If you haven’t noticed, I really enjoy diving. Not the prep work, getting the gear together and definitely not the boat ride, mind you. I still get very, very seasick. And land sick. But under the water itself is an incredible experience. Kevin and I have been doing a lot of Carribean dives for the most part (hello warm water and short boat rides) so most of what we see is a bit of a repeat, wildlife-wise. It makes it no less of a fun scavenger hunt, but it was a surprise to see this inflated porcupine puffer!
I just noticed that one of my favorite things is on sale on Amazon and want to share with all of you! This Heat Therapy Wrap is so a part of my daily life! Whether it’s for general cozy comfort, or for a bit of therapy on my aching shoulders- I can’t get enough. Kevin made fun of me until I let him use my old flat heating pad during those cold icky days we had recently. He’s a total convert. Even if you don’t like this one, get thee a heating pad!
If you have never been on a cruise, you should consider it. No, it’s not mad cap adventures where only you have found the undiscovered lands. But for me, it’s one of the few truly relaxing vacatons I can take. Everything is truly taken care of and you don’t have to worry about a thing. I’ll try to post after each port to give an idea of what it’s all like
Kevin and I like to drive down to Florida to catch our boat. One of the main reasons is that since we bring our dive gear, etc that it’s just easier than flying. And cheaper. Last night, though, made the drive totally worth it.
We’re cruising along I-95, and we just passed the sign for Kennedy Space Center. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a bright light, flaming high up into the sky. At first I thought it was something like a factory exhaust, but then remembering we had just passed the Kennedy Space Center, I shook Kevin.
“Holy shit, I think that’s a rocket!”
Kevin looked it up on his phone, and, sure enough it was a rocket launch! It literally launched the exact moment we were driving by. Not to mention, there were no other cars around, so my weaving around to keep it in view wasn’t an issue. Apparently, it wasn’t a launch that was even open to the public, so we were doubly lucky.
We are taking it as an omen that this trip will have all kinds of smooth sailing (pun intended). There’s an off chance that we will be able to see some friends of ours who are cruising the same ports as us, but on a different ship. I’m feeling this synchronicity ship.
As usual, I have been a little slow on the blog stuff. There’s been a few other trips that I will get to eventually, but this one was certainly a fun one and takes precedence.
My MIL had a business trip to Amsterdam, so of course, I gladly tagged along. Not to mention the much cooler temperature in the Netherlands in August was a welcome break from NC’s humid hot summer.
We only had a few days, so we, like your typical American Tourists, packed a LOT in. The city of Amsterdam is designed like a spindle, with canals making each spoke. Which, unfortunately can be a little disorienting if you’re a little jet lagged and trying to get your bearings. To get our lay of the city, we took a canal tour…which we both fell asleep during. Warm sun and the gentle roll of engines should be a part of every nap. We did manage, however to get a good go of it.
While Peggy was hard at work, I managed to find a lovely little Dog Park (since I was definitely missing mine) and got a bit of reading in.
Once Peggy was finished with her conference, it was on to hard core tourism. We hit up the Anne Frank House (which was oddly underwhelming-be sure to buy tickets ahead of time), The Hortus Botanicus (totally worth the visit), and the absolute star of our Amsterdam visit, The Rijksmuseum (all the Dutch masters and more- could have spent days here).
After, it was a quick 3 hour train ride to Paris on Thayls. Much cheaper than eurorail, by the way, and still an excellent ride. At a client’s recommendation, we stayed at the Helzear Champs Elyse’es. Amazing location! Slightly off the beaten path, but only a few blocks to the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph. I honestly wasn’t expecting much from Paris, but I have to say- it’s worth the hype. It has the vibe/feel of those cities that have their own personalty- New York, London, Berlin, Dublin…Everywhere around you is history and beauty. We didn’t have time to go inside museums, but walks along the river. Peggy insisted we go inside Notre Dame Cathedral.
We were lucky- the line for Notre Dame was fast moving, and didn’t wait more than 5 minutes or so before we were inside. There’s just something about being inside a building that King’s were crowned, the mother of Joan of Arc petitioned for her daughter, and the Coronation of Napoleon I – all happened. Such a lovely city. I can’t wait to make another trip to Paris and fully explore all its wonderful aspects.
October is that time of year when I start getting anxious to travel, and luckily, Lisbon is a great place to go when you have the itch. It was fast to get to (from the East Coast), economical (I would say it rivals Berlin for easy on the wallet), easy to get around, and packed with amazing things to see.
I traveled with a close friend of mine, Travis. And even though we work together, it is rare that we get to spend any amount of time just hanging out. We joked that we have to leave the country to catch up.
Lisbon is truly the city of Seven Hills. And while this made it easy to navigate, was a literal pain in the rear anytime you wanted to go somewhere. It was a literal uphill, both ways!
This is the quick and dirty blog post, just to get back into the driver’s seat. So here are a few more pictures before I head off to work.
I usually like to write about travels or adventures, but today I am feeling a slightly different turn. No pictures, nothing that funny…Honestly, this one is a bit depressing but that’s okay. Feel free to skip this one.
This past weekend, while at a bachelor party for my friend, I receive a frantic call from Kevin. The neighbor from across the street- the one that had just moved out with his family- was lying dead on his front porch. Kevin could see him. Why weren’t they covering up the body? It had been hours. Why weren’t they covering the body?
I didn’t even know his name.
Kevin later calls me back and he had pieced a few bits of the stories from the neighbors. A neighbor, we’ll call K, saw him on the porch in the morning. He and his painter thought something looked wrong, even though he had a pillow and a blanket. 911 says to perform CPR but it is way too late. Neighbor D’s wife up the street remembered that his 3 year old daughter had once before come looking for help because daddy had overdosed. He had been to rehab. They were getting a divorce, which is why they moved. The guy had 2 young kids and a sweet wife.
How could I have not known his name?
This morning, as I was pulling weeds out of the front yard, I see his widow pull up to their old house, driven by what I assume were either her, or his parents. She walks to the front stoop, and collapses crying across it. Sobbing, she lays there, draped in a way I can only imagine her dead husband was 48 hours before. I go inside so as to give them some privacy. I see through the blinds as each of them take a turn crying on the tiny porch, and as they search the yard for what I only assume is either car keys, or evidence of his demise.
I want to say something, give comfort, tell them it will be alright. But how can it be alright? A dread that this woman must have had all along, her sweet little curly haired daughter who drew chalk pictures on the driveway, now without a father.
His name. None of the neighbors knew it.
He was a young guy. Unpleasant and surly. Kind of a jerk if anyone tried to enter into conversation with him. But his family was amazingly kind and outgoing. I don’t grieve for him- I grieve for his family. That little girl who at such a young age had already gone through so much, and her infant sibling who should be learning to walk soon. What will their mom tell them?
I’m not sure why his story troubles me so much. It’s not my story. I wasn’t even a participant- merely an observer. Perhaps it is because it just shows you never really know what someone else’s story is or what sort of trials they are going through. It is so easy to be dismissive of someone with a drug addiction or someone who struggles with depression. All those dark demons that cling to everyone’s back to varying degrees. We watch and say things like “I would never…” or “they could’ve done…”.
But it is so easy for something like this to be you- or me.
It seems his last moments were to go to a place he ultimately felt safe- whether because he thought it was still home, or because he knew no one would have moved in yet. He drove and parked neatly on the parking pad, pulled out a pillow and blanket from the trunk of his car (it had been left open), and curled up to sleep his last.
I wish I had known his name.
There comes a time in everyone’s lives that, chances are, you will be involved in a close friend’s pre-wedding festivities. My good friend Eric is getting ready to take that next step in his own life and relationship. So what better way to say siyonara to single than a weekend getaway with a few friends!
Folly Beach is a quintessential beach town, with a cozy pier, live music, laid back life style and of course, quirky buildings and businesses.
Personally, I’m a fan of this new microbrewery trend, and we were not disappointed.
Next, it was off to Cooper River Brewing Company , mainly because they had an air conditioned tap room.
They also had Dominos and wood puzzles.
And don’t worry- yes there were some amazing food experiences, which will be discussed in Part 2 of the Bs&Bs. Till then:
Here’s a fun clip that Kevin got of a spotted moray and a scorpion fish! Moray’s open and close their mouths to breathe. A few folks thought that it was defensive posturing, but I can assure you- he was just hanging out. No plans to be attacked. The scorpion fish has amazing natural camouflage and is one of the world’s most venomous fish.
Don’t worry. Kevin took these with a goPro Hero 3+ extending stick with a red filter.
Kevin got this video of the green turtle at the end of our 1,000 Steps dive. What a great experience!
Much like Ireland’s Blarney stone, London’s Piccadilly Circus, and NYC’s Time Square, Bonaire has it’s own “well you’re here- you better go see it”. It is called 1,000 Steps.
It is named this not because there are 1,000 steps (I’ve heard 64 -79), but because it feels like 1,000 steps on the way back.
The problem wasn’t even the steps. That stoney beach is actually a bunch of dead coral pieces that roll and disperse under your feet. This entry was tough, and while a pretty enough dive, not worth the effort.After 1,000 Steps we headed to Oil Slick which was a MUCH nicer dive. I’ll post pics of underwater stuff in a later spot.
Save your steps for a different dive.
So many good intentions…so many. I meant to post about visiting my sister in Boston, and our hike up the stony paths of Mount Monadnock.
This place has literally hundreds of dive sights, pristine as the entire area is a marine park.
And I’ve already made friends with a stay calico kitty. Who knows if she will come back tonight, but she left us a lizard tail at our door this morning. Thanks, Kitty.
We’ve only done one dive so fast, but it was beautiful. Saw a sea snake! That was a first…more photos headed your way soon!
And welcome to Bonaire!