Thursday, October 25, 2012

Post Hurricane Sandy

"It's only a Category 1 Hurricane" is something I will never say!

Hurricane Sandy unleashed her fury on Guantanamo Bay!  It was quite scary and unnerving.  I eagerly anticipated the end to the worst of it which lasted about 6 hours.  The whipping wind, sideways blowing rain and sections of flashing being torn off of our roof made for a sleepless night for most of us.  Our two teenagers, in typical teenage fashion, managed to sleep through the entire storm.  Not following suit, our little ones (and the dog), followed us around for most of the night and only managed to catch winks of sleep here and there.  The power went off around midnight so as the temperature increased in the house, the chances for sleep decreased.

"Should we really spend money on a generator?" is also something I will never say again!

As soon as the worst of the storm passed, Vic got the generator started up and plugged in a small a/c unit, some fans and the surround sound.  I was exceedingly grateful for Vic's purchase that I tried to convince him not to make.  The cool air was a welcome feeling after a long, sticky night.  And while our power was restored this morning around 10 a.m., the three hours that we had the generator running were wonderful.

As far as damage, our house and yard only had very minor damage.  Some flashing and gutters torn off, branches from trees blown down, and a few shingles blown off the roof.  The cover over the neighborhood playground is shredded to pieces.  During the last tropical storm, a small hole started, but Hurricane Sandy finished it off.  I'm sad about that since it provides such wonderful shade for the kids to play during the blazing hot days here.  I'm hopeful that it will be replaced soon but I wouldn't be surprised if it takes awhile.  After all, there are certainly much more pressing issues around base.

As far as damage to the whole base, I have seen a few pics that are very disturbing!  It looks like the marina sustained quite a bit of damage.  Many of the boats are up on the shore or on top of each other on the docks.  Also, I hear there is a good bit of damage to the dock at Ferry Landing.  But overall, it seems as though most of the homes sustained little damage and hopefully there were no people hurt.  If you would like to see some pics for yourself, go to Facebook, look for the page called, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and check out the album for yourself.

Hurricane Sandy has certainly added to our adventure here in GTMO, but I'm sure glad it is over!  I now am quite sure that each decision that we previously made while living in FL to evacuate from a hurricane was the right decision!

 This pic was actually taken long before the hurricane force winds arrived.  The worst part of it was a night time so I couldn't get any pictures during the storm.
 Sounds of this tearing off during the night was pretty scary!  There are several spots around our house and that look just like this.

Here is the shredded covering over the playground.  This made for a very sad Vincent! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

"Condition of Readiness 3 has been set by the commander of NAVSTA..."

We were greeted this morning with sirens blaring and the above announcement along with directions to get prepared for the impending storm.  Hurricane Sandy, indeed, has set her sights on Southeastern Cuba which is precisely where Guantanamo Bay is located.

 From the weather reports, it looks as though the center will pass just to the west of us tomorrow morning.  This means that we will be on the eastern side of the storm; not exactly the place to be!  Right now I think the winds are about 80 mph, so a Cat 1 storm.

Our house is entirely ready.  I cleaned up the yard, bought necessary supplies and situated the generator for easy access should we lose power.  Movies, candy, snacks and chips accompany the necessary supplies of flashlights, water and candles.  Vic should get out of work around 7pm and then Condition of Readiness 2 should happen sometime this evening meaning that we will be confined to quarters until the all clear is given.

Again, we are safe and have all the supplies and resources that we need.  Since our home is hurricane proof, we don't have to leave to go to a shelter and will ride out the storm in the comfort of our home.

I'll post again when it's all over.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Lyceum: GTMO's version of the movie theater

Here in Guantanamo Bay, we are able to go to the movies. The Lyceum is an outdoor movie theater: similar to a drive-in, but with seats.  We get new releases although sometimes it is a few weeks later than the states.  No big deal to me though since I don't even really keep up with what comes out and when.  On Friday night, we watched Franken Weenie and tonight we saw Hotel Transylvania.  

Even though we've been here nearly two months, this weekend was the first time that either Vic or I had gone to the movies.  Our kids have been a few times, but we've never ventured out.  I think the thought of an outdoor movie experience made us a bit leery at first.  Mosquitos and heat are not our two favorite things in the world!  Surprisingly, neither the heat nor the mosquitos bothered us at all this weekend!  In fact, it felt a tad (and tad might be a strong word) bit chilly when the wind blew.  On Friday, I made sure to apply my gtmo perfume, a.k.a Off, but tonight I didn't put any on at all and was just fine.

One of my favorite parts of the outdoor experience is being able to look up at the stars.  On Friday, we even watched a brilliant lightening storm in the distance.  I think I spent more of my time watching the storm than I did the movie.

But the best part is that the movie is free to all, the snacks are cheap and like everything else here, it is just plain easy.

  • No lines to purchase tickets
  • Free admission
  • $4 large popcorn
  • Plenty of seating
  • Bringing your own food and drink is perfectly acceptable (no alcohol though)
  • If the movie is no good (like Franken Weenie in my opinion), just watch the stars!
  • Leave the house 10 mins prior to showtime and get home 5 mins after the movie ends

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Customer Appreciation Weekend at the NEX

Each year, the NEX (Navy Exchange) hosts a customer appreciation weekend.  Filled with activities galore, this weekend has been lots of fun!

Activities included:

  • 5K Run 
  • Fishing Derby 
  • Just Dance competition on the PS3
  • Humvee pull competition
  • Bounce House for the kids
  • Concerts
  • Food 
  • Prizes
Special Guests included:
  • A Wounded Warrior
  • Three chefs from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
  • Kelly Bell Band
  • Sideswipe (a martial arts group)
The entire weekend is made possible by generous donations from sponsors such as Samsung, Sony, Apple, New Balance, and so many more.  I know I sound like a commercial here, but for the first time I realized what it really means when an event is made possible by sponsors.

Enjoy some pictures from our fun weekend.

 This is the group, Sideswipe.  They combine martial arts with gymnastics and
 it was very entertaining to watch their performance.  
 The three chefs from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  l to r Dimitri, Hodad and Johnny Brava
 The Kelly Bell Band.  This guys were fantastic!  Vic and I enjoyed every bit of
their concert.  They are scheduled to return at another time and we will  most
definitely be watching them again.  They played a mix of music including jazz, funk and blues.
Some of the delicious food that was prepared by the chefs.  So yum!