2011 in review

Happy New Year to all who enjoy this blog, are dedicated followers of Island Notes and think that World Kid just might have something worthwhile to say now and then. The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.  Please read on

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,000 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Iguanas Know No Logic

Island Notes 98

Iguanas can be found all over Bonaire.  These wild beasts are the rogues of the lizard world.  They walk with swagger.  They hang from trees with arrogance.  They stare at me with an “up yours” glint in their unblinking eyes.  I actually like these ugly looking animals, but not in the same way that iguana fanatics like them.

I did a quick check on the Web and found a UK site called Iguana Answers, another by Henry Lizard Lover, and a third by an iguana with his own Web page appropriately named Napoleon The Iguana’s Home Page.  A quick read of these sites informs me that iguanas are much more than common lizards.  They are reptiles of vast intelligence capable of coherent reasoning.  I’m not buying it.  Perhaps island iguanas were severed from the iguana inteligencia long ago.  Ours here seem quite basic.  I’m convinced iguanas know no logic.

But I’m not singling out Bonaire iguanas for their deficient reasoning powers.  It appears the lack of logic applies to other island residents as well.  Take for instance our new Thai restaurant.  The owners call it Blue Mekong, but it is painted in flaming flamingo pink.  They have since gone out of business—bad food and a lack of color coordination.

Or how about T.I.S., The Island Supplier.  This is a giant warehouse of a store where I buy Grolsch beer with its elaborate swing-top bottle known as a beugelfles in Dutch.  This is usually an expensive beer on island, but for some unknown reason, T.I.S. is charging an incredibly low $1.12 for a 45 cl. bottle these days.  A 33 cl. can of Heineken will cost you $1.35 here, so this is a real deal.  But every time I buy the beer, I’m charged a different price. Twice I paid only 64 cents a bottle.  Today it was 91 cents.  I’ve never paid more than the advertised $1.12.  The price of Grolsch at T.I.S. fluctuates more than the Chicago commodities market.  Go figure.

Need more illogical endeavors?  How about boat registration?  Every six months I have to go down to the harbormaster at Kralendijk harbor and renew my sailboat’s registration.  It doesn’t cost anything.  The harbormaster writes down the same information that he did six months ago.  The only thing that changes is the new duplicate form he uses. Signatures are made.  Official stamps are thumped repeatedly on both copies.  The harbormaster bids me farewell with a reminder to return in another half year and do the same thing.  And so it goes.

But boat registration has suddenly become more complicated since the Dutch have a greater role in island operations, starting last year.  I’ve been told that new rules are now in place for sailors to pay for the right to have a boat.  This is too much.  It is not the down way of life island. Where has all the love gone?  I head to Washikemba, one of my favorite remote beaches, to contemplate these irrational behaviors of man and beast.  I am sitting shoreside on a washed-up log, Grolsch beer in hand.  This frosty bottle had the unbelievably low TIS price of only 84 cents.  While I take a swig of the ice-cold amber fluid, I spot an electric green iguana out of the corner of my eye.  The day is hot.  The sun is directly overhead.  The lizard looks at the iced Grolsch and then directly back at me.  This time there is no “up yours” stare, but rather one of sympathetic request.  The beast is begging.  The lizard then licks his lips with its black, serpent-like tongue.  Damn.  Perhaps iguanas do know logic.  I pour a tad of the cold brew into a conch shell, turn my back to the scaley one, and leave immediately.  I want to keep the lizard mystique alive.  Some things are best left unknown.  Plus, that way I can continue my mantra, iguanas know no logic.

When The Night Was Young

Island Notes 97

Mister Robbie Robertson sings…

We had dreams, when the night was young.

We were believers, when the night was young.

We could change the world, stop the war, never seen nothin’ like this before.

That was back, when the night was young.

I listen to his whispered words of recollections, a time when we were both coming of age. It seems so long ago, especially as I look down on my sixty-something frame.  The warm sunset drenches my tanned, scarred legs, mementos of a life well lived, moments before the solar ball has its red splash of momentary glory.  And I sip 18-year old Flor de Caña over a glacier of ice in a glass.  The Nicaraguan rum slowly dissolves the ache in my arms after a long afternoon of pulling on the mainsheet, striving to keep my sailboat upright in blustery 18-knot winds.  I then slide back into a chroma-tropical Adirondack to ponder when the night was young.

Smells of memories are not as fresh as before.  Details evade old stories.  Visions, once crystal and Technicolor clear, are faded around the edges.  I can no longer track how many super bands Jeff Beck played with back in the day, and that lack of old rock factoids doesn’t bother me.  I have unrealistic regret that I didn’t change the world more when I was young, but I eventually tired of constantly pushing against the mountain.  I retreated to the high New Mexico desert back then and partook in small skirmishes.

But it was a good run.  Robertson sings about driving Highway 61 with card sharks and drifters on the back roads.  I traveled paths around the globe encountering princesses and paupers.  He tells of seeing Andy Warhol in a hotel lobby, He’s waiting for his late night muse..  I got to spend an afternoon with Salvador Dali thanks to my leggy sweetheart at the time, Trudy Zelberberg.  And he croons, Get your heartbeat in the right direction.  That’s when you make the real connection.  There are moments I got that one right and more than once—a serendipitous first meeting with mi amour at Place de la Madeleine in Paris, greeting my son into the world on a hot August desert morn, watching a full eclipse of the moon—rooftop on the Hotel Palace Garden in Luxor along the banks of the Nile, dancing with my tribe of friends in the glow of a Radium Springs bonfire in celebration of the new millennium.  But much of the time when my heartbeat was right, my connection was wrong.  Or the connection was broken while the heart pumped wildly with no purpose.  I think that is what happens to many of us along this long journey called life.  But hell, we are only human.

Robbie Robertson concludes…

Like the sun rising out of the sea,

It’s how you embrace the mystery.

But my sun is going down. So much for the mystery as the crimson ball seemingly sizzles as it touches golden Caribbean waters.  I watch three flamingos in silhouette formation, fluttering home before the down island dark.  Maybe they are the mystery.  It doesn’t really matter.  I am happy now without regret and easily drift off with old thoughts of when the night was young.