Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back to the H's of St. Maarten

We packed up our 10 bag limit (thanks Air France) and moved across the Atlantic. One thing I've learned is that life with the Wild Wrights is really wild!!!. We're happy to be back and we're busting to get a look at Odessa... she's been alone in a dusty yard, with her long slender keel un-ceremonially stuffed in a hole in the ground... memories of "The pit of despair"come flooding back!

Our first day back and Earl the first major hurricane of the season is on it's way. That is the first hurdle, no time to lose, we have to get the boat tied down and secure for the storm. It is nice to be back in paradise.

The second hurdle is the heat that makes you sweat like a personal monsoon. We're learning to live with out air conditioning. Many times we jump in the water to cool off. You'll not believe it, but you do get use to not having A/C, and when you walk into a supermarket it's like a dream... something special besides the food.

So you live with the hurricanes and heat in the tropics during the summer... but the nice thing is that it's quiet and only the locals are milling around, and you feel like one of the family. The other great thing about this time of year for cruisers, is that you can get work done, negotiate prices and are left in peace to skulk around looking for deals on winches, water-makers and pretty much anything while the tourists are gone and local worries about the next tourist season float around the bars.



The clouds move in and Odessa is strapped down as best she can be... only time and windspeed will make a difference now.



Looks ready for big winds with her mast down, but it's the other boats and loose equipment that makes us worry the most.



Simon is prepared. He is keeping and eye on the storm and with a VHF radio at his side... this will be the only form of communication when the power goes out, cable and internet go down and the cell service disappears. A bit tip for cruisers, always keep a handheld VHF to hand, in a plastic bag with spare batteries... it could be a life saver one day.


At this point the eye is just coming over us.


Odessa is in there some where. It doesn't look like much but the 100mph wind is bending the trees the wrong way. We've been through 7 hurricanes now and I must admit, even though Florida handles them extremely well, the islands handle it better.

Earl was only a cat 2 storm and even though the island lost a few smaller boats, it was easy to deal with... easier than the cat 2's we've experienced in Florida... luckily for us, these storms have all been fast movers with discomfort for a few hours... I can't imagine having to endure it for days, that would be a whole other story.

The big takeaway is that anywhere in the world, "people are people" and the tougher the circumstances, the tougher peoples resolve becomes. Getting wet and muddy helping those in need pays back ten fold one way or another.

Time to leave France

After three months of fascinating French culture, wine and food, we're heading back to the only real home we know.
Odessa... Our 65 foot sail boat.

After spending 6 months on Odessa I began to think it was a close-packed life and tough at times.  I think anyone would get a little discouraged now and then, if they had to shower with a garden hose in their back yard everyday.

But here is the thing. After three months of city life even in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, we all really miss life on Odessa. The sun rise alarm clock, the solitude and silence of a relaxed atmosphere, God's natural wonders all around us, and even showering with a hose is something special with the warm Caribbean sun on your back.


This last night was magic

Devon, Simon, and I went to take pictures of the city at night. The Eiffel  Tower
was such a delight to see. The tower is a glow with warm streams of lights, then it sparkles with luminescent flashes at 10 and 11 pm. We had so much fun walking and seeing all the people out at midnight, picnicking on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower. Venders walked through the groups of picnickers selling wine and Champagne. You could hear those in the crowed shout with excitement as the Champagne bottles popped. 


The sunset made the tower glimmer like gold.


From below peering up inside the heart of the tower.






Cool cars line the streets pimped out to transport tourist.

 

 The circus atmosphere is everywhere.





 Just Magical

Fun in the south of France

Took a break from the work load and went to visit some old friends, Rob and Kim.
We spent a week in a 500 year old cottage that was breath taking. You can see the history in the stones of the cottage, I wanted so much to hear the whispering voices of five generations of French family life in the thick walls. Our friends own this cottage and rent it out. Lucky for us one was available, the location is great and the price is right. We enjoyed everything the little village had to offer.  The fishing, biking, horse back riding, fabulous food and wine. This is a good place to see what France and her people are truly like.





The outside of the cottage


Simon and Izzy enjoy the peace and quite compared to Pairs



Allan even joins in.



Biking was an all day event. We rode from one small town to another.



Getting lost is part of the fun.

 

Fairy tales do come true. Izzy gets her wish.


Izzy and her horse for a day.




Saturday, September 11, 2010

Arts in France

We are really enjoying the different culture of this city. We have been visiting all of the sites and museums.

Art is every were in Pairs. From street art to opera singers and 6 string orchestras in the under ground.
The churches are filled with master pieces and this is all free. You will be so surprised to find out that children get free admissions in most museums. We loved that.....


Delivery vans are covered in cool graffiti, A modern form of art.

Fresco in a Catholic Church.

Stain glass art work in the ceiling of Catholic Church.

Street graffiti is left up on buildings because it too is art.

Street performers at the Sacred Heart Church.

Out side statue at the Sacred Heart Church.

From a huge mural in the  Le Pantalon

Out side the  Le Pantalon


A small portion of a extra large painting in the  Le Pantalon.

Napoleons tomb.

The Opera House.

I have about a hundred photos of the different eye catching art in Paris, but I just can not fit them all in. I think that the most impressive thing in Paris is the appreciation for art and how things look, even feel. New technology and architecture is gracefully integrated into the living spaces of this vibrant city.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

This is so Different

Being here opens up your eye to the colors and splendor of the world around. Even though we are in a big city. Spring is in full bloom. I have forgotten how magnificent it can be. The photos really do not show it's allure.