Back To The Cold

And I thought we were done with Winter!

Anyhow: our flight back from Tampa [where we stayed with a friend after our Naples trip – and went to a hockey game] took a very long time. In fact, we were over six hours delayed due to bad weather. Funny thing, though: we were fine with it. We just hung out and had fun with each other. I love my wife.

And now, from the 70s/80s of sunny Florida, we’re back to the 30s of Northern Virginia.

Live From Naples

Today was a great day. We arrived in Naples, FL last night and discovered that we were fairly tired. All that planning Laura did seemed not too important today when we just sat on the beach. We did a little swimming in the Winter water, though. That was… uh… refreshing? I just about froze my butt off. I got used to it after a while, though, and the guys went out swimming with me, while Laura and the girls hung out on the beach in lounge chairs. We found a few live sand dollars [and set the free again, of course], but mostly we sat in our chairs chatted and read our various and sundry books and magazines. There’s nothing like some good relaxation among friends.

Tonight is the first of the evening events and we will be briefly attending [since they dont’ allow spouses] and then heading to a restaurant. This is much better so far than working!

Junkets Are Fun

In other news, my group at work is going “down south” to Florida next week for a Summit meeting – meaning our enitre practice gets pulled out of our projects and sent down to sunny Florida to spend two days inside a hotel and not out on the beach. We get to stare at the walls and PowerPoint presentations while our wives get to frolic in the ocean. Sounds like fun, eh? Luckilly, we get to go a day early to enjoy ourselves a little.

So, this Saturday at Oh-Dark-30, we get to board a plane. It’s been a while, but I think I remember how…

How’s that for non-computer news?

This Week In Seattle

This week, starting today, Laura and I are hanging out in Seattle with our friends Jeff & Amy. Now, begining Monday Jeff & I have a Microsoft technical training conference to attend, but we brought the wives to spend the weekend with. The girls go home on Monday morning… that’s when the fun ends… not really, but it will seem like it.

So, as we look out over the cloudy city today, we are trying to decide what to do and where to go. Tough choice, as everything is pretty cool here. I fully intend to take a lot of pictures, but who knows what circumstances will intervene.

Yet Another Mileage Run

This year will likely be my last year as a Continental Platinum member. However, I can still salvage Elite status by earning Silver. In order to do so, in addition to our trip home to Houston for vacation, I will be taking a day to make a run around the country.

Unlike last year’s run which took me to San Francisco, this year I will visit the Las Vegas airport as well as Newark and Houston. That was the cheapest flight. That will give me enough miles to be Silver for next year. I guess I have to give up Platinum [top tier] status, but the price of earning that is just way too high. Next year for work, I will be doing some travelling for training in the first three months, so I should earn a good chunk of qualifying miles then. Maybe I’ll even pay for a vacation flight… or not.

Beware The Peepers!

We are coming close to the end of our trip and are now worn out and exhausted. I need another vacation!

There is one downside of this island: it’s what we’ve come to know as “peepers”. There are strange creatures on this island we have heard but never seen – some say they are frogs, but they make a “peep”-ing noise only at night… all night. At first, it sounded like some kind of alarm – it was so regular and loud, but we began to hear some variation and asked about it. At first, they are interesting, but, soon, they are very annoying. You get used to them, I suppose.

At least there is nothing biting my ankles. There aren’t many mosquitos here on the island, although I have seen one… only one.

Happy Thanksgiving from Curaçao

Laura and I have “finished” our scheduled dives in our package, but I think I’ll be headed to the shore for another this morning. We were able to sleep a little later than ususal this morning and I’m feeling well-rested.

I’ve been having trouble with the camera [the Canon S80] working as I had intended. It has trouble focusing – or I have trouble getting it to stay in focus while drifing around underwater. We have a few pictures, but not as many as I would like. I realize now that if I intend to get serious about underwater photography, I will have to go with an underwater SLR housing and strobe kit – to the tune of many thousands of dollars. Maybe that will have to wait. The least that I’ll have to do to get things to where I want them is get a large external srobe for the S80. That will help things a little, but not too terribly much. I’ll just have to buy with “upgrade” capabilities in mind, so that if I get a housing for one of the digital SLRs, I can use the strobe on it and not have to buy a new one. Looks like I’ll be saving for a couple more years…

Bon Bini!

That’s the welcome phrase here in Curaçao. I have to say that this place is welcoming and friendly. We have been treated very well since our arrival here in both the airport and hotel. The car rental person was exceedingly friendly: she even escorted us to the car to make sure it met with our expectations. Upon arriving at our hotel, we were greeted by name by the guest services co-ordinator who before allowing us to check in, insisted on showing us two different available rooms for our choice. Now, some of this [well, let’s be honest – most] attention is due to the fact that I am a Diamond member of the Hilton Honors program. But I do have to say that nowhere else in all my travels have I been treated anywhere near this well.

We chose our room overlooking the inlet to Piscadera Bay and facing the setting sun. [I already have some sunset pictures.] That afternoon we spent checking out the grounds and setting up our dives for the week. The dive shop is on premesis, but you can’t charge your dives to your room [no Hilton points for me!] and they don’t take American Express.

We had dinner here at the hotel and it was an Italian buffet – and not like we get in America, but very authentic Italian food, with wonderful salads, pastas, and desserts. They even have a brewery on site, and since they were out of it tonight, I’ll be trying one tomorrow.

Being a Diamond member has it’s perks. We get either a free continental breakfast in the lounge or a coupon for a free full breakfast downstairs.

This place feels like a little Europe plopped down in the middle of the carribean. I like it very much.