Monday, April 21, 2014

Treasure Hunting

One of my favorite activities is treasure hunting on the beach.  Sea glass and shells are plentiful and I never tire of collecting it.  I collected the items in this picture below in less than two hours this morning.  Notice the large piece of cobalt blue.  Cobalt is hard to find, even harder to find in large pieces, and harder still to find one that is nice and smooth.  Also, it's hard to see, but just above the large blue pice, there are three pieces of light pink and just above that to the right, some lavender purple.  To the left of the purple, there is a clear glass piece that looks like either a bottle stopper or maybe the remnants of a wine glass.  Not sure, but either way, I love it.  In the background, there are piles of shells.  I love to sort my treasure by color, size, or style and then fill clear jars for display.  

Besides sea glass and shells, I often find sea urchins, sea fans, sea sponges, old bullet casings, and broken pieces of pottery.

I also love when I find pieces of glass with wording on it.  It's not uncommon to find old Coca-Cola bottles with "CUBA" stamped on the bottom.  I have a cobalt blue piece that was an old Vick's Vapor rub jar, before they starting using plastic.  Notice the large chunk of dark brown in the foreground, it has "...LLA COMPANIA..." stamped on it.  Not sure what kind of a bottle that would be, but it's fascinating to me none the less.  To many, theis is just trash, but I view it as a small glimpse into history. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Rain, Rain, Come Our Way!

Rain is a rare commodity around these parts.  Yes, living closer to the equator automatically makes my mind think of lush rain forests, and while that may accurately describe other parts of Cuba, it isn't how Guantanamo Bay is.  Remember back to the weather science lessons in grade school about how when there is a mountain and the rain clouds come and the hit the mountain and all the rain dumps on one side and not the other?  Yup, that is pretty much what we are dealing with here.  GTMO is considered a semi-arrid region.  Not quite on par with a desert, but certainly not a tropical climate either.  

It can seem as though months will go by without a drop.  Everything turns brown, except for the gorgeous turquoise waters and the lush mangroves.  Rain is so uncommon that when it does, all the children scamper out to play in it and facebook explodes with posts like, "wow, it's raining!" or "thank goodness for the rain!"  

When it does rain though, plants and grasses suddenly turn green overnight and flowers blossom.  So do bugs.  Pesky little mosquitos and gnats seem to be reborn by the millions.  Thankfully the bugs don't last too long and return to manageable numbers fairly quickly.

***Tip for anyone who may be coming here***
We deal with mosquitos and gnats ( no-see-ums).  Standard bug sprays with deet works great for mosquitos, but not the no-see-ums.  For those bad boys, and they are bad, I've found that the absolute best repellent is Avon's Skin-So-Soft.  I buy large bottles each time I go back to the states and I try and share the wealth with newcomers to the island.  Bugs seem to feast on "new blood" and while I know that sounds silly, it is the honest-to-goodness truth.  Bring your Skin-So-Soft!  I promise you will need it!