Casa – the finish line is here

Cinco de Mayo – bet you didn’t know this…

Some people think Cinco de Mayo is to celebrate Mexico’s Independence day. But that isn’t correct. Mexico’s Independence day is September 16th.

Cinco de Mayo is the date also known as the Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, national holiday in Mexico in honor of the military victory in 1862 over the French forces of Napoleon III. On May 5, 1862, a poorly equipped Mexican Army defeated the French troops, about 1,000 French troops were killed. Although the fighting continued and the french were not driven out for another five years, the victory at Puebla became a symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination. The city, which was later renamed to Puebla de Zaragoza, and the battlefield itself is maintained as a park.

Now for the part I bet you didn’t know…

Cinco de Mayo is an important date in Ecuador also. In a small city in the province of Manabi named Chone marked the start of Ecuador’s “Liberal Revolution of 1895”. There was the Battle of the Yellows on May 1, 1895, that led to the Chone Liberal Proclamation which was conducted May 5, 1895.

So now you know…the rest of the story…don’t you feel enlighten 🙂

Casa 4.11.14

The Boomerang Hat

You thought by the title that this was going to be a post about an Aussie Hat now didn’t you. Well, it is about a hat for sure and Australia is where it happened but it is about a Panama hat I picked up in Ecuador at the market in Otavalo. As you most likely know, Panama Hats are really made in Ecuador. I won’t go into why Panama Hats are all made in Ecuador, although I could, you can look it up yourself.

Since we were going to be traveling in very hot places I thought it would be best to have a light weight hat for that reason and so I bought one at the market for that purpose. They are great hats made of straw that you can fold up and put them into your pocket if need be. What they aren’t good for is high winds. You see, because they are light it doesn’t take much before they take off in the wind in ways that would make you think they must have been a kite or a balloon in another life. Meanwhile, back at the story…
The hat had been worthwhile in the Desserts of Peru, Tahiti, Bora Bora and Australia so far and when we got to Kangaroo Island and didn’t really have much planned I thought I would wear my Panama Hat as it looked like it would be a hot sunny day. So that is what I did.

As luck would have it, (because everyone said it couldn’t be done), we found a tour guide and put together a private tour for the day. But that is another story; this one is about my hat.
One of the stops was Seal Bay, and what a place that is. You walk literally out on the beach where there are seals EVERYWHERE. Well it was very windy day, especially on the beach, so I rolled up my hat and put it in my pocket so I wouldn’t lose it, and started taking pictures and that was all I did. I haven’t counted them yet but I am sure I took about 3 jillion, (yes that is a word), on the beach. As a side note; did you know all seals are cute and the smaller they are the cuter they are. And the other guy that was on the tour didn’t say a thing, nor did I, but all we heard from the women was; that one is cute; look at that cute one over there; he is so cute; and so on. After a while we started heading back to the van, of course taking pictures as we walked and I realized my hat was gone!

My faithful Panama had from Ecuador had vanished somewhere on the beach. Guess what… It is the same color as the sand too. I shrugged it off and thought, oh well, I am just going to have to get along without it.

When we got back to the entrance of the park our guide Robin, had me write my name and cabin number down and leave it with the people there. I thought oh sure like this is going to work, but I did it and we continued on with our day. What a day it was too. This is an amazing island and we think one that ranks right up there with Easter Island. But we will save that for a story about the Island.

At the end of the day we got on the tender and headed back to the ship and went to our room. We set up the laptop and poured a glass of wine (Australian of course) and sat down to watch the slide show of our pictures from the day. We stopped the slide show when we heard a knock at the door.
When I opened the door there was a lady standing there with a bag and she said she had something for me. She pulled my hat out of the bag and asked it was mine. I looked at it and smiled and said yes it is. As it turned out, her and her husband were asked at Seal Bay when they left if they were from the Ship and when they said yes they were asked if they would take my hat back to the ship and they agreed. As it turns out, they were in the cabin right next to ours. We had not met them yet as they just got aboard in Sydney a few days prior to our arrival on Kangaroo Island.

We continued talking and found out they did not get to the Remarkable Rocks and we said we were just looking at our pictures if they would care to come in and see what they looked like. They did and we talked some more. Turns out they live in Australia and are taking the segment from Sydney to Hong Kong. They seem like some great people.
Here is a picture of what it looks like after its windy day on Seal Beach.

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There are several important lessons to be learned here and I will summarize them in case they didn’t jump out at you. After all I do realize that everyone isn’t as highly trained as I am in various forms of analytics.

  • Panama hats introduce you to new people.
  • Panama hats are capable of handling very strong winds and keep their form. In this case the winds on the beach were easily 50 mph, or for those in Canada that is 80 kilometers.
  • Panama hats bond with their owner, similar to the way some breeds of dogs do, and once bonded with the owner they find ways of sticking with their owner. Just a thought,  but perhaps if everyone had a Panama hat there wouldn’t be any missing kids or people as all you would have to do is follow the hat to find them.
  • Panama hats are capable of learning, as demonstrated in this story by this hat learning the capabilities of a Boomerang to get back to the owner.

So now you know the story of the Boomerang Hat and perhaps a better understanding of just a few of the virtues of Panama hats…

I am Dave or you can call me by the name the Australians gave me… Wallaby Jim and I approve this story mate.

Kangaroo Island Australia – Tour

We talked and ask why in the world were tours on Kangaroo Island so bloody expensive and really never got a good explanation. It was really hard to find a tour on the island and most the ship offered were full already. While touring in other parts of Australia we always asked if anyone had a connection for us to take a tour when we arrived at the island, but alas little was found.

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While in Adelaide our guide made several calls and located a possibility that was really expensive and we had to commit to like 12 people, and that we could not do. The guide kept working on it but everything was so expensive and required us to commit more than we could. You see when you are a small group touring you can’t find anyone nor do you have the ability to connect with friends to commit a small fortune. So we ended up arriving at with no tour lined up.

Another issue we had with the expense was that we couldn’t really find out much about the island and what it had to offer. There was Seal Bay, but we have seen seals all over the world; from Antarctica to Alaska and to Greenland and the Canadian Maritimes too. So we thought big deal another place to see more seals. Then there were the beaches. Ok what in the world could be so great about these beaches? Then you could see Kangaroos – oh boy – we have been seeing ‘roos for the past several ports. We even saw them at the zoo in Sydney. And there was the rocks that had the name of “Remarkable Rocks”. Another yawn here as why would we want to drive over 2 hours each way to see rocks? So with that line of thinking is what we thought when hearing the prices of tours. The ship tour was something like $550 per person.

Fleur, our tour guide in Adelaide, showed us pictures of these “remarkable rocks” and we thought WOW they look like they would be great to see. Since we had not lined up a tour we thought we should take an early tender and see what we could do on shore.

So the quest began – 5:15am wake up (yes we are on vacation) and on one of the first tenders off the ship. Sadly when we got the Information booth we are told – no unless you have something booked you will not get to see the ‘rocks’ they are too far away. We reserved ourselves to riding the ‘free shuttles’ to see the two closer small towns. We watched the local ferry unload and load then wandered back to the information booth. Pierre the man we first talked to noticed us and advised us that there might be a chance as a driver had a cancellation.

Still we were not holding our breath as the driver was gone and would be returning. Long story short he was right there was a driver, we pulled two additional people together and headed out at 8:15 for what turned out to be the most fabulous day of our trip!!! Robyn was an amazing guide, the sites as you can see are over the top – we would rank Kangaroo Island on par with Easter Island – just plain beautiful and amazing. (lunch with a bottle of wine wasn’t bad either).

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Busted for beer in Auckland New Zealand

I know it is hard to believe but… it happened. It is tough to take but we have to admit it happened. Who would have thought! Ok, Ok, I guess we will have to go on to details after having said that…

To set the stage; we thought some fish and chips would be great to have for a dinner and after a hot day; a good beer would be the perfect addition. We found a nice bay that had a Fish and Chip place with a bar that had beer next door.

Now it might be important to mention that the five of us ordered Fish and Chips and each order was freshly made and wrapped in paper. They actually put all the orders in a box so we could move them a bit better. You can see in the picture a tin can. That is what they call Red Sauce. It was cheaper to buy a “tin” rather than the individual packages.  As there were no great tables; we proceeded to the beach to enjoy the beer and the Fish and Chips.

That manager of the bar walked over to us and explained things. What we learned is, the license is for a square foot space and as such doesn’t expand to the beach. Now we could have gone to a store and bought a few beer and then drank them while we had fish and chips, but, buying a beer and taking it out of the bar and drinking it with our fish and chips was not legal. She would lose her license and have a heavy fine if we stayed there. We, of course, had no idea. So we drank the beer at the bar and walked back to the beach and ate the fish and chips.

What a wonderful time of enjoying Auckland. We have seen this city from every angle and what a great place it is.  Kudos to Cousin Shelley for being the best tour guide ever!!!

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