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Archive for the ‘shopping’ Category

Edgehill Press has just released their new book, “Tamarindo; Crooked Times in Costa Rica – the author, yours truly.

If you intend to visit Costa Rica this is essential reading, a humorous account of the practices of two drug dealers and a lizard who start a company that offers Vespa tours to surfers in the town of Tamarindo.

See the book here…. Tamarindo; Crooked Times in Costa Rica

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Behave Yourself! – Rockwatching Blogging Protocal

 

scan0001, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Well, Rockwatching has been up and running for a number of years now (5 to be exact) and I believe it has contributed significantly to the interest of people like myself who like caving, rocks, the outdoors, gems and minerals in Ontario.

We are just a few short days from 2011 and I believe it’s high time we made some resolutions -all of us  (you my loyal fellow bloggers as well).

So in the interests of all involved a few ground rules to follow on Rockwatching from now on

1) Lets not carry a personal vendetta onto this site which is meant to be a forum where like minded enthusiasts can interact in a positive way.
2) Lets respect each other and try not to get personal when we are frustrated.
3) Lets respect the basics of conservation and eco-minded thought.
4) Lets not assume stuff we don’t know for sure (hence the survey at the bottom of the post).
5) Lets keep in mind that this is all about enjoyment.
6) Lets keep in mind that just because the topic is on the table, every single aspect that pertains to it is not an open book.
7) Lets respect people who are not on the site, private property, reputations etc. Just because there is discussion of a site or feature does not mean permission has been granted to go there.

8) Lets not get petty, self righteous or important. Stop correcting my grammar, spelling or use of terms. I am a writer at heart and so I believe I can use the language as I please (providing it’s in good taste, or if I choose, not in good taste).

9) Lets not waste my time by having to re-direct you to one of the above rules.

Happy and prosperous 2011 – Mick

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Maggie and the Ferrari

In case you are wondering where I’ve been for the last week it has been in the UK visiting Maggie’s relatives.

I took this picture in downtown London somewhere around Lester Square. Second hand a Ferrari is worth somewhere between $150,000 (Canadian) and $250,000. Over the last decade sales have risen from 4000 to 6500/year. I’d be scared to drive one – especially in London. Check out what they’re selling in Canada right now – used Ferraris. I think this particular Ferrari is of the 458 Italia Variety – top speed 325 km/hr.

It becomes increasingly apparent that there are two kinds of people in London – those that are incredibly rich and those that are struggling to survive. I suspect people stratify themselves in concentric rings outward from the city core, those with the largest disposable incomes live at the center of the city and then as you move outward a compromise between what you are willing to spend on lifestyle and what you are wanting to save or spend on others occurs. Some people, who are too young to have already made their fortune are obviously living on the earnings of someone else – how else could they live here?

As London was once the center of the British Empire I suspect that there is still a lot of residual cash that will likely last a couple more generations – each generation being less capable than the last. It is hunger that drives a person to be successful, not a lifestyle of ease, nightclubs, restaurants and cocktail parties.

Anyway, London was a fascinating place – more to follow (including the “cash crunch” as my next post. Who would ever have imagined that my VISA would not work over there?)

Bet the guy who owns this car (A Ferrari) never has a problem with his VISA.

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If the airport guy’s boss reads this you should fire him!

P1020295, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

You might wonder why I would choose to blog so desolate a picture – well in truth, it matched my mood this past Tuesday morning. I have been away for the past week on business in Dodge – Kansas. People at the airpot thought it quite funny that I did not specify Dodge – Kansas in my inquiries “Thares all sorrrts of Dodges” I was told.

It all began when my luggage did not come out on the carosel with everyone elses. I waited for around 20 minutes with several other mournfull passengers and then went to the North Western ticket counter. It took about 5 minutes before the rep choose to notice me and then when I explained my situation he said – go back and check, its probably there. I headed off full of optimism, but in glancing back I saw him dashing for the door – heading home. I knew I’d just been had. Obviously nothing had changed at the carousel and when I got back to the counter there was nobody there.

It took about half an hour before I managed to catch the attention of somebody who was coming from a door behind the counter and he said my luggage would likely be coming on another plane. The fellow recorded my details and off I went – said they would deliver it when it arrived (two and a half hours to Dodge? Thats a long way, but not uncommon)That night I phoned and they still had not found my luggage.

The following morning, still wearing the same stinking shirt I went for a walk at about 4 AM. I was feeling pretty downhearted, suspecting that I would likely have to re-equip myself at Wallmart. In our town (Guelph) I was a vocal opponent of that establishment – now here I was in Kansas having to eat my words – its pretty well the only place I could find to shop in Dodge – maybe theres other places, but that was all I knew about. Fortunately my boss was very generous with his time and the Holiday Inn were fantastic in their efforts to help – they gave me a free razor and the lady at the counter offered to find me some jeans.

This picture was beside the railway tracks, it was kind of neat in a way, I was the only one that seemed to be up at that time, besides the cattle trucks storming down “Wyatt Erpp” the main road through Dodge. For a small town in the middle of absolutly nowhere it had an interesting kind of flavor – middle America, its quite different from where I come from – people are very hospitable but the scenery is pretty grim. Passed through a town on the way from Wichita that had been entirely obliterated by a1.6 kilometer wide tornado. It killed 9 people and the town was wiped off the map. Twisted trees everywhere, a stairway went up to nowhere and a smashed -up mobile home beside the road – thats it, thats Greensburgh.

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Witness my wife being pickpocketed – it makes an interesting picture.

P0000181, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

This post had appeared on my other site – thetravelnet – but as it was too much to keep up I will repost it here for its informative value – would be visitors to the Mercado Central in San Jose – BEWARE.

Every type of unusual item can be found in the “Mercado Central” – Peruvian ponchos, cheap yellow plastic rain coats, pig’s heads, cow’s feet, leather belts and wind chimes. Situated just to the edge of San Jose’s downtown core it is well worth a visit but – keep your wallet close – the pickpockets swarm as thick as flies.

Admittedly, we had been warned but feeling invincible with my money belt tucked across my belly (gave me the appearance of a really beefy beer drinker) we wandered in to the foray.

For reassurance I rubbed the secret stash from time to time and glumly followed Maggie around as she nosed into the various heaps of bric-a-brac looking for trinkets. At a vegetable stall she found tomatoes at half the price that you could buy them at the convenience store across from the Melia (our Hotel). Absent mindedly I stood some distance off wishing she would hurry – I am not a big one for shopping. Two young guys who were running the store had not noticed me and the smaller, sharper one called out quite loudly to the other – “Englise”, quite literally meaning a tourist but more practically implying, “stupid dope” or “easy mark”.

Maggie wanders around our home town with her backpack hanging open, no doubt losing things from time to time. It would appear that she had continued this habit here in the Mercado Central – a practice that was akin to slopping great heaping piles of fish guts into shark infested waters. We were immediately identified as a meal ticket. I could see a pouch on the back of Maggie’s day pack where the buckle was loose and a wad of untended postcards hung out as a signal to would-be pickpockets, “Easy pickings here”.

The smaller stall tender’s hand shot out at the pack with the speed of a viper strike – no luck, a better angle would be required, and he maneuvered around for a second attempt. Working in tandem the larger, more placid looking stall tender drew Maggie’s attention. He stood squarely in front of her mumbling something and she straining to understand what he was saying.

I was already moving in for a defensive block, Maggie was still oblivious. She bent over to look for ripe tomatoes. The two conspirators exchanged gleeful glances; they were by all appearances a well practiced team. Sudden shock as I pushed the predator away, the stall attendant immediately changed his demeanor back to dutiful sales man once discovered. They were by appearances only teenagers. I suppose they were just doing what was expected in a world of limited opportunity. No hard feelings on my part. The viper had melted back into the crowd and we bartered for tomatoes. Jeeeze this guy is not so bad, “Picture?” I asked. Compliantly he posed with Maggie just behind.

You might see by the picture that no sooner had I raised my camera than “the stealthy one” slid back for another attempt at Maggie’s pack (see his foot to the bottom right of the picture). Pretty brazen dont you think? We left so as not to tempt fate any further. Consider that while I am watching Maggie, who is watching me?

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