Naked in St. Martin

We arrived in St. Martin just at the same moment a storm was arriving.   I wondered if this would be the day that weather would not be in our favor.    The rain was beautifully annoying but it only lasted 15 minutes and the rest of the day we were roasted by the sun.  (I got a sun burn through my t-shirt… didn’t think that was possible… I can’t imagine what would have happened if I stripped naked… more about that later)

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We arrived early and we sighed in relief knowing that today nothing could go wrong with our excursion.    You will note that from the pictures the water was incredibly clear and the most stunning blue.

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We had an hour before our shopping/beach tour started so we visited the dock with all of its many tourist stores.  Isabelle found a shop that sells macarons and we decide on the way back from the tour we would buy some.  (ha… buy some at the end of the day… we are such novices…   there we none left by the time we returned)

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St. Martin is an Island divided by two countries… France and Netherlands.  We landed on the Dutch side (Philipsburg) and Isabelle wanted to make sure we visited the French side.  From this map you can see our tour plan.  We spent 1 hour in Marigot and 2.5 hours at Orient Beach.

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Our excursion tickets came with a warning that “some nudity may be observed”.  We ignored the warning since we have been to the beach many times in the south of France and have seen “some” nudity.   The warning is misleading… “Some” should be changed to “A lot of” and “may” should be changed to “will definitely”.  Before I talk about naked people I want to start with pictures from Marigot the capital of the french side.    We were fortunate to find a “boulangerie” where we bought a picnic for the beach.  Here are some pictures.

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Marigot is a small town but has lots of charm… Isabelle made me visit the mall… (That is not part of its charm)  Next we were off to the beach.  We were promised a free drink, two chairs next to the water along with an umbrella and finally free bathroom visits.   Who could ask for more…   in fact that was perfect.   Little did we know we would get much… much more..

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First of all the drink… watered down punch served in a small dixie cup was kind of disappointing but the beach looked amazing.   They started leading us down towards the water and I noticed the sign you see in the picture above.   I quickly took a picture and wondered what have we got ourselves into.   Someone saw me take the picture and  I got my second scolding for this trip… no picture taking allowed on this beach!   (No one can tell me what to do… I thought so  I slipped in a couple more… I will share them but they needed editing)   Isabelle was very upset but this time it was all her fault since she picked the tour.   I told her I was really disappointed that she would lead me into such debauchery… as I put on my sun glasses.

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We decided we would give it a go and try to ignore all the others.  We ate lunch and had a small “fully” dressed swim (fully dressed meaning in swim suits).   I think our shocking state of being in swim gear annoyed the local naturalists.   As we returned to our chairs we noticed that we were being joined by several naked men who decided to put their backs to the water and there… hmmm… I will use french… “zizi-s” to us.   I am not a prude but staring at a 70+ year old zizi  from a distance of 6 feet is not something I could take for more than 15 minutes.   There is good naked and this was not it… it was all bad.  We were stuck in some “bizarro world” where if you should be covered up you were not and if you had a body to show… it was hidden… plus there was some un written rule that you had to be over 70 to be naked.

I tried to close my eyes (I am sorry… you can’t help staring even at bad nakedness) and finally Isabelle said (quit loudly)  I can’t look at anymore naked perverted men… lets leave.  Fortunately the other end of the beach was family appropriate and while we didn’t have chairs we found walking down it much better than being stared down by old men parts.   I think we could have stayed where we were if it had not been for the three men who wanted to make sure we understood that they were naked.   I think they should make another rule… you can’t stand closer than 5 feet if you are going to point your “zizi” at another… especially some of us more “modest” beach goers… or jesh at least look at the sea…  I can ignore your bum.

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We left the beach 30 minutes before we had to be back on the boat. (we had no choice since we had to leave when the bus left)  I couldn’t wait to get back and take a long sanitary shower. (I sat in a chair that probably hours earlier was being sat in by some naked person)  I wished there was a way to somehow wash my eyes.   I don’t think I ever want to see a naked person again… (sorry Isabelle).   There is one bright side to all of this.  I am no long insecure about my own body… I realized there is much much worse out there.

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Here is the last picture.   We left port with a beautiful sunset and the captain blowing his horn… (He played the theme from the love boat with the horns… and I felt I had just lived some cheesy 1970s porno).   Isabelle was upset and went to customer service and complained that they need to warn people that the excursion was to a nudist beach. (she said had they included that in the description she would not have signed up). At first they didn’t believe that we were sent to a nudist beach and then when it was verified they started to laugh.  They made it better by refunding us our money…  (at least now we can say that we didn’t pay to see that… but I still think I need therapy)

 

 

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Here are some pictures of our second stop… San Juan, Puerto Rico.   We initially were suppose to visit El Yunque the only tropical rain forest found in the United States.   After waiting 2.5 hours for our tour to start… freezing near an ice skating rink…we gave up and walked into town.   I think they were messing with us a bit.  We were freezing and outside it was in the high 80’s.   I was a little disappointed… (this will make Jolene happy) but that didn’t last long as we started visiting the city and seeing some of the amazing sites.

 

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Here is the port just before we docked.  You can already see how beautifully the buildings are colored.  This view was completely lost as soon as we arrived at the dock.

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Here is our view of Puerto Rico after we docked from our balcony… not especially nice other than you could watch others and compare size. (Ship size…)  I had to go up on top of the deck to take some pictures of where we landed.

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Here we are shopping in one of the hundreds of tourist shops… (you can’t see us).  I was not going to say anything about fellow voyagers….  but…   I think this boy feels the same way about shopping as I do… or maybe he just hates having his picture taken.

Not going on the excursion gave us plenty of time to shop.  This is something usually I hate but this time it was different.   I was participating in a “who could buy the weirdest thing” contest.   Those two words “weird” and “contest” can make anything more bearable.  (This also allowed me to get the kids gift shopping out of the way)

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In this square with a statue of Columbus we started our shopping.  This market was mostly comprised of local artisans and Isabelle ended up buying a hand painted nativity scene  on a feather.  (I have not idea why a feather… kind of weird… but not weird enough  for the contest)   There was some really interesting pottery and paintings.   One lady made stuff out of sand by gluing it together… kind of looked like cat litter… or more like what you take out of “used” cat liter.   This was a great candidate for “weird” but the price was too high. we had  a spending limit of $10.

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Our shopping abruptly ended when we saw a fort (Fort San Cristóbal).   This fort was originally finished in 1783 and covered 27 acres.   We didn’t take a tour.  We found our selves wandering around the fort and exploring haphazardly.   There are many long corridors and it feels like you are in a labyrinth.  Each time we came out of one of these tunnel like corridors we were surprised by where we were and how much there was left to see.

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Here is another view from the fort and off in the distance I noticed another fort! (Castillo San Felipe del Morro)  I decided we could continue shopping as long as we were walking towards the other fort.  I will share some pictures of that walk.  I loved the charm of San Juan… many squares with really interesting statues and colorful buildings.

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We found some gifts for the children and continued on our way to the fort. Unfortunately I still didn’t have my “weird” purchase.  On the way to the fort we past a church at the exact moment that sun light from the entrance passed through a back window.   It light up the window brilliantly and was quite something to see.

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While staring at the window, I noticed we were beginning to run out of light and was worried we would not make it to the other fort before closing time.  Unfortunately we didn’t make it there before the fort closed.  (hmm…   I should have made Isabelle run.)

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We still walked around the outside of the fort and enjoyed  a cool breeze  that made things more bearable.  Isabelle enjoyed the fact that I only took mature pictures of her.  (Although in picture above I told her to back up into the small room.   She did and then notice she was standing in urine.  I guess men and maybe some women use this place as a private bathroom… you should have seen her dragging her shoes across the grass… hmm pee pee shoes)

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I have yet to post a picture of a cat on this blog… so here it is.   I am now a mainstream blogger.  We returned to the ship just before dark and when I looked at my phone I saw that we had walked close to 10 miles…  Isabelle has blisters  (Poor thing… maybe it is a good thing I didn’t make her run)

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I was not able to get something really  weird. I ended settling for a “Fighting Cock”… which I kind of like.  I had maybe a winning idea but Isabelle wouldn’t let me do it.(Buy a $10 tattoo of something weird).  My co-workers found awesome things like a magnet of a person’s behind with dolphins coming out of it and a pig roasting a man made (that was the winner).  I am sad it didn’t win.. but I blame it on Isabelle and the forts.

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Labadee Haiti

Here I am in Labadee, Haiti. (Not to be confused with the real Haiti).   This is our first stop and it was amazing.  I am going to share some pictures of this stop but before I do I wanted to share another sunset picture.   This sunset was taken Monday night.

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I kept waiting for steam to rise up… but it didn’t happen.  You must need to be closer to the equator to see it.

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Here is a view of Labadee from my balcony… wow that rhymes.   On a side note…Both Isabelle and I noticed smoke coming up from different areas throughout the day.  You can see some smoke in this picture on the upper right.  She asked me why they were lighting fires and I told her it had to be related to voodoo.  ( I am sorry that I  am being really random with my thoughts and writing)

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I said earlier that size doesn’t matter but when you walk next to the ship it is awe inspiring. (still think bigger doesn’t mean better). I wanted to share a picture looking back at the ship as you walked to the island.  I hate to repeat myself but the ship is humongous (I am starting to run out of synonyms for big… ) I was not going to comment on fellow travelers but… hmm… those two dresses looks like they have black light underneath. Isabelle and I left the ship without any planned  excursions.  I told her that I just wanted to spend quality time with her.

Cruise 38.jpg  Well… saying that I just wanted to spend time with Isabelle was a mistake… I should have not said anything until I got there… especially before I saw this zipline. It is called the DRAGON’S BREATH zipline and I could not resist.  You can see the metal stand on the top of the far mountain and I am standing where it ends.   This zipline drops you 500 feet (153 meters) and is 2,600 (793 meters) feet long.  You travel at speeds that can reach as high as 50 miles an hour.   Isabelle didn’t want to go but she got to watch me… which is just as fun.

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Before you go down the big one you have a small practice run.  I am at this moment getting chewed out since I didn’t do the “ending” position.  (I probably should not have been smiling)   I didn’t realize they were serious when they said I had to do it…especially when they described it as a sumo wrestler with chicken wings.  I was suppose to strike this pose half way down but I didn’t… people were taking pictures.  (plus I was looking at Isabelle and her beauty distracted me… that is at least what I told her…). One last thing…   I had to edit this picture because Isabelle said the harness was showing off my “package” and it was not appropriate for my blog.

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Here I am waiting to go down the zipline from the top.   Spectacular view and this time I reminded myself…  chicken winged sumo wrestler at the orange marker. (see it really does sound like a joke they play on the tourists)  I wanted to share a video but with all of the end position pressure I messed up.   I started recording while hooking up… stopped it for the entire decent… than started it back recording when I was at the bottom getting out of the harness.   I have no usable video… darn it.

After the ride down Isabelle and I spent the rest of the day hiking, swimming, and basically beach lounging.   I also took lots of pictures that I would like to share with you… I will leave a caption on some… the others hopefully speak for themselves.  (again the best excuse I could think of for not wanting to write more stuff)

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OH… in case you are concerned about Isabelle… Here I am spending quality time with her…   and while we kept our feet appropriate…we were in public… mine were still turned in towards her… lucky girl!

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I hope you have enjoyed these pictures.  Next post will be pictures from Puerto Rico!…  Before I end I want to add one more picture of Isabelle.  I asked Isabelle to go and pose next to this lion.   After guiding her on exactly how to stand I think she caught on just as I was taking the picture… which kind of ruined it for me… other than I got the picture.   All Isabelle said was “Why are you always acting like a teenage boy”?

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Inside the Oasis of the Seas

I promised to share with all of you some pictures of the ship I am on.  (Oasis of the Seas).   Before I do I want to clear something up… In the last post I got a sense that some of you are questioning my ability to be romantic.  I will offer irrefutable proof of my romantic prowess… (If Isabelle makes a contrary comment don’t believe her… she is french and they are incredibly hard to please… but you will all see how lucky she really is)

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Monday morning at 6:30 am  I left the room to go walk. (I am not a great sleeper and I get very anxious just  sitting around) As tempting as it may have been I did not draw a mustache on my wife in her profound state of sleep but I put a “do not disturb sign” on the door as I left.  I went to the top deck that morning and watch the sunrise…  I took not just one but several pictures of the beautiful site(i.e. feature picture and the one above) … very romantic huh…I ate breakfast before the crowd and then when I returned with Isabelle for her breakfast… hold your breath… I showed her the sun rise pictures.  (This time she didn’t have to read my blog to see them).

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If that story was not enough to convince you of my sentimentality…   Look at this one!   I am  sharing a large chair and a view with her… and sorry if this is a bit provocative… look at my foot placement (Of course I left my shoes on because feet can be so gross)

Enough manly bravado… Here are some pictures of the ship!

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I think they call this the board walk… it is in the back of the ship on the 6th floor… We were staying on the 14th… but you have to wait a bit to enter your room… this is the first place we visited.
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Departure from my balcony.
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sorry… for poor picture but this is my balcony taken from inside the room
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First sunset from my balcony…   I like the balcony because you can see all your fellow passengers sticking their heads out.   You can also peak around and meet fellow travelers who are rooming next to you…  this is much easier than having to knock on neighbors doors
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This is my neighbor to the left.   His name is Bill.  He is Scottish and was in the royal navy.  We shared the first sunset together and I asked if I could take a romantic picture of him.  What a sexy and dangerous man.  His sweet wife was on the balcony also but she was less talkative… she must not be as romantic as us!
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In last post I shared two pictures of this part of the ship.   You have a large park in the middle with both restaurants and shops (this is Tiffany and they are having a grand opening).  This is on the 8th floor and while walking through I noticed they piped in bird sounds.

I don’t want to bore you with any more “words” so I am just going to finish this with pictures. ( actually… I am getting lazy and don’t feel like writing any more comments)

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That should offer a good view of the boat… There is more to come.  Today I just got back from Haiti and I will try to post pictures from there tomorrow.  Thanks for visiting my blog!!!   Here is one last picture… This is on floor 4 and I noticed that there was a “subway” theme going on… weird huh…  and then I noticed the alligator coming out of the floor.   Alligators are not what you want to see while on a cruise ship.

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Weekend Red-Eye and Oasis of the Seas

I am off again… and when I say off… I only mean in the “off on another trip” way.  Again I am  being sent by my company but this time it is for “play” and not for work.   My company is sending me on a 7 night (find it funny that they sell by the “night”) Caribbean cruise on the Oasis of the Seas.   Which is the second biggest cruise ship in the world. (I often tell my wife that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better). The largest, Allure of the Seas, is 2 inches longer (5 centimeters). This is somewhat debated because size can change depending upon ambient temperature.  (Another thing I have had to frequently explain to my wife.. like with George Costanza and the Seinfeld “shrinkage” episode)

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This is only our second trip without the kids and you can see that within the first hour we are already getting a call from them…

This work sponsored trip is going to be wonderful… not only because I wont be “working” but I am also able to take Isabelle along.   Unfortunately we are not taking the kids…for them that is… not for us.  They are upset of course, especially since I am leaving again and taking mom.   I was able to make it ok with my littlest (Ben) by promising a hat and a t-shirt.  (he is so gullible)  The other two were not so easily appeased but the “spending time” with Grandma (thanks mom) and a promised “overnighter” with their older sister and cousin helped a little.

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Isabelle and I left on a red eye (11:55 am) and arrived in Orlando, Florida around 6:00 a.m.  We were put in a bus and drove to an IHOP in Cocoa Beach. (there are about 50 employees with all of their spouses… and some kids… shhhh… good thing my kids find my blog “boring” and dont read it!)   Isabelle and I had already stayed in Cocoa Beach and we had four hours to spare so we skipped the now incredibly crowded IHOP and went directly to the beach. (Isabelle has never eaten at an IHOP – International House of Pancakes… but I told her she was not missing out on anything… plus I think the whole “international” title is a bit deceptive.)

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There is something oddly compelling about birds on a beach… or I am just weird.

 

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Heron waiting for some treats… or for the fisherman to turn his head and an opportunity to steal bait

I felt incredibly clever having ditched our work crowd and taken the scenic option… that is until we were caught in a down pour.   I ran to a pier (under the pier) and waited there for Isabelle to catch up.  I told her that I didn’t leave her but went ahead to scout the pier for any danger.  We were drenched and our clothes were on the way to the cruise ship.   We had to air dry and fortunately the sun came out almost as quickly as the storm had started.

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Isabelle in the rain and my foot prints leading the way to shelter. As you may have noted,  I think of her before myself
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Even from under the pier, the ocean and view are amazing

After the rain ended we noticed that the beach became incredibly crowded.  I thought this to be unusual for a winter day.  Almost everyone was looking north and in my usual way of searching for meaning… I decided that this was a supernatural event.   If you have seen the movie “City of Angels” there is a scene where all of the angels gather on the beach to view the sun rise.  I quickly surmised that I am in the middle of some mystical life changing event… unfortunately this idea didn’t last long since  I couldn’t hear any “celestial music” and well some of the others were not really angelic.  (Of course Isabelle is angelic… and I become angelic just because I am with her)… how disappointing.

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I then learned that this was a rocket launch and my disappointment became anticipation again.    I starting thinking how cool it would be to share pictures of a rocket launch on my blog.  (I think I am becoming a bit blog obsessed).   The rocket launched… and well I caught glimpses of it as it passed in the spaces between clouds.  I took picture after picture and now in review I have lots of nice cloud pictures…none of them show the rocket and I didn’t get the sonic boom recorded either. (jesh I am such an amateur)

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We soon left and headed towards Port Canaveral and our ship.  I started looking for my type of tourist pictures… and well… it is hard when you are in a bus.  (that is the excuse I am going to use… ) Here is one and it is weird if you haven’t seen  pink elephants with blue glasses before.  I offer an almost sincere apology for those of you who are use to seeing pink elephants and find this picture not weird or uncommon.   (you are also the same people that buy the unlimited drink packages on the cruise)

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When we arrived at the ship I realized that I would be travelling in an apartment building.   The ship is huge.   I am going to share a couple of pictures of my favorite part of this ship. In the next post I will share more pictures of the ship.  Monday is a “sea” day.. so we will not be stopping at any ports. There will be lots of time to exploring the ship and work on the blog.   (It is also cool when the occasional co-worker walks by  and sees me on the computer.  I have heard twice…  you are always working… and as far as they know I am.)

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My favorite part of this ship is the garden area in the middle.  It is nice to have a place where you can pretend you are not in the middle of the ocean and about to hopelessly drown.
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Picture mid point of the garden.   I love the park like feel.

 

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Looking down from the top deck of the ship.

Thanks you for taking the time to read this.  As mentioned earlier in the next post I will share our departure along with pictures of the ship.  I am also desperately searching weird pictures… more precisely weird pictures that are not of people. (lots of weird people here… just don’t want to hurt any feelings)

 

 

 

Three Question Interegation

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This picture has nothing to do with the post… Just an old picture from my college days.   This might be a really boring post and I read somewhere that you need to have pictures… so I am adding this random one.   (that is not a hickey on my neck… it is a welding burn… another long weird story)

Jolene from So Much to tell You mentioned this blog in a “Libester/Bogger recognition award” post.   She artfully summarized my blog in a way that made it sound worth reading… I think I need to pay her to write my “about” section… (hmm… she should quit banking and go into promotion and advertising)

She followed up the summary/nomination with this sentence:

 “if you are inclined to undergo some interrogation on my part, I have only three questions for my nominees”.

Yes I am inclined since the questions are not too hard, but before I do, I want to write something about Jolene.   I love reading her words.  That may sound simple but it is the truth.  She puts words together with such finesse and adeptness.   The quote above is proof of her graceful writing skills.   I followed her “eclectic” blog with the hopes that some of her style would rub off on me.  (She loves the word “eclectic” … and… well in college I use to buy my clothes from a vintage store called “Eclectic” so we have something in common).  When I read her blog it makes me feel like I am “hanging with the cool kids”.

I want to be honest… I didn’t only follow her blog because of her writing skills.   The first time I visited her blog I quickly read her about page.   In my quick reading, I misunderstood the about page and thought she was born at a stinky market in Shanghai with 11 fingers and had a hole in her heart… (turns out I am a poor reader… and saw what I wanted to see… I realized my misconception when I went back to make sure I was not misstating facts for this post)

I love the connections we make with fellow bloggers, especially when we start to see the person behind the words.   Jolene kind of intimidated me until last week when she came out of her “word closet” in a comment to me.   She basically stated that I should have indulged in the “love for sell – field of dreams” because it would have been a great post and then promised not to tell my wife…   (I was shocked… confused… a bit tempted – don’t tell my wife… but most of all completely endeared to this newly discovered side of Jolene’s personality).

… well enough blah, blah, blah… (sorry Jolene… none of your style has yet rubbed off on me)

Three Questions Time:

Question 1:

What is the most memorable / meaningful / touching compliment / critique /comment you have received in the blogosphere?

I have had so many “cherished” comments but I will offer two (I will leave these anonymous but link them back to the post for anyone who wants to discover the source)

“Seriously, you know how to do the weirdest shit and I love that…” 

“… everyone should be as “weird” as you are…”

Question 2:

If you can live in a place far away from home, where would it be, and why?

I would live in a sail boat and I have two reasons.

First:  I would no longer have to pretend to be cool… I just would be!

Second:  I could visit the world from home…   How incredibly awesome is that.  I have only one small problem to overcome.   Isabelle gets sea sick very easily and I would not want to live away from her.

Question 3:

Which character in film or literature best captures the essence of who you are, and why?

I have three answers:  (I know I am over complicating this…)

First: (The person I think readers of my blog see me as)

Forest Gump:    A man with below average intelligence doing lots of weird things

Second: (The person I would like to pretend to be)

A combination of these three people.   Ferris Bueller, Yoda, and Doc Brown (Back to the Future)   These three combined into one offer the most perfect combination of “good manly virtues”.

Third : (The person I think I truly relate to when I am being honest with myself)

Amélie Poulain:   I know it is a woman… (don’t read into this as some weird gender thing…)  I can completely relate to the way that Amelie saw the world and her quirky people centric adventures…   Before Isabelle… I also experienced some of the loneliness portrayed in the film…(unfortunately I am not as cute as Audrey Tautou… an thus I am probably much less likable… )

Trip to Israel (final)

This is my final post on Israel.  While I am grateful to be home in the arms and love of my family,  I can’t help but feel that I didn’t spend enough time in Israel.   What an incredible place…. one that I hope to return to and share with my loved ones.

For this last post I want to share less “touristy” pictures.   While I did enjoy some time as a “tourist”, what I truly love is unique experiences.  I being who I am always look for “weird-weekends” moments and that is how I am gong to finish all of my posts on Israel.

The first thing that I would like to share  I was not able to capture since I was not carrying my camera and my phone went dead. You will have to trust me that it happened and hopefully I can use my words and a random video to describe the event.

Wednesday night I had decided to skip dinner and go to bed early to try to catch up on my sleep.  Before I went to bed I decided to take a small walk around the hotel area near the beach.   I came across a crowd of orthodox Jews (or some kind of Jewish group… not sure) near a van with lights and large speakers.   They brought out a torah and started playing music…and not the kind of music I expected to hear played by this type of group (I know nothing about them… so I should not have had preconceived judgements on the music they would play.)   The music sounded like club music (Hebrew club music)… and they played it loud.

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I can’t tell you how confused I became… especially as they brought out drums and several shofars and began pounding and blowing them ( banging the drums that is and blowing the shofars… which are really loud…I mean… really load … shofars are horns…an example is pictured above).   As crazy as all of that sounds… it got much crazier as the dancing began and they started moving down the street.   I tried to ask someone in the crowd what the heck was going on and I couldn’t find anyone that spoke English.   An elderly lady said… “Torah”… and then said “Come”.  I was hesitant to “come”… but as they moved down the street they started throwing candy.  That made it an easy decision.   I followed them down the road all the while picking up candy.  I was given a brochure by someone that was dancing but it was in Hebrew so I still didn’t know what I was following.

 

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Here is the brochure I was given… you can see the van in the bottom right.   If you are familiar with this please leave a comment and help me understand.

At the very end of the walking, the group stopped and I think a prayer was offered followed by the horns.(I wished my faith would use horns after praying… it is awesome)  They put the torah away and the music started back up.   I guess they decided I should not just be a passive follower.   I was “inducted” and forced to participate by two men who came and grabbed me. (not in a bad way… just pulling me into the middle of the group)  I became part of a circle consisting of about 5 men all holding hands and dancing round and round.   I remember thinking that this is one of the weirdest and coolest things I have done in Israel and being mad that my phone was dead.   Their joy was so contagious (or there was something in the candy) and I could not stop laughing nor dancing.  Next thing I notice was fireworks going off over our heads.  (I hope fireworks and not just candy hallucinations)   The music eventually stopped and I was hugged by over ten people all saying something to me in Hebrew and then touching my face (probably telling me that I needed dance lessons)… What an awesome experience… boy can this religious group party!  I wished I had actual footage because you should all have been there.  Crazy…

In an effort to help you understand better what I experienced, I searched you tube (started my search with “dancing Jews”) until l found something that was similar.

Here is a video.

 

I wonder if any of my readers can explain what I was involved with?… if so please leave a comment for me and the rest of the readers.

The next thing I want to share was an interesting experience we all shared while taking a short cut from the hotel to the freeway.   I was not the driver so I can’t be held responsible for anything. (a small disclaimer…)

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This is our rental car and you can see the consequence of our short cut… (It got much worse by the last day).   The driver was a co-worker from Southern California, lets call him Chris to keep his identity safe.  Chris was an excellent person to have along and he was always willing to put forth any effort so that all spare moments  would be “thrilling”.  He wanted to make sure we were living life to the fullest.   This was evident in his driving and also the reason some other co-workers refused to ride in the car while he was driving.

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Here is a map of the short cut.  I am not sure that it was much shorter than taking the actual roads but it was obviously much more fun… and in the evening… well much more strange and uncomfortable.  I renamed it “field of dreams” after the evening experience (another co-worker had to add the “if you build it they will come” comment but I want to keep this somewhat appropriate… so I wont say that)… but before I share that unappropriated experience I will share with you a video I filmed during a day time drive.

Here is a video of our drive… The first time I road with Chris before we took off he started singing the song that I chose for the background music.   I think I should have realized from his singing that the drive was not going to be a normal “on your way to work” morning drive.

After experiencing the field of dreams during the day I was a tiny bit reluctant to put my life in the hands of Chris during the night.  The 13 year old boy in me would not let me miss out on this off-roading opportunity… so in the back seat I climbed.  Once on the dirt road  I noticed immediately that in front of us was a strange and numerous grouping of cars.   They were all circling randomly (not to be confused with the danse I mentioned earlier). I joked that it looked like we were in the middle of some odd automobile mating ritual. Chris said “Bingo”.

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When we arrived in the heart of the grouping I noticed that this car dance was not an exclusive waltz for cars but a duet for people and cars.  Those people being mainly female or at least females in disguise and they seemed to be the motivation for these swarming cars.

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We were in the middle of some disgusting drive through dating service and Chris found it amusing to high beam the couples as they did their courtship dance all the while yelling challenges like “I am going to tell your wife”… and “you are going to get a disease”.  I giggled in the back until he trapped a newly formed couple on a side road and kept the light on them until they decided that their love was not meant to be… after this I ducked down.   I guess I am not as brave as I thought… especially as one of the manlier women opened the passenger door… I think I may have whimpered then.

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I want to be serious for a second.  I have described this in a tongue and cheek way but I was incredibly disturbed by what I saw.  I do not want to judge any of the participants but there is definitely something missing in both participants lives.  I can’t imagine the toll this takes on their individual lives as well as mental health.   I honestly wished there was a way to reach out and help these people.  (stop it… I mean reach out in an appropriate way… even if it is just to buy them some dresses that cover there underwear)

I worry that I have just made this spot a new must see destination… Please readers… don’t try this at home… stay in the tours… and stick to the historical sites.

Let’s move on to the third thing I want to share…   I ate a new fruit.   In my opinion there is nothing more exciting then eating a new thing for a first time.   If I had my way we would heavily invest in space exploration just to discover new food.

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A co-worker from Israel brought me some carambola from one of his trees.   I know many of you may have already tasted these but I had not and was extremely excited to try them.  I was not sure if I needed to peel them or just eat them as they are.   I washed them and just ate and I really like them.   I believe they have a lemon/apple taste… not to0 sour and not too sweet.

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After the field of dreams this is a pretty boring addition but look at how awesome they become when cut up.

I think I will end this with a couple of picture from Jaffa… hmm back to the touristy stuff.   We only had a couple of hours to spend there before our flight.   Jaffa is the oldest (I think) part of Tel Aviv and an ancient port.   I wished I could have seen this in the day.

Here are some pictures.

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Thank you for taking the time to read all of this… I hope I offended no one with my “field of dream” talk.