Friday, 30 October 2009

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

What A Country!

Sometimes in this blog, it's easy for me to get too focused on the bizarre, annoying, and mind-baffling aspects of life in Costa Rica, and I forget to mention the things that make living here great.

Things like Coffee Flakes:

When you wander out of bed around 10 AM and slip into your Technicolor Dreamcoat, there's only one thing on your mind: "How's about we get a balanced breakfast into this-a here body, with as much coffee as possible!"

Well, with Coffee Flakes, you no longer have to pour both coffee and milk on your cornflakes, since the coffee's included, babies! So pull up a chair, get a place with a view of the Jumbo Atlas (since there's no newspaper delivery in Berlin) and pour yourself a big bowl of Coffee Flakes to start the day off right!

Your body will thank you.

Best Flight Offers You Can Find In Australia

In my previous post I wrote about one of the main Australian attractions, about sharks. There are many companies and airfares that offer flights that can bring you in any part of the continent and so you can easily follow the natural events or maybe organize our visits of different regions or main cities. With you can book directly online all the flightes you can need for your vacation. What is very important they offer multistop and other possibilities. So when your vacation begins you can think only about relaxing activities.

Tourists from other continents will find all the proposals of international flights including round the world and multistop trips. There are many interesting tings to study on the site. Cruises, special vacation offers in different parts of the world. And if you are not sure what to do, you can speak or chat with the experts of the company directly from the site! You will meet really great passion about the business they do.

Among the most requied are cheap flights today. Visiting you will find not only special discounts or offers. There is for example Hot Specials page that presents best deals, cheap flights on sale and many other possibilities. It's better if you control it personally because I could make an entire list for you here. And it's a post where I only present you the company.

Just because I began to tell you about the best deals, I want to remember that represents all the main airkrafts operating in Australia like singapore airlines. When you open their pages you find not only the last offers of every company but their rules, terms and coditions too. It's important to know them before you come in the airport.

Tourists Look For Sharks!!!

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One of the last surveys discovered: when the governors of that of this region announce the zone is close for the presence of the sharks, it... attracts tourists!

The persons pay big money to have the possibility to see them, sharks, from the cage submerged in the ocean. Sincerely, I would do it too. And woud like to visit the places where is possible whale watching and where I could see the sharks in their "element". Not that I do not understand danger. But it would be really GREAT experience in my life.

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Naica Mountain Giant Crystal Cave

This crystals are known, and I've just seen their photos some times. What was new for me, I did not imagine those crystals are really giant. Selenite gypsum crystals that were created by the nature when the mountain was created. Together.

The photo is from National Geographic, "Giant Crystal Caves Come To Light" where there is more information and there are more photos too.

I don't know if it's possible to visit this cave. Surely if will be. The problem is that they are in Mexico that seems to have ethernal internal problems and as not enough of sufferings they have that swine flu too... Well, we will pray the good God donates them peace and wellbeing and so everybody can visit this country without fear.

I read that it's dangerous to enter these cave because there are toxic air or water or something else... Maybe it's better for conservation of this miracle of the nature.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Autumn Aboretum

It was really great to see 'old' friends and meet new ones at Huelgoat Arboretum today. The sun shone for us and we enjoyed a good display of colour throughout the world geography of the Arboretum (which has developed enormously since I was last there six years ago). Not only lots of trees and shrubs to admire, but also fine views across an autumnal landscape. Special thanks to Karen for leading the way.

Orchard Beach Lagoon

Directly across the parking lot from Orchard Beach is a protected body of water known as The Lagoon. While not a true lagoon, these waters became nearly landlocked with the creation of Orchard Beach in the 1930's. Once known as LeRoy's Bay, the lagoon served as the site for the 1964 Olympic Rowing Trials.
Along the southwestern shore is a neglected judging stand that resembles a relic from the 1964 Worlds Fair (Barbie Townhouse meets Soviet housing project). For years, I had thought this was one of those fake buildings that firemen use for training. A chain-link fence along with some rare common sense stopped me from entering.
The lagoon itself is attractive, and it is very easy to forget that you are in the Bronx. The surrounding land is all part of the massive Pelham Bay Park, maintained by the City of New York. It is still common to see rowing teams from Fordham, Sarah Lawrence, and Iona gliding across the water, with the only audience now being some egrets and herons.
Andrew Cusack: Rowing In Pelham Bay Park (photos from tower)
Yale Bulldogs: Connell Cup

Monday, 26 October 2009

Hodge Family Wildlife Preserve

Approximately three miles north of the Block Island ferry dock sits the Hodge Family Wildlife Preserve also known as Hodge Farm. This is 25 acres of mostly-meadow, that slopes to the west, providing spectacular views of Block Island Sound. Created in 2002, the preserve is the result of a 20 year effort by the Nature Conservancy, Block Island Land Trust, Block Island Conservancy, the town of New Shoreham (Block Island), and individuals.
Over 40% of Block Island is publicly accessible, protected land. Opposition to a proposed 1971 housing development in Rodman's Hollow is often credited as the beginning of the preservation movement on the island. The partnership and commitment between conservation groups and individuals has led the Nature Conservancy to list Block Island as one of the Last Great Places in the Western Hemisphere.
On a beautiful, late summer day this September, I spent a good portion of the morning walking out to North Light, and then following a portion of the Clay Head Trail. Reaching the Hodge Preserve, I could have continued on to West Beach, but I instead chose to stay right here. The meadow of goldenrod, with it's views of ponds and ocean in the distance was all too apealing.
Providence Journal: Saving Block Island
Nature Conservancy: Hodge Family Wildlife Preserve


If you live in or are visiting North Devon and Barnstaple just isn't enough for you anymore (and who can blame you - there's no way Wilkinsons makes up for the loss of Woolworths) then a trip to Exeter might be just what you need. The new shopping centre at Princesshay is great. There's a massive Next, loads of other clothes shops, a Hotel Chocolat, and more shoe shops than you could hope to see in one life time. I know this because yesterday I went in every single one of them.

It's bit of a drive from North Devon, about an hours travelling. I drive down to Tiverton and from there cut through on the country lanes towards Credition as it seems shorter than going all the way down the duel carriageway and on the M5. Plus its much easier to get to the city centre car parks that way.

It was lovely and sunny when my eldest daughter and I arrived and we set about shopping straight away. Now I feel I have gone sadly wrong in raising her as she is not a great lover of shopping and has no interest in shoes whatsoever. However, the converse trainers she lives in will not see her through the winter weather on her walk to college everyday so I insisted she have something waterproof. After hours of walking she eventually talked me into buying another pair of converse trainers with a plastic coating! I am not convinced but she'll live and learn.

Princesshay also holds one of my favourite restaurants - Nandos. Unfortunatley yesterday the wait for a table was about 30 minutes so we resorted to MacDonalds instead.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Some Pictures To Get Caught Up

I've been carrying around my little USB flash drive thing for a while now, and it's got some pictures that I meant to put up one time or another, but never had the chance. So, here are some selected pictures of what's been going on here recently:

This is a little flower/rock garden I made in the front of our house from rocks I dug up in the yard (while trying to flatten the dirt for the grass). We got those little bushes put in, too, by the same people who brought the sod. I was impressed, since it was only about 100 bucks for 360 of those little plants, and the people even planted them for us.

Back for Costa Rican Mother's Day (August 15th), we took Angela's mom and her sister Toni to Termales del Bosque, one of our favorite tourist spots. This is them enjoying a much-deserved froofy drink in the hot springs.

Also in August, we went to Colorado, but when we came back, we discovered that the drawers in our closet were all covered with mold on the bottom. It's hard to see here, but it was like salt and pepper mixed in with wasabi. Mold is depressing.

We also bought a couple dozen Costa Rican tamales recently when Berl�n's community hall was broken into. Some thieves took the school's cooking supplies, so local mothers made and sold a bunch of tamales to pay to replace them. Why was the school in the community hall, you ask? Because the roof of the school blew off nearly a year ago in that fierce wind storm, and they've not gotten around to replacing it. Therefore, Berl�n's school is back to one room, with plastic tarps dividing the grades. Dammit.

We bought a carrier to take our assorted cats to the vet, and for some reason Cucho loves to sleep there. Thus proving once and for all that Cucho is a moron.

My friend and ex-coworker Angie (or as I call her, "Fonseca Quiros," due to her last names) sent me this picture of us during a job fair. I'm the one on the right.

This is a nice plant called "rice and beans" due to its two flowers of different colors. On our trip to Lim�n during Annie's visit, a lady gave us a twig from the plant, and we put the twig in some water in our kitchen. A few months later, we have a beautiful plant.

When I was walking around Berl�n the other day, there was fog everywhere except a little opening in the clouds, showing Puntarenas and the shining Gulf of Nicoya around it. Berl�n is frustrating but beautiful at times.

Speaking of beautiful, here's an orchid that my mother-in-law Cecilia had growing on her back patio. It's strange, since it grows down, from the roots of the plant.

Nature's weird.

Well, thanks for reading. I'll be trying to get some more posts up later this week, but until then, hope this finds everyone in good health!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Aurora Borealis In Photos

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About 2 or 3 years ago one of the most loved anchormen of the Italian TV, Mike Bongiorno (dead a month ago), wanted to partecipate on an expedition to the North Pole. He was more than 70 years old. So, I think, if one wants to see the Aurora Borealis, there have to be special tours and there are possibilities to visit one of the cities like that where the author took his photos.

The author of these photos lives in Norilsk. I've seen many photos of Aurora Borealis. I wrote about a special site and the "championships" for the best photo of it. They were beautiful, the photos, but "photoshopped". And they had no landscaft there. It seemed not natural. That is why I like these photos.

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Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Still Around

I realized I've not been on the internet in a week or two (when my students started complaining that I'd not gotten their emails). I should remedy that. I'll get some posts written ASAP. And I've almost finished the video game Fable, about 5 years after most people finished it, I realize...

In the meantime, enjoy this poster/calendar displaying Costa Rican meat cuts (taken at my sister-in-law Toni's house):

(First Rule of Blogging: Always keep an image like this on hand to post in a hurry, just in case times get busy)

The Baymen

Baymen is a regional term that refers to the small, independent, fishermen who make their living on the bays of Long Island. Usually associated with the shellfishermen of Great South Bay on the south shore of Long Island, they are also a common sight on the larger bays of Long Island Sound; Oyster and Huntington Bay in particular.
Using only manual tools, these two shellfisherman worked the West Harbor section of Oyster Bay last week. This photo was taken while looking south from Centre Island Village Beach.

Back To Baysics
Loving Long Island: Boating With The Baymen
NY Times: Proud Baymen Scraping Bottom
Keeping The Oyster In Oyster Bay

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Das Boot

Perhaps it is a coincidence, but I rarely see submarines in the summer months. During September and October however, I see them quite frequently. They move along at a good speed and have a habit of sneaking up on you. Despite being surfaced, they seem to blend in with the horizon, until you eventually realize that a portion of the horizon is moving towards you.

My first encounter with a submarine occured about 25 years ago between Montauk and Block Island. It was also the scariest. With no other boats around and a relatively calm sea, a submarine surfaced on our starboard side. I don't recall how close it actually was, but it's sheer size made it appear to be right alongside us. I still remember the 5 seconds or so, where I did not know exactly what was happening. It was as if the ocean just opened up.

I have yet to visit the USS Nautilus Museum in Groton, but it is on my rainy day list. According to its website, it has the largest collection of submarine artifacts in the country. Visitors can also tour the USS Nautilus, which was the first nuclear powered submarine. Admission is free.

Friday, 16 October 2009

TV Kings Pointer

The Kings Pointer is the flagship training vessel for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point. Built in Tacoma, she was launched in 1983 and served as a surveillance ship for the U.S. Navy. She was converted to a training vessel when acquired by the academy in 1992. She is 224 feet long with a beam of 43 feet.
The forecast does not look very promising, but two smaller ships from the USMMA will be on display this weekend at the annual oyster festival in Oyster Bay. The Liberator and the Growler will be offering tours at the Oyster Bay Waterfront Center.
Wikipedia: Kings Pointer

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Towers On The Grove Of The Myrtle Beach

This Myrtle Beach Resort is very interesting because you have the impression it rises directly from the sands of the beach in Cherry Grove, a section of the North Myrtle beach, famous vacation's destination. People like to come here to enjoy oceanfront coastline views, the relaxing noise of the waves and at the same time many and different attractions for children and adults. Interesting museums and concerts of known singers and bands, shopping malls and parks, even Alligator Adventure you can live here.

Towers on the Grove, Oceanfront Myrtle Beach Resort, is a new beach destination that offers to the guests friendly athmosphere and quality amenities. Romantic ocean views from the windows of your rooms -there are 1, 2 and 3 bedroom condos with full kitchens, private balconies and designer furnishings- will spellbound you. This resort has tropical pood deck, covered pools, lazy river and private beach access. Your vacation will donate you really great experiences.

One of the Myrtle Beach Resorts, Towers on the Grove offers you not only competitive prices. Visiting the site you can discover different and very interesting specials. They change with the seasons to give the best possibilities of the vacations. This way you can combine great services with great price.

Oyster Bay By William Jonas

I cannot recall when I first saw this painting, but I do know that I have always liked it. The slight hint of fall foliage; the sun low in the sky; I look at this and think a warm afternoon in early October. I read somewhere that the boat in this painting is the Clearwater. Oyster Bay holds it's annual Oyster Festival this time of year, so it could very well be her.

Born in Sea Cliff in 1948, William Jonas has lived in Oyster Bay for over 50 years. His portfolio includes many paintings of ships and boats along this part of the North Shore.

Oyster Bay Frame Shop: William Jonas

Oyster Festival: 2009 List Of Ships

image credit: N.... Authors

Monday, 12 October 2009

Barn Island

Situated between Stonington and Watch Hill is the 1,013 acre Barn Island Wildlife Management Area. This is an off-the-beaten-path location that many of the regional brochures do not even mention. Only a small sign with an arrow on Route 1 marks the way to the entrance. The Connecticut Coastal Access Guide however, refers to this as the state's "premier coastal wildlife management area".

I visited Barn Island last week with the hopes of seeing some fall foliage, but that was not to be. With water temperatures in the upper 60's, and evening air temperatures in the lower 50's and upper 40's, it is still too early to see much change in color along the Sound. The lack of autumn reds though, did little to damper my visit. This is a beautiful spot!

Just north of the boat launch on Palmer Neck Road, I entered an eastward trail leading to an overlook that included numerous interpretive signs. From there, the trail worked it's way down a slope to a causeway that crossed a large tidal marsh. There may have not been much fall foliage, but I could smell October in the air. The decaying cordgrass and other vegetation was all too apparant to my senses. The landscape was mostly green,...but not for long.

Audubon CT: Barn Island

MysticSeaCaptain: Kayak Barn Island

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Schooner Adventurer In Wilson Cove

I know very little about this schooner. Not to be confused with the Adventure, she was built in Mystic in 1925, and is 65 feet long overall, with a 52 foot deck. While anchored off of Sheffield Island this August, I spotted her moored across Norwalk Harbor in Wilson Cove.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Roberto Barquero, Where Art Thou?!

Costa Rica doesn't have the gameshow The Price is Right. That means that we also don't have the benefit of Bob Barker's daily message to control the pet population by getting our pets spayed or neutered.

In other words, we have another freaking cat.

And it's small. Like the others, this one just showed up at our place. It sucks to be an animal in Berl�n, so we decided to take him/her/it in. Name pending, although I like "Steel Blue" or "Blue Steel," whichever one Zoolander called his "look."

Well, whatever. It's cute and friendly, at least.

Our full-time cat Cucho gave it his usual warm welcome that he gives to all newcomers: "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?"

More to come.

400th Post!

That last post about miel de ayote was my 400th post on this blog! To celebrate, tonight we're gonna have a flash party (like a flash mob, but less prone to violence and more in the vein of partying down)! I'll be live blogging the event (with a delay of a few days until I get connected to the internet again)!
See you at the party, starting in T-minus 20 minutes!

Defying The Calendar

Top To Bottom: Saybrook Point, Rocky Neck State Park, Mamaroneck, October 2009
I sure hope the fish don't bother those guys in the top photo.