Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Brookfield Zoo [Chicago Zoological Society]:

Kelly, Jo, Craig, Latone and I went with the Indianapolis Zoo volunteers on a bus trip to the Brookfield Zoo [Chicago].  It was a great trip and the Brookfield Zoo is pretty cool. I would have to say I think the Indianapolis Zoo has it beat in many ways but Brookfield has some pretty cool attributes such as the way the Primate exhibits are laid out and it is a much more spacious zoo. One of the coolest things were the bathrooms.   ???   They had full functioning mini-toilettes for tots!  It was totally cuuute.  Its a wonder I didn’t get arrested for taking pictures in there.

I’ve got everyones pictures, except maybe Craig’s.


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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On German Church Road [south of Pendleton Pike]

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This is one of the prettiest and well kept ponds I’ve ever seen.  Of course its maintained by a professional groundskeeper and since there are probably comparable ones at other golf courses it nonetheless is constantly well kept and very beautiful.  Its located on the edge of the golf course and is easily seen from the road, but as tempting as it may be to walk around and sit in the gazebo I took these pictures standing next to the “No Trespassing” sign. What a butthead thing to do!

Reminds me of my ‘anti-establishment’ days and the song ‘Signs” from the 70’s:

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For your further enjoyment…

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Brown County State Park:

Went to Brown County State Park for a Hike with the Indianapolis Hiking Club but they had already departed by the time I arrived.  Did 2 miles on the Taylor Ridge Trail [In Brown County when they list it as ‘Rugged’ believe them. I did a mile out and then back. In that mile there was two climbs and a drop of 200 feet.  Followed that with a trip around Lake Ogle which was apx. another mile.

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Saw my first Hummingbird.  There were dozens of them but are very hard to photograph.  I plan to go back with a stool and tripod in the future.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I(L) U ?(C) ?(A) ?(S) O I ?(L) Stadium

 

A few months ago the Star ran an article about the disgraceful condition of the expensive signage on our new and expensive state-of-the-art football stadium.  These pictures were taken earlier this month and reflect that the problem, uh, embarrassment, is still uncorrected.

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The East side of the stadium

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The North side of the stadium

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The West side of the stadium

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The South side of the stadium

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Its so bad that even the street level signs are defective.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Giant Cross:

For years I've been passing this giant 'Cross' [198 feet high] alongside of I-70 around Effingham, Illinois everytime I go to St. Louis or SE Missouri. This Year [09] Troy and I stopped and took these pictures. The Cross has an information center, website www.crossusa.org and 10 stations [w/bench] displaying the Ten Commandments. 

 

 
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Indianapolis Zoo

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jamaica:

Thursday: Jamaica Mon!

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Kelly booked our day with ‘Phil Lafayette, Ocho Rios Tours’ which was to include The Dunn River Falls, White River Tubing and an optional lunch.  Phil was great. His knowledge of the islands history, flora and fauna was impressive.  He was entertaining, informative and industrious in his presentation.  He made sure we had a full day and we got more than our moneys worth.  At the Dunn's River Falls he got us very capable guides in ‘Big Daddy’ and Orville and at the White river the trio of guides led by Dwight  made sure we got the most out of our experience.

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“…the Dunn’s River Falls, one of Jamaica’s famous attractions. The Falls are comprised of 600 feet cascades, which flows over and through the rocky terrains, creating an ideal climbing environment with great panoramic views. Each day scores of people climb the falls wearing swimwear, aqua socks and taking along water cameras with the assistance of experience guides.”

Once again we were a small group [12] with plenty of attention from Phil and the guides as we enjoyed a beautiful day with some beautiful people.

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Climbing the falls was awesome, or as Phil taught us ‘Irie Mon’, 600 foot climb in clear mountain water was so much fun that by the time we got to the top we were having to much fun to be tired or aware of the chilly waters.

After the lunch stop at Scotchies, Phil drove us to the White River where he turned us over to three guides who would take us on our tubing experience down the beautiful river.  Led by Dwight who sang, danced and entertained us as we floated effortless down the sometimes swift, sometimes tranquil, always clear and shallow river.  At a rest stop we dived off a platform, swung from a rope swing, talked, sang, and relaxed to the sounds of the Jamaican beat before continuing down the river.

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After we dried off Phil took us thru the hills of Ocho Rios before dropping us off back at the shopping district, near the pier, where everyone had just enough time to wrap up some shopping before re-boarding our Ship.
Walking slow and talking fast, Mon.

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During the course of the day Phil gave us the options of stopping for lunch and/or shopping and managed to squeeze it into our itinerary.  The lunch stop was at a little local restaurant, Scotchies, off the beaten path where we had jerk pork, chicken, and a Festival Bread with a drink for a simple $6 each. Sitting in outside huts with that warm Jamaican breeze it was ‘Irie Mon’ *

* Irie Mon= Jamaican for ‘awesome man’

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Grand Cayman Island

Wednesday: Grand Cayman Island

The port in Georgetown is too shallow for our cruise ship which means we disembark by ‘tender’.  In other words we anchor offshore and board ‘shuttles’ to and from the dock throughout the day.

 

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The water is is so blue its unbelievable.  Our Itinerary for the day included Stingray City [Sandbar], Barrier Reef & Rum Point Beach.  Kelly booked our day with Native Way Watersports.

Our guide was Captain Chris and our boat was the ‘Trippin Out’, a 43 foot torres vessel.  There were only a couple, a family of 5 [from England], Kelly, me and Chris so we had plenty of room on the boat.  As you can see some of the other boats at the sandbar were packed, standing room only and didn’t have a enough guides to assist them in handling the rays.

Stingray Sandbar: The Stingray City Sandbar, located inside the Barrier Reef, is teeming with 30 to 40 Southern Atlantic stingrays. The only place in the world where you can enjoy the thrill of swimming with and feeding the ‘rays.

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When we first pulled up to the sandbar I was like a little kid, I had expected those little stingrays that we used to accidently hook when fishing at Uncle Rubin’s in Fort Meyers.  But these things were huge, 4 to 5 feet across and they were everywhere, gliding by individually and in pairs. As we were all climbing into the water, only waste deep in spite of how far away from shore we were, Chris jumped in and caught a stingray by hand for us to handle it, feed it, hold it, etc.  IT WAS AWSOME!

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After we had played with and fed the rays we cruised around over to the reef which was about a hundred yards away and snorkeled for about an hour.  We have visited ‘better’ reefs before but the smallness of our group made for a much more relaxed and un-crowded experience.

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After snorkeling we cruised over to the pier at Rays Rum Point shopped and ate lunch on the beach [included in j0432481our tour]. The beach was beautiful, the shopping was decent and the food good and they had hammocks.  Did I mention we ate there?

Some of in our group walked around, some took a nap on the ‘Trippin Out until it as time to go.  We had such complete run of the boat that it was no problem for some of us to lay out either napping or sunning.

We did some more shopping back at the ships dock and then returned to the boat, exhausted and happy.  Then to be safe we ate some more.  Love Grand Cayman.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Key West, Florida:

Monday: Key West

We got off the boat and walked the port area until it was time to meet for our white knuckle speed boat ride.

Crowded little streets in the bar/shopping district.  Kelly bought some sandals at a little shop [Kino Sandals] where 50 years ago a Cuban couple escaped Castro’s Cuba and started a little shop where they hand make leather sandals right there.  Supporting American made products!!!!  I got some shades for my glasses because the sunlight here is nearly blinding.  This place is wall to wall shops and booths, trolleys, tours, rent a this and rent a that.  Every house has been turned into a museum to something or another to the point that some don’t even seem to have a Florida connection.

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There’s this little island that visible from the pier where Oprah and other millionaires have a house.  I’ve seen this referred to as Tank Island, Sunset Island and Sunset Key. They aren't allowed boats and the only way to get to the island is by a specific ferry that stops running at 10pm and if they don’t make it their out of luck.  Why live on an island if you aren't allowed a boat?  Can’t figure out where their waste goes, water and electricity comes from?  The island is man made.

These three pictures are from the first 360 spin near the docks. We were still dry here but when we got out into open water we got soaked good!

The boat ride was wild, we got soaked!  Saw two sharks resting on the bottom.  The boat goes at full speed [about 50 mph] then makes a sharp turn while killing the motor which results in a 360 degree spin and the boat ends up going backward to a stop.  The boat also does fish tails and side way slides.  We were the only ones on the boat because everyone else booked through the cruise lines and went earlier, as usual by booking ourselves online previous to the cruise we got a better deal and more personal service.  Normally the ride is 30 minutes but we were out about 45-60 minutes.  The business is owned and operated by a Michigan family that migrated to Key West to open it a few years ago.
If your ever in Key West, it doesn’t matter if your on a cruise or not, the kids will love this.

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Kelly’s down at the crap table and I haven’t even come close at bingo. Tomorrow I’m trying the Slot Tournament.  Still haven’t stopped eating, got a sunburned nose and forearms and feet but not too bad.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Freedom: Carnival Cruise

We checked out of the hotel about 11 and onto the boat, uh ship, thereafter.  The line at the cruise terminal wasn’t too bad even though there were traffic jams all over from one ship to the next.  After we got on we got something to eat and haven’t stopped eating since then, food everywhere.
Its about 10pm now.  I struck out at bingo tonight and Kelly’s still at the crap table.  She looked like she had doubled up when I left the casino to watch the stage show in the theater.  Our cabin is really nice but its a long walk from the elevators, but we are right above the casino which is cool.  Gotta go, its time for my late night snack on the promenade deck…

952'long X 116'across
21max knots
1,150crew
2,974guest

There are buffets and grills everywhere as well as a sit down dinning room.  All are included in the cabin price. Also free 24 hour: Pizzeria, ice-cream and yogurt machines as well as tea and lemonade fountains.  Free room service is also included! In addition there are pay as you go restaurants and bars galore.

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Carnival Website

This boat is a huge as our first ship, Sovereign of the Seas, if not bigger. It has basketball and volley ball courts, putt-putt golf, a three story water slide and a giant screen TV that they show movies and concerts on at night, which is so cool watching outside in a deck chair with a warm sea breeze blowing over you next to the pool.  There are four pools and at least six Jacuzzis' on deck.

Tuesday: Full Day at Sea

First full day at sea as we sail from Key West southwest around the western coast of Cuba then south/southeast to the Grand Cayman Island.

Still discovering spots on the boat.  We ate in the dinning room last night.  Usually we don’t make the time since it so fancy and you have to wait for your food.
I ordered some cured salmon and tiger shrimp.  Both were good but I obviously didn’t know what cured salmon was.  Tiger shrimp is all right but I think I prefer your normally curly tailed shrimp.

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Today I ate, and then I ate some more.octoberfest
Still not winning at bingo, not even coming close.
Ate some more.
Nice breeze, not wind, but a breeze.  It just seems like no matter how strong the breeze may get its not wind, just nice.
I ate again.

Attended the adult comedian and the floorshow.  Kelly’s still playing craps and oh yeah, she's eating too

Friday: Second Full Day at Sea

Like our first full day at sea, and all our evenings, we filled our time with onboard activities, naps, walking, people watching, shows, swimming, the hot tubs, bingo, the casino, eating, shopping, twilight movies on the deck, and anything we wanted. Including an occasional nothing.

The day for Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, which has become a nationwide event, occurred during our cruise so the cruise line sponsored an onboard ‘On Deck For The Cure’ event.

Our Port Of Calls were:

Key West, Fl.
Grand Cayman
Jamaica

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Saturday: Ft. Lauderdale
2009 Cruise

We got into Ft. Lauderdale about eleven AM, checked into the hotel and walked around the area for a little.  We then caught city busses and made our way to the beach where we caught the Jungle Queen for a three hour tour [no professor or Mary Ann, just Kelly Ann].  The river boat took us up the New River past million dollar mansions and million dollar boats.  We saw Al Pacino, Hyzengar, Nick Saban, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore’s and David Sterns mansion, also the Vanderbilt mansion.  David Sterns mansion and boat cost over $50 million dollars!  I don’t want to here anything from these people about excessive taxes or whining about troubled franchises when they waste fortunes on ‘second homes and boats that are idle and vacant for months out of the year!


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eatingspagettiThe riverboat dropped us off at an island for dinner, entertainment and animal exhibits.  The food was octoberfestgreat: the ribs and chicken just fell off the meat and the coleslaw was the best I every had [I need to get that recipe].  A huge Peacock got on top of one of the huts and was crowing all over the place.

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