Friday, May 30, 2014

Free Range Friday ~ Zaco's Chowder and Chowder

Wandering in town yesterday, literally, because every place I wanted to go or people I needed to see wasn't happening right then, I ended up at Zaco's for some out of the sun refreshment. At least, that was the original plan. Then I saw the specials. Tongue taco? Conch chowder? 

I happen to be one of those people who like tongue, so it was decision time. As much as I like it, I love conch chowder and hadn't had any in years. Many years. There are good conch chowders (rare) and plenty of bad ones out there. I flipped my mental coin based on eating plenty of Zach's food before in favor of giving it a try. And try I did.

Usually when ordering chowder, I expect a small bowl or a cup. Instead, I got the endless bowl of chowder. Delicious chowder. Zach goes with minced rather than chunks and a Manhattan style broth that has hints of many seasonings...I didn't get a chance to ask him what seasonings, because I was working so hard on the chowder. Alicia was next to me and after a couple tastes, we got her a spoon and SHE went to work on it. Nope, the level barely changed. Walt came in and I tried to share with him, but he'd just ordered his own bowl. We laughed a wicked laugh and wished him good luck. If you do order the chowder, prepare to leave sloshing with goodness. Oh, and be surprised by the good toast. It works great as a dipper.

I have memories of a conch chowder that was probably the best I ever tasted, but in truth it was a bit of a mix, New England style like a clam chowder but with conch at a place that sadly no longer exists on the Miami River in Florida. Tugboat Annie's was a big fixture in those long ago days, casual and funky, like a lot of places on the Miami River. You could dress up, dress down, arrive by vehicle or boat, eat great food and people watch until your eyes were dizzy. You could dance to the music until you were dizzy as well. Unfortunately, it appears that it closed, reopened and then closed again, taken over by someone else who may be running a fine restaurant but I doubt I'll ever know. 

On a not so clear day, I could see forever. But not to the bottom of that bowl of chowder. 
Have a feast your face Friday. Do something (non)fictitious. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Oh the Social Whirl!

Since this wasn't really a planned event but a spin off of yesterday, I can't really say it meant another tick on my fabulously full social calendar, since that would be two, two, two lies in one. But for a quick pick up happy birthday party outside of Dinghy Dock, it t'weren't even close to half good, it was all the way good. Although we do seem to be getting older with unstoppable regularity. 

Customs are important. Balloon John Birthday Crownage accouterment made the day official.

This one even had magic glow balls inside. But we'll never know how that worked out, as on the way home it flew merrily out of the vehicle not popping, chased down by two tiny girls wild with glee. Perfect.

It is not unusual to hear the phrase 'crazy Norte Americanos' said with affection (most of the time). I'm not sure why but I'm beginning to have some ideas on the matter.

There were others here but no photo really worked for that. Climbing onto the roof to get the right shot was not going to happen. Ever. So what you see be what you got.

Ok, I finally get what 'photo bombed' means (is there a reason everything has some cutesy name that takes me months to understand these days or was everything always explained somehow?). 

Wherever there are people gathered together on Culebra, be it in backyards, the beach or homes, there will be good food and drink and usually too much of both. That works.

Mariel, who was not raised by wolves, actually brought Gary a present. Fun and practical, much like the woman herself. Doesn't every lad need a floaty with a drink holder for his pool time? Well played, Mariel!

So many people think all we do around here is party. Lay around in hammocks, eating and drinking, go to the beach, eating and drinking, hang around in town, eating and drinking. Well, it is not true. 

Sometimes it's true
Sometimes we can be quite industrious. 

For example, someone at sometime industriously made this bird house. Now you know what to do with old spark plugs.
Example 2: Walt and Mariel spent a good amount of time in the Master / Grasshopper mode. And I mean that.

After gathering the proper palm fronds (yes, there are good and not good fronds for this), the lesson commenced.

Walt is a very 'let 'em get their hands shredded dirty' instructor

John and Lisa industriously observed

Walt advises the 'knee workplace' approach

And wa la! A three beer bird!

In the meantime, Walt was busy with a monster grasshopper. Oh the subtlety.
My brother called about that time to ask if we'd felt the 5.8 earthquake that occurred off of the Dominican Republic. We didn't feel it but it was felt on the big island, as reported by the ever diligent Suzanne of the Finca, giving a fair shaking and aftershocks. 

Here, we felt and watched as the temperature dropped a bit, the wind picked up and a bank of grey clouds to the north grew darker, a good sign to close a party that was already moving toward its endgame. Rolling with Nature's prompting is a good thing. So are birthdays and friends gathering. Impromptu humans.

It rained an estimated 23 and 1/2 drops

Have a tolerably talented Thursday. Do something territorially untested.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Beachy Grady Fare Thee Well

Our painter/troubadour Grady is heading back to California, to be on hand for the birth of his grandchild, which means a party. Of course it does. And where better to have a 'so long, Culebra, hello coastal California' than Flamenco? A Flamenco we thought would be quieter on a Tuesday after a long holiday weekend. But it wasn't. The beach was dotted with umbrellas from the main entrance to three quarters of the way to the shark pens, looking like some beach in Florida. But we got a couple of tables and under the trees made merry.

By the way, you can see, and purchase, some of Grady's art at Aimee's new shop next to Vibre Verde. More on her shop in the next few days.

Mother and daughter make a beautiful pair

Let the games begin. Ok. There were no games. 

Walt showing photos of a beehive he and Steve took down. But really, I like this photo because he looks like a Buddhist monk. He is not a Buddhist monk.

Bye, Grady! See you on the flip side, Grandpa!

Very delicious honey from the hive. The bees are just for the visual, unless you are one of those bee eaters. 
Fun & friends - the perfect combination

I was taking a shot of this rooster when I noticed a lot of laughing gulls flying around on the beach.

Obviously someone or some ones were creating a feeding frenzy. Maybe that's why so many had an umbrella. Or not.

Thanks for giving us a reason to hie off to the beach, Grady! 

Have a wistful Wednesday. Do something willingly.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day ~ 2014

When we say "War is over if you want it," we mean that if everyone demanded peace instead of another TV set, we'd have peace. -John Lennon  

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Simple Sunday ~ Amazing

Every once in a while I run across this poem my son wrote when he was 8. It keeps me amazed.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Free Range Friday ~ Ridin' the Range on a Burrito

It has been a week of interesting times around here, ferry whack watch of frustration, though the day I went over we left sort of close to on time and got back in the same way, and today it seems we have a passenger ferry working as well. Magically brought to us by the Holday Fix It Elves of ATM, it's too bad more appointments can't be made on the weekend because I bet we have a real schedule for the next three days. Ok, I'm not betting money on that, but the odds are good even if the goods are odd.

I think the best thing I made for myself this week was burritos made of flour tortillas filled with baby sardines, jalapenos, lettuce, onion and tomato. 

Insert imaginary onion in this photo

Because here it is

This is a really small, really delicious tomato from the veggie guy's stand

In reality, I add about twice as many jalapeƱos as in this photo. They aren't very hot, or at least this jar isn't.

This could have cheese on it, or be run under the broiler or whatever spikes your fancy, but fancy wasn't on the menu.
There's a reason I'm single and this meal being a culinary highlight might play a part. Truthfully, I really like eating this, even better with anchovies, and why I don't do it more often is a mystery. Thus endeth the food part.

Ranging around with what you would have seen over the past two days is part dos. Out and about and some yard time, of course. 

While waiting for the ferry, I was dazzled by this guy's bling.

What a difference rolled up sleeves make

Now he's ready.

A few of us decided to go right from the ferry to Zaco's, where there would be music on the new stage area, some sitting in to play and sing with the Doug's and Mariel as base camp. I did have a photo of Sam playing and later Monika singing but they didn't turn out. I'm blaming it on too much time waiting at Hotel Delicias extreme technical difficulties.

The hen, sitting stage right on her seven eggs, turned out just fine.

Once again, I am trying to foil the orchid eating iguanas. What you can't see is strips of aluminum foil, bird netting and a couple of plastic dohingies. Will they work? I'll know for sure this afternoon, so far so good. I wish they didn't love them as much as I do.

A pelican flew overhead and I realized I'd not taken a photo of one with the new camera. Good thing I got what I got because he immediately disappeared after these and never came back. Never being a relative term.

I'm sure aerodynamically there is an explanation for how these birds fly, but it will never make sense to me.
Finally, in the wee hours, I got up to see if the meteor shower was happening. At 3, it was too cloudy. At 4, I think maybe I saw something zipping around, really really out there. Or maybe it was just my eyelashes, fluttering down and up. I looked at the moon instead.

Have a fearless Friday! Do something ferociously fruitful. 

and p.s. It is Memorial Day weekend. Don't forget those oh too many who have died while serving in the military as we are whooping about a long weekend. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tiny Home Tuesday ~ Culebra

Culebra, as I've (just perhaps) mentioned before, is no stranger to tiny/small homes. The norm rather than the exception, even in these days of three story container ship looking boxes, along with some very beautiful large homes scattered here and there around the island. 

I was looking at some old postcard photos of Culebra, back when 'town' was over where the DNR is now; wishing I could climb through time and space to walk those streets. It is really hard to imagine the times, this tiny place with Naval complications, simpler lives and dropped bombs, the relocation of an entire town...

But relocate people did. Building and rebuilding, coming back from man made or natural forces of destruction, the strength of Culebra and Culebrense keeps shining through. 

I really do need a wider angle lens though! It's on the list.

There is a row of homes along the waterfront between town and Happy Landing, most still small, a few enlarged. Most of the time the yards are neatly planted and kept trim, a number of them are homes away from home, though not all. Most are of wood construction, rebuilt after Hugo in much the same manner as they stood before. 

This was a field for years and only in the last couple has someone moved this container onto the property, making it a getaway with a view.

For a long time, nothing was going on with this house except decay. Now it is painted in m favorite color, the yard is in order and I'm waiting for when someone is home to ask about seeing the inside.

This home belongs to one of the first people I met on Culebra. The land belonged to his father and the house was destroyed in Hugo. They rebuilt and raised a family here. Every year there is a new paint scheme, this year is Culebra colors.

Probably one of my favorite homes along this stretch. It is not tiny and not big, set into the curve of the land quite a bit farther back than most, done in concrete. There is just a vibe to it I like a lot, or maybe it reminds me of places on the river in Florida. 

Another place that was going down that got a facelift. Teal seems to be the big color this year. I like teal.

One of the first homes built after the big parcela claiming. Parcelas are parcels of land given to local people with the stipulation that they be built on in a reasonable time in a regulated manner. Of course, this is Culebra, so one might see a few...bits of editing to the legal outlines. This place is not one of those exceptions.


I had another view of Angel's in here yesterday, but I just really like this place! Not so much some of the places above him. 

These converted trailers have always been an example of tidy, neat, well painted, pretty yard (there is even a little ornamental bridge in the yard). When the owners are there, they are usually puttering around doing something in upkeep. 
Container homes, trailers modified, small and tiny homes, often family built, we've got them and they have been here a long time. Trendiness is not a part of Culebra's culture, practical is. And when practical and caring meet, it's a really nice combination. There are a lot more homes to look at, and I'm on it, with interiors, yes, I know. I'm getting there. 

I think it's time to repaint the shack. It's teal, for the last 13 years and I'm feeling a need to buck the trend. Or, I could just wait until orange and green come back...

Added bonus! I had not seen this before, though I'm sure many of you have, but I can watch it a lot, so maybe you can as well. Part of Culebra's history, in the not so distant past. While I was protesting the war in Vietnam, Culebrense were protesting the Navy's war against them, called training exercises, on their own home turf. I love these women!

Have a telescopic Tuesday. Do something transculturally timetrippy.