Saturday, November 19, 2005

Isla Mujeres after Wilma

Our little island in the sun was hit hard by Hurricane Wilma.
It is only ½ mile wide by 5 miles long and lies off the coast from Cancun approximately 20 mins by ferry.

Hundreds of tourists travel daily from the mainland to Isla Mujeres, they are looking for the tranquil beaches of white sand, tropical waters in technical shades of blue and green, cold beer or fruit drinks spiked with tequila delivered to their lounge chair. Evenings they choose to dine at the many restaurants that serve some of the most delectable meals either traditional or native. Then may chose to sit in a favorite beach bar watching the sun set, or maybe a dance in the moonlight. They realize there is an excellent ferry service that will get them back and forth for a measly sum of 35 pesos / $3.50 US.

Many people chose to ride out the storm, they would endure countless hardships.
It would send all island regular tourists into a tailspin, what happen to their favorite accommodations, the friends, and their usual watering hole? They clamored for tidbits of information on Isla bulletin boards. The island was without power, water and basic necessities of life. Information was slow in coming there was little contact to the outside world, the ferries weren’t running.

It is unimaginable that this tiny island would recover, but recover they did; and in record time.
Most of the electricity has been restored, water has been restored and the ferries are once again transporting visitors and workers back and forth to the mainland. The island called Isla Mujeres has once again proven why it is so resilient. These fine people know how to work together to get mammoth jobs complete. The original estimates where approximately 6 to 8 months but they have done most of it in just over 30 days.

What’s not to like about Isla, few places where you can feel safer and enjoy a vacation with total freedom of old world charm. The people are A-1 the best.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Importance of life

When is the time to give thanks for all that you have? I awaken some days with this thought in mind.

I have a wonderful family, a wife who is a best friend, daughter’s that are second to none and adorable, well mannered grandchildren. I am great friends with all my son-in-laws and have a long list of best friends. Some that goes back to my early school days and some from industry.

My wife and I work together and enjoy each others company; we like to do some traveling. Through our travels, we have met many very nice people and some have become good friends. I spend time on the computer and have made a few lasting friendships.

There is always plenty of food on the table and a warm roof over our heads. We have family get-togethers at Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays and anniversaries. What more in life do people need? Yes! I would say it is time to give thanks.

Thanks! to all the family and friends that make giving thanks possible.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Family Tree

A few years ago, I had a Family tree program loaded into my computer by a good friend. It will sort all your family and put them in the proper order, organize the family links, create charts and allow for special notes. You name it seems to have it all, a neat program.

Of course, I got busy and started typing in a few names and quickly realized I never knew much about the family. Both my parents had passed away and I never paid near enough attention to some of the stories they past on. I was going to leave this world one day and my kids wouldn’t know much about their roots.

From my parent’s death certificates, I had a little information to start with. My father was born in England and my mother from Virginia. I have kept in close contact with my Virginian relatives over the years, they are my life line, but I have no close relatives on my father’s side. This was going to be a difficult journey, to get information one needs to do some amount of detective work.

Some one said you can get all kinds of information by surfing the web. I soon found out there were hundreds out there with my same name; my searches were fruitless. I called upon my cousins in Virginia and they came through with flying colors and gave me a long list of family members and even birthdays and deaths. I paid a visit and got into City Hall records and found some more. I now had birth certificates, marriage dates, deaths and even some news paper clippings. Newspapers are a great source, most are archived and on micro film.

I was building a wonderful back ground on my mother’s side, but nothing on my father’s side. I knew he came to this country at the young age of 4 months or was it 4 years?
I knew my grandparents full name from a wedding clipping from a local paper archive.
I was at a stand still. Along comes a stranger, who really wasn’t a stranger but a friend whom I had met on a gardening forum. She lived in England and was heavily into genealogy. Before I knew it she had sent me birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, census records and maps of the areas that my grandparents and great grand parents lived. All original copies of such. She had done an amazing detective job and refused to accept any reimbursement. She is still actively trying to move the history back even farther.

As I said in an earlier Blog, there are some mighty fine people out there. There are some lowlife's also. I have been fortunate to have only made friends with the cream of the crop.
All my friends are the best.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Canadian Taxpayer

Looks more and more like we Canadians will be going to the polls to elect another Government.

Question is, do we re-elect the corrupt Liberals or go for the sell us down the river Conservatives and who in their right mind wants to elect a New Democrat government that will join forces with the crooks.

We as Canadians only elect liars and thieves and sit back and complain about what a terrible job they are doing. Do they ever keep their promises? Do they care?
How can we continue to allow politicians to mis-manage this great nation? Steal our money, mis-appropriate funds, lie about intentions and not give a hoot about the health of the people and the nation in general?

The problem with Canadian Politicians is they just don’t care what we want. Their focus is on what they want. Our whole system is based on a Monarchy. a dictatorship. They do not manage our country they mis-manage it. Regardless of what peoples needs are, they will mis-appropriate (steal) our funds in the name of tax dollars. We are so close to a communist state, they want all our hard earned money, at least 80% now goes in taxes of some type. The problem is that the money is then wasted or they steal it and have the audacity to say there is no money for worthwhile projects such as health care. $355 million recently has been identified at the Gomry Inquire into the Sponsership scandal.

There is no accountability for where the money goes. Who ever sees a balance sheet of what is spent and where it is spent? There is no company in the world that runs this way (Sorry, a few have been caught and sent to prison). When politicians steal, they have an inquiry. The inquiries are another huge cost to the taxpayer. There should be no inquiry; there should be a trial, which ultimately leads to jail time. It does for us if we steal. Where is the deterrent for political theft?

Canadians are nothing more that a flock of ostriches. Stick there heads some where dark and warm while continuing to be baffled with Bullshit.
When you get your pension, that measily sum, that is still taxed; think of some fat cat politician living it up on a pension that took approximately one term in office.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Great Canadian Rockies

The Great Canadian Rockies

I believe, there is no greater scenery on earth than the Canadian Rockies.
We flew from Ontario to Calgary, Alberta. My Buddy Dave was there at the airport waiting to drive us to his house. He and his wife Mary would be joining us on our vacation, a drive from their home in Calgary through the Rockies to Vancouver Island and back to their wilderness cabin in the Kootneys of British Columbia.

Calgary was cold when we left the following morning, snow was on the ground. By the time we reached Banff the snow was gone accept for snow capped peaks. What a magnificent place Banff is, but quite the tourist area and we were just passing through. On to Lake Louise our next stop. There is a eye opening view of a huge ice glacier at the end of the lake. Make sure you have a camera when travelling the Rockies.

First night we stayed at a Bed & Breakfast located just outside Salmon Arm. My first experience at lodging overnight in a B&B. The beautiful Log Cabin home made it a wonderful adventure and the breakfast prepared by the German lady was excellent.

You will want to make sure you keep gassed up when traveling through BC. Highways are excellent but sometimes it is miles between stops other than scenic lookouts. Every bend, every turn in the highway is a new breathe taking view.
When high in the mountains you will see towns below, they may take close to a hour to drive through. Wildlife sightings are common. Be extremely careful when leaving the vechicle to photograph. There seems to be no sound of approaching cars and they are usually travelling at a fair speed and no doubt taking in the sights. I had the scare of my life when Dave called out to warn me of a approaching vechicle, it was almost on top of me. I am sure the driver never seen me.

We stopped here many times during our travel to try our hand at stream fishing. A special place for me was just outside Grand Forks. Where I managed to catch a walleye in a stream and witness deer crossing the river. I had visions of buying a few acres for retirement. By buddy Dave was interested in property on Lake Christina . luckily he made a much better choice when buying in the Kootneys.
The biggest blight on the landscape is the logging. Whole mountain sides stripped of their trees, then the brush is burnt. Supposedly to promote new growth.. There are few giant trees left, But you will only find them on protected crown land. Trees so big that a car could easily park in them. But with so few of them left there is no longer safety by numbers. We witnesed a forest hit by high winds that toppled many of them.

Another highlight of our trip west was whale watching on the northern coast of Vancouver Island.
Vancouver Island is a trendy spot. Lots to see and do. We were disappointed in the rules and regulations regarding fishing. They have so many different fishing licenses that it costs too much to enjoy.

We motored back to the interior of BC and to Dave and Mary’s hideway. A beautiful cedar 3 bedroom cabin in the wilderness. All the comforts of home even hydro when the generator is fired up, otherwise it is cards by candle light or early to bed. The views are breathe taking when out in the boat. Surrounded with mountains some of them snow capped.
We past the days with boat rides and a shore picnics, hiking and mushroom hunting are what we did when not fishing.
Simple life but very effective.

We always have fond memories when we leave. Dave and Mary are such gracious hosts.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Mexico Travel - Isla Mujeres

I never wanted to travel to Mexico, I had heard all the stories about Montezuma’s revenge (the stomach disruption). Being a food lover and unable to resist trying new tastes, it just seemed the unlikely place to go.

We had traveled extensively to the Caribbean and were looking for new horizons, something quaint, but yet busy enough to not get bored.
I came across an Isla Mujeres travel board and a discussion forum on the Internet.
All the chitchat sounded like our kind of place and it definitely was.

Isla Mujeres - the island of women is located just off Cancun. A one time sleepy little fishing village, now alive with tourism. It is a 20-minute ferry ride to and from the island via the Puerto Juarez ferry landing.
They have a tremendous ferry service, with ferries leaving approximately every 20 mins. One way cost is $3.50 US per person. Many tourists from Cancun make the trip to enjoy a day on the island.

When landing on the island, there are plenty of wanting helpers to carry your bags to a taxi, or to your hotel if it is located near by. Usual charge is $1.00 per bag but you are free to pay any reasonable amount. The people of Isla are courteous and friendly.

When you come off the ferry dock there are three ways to go, to the left, right, or straight ahead. Turn left and follow the street to the very end (a short walk), you are at the popular north beach. Turn right and keep going you will leave the main business section and headed to the south end of the island approx. 5 miles (very scenic). Bus it or taxi both very cheap.
Travel straight ahead from the ferry dock and you are headed to the main downtown area. Two blocks down straight ahead is Hidalgo the center for shopping and exploring new restaurants. A strip - we frequent often, great dining experiences for people watchers. Walk 4 blocks and you have reached the Caribbean Sea.

Whether wandering the streets, the beaches, or the waterfront, never did we feel uncomfortable. The people are extremely friendly and helpful.
There is a loyal tourist base in Isla, once visited; it is almost impossible to not want to return.
Don’t expect to find Hi-Rise hotels and all-inclusive resorts. Avalon Hotel on the northerly tip being the exception. There are many reasonable accommodations and excellent restaurants to choose from. Every type of eating establishment exists, from a hole in the wall, to fine dining on a beach.

Our bookings have been with Mornings in Mexico run by a lovely lady who is extremely efficient at returning all communicates promptly. She could be a representative for the Allstate commercial, the one that says, "you are in good hands with Allstate". Honest, reliable and highly recommended.
There are a couple of other property rental agencies, Isla Beckons and Lost Oasis that are no doubt excellent also according to the chitchat of the Internet.

Best investment for our vacation was a map of Isla Mujeres, they have to be purchased before you leave home and worth every penny. Don’t leave home with out one. There is so much to see and do and the map is a great aid at finding the way around. They can be purchased on line by contacting Map Chick at .

There are many ways to get around the island. You can rent golf carts, scooters, bicyles, take the public transit for 30 cents or a taxi 1to 5 US. dollars, but most of it can easily been seen by hoofing it.

Sitting on a beach under a palm tree sipping a cold refreshment, lounging in a hammock reading a book, snorkeling in crystal clear waters, and dining under the stars, are tonics for the winter blues. Although, winter is not necessary to enjoy a trip to Isla Mujeres.
Isla Mujeres is the island of Isla-holics, those, who return year after year to their little corner of paradise and as many times a year as they can afford to get away.