the pyramids. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t impressed.

    Hundreds of mosques had spread the evening prayer all over the city. The atmosphere was indescribable. The entire city came to life again; all the sounds were interwoven into buzz and howl… Very creepy.

    It was time to implement our plan. Quite slowly, with a lot of stops, eventually we got to the base of the pyramid and started climbing it.

    Picked up a camera and made a shot.

    The blocks are about 1 meter height, the climbing was not too complicated, but slow – so it took us for about 20 minutes to get on top. Stumbling was inadmissible.

    On the very top.

    We were trying not to stick out so that the security wouldn’t notice us.

    On the very top we faced an area of ​​several square meters. On the blocks were a lot of inscriptions in different languages. We spent there about half an hour, made several pictures and started getting down.

    Still, in the end we had to run away from the security, talk to them and so one – but all went fine and we got out of there eventually. After we got back to the hotel, we booked our flights back to Russia for the next morning. That was the end of one of my coolest journeys so far.

    In the beginning of my story I told you that a trip to Cairo can withdraw you from any depression and shake you out. If you have read the entire post, you can get why I am claiming this! Thank you for your attention!

    P.S. Please do not try to repeat.

  • Saturday 28 June 2014 - 13:55

    During the last one and a half years, we have visited Hong Kong several times. We have been to so many places and now I have to admit that Hong Kong is a place where I would like to live. A year and a half ago, after visiting Singapore, I assumed that it was the real paradise, but I was mistaking.

    Hong Kong is an unbelievably beautiful city and it makes you willing to come back. People there are kind and responsive. You feel respected no matter if you are local or a foreigner. Moreover, the main thing for me is that I never get bored there. The rhythm of life is comparable to Moscow. However, unlike Moscow, Hong Kong only retained the best of it.

    In this post, you can find photographs from five different trips. Here we have tried to place only the best shots.

    Our Hong Kong rooftop story started in one of the most exciting city districts, Caseuway Bay. We’ve headed there right after checking in to the hotel.

    In Hong Kong, getting to the roofs is quite easy. If it is a residential building, most likely, the roof is unlocked. Even more likely, that somebody already lives there. If it is a business-center, getting to the roof is a bit more complicated. Here the main quest is to get to the pompier ladder. And after you got there, you know what to do.

    Safety regulations are weird. All the exits are viewed with cameras; each door is equipped with an alarm (or even two), which notifies the police and building security in case of an alert. However, usually you don’t need any permission to get to the business center, and all the doors are open during working hours Monday to Friday, all the alarms are switched off. So, if you are interested in city views from the height without having any problems with the police, just buy a ticket to Hong Kong.

    Hong Kong is located on the islands, and without exaggeration, I can say that the city has very little space. Therefore, the buildings are high and located very densely. Hong Kong is a rooftoper’s paradise, all covered with skyscrapers.

    The area in Hong Kong is limited, so you can easily find a 40-stories skyscraper, which has only one or two apartments on each floor. The flat space sometimes is not more than eight square meters, where there are a corridor with a kitchenette, a bedroom and a WC with a shower.

    Due to the lack of the offers in the real estate market, Hong Kong housing is the most expensive in the world. It is 55% more expensive, than in London. Thereby, I’d like to tell you a story about the unique place named the Chungking Mansions. This rookery is located on the mainland (Kowloon). It is known for the cheapest flophouses in the city. In addition, it is a place where many immigrants (from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and so one) are hanging out.

    In the Chungking Mansions you can find everything: tiny guest houses with just a few rooms for rent, curry cafes, a market on the ground floor, a variety of shops, currency exchange offices, touristic offices, where you can get a Chinese visa. Next to the main entrance, you can always find the Indians and the Pakistanis, offering you to buy some hash, weed or even cocaine. During one of our trips, I decided to check what they will sell, to bate my curiosity. For 120 Hong Kong dollars, I got 3 grams of Kashmir hashish. I gave it to a European guy, living next door.

    No doubt, this building is a center of Hong Kong. People make jokes about it, that if a cop needs to arrest someone, he goes to the Chunking Mansions.

    A courtyard.

    Vadim on the Chunking Mansions roof.

    Social housing.

    Before we had climbed the Shanghai Tower and posted pictures from Hong Kong to Facebook, the Urban Exploration was not that popular there. Maybe, there wasn’t any other active roofers except us. Now there are much more of them in the city, and we found that people started locking the entrances to the roofs. Istagram is full of pictures from the roofs of Hong Kong, and the security pay more attention to the cameras.

    Well, actually it is not true that there was no other roofers. Once we’ve met the Canadian rooftoper Tom Ryaboi. We have climbed to several roofs together. You can find me on this photograph, made by Tom.

    Hong Kong is full of interesting places. A lot of them are mentioned in the guidebooks, but some of them you can find only accidentally. It could be a street, stuffed with bars or shopping arcades, covering several districts, where you can buy different made-in-China things or Slumdog-type-cafes, where no one understands English and you can communicate only by gestures.

    A homeless woman we saw in one of the main streets. It’s worth mentioning that there are almost no homeless people in Hong Kong. Actually, it was the only time I saw one.

    A construction.

    The transportation and the distribution of the people flow in Hong Kong is great. You can easily get lost in a new city, but in Hong Kong, you can take your bearings by the evening of the first day you are there.

    In addition to well-organized subway and bus services, Hong Kong has double-decker trams that run around the Hong Kong Island. These trams are already enough of a reason to fall in love with this city :)

    Also, there are ships that run in between the Islands.

    We have tried to get the most of Hong Kong, in terms of roofing. The only places we have missed are “the new territories” – the sleeping areas of the city. Nevertheless, it is not as interesting, as the central part. Below you can see the most interesting photos from our trips to Hong Kong.

    Vadim Makhorov is standing on the roof of one of the skyscrapers next to the famous Victoria Peak. Perhaps, this is the point with the best city view. It is much better, than the view from the Victoria Peak itself.

    The roof of the K11 building.

    The height is almost 300 meters. It is the second highest building on the mainland.

    The night view from there.

    The Central Plaza.

    Central Plaza is known for the highest church in the world, which is located there.

    Hong Kong Sky Church is placed under the Central Plaza steeple, which is 374 meters height. The skyscraper is built in 1992, and for some time it was the world’s highest building. We got to the roof, pretending that we are the parishioners of the church :)

    The view from the Central Plaza.

    In Hong Kong, there is always some smog, it doesn’t matter, what the weather is. It is because of the factories, located nearby, in China. Only during the weekends and National holidays, there is a good visibility.

    In the Central district.

    Vadim Makhorov is making a shot with his feet on it.

    Kowloon view.

    Not long ago we have produced a limited series of sweatshirts together with Codered. The sweatshirts were sold out fast, so we plan to produce a bunch of other clothes. We will inform you on that later.


    On this shot, you can see two highest buildings of Hong Kong.

    Above the city fuss.

    The picture is made from the terrace of a restaurant.

    Vitaliy Raskalov

    Vadim Mahkorov

    Steeple of the business center.

    We couldn’t ignore the Tsing Ma suspension bridge, which is the sixth longest one in the world.

    The bridge has two levels of traffic: automobile road and a railroad. The upper level is a six-lane highway, three lanes each direction. The lower level has two railways and a two-lane emergency road for official purposes and for the movement during strong winds (Hong Kong sometimes exposed typhoons). The main span of the bridge is 1377 meters long, which is longer than the famous Golden Gate in San Francisco. The height of the pylons is 206 meters.

    Sure enough, we had climbed on top of it.

    A downwards view from the pylon. We got there in the night and stayed up there until the sunrise to make our photos.

    Finally, I’d like to show you several large panoramas of Hong Kong. Any of them, as well as all the other photos, you can purchase and print out at home.

    That’s all so far! Thank you for your attention. Stay tuned.

    The sponsor of our trip to China is

    Our clothes and accessories sponsors are

  • Wednesday 12 February 2014 - 09:00

    Hello everybody! I want to dilute the two-month-long silence in this livejournal with my post. Several month ago Vadim and I had planned a trip along Chinese biggest cities, from Hong Kong to Shanghai. The main purpose of the journey was world’s highest construction building – Shanghai tower. Now it is under construction and so far its height is a little more than 650 meters. So now it is the world’s second high building after Burj Khalifa in UAE.

    Aware of the strict Chinese law, we prepared carefully and picked an appropriate date, the Chinese New Year day. At that time the security was less watchful, workers were on vacations, and cranes did not work. We got to the crane at around midnight. It took us almost two hours to get on the 120th floor by foot. And also, we spend almost 18 hours on top of the building, sleeping and waiting for better weather. The result you can see in our new video.

    1. Low clouds are covering the city.

    2. JinMao tower and Shanghai Financial Center, people call it “The
    bottle opener”.

    3. By sunrise clouds were even thicker, and the city was completely covered.

    4. Just to compare, a tower on the left is 421 meters high, and the
    right one is 490 m.

    5. One – and the main purpose of our climbing was making the video.
    Since it was cloudy, we decided to wait in one of top floors until the
    weather gets better.

    6. An hour before sunrise clouds disappeared, and we headed on top.

    7. A picture of me by

    8.650 meters.






    That was the end of our Shanghai trip. Soon you will see a lot of exciting content from China. Stay tuned!

  • Friday 20 December 2013 - 09:00

    I came back from my regular travel a few weeks ago. This time I was travelling around countries of the Middle East and also visited Nepal and India. Today I’d like to tell you about Israel. I had been there for a little less than a week, but had time to visit all the interesting regions except Palestine. Enjoy. Next entries will be about Jordan, Lebanon and Nepal.

    Before the trip to Israel I had been told that roofs in there are hard to get to, security guards are armed, and there are lots of police officers in disguise and other “nice things”. But in fact everything turned out to be very easy: it’s no problem to climb to all of the 5-star hotels, and construction sites are guarded by 1-2 guards and they don’t even stay there at night.


    2. Okay, let’s start to meet the city. Tel-Aviv is located on the East side of the Mediterranean Sea, winter here is warm and rainy. The best time to visit the city is November and the first half of December.


    4. Hotels and office buildings on the sea-front of the Mediterranean Sea.

    5. Tel-Aviv is the most eclectic (contradictory) city in Israel. Modern skyscrapers along the Ayalon highway co-exist with one- and two-storey houses of the first half of the XX century in the district of Neve-Tzedek; rich districts of northern Tel-Aviv co-exist with ghettos of the old Tahana-Merkazit (the city’s bus station); hotels and pubs on the sea-front of the Mediterranean Sea co-exist with offices of business and technological centers.

    6. The night before going to Jerusalem we decided to get to the highest construction of Israel. The building is 150m high – nothing for Moscow but for Tel-Aviv this is a skyscraper.

    7. One of the fails: my favorite pants from New-York got ripped against one of the reinforcement bars.


    9. I met a great guy Alexei in Tel-Aviv, who had immigrated to Israel a few weeks before. He didn’t only agree to rooftop and travel across Israel with me, he also let me live at his place. Thanks to him a lot for that! If anybody’s interested: he was working for a long time for Nike and we even have common acquaintances in this company.
    Lesha’s page:

    10. After night rooftopping and sleeping at place of Lesha’s friends on one of the roofs in the center of Tel-Aviv, we went to Jerusalem.

    11. Jerusalem is an ancient city in the Middle East. It is the capital of Israel from 1949; Israel controls the whole territory of the city from 1967. Israel control over the eastern part of the city and Jerusalem’s status of the Israel’s capital are still unrecognized by a considerable part of the international society. This city is sacred for three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Dome of the Rock mosque – one of the Muslim sanctuaries – is in the photo.

    12. Mosques and Christian temples. From touristic point the city is much richer than Tel-Aviv, from rooftopping point – there’s nowhere to climb, tops of the majority of cathedrals have paid observation decks. Also on roofs in the Old City there are restaurants and you won’t have any troubles with getting there.



    15. The Wailing Wall. It has barbed wire on top of it and the territory around is strictly controlled on the Arabic side. It is said that some time ago Arabs used to throw stones at Jews from the top of the Wall.


    17. The dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.



    20. The center of the Old City is divided into two parts: Jewish and Arabic. There’s a check-point inside the City and it’s guarded by Israel soldiers. You can get to the Arabic part on special days only, when it’s opened for tourists and normally it’s not allowed – you get turned away by the soldiers.

    21. Side streets of Jerusalem, right here some guy told me to go to hell. After-pains won’t leave me till the end of my life.

    22. Almost half of the people in the city are Arabic; they all work at markets or as taxi-drivers. Israel government doesn’t allow them to take up public positions.

    23. Our overnight in Jerusalem. It is really humid at night and after 10-15 minutes all your clothes, including sleeping bag, become wet. In order to not get our clothes soaked we had to sleep under the solar batteries. There are white tanks of waterheaters on all of the Israel’s roofs, while the Palestinian detail – black tanks of water intakes. Water is squeezed into them by pumps from underground rain-reservoirs (during those infrequent rains) and from water pipes, when Jews open their taps. By these black tanks you can easily realize that you’ve left Jews’ territory and have come to an Arabic quarter.

    24. Jews have a holiday named Shabbat. In Judaism it is the seventh day of week in which Torah orders to refrain from work. From 17:00 of Friday till 17:00 of Saturday cities become deserted, shops and railway stations don’t work, and everything at all, even drugstores and police stations.

    25. Arabic life is in full swing, shops and markets are working for tourists’ pleasure.

    26. And this is Palestine. Unfortunately, I went to the Dead Sea region instead, where I crossed the border and got to Jordan.

    27. On my way to the Dead Sea I visited Masada. I climbed the mountain on foot and saved 700 roubles like a cool guy.

    28. Masada is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea.
    In 66 CE, a group of Jewish rebels, the Sicarii, overcame the Roman garrison of Masada with the aid of a ruse. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, additional members of the Sicarii fled Jerusalem and settled on the mountaintop. In 73 CE, the Roman governor of Iudaea Lucius Flavius Silva headed the Roman legion X Fretensis and laid siege to Masada. The Roman legion surrounded Masada, and built a circumvallation wall and then a siege ramp against the western face of the plateau.
    Romans took the X Legion and a number of auxiliary units and Jewish prisoners of war, totaling some 15,000 troops in order to crush Jewish resistance at Masada. A giant siege tower with a battering ram was constructed and moved laboriously up the completed ramp. The walls of the fortress were breached in 73 CE. According to Josephus, when Roman troops entered the fortress, they discovered that its 960 inhabitants had set all the buildings but the food storerooms ablaze and committed mass suicide or killed each other. Josephus wrote of two stirring speeches that the Sicari leader had made to convince his fellows to kill themselves. Only two women and five children were found alive. Josephus presumably based his narration upon the field commentaries of the Roman commanders that were accessible to him. There are significant discrepancies between archaeological findings, and Josephus’ writings. Josephus mentions only one of the two palaces that have been excavated, refers only to one fire, while many buildings show fire damage, and claims that 960 people were killed, while the remains of only 28 bodies have been found.

    29. The Dead Sea is incredibly beautiful and awesome place. Unfortunately, the most beautiful parts are occupied by 5-star hotels and a huge number of Russian rude tourists. If they weren’t there, it would be one of the most awesome places that I’ve been to.

    30. The Dead Sea’s surface and shores are 427 metres below sea level, Earth’s lowest elevation on land. The Dead Sea is 306 m deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With 34.2% salinity (in 2011), it is also one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. The Dead Sea is 50 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide at its widest point.

    31. The road to Jordan.

    32. That’s how Israel ended. This kind of fence separates Israel and Jordan. In fact, it’s easy to cross the border on foot, but I was told that every 15 minutes a helicopter flies around this territory searching for trespassers. After the sea I headed to Eilat where I crossed the border of Jordan on foot and went to Petra. Visa in this region is free, but you have to pay an entrance fee of 100 shekels to Israel’s government.

  • Wednesday 16 October 2013 - 17:53

    Bien que certains puissent juger cette évolution inutile, il fallait bien que cela arrive un jour ! Il se pourrait bien que le Vivo Xplay 3S soit le premier mobile à proposer un écran en Quad HD (ou 2K pour les puristes), soit une définition de 2560 x 1440 pixels.

    android smartphone mobile vivo xplay 3s écran 2k quad hd 2560 x 1440 pixels

    Même si la taille n’est pas indiquée dans la rumeur, il pourrait néanmoins s’agir du même écran qui avait été officialisé par LG le 21 août 2013. Plus concrètement, l’écran de LG est la première dalle basée sur la technologie LCD Quad HD AH-IPS destinée aux smartphones, qui fait également une taille de 5,5 pouces et une définition identique de 2560 x 1440 pixels avec environ 538 pixels par pouce.

    En outre, la rumeur soulève également la présence d’un SoC quadri-cœur Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974AB : compatible avec les réseaux WCDMA et CDMA 2000) cadencé à 2,3 GHz, sans oublier la double compatibilité 4G avec les réseaux de téléphonie mobiles chinois TD-LTE et FD-LTE. Pour l’heure, la date de sortie demeure dans l’inconnu, mais on doute fortement qu’il soit un jour commercialisé en Europe.

    Quel est votre avis sur l’évolution des définitions d’écran ? Pensez-vous cela intéressant sur smartphone ?

    Engadget China

  • Wednesday 16 October 2013 - 17:01

    Alors qu’on apprenait il y a quelques semaines que la mise à jour Android 4.3 n’était plus très loin de débarquer sur le Galaxy Note 2 et sur d’autres modèles de Samsung, une équipe de XDA Developers a déjà porté certaines fonctionnalités du Galaxy Note 3 sur son édition précédente. Il est donc d’ores et déjà possible d’utiliser Air Command, S Note, Sketchbook ou encore S Planner notamment sur un Note 2.


    Une équipe de développeurs vient de mettre à disposition une ROM custom pour Note 2 afin de récupérer certaines fonctionnalités présentes sur le Note 3. Les XDA developers ont pour se faire ajouté les fichiers nécessaires à la version d’Android 4.3 encore en cours de développement mais déjà aperçue sur la toile il y a quelques semaines. Parmi les fonctionnalités disponibles, on retrouve Air Command principalement qui permet d’améliorer la fonction AirView. L’outil permet d’accéder avec le S Pen à cinq fonctionnalités différentes via une roulette s’affichant en bas à droite de l’écran : Action Memo pour la prise de note, Capture écran (Screen Write), Applis flottantes (Pen Window), S Finder, et Scrapbook, toutes détaillées dans notre prise en main du Galaxy Note 3. En plus de Air Command, d’autres applications de TouchWizz déjà présentes sur le Note 2 ont été revues telles que S Note, Sketchbook, S Planner, et la Gallery.

    A noter que toutes les fonctionnalités ne fonctionnent pas encore parfaitement.

    Pour obtenir plus de détails et installer la ROM de XDA Developers, rendez-vous sur le lien suivant.

  • Wednesday 16 October 2013 - 15:30

    Plutôt une bonne nouvelle chez Sony, le constructeur japonais a récemment débuté le déploiement de la mise à jour de stabilité générale à destination de deux de ses mobiles haut de gamme que sont les Xperia Z1 et Xperia Z Ultra.

    mise à jour android 4.2 jelly bean sony xperia z1 sony xperia z ultra

    Bien que les possesseurs de Xperia SP attendent toujours Android 4.2, à peine disponible, voici que Sony déploie une mise à jour sur ses Sony Xperia Z1 et Sony Xperia Z Ultra qui vient améliorer l’ergonomie, les performances et l’application Appareil photo.

    Pour le Xperia Z1, Sony a :

    • peaufiné l’algorithme de la caméra pour de meilleures performances globales
    • amélioré l’application Photo de manière à ce qu’elle fonctionne mieux avec les modes Rafale, Automatique, Réalité augmentée et Sweep Panorama

    Pour le Xperia Z Ultra, Sony a :

    • optimisé la sensibilité de l’écran tactile pour les actions par gestes de doigt, mais aussi lorsqu’on écrit ou dessine sur l’écran à l’aide de crayons, stylos en métal et stylets tactiles

    De manière générale, Sony a également :

    • recalibré l’écran (pour s’assurer que l’expérience de visualisation reste vive)
    • optimisé la consommation de l’énergie afin qu’elle soit encore meilleure
    • simplifié la connexion Exchange pour accélérer la synchronisation, l’affichage et le téléchargement des données

    Comme d’habitude, le déploiement des mises à jour est progressif et s’effectuera en fonction du pays et de l’opérateur. Quant au déploiement d’Android 4.3 sur les Xperia Z1 et Xperia Z Ultra, la mise à jour devrait arriver courant novembre.

    En ce qui concerne le Xperia SP, la mise à jour est confirmée chez Free mobile, et devrait aussi bientôt l’être pour les modèles nus.

    Blog Sony Mobile

  • Wednesday 16 October 2013 - 14:55

    BlackBerry pourrait bien passer à la caisse. Des actionnaires ont déposé plainte contre le groupe pour information boursière tronquée.


    Une plainte en nom collectif a été déposée par des actionnaires canadiens contre BlackBerry. Le groupe, qui aurait selon eux tronqué volontairement ou par négligence une information boursière concernant sa véritable santé financière, risque de rembourser des “centaines de millions de dollars” aux actionnaires lésés.

    Depuis près d’un an, la direction de BlackBerry a publié des informations aux marchés fondés plus sur les prédictions que sur la réalité”, a délcaré Tony Merchant, du cabinet d’avocats Merchant.

    Les actionnaires réclament en effet “une indemnisation pour les actionnaires actuels et anciens de BlackBerry.” Une indesmnisation pour les “milliers de Canadiens qui ont investi dans BlackBerry depuis un an” et notamment ceux qui ont acquis des actions entre le 27 septembre 2012 et le 20 septembre 2013. Cette négligence se serait matérialisée par une information qui affirmait que BlackBerry, le nouvel OS revisité de la marque, était bien accueilli par les consommateurs et que la situation financière de l’entreprise était solide. Hier encore, la firme envoyait une lettre ouverte à ses “fans” indiquant que la société disposait d’une “trésorerie substantielle” et qu’elle n’avait aucune dette.

    Des propos qui ne semblent pas rassurer les investisseurs, qui ont du attendre la publication des résultats financiers consolidés pour se rendre compte de l’ampleur des dégâts, notamment au deuxième trimestre de l’exercice en cours, lorsque BlackBerry a annoncé avoir essuyé une perte de près d’un milliard de dollars sur cette période uniquement.

    Cette annonce, couplée à la volonté de supprimer 4500 postes (40 % de son effectif), a entraîné la chute de l’action, qui est passée de 10,82 dollars le 19 septembre à 8,26 dollars le 25 septembre.