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Published: July 12th 2018
"All the water that will ever be is right now." ~
Good morning to anyone up, sipping a coffee and reading this old blog. I think I last left off a week ago, so you've had a week to build up your strength to read another one. 😊
This morning is so breezy and warm & it's like heaven to open up the sliding doors to the sparkling ocean, and the boats gently floating over the sea. The radiant Caribbean is flaunting its blue/green dazzling colors which can transfix you for hours. I have my laptop in the shade in a corner of the balcony listening to Mother Nature sing me a morning song. The sargassum (seaweed I referred to in previous blogs) has been well behaved and shows no signs of it landing on the beaches right now.
It was an early morning today as Al was diving. I swear the alarm that went off on his phone was SO loud it would scare the feathers off a chicken. Happy to report I still have half my feathers despite that ringing alarm. Al normally is not an up and at 'em type of guy but boy oh
boy when it's time to dive he's like a man with a mission 😊
We moved accommodations a few days ago...again. Since I am comped here, I work around the full paying guests. Although my wonderful boss made sure I got my favorite 2 condos for most of our stay. (Insert heart here for her.) Another fantastic condo with a private rooftop & a huge balcony that 6 of us can get lost on. I often think if you didn't know us & were reading these blogs you'd think we were some hoity toity rich folks living the good life. So it's No & No to the hoity toity & rich part. (Good looking yes. HEH HEH.) To the third part of my comment on living the good life, I will acquiesce to yes we do enjoy the good life here in thanks to my company. I feel very blessed & ten years ago I would never have dreamed this opportunity would be possible.
I don't know why it always takes so long to get into the vacation mode but it takes well over a week to get settled down. . I put it down to all the
planning, orchestrating a group vacation, and making sure all work is caught up before I leave and the house is organized, bills are paid etc.Plus I had to design information books for each condo so that was an extra effort last minute. Maybe it's just a 'mom' thing that you are tired on vacation. ;>
We did have some work here to do (photos) & there will be some more before we go home. We are to head home next week, but another opportunity presented itself for us to stay on (comped) for me to do more work here, but no decision has been made yet. It is a very attractive thought I'll tell you. Life is so busy and the summer allows us such a wonderful opportunity to unwind till all hell breaks loose in the fall. We all need to recharge our batteries when we can.
We've had a few moments of ups and downs including someone having a terrible case of vertigo making for some queasy days. Another night Al brought in pizza, opened the lid and yelled to us food was here. Next thing we hear Ava yell FIRE. So we run out and
there is our pizza box on fire. OMG. Al didn't see a votive glass candle when he opened the pizza lid so it caught on fire. Honest to god. Al picks up the flaming box & manages to get it to the sink and put out the flames. Our pizza was intact and edible if you can believe it. Talk about wood burning pizza 😊 Thank god the table the pizza was on was a glass table. No papers or books caught on fire so we were incredibly lucky. Never has this happened to us before. Talk about jangly nerves after that.
Never have I had any issues when in Playa with the locals. I LOVE the people here, appreciate their hospitality, their welcoming smiles, and I work hard to learn their language.I avoid grocery stores on Sundays which is their day off. I tip generously for all their hard work. However yesterday was not a banner day. Stupid stuff happened.
While waiting for the girls and grandma to finish their pedicure I toured around in the heat which required hydration of the margarita kind. I told the waiter a classic marg & listed the 3
ingredients & not to add any funny business to the drink. Well it was a terrible margarita & the waiter admitted that they put in 'different ingredients'. It wasn't my cup of tequila so I sent it back for a glass of wine. Bottom line is they charged me for it & the manager was rather rude about it to me. Big mistake to a) accuse me of drinking it before returning it, then b) insisting I pay for a terrible drink that did not resemble a margarita. c)then telling me his waiter should've informed him of me not liking it which is clearly out of my hands. As if I'm to follow the waiter around to ensure he tells the manager Sally did not like the bleeping margarita
. He went on about missing booze & this and that. Anyhow I told him that I'd dined at his restaurant a few times & was really disappointed in this exchange. All of a sudden he changed his tune. If he presented his case with a bit less of an attitude I would've probably paid for the margarita. But bars encounter this often and this was NO classic margarita. Take it from
a professional margarita maker / drinker.
Then I went to buy a bottle of water at the local convenience store & got hassled about not having 'change' to pay her with. I presented a 50 pesos which is equal to $3 CAD which is a very small bill. She insisted I wait for change till she served other people. This soon annoyed me as the other people gave her 50 pesos too which she exchanged. (Yes I hate buying bottled water but we forgot it at the condo & needed it.) So I call her on it in Spanish, and the woman behind me sticks up for me as she'd witnessed the exchange. Basically she told the clerk she was being rude to me ONLY because I was not a local. So they get into an argument. I asked for my money back & she wouldn't return it so I popped open the water and drank it. She quickly gave me change... So something was in the air yesterday as I've never experienced this before. Oh well. Win some, lose some, drink some...😊 Diving (In more ways than one...)
Al has gotten in only one dive &
has one more booked tomorrow. Usually he's been out more than this, but the guy he dives with hasn't been going out as much as it's not been busy enough to take out a group. For those that enjoy what Al saw on his underwater adventures on his recent dive, he saw a huge stingray about 6 feet across, and 10 feet in length with his tail. He said that was pretty impressive. He also saw several big turtles, a huge moray eel and some lion fish. Of course there's lot of colorful fish, shrimps, crabs etc. Al is never so relaxed and happy as he is after a dive. Ocean therapy.
Speaking of diving, I am sure many of you followed the nail biting saga of the young soccer team stranded in the cave in Thailand? Holy smokes. What a precarious situation that whole thing was. Al having done cave (cenote) diving made it all the more realistic for us what challenges there were. Of course his cave diving is quite different with it being much more open spaces, with it much more bright & clear and they follow a safety protocol (lines, well marked passage ways etc.)
But still I always worry when he dives.
Anyhow, once they started to show the map of the cave, how far into the caves these 12 boys & their soccer coach were in (2.5 miles in, and 1/2 a mile down.) and further how treacherous it was, we could all much better understand how difficult extracting them was going to be. (See map below.)
Apparently it took the very best cave divers 6 hours (one way) to traverse the murky dark narrow caves with strong currents in order to get to them and deliver an oxygen line, food, water etc. The divers couldn't even see their hand in front of their face. According to CNN, Bill Whitehouse was thousands of miles away in England making a bacon & egg sandwich when he got the call about the rescue. Whitehouse, a retired cave diver sprung into action to orchestrate an international response. Life or death for these boys hung on a knife's edge.
They had to use heavy industrial pipes to pump out water & all sorts of other adapted equipment in their rescue efforts. The divers had to act like a pencil and remove their tanks so
they didn't get caught at some points in the cave. It was so narrow many of them banged their heads along the rock formations. No doubt it was terribly frightening for them. The divers likened it to driving in fog with your high beams on. Divers on site had described the conditions as some of the most extreme they have ever faced, and the boys didn't know how to swim, let alone dive making that option to get them out perilous.
Finally a plan took place. All was going OK. But on trip number 11 to rescue one of the last boys, something went dangerously wrong. Rescuers inside an underground chamber felt a tug on the rope — the sign that one of the boys would soon emerge from the flooded tunnels. “Fish on,” the rescuers signaled. Fifteen minutes went by. Then 60. Then 90. As the rescuers waited anxiously, a diver navigating the 11th teammate through the underwater maze lost hold of the guide rope. With visibility near zero, he couldn’t find the line again. Slowly, he backtracked, going deeper into the cave to search for the rope, before the rescue could resume. At last, the survivor got
through, safely. Talk about nail biting. Mark my words, as sure as I'm done typing this blog this true life story will no doubt be made into a Hollywood blockbuster movie.
An excerpt I saw also was pretty fascinating. In the words of one of the Americans rescue members. “I don’t know of any other rescue that put the rescuer and the rescuee in so much danger over a prolonged period of time, unless it is something along the lines of firefighters going into the World Trade Center knowing that the building is on fire and is going to collapse,” (Major Hodges.)
In the end as you know they got them all out alive. And like most teenage boys, all they wanted to eat was KFC! Yep Colonel Sanders to the rescue even in Thailand. I can't imagine being a parent of one of those kids. I'm sure those boys were squeezed long and hard by their moms after that.
Sadly Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan, ran out of air while returning from an operation to deliver oxygen tanks to the cave. What a hero. Wouldn't it be great if the Thai government ensured there is a
trust fund set up for Mr. Kuran's family and some memorial is erected in his name? Sunshiny Days
The weather from last Fri to Mon. was up and down. Hot, humid, overcast and then maybe a quick downfall of rain. (In Spanish, rain is lluvia
) We managed to make our way back to Puerto Morelos and I just love this picture perfect quaint former fishing town. The beaches are so wide and that soft sugary sand is heaven on the feet. Due to its location there are many boats ready to take you out snorkeling as it's only 8 minutes to the reef where the snorkeling is fantastic and the water calm. For the per person rate (which we were offered from $25US down to $15US includes a 2 hour tour which includes your boat ride to the reef, snorkeling equipment, followed by lunch and a drink. Not a bad rate, and the guides are so much fun and welcoming. It was a great family day, and we hope to return at least one more time before we head home.
I've tried to get some reading in when it's quiet. My suitcase was laden with books and
magazines. One fascinating article I recently read had me riveted. It was about the water wars in California, & the water keepers (an advocacy group trying to protect the waters while fighting Trump's EPA & Department of Interior). California’s water supply system is old and insufficient, along with un-managed groundwater supplies, inefficient water use, and environmental issues that are threatening their future water supply. As the population continues to grow and temperatures continue to rise, these challenges will intensify. And as the water temperatures get warmer, then you have a crisis with marine life including salmon. Studies show that more than a quarter of a million sockeye salmon returning from the ocean to spawn are dying off due to the water temperature being too hot.
One of the things that struck me while reading the article is how they put otters to work to help make the eco-system better. These whiskery creatures eat about a quarter of their body weight every day and according to an article I read, 'they’re naturally fidgety but svelter than seals and sea lions, so they need to burn a lot of calories to stay warm". One of their favorite food items is sea
urchins, which in turn eat kelp. If there were no sea otters, then there'd be too many sea urchins and not enough kelp. With no kelp, there's no fish as fish use kelp as their shelter from big mean predators. And if the little fish disappear, the bigger fish say 'adios" (goodbye) too. By putting the sea otters to work, the sea-urchin population drops, the kelp re-grows, the little fish come back with the big fish following. And holy smokes you then have an eco-system that’s not only a thing of beauty and wonder, but one that sustains commercial and recreational fisheries. It's a win win when everyone works together to find solutions to difficult situations.
But agricultural runoff poses a major problem for sea otters as pesticides & fertilizer flow into drainage channels to the ocean, where they compromise the otters immune systems and nourish toxic algae blooms. So a few steps forward and a few back.
We are indebted to our water. In ancient cultures water represented the very essence of life. In our culture it's definitely taken for granted. We had one morning on holiday when we had no water in the condo. It's a
real eye opener how helpless we are without water for even a short amount of time. Not one living organism can survive without water. Those of us that live in places where water is not a daily struggle have the greatest gift ever. To be able to turn on a tap and have water instantly is a beautiful gift.
The girl we sponsored in Rwanda (Africa) would write us letters about her daily life. Her main job at 13 was to walk miles to get water for her family. Getting water in third world countries is a risky and at times dangerous task. This hit home for our girls and for myself for that matter when we read Ariette's story.
So this morning as I look out over the vast ocean here, I for one count my blessings for this water. And whatever you all are doing, I hope you are counting your blessings and are looking out over a beautiful body of water too!
Signing off to get my walk in by said beautiful ocean. Wish you were all here to join me! (Mom will call you later. Phone has been an issue.)
Sal and her memaids (and mermans?)
Tot: 0.297s; Tpl: 0.024s; cc: 8; qc: 107; dbt: 0.0414s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.6mb