Thursday, 26 July 2012

Off tomorrow

It's been an interesting day in Cayman. A big power outage has meant some subtle changes to my day. Luckily my work has a generator, others are not so fortunate. I just hope that the planes still fly if the power is still off tomorrow. My plans to buy an iPad today didn't eventuate so I suspect there will be no posts while I'm traveling. I can't wait to head off on this adventure, I'm so ready for a break and some down time.

Friday, 20 July 2012

July

Oh dear, I just realised today that it's only 7 more sleeps, 4 more working days until I head to Peru via Panama. It was a bit of a shock, where has July gone! I also have so much work to do before I go that those sleeps might turn into all nighters. So much for the resolution to work shorter hours and exercise more, out the the window for now I suspect. At least I'll get some exercise where I'm going, looking forward to doing some wandering.

I hope to be staying here in Panama, hope because I only got back to them tonight. At least Peru is fully organised and I'm staying here. I can't wait to see all the sights in both places. The good thing about Panama is that I can go back easily as it's a direct flight from Cayman. I need to get packing I suppose, not my favourite job, light is the key. I'm not planning to take the Mac, I may suffer with drawls. Or I might just buy an iPad to travel with. Decisions, decisions. 

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Writing

I've been wondering why I've not been writing so much lately. Is it that I'm not doing much to write about? Well there's a little of that. There's only so many sailing posts I can write, although now I have a small camera to take I can at least add photos.

Is it that I have writers block? Maybe a little of that too. More because my work requires me to write a lot and much of my time is spent in front of a screen. Writing gets to be a bus man's holiday rather than a joy. Things here are really settled and really social as well. Time is an issue, also linked to to work. Long and hectic days leave me feeling a little exhausted at night.

Work, a series of major projects that must succeed under the watchful eye of the public. My latest, and that runs alongside all the others my team and I are managing, involves recruitment; professional development; curriculum development; school and Department of Education liaison; construction and classroom space; indoor and outdoor environments; resourcing and resources; the media and information sharing; and most importantly children and their families.

Just as I think one thing is secured, the next arises. Luckily I have a fantastic team although the current summer holidays has that somewhat depleted. It can be a little stressful and take all my brain space. Late finishes mean eating out and late home comings. There are plenty of positives, I now know how well I can multitask, having many different solutions in my head at one time.

And of course, as the ad on the radio says: "We know you work hard, but you do it in paradise". So true. While I do spend part of my weekends working, catching up on those things that require a peaceful space, I do also get to lay by the pool and go sailing. Yesterday, after a quick pop in to work, Jo and I lunched at Icoa. Two sets of friends came by, Ginny and her daughter joined us, sharing the very yummy lemon raspberry tart that's one of their specialties. A social time with lovely people.

Paradise, I looked for that when I moved house. Somewhere with either a beach or nicer surrounds than my previous place. Sunrise is a lovely complex, I have to walk past the pool to get home so my first priority is to get back down for a swim. It's summer, a nice mild version of last years humid heat, so the days a re a little longer and it's okay to swim in the evening. I'm having a house warming party on Tuesday evening, Wednesday is a holiday so it's okay.

I'm off sailing soon, out to visit our friend the dolphin and socialise with the cruiser crews after. It could be a late one. The stories might have to wait until next weekend.

I wander past this......

to get to this
All is well in my world, I trust all is well in yours too. Please leave comments if you feel inspired, I'd love to hear from you. 

Cruising

Baby Cakes in action

Cheers at Stingray City

The dolphin was right under this boat
Last weekend Pete and Marie invited me out on Cheers, their new pride and joy, for an afternoon sail. The plan was to head to Stingray City to check out the stingrays then onto Starfish Point for a swim. Cheers is a little bigger than Mayhem, a little smaller than Blue Runner so plenty of room for the 6 man crew. There was lots to do, sailing alongside Baby Cakes and another friend.

Snorkeling with stingrays is not my favourite thing to do so I was pleased that we were in deeper water and they were chilling out on the sandy bottom. There were two really big ones, with over 6 feet wingspans. Apparently thrashing around in the water wakes them up. It's disconcerting when these huge creatures come and rub up against you, especially when thoughts of Steve Irwin come to mind. I bolted up the ladder with Jo close behind. Not very brave, I know.

We sailed on to Starfish point and anchored for a swim. Marie and I swum ashore, treading carefully with heaps of small sea urchins on the sea floor. There were others anchored, lots of action as they had a visitor. Our friendly wild dolphin was swimming around the boats. Despite warnings in the media not to swim with him, we joined the others. From a distance. This dolphin is huge and impossible to photograph with my happy snappy.

When we left, he came too. Swimming alongside us, racing us as we picked up speed flying the spinnaker. He came right up to my side, leapt out of the water and splashed me. I'm certain he smiled as he did it then dashed under the boat to splash the crew on the other side. It's such a privilege to have him alongside, amazing really that he is so playful and responsive. I had my hands full so didn't get any photos, no problem. We're back out racing tomorrow and he's sure to pick us up just off Boobie Quay where he seems to hang out. 

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Miami adventures

Last weekends flying trip to Miami was a bit of a treat in many ways. Long hours at work meant that travelling on Saturday was not an option, a long weekend meant a Sunday/Monday trip was possible. Jo and I got to the airport on time despite this person setting her alarm for 5.30pm not am. Could have been nasty, except for my reliable body clock.

We arrived at Miami Airport, 30 minutes later we were on the road in our convertible. Yep, a minor miracle. When we arrived in the immigration hall we looked at each other, wondering if the world had ended when we were in the air. At the very least there must have been some catastrophe that meant others hadn't flown. There we were in a very quiet place with only our plane load present, never been seen before if you believe those present to witness.

Miami International is notorious for delays, 3 or 4 hour delays. Sunday morning last week there were no queues, no people and very friendly immigration staff. One might say quite flirty. The young officer spent time looking though my passport after I'd been finger printed. He studied the pages, read the visas, nodded and glanced at me then back at my small New Zealand book like it was an interesting novel.

Then he smiled. "I love to look at the stamps in people's passports to see where they've been," he said. "Yours is the best yet, so many places I never get to see in other passports, wow."

We chatted a bit about travelling and interesting countries, he stamped my passport then it was Jo's turn. That's when he got flirty. I waited for Jo just beyond the area, he said it was okay to come back and wait for my friend. Asked us what our weekend plans were. We giggled just a little then headed for the way out and the no queue to the outside line. Again a very friendly man who smiled and chatted, appreciating that we were on a shopping mission.

The rental car pick up was equally smooth, the upgrade to a Mustang convertible an easy choice. Off we roared in Thelma and Louise style, me in the driver's seat. We were still giggling just a little as we used our sat nav to find our way to the hotel. South Beach was the next stop, lunch on the side walk and a bit of shopping as we wandered to the beach.

How could I resist Amalfi prawn on Israeli couscous with arugula for lunch? Yum yum, and especially the fresh Italian bread, proper bread that is not quite present on Cayman. We sat and watched people, looked at the fashions, important research for a shopping trip. Over lunch we decided that a trip towards the Keys might be in order. We had the car, lets go drive.

Oh no, I didn't have my camera! With drawls are not nice, we found a camera shop and I managed to buy a hand bag size happy snappy. Perfect for those moments when my big cameras are not around. The lovely camera shop man was very helpful. Hailing from Gent in Belgium, he was most surprised to  meet this kiwi who knew Belgium so well. We chatted a while and off I went, happy with my new purchase.

We had a play it forward moment at South Beach. A nice young couple gave us a parking ticket valid until evening, asking that we pass it on if we left early. We were in the process of trying to work out how the roof went up in the car, the young man also knew where that button was, much to our embarrassment. 

We drove off, happy campers and went as far as we felt like, not quite to the end. We dined on fish as you do in the Keys and then drove back. Sunday evening is traffic jam time, we relaxed and discovered that one must put the top up just before the mosquito's fill the car. Slow driving made us sweet ladies mozzie magnets. Turning the heater on helped, not enough to stop the blood filled pests from tormenting us. Who would have thought. My new glasses gave me bionic night vision so we got back safely to the hotel, just in time to enjoy a nice cold one.

The next day was shopping, lots of shopping including a trip to the Home Depot. That was fun, a roof ladder later we were off to the clothes and shoe shops. We had fun with the ladder, fitting it in the car was interesting and the race to the check in eventful. People to do look at one a little oddly when one has a roof ladder on an airport trolley. 

Some pics from the happy snappy. It worked okay.

My next yacht in the moonlight

Boats in harbour

Yep, that's the Keys alright

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Rock of Ages

I went to the movies tonight, a bit of a rare treat, and saw Rock of Ages. I was a bit disconcerted when it seemed a bit too much like a musical, how wrong I was. It was hilarious, excellent music that people who may have been around and rocking in the 1980s would remember. It was lots of fun, kept me well awake for the late showing at the movies. Here's a sneak peak, I recommend it for a bit of a laugh and trip down memory lane.


Tomorrow Jo and I fly to Miami, can't wait to go and see the sights. Well, most probably the inside of the malls and various shops we need to visit. Yes, need. There are some who may believe i have enough shoes, I'm not a follower of that belief. looking forward to getting off the rock and doing some people watching, Miami's a great place for that.