Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Wasting away in Puerto Vallarta-ville...

Just a shot of the Grand Mayan resort where we are staying, taken from our balcony.

We alternate between the beach, pool side and our balcony which has its own small private pool.  Somedays we dunk in all three water options in between eating, sleeping and reading.
The weather is perfect, not too hot or cold. I've gotten in a nice walk along the riverside that border the resort and a few saunters around the grounds with my regular camera. The textures and birds have caught my photographic interest more than landscape shots.  I'd love to photograph the tykes in the pools but of course refrain from doing so.  Happy children playing in sparking water is a source of endless smiles.  Makes me miss my own splash making grands.

Day nine here...all for now.
(Feel free to guess what that last photo is.)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Flying south for the winter

It is a bit of an exaggeration to say "We flew south for the winter."

 A truer statement: Exchange "because" for the "for" and mentally recognize "winter" is the mid January bleak time that I have declare unbearable in Utah.

"We flew south because of Utah's January winter."

The winter days of December, Februrary and March don't bother me for some reason. It is just January's winter that steals my joy.
We left our house before dawn, mindful of the frozen slick of our frosted driveway.
The flight to Puerto Vallarta,
with a connecting flight through LA, meant our flight was "international" and required getting to the airport nearly 3 hours ahead of departure. 

As usual I had bore down hard on cleaning my house the day before and then was "trip proud" all night: I couldn't sleep at all!  The extra early alarm was hardly needed.

The flight out of LA took us over Catalina Island.  I have only been there once in my life; I would go there again in a heartbeat!

Thirty years since that visit...and as I looked at the tiny island's bay and shoreline I wanted to ask our pilot to just dip down and land so I could stay there for winter.
But of course I didn't make such a request; the plane flew on and the scenery outside my window changed...
And changed again.
A ring formed around the sun...
Then the earth disappeared behind what could either be clouds or a snow bank.
A huge yellow purse appeared below, carved into the shoreline;  a ring and handle strap studding the otherwise featureless area.

(Actually my purse on my lap somehow reflected in the plane window and was caught within the image I was photographing outside the window.
Odd isn't it?)

Glad that purse moved off...
Bernie enjoyed a movie as we flew.  We both enjoyed flying first class, an unexpected upgrade that often happens to people who fly so often they make platinum level. Bernie's new position in his company rarely requires him to fly any more; we realized this may be our last time flying first class.
The first class extra leg room is most welcomed. Having a meal begin with a hot towel to wipe one's hand is nice and food served on china is pleasant but such perks are not strictly required for my own flight satisfaction.  
Just give me a window seat and enough room to sit comfortably and I am good to go.

And so our trip to Mexico began...

Monday, January 05, 2015

Feed the birds...

Everyone sing along now:
Feed the birds
Two bucks a pail.
Two bucks, two bucks two bucks a pail...
It was one of the days before Christmas, before the snow and the temperatures fell, when I was able to snag Luke and head out to the Tracey Aviary.
When I told him we were going to go feed the pelicans, he quickly upped the plans to include feeding the tigers too.
(He frequents our local zoo and likes seeing the tigers there but I am *pretty sure* he isn't getting to actually feed them.)
I didn't bother to correct his assumption, assuming that once he got to feeding the pelicans, the tiger feeding idea would be long forgotten.
The pelicans are fed daily and for three bucks (two with membership to the aviary) one may have an entire bucket of slimy fish to indulge one's desire to feed the birds oneself.

The pelicans are not "fly by" visiting birds.
They are wild life rescue birds, birds that have been hit by water craft or maimed in other ways that makes their ability to fly to feed very limited.
They happily now live year around in the aviary where their special needs can be met.

As soon as the keeper arrived with a huge red bucket the pelicans swam determinedly toward the bridge where they are regularly fed.
The keeper first fed the birds some vitamin packed fish to address their special needs.

Then it was time for us to dip into the bucket and start winging dead fish out to the birds.
Luke didn't even bat an eye about touching the icky fish.
Good man!

His throwing arm is not quite up to pitching fish so he settled on poking the fish through the fencing.

I enjoyed throwing the fish mostly because I liked seeing the pelicans balloon out their throats to net the thrown fish.
No worries if they missed a few.
There were other birds that would come along later to feed on the fish that sank.

After the fish bucket was emptied and the pelicans swam away, we cleaned up with hand wipes then took a short spin through the aviary grounds.
So  many birds to see.
I really wanted some of the pink flamingo feathers that were blowing around the flamingo enclosure.
So close and yet so far...
Maybe I will ask a keeper if I could have a few next time I go.

The thing with going to go see a something with a two years old:
You may be thinking it will be all about seeing one thing while the two year old finds something else far more fascinating.
A rare brilliantly feathered bird from an exotic location turns out to not be nearly as enthralling as the ordinary water flowing beneath a small bridge.
It is moments like that that this grandmother learns once again about the value of going with the flow.
Happy Grandson, Happy Grandma.
His smile is all that I really wanted to see there anyway.