Friday, July 04, 2008

Pyrenees 2008 - The Cast

The Broker - The Broker is an old friend with a penchant for wine - but only good wine. Generally credited for introducing me to the sport of cycling, he is an excellent cyclist, but of course, "doesn't ride nearly as much" as he'd like. The Broker is married to The Designer.

The Designer - Newly married to The Broker, her soaring interior design empire has been put on hold for two weeks while her husband and his friends drag her around Spain. We'll be relying on her nose to hunt down the best meals.

The Professional - Recently retired from professional cycling, recently having started his own real estate practice, and recently engaged to The Sweet One, he will be laughing at The Broker and I as we suffer up the 20% gradients of the Pyrenees. With any luck, he knows more languages than the rest of us.

The Sweet One - What can be said? She's adorable and The Professional is one lucky guy. If the two of them can keep their hands off each other, maybe we could even go for a bike ride or make it out to dinner. She'll be solely responsible for visually documenting our journey.

The Muse - She's a muse. What else is there to know?

Me - Well, it started when I was three years old. I fell asleep from being anesthetized while being read a Dr. Seuss book by a male nurse. It's been all turbulence and insomnia ever since. Alas, I digress. I'm the silly one responsible for neglecting this blog and humbly apologize in advance for the lack of quality journalism or pithy insights or both.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Off The Road Again

After a week of fun and relaxation, we are finally back home, exhausted by the day's travel. Cancelled and rearranged flights, sleeping on planes, bad airport food, and 20 hours of travel time really wear you out.

Yes, of course, we'd do it all again in an instant!

Friday, June 23, 2006


It's actually a pilot boat, not a tugboat, but who cares - this is the Caribbean, not the Library of Congress.

The small boat sits in about 12 feet of water and is a popular snorkeling site. Lots and lots of vacationers throw lots and lots of bread into the water to create a fish feeding spectacle (one that is not endorsed by this website, I might add). None the less, the huge quantity of fish makes this site a fun place to jump in.

A wall, on top of which the boat sits, drops off to around 900 feet. Most of the diving takes places alongside this wall, between 40 and 90 feet deep.

By the way, this was Bri's first dive after being certified (she's the one in the bright yellow hood).

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Diver's Leap

More diving. Hey, that's why we're here! Well, that, and the hammocks.

We found an interesting and rare mantis shrimp at the end of this dive. It's pretty tough to see because it's white and has dug itself into a hole in the equally white sand.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Superior Producer

The Superior Producer is a sunken cargo ship. It sits completely upright in about 100 feet of water off the southern coast of Curacao. Its captain protested that it was over laden and was incapable of sailing. Its owner ordered the ship to make way. Less than 1000 feet from the dock, it sank in a matter of minutes. Guess the captain had a point.

It has been cleaned off (doors welded closed, rough edges filed down, debris removed) and is a popular dive site, visited several times weekly by local dive operations.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Warning! Gratuitous Tourism!

Willemstad is a truly remarkable city. Much larger and more refined than other Caribbean settlements, its streets are safe and well kept. The simple fact that there were street signs puts it several hundred years ahead of most islands. People are friendly and helpful to tourists, and everyone we ran across was gracious and polite. Dutch sensibilities extend far and deep here, creating a feeling more like a European port city than a Caribbean tourist town.

Even though it doesn't do much floating these days (except for the fact that the merchandise may have "floated" over from Venezuela), the floating market and the retractable pedestrian bridge which leads to it are unique and inimitable highlights. Apparently, the locals like to amuse themselves by watching oblivious tourists strand themselves on the bridge for 40 minutes or so as it moves aside allowing ships to roll through.

While a few places have been preserved (the city is an UNESCO World Heritage Site), such as city hall, the old synagogue, and the fort overlooking the harbor, it is interesting to see how many other buildings and forts have been turned into shopping centers. Progress overtaking posterity - very European.


Our tropical hovel does have internet access... but it's $8 a minute. Other technical obstacles will make it nearly impossible to upload anything, too. Apologies in advance, but it doesn't look like this log will be published, at least not completely, until I return.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

King's New Clothes

Good ol' American Airlines lost our luggage on the way here. Correction - they lost Linda's, Ryan's, and Brianna's luggage. All my stuff showed up just fine. Let's see how much fashion mileage Linda can drag out of a bathing suit cover up....


The luggage showed up at the hotel about 27 hours after we did. And yes, Linda was surprisingly adept at managing her bathing suit cover up wardrobe.

Bits And Facts

  • Curacao (along with neighboring islands Aruba, Bonaire, Saba, St. Maarten, and St. Eustatius) is a part of the Netherlands Antilles, an autonomous division of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

  • While the official language is Dutch, four different languages are spoken by almost everyone on the island... Dutch, English, Spanish, and Papiamentu (a unique blend of Dutch, Spanish, and Carib).

  • The population of 135,000+ people is composed of 55 separate nationalities.

  • All tap water on the island is desalinated from the sea.

  • Mosquito repellent is frequently sold out for weeks at a time during the rainy season.

  • Willemstad is the capital of Curacao, its only city, and the busiest shipping port in the western hemisphere.

  • Saturday, June 17, 2006

    Here We Go... The Disclaimer

    I'll be trying to chronicle our trip to Curacao for everyone to see. Wish me luck. If our tropical hovel has internet access (or if I can find it anywhere else on the island), expect mediocre musings and a bunch of amateur photography and some fuzzy videography. If I can't find internet access, this might be my last post. Here's to hoping the experiment works!


    This is a vacation log. This a log of my vacation. There will be a bounty of people, places, things, and ideas that are meaningless and uninteresting to most. You've been warned.