Mas Espagnol

I’ve been listening to my Spanish CDs and have discovered I remember some basic vocabulary from 3 years of high school Spanish.

I can master “buenos dias”.

Although I’ll probably be hopeless actually putting together a sentence, I think I can understand some basic conversation.

Peppermint Patty has her Charlie and I have mine.

Now I must memorize some Latin music so I can have it ready for collaboration in an island setting.

I don’t do hip hop or rap so 3 traditional songs that come to mind are:

Guantanamera  (English translation here)


Guantanamera, guajira guantanamera
Guantanamera, guajira, guantanamera
Yo soy un hombre sincero, de donde crece la palma
Yo soy un hombre sincero, de donde crece la palma
Y antes de morir yo quiero cantar mis versos del alma
Cultivo una rosa blanca, en julio como en enero
Cultivo una rosa blanca, en julio como en enero
Para el amigo sincero, que me da su mano franca
[Estribillo] (2x)
Mi verso es de un verde claro, y de un carmín encendido
Mi verso es de un verde claro, y de un carmín encendido
Mi verso es un ciervo herido, que busca en el monte amparo
Quizás, Quizás, Quizás (English translation here)

Siempre que te pregunto

Que, cuándo, cómo y dónde
Tú siempre me respondes
Quizás, quizás, quizás
Y así pasan los días
Y yo, desesperando
Y tú, tú contestando
Quizás, quizás, quizás
Estás perdiendo el tiempo
Pensando, pensando
Por lo que más tú quieras
¿Hasta cuándo? ¿Hasta cuándo?
Y así pasan los días
Y yo, desesperando
Y tú, tú contestando
Quizás, quizás, quizás
Besame Mucho  (English translation here)
Besame mucho
Como si fuera ésta noche
La última vez
Besame, besame mucho
Que tengo miedo a perderte
Perderte después
Quiero tenerte muy cerca
Mirarme en tus ojos
Verte junto a mi
Piensa que tal vez mañana
Yo ya estaré lejos,
Muy lejos de ti
Besame mucho
Como si fuera ésta noche
La última vez
Besame, besame mucho
Que tengo miedo a perderte
Perderte después
This little project should keep me busy even though I tend to learn music and lyrics quickly. Charlie can probably play these three tunes by ear even though a Latin beat sometimes eludes him.  That’s why we’re going to study.
Any more song suggestions?

3 Weeks of Spanish

I’m planning to brush up on my never-was-very-good Spanish this month.

We were lent a Spanish lesson system.

I’m not sure how the first ten days of the month got away from me but I have 3 CDs to listen to and plan to complete one per week.

Ready for the car CD player.

Charlie is planning to learn a few phrases, too. We’ll see.

Any advice?

Warming Plans

It’s been cold and snowy for the past week which has put me in the mood to make plans for some warm getaways.

A small fishing village on an island in the Chesapeake Bay.

I have laid out some travel goals on my list of 101 in 1001 days which I am firming up with reservations and accommodations. We’ve arranged 2 separate trips, one in February and one in July.

A colorful Ferragamo scarf.

The destination for both trips is an island, one in the Caribbean and one in the Chesapeake Bay.

We plan a horseback ride in the Caribbean to visit a plantation.

I have searched AirBnB for casas particulares and an island retreat at the edge of the water.

We expect to attend an old-fashioned camp meeting in July.

While I can’t talk about the details of either trip just yet I will say that Charlie and I are very excited to travel to places we have never been before. There are some hints in the photos.

Where on earth would you like to visit?

The Benefit of Carrying Postage Stamps

While we were at the Statue of Liberty we bought some postcards.

We bought a number of the same postcard.

We sprang for the cheapest ones they sell — 35 cents each.

Liberty Island has its own postmark.

I was carrying postcard postage with me which is now 34 cents per card. (At least I thought I was carrying postcard postage — actually I think I put on an “additional ounce” stamp which might explain the delay in delivery.)

The areas bordered with red are in the Liberty Island zip code: 10004.

Anyway when the card was delivered to our house it had been postmarked with the Liberty Island seal and zip code.

I’m glad we took the time to send cards.

Now that’s a souvenir.

In 2003 I received a postcard from the South Pole.

Other places in the world which have very limited postal service (and for which I have postmarked cards) are:

  • Antarctica
  • United Nations (just a building in New York City)
  • Vatican

Have you received a letter from a far off place?

Visiting Tips for the Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a National Monument and as such is part of the National Park Service.

The Crown is open to visitors.

The ultimate attraction is visiting the Crown and looking out over New York Harbor.

Crown ticket has the name of the holder on it.

First, each household/credit card is only allowed to purchase no more than 4 tickets every six months.  And tickets are sold out months in advance so if you have a specific time you’d like to visit make reservations early. (We bought ours in the middle of July when the first available date was the end of October.) I suggest that August in the Crown of Liberty might be extremely hot.

The sign pointing to the ticket booth at Liberty State Park in New Jersey.

Driving in from South of the Statue we caught the ferry from Liberty State Park in New Jersey which is much less crowded than catching it from the Battery in New York City. Don’t mix up parking at the Science Center with parking at Liberty Park. It’s NOT the same.

New York City skyline is in clear view.

After parking it’s a good walk to pick up Crown tickets at “will call”.  Each person whose name is on the receipt must be present with a photo ID. Each person will be given a ticket and a wristband which is cut from the wrist at the beginning of the assent into the body of the Statue of Liberty.

Lots of walking on bricks and cobbles.

Another walk down a cobblestone path leads to the first security screening before catching the ferry.  Much like airport security pockets must be emptied, jackets removed, belts removed, and steel-toed boots put through an x-ray scanner. Save time by carrying on your person only your tickets, money, ID, credit card, cell phone/camera.  Purses and backpacks are a real hindrance especially later.

The bow of the ferry heading toward the Statue.

The ferry carries over 500 people but is boarded quickly and often.  First stop is Ellis Island which we did not visit but does come as part of the cost of the ticket which actually pays for the ferry ride as there is no admission cost to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty.

Entrance to security station o Liberty Island.

Upon arrival at Liberty Island walk toward the American flag then turn right for the entrance to the Statue. There is another security screening here. Same procedure as before. The process is quick.  However all purses, bags, strollers, backpacks, etc. MUST be stashed in a locker. There was a slow line to get to the lockers which are $2 for 2 hours.  We bypassed this holdup because we had no extra baggage.

Spiral staircase

We took an elevator to the to the top of the pedestal (the foot of the statue). From there we walked 162 very tight steps to the crown. On the way up there are small platforms which allow stepping off the stairs momentarily to catch a breath and inspect the inside of the Statue’s structure.  In the Crown area we three (and two Park Rangers) took photos of the scenery and were assisted with photos by the rangers who also answered questions and generally gave us interesting information.

The original torch is displayed inside the pedestal.

Coming down the steps was uneventful but still a walk in a very restricted space.  After that we zoomed through the museum which is in the pedestal and only available to people with pedestal or crown tickets.

This shot would make a good postcard.

We ate at the café and bought a few postcards at the gift shop.  The postcard selection was not very good but we had brought stamps with us and wanted to post them from the island.

A view from the ferry.

Then we boarded the ferry for our return trip to the car. If you have any questions about our trip I’m happy to answer them.

Have you visited any National Monuments recently?

A Three-Hour Tour

No, we did not go out on the S.S. Minnow with the Captain and Gilligan.

The sign pointing to the ticket booth at Liberty State Park in New Jersey.

Three hours is the drive time from The Glade just south of Baltimore, Maryland to Liberty State Park in New Jersey.

A view of Liberty Island from the ferry.

Three months ago I arranged for tickets to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty and yesterday was our assigned time at 12 noon to enter the security screening facility so we could hop on a ferry to Liberty Island.

Looking up into the framework of the torch-bearing arm.

It was a glorious day.

The view of Manhattan from the Crown.

The view from the crown amazing.

How beautiful is Lady Liberty!

An entire day dedicated to liberty and friendship.

Do you have a favorite National Park or Monument?

Trip Planning for 2018

I was looking at my 101  in 1001 list and decided I’d better get busy planning some travel items.

Charlie, Sug, and I are planning a trip to the crown of the Statue of Liberty this October. Tickets must be purchased months in advance.

Basically this year is finished although we do have a couple of day trips planned to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and the Statue of Liberty.

I’d like to get to Cuba before things change too much. (Sug will be heading back to the Dominican Republic later in the year on a mission trip.)

The schedule I’m laying out for Charlie and me in 2018 is:

  • January/February — 5 or 6 days in Cuba
  • July/August — 2 or 3 days on Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay
  • September/October — 10 days in England

I don’t know if I’ll be able to pull off all of the planning for this travel but I’m certainly going to try.

Last year we went to 3 national parks including Grand Canyon.

We haven’t been out of the country since 2011 and I’m feeling more confident about international travel.

My passport was renewed in 2015. I’m ready for a trip.

First item on the agenda: Renew Charlie’s passport.

The photo tool on the State Department website is easy to use but has very specific requirements.

I started by taking his photo which didn’t turn out so we’ll have another session soon which Charlie will hopefully let me share. (I took my own passport photo.)

Where in the world would you like to go?