Wednesday, 31 July 2013


Packing up a house is not my favourite job. Having to haggle about the price of freighting my pathetically small amount of belongings really takes the shine off an already stressful situation. It's kind of amusing now it's done, the lovely men helping me do the final bits and bantering with me and each other as Caribbean men do. As Rob commented when he and Gill took away some stuff for me, we spend lots of time gathering belongings and then give them away when it's time to go.

True, I have given away heaps of things that I have enjoyed for a while, some of which came with me from Al Ain and some that I'd gathered in my time here. Gill and Rob saved me untold stress today when they donated their padded bike bag to my shifting cause, surely a worthy swap for an outdoor setting. 

My bike caused much of the hassle with the packing costs. I'm not sure they knew that I could break mine down into a bag much smaller than the packing box they counted towards the total volume of freight. Break it down I did, I'm sure Tim would have been proud of me as I figured out which parts to remove and how. I hope he will help me to reassemble, my last effort required instructions via Skype and was a little frustrating. The men came and were very surprised to see the small pile of goods I had packed. One commented that he would only take a month to gather that amount of stuff, I've taken a number of years and a few countries. 

In the next hour or so, we put the bike bag into a bigger box, along with another bag and my carpets for padding. It's now extra safe. Seven other quite small boxes later the job was done and my goods on their way to New Zealand. I now have to make 20 kilos with what I have left so I can fly without hassle. I should manage that. I got confirmation this evening that I'm staying at the Marriott for two nights, just have to sort the other three and I'm good until I fly. 

It's really good to be able to give things to friends. My lovely cleaner who has just got accepted into nursing school commented on my shoe collection. Luckily we're the same size so she has many of my heels. Sailing friends liked my soft cool bag and they now have that and my folding desert chairs, gone to a good home. Others will get the contents of my cupboards, the Humane Society more clothing and goods that I will use up until I leave.

I feel like I can relax now, work is done after tomorrow's hand over of my swipe card and Blackberry. I will be phoneless and on holiday. Not sure I'll cope without a phone for too long. I suspect I'll get a Cayman sim and put it into one of my cheapest finest Nokias. I do plan to buy an iPhone in New Orleans, it's about time really.

I took my small camera sailing on the weekend and got some photos. The packers came a bit earlier than expected, a whole day earlier, so I packed the camera without downloading the pics. They will have to wait a few months. Here's one I prepared earlier, an untouched Cayman sunset. Beautiful.

Cayman sunset

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Safe enough yet?

Not really, given this report. I don't mind admitting that earthquakes scare me. Scare me much more than other things that should scare me. They come on so suddenly, without warning, and are so unpredictable. Nature giving the world a shake up.

And there's been a lot more since, including one much bigger and the CBD was shut down yesterday. I was talking about this to a nice young man in the KiwiBank call centre, he didn't seem too impressed by the shakes. I suspect Wellingtonians will have lots of empathy for those in Christchurch, thankfully no one was killed in Wellington or Seddon near the epicentre.

I was talking about earthquakes and the possibility that I may be moving to Wellington later this year while out sailing yesterday. My fellow sailors couldn't see what the big deal was with earthquakes. They are a big deal. Compared to other natural disasters, they are largely unpredictable, no one knows when one starts what the results are going to be, how long it's going to last, how strong it's going to be or whether their home is still going to standing and them and their loved ones still alive at the end of it. It's terrifying.

Thinking of all my fellow kiwis this evening, hoping that this swarm has now ended.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The to do list

I'm gradually ticking off things on my to do list. Things like booking flights, rental cars and accommodation as well as dealing with the money stuff. I'm sure I can have a small chuckle at selling my car, the second time I've sold a car on my own and it was was similar to the first time. I put my small Pajero Junior on ECaytrade, the Cayman equivalent of all those buying and selling sites, and had my first call in less than 15 minutes. I hadn't even posted a photo and I'd got the mileage a little wrong, it was really meant to read 130,000 kms not 30,000ks!

The young lass visited, drove the car, nodded excitedly that it was not as rough as most. That was Sunday, today we sealed the deal after a trip to a mechanic to get it checked out. It did check out, I'm happy with the price and she's happy to have a car. Tomorrow it's the hand over, luckily Jane's away so I have a spare car to use. Thanks Jane!

Only eight more work days left, plus three spares if I don't get the things done I need to. I'm hoping not to work those days and instead go on a dive course. Something I've always wanted to do. Cathy Church is a bit of a legend here with her fantastic underwater photos and I'd like to get one or two myself. Just with a water proof happy snappy and not too deep of course. She's a really nice lady too, helped me with a camera issue I had.

So it's almost goodbye to this

and hello to this. Getting excited now.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Tropical storm Chantal

So early in the season to be up to C already and Chantal is winding herself down with an amazing light show here in Cayman. On my way home from happy hour, there was lightening in the distance, no rain and just a rumble of thunder. A short while after I got inside, it hit in ernest. West Coast September rain, only warmer. It's still pouring down, I'm pleased I chose to park my car on ground higher than my normal car park because I suspect it will be flooded by now, well under water.

Tomorrow may just be a stay at home, on the couch with a good book kind of a day. I have lots of getting ready to do so I think that may be the main focus. Jane's booked us to New Orleans for a few days of jazz and blues before I head north to NYC and my flight to Shannon. Only about 10 days of work left, that is if I can get the leave I've requested for the end of the month.

Sunday is a sailing day, weather permitting. I do hope it's fine because there's not many sailing days left until I leave. I might even get to drive, I certainly need the practice. I was enjoying another Crossing Jordan this evening and this song was the end song. There for many reasons to do with the plot, I searched the lyrics and found this version. Enjoy.

Monday, 8 July 2013


It's a bit like waiting at the dentist, waiting for an interview. I much prefer to get them over with early. Especially when it's Sunday at my place and Monday at theirs. I've been doing some really interesting exploring while preparing and now know a little more than I did about bi-literacy. Having co-taught in a bilingual classroom and taught English to Arabic speakers, I have a working knowledge of how it all works. I hope that gets across in the interview. That, and that I am worthy of the position.

While I've been waiting, I've booked a car for the UK, very cheap so decided it was a good option. I love the emails that come from places promoting things like accommodation, airfares and car hire. They make my life easier, I wait for the prompt, get searching and seem to get good prices with little hassle. My next thing to book is my flight to NYC, no good planning a big trip if the first step doesn't happen. That's a job for tomorrow.

I love Google Earth. I have been on there route planning, checking out how far it it from here to there, via there and there and how long it might take. It's a really useful tool. I now know it's more than possible for me to drive up to Scotland and check out Inverness and the Isle of Skype. People told me it was a long way, not compared to driving to Muscat and back via the mountains or driving from Christchurch to Auckland on a day trip. I've done that the odd time with only a stop for the ferry crossing and the loo.

So I'm a little bored with today, the first Sunday I've not sailed in a long time. I do have a good book, if I can concentrate on it for an hour, it may just be time to leave for the interview. I've also been spending time sorting out photographs from my over loaded computer. Here's one from another Cayman Sunday.

A beautiful Blue Iguana who resides at the Botanical Gardens

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Fair Game

Oh my, what an eye opener this movie was. I was engrossed right from the start and found it scary how manipulative those at the top could be. I wondered all through about the use of real footage, then I found out that this was a true story. A story of whistleblowers from an earlier time. Courageous people who stood up when they were cast aside by the Government. Real life, real people, real issues, the real story about an injustice to a family, to a country and especially to the country they invaded. Really brave people who took on an administration. Check out what Joe says at 4.10. I hope that the current whistleblowers know this story and take strength from the success of the Wilsons.

Monday, 1 July 2013

An eventful day

I got some bookings done today, accommodation for Ireland and Milan and a car for Ireland. I love how I can plot out my route on Google Maps, see how far it is to drive as well as how long it may take. The roads in southern Ireland are apparently a little narrow and require caution. My car is little, a small VW so I should be fine. I'm planning to drive from Shannon to Bantry then around the coast to Rossbeign, stay the night then drive to Dingle and back to Shannon. I didn't book a satnav because the instructions on Google Earth looked manageable. Famous last words I know after getting lost in Wales.

My first stop organised, I booked the two nights in Milan. It seems like an expensive place, the Airbnb apartment I've booked looks great for Sandy and I, central and near the station but in a quiet spot. Not like the one that said in capital letters, light sleepers need not apply we're on a busy street. That was a no, I'm sure Sandy will appreciate how quiet this one is after her long journey from New Zealand.

Although it was a bit stormy here today, I decided a beach walk would do me good so off I went, right into a rain squall. The sea was rough, the beach largely deserted except for a lovely couple from Washington, the state not the town as he told me. He thought I was an Aussie, he knew to apologise and we laughed at that. Seems they had met Aussies and a New Zealander on another trip so knew more than the average American about down under.

They had just arrived, he wasn't quite as excited as she was at the prospect of a swim in the sea. She wanted to see a fish. Well, Cemetery Beach is just the place for that. Ask the pelicans, I saw several today diving and succeeding. Off I went, telling them I was coming back for a swim fter some much needed exercise.

I wandered along to Public Beach, about a 4.5km round trip and on the way back I noticed lots of activity on the water. Police boats, other small craft and the police helicopter frantically looking for something. I thought at first that there may have been asylum seekers in one of the boats because the police boat seemed to be chasing it. That's happened lately after a rough trip from Cuba.

Crowds were forming from the condos along the beach and I asked a policeman patrolling the beach what had happened. A missing swimmer it seemed. Not an American woman, I asked. Yes, said the policeman. I felt terrible thinking it may have been the lady I told it was okay to swim. With a feeling of dread, I arrived to find the couple gone. I'm hoping that it wasn't her, they seemed so nice and so excited to be in Cayman on their first visit.

The action moved down the beach and the helicopter hovered over the big police launch and it seemed like someone was plucked from the water. A happy ending I hope. I will keep checking the news. The sea was rough and there was a small boat advisory out. Not good weather for a J22. I had a swim because there were others in the water, not too far out and for not too long.

I will miss having the sea available all year round when I leave here. My contract has been extended until the end of July so my leaving date from NYC is set, hence booking as I did today. It's nice knowing I can make plans, nice to know that in a little less than 6 weeks I'll be on the road again. Looking forward to it now.