Sunday, 31 October 2010

Blogtoberfest Is Dead, Long Live Novembeard!

Well, Blogtoberfest has been a good time this year, and I've gotten nearly a post a day done. That's good enough for this guy. Now, it's time for something less labor intensive: growing a scraggly and mediocre beard:
My trashy beard, circa 2004
Ironically, I had thought of combining "November" and "Beard" a day before my friend Brad told me about Movember, which is all about growing November moustaches for charity. Sounds pretty good, although I don't really like moustaches very much, at least not when they're on my upper lip. Like most people, I prefer to simply admire them from afar; look, but definitely don't touch. But I may go in for  Movember and start growing my own personal "moustrashe" eventually. 

I don't have many talents, but I'd say growing a trashy beard that most people dislike --except Angela, inexplicably-- seems to be one of them. So we'll see where November takes us. It's a journey, after all... a gross facial hair journey!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Kiteboarding and Sandsurf

You read the title of my post and did not believe me? You are not right. Those are real activities that are offered to the visitors of the Dominican Republic.

Some of you, my dear friends, maybe thought that I forgot about blogging in the last period. But it's not so. I simply try to set on it's feet my web-based travel agency and have not only do too many new for me things, but I have to study too. Actually I study in 2 American universities and have just some achievements. I am a barcelor of Carnival Cruise Lines and Specialist of the Dominican Republic.

I would like to write here some words of the publicity and invite you to join my Newsletter (in the bottom) and to "LIKE" my Fan Page on Facebook, but I  want to tell you some interesting things about the Dominican Republic -especially because I've never write about this country in this blog. So, this is the first post about it.

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I fall in love with this place only reading aboout it, imagine what you can feel if you visit this island. White sand beaches... Yes, you look on the photo... But there are not only white beaches there. Coud you imagine yellow and... PINK sand beaches???

What about the infinite quantities of animals -fishes and birds included. Did you know that they have 300 species of birds (possible to observe)? Did you know that they have a meeting place of the humpback whales that stay some months there? And fishes? Wow, look at this photo


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History of the Columbus epoch, the very first street in the New World (and different other "very first" too). And Rum. You can taste it not only on every step you do there. You can even visit a factory that produces this drink.

Interesting is that those islands have 2 faces. One part of the islands is windy and rocky (from the side of Atlantic ocean) other side is calm and has those famous beaches. And if you think about the good weather all year round, you can imagine the fortunate population.

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Thanks to these differencies of the nature, they offer an incredibly variety of activities. I would waste your time and fall really in the publicity if I begin to post the full list of them here, but the most "strange" I just mentioned in the title. Some more? Off-roading, canyoning, spelunking. Want you guess what these words mean?

Well, maybe you've understood why I can't think other than Dominican Republic now. I thought, there is nothing that can attract me in such places, you know. I normally prefer Nordic parts of the world. But...

If you want to book your cruise, pass to my cruise booking page. There are infinite deals and offers for Caribbean in this period) If you need an advise about the best place to go -write to me, we will discuss what is the best for you. And to have everything in one place -subscribe my newsletter. I hope to create a splendid resourse where I have not only industry informations but many curiosities too. (Here is the example of my travel newsletter)

Please subscribe my Newsletter:
(and don't forget to click the link in the confirmation mail -it's for spammers, I hope you understand me)

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blog updates,info,news,curiosities


Braunton is town that is frequently driven through on the way to somewhere else - The Burrows, Saunton and Croyde beaches, or any one of a number of more picturesque and inviting places. Today we stopped here and investigated this tiny little village. On the surface it appears to be little more than a crossroads filled with pubs and surf shops, but behind that there are winding lanes full of old cottages and medieval buildings.

I found a walk through the backstreets of Braunton on and we followed its 15 pages of instructions into Rock Hill then West Hill Lane and up through country lanes to a place called The Beacon. The 15 pages are not only instructions but also information on the landscape and the history of the walk. The Beacon, it told us, was used as a look out by the wives of the village so they could see when their husbands were returning from their fishing trips and could rush down to the quay to greet them. It certainly did offer fantastic views of the bay.

The walk round the Beacon did not take long, then we followed the path through more backstreets over the old railway track and into St Brannocks Church. The only church in England to have the whole body of its saint buried on the premises. The whole walk took us an hour and was about 2 miles long. When we got back to the car the girls were tired out but the dog was ready to go round one more time. Maybe another day.

Inlet Pond In Greenport

About this time last year, I spent a day wandering around Long Island's North Fork. I had no real agenda or destination, so when I stumbled across something interesting I would stop and explore further. One of the highlights of my day was Inlet Pond Preserve on the outskirts of Greenport.

Consisting of approximately 50 acres, Inlet Pond is a county preserve maintained in cooperation with the North Fork Audubon Society. There are a network of trails that wind their way around the property; I followed the Blue Trail which circles the pond and leads to the adjacent beach.

Despite the name, there is no inlet connecting Long Island Sound to the pond. My first guess was that an inlet once existed, but had been sealed shut from some long forgotten storm.  Several websites however, claim the pond is freshwater. If I were a better investigative reporter, I would have verified the salinity myself. Shoulda, coulda, woulda!

After combing the beach and circling the pond, I arrived at an observation deck which provided a nice overview of  the land I had just walked. On one side, the pond was protected by a few short bluffs that were quickly losing their autumn color. And on the other, just a thin spit of sand was all that separated it from that "domesticated body of water"*  known as Long Island Sound.

North Fork Audubon

From The North Fork

Gail's Trails: Inlet Pond (map)

*quote: F Scott Fitzgerald; The Great Gatsby

Friday, 29 October 2010

Acceptable In The 80s

Doesn't it seem like things were less complicated in the 80s?

Or is it just my imagination?

Pictures of the Day: October 24-28, 2010

Here are my (strangely purple) Pictures of the Day from the last couple of days:

October 24th: An orchid that we gave to Angela's mom for her upcoming birthday.
October 25th: Some gnome magnets that my sister gave me. They're really cool, although they occasionally get mold (this is Costa Rica, after all).

October 26th: A sunset over the school where I work.

October 27th: A guy walking some oxen down the street in Guanacaste.

October 28th: I liked Angela's shirt.

So, that's it for now. Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Initial Thoughts After Listening to the Entire Catalog of The Gaslight Anthem on the Way to My Wednesday Class

Thought 1: They're great! (I knew this before, but it's always right to have confirmation that you're right).

Thought 2: These fellows sure sing a lot about old music, vintage automobiles, rivers, and women named Maria.

Thought 3: I must investigate this group further for a longer essay.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Autumnal forest

We enjoyed perfect walking weather for our beautiful stroll in the forest yesterday, including a visit to the menhir at Kerampeulven. Thanks to Judith for the photo. We were pleased to welcome new people and dogs to the group, and a great apr�s-walk was had by all. Thanks to everyone who came and made it such a good afternoon.

Interesting Site

I came across this site that did a major survey about global internet use:

(click on the picture to follow the link)

In any case, I thought it was interesting to compare how other countries experience the internet.

Monday, 25 October 2010


Well, I may not be using Facebook anymore. I think my account got disabled, possibly because I joked to an old friend that he should stop hassling me or I'd have to contact the authorities (and if that's the case, then just a reminder: NOTHING YOU PUT ON THE INTERNET IS PRIVATE and FACEBOOK READS YOUR MESSAGES and FACEBOOK DOESN'T UNDERSTAND WHEN YOU'RE JOKING).

In any case, when I try to sign on now, it says that I need to confirm my identity. To do that, I need to receive or send an SMS. Well, I don't have a cell phone, but Angela does. So I tried to have them send an SMS code to her phone, but it didn't work. Then I even tried having them send a code to my mom's phone, and they sent the code, but they said that I'd tried to get a code too many times.

Then I tried to send a customer service request with a copy of my ID (according to Facebook's instructions, that's what you have to do if you don't have a mobile phone), but Facebook has no customer service, and it sent me back an email saying that my account wasn't blocked.

Aaarrrghhh, freaking idiots.

So basically, it would seem there's no way to solve this problem.

Matt: If you're reading this, send me an email if you want to keep chatting.
Lucy: Sorry about Scrabble. Guess we'll just have to play in real life.
Facebook: Kiss my ass.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Interestingly enough, here in Berlin lately we've been having our share of landslides, earthquakes, heartbreaks, claps of thunder and --of course-- hugs.

Huelgoat walk

We have a walk at 2pm on Tuesday 26th October in Huelgoat. This is mostly a new route (unless you are a very old-time Brittany Walker ;-)) and the meeting place is the large forest parking area on the left on the D769 as you leave the town in the direction of Poullaouen. Good forest paths, but one short section may be muddy in/after bad weather. The forest is spectacularly beautiful at this time of year! The apr�s-walk will be at L'autre rive caf�/bookshop. All welcome.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Many Pictures of the Day! October 4-23, 2010

Well, I've still been taking Pictures of the Day and posting them to flickr, but obviously I've gotten behind on posting them to the blog. So, here they are, in all their glory:

October 4th: We've been getting lots of bananas from Angela's family, which means only one thing: lots of banana muffins.

October 5th: This is a pretty crappy picture of the day. I've been baking a lot, and so I decided to take a picture of this slice of beer bread toast with peanut butter. It was a busy day, and that's the best that came of it.

October 6th: I'm no biologist (and certainly no monketologist), but I have a hunch this is a monkey. Beyond that, I'm not sure what kind it is.
I actually took this from the window of my car. I had stopped on the side of the road to eat a snow cone, and all of a sudden these big monkeys started jumping between two trees to cross the road, going right above my car. It was pretty cool, but I didn't want to stay too long, since I didn't have enough snow cone to share.

October 7th: On the beach. I teach at a resort on Wednesday nights, so on Thursday mornings I can hit the beach up for a bit. The weather was particularly beautiful this day, which is really uncommon for this part of October.

October 8th: This rig is still in our bedroom from our bouts with the leaky roof a few weeks ago. I can't seem to find any more of that polyurethane stuff, so I've not been able to finish the job on the roof. And because of that, I've not been able to take this out of the room, since I need to climb up into the ceiling sometimes during rainstorms to make sure my eventual repair actually will have worked.
It's not very solid-looking, is it?

October 9th: Angela picked me up from work in the afternoon. She and our niece Mariela had taken Chubby to the vet for some vaccinations, so we stopped in Rincon for an ice cream.

October 10th: Angela, Sofie, Thyss with Stefanie and Andres, Hannah, Paola, and Juan. (We went to Thyss' plant farm)

October 11th:"El Demonio y la se�orita Prym" by Paulo Coelho.

October 12th: I did a lot of baking today. Calzones and brownies, mainly.

October 13th: I was staying at the hotel for my Wednesday evening class, and I found this little frog on the sign next to my room's door. Pretty cool.

October 14th: The finished brownies. Very tasty, but still not as good as mom's (or sister's). But partially to blame on the baking goods I had, probably.

October 15th: Yep, another cat showed up.

October 16th: A student's motorcycle helmet.

October 17th: A view of the Gulf of Nicoya, taken from the street in front of Angela's parents' house.

October 18th: This is an orange, although the colors remind me of the cover of the book "Freakanomics." It seems that here the color of a citrus fruit on the outside doesn't necessarily correspond to what one would expect on the inside. And it seems that there are many things that are just called "lemons" by default.

By the way, thanks for Paola and Juan for the oranges--they were tasty and made wonderful orange juice!

October 19th: A new 20,000 colones bill that just came into circulation. That'd be about $40, which means that it's probably going to be hard to use it to buy mints at the corner store.
(Thanks for Marcia for being our hand model... one of the new "security" features in the new bills that the treasury is introducing is that if you fold them end to end, they'll make a flower).

October 20th: Waiting to get a tire changed. One of the new tires we just bought a few weeks ago got a flat and was ruined on the way to Guanacaste, but fortunately we had a spare and there was a shop just down the road. They had the tire changed and us up and going in under 30 minutes and 30 dollars, which I have to admit would be near-impossible in many countries.

October 21st: An umbrella at the beach. Angela and I went to Guanacaste for two nights after my Wednesday class.

October 22nd: This statue seems like it should be in a tropical setting on the other side of the world, but it was in a strip mall in Tamarindo. Angela and I went to the Automercado to buy a chicken and some other odd food items.

October 23rd: I know that this is obviously blurred because of the long exposure, but I still like it. From left: Lidio, Lucy, and Wilson.

I took this at a dinner for Lucy. Today was her last day at work, unfortunately (for us, at least!). She was a great mentor and we all learned a lot from her!

So, whew! That was a ton of pictures! Hopefully there was something in there that was interesting for you. Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Funny/Cool Video

If you're reading this blog, then there's a decent chance you've already seen the video below. It's a remix that Justice did of the Lenny Kravitz song "Let Love Rule." Weird but funny video:

Stepping Stones Pier

Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors� eyes � a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby�s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby�s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy�s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that�s no matter � to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning .....

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

F. Scott Fitzgerald; The Great Gatsby; 1925


Great Neck Parks District: Sailing & Kayaking Programs

New York Times: Eyeing The Unreal Of Gatsby Esq.

The Late Season Mooring Field

Essex, October 19, 2010


Friday, 22 October 2010

New Record!

Angela didn't have her Thursday class this week, so she went with me to the resort where I teach my Wednesday class. She must have attracted Sad Jesus Head Decals, because we broke the record coming back: 38!

Let's call it a day, 'cause it ain't getting better than that.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Lesley's Nature Watch - Where do Butterflies go in Winter?

There is no single answer to this question as different species do different things. Some species such as the smaller Skipper butterflies, overwinter in their egg form. Many others hibernate as catterpillars,e.g. Large Skipper, Meadow & Heath Browns.
Orange Tips & many others overwinter in pupa form while Peacocks, & Speckled Wood are amongst those who spend the winter in hibernation as adult butterflies, often in our sheds, attics & outbuildings. This why, on the first warm days of the year, we can see some very tatty individuals of these species sunning themselves. Conversely, those who passed the winter as chrysalis will now come out as butterflies & look immaculate! The Painted Lady Migrates south for winter which was so wonderfuly witnessed when huge numbers returned on mass in the spring of 2009. Whatever happened to them all remains a mystery.
The Swallowtail (pictured) has an interesting survival tactic. The female lays several individual eggs. Some of those will complete their life cycle in the same year, while others will remain in their pupa form until the following spring.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Newspaper Article

From a recent article in La Naci�n, Costa Rica's biggest newspaper, about Kim Jong-Il's son, Kim Jong-Un:

"Una primera foto suya en edad adulta fue publicada entonces, dando a conocer los rasgos de un joven obeso."

("One of the first photos of him as an adult was published then, depicting the traits of an obese young man.")

I don't know why, but that cracked me up.

Milton Point Pier

Milton Point, Rye, October 2010


Monday, 18 October 2010

Wish Me Luck!

I'd stay and talk longer today, but I've got to get to bed. I need to get up early tomorrow to go to the embassy in San Jos� to apply for a new passport. Doesn't really sound like the most fun of activities, but if we play our cards right, we may be able to get a D�ner Kebab out of it.

I thought I should get a picture of me with my passport, though, in case it gets lost along the way. It was a good passport, and over the last 10 years I used it so much that I had to get more pages put in (a service which used to be free, but apparently now they're charging $82 for). Let's hope the new one has a lot of pages, because I've still got itchy feet!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures...

So, I think I've just about backed up all the pictures I meant to back up (except a series of Cucho pictures and some of the Crappy Casita). I started the Picture a Day project in December of 2009, but there were some other pictures from earlier that year that I liked. You can check them out here if you're interested.

Annie took that particular picture of Angela and I in Cahuita when she visited us. We also had visits from Dustin and Sam that year, so there are pictures of their visit (some of the pictures were taken by them). That was also the year we got a new house, a few new cats, and a new lawn, and all of those moments are captures in all their thrilling detail.

Finally, I added a section of pictures of Traditional Costa Rican Foods. That page includes (of course) coffee, chorreadas de elote, miel de ayote, and flor de itabo. So, if you're bored, you can check those out, too.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

�Viva Blogtoberfiesta!


We are having a day trip to Rennes on Tuesday, 14 December. As we are arranging car-sharing, please let me know if you want a) to take a car and offer places (petrol contributions) or b) or have a seat in a car. The plan is to meet up in Rennes at 10.30-10.45 for coffee, have a guided tour of main sights in morning, then rest of day free for shopping (Christmas markets), superb museums, etc. Leave Rennes about 4.30pm. Maps and car-parking information will be provided nearer the time to those who have booked.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

You Can Try, But You Just Can't Stop BLOGTOBERFEST!

So, our internet went out for about a day. Turns out it was a wonky modem --"wonky" is a technical word meaning "related to wonk"-- so the company sent a tech and they replaced it. But that's why there was no blog entry yesterday.

Nevertheless, I was right back online today, hard at work researching Deloreans (because that's what the internet's for, pretty much). When you research Deloreans, you're bound to come across Back to the Future references. Among the many I found was this video for an Entertainment Weekly "cast reunion" that had Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, and the Delorean get together and reminisce:

I think that besides an obvious wave of nostalgia, my main thought was, "Holy crap, Lea Thompson has aged well!" I'd add something like, "I hope I look as good as her when I'm her age," but that'd be weird, mainly cause I'm a dude. And that'd take a lot of operations.

But still... Hmm...
No, nevermind.

Pegasus Visits Mystic

The only thing I love more than an old sailing ship is an old tug. So when the tugboat Pegasus visited Mystic Seaport this Columbus Day weekend, I made sure to stop by. Built in 1907 for the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, she was known as a "battleship tug" because of her size and power. When purchased by McAllistar in 1953, she was converted from steam to diesel power, and served the ports of Boston, New York, and Norfolk. She retired in 1997 after a 90 year career, and is now being restored by the Pegasus Preservation Project.
When I arrived, Captain Pamela Hepburn and her crew were just finishing up their third and final day of providing tours aboard the Pegasus. This may sound like easy work, but it can also be demanding. The sunny weather brought large crowds to the Seaport this holiday weekend, and standing for 9 hours in an engine room answering the same questions repeatedly is tiring work. Congratulations to the volunteer crew for a job well done.
As luck would have it, I was invited to join them for some food and grog at a nearby restaurant. Though tired, the crew was great company, and I enjoyed having the opportunity to meet them and share a few laughs. There was a wealth of maritime knowledge sitting at that table, and I promised to keep in touch as I said goodbye and wished them well on their trip back to New York Harbor the following morning.

Tug Pegasus Preservation Project

Tugster: Mystic Weekend

Tugster: A New York Harbor Waterblog

Mystic Seaport