Thanksgiving 2008

For those that don’t follow Twitter ( here is how I spent Thanksgiving Day 2008 on Isla du Margarita in Venezuela.

1200 Pelican is thawing in the sink. Forgot to take it out last night. Time for some lunch.

1400 Pelican is still frozen. Who would have thought…it’s 32 C outside. Will start the stuffing.

1430 Damn, no bread crumbs. Will use chopped up arrapatas. Celey and fresh cashews will be nice.

1500 Bird stuffed, ready to go in the oven. Good thing I have a little oven in the kitchenette. Should only be a couple hours tip we’re eating.

1800 Three hours and the pelican is far from done. WTF?

1810 Turn up the heat a bit and have a lie down.

1920 Crap. Lots of smoke coming from my little oven.

1925 Fire alarm just went off in the hotel. Everyone out. I think I’m in trouble.

2000 I think I’ll have ice cream for supper. Happy Thanksgiving Canada.

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Indigenous Resistance Day

Things have slowed the last couple of days. The buoy that I came to assemble is finished. I’ll do some final checks and tests tomorrow, but there is not much left to do.

I’m still hopeful that the parts to fix the vandalized buoy will arrive ok Wednesday so I can catch my flight home early Saturday morning. What can go wrong?

While Canada celebrates Thankgiving and the US recognizes Columbus Day, things are slightly different here. It used to be called Race Day to commemorate the arrival of Columbus to this area. In fact, he discovered this island in 1496.

Several years ago, Hugo Chavez changed the name to Indigenous Resistance Day. In 2004, the year after American troops topple the statue of Sadam in Bagdhad, activists pulled down the status of Columbus in Caracas.

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Isla du Margarita

Porlamar – Day #1

We arrived at the airport at about 1000 and Bartolo was there to meet us. He took us to the local University where they have been doing their buoy assemblies. They have switch to here from Cumana because the Quiguarie has had crane problems and is not useable at the moment. Apparently the vessel here is smaller, but has more deck space.

We inspected the vandalized WatchKeeper buoy and I pointed out that there were some broken welds that needed repair if the buoy was to be used again.

We unpacked all the parts for the 3m buoy and inspected the damages dome to the old 3m buoy.

We installed the two tower sections ok the new hull. By 1430, we were ready to call it a day…having started at 0600.

Out for dinner to the food court at the mall. Big mall. Bad chicken burger.

Day #2

Breakfast in the hotel. Usual Venezuelan fare.

Back to the buoys and got the 3m up and running. It sounds like I might be here a couple of days longer as they want to get their smaller WatchKeeper buoy repaired while I’m here.

Will wire the current meter tomorrow.

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En Caracas

Left Victoria @ 0615 for the direct Toronto flight. There has been quite a bit of fog in Vancouver over the last little while, so it was better to cool my heels in Toronto waiting for the Caracas flight than worry about a tight connection.

So I spent the afternoon in the AC lounge at YYZ.

The flight left almost half an hour late, so it wasn’t looking good for getting a good night’s sleep on arrival. Had the upgrade on both legs and managed to catch an hour or so nap on each. Watched the second half of “Get Smart” that I missed out of Victoria.

Arrived in Caracas at 2340 local, but they couldn’t move the ramp. “Every one sit back down, please.” After midnight before we were collecting bags. Nemer had arranged for a taxi to take me to the hotel. He was waiting with a sign, so that was easy.

Got to his car – it wasn’t a taxi so much as a car service – and after we stopped to pay for the parking, the car wouldn’t move. It was an automatic, but it was acting like a standard with a slipping clutch. I got out and pushed it away from the booth as there where cars behind that couldn’t move past.

We found that if he shut off the motor and restarted, we could go for 20 or 30 seconds at a time. He got pretty good at shifting into neutral (while still moving), stopping and starting the engine then shifting into gear…for 20 seconds.

I don’t think this is a new problem for him.

The hotel wasn’t far from the airport and I was on bed by 0115 or so.

Up at 0530 for a 0600 pickup by Nemer, and we were back to the airport. Check in at the Domestic Terminal for a 0800 flight to Porlamar on the Island of Margarita.

Flight final took off at 0925.

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Great Weekend

I got to be surrogate dad for my cousin’s kids on the weekend.

He spends a lot of time away from and with 9 year old triplets (one with special needs) and a 18 month old, I was happy to help out however I could. Whether it was holding the baby while Athena shopped for paint or cutting out cardboard for school projects, I had a good time.

Friday night, Izzy had a soccer practise, so Mac and I played catch, Collin had a therapy session, and Teddy stayed with the Nanny. She’s teach him Thai. And he loves her cooking.

Saturday was a busy day. Two soccer games, more therapy and some report writting.

Sunday was much quieter. Two of the kids had book reports that needed cardboard covers. We also went shopping for paint for the living room and I wanted to load up on Airbourne. CVS makes their own brand, too. $2 cheaper.

It was a very early morning Monday. Didn’t sleep well and up at 0500. Taxi picked me up at 6 and had no trouble with traffic. Breezed through checkin and Security. Could have slept for another half hour at least.

Long day…stopped in Toronto for 6 hours for meetings and finally got home after 10pm PDT.

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