Two Beaches

A cruise stop in Sint Maarten led me to googling where to go. A 15 minute walk to Phillipsburg, a 30 minute $3 bus ride later, we were in Mullet Bay. The water was crystal blue, the sand soft and white. It had sprinkled a little in the morning, but it was soon gone.

We spent hours lounging in the sea while the baggage spent time lounging on our $15 loungers (2 of them) under the umbrella. (Note: someone paid $10 for the same set up, but that was because they were only staying 1 hour 45 minutes. )

The tours started coming in after 30 minutes of almost no one there. Catamaran, sailboat, water taxi, yacht… buses… but nonetheless, the water was clear, beautiful and warm. And the people we encountered (since I had to ask where we can take the bus to Mullet Bay) were quite nice on the Dutch side. We never made it to the French side.

However, 15 minutes away…(yes! We walked it!) is the famous Maho Beach. Here is what I saw under a grass shack lunch place…

There were bodies on every inch of sand. It was crowded and noisy. But if you like that, hey! This is your place.

We ate at Driftwood, that’s that grass hut shanty bar.

The wings were delicious. The iced tea was a cold Arizona tea. Couldn’t believe I drank it all! Needed the sugar, I suppose. The wings were bbq wings. They had just a tad bit of heat. It was enough for me. Thank God I didn’t order the spicy. Whew! We were sweating already from the heat. The wings made us sweat more.

We took a $4 per person ride back to the cruise ship terminal. Some didn’t want to pay the extra $2 so they got off at Front Street in Phillipsburg. They were in for a hot 20 to 30 minute walk. My darling SO was too tired. Yes!

Goal!

Last year, I was looking for battered and fried conch. SO wouldn’t let me get it last year. This year, stopped at Nassau and I went on my own to Sharkeez…

Also had some conch chowdah! Yum!

Of course, it came with the requisite frozen mango and rum treat! It ain’t the Bahamas if it ain’t got rum in it! Pretty pricey lunch for one… it’s a treat, okay?

Monoliths and Majesty

Travelling for hours after much bickering between my travel mate and I, through English fog and winter’s breathe… we were finally minutes away from the ultimate destination of our English sojourn. My heart pounded slightly faster as if it has longed for this moment. And as we stepped off the site shuttle and stepped on sacred ground, my heart fluttered more.

The first view of Stonehenge was imbued with a sense of reverential magic. In the stillness of the morning, the air vibrated with a sense of meaning.

There were many crows in the fields.

The sky was somewhat overcast. And yet, for a slight second, the sun shone, allowing me to capture this one picture.

It was all worth it. 3000 or so miles away from home, across oceans and countries… I came and saw and felt… a sense of coming home…

Opportune Moment

It was hot, that day we stopped in the jungle. The air was fetid, burgeoning with some unvoiced expectation. The sun was overbearing and the clouds uncooperative. The air swarmed with mosquitoes and other flying insects. It was noisy with the calls of jaguars and clay. Still we trudged through this and for one fleeting second, I was able to stand in awe. One second to capture this moment… As if there was only me and the world followed in my wake. Jaguars can wait, this could not.

Chichen Itza, you are indeed magnificent! The temple of Kukulcan. Believe me, there were plenty of people teeming around its expanse. But this was taken quite quickly. It turned out quite nice.

I brought home with me the spirit of the jaguar. And every so often, I let it roar just like I have heard in this magnificently haunted place. It is quite fun to scare the dogs with it. Hahaha!

Garden’s Fleeting Beauty

It’s stormy here in Northern Cali. The weather isn’t stable. The wind gusts sometimes, the rain falls sometimes, the sun shines sometimes. But the garden, weedy, in need of care, and sadly neglected has decided to send me love. 

Last year, I planted one rosette. This is now a small tree. Okay, very low bush thing. 

The English lavender sent out bloom spikes, not yet ready to harvest, though. 

Not sure what these are called, but I hope it keeps spreading to become a ground cover. I’ve been waiting years for it to spread. 

But the irises, these come up, year after year. This time, I managed to capture a photo that reminds almost of van Gogh’s painting. 

All too soon these guys will fade. And my garden will return to their derelict looking truth. I should spend more time in it. I really should. 

I should move these to the backyard. Soon. And the bamboo. Since they flowered, I’m unsure if they’ll come back to life soon. I hope so, I miss their stately grace. 

Yard long beans

My brother and his wife gave me a bundle of yard long beans from his garden. And, of course, that’s dinner tonight.

Cut the yard long beans or if there are no yard long beans, green beans will do as well. About the length of a finger is good. Remove the tips and the ends. Slice onions and garlic. Heat up oil in a pan on high heat. Throw in the onions and garlic and stir fry until fragrant. Then throw in the washed beans. Stir fry for about five minutes until beans are tender. Splash a dash of soy sauce and stir fry one more minute. Add a gauging pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Stir fry for another minute. Serve with rice!

Asian or Garlic Chives

Bought the Asian chive flower heads from the Asian store. And I was planning on cooking then with eggs. However, some shiitake mushrooms beckoned. And a stir fry was born. 

Stir fry a bit of pork in a hot pan with oil, garlic salt and black pepper. Then add a can of sliced bamboo mushrooms. Then add sliced fresh shiitake and the chives. Stir fry until shiitake is done. Add oyster sauce and crushed cayenne peppers. 

A little note. Shiitake, the fresh mushrooms, work better in stir fries whereas the dried ones work better in soups. Their consistency has changed, you see, once they are dried. Yes, you do have to soak them in water. 

Not only that, but shiitake has a distinct smell to them. Earthy, sort of nutty… It’s not like the button, enoki or oyster mushrooms. 

So, if you do not like the shiitake smell, substitute them for oyster mushrooms instead.

Delicious! Serve with a side of brown rice.