Friday, August 14, 2009

West Indies Cricket Mania

I was recently introduced to the exciting and unique game of cricket. Cricket, which most resembles American baseball, is fast, fun and confusing to beginners. A lot of head scratching is normal when first learning about this sport.

The rules (excuse me, they are called laws) are like none other I have seen and the terminology can be mind boggling. Some terms you might hear: Leg Before Wicket (LBW) which happens if the ball is bowled and it hits the batsman first without the bat hitting it, Maiden Over (you look it up), Spin Bowling and many others. Test matches are 5 day games that can go for up to 10 hours a day, can have 400 plus runs and still end in a tie. Shoot me, will ya.

Pitchers are called "bowlers" in cricket and they don't throw the ball, they "bowl" it. Americans would poke their eyes out in frustration but our international neighbors, love it. If you give it time, it grows on you.

This sport can be a "sticky wicket" but is well worth the time and effort. Oh, and they even take time out for tea. How cool is that? If you stick with the wicket watching, you will meet many interesting cricket fans along the way. I should know.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Do You Know How to Take a Walk?

Do you ever stop to think about how great it is to be able to walk from room to room, place to place and even, country to country? No, I'm not talking about a Forest Gump walk around the globe but the most, simplest of movement, just putting one foot in front of the other and moving. It is a privilege and the older you get, the more you appreciate the ability to be mobile. Along the way, you will encounter other walkers who throw up their hand to you in a greeting of solidarity. Here is a quote someone sent to me recently that reminded me how great it is to take a walk. Go and do it for yourself or with someone special. It is a beautiful thing to walk.

"Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

An Island With a View

I still have to pinch myself to believe that I have seen the real, live beauty of the Eastern Caribbean. It was as breathtaking as I imagined and something that even the best picture or card can't truly capture. This view of the Caribbean is from the back of Bird Rock Beach Hotel. The water felt great and I forgot about the buoyancy of salt water, making floating effortless. I even had a conch shell waiting for me at the water's edge on my first day. It was and still is, truly unforgettable.

Coconut Milk Caribbean Style

This guy means business. I am not sure he was thrilled with me taking his picture without coughing up some currency to buy his coconut milk. I had some serious sight seeing on my agenda so I couldn't partake of his concoction. He was artfully delicate with his machete as he precisely drilled a hole into each coconut so the milk could flow out. I don't know what else he mixed it with to make coconut milk but his customers looked happy. Next time, I hope I'm one of them.

Slightly Obscene but Never Mundane

There's nothing mundane about the Caribbean or Bird Rock Hotel, but Rocky's (thanks to Captain Crabby) Bar could border on the slightly obscene. Not the bar itself, which serves great food and drinks made just to order, but the decor. By that I mean the myriad range of silly, sometimes lewd and hilarious sayings posted on plaques suspended from every vantage point in the bar. I guess the purpose is to amuse unsuspecting customers while waiting for their next beer.

I read some of the plaques more than once and sometimes it took a second reading like the sign here for the message to sink in. Get my drift? .........

Rocky's Bar

There's no better feeling than having a friendly bar waiting for your return after a long, hard day of sight seeing. And, one in a scenic setting is even better. Sitting at Rocky's Bar you can look out into the cerulean blue water of the Caribbean and dream away. The serene beauty is a perfect backdrop to the laid-back atmosphere of Rocky's and the fun and zany crowd it seems to draw. The cast of characters is straight out of an Elmore Leonard novel - especially the California surfer dude who posed as the hotel's dive instructor. He calls himself Captain Crabby and most of what comes out of his tanned, creased mouth is not fit for publishing but darn funny. Diver Dude a.k.a. Captain Crabby is a mainstay at the bar and he always has a story to tell. It's not a bad way to end a long, hot day loafing around the Caribbean. All you have to do is lift your Carib to the sky and salute Captain Crabby and all that's sacred at Bird Rock.

The Flamboyant "Flame" Tree

The Flame tree or Flamboyant tree as it is known, in St. Kitts, is as magnificent as it looks. The bright red flowers are a sight to behold and I have seen nothing like it in my home state. These majestic trees dot the landscape of St. Kitts and are proof positive of a colorful, wonderful land that is still begging to be explored. In the background is a catholic church which, I am told, rocks out to the magical music of the Island King himself, Bob Marley. How could it get any better?