My life's to-do list
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Bodies In the sand…

Visit all the places mentioned in the Beach Boy’s “Kokomo” 4 of 8

Aruba

The latest trip found Kit, Duck and myself on two of the three ABC islands. Aruba and Curaçao. Curaçao will be getting its own post shortly since visiting it was a stand-alone item on the list. I’m actually having a hard time writing about Aruba, not for lack of trying or for not enjoying myself while I was on the island, It’s just, I’m not sure what to write about. The perfect weather? Iguanas stealing food? Swimming in the crystal clear waters? The egyptian cotton like sand? I guess I just wrote about it all.

One thing I could write about Aruba is how accessible the island and the culture is. Which in my opinion is a double edge sword for the people of Aruba and it’s culture. Let me explain.

When one is looking for a vacation destination that is completely non-commercialized, non-americanized or remote. Aruba is not your place. If however, if one seeks after a 5 hour flight to find the same McDonald’s next to the same Senor frogs across from one of a dozen well-known resorts, then yes, Aruba might be your place.

Don’t get me wrong I love a good ol’ sloppy Big mac and a yard stick filled with a tropical drink like any other American tourist… sometimes. I get disappointed when I see an American chain on island after island that we visit. On one hand, tourism being the major income on the island, appeasing the masses might sound like the smart thing to do. But, when does it become detrimental to the island’s culture? After the 2nd or 10th hotel chain?

Nonetheless, you can’t  discount how transparently blue the water is, or how incredibly soft the sand on the beaches feel, or how orange the sunset becomes and lets not forget how good the constant cooling winds are. You can’t take any of that from Aruba. No matter how many Senor Frogs get erected up instead of real local restaurants.

Enough of my preaching, here are some of the pictures. I only have 4 more places to visit before I can complete this list item. Regardless of my feelings towards commercialism, I am having a wonderful time completing this item.

Mr. Starfish hanging out at Eagle Beach.

Fun Fact: Aruba is a desert Island, with on average 16 inches of rain a year. Next time someone asks  if you would like to be stranded on a desert island, You should probably opt for a Tropical/Rainforest-y type island instead.

Trekking to one of the “beaches” on the remote North coast of Aruba.

The natural Pool.

Stacking rocks is a way of saying “We were here” without using graffiti.

No caption needed.

Defying gravity at the natural Bridge.

You can’t say “Life sucks”, when this is your view.

And if you forgot how the song goes, or you need a little inspiration as you sit at work…

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June 22, 2010   No Comments

My Top Five Most Favorite Places in the World…So far.

Number 5

Boston, Massachusetts

Since high school I have traveled to Boston almost once a year. Whenever I stepped off the Amtrak train onto the platform in Boston, my mood would instantly change. I am just happy whenever I go there or think about going into Boston. Maybe it’s the accents? Or, the Sam Adams brewery? The T? The Red Sox? I don’t know, possibly a combination of all those things. Whatever it is, Boston comes in as number 5 on my list.

Number 4

Bermuda

Holy Shit are Bermudians nice people! You would think being 2 hours from New York, that New Yorker attitudes would somehow rub off on the people of Bermuda, thankfully the attitudes and dispositions of Bermudians are worlds away from that of the people of NY. And Holy Shit the island is just gorgeous! Manicured everything! Even the waves were picture perfect. Landscape alone puts this place on the list. The prices keep it out of the top three,  but number four is just about right.

Number 3

Rincon, Puerto Rico

I have been to Puerto Rico countless times throughout my life. Mostly to visit family and whatnot. Up until last year I had never traveled to the west side of the Island. I am so glad I had waited until I was older and would be able to appreciate the beauty of the West coast. Rincon, is an amazing place. A place where time slows down enough for the simple pleasures of life catch up to you. Watching the sunset wading in the ocean, while small reef fish swim around your toes, it’s heavenly. And don’t get me started on the bread. Pan de agua (water bread) is proof that god loves Puerto Ricans.

Number 2

Reykjavík, Iceland

The top two spots where tough to decide. I knew from the start of writing this list Iceland would absolutely be in one of the top spots. This is a country that should be on everyone’s travel list. As long as you can get over the rotten egg smell that flows out of every water faucet. Looking through my Iphoto library, it was almost impossible deciding which pictures of Iceland to use for this post, the landscape was just so vast and awe-inspiring. It is very hard for me to express why Iceland and Reykjavík especially, is one of my top favorite places in the world, it’s not because of the food I can tell you that much. Nonetheless, just go there. Book your flight today (you shouldn’t go there right now, only because of a certain volcano eruption, but as soon as the scientist say it is safe, book it.) You won’t be disappointed. No fear the people of Iceland are nothing like they were depicted in the Mighty Ducks movie.

Number 1

Dublin County, Ireland

Intoxicating. The first word that comes to mind when I think of Dublin. The people, the Bacon and of course the beer all of it, just intoxicating. Being one of the most expensive cities in the world does not keep it from being my favorite place in the world… so far. If the city life isn’t for you, you can simply hop on a train or bus leaving the city centre and head for the country side or the beach. No matter where you head the charm of Ireland will be there. Sitting in a real Irish pub drinking a pint of Smithwicks or Guinness just seals the deal for me. Ireland gets top spot.

Where in the world would you consider your favorite? Leave your answer in the comments.

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April 27, 2010   2 Comments

Danny "Che" Rivera presents The Scooter Diaries

This isn’t a tale of heroic feats, It’s about two lives running parallel for a while. The plan, 22 miles in two days. The goal, to explore an island country they had only known from the internet. The method, improvisation. The further they went, the further their world changed, or maybe it was them who had changed.

Not really, but riding a scooter is a shit-load of fun! This item appears on my list as “Ride a Vespa.” Even though the scooter we rented was not in fact a Vespa, it still counts. I felt it was more important to just ride a scooter then to actually ride a certain brand of scooter.

This item actually took a lot for me to do it. The back story. My mother has always been very against anyone in my family riding a motorcycle, since her brother died from an accident when he was 17. And she made sure that she in grained her fear of two-wheeled transportation in my head that up until I was 24 I had never even sat on a motorcycle, nevermind ride one. So, when I was writing items down for my list, over coming this irrational fear of bikes was something I had to do. Only problem is, I still feel that full fledge motorcycles are dangerous as hell. And I do not posses the hand-eye coördination to successfully ride one. I set myself a more obtainable goal, Ride a Scooter. Obviously there are huge differences between the two but still the original intent was to set out on a motorized bike and not kill myself.

Well thanks to Bermuda’s policy to not allow tourist to rent automobiles, a scooter is the most sensible way to see the entire island on your own. The original plan was for Kit and myself to each have our own scooter, since I didn’t trust my newly acquired skills of scooter handler to place Kit’s life on it. Kit tried out her own scooter but quickly realized she had absolutely no interest in driving one from one end of the island to the other. I thought she did well driving one, but her brain kept getting in her way telling her that she is going to die making a turn. Double scooter for us.

We set out after our quick parking lot lesson towards Dockyard. Which is on the south side of the country about 40 minutes away form where we were. The ride was beautiful. The scenery was gorgeous and the roads themselves were very well-maintained. Everything was going swimmingly, until (cause there always needs to be an until or a but) the first droplet of rain hit my rented helmet. I don’t know how well versed my readers are with Bermudian weather, but generally speaking when you feel one drop of rain there is surely more, much more to follow.

With Kit cursing my name in my ear, we pulled into a small supermarket and tried to keep semi-dry as the storm unleashed it’s waterfall like downpour. After buying a roll of paper towels, we continued on our way now with only a slight drizzle soaking us. One of my favorite quotes is from travel writer Paul Theroux, “An adventure is never fun, while it’s happening.” It fit way too well.

The rest of the trip went by without incident, aside from the few shaky left turns and a near disastrous run in with a rouge rooster.

The ride north to the town of St. George is a very pretty ride. The road winds just enough to be fun, and feeling the crisp wind in your face is a pleasure on a sunny day. I highly recommend renting scooters in Bermuda, just remember, KEEP LEFT!

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February 7, 2010   1 Comment