Be an Adventurer rather than a Tourist

This is the gist of the next book that I am reading. It’s a short book called, “The Adventure Driven Life, Part 1, Awaken the Bear.”

I am an adventurer. Today when it was raining, I put my rain gear on and walked a couple miles to town for dinner. A tourist would stay in or call a cab. I went to Hana Sushi bar. Had some great food. It was busy because of Fathers Day. Had some rare beef with julienned apples and ponzu. Amazing!

And then some sashimi. The white tuna was the best sushi that I have ever had.

It was still early so I decided to walk a little further, past the Old Orthodox Churches and was headed to one place but then decided on Tony’s Bar. Walked in and took a seat. What was I doing? Kinda a dive bar, filled with locals. I ordered a drink and really wanted to pull out my phone and read a book but I just looked around and had fun observing people. There were a few very drunk men. I was going to leave and then I decided to have another drink. The bartender said that a man across the bar wanted to buy my drink….ok no big deal, she pointed him out. Looked normal. A few minutes later he came over and asked if I wanted to sit with him and his friends. I did and we had a lot of fun. There were three of them and they were all natives of Kodiak. We had a lot of laughs. Took a cab home and waiting for it to get dark! Not for a few more hours. Hoping the bears come out to play tomorrow. The Chicago Bears still suck though!

Kodiak Day One

I went to sleep when it was still light out and it seemed to be light all night, but it could have been the street lights. The shared bathroom wasn’t so bad. It was very clean but I couldn’t fathom taking a shower in it. I woke up earlier than my alarm as I usually do when I am on vacation. Quick trip to the airport, a little coffee and on to Kodiak. I am surprised by the many cultures here. And the amount of families traveling to Kodiak. I also sat next to a woman on the flight Dallas to Anchorage that did some interesting travels to Africa. She is an anesthesiologist in Dallas and goes in some missions. She had recently been to Uganda and also Kenya. We shared our African experiences. She was on the plane with her husband and some young adult children. We exchanged number so we could share our Alaska stories.

Arrived in Kodiak on time and tried to get an Uber or Lyft. Apparently not here yet so I went outside and found a taxi. “Tim”, aka “Ling Ling” drove me through the two block, seemingly deserted downtown and to my cabin. It’s a sunny 50 degree day. The cabin, called Bunk House B is a two room cabin. Sleeps 4. Homey touches of a bearskin on the wall and several mounted animals.

There is a heater that stays on for about 90 minutes at a time. It’s a little chilly but I am always cold anyway. It will be interesting sleeping since that blankets are pretty thin.

Unpacked and decide to have a look around my new neighborhood. No one is around. It’s so quiet. The cabin is not on the waters edge but close to it. Here’s the view.

I decided that I needed coffee and water better place than a Fly In coffee shop over looking a lake. I walked up the hill, stopped at a viewing deck for ducks. Took this picture.and a few others…

Then I must have gotten too close to a Crows nest. This crow was dive bombing me. It was after me for about a minute. I finally put up my hood and it stopped. The coffee place was about 1.5 miles away. Got some coffee and watched the lake. No float planes but I finished a good book that I had started the day before. It’s such a treat for me to read a whole book in such a short period of time. No gluten free food so I decided to walk the 2 miles into town.

Saw this beautiful plane and wished to be in it. Maybe later this week.

Walked a little past the downtown area. Saw that there is a Rotary Club meeting on Wed am so I might go.

Walked along the harbor, checking out all the fishing boats. The town seems really quiet, not sure if it’s because it’s Sunday or Fathers Day or just early. Not much was open so I popped into the Aquamarine Cafe for some breakfast.

Was debating walking back to the cabin but decided to get some groceries. I called Tim the taxi driver and he took me to the Safeway, several miles out of town, waited and then took me to my cabin. There is a Safeway and a Walmart, so I assume they pushed out a lot of the smaller businesses.

More reading and a well needed nap.

Anchorage

It’s 62 degrees and pleasant. I took a Lyft to the hotel. Yes, it’s clean and sparse and I will just be here a few hours but it’s a shared bathroom and shower. I was greeted by a very nice man who was expecting me and a black cat on a chair with a bow tie around his neck. Another Lyft to Glacier Brewery for a Manhattan and some food. Apparently the salmon are running and the Mama bears are out with their cubs so the roads are not busy, but several cruise ships are in. Walked a little way to Sullivan’s for another Manhattan. Love this pic

I was advised to use Lyft to get around because of the homeless problem here too. Why do they stay here?

It is 9:12 pm and as bright as Coronado during June Gloom. Having some yummy steak tartare.

Set on a salt block and very fresh. Will head to the hotel for an early night. The flight tomorrow is at 6am and hopefully not too much weather.

More Airport Fun

The lines at the airport were the worst ever! I have been waiting for my Global Entry renewal since December. So no PreTSA. Hiking boots off, jacket etc, forgot to take the liquids out. Then after 30 minutes in line which reminded me of Disney, the TSA guy said that I was “preboard”. So American Airlines thinks I still am eligible for PreTSA when I am not. Great security! He sent me to the line with all the wheel chairs and I was embarrassed to slide past them, especially since I had just seen Quinn with her Dad.

Since I booked this trip so late I am flying to Anchorage through Dallas. Using miles of course. On the way back it’s worse! I leave at 2am next Saturday. This lesson that I have learned has led me to book my next vacation in October. I am going to Vietnam. Also going to book Australia in Feb. Almost pressed that button for a one way to Cairns to dive the Great Barrier Reef. I just feel better mentally when I have adventure planned.

Airport Fun

This trip is the fulfillment of my paternal grandfathers dream or bucket list item. He died in 1964 so I really didn’t know him. His name was Norbert Popp and he hoped to go to Kodiak Island and shoot bears. Apparently I have a shot gun somewhere but I haven’t seen it it shot it since I was probably a young teenager. The gun is not in my house. I do not plan to do any shooting except with a camera. So this has been on my bucket list for sometime, although now I call it a lust list, because I don’t plan on kicking the bucket for many years.

I booked this trip about two weeks ago, so flights, hotels and guides are a little difficult to plan. In fact the hotel that I plan to stay in tonight cancelled my reservation. I’ll deal with that soon. The day after I finally booked the tickets, I had a fleeting thought that I couldn’t wait to tell my Dad. Then I remembered that he passed away in 2009. In the past few days I have been having vivid dreams about him. It’s Fathers Day tomorrow so this all must mean something.

Here’s the forecast!

General Travel I am home!

Nothing broken. I worked last Tuesday and had X-rays after work. Just sore, hard to sit and stand and drive. What a perfect trip. Can’t wait for the next one!!!

People are always shocked at how little I take on trips. I could get by with just contacts, a working ATM and a passport. I have forgotten my contacts twice domestically, both times I had to drive to get new ones. Luckily I have a great Optometrist that was willing to fax my prescription. I am not totally blind, I can see the big stuff.

I like zip lock bags, the good ones, not the cheap ones like from the dollar store, they can leak. I use a gallon size for my makeup and teeth stuff. I use a quart size for bug spray and sunscreen , sandwich size for meds and another for carry on liquids. If needed all the liquids will fit in the gallon size if security makes me consolidate. This doesn’t usually happen anymore. After security I put anything I don’t need in to my bigger bag. I have another system for readers, etc. I have an ugly eye glass holder that had the bendy stuff on top. I put in this: two pens, two sets of readers, a nail file, a good plastic knife and most recently a tiny sharp jack knife. In the little carry on liquid bag,
I have an extra set of contacts, dry eyes eye drops, X clear nose spray, lipstick, lotion and a face misting spray, an altoid mini tin with sugarless mints, xylitol gum, ambien, ibuprofen, a blood pressure pill (to decrease water retention if an overnight flight or if my feet swell) lip balm from my office.

In my smaller carry on I have my favorite really long black cashmere scarf in a gallon size zip lock. It is all purpose and hard to replace if lost, I have a book or two and a full kindle. I might have a recharging source. I take small head phones that I hate but I hate my larger Bose because of all the room they take up. So longer trips the Bose, shorter the cheapies. I try to read or write more than watch things anyway. For longer flights I have a blow up neck pillow, that is washable, it grosses me out when I see them hanging from peoples luggage. Inside this little drawstring bag are eye patches and another pair of contacts. I take a hard sunglasses holder and never check it, because sunglasses are easy to steal. I hate bringing a laptop, but sometimes a movie is nice to watch. They only reason that I used the lap top this time was that I was in so much pain and it was a good distraction. I usually take some work things to read, like journals and magazines that I can discard. Always a note book to write things in. The bag itself is lightweight and in this trip’s case doubles as a beach/dive bag. On the planes I wear yogaish pants and a longer top and a jacket, weight depending on where I am going. I have some socks to put on if needed.

In my suitcase, a carry on, of course. I don’t want lost luggage. I start off with underwear, the number depends on it there is laundry or warm, dry weather. Sometimes I’ll do a little laundry. Clean underwear in a zip lock. 1-2 pair of pants or shorts, 4-5 tops. Maybe a skirt. If there is some clothing that I hate, I take it and leave it after I wear it. It took me days to get rid of some white shorts while in Chile. They kept bringing them back to me. Shoes. Less is better. Megan puts her dirty shoes in a shower cap. This trip I put a pair of Sandals in a bread bag!

I forgot to post this so here it is now a few weeks later. I hope to go back to Nicaragua soon!

Sunday last full day

It is so civilized here. AC in the room and in the dining rooms. I don’t like it. I miss my walks through the jungle and pastures. Yesterday I swam in the pool and read more. Had some lunch and dinner at the restaurantI am still in a lot of pain. It feels more like a pelvis injury than a tail bone. Today is a little better and I may take a pain pill. I have a driver taking me to Granada, the oldest City in the America’s. It has a nice city square and narrow roads with shops etc. not sure how much I can walk. Then back to this luxury hotel and in the plane tomorrow.

I hired a driver to take me to Granada, nice man. He is helping me speak Spanish, which I really must learn I took two years in junior high school , then three years in high school. Went to Spain for almost a month and took another two years in college. It always amazes me how fast it comes back when I am in a Spanish speaking country. But I have also taken some French , Japanese and Italian.

Now I am on a boat on Lake Nicaragua with a Toña, a local beer.

The boat ride was beautiful. So many little islands, some privately owned some hotels and bars. The monkey island was funny, in the middle of all these beautiful islands. There were several monkeys in the trees that people fed.

Now in downtown Granada. It is pretty quiet right now being Sunday midday. I found a restaurant on Calle la Cabeza with music and an old Cathedral to look at. Had some yellow gazpacho and fish. Both excellent. I don’t think that I have had anything bad while I have been here. Now to the local market.

I picked up a few things at the market then back to the hotel pool to read and swim and relax.

I am ready to come home. It will be a long day tomorrow. Departure at 8 am to Miami then Dallas the San Diego.

Saturday

I was reminded by my son that I was due for an update. Well, a lot has happened since yesterday lunch. I was having a nice lunch. Maybe posted this pic

Then the German guy, Dieter came by. He had just dived and was going back. On the walk back to the bungalows, I saw the fellow divers Gary, his brother Blair and Gio. I wanted to buy them a beer. Dieter left, still making me feel like a bad person for my wanton behavior, as if! Even my Mother tells me to talk to strangers. So I bought them a beer, they thanked the waitress, who didn’t bring my drink to me, so I gave them a hard time, because I bought the beer. And then told them it was my birthday. They may have sang a bit, but they were awful!! Craig is an acupuncturist in Canada, not sure about Blair and Gio was Italian and did camping trips with kids in the Sacramento area. Blair was missing a tooth which bugged the hell out of me.

Pretty much all there is to do in Little Corn is dive, snorkel, fish and drink. I was doing well fitting in. I walked back to the other side, the East side, the windy side, the quiet side, the side with the elusive hammerhead shark. Too rough to go see the hammerhead this trip.

More pics on the way home. It was feeling like home, I rarely stay in one place for more than one night or two so seven nights in one place was good.

A margarita upon arrival, and a shower.

And the waiting for my prince to come. I knew this was the lucky day, my Birthday. Soon I saw him!

I missed them on Wednesday, I was drinking with friends, Thursday they ran overtime so today was my day. Shane is my prince and he told me that I could name the horse. And he just washed the two year old for me. Check out the saddle! The foam was old and not so padded. First hurdle was getting on him. Why don’t my legs do what I ask them! When he asked if I had ridden a horse before, I said sure! I should have just said, yes, I am an excellent horsewoman. But he wouldn’t have known the joke. I have ridden before, like bare back at a nearby stable when I was probably 8 and several times after that, with a saddle.

So I get on the horse and Shane leads the horse down the beach, about five minutes later the unnamed horse took off down the beach. I pulled on the bridle, I clutched his mane, but he was going as fast as he could down the beach in a terrifying, yet exhilarating pace. As we approached some dense trees I had to jump off or die in a split second. I heard my neck crack and Jake’s face passed before me. Jake is my sons amazingly positive friend that had a life changing diving accident. Shane was running, screaming down the beach. The horse was walking around. I am pretty sure Shane was checking me for a possible concussion. My brain seemed fine. He kept apologizing. My neck hurt, but kinda felt like I just had a really good adjustment by my favorite chiropractor. My tail bone hurt. I had broke it before. Both of my ring fingers hurt and the bottom of my foot. Shane took the horse up and down the beach to tire him, out I cringed at the speed.

These pics speak for themselves…

Here, at the trees which I found myself under

I realized that I lost my sunglasses. They were there, in the sand, undamaged. After Shane made sure I was ok, he told me to rinse off in the water. I had sand head to toe, even in my ears! I said that I could walk back but, he would not hear of it! I struggled to get on the horse again and fell off again! What is wrong with me!?! Finally got on and we rode together, me in the front. We were a little closer than I thought we should be and his arms were a little tighter around me than they should be and then the whispering in my ear… and he picked a flower for me… ok back to reality. I am just thinking of how much pain I am in, with my probable broken tailbone hitting the bones spine of this damn skinny horse, trotting in the beach, over rocks and sand and sometimes wading in the water so much that my feet were dragging in the water. He waved to friends and laughed with them. We stopped for a bit then back on the horse. Several times I told him that I could walk, but he delivered my right to my door, well close enough. At long last we had to depart. It was hard to say goodbye but we did. Lol he was 27!

Back at the ranch, barely walking, I advised the owner of the place that maybe he should check out the horses on the island. He said that there were only four. Margarita, another shower. A great dinner of Chicken Florentine with lobster. My Kansas friends joined me and we toasted to my ride and my Birthday. Another birthday to remember!

I started to pack. We had to be ready at 5:30 am. But around midnight I heard a knock on my door and my named quietly whispered…. I went to the window, no way was I unlocking the door. The windows are screened with chicken wire! So Craig, the acupuncturist from Canada brought me a birthday drink! I didn’t open the door so he slid his business card through the chicken wire, told me that I was pretty and hoped that we could be friends. I said thanks and went back to bed. The funny thing was that I left my card at Dieter’s bungalow a few hours before. Hopefully all of us can exchange pictures etc. what happens in Little Corn, ah nothing happened.

Up early to get the panga, where the locals gave me sympathetic looks. Everyone knew that I was “the girl that fell off the horse and almost died!!!” Some even asked how I was feeling and that Shane felt so badly.

I am going to miss this place.

I hung out with Gio, we took the panga, taxi and the plane to Managua. He helped me with my bags and even unlocked my seatbelt, because I couldn’t. I was worried about the landing on the plane so I gingerly put one hand under a butt cheek anticipating a big bump and painful landing, but the pilot was spot on No pain. And I was right behind him.

Now in Managua at the Camino Real.

Thursday, Valentines Day

Yup tried to wake up early, justified that I will see it on Sat early am when I have to leave.

This guy has been keeping me company at meals. He lost his top beak, so they feed him mushy food. He can say a few words.

Time to dive.

Two more great dives

Dive shop above and kids sell these yummy pasties or meat empanadas And the dolphin and mermaid picture, this time with me in it.

Lots of nurse sharks, barracuda, spiney lobster and colored fish. The coral is beautiful and in every color imaginable. Last year about this time, after surviving a category 5 cyclone, Megan and I were on a tiny island called something, can’t remember. We snorlked in the most amazing place, Garden something. It was like Dr Seuss on steroids and acid. The most beautiful snorkeling. Ever. This is in second place. I do love being in the water. Other more experienced divers just cruise around, kick their fins, not me I am full on kicking and breast stroke, totally ADD not wanting to miss anything. The other divers must hate me. but I know there will be drinks and food later so I want to burn every calorie possible.

It’s Valentine’s Day so hopefully my knight in shining Armour ( yes spelled that way) will show up soon As of now he is late! Guess I’ll have another margarita and some Steak tacos.

So far the Coral Gods have been ok.

In Tonga I brought home some coral. I never really saw signs not to bring it in so I packed it in two places in my bag. I was honest at customs and said that I had coral so Megan and I had to go through a long line at secondary. They found the coral and I said that I didn’t know and it was dead anyway. I was so nervous going through the next X-ray and actually shaking a few minutes later. On a trip later that year diving with my daughter, I lost buoyancy and was sinking. My middle finger got a tiny puncture wound. Later it stung and itches but I didn’t really feel anything in it. The Coral Karma found me. I had to have. A millimeter and a half piece surgically removed in the hospital under sedation at the time of $12,000! This is what is wrong with America’s healthcare system. I haven’t touched a thing on this trip.

Update on my dive friends, the three ladies from Kansas are all professional woman, an Ob/Gyn, divorce attorney and a big time cigar shop owner. The German man is a dermatologist. Had some drinks with them last night.

Had a great coconut shrimp dinner and some wine, Then to bed early

Thursday Feb 15th My Birthday!

Early to rise, going to the early dive today at Blowing Rocks. Had a little breakfast at The Shack omlet and coffee then a 45 min boat ride to the next dive site. Immediately as we descended a huge spotted manta ray and reef shark were waiting for us. Great dive, so many manta rays and sharks and New York City of sizes, colors and species of fish. When I am down there I am trying to remember the colors of the fish, corals and sponges. It’s just impossible. I even tried to imprint in my mind what family and friends would like which fish.impossible. Second dive was spectacular too because we were closer to the surface so the colors were even more intensified. Boat ride back. Having a little birthday lunch. kingfish carpaccio.