Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fajitas, Farewell Fiestas, and Physical Fun

Well, hello everyone! Greetings from sunny, warm and windy El Yaque! We certainly have been busy here at Casa Nora the past few weeks, saying goodbye to some new friends, and greeting our new arrivals. It seems that we have a new tradition here - a farewell dinner the night before any of our guests have to return home.
Casa Nora at dusk. Photo by Aldis Bremze

Al, Ilona, Simo, Sini, Adrian, Alison, Nora and Christian

So, this was a farewell fiesta which featured fajitas for our friends from far off places, namely Alison and Adrian from the UK. Some of you may recognize these two from my previous blog.

Big Al and Simo are toasting Aldis' bbq'ing efforts.

Enough of the farewell fiestas and fajitas, and time for some physical fun. Big Al has had a great season this year with his guided mountain biking tours. While we do not yet have a Killer Mountain Champion for this year, it certainly was not for the lack of trying.

Michele and Regi slogging through some muddy terrain.

Karl, Regi, Fritz and Al - after the Killer Mountain Challenge.
These are our Swiss biking enthusiasts - Karl, Regi and Fritz. These guys were great....very enthusiastic, in great shape, and very determined. I think Regi is probably training somewhere in the Swiss mountains right now......!

Karl - on the other hand - is an enigma, inside a mystery, within a secret....... He claimed that he and his wife came to the island together, but while he was staying and windsurfing in El Yaque, his wife was enjoying herself on the other side of the island.......... What? What are these Swissies up to over there in Switzerland? He swore upside down and backwards that his wife was indeed, on the other side of the island. In fact, he stated, that she would be joining him for the last 2 days of 'their' vacation. Really....... The day before their departure, the Swissies came up to say goodbye, and lo and behold, Karl introduces us to a very beautiful woman, claiming that she was his wife. Interestingly, this vivacious woman claimed that she was an actress hired by Karl to play the part.......! I mean, we all know the Swissies to be very private, but this really is taking matters a little too far...... Either way, it was great hanging out with Regi, Karl and Fritz, and it was lovely meeting Karl's pretend wife/actress friend.

These guys deserve a second photo, as they worked really hard to summit that mountain.

These two girls from the UK also deserve a photo as they went out biking in the pouring rain. As many of our guests know, biking in the rain here is very hard, as the terrain turns into a heavy mud. Being concerned about them, I took the truck to effect a rescue. I came upon this motley crew about 5 km from home and offered them a ride home. With big grins on their faces, mud splattered everywhere, they all declined. And therefore to Sondra and her pal from the UK - Big Al looks forward to seeing you again next year to tackle that mountain!

Another fajita fiesta

Someone in the house had a craving for fajitas, (it was probably Lawrence) so we had a little fiesta. In this photo - Cathy (Lawrence's girl from New Zealand), Maryluz, and Michele (from Canada). While some of the girls prepared the toppings.........

Stefan, Big Al and Lawrence

.......some of the guys grilled the beef..........

.......while some of those same girls and guys got huggy........

.......and then those same girls got a little crazy.....!

After Stefan taste-tested the very spicy 'pico de gallo' sauce......

.....and the girls wrapped up their fajitas........

......while Lawrence relaxed between two beautiful women.......

......we all enjoyed a great meal.

Please meet Cathy and Lawrence - she's from New Zealand, he's from England. Jeez - Al and I truly thought we had it made in the shade - that is - until we met these two.

This is their office.

This office is moored somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea - it could be St. Tropez, it could be Portofino or it could be Cannes. They work very hard (he as First Mate - she as Chief Stewardess) some 3, possibly 4 months a year while the owners or their friends are on board, and the rest of the year they are responsible for maintaining this beautiful boat. Great salary - check. Room and board - included. Travel to exotic and luxurious locales - included. Time off - plenty. Taxes - none. These two win lifestyle of the year award - hands down.

This is Michele from Canada - originally from Edmonton, now residing in Newfoundland. She originally came for 8 days, but has extended her stay twice, and will now have been here for over a month. It looks like she's happy about her decision!

In between her very busy schedule of yoga, mountain biking, intensive Spanish classes and windsurfing, Michele has found the time to improve upon some of the systems here at Casa Nora - namely she created a sign up sheet for the pool. And when Chavez recently cancelled Valentine's Day, and we were all feeling a little blue, she made a Valentine's card for Casa Nora. And during our illegal and therefore secret Valentine's dinner, it was Michele's idea to re-christen the dinner a Chavista dinner, should we be busted by the authorities.

These guys are my 'Yoga Super Stars'.

These three worked very hard each morning, and perservered until they themselves could feel the progress that they were making. And some days, according to Lawrence, they were just knackered....

Up dog.....

....and Down Dog.....

This is Cathy demonstrating a very difficult balance move in 'Power Two'.

Michele has great form in her 'Down Dog'.

And Lawrence has mastered the upper push up position.......nothing is touching the floor except his toes and the palms of his hands. well as this very difficult abdominal pose.......

It's always great to have men join our yoga classes! Especially Lawrence, who I think, will now practise yoga consistently.

Way to go guys!

Farewell Fiesta for Lawrence and Cathy, and Bienvenidos fiesta for Dave (aka SuperDave)

Cathy, Lawrence, Nora, Al, Michele and Dave

At this fiesta we were saying goodbye to Cathy and Lawrence, and saying 'Bienvenidos' to Dave.

And before we could even serve the food, things started to go sideways.......


Very quickly, the farewell fiesta turned into a salsa dancing lesson and the food part of the fiesta, frankly, was forgotten.

Farewell to our friends from far away! Cath and Lawrence - we hope you visit again. If not, we will visit you on the boat, disguised as the carpet cleaning detail - as we discussed!

Up next: Wine tasting, and Canada Day