Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Home Again, Home Again

We arrived back in town around 1:00 a.m. and despite exhaustion and jet lag, spent several hours cleaning up the boat and taking care of Poor Flo. The boat had two months accumulation of dust, fur balls, etc. etc. and we couldn't bear to sleep in it until we'd cleaned it up.

Poor Flo was only minutes away from suffering a serious feline breakdown. She had fur balls circling her neck and would purr at the slightest touch. She was so happy to see us she didn't leave our side for four days!

Shortly after getting home we decided it was high time we got access to the web so we bit the bullet and marched down to London Drugs and bought a state of the art Mac lap top. We have free wi-fi access here at the marina. Prior to buying the computer Shelley & Brian "discussed" the merits of Mac vs PC and took a survey of friends and relatives. The survey produced a split pretty much down the middle but those advocating for Mac were way more enthusiastic. Not to mention the commercials on TV are pretty good! Our decision was very strongly reinforced by the head of the computer department at London Drugs (plus Mac has an international warranty). The only downside for Brian was Mac can't handle the flight simulator that he wanted :(.
All in all we can't believe how much we've come to enjoy access to internet! Brian loves YouTube and Shelley got her website ( back up again - plus numerous other projects she thinks of during the middle of the night. The kids introduced us to Face Book so now we have easy access to the goings-on in their lives and we uploaded Skype but can't seem to find anyone who actually wants to reciprocate so we can talk to them on-line.

The month of April was taken up with boat chores; painting the wheelhouse floor, painting the head and shower, cleaning out clothes and items we absolutely didn't need, setting the boat up for sale on Craig's list, getting an ad for the boat into Boat Journal in time for the May edition, getting the fire extinguishers refilled, etc. etc. etc.

We got together with Brian's brother Gene and his companion Dianne for lunch at the White Spot. Gene remarked that at ages 76 and 67 respectively, they are looking more alike each year. Brian said "yes, it's neat that I can look at you and see how much hair I'll have 10 years from now". Gene gave him one of those looks.

Brian has accepted (with only minor reluctance) Shelley's insistence that we take a nice long walk every day. This is both to get off the boat and keep the lungs and legs in shape. Speaking of lungs it is now 3 months since we quit smoking and it's obvious that the biggest part of the battle is behind us but we're still getting twinges several times a day.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Eight hours in the Airport

On our flight back from Ecuador we spent 8 hours in the Houston airport (sort of). It was oppressively hot and humid. Knowing we had all this time to kill we asked at the information desk if there was a mall nearby where we could be in air conditioning and get a bite to eat. Information advised us there were two malls, one that you had to take a cab to get to and the other that you could get to by bus. We were advised that the first was more "up scale... if you know what I mean". Thinking finances, we both nodded and smiled and said "up scale" wasn't important to us and took off on the bus to the mall.

Apparently "up scale" meant that it was in a white neighbourhood as the mall we went to was definitely in a black neighbourhood. Oh well. Being from small town Canada where we are babes in the woods on the "black" thing, we were slightly agog but had a hamburger and looked at bling and everyone was extremely courteous to the tourists (us).

There was no drug store in the mall so Brian then set off on his own looking for nicorettes while Shelley read a book under a tree, trying to hide from the heat. We'd managed to conserve our nicorettes throughout our trip to Ecuador but were down to one a day and things were getting pretty desperate. You can't buy nicorettes in Ecuador. What (?) don't Ecuadorians want to quit smoking? (Aside: Not that many Ecuadorians appear to be smokers. We were quite surprised.)

On our way back to the airport, we were a bit confused as to which bus we should take and Brian commented what a relief it was that we didn't have to struggle with Spanish to get directions. We asked
a lady if we were at the right bus stop and she said, "Lo siento, no hablo inglese". Turns out she only spoke Spanish.

We had a lovely time at the bus stop, picking caterpillars off each other. They were falling from the trees by the dozens.

On the bus back, we tried desperately to take a picture of a Texas flag so that we could "prove" we'd been in Houston. One of the fellows on the bus even took the camera from us and tried as well. This is the best we could do.