Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cruising through Freeport

On Monday I was still looking for my perfect Caribbean sunrise.

Hmm...where are those beautiful beaches I was picturing?  Ahh well, God put on a show even if the scenery below wasn't jaw dropping.
This port was clearly an industrial port and unlike Nassau in that you could not leave the ship and walk right into town.  It took about a 15 minute drive by van to reach the tourist section of town.  We spent the first part of our day shopping and talking to the locals.  If we had played spot the tourist, H would have won for sure!

After shopping, we headed to the beach.  It was a much better day for it but after the rough seas on Sunday none of us had come prepared for swimming.  So the kids played with their souvenirs in the water...
...while the adults looked on.

I took my shoes off and went for a walk down the beach.
By the time I got back plans were in the works to take a flat bottomed boat ride in the ocean thanks to Suzy & John.  This was our captain who was quite a joker.  He had an island name (everyone has one) but I've forgotten what it was.
He showed us the ghost ship from the movie Pirates of the Carribbean...

and multimillion dollar homes...
and then it was back to the open ocean.
C enjoyed it so much that he fell asleep.
The vote was unanimous at the end - the boat ride was amazing!  Thanks to Suzy & John for the execution of a brilliant idea.
We returned to our boat and set sail for home. 
For someone who loves to travel there is nothing better than setting eyes on a corner of the earth you've never seen before - looking, learning & experiencing just a little bit of what life there might be like.  I'm grateful for the generosity of my friends who allowed me to experience this with them.  You guys are amazing!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cruising through Nassau

My first view of Nassau was one of quiet streets and twinkling lights.
I woke up early to see the sun rise over the Caribbean but it was windy and overcast so there wasn't much of a sunrise to see. 

The "Sunrise"over the Atlantis Resort

By the time we got off our boat...

we were hardly the only ship in town.

We decided to hire Big Rod and his taxi van to show us around town. 

This was our first true view of the beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean rolling in on the sandy white beaches.  Drink that in!

Big Rod took us to a part of the island that is being developed by the Ch*nese.  I found it fascinating that many of the same things that are or have happened in Niger in terms of investment and development are also happening in the Bahamas.  It was interesting to hear him express that Bahamians are frustrated with the fact that all this building is going on with little employment opportunity for local people.  If you are interested you can read articles here and here that tell more about this resort being built.

Then it was on to Fort Charlotte where the soldiers were so bored that they sat around making cool graffiti.

They didn't see much military action which meant plenty of time for carving their names into the wall and watching the Bahamian lizards.  Incidentally, Bahamian lizards are different from the ones in Niger because they like to curl their tails up.

Moving on to snack time.  Big Rod hooked us up with some conch fritters which is apparently the local specialty.  I'm not a big fan of seafood but I tried one and then watched as the rest of the group devoured them.  My the tasty department they were definitely several notches above the alligator fritters we tried on the ship. 

After snack time it was back to the tour which ended at the beach.  The water was beautiful but incredibly rough because of the wind.  The kids played near the water but no one really ventured in.

It wasn't long before the wind convinced us to retreat back to the ship.  We were all a little bit disappointed that our beach experience wasn't very enjoyable.  Back at the ship, the kids and some of the adults headed on board for naps and lunch.  I struck off on my own into town and discovered the Straw Market which is basically the place to find souvenirs.  As I strolled through the stalls, the friendly vendors would invite me to come and buy.  I would reply that I was just looking and they all had a little response like, "Looking is buying!" or "Looking is free and buying is cheap!" 
Just before getting back on board the ship I discovered some neat cobblestone alleyways.
I give the ambiance in this alleyway two thumbs up!  The beach might not have been quite what we expected but overall, I learned a lot and I enjoyed exploring the city of Nassau.
See you in Freeport.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cruising: On Board

Have you ever received a gift that just knocked your socks off?  Just after Christmas I got a phone call from my friend Tannie inviting me to go on a cruise to the Bahamas with her entire family.  This was their Christmas gift from her Mom but Tannie's husband couldn't get off work and the ticket was non-refundable.  So they thought of me.  Wow!  I was totally blown away with this incredible gift and spending an entire week with Tannie and her family was guaranteed to be fun!  Of course, I agreed!

We left from the port of Charleston, SC.  I loved these little flags with the Aruthur Ravenal Jr. Bridge in the background.

Just after getting on board, I began working on my tan.  You can tell how serious I was about it by the amount of skin that was showing.

Before leaving port, we had a boat's version of the "exit drill".  This amounted to packing us into a room like sardines.  Telling us without visual aides how to put on our life jackets which incidentally were located in our staterooms (I'm throwing out cruise words like I'm an expert) - a long ways away from our lifeboat.  Hmm!

Then they moved us out onto the decks in front of our respective lifeboats where we stood around and took pictures.  Here's my favorite one I took of Debbie and her grandbabies.

I'm not supremely confident that had the boat gone down, I would have escaped but thankfully, I didn't have to find out.  We cruised for two nights and a day.  Plenty of time to enjoy a beautiful breakfast on deck

and this chocolate melting cake not once but twice.  It was simply scrumptious!

Most of the ladies dressed up for the formal dinner and here we are in our Sunday best.

And there was fun to be had in our staterooms as well.  Every night we came back to a cute little towel creature.

The beds were super comfy too.  However, the best part was that Katelyn's bunk was just above mine which meant that I was able to employ my long ago acquired (from K.A.) and little utilized bunk boosting skills.  You place your feet under the mattress of the person above you and push with all your might!  It freaked Katelyn out but not enough to stop her from doing this...

All I've got to say is never leave a Fifth Grader with chocolate unsupervised in the bed above you!

Next time, I'll be disembarking in Nassau.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Great Experiment Part 6: Lasagna Soup - Loathe It or Love It?

Lasagna - my last experience with lasagna went something like this.  I saw someone's lasagna lunch and thought to myself, "That looks mighty delicious!"  After inquiring as to where the lasagna came from, I found out that it was a Nigerien lady who made the lasagna.  I asked the lady if she had ever sold a lasagna to anyone and how much did she think it might cost.  Little did I realize that that question was basically as good as a request to have a lasagna made.  A week or so later, the friendly cook appeared at my door with a 9x13 pan of lasagna and I was out close to $40.  Yep, lasagna doesn't come cheap in Niger and I certainly learned a lesson - don't ask questions about things you aren't willing to pay for!  That wasn't the only lesson I learned.  Eating a whole pan of lasagna all by yourself can be quite tiresome.  In fact, you might even find that you come to loathe lasagna especially when buying one pan inadvertently leads to buying two more.  Don't even ask about that!

Lasagna Soup, however, is an altogether different story.  It seems like a bit of a weird concept but I am telling you that this stuff is delicious!  I even employed a hand model to demonstrate its cheesy goodness.  I paid her in soup.

This recipe received rave reviews and recipe requests from all the guests who partook of its goodness but the true test came when I had to eat it for leftovers for the rest of the week.  I honestly felt that it became tastier as time went on.  Lasagna Soup?  LOVE IT!

Niger Note:  Ricotta cheese is not easy to come by in Niger but I ate a bowl or two with just some mozzarella on top and I thought it was just as delicious without the ricotta.

Monday, February 4, 2013

What's It Like to Teach Around the World?

Dipping into the 2009 archives for this one.  A very Niger moment - electricity out, raining pouring down and trying to have class.
Several years ago, I was talking with a Russian missionary whose children had been enrolled in a local Russian school.  She was singing the praises of the teacher who had deeply impacted her students as she encouraged them to develop relationships with the elderly in their community.  I don't remember all the details of that conversation but I do remember thinking that Russian school sounded so interesting, like something that I would love to experience for a day or two.  This article fed into that curiosity.

A school in Liberia
Fast forward to this past fall where I found myself chatting with a family friend who lives on Vancouver Island.  If I am remembering correctly, her daughter lives on Quadra Island which is between Vancouver Island and the mainland.  She is a teacher but she teaches on two smaller islands rotating between the two schools on different days of the week.  Her commute to work each day does not happen in a car or on a bus.  She goes to work by speedboat.  Talk about arriving to work windblown!  Even in the middle of winter she has to get on that boat and go to work.  As one who works in one of the hottest parts of the world, I can safely say that I do not envy that part of her job!

A school in Bolivia
However, just imagining the differences between her experiences being an island teacher and my experiences teaching in both Atlanta and Niger got me thinking about how cool it would be to travel to different parts of the world and experience the lives of teachers for a week or two.  How our are teaching lives different from one another?  What things do we, as educators, all have in common?  I thought it would make a great book.  Maybe one day! 

A private school in Niger.
But until then, I'm going to be looking forward to Angela Watson's new blog series on Teaching Around the World where she will be interviewing educators from around the globe. Sounds intriguing doesn't it? Well then get hopping and go find out what it's like to teach in a remote village in Alaska.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...