Why Super Shark is the BEST movie ever

If you have never seen it, watch it. You will not be dissapointed. It's full on with a cast that you have never heard of and a budget less than my monthly grocery bill. BUT, it a rock solid good movie and here's why... 1. The potential for a date movie is awesome. I mean, there's a love lost scene in the beginning with "that guy" and kiss kiss with the more "stable" dude at the end. What date wouldn't love that? 2. The size of the shark puts Jaws to shame 3. It has a boat in it. 4. Super Shark can freaking walk on the beach, how cool is that? 5. Also, Super Shark can pick an F-16 out of the sky, yeah, the fucker can apparently fly. 6. There is a walking tank, reminds me of the Star Wars things (what do you call those things, I never got into Star Wars). It, too, like the F-16, doesn't make it. 7. There are girls in bikinis (not good for the date potential). 8. I lost zero brain energy watching Super Shark. 9. The gal... 10. I won't ruin the ending.

Water

Water. There was a crap ton of rain this week. The ground is soggy. My dog hates the rain. I get annoyed when the mail person doesn't fully close the mailbox after delivering the mail when it's raining. The bills are drenched. Water. You are there every morning when those delicately ground beans meet the gurgling noise as you rush through the coffee maker. Blend yourself with velvet black heaven. Awaken my eyes. Get me moving. Thinking. Water. You meet my Ramen noodles, it's lunch time. It's cheap, I know. But those noodles just absorb you. And it's quick. Dirty deeds should be done quick. Bowl to spoon to mouth. I feel nourished. Time to move on. Water. What's for dinner. I boil potatoes to feed the hungry children I raise. You make them soft and smashable (not the kids, of course). In the crock pot, you spend 6 hours with my chicken. Warm dinner. A family meal. Water. Those cold winter nights you spin around in my microwave for two whole minutes so that you can meet powdered chocolate with dehydrated marshmallows. You bring smiles to red cheeks that have been playing in the snow. Water. From deep within the earth, my well pump delivers you to cleanse me. I stand in the shower, completely naked in front of you. You rinse the dirt from my body as I scrub myself clean. Water. In the spring, the random pots of who knows what plant that awakens from it's winter slumber. You help them. Awaken the roots that suck you in to become green and vibrant with beautiful flowers. Water. 10 nautical miles of you surround me on all sides. Your swells rock me. I cannot breathe you, but I can taste you. I can let you engulf me. You hide a life within you. Your children. Water. I mix you with fruit and sugar and yeast. You ferment. To turn to wine that I bottle. And enjoy on those cool summer nights. On the front porch. In my chair. And drift away. Water. You come down on me. In tiny droplets.  And I spin around allowing you to touch every inch of me. My hair, drenched. My clothes soaked. I tilt my head back to catch you in my thirsty mouth. Quench my thirst. Keep me alive.

Dream state

I've been having this recurring dream for the last 10 days now. It's really strange. It would be cool to say that it involves an exotic lady half my age, but that's really not the case. It starts out at dusk. I'm at a party of sorts, there's a pool. It's a night where there should be galactic things going on in the skies. So this crowd is standing in the grass looking up at the sky. The one time in a billion years where there is a blue night sky. And the sky lights up. Not like lightning, but strange azure patterns brightening the dark dark, blue sky. Then there were waves. Waves of baby blue light that dance in the darkness. Almost teasing the crowd as they stare up in awe. This lasts for a time and is then followed by more flashes. Different patterns of chaos in the heavens. And then bubbles. Perfectly formed bubbles 10 inches in diameter floating everywhere. And I grabbed one. As soon as I did, I was floating. I heard someone say, "breathe out to descend, in to ascend." I tried this procedure. I was stuck, holding on for dear life on the gutter of some nearby house. Looking down on the *pool* party. Someone threw a rope and pulled me down. I ended up sitting on a tractor, holding on to combat negative gravity. Not knowing if I would float into space or not. Breathing out as much as possible. And then I drove the tractor into the ocean. The squid lined up in a row and stared at me like I was a foreign creature in their world. The eagle rays brushed by, gently caressing my skin. The tide carried me, I swam and breathed water. It felt heavy, but clean. Perfect. I ended up on a beach. Uncharted. Untouched. Someone was there.

This doesn’t suck

What happens when you step onto a 45' cat with 8 people you don't know and sail close to 100 miles in a week off the coast of a country roughly the size of New Hampshire? "This doesn't suck" "...isn't fun the best thing ever?" "Everything that kills me... makes me feel alive" "Has anyone ever seen a baby pigeon in NYC?" Destination, off the coast of Placencia in the Stann Creek District, Belize, Central America. Except for the first day and last day of my ten day escape, there was no internet, no phone, no television; my virgin unplug from the world exercise. I am often criticized for traveling alone. It's not safe. You will be lonely. What if something happens to you? None of these are true. Although a guy I met at the airport waiting for my return flight described Belize City as a shit hole, Placencia, on the other hand, was full of laid back wonder and amazement. And I met many awesome people. From Ana at Laru Beya where I stayed the first and last night who is now a texting friend (think old school pen pals) to Charlie. She was from Whales and staying at Toms Cove for three weeks for advanced dive certifications and gave me the biggest hug when I left in the dinghy and she completed final checks of her gear before embarking on her first ever night dive. Of course there was Captain David and First Mate Patries. Their expert sailing experience saved us from a late night storm that caused our anchor to lose hold. We were heading straight for the reef. I'm not sure how they were able to navigate and reset the anchor in the pitch black night with 40 mph wind and pouring rain, but they did, and I'm still here to tell the story. I cannot forget my sailing mates. Todd and Rhonda, Wes, George and Diane, and Jim. We stepped on the boat at 5 PM Saturday and by Sunday morning, after the first night on the boat, had a well oiled machine of social interaction and fun. The problem, though, is that so much happened. I set out to, as I typically do, with the plan to blog about everything. The problem? I can't. I can't find the words. I've talked to a few people, I've shared the photos with my kids. But every time, another story comes to mind. I went camera crazy during the beginning of the trip, but as the week went on, I found myself taking fewer and fewer pictures. I started to breathe slower, I started to observe more. While I came back with over 1000 photos, they were whittled down to a little over 400. Every one of them has a story. I was disappointed in most of the underwater ones, not sure what happened to the settings on my camera this time. Even the ones that did turn out decent will never capture the true beauty. The 64 million shades of blue. The way the sky blends into the water. The rich purples of fan coral. The blues and yellows of trigger fish. Only the naked eye can truly see the colors, your Retina display has nothing on what I saw! The best I can do is to share a few memorable experiences of the thousands I had. 1. I swam with sharks. Nurse sharks to be exact. Yes, I had a few irregular gasps for air in the snorkel at first, but after that, seeing them glide under me so gracefully, it was relaxing. My mask has prescription lenses in it, but they are not exact, so my depth perception in the water is a little off. I found out after we were out of the water that the depth was only 4-5 feet and those sharks, yeah, a foot below me. 2. Eagle rays are magnificent creatures. Six foot wingspan gliding right under me, I could feel the push of the water. 3. Sea to table. Harvesting conch which turned into the 1st course for dinner as conch ceviche. 4. Eating the conch "nerve" which legend has it, is a natural Viagra. This turned into "Oh Patries, I'm feeling a little frisky" and a great laugh for everyone on board. 5. Intro dive. In 40 feet of water, I made it to a depth of 2 feet. Time for certification this year for sure. 6. Lion fish are invading the reef, eating everything and laying 20,000 eggs every 4 days. Polly, who owns and manages Tom's Cove has a license to spear them. Lion fish ceviche rocks as did the snook and coconut rice pilaf she served on Wednesday night. 7. I missed the boat. Well, the dinghy. Stepping from the cat to the dinghy, yeah, a really good miss as I went straight into the water. I was laughing so hard that I couldn't lift myself out of the water into the dinghy. No one let me live that down and I was asked numerous times to provide demonstrations for boarding a dinghy. 8. Night swimming. I will not reveal whether I had clothes on or not. 9. Night snorkeling. Splashing the water to see the phytoplankton light up and millions of baby fish swimming about. I was asked on numerous occasions to get out of the water and go to bed. I could not get enough of it. 10. You may think taking a walk in the park holding hands is romantic. Nah! Try holding hands "taking a walk" on water, uh, snorkeling. Where burping in your snorkel is OK and blowing boogers into the water after your "walk" is acceptable. All while having garlic breath after a yummy lunch. Yeah, the next person who is lucky enough to go out on a date with me... this is your warning! I came back. I came back alive. I was extremely land sick. It is a true thing that happens. Even a week later, I still cannot close my eyes in the shower without feeling like I'm going to fall down. I also came back having had time to think. Reaching inner peace as the boat rode gentle 12 foot swells on the open ocean. But the strangest thing that I came back with is that every single magical moment I experienced, I kept saying to myself, "She would love this!" She would love the open water and beautiful blues, the black of the night and the rays dancing on the water at sunrise. The gentle rocking of Mother Nature. "Lately I been, I been losing sleep Dreaming about the things that we could be But baby I been, I been prayin' hard Said no more counting dollars We'll be counting stars" ~ OneRepublic, Counting Stars "Sail away with me honey I put my heart in your hand Sail away with me honey now, now, now Sail away with me, what will be will be I wanna hold you now, now, now" ~ David Gray, Sail Away "When you're happy like a fool Let it take you over When everything is out You gotta take it in" ~ OneRepublic, Good Life "And I drink to that." ~ Rihanna, Cheers (Drink to That) The photo albums: Belize 2013

44 hours

Wednesday 14:35 AST - Who was the munchkin head that booked this travel? Ponce is two hours from San Juan. By cab. 75 miles. $135 plus a tip. Oops! Thank god I didn't have to ask the cabbie to stop so I could pee. But good things come out of everything. My cabbie invited me over to his house for breakfast if I called him for my return trip to San Juan. Things you shouldn't do while traveling? Probably! I tend to trust cabbies with my life even though I hate not being in control of a vehicle moving 20 miles an hour over the speed limit. No matter where I am. But especially when we are navigating through [gorgeous, lush] mountainous terrain. I did get a glimpse of The Teats of Cayey... sexy... Cayey is known as "La Ciudad del Torito" (town of the little bull) and "La Ciudad de las Brumas" (city of the fog). Her peaks are nice. Time to move on. As we drove [ridiculously fast] south, the terrain became more arid, almost desert like and reminded me of Aruba. Are we there yet? cayeylg Wednesday 16:30 AST - Welcome home for 40 hours of my 44 hours in Puerto Rico. Where's the rum? Ah, shit. I have a conference call to attend to. And then actual work to do? That's all right in my book. These working conditions are much better. The beauty of being remote is that my office is determined by "is there internet?" All these years of complaining/wishing/hoping for an *ideal* climate of 70's at night and 80's by day is answered yet again. Put the lime in the coconut! Thursday 06:45 AST - Good morning.  Should I lace this cup of coffee with rum? No, work to do first, then hit downtown for a little sight seeing and then back to work before painting the town after dinner. Thursday 12:05 AST - Break from work. I asked the hotel to call a cab and take me downtown. "We don't recommend our guests go downtown during Justas." I had to ask and found out that it's spring break for Ponce University. Mardi Gras times 10. OK, you just made me want to go even more by telling me that you do not recommend it. In the cab I go. Thursday 12:25 AST - It's raining cats and dogs so I duck into a New York style pizza joint for a slice and to wait out the rain. What? NY pizza in the islands? Hey, a boy has to eat and it was the closest escape from the rain. Once it cleared up, I roamed around being the tourist and snapping pictures. The architecture is absolutely lovely. I just love this shot. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Thursday 14:29 AST - Back to the hotel to work for a bit, grab dinner and make that decision that usually I regret. Thursday 21:02 AST - Cabbing it back downtown, don't get arrested, that's the only rule. Friday 06:15 AST - I'm in my hotel, I honestly do not recall a thing from last night. This could be good, it could be bad. I'm alive though. I really should stop doing that sort of thing. When you just go, immerse yourself, lose yourself. I would be a great candidate for a pick pocket or scam artist during these times. I know it was loud with lots of music, and I know there were shit tons of people, shoulder to shoulder. But that's it. No recollection of the cab ride back to the hotel, if in fact I took a cab. I can only hope that at some point in the evening, I bought a beautiful lady a drink and said cheers. In my broken nonexistent Spanish. And hopefully I did not tell her I love her long time. Since I had no data on my phone, I cannot do the old school way and look at where I checked in and my random status updates on FaceBook, so it's just off to write it down as "I did something in Ponce during Justas 2013." Friday 11:35 AST - Time to go, it's been fun, it's been real, see you soon!

I ain’t your mama’s guacamole

I stand in front of the window watching the shadow of a hawk in the grass, circling. Around and around it goes, waiting on some unsuspecting prey to swoop down and sink it's sharp talons into the steaming hot flesh of another creature. It's eat or be eaten. This has been one heck of an intense week. Designing for documented requirements is easy, to listen to the business and interpret their future needs and undocumented requirements and design for it, yeah, not so much. But it's done, for the most part. And everyone walked away happy. And I got an extra hour in some super warm southern California sunshine. I properly executed this extra time on the patio of a local sports bar. What happened though, is that I was once again working on other things. I have an addiction to crowd funding, start ups and conceptual ideas lately. So I took some personal time to satisfy those needs and I realized something. I miss my kids terribly, six more days before I can hug them with all that I am. And then it dawned on me, tomorrow is my six year anniversary of traveling and consulting. That's a long freaking time. The thing is, I still love it. Does it take me away from my kids more that I want sometimes, yes. Does it provide for them, yes. Does it excite me, yes. Would I change it, no. So happy 6th to me from me. And I offer you what has kept me [relatively] sane through six years of traveling. 1. Leave a penny somewhere hidden in EVERY hotel room you stay in. 2. Buy  a shot glass from every airport you end up in (Not sure what you do with them after that, I have hundreds) 3-10. Put your heart in it, do it for you and enjoy every freaking stinking minute of it - or you will never be happy [with whatever you do].  

Cruise: 120 miles in 5 hours

What's an east coast boy supposed to do on a Sunday afternoon on the west coast after getting a crash pad in Santa Monica and hanging out drinking and eating with two friends I haven't seen in probably over two years? Drive. As I left, the only words of caution were to watch out for Prius drivers. Since they had paid their eco points, they were not required to obey all traffic laws. I jumped in my little Nissan Altima rental and headed for the Pacific Coast Highway, California State Route 1. Windows down. Music cranked. GPS on, but I couldn't hear it over the music, and got a little lost on the first attempt. When you get lost, you should turn around and start over, but stop at a hotel and ask for proper directions. I seemed to have got caught up around LAX and took a wrong turn. Redo. I should have rented a mid-life crisis car, but my little Nissan had plenty of spunk and a heck of a lot better on gas mileage. I did enjoy drooling at all of the fast cars along the way, plenty of 911s, R8s, Esprit, jacked up Hummers, and a boat load of vintage american classics. I ran seventy miles of the over 650 miles of road with a few side trips along the way and a 30 mile drive back to the hotel. Sometime barely a crawl stuck in traffic, sometimes barreling down the road at 75 mph, it was fun. Plain stupid pointless fun. Never was this on my bucket list, but once I made it back to the hotel, I penciled it in and checked it off (partially). To truly check this one off, it has to be in a mid-life crisis car and it has to be the whole shebang. From Santa Monica to Laguna Beach was pretty much the same, little towns with expensive shops and food, lot's of beach, boats, booze (and traffic). After Laguna beach it was cliffs and crashing waves. Winding roads and up and down. I made it to Dana Point and started running out of steam after 3 days with little more than 8 hours of sleep total. It was time to head back after a refreshing drink. What came out of this day? A list of fun driving tunes. 1. What's My Age Again by Blink-182 2. Mountain Sound by Of Monsters and Men 3. Trojans by Atlas Genius 4. Somebody That I Used To Know by Goyte Feat Kimbra 5. Radioactive by Imagine Dragons 6. Alive by POD 7. Midnight City by M83 8. Ho Hey by The Lumineers 9. Tongue Tied by Grouplove And the best for last... 10. Some Nights by Fun Cheers my friends!

Tales from The Conch Republic

It's getting cold at home and four days isn't long enough for the Caribbean, what's the next closest place? None other than Key West. Snorkel gear packed and I'm heading south. "It's a short runway, we are in a big bird, we'll be touching down hard and stopping fast," says the captain of flight 3210. He was not kidding! But before that even happened, my adventures had started. 1. For 55 minutes from Tampa to Key West, the seat next to me was occupied by none other than the loving wife of Cowboy Charters. She did a great job convincing me to take a full day fishing trip on their 36' Hatteras in search of marlin and tuna. I would consider. At the time, I had nothing planned for Friday. I checked in at one of the nicest Doubletree's I've stayed in. I really wanted to stay in some little bed and breakfast close to Duval, but when you are traveling on points, you can't be too picky. Either way, it's a nice hotel and offers free shuttles to downtown and airport pickup and it was my home away from home for the next 4 days. Unpacking to me means unzipping the suitcase, pulling out my trusty day pack and packing it with camera, notebook, odds and ends of other little stuff and a book to read (just in case I get to feeling unsociable). First stop, Sloppy Joe's. You cannot go to Key West without stopping at this iconic bar. No longer in it's original location (that would be where present day Captain Tony's is), you can have a drink where Hemingway used to party. Try the Mile Marker Zero Pale Ale, it's pretty tasty. The story is that in 1937, the rent was going to increase in the original location and Joe Russell refused to pay. He did what any bar owner would have done, asked all his patrons to grab their drink and anything that wasn't nailed down and move to a new location. More on this move a little later, there was something that was sort of nailed down that ended up in a rather interesting location. The rest of Wednesday involved meeting random people at a couple of different bars, talking, cinnamon whiskey shots and lots of laughter. Although I travel alone, I very rarely find myself alone. People are friendly (usually) because we are "One Human Family". There was one small group of 6 that I ran into multiple times during the evening, each time, we had to celebrate the reuniting with another shot. Lucky for me, my last stop was only 1/2 block to the hotel shuttle pickup location, that was the longest 1/2 block I think I've ever walked stumbled. 2. Thursday was adventure day to be spent under the sea, or floating on top of it. I originally had three separate snorkel trips booked, the first morning snorkel, however, did not have enough people signed up to go out. Lucky for me, there were options. A quick change in reservations by the most accommodating staff at Fury and I was heading out on an Island Adventure. All trips start with the debriefing, how to use the head, safety, itinerary, etc. and every boat I've been on includes the most important safety tip of all, "If you see the crew put on a life vest and grab a bottle of rum, do the same." As we left port, the captain received reports that the reef had 3-4 foot seas and would be too rough to snorkel in plus low visibility. We opted for an area known as The Lakes which has some coral growth, but mostly sea grass and a depth ranging from 5-30 feet. It' a group of grassy flat banks that completely encompass a shallow lagoon. The lagoon runs from Mule Key to Boca Grande Key and visibility is generally good. The water, although calm, was still a little rough so I only stayed in about 45 minutes. Unfortunately, I was not able to get any good photos this trip, but I did see a couple of nurse sharks and plenty of sting ray. I also learned that the nurse shark is one of the few sharks that can respire while stationary by pumping water through their mouths and out gills. This allows them to play the sit and wait game, I love interesting facts! 3. After lunch it was into the ocean kayaks. I've never done this before and was a little nervous. I was paired with John, the odd man out in a group of 3 (there were only 6 of us plus 2 crew, so it was a very cool social experience as well, and lots of eco educational fun facts from the crew). Our guide filled up a cooler full of beer and off we went. The water depth dropped to about 3 feet as we enter the mangroves. We stopped frequently to observe heron and osprey and this really cool bird, I think it was an anhinga. Regardless, these birds swim under water better than they can fly, using their wings like fins. With the full moon and high tide, there were a lot of little paths through the mangroves where we got stuck and had to back it on up. I learned that mangrove trees are actually fresh water trees that filter the salt out through their roots. Which aren't all really roots. Some are branches that hang down into the water to siphon water. Then there are sacrificial leaves that form salt crystals as it is removed from the water. Really neat if you ask me. And really cool to be surrounded by a canopy of trees in a kayak, leisurely rowing along. 4. We moved against the wind rowing back to the catamaran and the wind and current certainly had picked up. The beer didn't help and most of us had to pee pretty bad. After over an hour of kayaking, my arms were a tad on the sore side. We all made it back and relieved ourselves before popping the top on another cold one and our leisurely ride back to port. We saw a sea turtle, the dude must have been five feet long, one couple missed it, U-Turn! 5. Recognize this beach? Think Office Space. Sunset Key Island. 6. Ah the quest for a sunset. Port bow and I'm happy in 5 foot seas. Thoroughly soaked after mooring, I move aft to the boat bar. Everyone was laughing. Well, and also asking me if I enjoyed the 7 mile trip. Hell yeah! It was an awesome ride - they were all dry as could be - I. Had. Fun. Moored at North America's only reef with 4-5 foot seas, yeah, they can get in and snorkel, I'm hanging with the captain and kicking back a few cold ones followed by some rum rum rum punch. Here's a brief video before we hit the big waves and I needed both hands to hang on. 7. You cannot go any further! 8. To continue the Sloppy Joe's story (see #1)... I take you to Ernest Hemingway. You can read the full history on the official website, I'll just give you the cool little fact that I learned. So this picture is a cat drinking fountain. Yes, I saw polydactyl cats. There are about 45 cats on the property, a little under 1/2 have 6 toes or more. Back to the story. The rumor is that after Hemingway returned from a trip as a reporter during the Spanish Civil War, he found a pool in the back yard. Upset about the extreme cost of said pool, he reportedly gave Pauline his last penny which is embedded in the flagstone pavers near the pool. But it gets better. Well, if you look closely at the "fountain" you will notice that it is a male urinal. The fountain-urinal apparently came from the original Sloppy Joe's location when Joe Russell moved the bar due to increased rent, the only thing removed from the original location that was "sort of" nailed down. Hemingway put it in the garden to "get back" at Pauline for the expensive pool. She, being the fashion diva high society woman she was, decorated it with expensive tile and found a rather large Spanish vase that would create a cat fountain. 9. Just10Bars is born. Except I didn't quite make it. Technically I made it to 10, but that's not entirely accurate. Sort of. Two are just not on the map, Coyote Ugly and a hole in the wall Cuban bar & cafe (which 2 bartenders at different joints had not heard of, and their bars were within a two minute walk from this little gem). But three of them were on Wednesday, and the rules "were" to be all in one day. So I failed, but my liver is probably thanking me. I did find out thought, that my defeat is not that bad as there are over 270 liquor licenses in the 2 mile by 4 mile island they call Key West, most of which are concentrated around Duval and Front Street. Even if I had done 10 in one day, I would not have even scratched the surface. View Pub Crawl Key West in a larger map 10. Saturday came fast, time to return to the real world. I terribly missed the kids and the dog. Key West International Airport sports the world's only beach bar. For real! There's an outdoor section next to gate 6 with sand and tables and a little boardwalk type thingy. All in the name of the tourists, oh well, it's still fun! I'll be back, but not until after I discover some new destinations. Oh, the full photo albums are available. Cheers!

One happy island, bo kier baila? The end

Friday, this is it, it's now or never next time. I took the taxi back into town and stopped again at The Paddock for a few beers before my submarine adventure. When I found out that the sub had no facilities, my choice to have a few beers was quickly labeled as "bad idea." The Atlantis VI was built in 1990 in Canada, weighs in at 6 tons, 65 feet in length and it totally electric. She has 248 batteries which allow her to make eight dives a day and carries 48 passengers plus three crew. All for the small price tag of 3.5 million, I think I'll go buy a sub. It was a 20 minute ride on The Sub Seeker through the channel to where Atlantis was waiting for us, I was nervous, I can get a little claustrophobic, and we were going deep! We boarded, watch your head, I felt like a sardine and was sweating like a pig. It was absolutely amazing, at 50 feet, the sunlight penetrating the water, the beautiful colors that unfortunately, my camera couldn't capture through the glass, marine life abundant, I couldn't believe my eyes! This trip has certainly opened up a whole new world for me, time to think about getting certified for diving. I know that this was a touristy gimmick thing to do, but after seeing what lies 50-130 feet under water, I didn't care. We passed a few ship wrecks (ones that were sunk on purpose for the benefit of the sub), saw barracuda, tang, coral, sponges and a hundred more types of fish that I cannot name. Sadly, the hour long adventure came to and end, this was only good because I had to pee, and back to the Sub Seeker we went. Since I was downtown, and starving, I decided to stay for a late lunch and happened upon The Mojito. Yeah, it was Americanized, but it was Cuban in influence, so I ordered a beer and some shrimp cocktail to start. I don't know exactly how they made their cocktail sauce, but it was the best I have ever had. Not your normal ketchup and horseradish, but chucky with pickled celery and onions, had to have been whole pureed tomato as there were pieces of tomato skin in there, horseradish (obviously) and some sort of hot sauce that gave it a wild kick. I will have to find out how to make this! Then it was time for another beer and some fried plantains, yeah, I just love them, followed by a tilipia sandwich. All in all, it was a good lunch, but Aruba is just not the foodie heaven unless you are in to the $100 fancy meals which are probably good, but I wanted authentic local cuisine and I didn't really find it. I'm not upset, though, I found a whole lot more on this trip. I had a few more beers to the point where I was happy and could still walk in a straight line, stopped at the market for another bottle of rum and some fruit punch and then hailed a taxi back to the resort. My last night and I had this great grand exit plan, once the sun set, I was going bar hopping until I couldn't walk straight, but was still coherent enough to find a taxi. Ten bars, that was the plan. Plans change (and also why you don't get 10 things today). Armed with a bottle of rum, fruit punch, two cups and two towels, Rachel and I headed to the beach to enjoy my last Aruba sunset and get plastered. And that's that. Saturday morning, the bottle of rum is empty, my head hurts, I think I drank a little too much, but I woke up in my own room alone, so I must not have done anything stupid. Only way to cure a hangover it to join it, so Balashi for breakfast it is! I must pack, how I so don't want to go home, but I don't have my laptop and my phone doesn't work here, so suck it up Mister, time to go. One happy island, bo kier baila? And I did, to the rhythm of a steel drum band. Thank you Aruba, and Rachel, and all of the others I met on this trip, for a wonderful dance and magnificent adventure. Now to find next year's paradise adventure dance (and to my dear friends in Chi-Town, you know you are going with me next year... so start preparing). Disclaimer: I officially hate WordPress for Android, I cannot find spell check, and editing a post once it is published has been pure hell, so forgive me, for I have spelled some words wrong, and made grammatical errors, I blame the Balashi as well! Cheers my friends, until next time!

One happy island, bo kier baila? Part 4

There's an eighth wonder of the world and I fell in love with it today. It's a world I tried to experience in Jamaica, we didn't work out. It's a world I tried again in St. Martin, but again, we didn't work out. And then, right before this trip, it hit me, why I was unable to see the eighth wonder of the world. "You wear glasses, stupid!" So before I left, I broke out the credit card and bing bang boom, I had an almost perfect prescription dive mask (the perfect world would have been twice the price and take 1-2 weeks, I didn't have that long). Saturday before I left, I booked back to back sailing cruises for Thursday. The first, a snorkle cruise and the second a sunset cruise. Pathetic, solo traveler on a romantic sunset cruise where you are supposed to hold hands and be all kissy and snuggling and all that romantic stuff (oh, I'll get burned for making this comment). Anyways, Red Sail Sports picked me up promptly at 1 and off we went. Maria had been in touch via email because the hotel wouldn't pick up the phone/or, I wasn't in my room. Two o'clock and the main sail was up, and the bar is open! I vaguely recall someone telling me you should not drink and swim, let alone drink and snorkel. Yeah, I don't know who would have said that. There were only 13 of us on the boat, excluding the crew of John Pierre, Randy and Richard, and on a 70 foot vessel, plenty of room to spread out. I grabbed a drink and headed to my favorite spot on a cat, port side forward, feet hanging over, soaking up the sun and the gentle rocking of the waves. I was a little dissappointed at first, although we were under sail, we were still under power (be it limited), but this was a snorkel trip, hopefully the sail adventure would happen tonight. A few instructions... if you see the crew grab a lifevest and a bottle of liquor and jump overboard, so the same, or go down with the ship, other than that, stay between the boat and the shore. Easy enough. Oh, one more, if you are in trouble, scream like hell! Yes, I did get a little bit of snorkeling in on Tuesday, but I was still a new fish in the water, not completely comfortable, almost on the panic side, Tuesday, I was able to touch the bottom, today, not so much. Our first stop was a bay, don't recall the name, water 8-20 feet deep, panic mode, but here we go! Small aside, before this trip, I also decided that it was time to get a new camera, my old trusty digital proved me wrong in St. Martin by not capturing the true colors of the water. So almost $600 later (after camera, accessories and a SD card), I was the proud owner of an Olympus Tough, 12mp, submersible to 40 ft, shock proof from 6 ft, dust and dirt proof and took great pictures. I'm glad I did it, I was already pleased with Tuesdays pictures, and that was just from viewing them on my 10" Android tab. So... OMG, it was totally worth it! I dove in, well, more like slithered in. And there it was, right beneathe me, the eighth wonder. Decked out in a bouyancy vest, mask, snorkel, fins and a camera, I fell in love! The crystal clear water, the coral, the fish, the colors were... 1. Stunning 2. Breathtaking 3. Amazing 4. Spectacular 5. Gorgeous 6. Unbelievable 7. Other worldly 8. Beautiful 9. Heart stopping 10. Take your breath away! I could not stop taking pictures and video! It was like nothing I've ever seen before (yeah, sure, I've seen the shows on TV, but it's not not not not not the same). And this was just the first stop. Thirty minutes in and we were all back in the cat to move to the next spot. Rinse and repeat for three more reefs and I was amazed each time before we moved to our final spot, a ship wreck. Now our first three stops had been in 8-20 feet of water, I was gaining confidence and feeling more comfortable. Our last stop was 60-80 feet in open water, nerves, don't fail me now! Our last stop was the shipwreck Antilla, a German freighter sunk by her own captain off the shore to ensure she wouldn't fall into enemy hands during the war. I was getting tired and the current was stronger, or the Balashi was kicking in, so I didn't stay out long, maybe 10-15 minutes, I enjoyed the shallow depths more, where I was starting to get comfotable with "duck dives" and getting up close and personal. Back to the boat I went to swallow down a few more Balashi. Better slow down Mister, you still have an open bar sunset cruise tonight. Then it happened. Some of us that decided to stop snorkeling early found that jumping off the boat was good fun. "Watch my swan dive!" I felt like a kid and it was loads of fun. Jump, let the current take you to the back of the boat, climb up and do it again! Time to head in. Docked, I had 30 minutes to kill, just enough time for the restroom and get back to the cat. JP, Richard and Randy greeted me again as I boarded under sail!!! I was in heaven, there's nothing like the bobbing of the waves and the sound of a cat slicing through the water. There were about 25 of us this time, not bad for a boat that holds 100. We stayed under sail for most of the trip, only under power once the sun went down, I was happy. I took my same favorite spot, soaking in the water, the sun, the heat, the wind. Dominica introduced herself to me, aked if she could take my picture relaxing leaning on the rail. I said sure. We talked for a few, although she had a boyfriend in tow, she was from Canada and stunningly beautiful. She asked if I was alone, here we go again. I decided to have a little fun and told her that I was on the snorkel cruise right before the sunset cruise and my girfriend pissed me off so I threw her overboard when the captain wasn't looking. She looked a little worried at first, so I told her that yes, I was alone (I ran into her and her boyfriend on Friday, we had a drink together downtown). More Balashi, more water, more sun as it sank low in the horizon. Some dude proposed to his girlfriend as the sun set, hopeless fucking romantic, champaign all around, I just kept my spot. I love being on the water, and now, in the water. It all has to end at some point, so back at the hotel, I met back up with Rachel for drinks and dancing before calling an end to the evening. I've fallen in love with everything below the surface, tomorrow, I'll go deeper in a yellow submarine (kidding, it's blue and white). I have a love affair with every island I visit, but this one has been special.