Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back in the U.S.A.

 Well, I’m way behind in my blogging, but that’s what happens when I get out of my routine. We’ve been in the U.S. for a month now, traveling to conventions and visiting friends and family. We started out in Tampa, staying with Joe and Kim at Chateau Rogers in Tampa, our home away from home in Florida.  Then up to GenCon in Indianapolis, where Chris visited with a troll friend while Anne was out on the town with Darth Vader. This was a new con for us and we did so well with book sales that we had to order more books – cool! Next, we headed to far-upstate New York (take a left and you’re in Canada!) near the Adirondacks to visit Jan and Kimberly, friends from our graduate-school days in Texas, whom we haven’t seen in nearly twenty years. Then southeast to New England to visit Anne’s family, which I’ll pick up my next blogs.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This Is Just Wrong

Boats belong in the water. I just hate being hauled out. It’s a necessary evil to haul Mr Mac every few years to paint the bottom of the boat. But to watch it ease out of the water and hang in the slings is awful. Our home and everything we own, suspended over hard concrete. It’s like a traffic accident; you don’t really want to see, but you have to look. Anyway, being hauled at Peake Yacht Services in Trinidad was probably the least traumatic hauling experience we’ve had. First, they’ve got the largest Travelift we’ve ever seen (though there’s a larger one at a nearby boatyard). Second, they send a diver into the water to make sure the straps are situated correctly beneath the hull and keel. Third, instead of the boat swaying in the Travelift sling as it’s transported through the yard, they put it on a boat-mover that cradled it in sturdy hydrolic chocks. Finally, these guys were so professional and clearly skilled at their jobs, it was much easier to leave it in their hands. So Mr Mac’s new home for the next few months is tucked in amongst the other boats in the yard, awaiting our return from a trip to the states.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Beauty is a Beast

Beautiful markings
See just a glimpse of blue at the top of the wing
 While hiking, we glimpsed an iridescent blue amidst the green of the forest, and this gorgeous butterfly flittered out and landed on a nearby leaf. With its wings up, it’s not nearly as beautiful, though the under-wing markings are still striking. We harassed it, trying to get a picture of the dorsal side of the wings, but it easily avoided us by heading deeper into the forest. We saw another one later, with a gimpy wing (no, we did not make it gimpy) that afforded a peek of the blue coloration. I looked it up online and discovered that it’s a Peleides Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides), common to Central and South America as well as Trinidad. The beast part? The larvae are cannibalistic.

Because Vampires Like Music Too

Well, this sign threw us for a loop. Was it really an all-night concert? Just across the road from our anchorage was an amphitheater. Only a few days into our stay, this sign appeared on the marquis, advertising a concert/get-together. About mid-day, they started the sound checks. We had gone hiking up a nearby hill, and could hear the music plenty loud from there. It was even louder down in the anchorage, and grew louder throughout the evening. True to their word, the real music began VERY loud and clear at 11 p.m., and continued straight through until 6 a.m. Needless to say, we didn’t get much sleep that night.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Shopping in Trini

Bustling fresh market in Port of Spain
 Unlike some of the islands we’ve visited, Trinidad is a bustling country with all the modern amenities, like supermarkets selling products from around the world. But when it comes to produce, local is better, so we took a trip to the fresh market in Port of Spain, a 20-30 minute drive from our anchorage. The vast selection of tropical fruits was no surprise, since mango, banana, and bread fruit trees grow everywhere you look, along with lots of items we don’t recognize (but are usually tasty). Well, they were all on display and for sale at the fresh market. Ditto for the vegetables, including some truly tremendous squash/pumpkins. We avoided items like big, round tomatoes, which were in boxes indicating their Florida origin, and went for the smaller local tomatoes. There also were tables laden with local spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, etc. – as well as lots of curry powers (about 40% of the Trinidad population is East Indians whose ancestors arrived from India as indentured servants and stayed after their terms of service were completed). The prices in the picture may look high, but those are Trinidad dollars (TT); to convert to US dollars, divide by six. They also had very fresh fish and meats (as in live chicken and ducks), as well as these live land crabs, trussed up with long grass stalks. We’re eating well here!
Live land crabs for your dining pleasure