26 January 2012 @ 12:19 am
Well, I'm home, and I'm finally starting to feel recovered from my trip. LOL We had a lot more relaxing time while we were on Tobago, but then we had a 20-hour day of traveling home, flying from Piarco (Port of Spain) to Miami-Dade, seven hour layover at Miami with a last-minute gate change, Miami-Dade to Chicago-O'Hare, then to Indy. We got up around 4:30 to get Piarco in time for check-in and some duty-free shopping (hurrah, two bottles of rum for less than the price of a single bottle in the US). At Miami we had plenty of time to go through a painless passport processing and customs, though it was fun trying to repack one of our checked bags to hold two bottles of rum and one bottle of rum punch. LOL But we did it, and then had plenty of time to kill at Miami. We arrived early in Chicago, so we had about two hours to kill there before our flight to Indy. Thank God Dad was waiting at the gate for us when we got home. I think I would have cried if I'd had to drive home at the end of that day of traveling!

The day after we got home, we were hit with about 3 inches of snow. Bleh. Then over the weekend we had thunderstorms and yesterday it was almost 50. Today we had sleet and snow and then sleet again. No kidding. Seriously, I miss the Caribbean. I've got to find a way to vacation in Tobago more often. In the meantime I've been listening to a lot of soca music and trying to make myself believe it's not bloody cold outside.

By the way, anyone know how to repair a piece of bamboo? I brought home a bamboo pencil holder with a hummingbird and the word Tobago carved on it. Gorgeous little thing, but it spontaneously cracked all the way from top to bottom. I imagine because it's ridiculously humid in Tobago and ridiculously dry in Indiana. :( I just wish it had split down the empty portion, instead of right through the middle of the hummingbird. :(

I haven't heard back from the university. Since they wanted to do second interviews during the two days after I returned from Tobago, and start the new hire this week, I am assuming that means I didn't get picked. I'm not heart-broken over it. Secretary III isn't the best-paying position in the world there, and I've applied for a lot of other clerical positions there. I've also applied repeatedly for Writer-Editor positions, and it's annoying me that I am consistently being passed over for those. How many technical writers can there be in north central Indiana who want to work at the university? And why won't the university give the creative writer a shot? *pouts*

The kitties were pleased to see me return home. Eowyn is, if possible, snugglier than ever. She is also, if possible, fatter than ever. It's not that I object to her being a bit plump, but she is positively obese. That can't be healthy. I'm thinking about scheduling her to see Dr. Jon and get his opinion. She gets quite a bit of exercise when I play with her, and she has never even tasted canned cat food, let alone people food. But I do believe Strider is the dominant cat, and I've seen Eowyn defer to him if he wants to eat at one of the food dishes first. I wonder if that makes her overeat when she does eat. I just hate to have to go to feeding times, since I've always just given my cats free access to the dry food dishes so they can eat when they are hungry. It's the most convenient thing for someone who (when employed) is usually away from the house 8-10 hours at a stretch. I suspect Strider has stayed so lean because he never sits still except when he's asleep. When awake, he's incredibly fidgety, and he's better at entertaining himself than Eowyn is. Anything sparkly and he will chase it, whereas she pretty much restricts herself to strings, which require a human at the other end. She makes an occasional foray into feathered toys, but more often than not, that means chewing on feathered hair clips or dream catchers, which displeases Mommy, for some reason. :P

Mom and I are still posting stuff from our trip over at our Tumblr. She is typing up her journal of the trip. I only wrote a journal for two bloody days, proving once again that I am a crap diarist. *sigh* I also haven't written a thing since we got back. I have a short story idea niggling in the back of my mind, but I haven't put anything down on paper but a couple of concepts.

I can't seem to find any recipes for roti that look like the roti we ate at Asa Wright. It makes me incredibly sad, because I thought it was delicious, especially with the split pea soup over it. I wanted to make some of that for the TNT party we're going to have to show our pictures and whatnot to the family. :/

In other news, since coming home, I've decided I adore the new Sherlock, which shocks me. I've also become addicted to Hart of Dixie, though I can't decide what couple to root for. So many love triangles! And I think I am caught up on Criminal Minds, but my computer's DVR crapped out on me while we were on vacation, so I am not sure. There was "Bittersweet Science", then "True Genius" while I was on vacation, and then tonight's "Unknown Subject", right?

Anyway, I think that's about it for now. Anything exciting happen in your world while I was gone?
15 January 2012 @ 08:32 am
We're sitting in our gate waiting to board our 20-minute flight to Tobago. We're on a 50-seat prop plane, which Mom is looking forward to since she's never flown on a prop. The Caribbean Airlines planes are very pretty with the lettering in purple and a flower and hummingbird on the tail.

Yesterday we had a guided hike at Asa Wright in the morning. Then we did some more hiking on our own. In the afternoon we had a different tour guide, Harry from Germany, pick us up and drive us through Arima and Tunapuna to the Pax Guesthouse. We had tea and finally got a closer look at the Orange-winged Parrots, which was exciting. We also saw a Yellow Oriole, which was another new bird.

Last night there was a night walk along the drive at Asa Wright. We saw several land crabs, a Great Antshrike, and TARANTULAS. OMG *shudders* and yet I was strangely fascinated.

This morning we're on our way to Speyside, Tobago, where I am really desperately hoping to be able to sit and relax on the beach. I know we have a waterfall and rain forest to visit, and a glass-bottom boat ride to Little Tobago Island, but I am in some desperate need of down time, and the beach sounds awesome. Especially since I am not a natural extrovert, so I've spent a lot of time feeling like I have to be up or on for all the people around us.

Looks like they're going to start boarding, so signing off for now. Keep good! :D
Our first full day in Trinidad. We got into Port of Spain just after midnight, following a long flight with lots of turbulence. We saw some amazing lightning pretty close. We were exhausted from all the travel, so we crashed at our hotel near the airport. This morning at 9, our guide Emille picked us up and we set out for Asa Wright.

The Americans built the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway back in WWII when we had an airbase here. So far it seems to be the last good road between Port of Spain and Asa Wright. The nature centre is located up in the mountains on a very narrow little road that is mostly paved and mostly potholed. There's a huge quarry in the mountainside, so the big trucks tear the road up. After a narrow and tortuous hour of riding, honking the horn while approaching every blind curve, we got to our destination.

Asa Wright Nature Centre is wonderful. It's a throwback to the colonial era, originally owned by a German but sold by him before it could be seized during WWI. The land was a cocoa plantation when Asa Wright and her husband bought it. They originally tried to keep the plantation running, but her husband died and Asa decided to turn it into a nature preserve. And she did a wonderful job.

The main house has a huge veranda were birds all but fly up and shake your hand. I've posted a lot of pictures at our trip Tumblr using my creaky netbook and the centre's creaky wireless. (I'm just grateful there's any internet at all!)

The cuisine here is heavily influenced by Indian cuisine, so the kitchen smells of curry. We had a lovely lunch that included pumpkin fritters, which OMG I have to learn how to make those. There was serve-yourself tea at 4 on the veranda, complimentary rum punch at 6 on the veranda, and dinner at 7. In between times, we hiked a couple of trails and spent a lot of time chatting with all the nature guides on the veranda.

Mom and I saw about 20 life-list birds today, including several species of hummingbird and the amazing and entertaining Crested Oropendula. We saw agoutis and some very large lizards, and I was horrified by one very large spider, fortunately far away from our cottage. A baby fer de lance was spotted by guides this afternoon, but we were nowhere near it.

I am just waiting for the internet to load all my stuff to Tumblr so I can crash. I am exhausted in the best way possible. :D