Monday, 31 October 2011

Some more beach shots

I'm about to head out sail, racing again on Yahoo. I'm a little worried about the weather, yesterday it was flat then kicked up in a stormy patch. It might be a little exciting today. We are still getting a back lash from Rina, rain blowing in with fine patches between. Lets hope that there's plenty of fine patches this afternoon. 

Looking along the beach in dying light


Waiting for a golden wave 


Friday, 28 October 2011

Rina

We've had some interesting weather lately, lots and lots of rain, thunder and lightening and a cooler breeze. This is thanks to Rina, a category 2 hurricane that's causing havoc in other parts of the Caribbean. The ocean swells here are really quite impressive, especially as they crash against the iron shore. As George town central is on the coast line, it was interesting driving to work and seeing the waves breaking over the road. Yesterday I sat in one of the restaurants and watched as the waves crashed through their parking lot and onto the road, past the doorways of several shops.

I didn't get much in the way of photos then, my phone is not that good for photos, so I went out this evening to the beach across the road. It's usually calm, today the waves were impressive and the surfers were making the most of them. I wandered along the beach, sat and watched a while and took a pile of photos as the sunset lit up the sky. Very beautiful.

There is more bad weather on the way, a tropical storm that will be called Sean if it amounts to anything. That's the one the locals are worried about, it comes straight over the Caymans whatever happens. I suspect that it will develop and we could get a nasty storm. After the last few days, I can now see how the swells can cause the sea to flow over the roads and into buildings. I can see why the locals would be worried. I'm lucky, I work in a building that is built to category 5 ratings and although I'm in living across the road from the sea, I'm hoping if I get anything it will be the wash rather than the full force of the sea.

Tonight I'll sleep with the sound and smell of the sea wafting through my windows as lightening lights up the sky, thunder rumbles and the rain falls. Perfect sleeping conditions. Enjoy these photos from this evening's outing.





Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Wahoo, we won!

Well, what a stressful time watching that game. A good game, the best result but hard to keep still when watching. The evening at Jane's was great, a few drinks, food and friends. Three passionate kiwis, a couple from the motherland, a couple of locals and a Canadian. I suspect the locals enjoyed watching the kiwis as much as watching the game. We cavorted around shouting a bit, sorry to the neighbours, at the final result. Abe decided a haka was due, much to the delight of the non kiwis present. All good really.

So it was a late night, or rather early morning. I spent most of Sunday chilling out, laying on the couch and snoozing. It was pouring with rain and has been for day due to us catching the rain bands of hurricane Rina. There's another one brewing, one that seems more dangerous according to the locals. Anyhow, the rain on the roof helped with the dozing day. I thought I felt an earthquake, then another smaller shake. And it wasn't my imagination, there was a 4.1, small one on Sunday.

I talked to Tim, Sarah and Noah on skype for a while. They were outside replacing pavers with grass, the sun was shining, Noah was 'helping', spring time in New Zealand. Labour weekend. Sigh, after watching the rugby hype and seeing the kids I must confess to being a little homesick. Noah is at such a lovely age, chatting with grandma and showing me his toys. He's getting quite chatty and seems to understand the concept of flat grandma, I get a kiss for goodbye too.

Eve is also great on skype, scooting over to touch my face on the screen. She smiles and chats too, 6 month old chat. She's grow heaps since I last saw her, still has beautiful big blue eyes. I'm not going home at Christmas, only the second time I've spent this away. I am heading back for some good time at the end of February for Noah's second birthday so will get cuddle time with them both then, can't wait.

Here's the fireworks, the people enjoying them and some local culture, sigh I do miss home at times.


He aha te mea nui o te ao? 
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

What is the most important thing in the world? 
It is people! It is people! It is people!


Sunday, 23 October 2011

Finals night!

Is 8pm too early to go to bed on a Saturday night? It sure is when you've got to be at Jane's at midnight to heat up the pies! Yep, it's finals night, yep there will be a few at Jane's watching the game, eating pies and drinking beer. Tui's? Yeah right! I'm afraid the best we can do is Heineken, that's okay though. I'm not sure how much I'll feel like beer and pies at 3am, promise not to let the side down.

Nick's in Auckland hoping to get a ticket. I'm sure he'll enjoy where ever he watches. So it's just the waiting and the getting a small amount of beauty sleep. Not so good when I need all the help I can get. I had a late one last night too. Friday happy hour/s, then to a play. Funny just how culturally contextual things are. 2 Can Play was set in Jamaica and was the story of a couple whose kids had gone and who wanted to follow them to the USA to live. It was face paced and needed subtitles in places for this New Zealand English speaker. I got the gist as it went along, it was funny.

Another treat I've enjoyed this past week or so is going to the movies. I bought the book The Help at the Cardiff Railway Station on my visit to the UK with Sarah. I was catching the train to Antwerp, I chose a great companion. It's a story of the South, a story of a group of silent women who were brave enough to speak out and one person who was brave enough to tell their story. It made me laugh, it made me cry but mostly it made me believe in good people and friendship. It's a must see and faithful to the book.

I really must get some sleep if I'm going to make the game..... procrastinating!


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Inspiration

Sunset Cayman style
A friend asked me if I was too busy or if I had run out of inspiration, a good question to reflect on. As I feel  more and more at home here, I consider those special moments I usually write about to be a part of my everyday life. I am also really busy at work, in a good way. I do have times when I'm inspired, take this evening.

I went to the dentist, not such good news but then it's been a while, so I came home a little earlier than usual. In daylight. I decided to go for a run, the heat was retreating from the day and the evening was beautiful. The road is hard with lots of traffic so after a while I spotted the kite and wind surfers out on South Sound. No excuses needed, off I went to the beach. I wandered along, it was very windy and the usually calm inlet had nice waves crashing on the shore. The surfers were flying along.

The smell of the sea was blowing in on the wind and the beach was deserted except for some small boys playing in the sand. I wandered along enjoying the peace and wishing I had taken my camera, not ideal to pack when running. Looking towards the setting sun, I could see the clouds lit up with an orange glow, a background to the palm trees bending in the wind. Yes, I really am living in paradise. Yes, I do need to find more time to enjoy it and feel inspired to write more often.  

Monday, 17 October 2011

Haka



Wow that was quick in being posted on YouTube. This is what I mean by the haka, a traditional war challenge to our foes. It was used to scare the opponents, I must say some of the Aussies looked a little intimidated, and to fire up the team before the game. It worked. I did wonder what was going through the New Zealand and Pacifica plays in the Australian team, it must be a bitter sweet moment being challenged by your own. Maybe that's what put Quade off his game.

I was also reflecting on the first World Cup as I watched the faces of this young team, many of whom were born post 1987. My kids were keen players then, all playing in age grade rugby. It was what we did on the freezing cold winter Saturday mornings. We watched every game, had our favourite heros. I'm so pleased to see that people have got their kids involved in this one. It seems to be such a different world now, 24 years on. An interesting coincidence that the same teams are playing in the semi finals and finals, may the results be the same next weekend, go the All Blacks!

Rugby World Cup 2011

Phew, we're through to the finals. The royal we, I mean the New Zealand rugby public via the All Blacks. And against the old foes as well. New Zealanders love to beat the Australians at anything, it's a national pass time. I felt very patriotic as I stood beside my bed for the national anthems, especially enjoying the Maori version of ours. I know my neighbours are rugby mad but also know they have been knocked out of the Cup already so may not have appreciated my belting rendition at 3am this morning.

Hence the standing by the bed for the anthems. I was so nervous about this game I slept fitfully and woke at 2.30am so I got to watch the preamble as well. I have missed most of the other games because of the timing, this one I wasn't going to miss. Having no TV, therefore no cable, I downloaded a VPN that had NZ on the country list. My computer is now in NZ, it's 4.45am there. I had been having trouble accessing anything from NZ so now can catch up on all the news plus get live sport, fantastic.

So there I was at 3am, sitting up in bed in my PJs, watching the haka that brought the usual goosebumps, tears tot he eyes, then the game. It seemed a funny thing to do on my own, until Jane text. She was watching at her place too. We had communication through the game, a chat at half time. Next week it will be party time, staying up to watch the game with friends who also might want to. This weeks game was one I couldn't have watched in company, just in case the unthinkable happened.

Yes, it's just a game. It's our game, it's in our blood or our claret as the commentators like to call the red stuff. Actually I had a good laugh at some of the commentators. They were really passionate in their calls and since that's not really a kiwi bloke thing, it does my heart good. There were plenty of references to the bringers of this type of game. The battle in the arena with plenty of blood and the crowd going wild, cheering and jeering and loving to hate the opposition. We just needed chariots and togas. Having been to the odd Roman arena, I suspect today's seats are more comfortable and there were, thankfully, no lions. 

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Working, working, working

I've had a go at posting a couple of times this week, it seems like I can't copy from an email of Muzz's and have it format well enough to publish here. Very frustrating and makes me realise that my problem solving skills are not as good as they could be. Although it could also be the week I've had, or actually the past several weeks. I've become a workoholic again. I know that doesn't spell right but I'm not sure how to spell it in any other way, this made up by the 21st century lifestyle word.

And when we really unpack this oholic tendency as a tendency, it really isn't true. When considering the hours worked by small children in the industrial revolution in dangerous factory jobs, we have life style jobs. I get home after dark most days, done in thinking wise hence the lack of entries, but with plenty of physical energy. I'm not really designed for a desk job, and a desk job I have. That will change, I can make that change. The thing with change is that one has to set the change so there is out and about time. I can do that, I'm sure.

The other thing with the change process is that the change has to happen at a level where if there is 10 schools or 10000 schools it is the same. The processes have to be set up the same and take the same time and energy. Change is a process, we are down the track a bit now, it's going well so I'm told so all is well in my world. I'm totally loving the stimulation and multitasking this job requires, exhausting but fulfilling. It totally makes my day when one of the teachers I'm working with comes up to me in the supermarket for a chat, that happened today. She was surprised I remembered her, she is just what I must remember. We chatted a while then went off our separate ways, me with a big smile.

I totally love this place, there's a lot to love. Laying in bed listening to the rain and watching the light show outside while the thunder shakes the house; warm rain, wetting rain; splashing through puddles to get to the car; going to a cafe having excellent espresso and buying the best bread; discovering big bags of frozen berries for my morning smoothies; talking rugby with the Irish, Welsh, English, Americans, Canadians, French Canadian and of course my fellow New Zealanders; sailing in the North Sound; walking around the canals looking at the flash houses while getting some exercise; Sunday relaxing and family time, not shopping; friendly folks who greet you with a smile; excellent eating places like Casanova's  where they play the best music; places to dance like Royal Palms; swimming in the warm sea; snorkeling with the colourful fish music in the clear water; a good shoe shop with 3 pairs that worked for me; good friends, excellent company; movies without subtitles; all this in the last week or so.

Tempted to visit? So you should be.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A catch up

You know you've been quiet when your mother tells you that there's not much on your blog. I don't seem to be getting a lot of time at home lately. Which is a good thing in most ways. Work has been taking up time in a way it hasn't for a while and I'm enjoying the challenges and most of all the lovely people I'm working with. My work is all about change and that's not something that comes easily for most of us. It's working here because I have an awesome team.

There has been plenty happening besides work. I think I'm getting over the RSI from the Miami trip. There's only so many times one can swipe a card without causing major strain injuries, then there's carrying those heavy shopping bags. My wardrobe is looking quite full and I'm going to have to release some clothes and shoes into the wild very soon, or buy many more coat hangers.

I really liked Miami. There's heaps to do and the food was great. We ate at the Cheesecake Factory at Dadeland a couple of times. The menu was one where I could have eaten all week and the Margaritas were fantastic. Dadeland Mall was the shopping destination, that and Designer Shoe Warehouse. Here's a few of their offerings. I love the heels, I've added a few pairs to my collection.

Jo shops like I do, except she has more stamina. We breezed through the shops, she knew the best ones, took a pile into the fitting rooms and quickly decided the yes, no and maybes. Quick check with each other then off to the counter. We made some good selections, some were the same selection. More on that later. We shopped until I dropped and needed food, I'm not nice when I need food and my new shoes were hurting. Off we went and found a fantastic little Italian restaurant, lovely home cooked food and a nice Chianti.

The bar at the hotel was shut when we got back so we decided to sample the small bottles of cocktail mixers we had bought earlier in the day. I had gin, what more could we want. Well reading the instructions might have been useful. I found ice and mixed the drinks. The first two were great, the last one was blueberry. And blue it was. Blue tongues and small blue mustaches, mine was still there in the morning. In the morning, armed with the instructions, we found that the stuff I stirred in was supposed to be used to rim the glasses, oh well!

We had a car in Miami and cruised around a bit, we also had a satnav. Not a particularly good one, she was a little slow in telling us when to turn and I could here the exasperation in her voice as she had to recalculate the route many times. The car was a treat, an upgrade at the counter then another in the garage meant we had a Volvo with leather seats and heaps of pep. Fun to drive. The weekend ended too soon, next time we'll stay another night and head out on a road trip rather than shop so much.

The next installment should be soon, stories of sailing and Muzz's trip to France and Spain. Watch this space. Right now I've got a Skype date with Noah, the highlight of today.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

A little jaded

Is 8.57pm too early to go to bed? I'm trying to keep myself awake a while longer as I know I'll sleep a bit then won't get much more. And sleep is what I need. It's been a hectic few weeks with sailing, a shopping and eating trip to Miami and work. Nope, I just decided a bit after 9 is fine as a bed time so off I go. I promise to write more later on the Miami trip. Here's a photo of some of the 23 items of clothing and all of the 5 pairs of shoes I managed to squeeze into my bag. Good thing I took an empty one!