Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Boss

It was an incredible show!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Where is Karl When We Need Him?

Okay, so we're not supposed to carry cash, we're supposed to carry traveler's checks.

I'm not totally clear on why we're supposed to carry these checks, perhaps ballast? Something to hold us down if we start feeling too light headed?

It can't be to actually buy things, because people don't seem to accept them.

Last Summer, in Europe, I carried these handy little items, just as Karl suggested. From a ballast perspective, they worked just fine, I didn't float away. I would periodically take them out and the hotel owners, store keepers, waitresses and waiters, would all shake their heads and ask what I really intended to pay with. We would have a good laugh, much like I'd offered to purchase their island with colored beads.

I found that the only place I could actually cash them was the periodic bank (not all of them) where the bankers hadn't heard the joke, "How many people does it take to cash an American Express travelers check? None." And, of course, if you could actually find a place to cash the check, there was always a fee for cashing the check which you had paid a fee to obtain in the first place. So, yes, they were just as good as cash, like Russian Rubles in Detroit, or Confederate money since 1865.

So, we make it back to the States and I actually forgot that I had several travelers checks left over with our passport folder. It was like found money! Before heading off to NYC and Aruba, I walked down to the SAME BANK that gave me the AMEX travelers' checks, paid to me in MY NAME per the teller's instructions and signed BY ME in front of the teller.

Guess what we found on our return? The checks have been rejected by AMEX for, among other things, being "counterfeit". It's possibly true, since any claim that I could actually use these checks for anything apart from wallpaper or firestarters appears to be fake.

We'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, if you have travelers checks, follow Karl's advice and don't leave home.

Home Again - Ah, Coffee!!

Well, we have made it back to our delightful home. Our pets, Penny, the Yorkie, and Pooka, the black cat who prefers to think of us as unwelcome boarders, are both fine.

We have resumed work and are trying to get back into the swing of things.

One nice thing is that we now have our regular-sized coffee pot, where we can have good coffee in regular mugs and even have a second or, heaven forbid, a third cup. That, after weeks of living off of those little hotel-room coffee makers which I think all come from the same factory, in some country that apparently forbids the drinking of coffee.

They have designed a "coffee" maker which no matter what the location or type of hotel does exactly the same thing:

1. Fill up glass container, pour into maker while dripping water all over the counter, table, chest, sink.

2. After much effort, manage to "open" the plastic bag containing the "coffee" grounds, usually tearing the little bag which holds the grounds, so that they will seep into the glass container.

3. Try to force the glass container under the plastic ground-holder thingee, so that the water will hit the broken ground baggie correctly and leak down into the glass container.

4. Try to figure out how to make the red "on" light go "on", usually involving resetting the plug, is it the red button or the black one which resets?

5. Wait while the "coffee" maker hisses and moans its way through the process.

6. Once completed, pull out the glass container filled with "brown".

7. Notice that it wasn't completed, as "brown" continues to leak onto hot plate.

8. Either repeat step 3 or just say to hell with it.

9. Pour one and a half cups of coffee (at most) while dripping "brown" over the counter, table, chest, sink.

10. Drink "brown" and think about going out for coffee.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Oh Lord, Stuck in Newark, Again

"Grounded by our flight,
Wrapped up like a douche,
And we spend another night,
Grounded by our flight!"

Okay, whatever, I've never been totally clear on exactly what old Manny was singing there. Kind of like "Help Me Rhonda" - "since she put me down, I've been out screwing in my bed" - wasn't sure whether Rhonda was still in the picture.

But here we are, beyond flight time and, yep, still on terra firma.

By the way, for any of you that grew up in the Sixties, in case you're curious, "Five Easy Pieces" was just a documentary, last night, we just wanted plain pasta, with a cheese sauce, we ended up ordering a "Fettucini Mario", hold the peppers, hold the vegetables, hold the chicken, just give us the fettucini without Mario. Oh, and they still screwed it up. .. twice.

By now, we should be on our flight somewhere over the Passover States, but we are still in Newark. (Note from Karen: We were suppose to be home at 1 o'clock today. Our flight was canceled due the weather... which is always so comforting. At 2 this morning we were on the phone for an hour+ with the airline trying to figure out a way to get home. I asked Gary to get us train tickets, but just like our original flight, that was a no-go.)

We have another day here, so I need to do some Web searches on "What to do in Newark?" or "Newark on $5 a day".

One sight suggests: "Often overlooked due to its proximity to New York City, Newark is the 3rd oldest of the major U.S. cities and possesses its share of unique treasures. As the largest city in New Jersey, Newark offers an exciting mix of culture, arts and shopping plus a growing business environment. [NOTE FROM GARY: NONE OF THESE "EXCITING" MIXES ARE SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED.] A key transportation hub, Newark's best known for the bustling Newark Liberty International Airport, which serves approximately 32 million passengers a year."

So, even their travel ads suggest that the best thing to see in Newark is the airport as you find your way out of this town.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

La Trattoria El Faro Blanco

La Trattoria El Faro Blanco
at the California Lighthouse

La Trattoria el Faro Blanco Restaurant is situated right next to the famous California Lighthouse on the hill of Hudishibana in Aruba... a perfect location!

The tower of this magnificent masterpiece is made of stone blocks and is 100 feet high. The metal top of the lighthouse is 25 feet in diameter.

Although standing on a hill called Hudishibana, the lighthouse is called the California Lighthouse. This point of the island of Aruba, called California, is named after a vessel that shipwrecked at the coast near the Aruba’s northernmost point.

The view at night was incredible.

Catamaran Dinner Cruise for Gary's Birthday

It was so lively! After dinner we went to the bow of the boat and sat on the netting with the ocean directly below. I didn't want to at first, but with Gary's reassurance, I did it!! I loved it!

Handmade "Aruhiba" Cigars

We walked in and the smell was just incredible!

Dinner on the Beach for Karen's Birthday

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Monday, March 3, 2008

You say Pajama, and I say Iguana . . .

Like most people, upon finding this prehistoric creature outside our door this morning, the question that came to mind was, "Is this a boy or a girl Iguana?" I'll have to admit, the differences seem a bit subtle and it's probably for the best that we leave that question to the Iguana-world, which in some manner (perhaps through "hunt and peck" trial and error, who knows?) have been able to reproduce for eons.

In any event, it appears to me to be one ugly girl or a pretty sorry looking guy Iguana, but then (can I still say this?), they all look pretty much alike to me.

Aruba on a Monday afternoon...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Watching the Stars Under the Stars!

Tonight we watched the movie "Chocolate" on the beach under the stars.
Simply magical!!


"Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take you to
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo Montego, baby why don't we go...
Ooh I wanna take you down to Kokomo,
we'll get there fast
and then the baggage's slow"

We're there!

Of course, they had to deplane us (I'm sorry, I always think of Herve Villachez - don't say the "d" word!), take us through Aruba security and customs - "Do you have money? Are you going to spend it? You pass." Get our luggage - which seemed interminable - there weren't that many people on the plane - I think the so called "luggage handlers" (a misnomer if there ever was one) were just sitting in the luggage storage room with a camera on us and they would occasionally put a bag on the conveyor and laugh at us as we inspected the same luggage that had been there when we first arrived - a lot of them were old Samsonite bags with dust on them (the hard cover ones we used in the '60's) - and then find a taxi - what a pleasant place!! The city - Oranjestad - (which is Dutch for Orange City - pretty clever those Dutch) seemed very pleasant, not too "third worldy" as frequenters of the Caribbean might often find.

Well, we got here to our little Oasis, which is basically like the Garden of Eden with Rum drinks. I'm sorry, but if the choice would have been an "apple" or "a drink with an umbrella in it", I don't think we would have ever been banished.

The trip has been wonderful and, as I have promised my wife, there will be some "back posting" going on, but first I have to go out and find an apple.


The beach is directly outside of our room...