Tuesday, December 28, 2004

New photos... new places

When it comes to photos, this blog is most likely going to be feast or famine. Either I have internet access and I will upload images like mad and let them do the talking. or my kilobytes will be limited to text text text. So allow these pics to speak for Gomera, El Hierro and the Pangaea crew minus me (I seem to be behind the camera lately.)

Monday, December 27, 2004

While we sit here in comfort...

It´s hard to believe that our first Pangaea sailboat is presently in the Indian Ocean and barely made it through the tsunami! The story is on the website of the "new" owners, at www.pangaea.ch.

Makes us feel very grateful to be in a safe harbor. But not for long, we will probably head across on Thursday. xoxo

Saturday, December 25, 2004

As Events Churn

We sit here in the back cabin, Ari tucked up next to me wearing a doggie t-shirt and a set of purple beads. It's 10 at night and the kids are wide awake, and no wonder: they slept all day in a washing machine. It's roaring winds outside and yet here I am, writing, not sick, belly full of ripe avocado and homemade refried beans... how did that happen? Simple: we are not on open waters. But we indeed have left Gomera.
Our guardian angel Hannah waved us off from the breakwater during the last few minutes of calm waters. After that, sqalls along the coast had us bobbing about with three reefs and a sliver of a Genoa. Once we left the lee of Gomera's shore, the ocean was a stormy washing machine. That was the image that kept popping into my head: I was in the back cabin washing machine, a lumpy sweater with my two little socks. But really it was the guys upstairs who were getting the real wash over. It soon became clear that El Hierro, The southerly most island of the Canaries, was right in our path, and only the hardest core would have stayed out in such wooly conditions.

Entering and tying up at El Rastinga harbor was one of the hairiest maneuvers we've done in years, and made me ever so grateful to have this metal boat. The winds were fiercely howling as we figured out where we should go, and there was close to no space to maneuver about. Achim had us tie up the bumpers on the starboard side, but once we came crashing into the wall, it was like trying to cushion a freight train with a few pin cushions. The impact was loud as our bow roller and starboard side slammed the wall. But the damage was so minimal! I swear it would have crunched any other daintier vessel. Ari came up to the gangway, tears in his eyes. "Pangaea's hurt! We need a doctor, quick!" No matter how much I consoled him, he insisted that Pangaea had undergone an awful accident, and that he somehow would be thrown to the sharks.

Somehow, just knowing that we were going to a sheltered harbor made me stand the afternoon's banging about with more grace and less horror. But three hard one-day passages have done nothing for Ari and Toni's love for sailing, nor mine. "are we going to Oma's house?" Toni will ask every few minutes or hours. I too can't help but fantasize in each harbor we arrive about the airport, standby flights to somewhere far away from large expanses of rough water.

But I know that things can and will get better. I've said that, though, on each passage. First, the one leaving from Graciosa to Las Palmas, which was the worst of 'em. Then the overnighter to Gomera was better by only a sliver. And now this last passage. It's the WEATHER, stupid! I have to say to myself. It's been rough rough rough.

Coby and Achim have been eating up the challenge, though. They are a good sailing team. Plus Coby is great with the kids AND does dishes!

Now we are here, will we stay until Christmas? We'll leave you with that question, which only time will answer.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

more pics of our trip...

Please allow me to invite you to a link for more selected photos of La Graciosa, the kids, Achim and I and the boat! I most likely will not be using Shutterfly in the next while, but it would be a shame to have all these great photos go unseen without at least having a link to them!!

From El Hierro...

I already wrote a live update yesterday and couldn´t send it, because we were in a harbor that blocked our signal. As soon as propagation improves, it will get out. So now that I am on land here, I might as well use the time at this internet cafe to describe the last while for whoever is reading. I guess that makes me a full fledged blogger.

I am in a small pueblo 15 km outside of La Rastinga, where the boat is. I hitchhiked here with a Dutch couple... I go where the internet is! And there ain´t none in that little marina.

Here is me with what looks like a hat... actually it´s a bread I baked in the breadmaker. Basically I put in too much yeast, so it bubbled over, but I caught it in time and gouged out the middle to cook in the oven, while letting the rest bake in the breadmaker. I should try to patent the idea of tophat bread.

I´m actually grateful that fate pushed us on land for a few more days. We can replenish the wonder bread and condensed milk, make last minute phone calls. And I got an exciting email from a dear friend in Paris who may want to work on a documentary with me... let´s face it, I know that my updates can´t possibly focus on anything but the Here and Now out there. Here, on land, I can write about other things than throwing up, setting sails, catching fish or whatever else is going on when surrounded by masses of water.

For one thing, I am inspired to write about La Graciosa, where we spent over three months. We have the necessary beautiful pictures and notes, now I want to put it together as something readable. Having spent the day in La Restinga makes me miss La Graciosa. It´s beauty is overshadowed by the lack of friendliness of the people. Really Achim and I felt it immediately. The northernmost Canary Isle´s folk are so much more welcoming than these Southernmost. Maybe I need to give them time to warm up... but I doubt it.

The kids, as always, like it here as much as anywhere. The black sandy beach just a few minutes from the boat is a great place to fill their teacups and chat with the other kids, tourists and locals alike. I doubt we will leave tomorrow, Heiligen Abend as it´s called. But the day after Christmas will probably be the day we buckle down and go once again. Anyone who wants to write can contact us via sailing@pangaea.to and my sister will forward the mail!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

That´s it... we leave tomorrow!

I´ve almost left the boat twice in the last two weeks.

But those who know me know how up and down I can be. Having Coby aboard has been both agreeable and challenging. But we are now literally in the same boat together, after a few good talks and for me, good crys. Basically, let´s face it, living on a boat magnifies all your qualities, both good and bad. We are both highly critical, opinionated people. Oh, did I forget Achim in the picture? Let´s just say that I was unsure of my role aboard lately; now that we ahve a built in second fiddle, I was "reduced" to seasick babysitter on two very difficutl passages between the isles, holding the barf bowl under Toni and Ari´s little dry heaving mouths, wondering if it wouldn´t be a little cozier in Hamburg... or anywhere else for that matter. But we all know that the sea state doesn´t always stay so cruel, and one´s bodily constitution strengthens with every wobbly day. Now we will have several weeks ahead out there. Will I be able to find the energy and inspiration to continue my tell tales? Time will tell.

Gomera is a gorgeous island which we didn´t give enough time to explore. San Sebastian is a picturesque harbor sheltered by a craggy cliff and high green hills. It´s the Napa Valley of the Canaries, feeling very homeopathic and relaxed. Still, I have managed to be a nervous wrieck running around doing all the last minute errands, filling gas bottle to buying 3 weeks worth of fruits and veggies, peeling garlic, baking bread, packing away what we don´t need and storing with easy access things we do, writing insurance and adminitrative gunk, dealing with goodbyes and well, getting excited about The Other Side.
We have a scooter I bought at a flea market for 3 Euros. Thought it looked cool to see adults running around cosmopolitan areas with these >little slick racey things. So I raced around with it the last two days. Result: charlie-horsed right butt cheek and leftupper thigh. I wonder if all scooter riders have this imbalance.

The kids love having Coby aboard. He is somehow a calming element, especially with cut-off headed chicken mama. They love to dance to his traditional ballads on guitar, and he took Ari to the Circus yesterday. Yes, there was a circus here in Gomera. In fact, they have everything here that I could imagine needing. If nothing else works out, I think we will just come back to Gomera. Goodbye, East Atlantic... xoxo.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Almost out of Las Palmas

'morning... Achim was awake before the sun rose... I could hear him fiddling around in the main cabin while I was jammed between two sleeping chimps. The weather info we had downloaded that morning indicated that we would have a strong barfy ride. To go for it or not, that was the question. I constantly feel the devil's advocate coming out of me. I said, well, we've got a window; yes the winds are strong but who knows how much longer we'll be trapped in Las Palmas, and we really do want to hit Gomera, my goodness, for a week now! But had Achim insisted on leaving I might have replied - what's the hurry?
Well, the anchor chain decided for us anyhow. Stuck and stuck could be. A directly vertical pull and no budging. No room radius wise to try pulling from different directions, either. Coby got on his flippers and new snorkel and looked at the mess 15 feet down or more. We will try again later, It'll be a miracle if we get out of here at all. The good thing about all this is it keeps the boat tidy. WHen you think you are gonna leave any minute now, aint' no way I'm gonna let the monkeys make a mess everywhere. The bed is baked, the glasses are stored.

Here is Coby, our on-board magician, with his sleeping apprentice .

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Princess is leaving Las Palmas

Here is the princess of the boat these days.  we have done our last provisioning before we take off for an overnight sail to Gomera; Not writing much because I am tipsy and in a hurry. I won't be in a hurry for long though.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Ari and his Lemonade

So we will be leaving las
palmas any day now.  that will be when i really start these
updates.  life is hectic until then.

is a hilarious recording that Coby made unbeknownst to either myself or
Ari.  It is 5.5 MB big, so it might take awhile to download. 
Just shows what us mama's go through...



Friday, December 10, 2004

First email to blog: the Golden Mean


In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle makes several references to navigation:
…And we do so more in the case of the art of navigation than in that of gymnastics… 1112b5

…as happens also in the art of medicine or of navigation… 1104a9

…being a principle in which nothing is contributed by the person who is acting or is feeling the passion, e.g. if he were to be carried somewhere by a wind… 1110a3

As the birthplace of Homer’s Odyssey, Ancient Greece holds an especially deep relationship to the sea, as it is primarily consists of islands. And yet, in a discussion of human excellence, both moral and intellectual, where do these skills play a role? Why did Aristotle choose to use seamanship as an activity having anything to do with ethics, or at least more so than other activities? Do we not identify more with his consistent reference to the doctor, for it deals directly with a particular human good, namely the health of people? An equally expected example is his brave warrior who concerns himself with fighting battles for the safety of people, or the excellent lyre player for the enjoyment and refinement of people.
In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle distinguished two kinds of “virtue,” or human excellence: moral and intellectual. Unlike medicine, politics, or philosophy, navigation seems on the outset to be quite unconcerned with these virtues. We can reduce the purpose of navigation to the science or art of conducting ships or vessels from one place to another. Why not then speak of chariotship or horsemanship?
Furthermore, in an inquiry on ethics, our concern is philosophical, while to put navigational skill to practice, one must have a vessel. The “activity of soul in accordance with perfect virtue” of the sailor depends on this external good to achieve his ends; without his vessel, he is an armchair sailor. Would not such practices as civics, teaching and the liberal arts, which are not inherently dependant on any external object, be more appropriate in illustrating his investigation of the pursuit of virtue? Aristotle points out:
Most noble is that which is justest, and best is health;
But pleasantest is it to win what we love. For all these properties belong to the best activities; and these, or one- the best- of these, we identify with happiness.
Yet evidently, as we said, it needs the external goods as well; for it is impossible, or not easy, to do noble acts without the proper equipment. 1099b2

The most excellent navigator must be able to show excellence even with sparse equipment, and that is even the definition of an excellent navigator. Indeed, too deficient equipment and the navigator would be imprudent to launch. In the other extreme, he who possesses a lavish or excess of maritime equipment will never truly learn how to navigate, only how to operate the equipment. This is our first encounter of the navigator’s necessity for the Golden Mean.
Let us first behold the theoretical, “pure” navigator, who has no concern over crew and vessel, but merely concerns himself with navigation alone. For Aristotle, virtuous action lies in a disposition to choose the mean (“the right balance”) between extremes, in particular choosing the mean between the vice of excess and the vice of deficiency. This is, briefly put, precisely the concern of navigation. The following table gives some specific examples of how excess and deficiency play a key role in navigation:




Points too far into the wind, leading to sudden, dangerous jibe

Points as close to target as possible

Points too far away from the wind, leading to sudden tack, completely steering vessel off course

Ignores current, runs adrift, missing target

Meets the target at landfall

Fights current too much, runs aground, sinking or damaging the vessel

Hoists insufficient sail

surface leading to bumpy ride, inability to counter current and waves, delaying or impeding landfall

Hoists just the right amount

of sail, allowing for maximal speed, safety and comfort

Hoists too much sail surface leading to

wet ride, ripped sails, broken spars, weakened rig

Note that, in order to achieve the mean in all the above cases, the navigator must always act in light of the given variables (wind and weather, currents, waves, boat length, mast height, etc.). As Aristotle misattributes to Calypso:

Hence he who aims at the intermediate must first depart from what
is the more contrary to it, as Calypso advises-
Hold the ship out beyond that surf and spray.
For of the extremes one is more erroneous, one less so; therefore,
since to hit the mean is hard in the extreme, we must as a second
best, as people say, take the least of the evils; and this will be
done best in the way we describe. 1109a31

The variables a navigator faces are entirely outside his control and, as in the case of Odysseus, often do not offer entirely ideal conditions. It will be these conditions which will determine whether he must head for the mean, or towards one or another extreme in order to achieve the closest to the mean possible.
In practice, excellent navigation necessitates not merely the equipment and how to use it, but an understanding of engineering, oceanography, geography and meteorology, of astronomy and topography, of kinetics, physics, geometry and mathematics. This only reflects the skills (as opposed to virtues) needed to get from Point A to Point B. Aristotle also seems to understand that the virtue of a navigator consists of more than mere techne when he mentions:
Something of the sort happens also with regard to the
throwing of goods overboard in a storm; for in the abstract no one
throws goods away voluntarily, but on condition of its securing the
safety of himself and his crew any sensible man does so. 1110a11

One could argue that this sensibility is needed by every seaman, but here he specifies “his crew,” so he is in fact discussing the captain of a ship. Except for the occasional solo sailor, success in “the sensible man” mentioned above depends on more than his navigational savvy. He must also have strong insight into the micropolitical, and a keen sense of sociology and psychology. Here we can begin to address his moral virtues, for according to Aristotle:
Now virtue is concerned with passions and actions, in which excess is a form of failure, and so is defect, while the intermediate is praised and is a form of success; and being praised and being successful are both characteristics of virtue. Therefore virtue is a kind of mean, since, as we have seen, it aims at what is intermediate. 1106b21

The Nicomachean Ethics uses a teleological approach which looks to the end, goal or purpose of human existence in order to determine how we ought to act. In all of his actions, the excellent navigator must look for and achieve the golden mean in order to make this determination. He must understand how to harness Neptune’s nature, as well as his own nature, to his benefit, honing and sculpting his sails in accordance with the variables placed before him. An excess of courage leads to shipwreck, a deficiency and the vessel will never leave port or will not attain the destination. An excess of generosity and he will use up the ship’s stores too quickly, while a deficiency of generosity will lead to a hungry, sick, tired, ineffective crew. Both a too harsh or too soft temper (control over his crew) entices mutiny. The golden mean in these virtues, however, best assures a satisfied crew, a functional vessel and successful sea passages. Since he will search for and achieve a juste milieu in the virtues, the excellent navigator may be considered by Aristotle to exemplify the excellent man.

Upon reflecting in these waters we can see how the navigational arts, by and with nature, in analogy as well as practice, reveal Aristotle’s golden mean.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Kids, Graciosa, Canary Islands!

I haven't attempted to write an update with embedded pictures for quite
sometime now and I think it is time for me to face the fears.  Otherwise
these pics will become old and moldy and I will have no desire to change

src="http://www.sarah-darling.com/emgkupdates/pict0062.jpg" width="375" height="500">


My major fears have been assuaged... there are TONS of cruising kids! 
It's a whole subset of the cruising world here in Graciosa.  The week looks
like this for toni and Ari: mornings are at Collegio, where they play with
Spanish speaking kids (except their buddy Tano, who speaks English.)  THen
they come home and play with the cruising kids, who ever happens to be around...
Australian, New Zealanders, English, French, German... you name it! 

Adam has arrived!  The boy at the top of our climbing ladder was Toni's
first real cruising friend.  They met in Gibraltar and his boat finally
arrived yesterday.  The other two kids are Nia, an English girl, and of
course Tano in the baseball cap.

src="http://www.sarah-darling.com/emgkupdates/pict0059.jpg" width="500" height="375">

This last weekend a swimming race from La Graciosa took place and the swimmers
raced by Pangaea, so I thought we'd let you know what 300 yellow caps look like
bobbing around a harbor.

Hannah, a lovely young woman off the sailboat Ripple, spent hours playing with
Toni and Ari, drawing, reading and going to the beach.  We will miss her,
since she flew back to England to make some money and continue her life journey. 
She basically grew up as a liveaboard kid.

Cruiser party on the beach. 

Toni's wind-propulsioned housing project.


Liliian, next to Ari, grew up in the Bahamas, and the other two girls,
Marilou and Eliza, are French.


This is how the kids go to school...

And these show how tired Ari gets from school!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Hola desde la Graciosa, everyone.

Today was Toni and Ari's first full day at school. They wear uniforms (white shirt, blue pants, white shoes.) Never in my life did I think I would be into uniforms, but it's such a convenient way to go. Besides, it's Toni and Ari's first taste of... Uniformity!
Much aloha from the islands

Saturday, June 19, 2004

First "live" update from Katrina!!!!

Dear Everyone,

I’ve decided I’m not a big fan of mass emails b/c they are far too impersonal for my liking but I will make an attempt to update y’all on my trip thus far. I have been avoiding email and will continue to do so for as long as possible but I promised to keep people afloat on my adventures once in a while so here goes nothing! I am currently sitting on the deck with a cool breeze across my body, the sun sparkling on the water, palm trees waving hello, boats going passing to and fro, singing good old Good Charlotte and a variety of Erika’s music from the 80’s such as The Cars and Honk surf music.

Let’s start with the lightning tour of Paris. Paris reminds me New York however it is completely European looking. Go figure. Cobblestone, narrow roads, window flowerboxes, little cars everywhere, restaurants with patios out onto the sidewalks. I arrived in the Paris airport to breathe a nice big, fresh breath of…smoke. Welcome to lung cancerville. This theme was further emphasized on my marathon run/tour of the city. The sun was high in the sky, temperature was high, the humidity was high, the pollution level was sky-high. I was determined to run from the apartment of Erika’s friend Claire in the cinqant diesement (haha, that is definitely wrong but it sounds like that when they say it) which is one block away from the Pantheon, past Notre Dame, up the Champs do Lises to the Arc de Triumph –formidable, and probably even more so if I wasn’t seeing white spots from the terrible air quality. Naturally I got lost on the way back, even with a map…the streets are laid out in a maze like ‘arrangement.’ What happened to 1st ave, 2nd ave ...?

Enough about Paris – on to Port Bacares, France. Port Bacares is nestled where the Pyrene mountains meet the Mediterranean basically at the border between France and Spain. Indescribable. Deep blue, refreshing water, wide beaches, clear blue skies 75% of the time, wind strong enough to blow your socks off. At the beach you can get quite the whipping on really windy days so we head out to the rock islands just off shore and climb around like the monkeys we are. The men wear speedos, the women bottoms only (a liberating experience…I don’t want to stick out as one of those disliked ‘Americans’ now do I?), everyone is roasted-chicken-brown. The boat is bigger than I expected and can hold much more than I imagined even once acquainted with the size. Every nook and cranny of the hull is filled. They have enough food on board to live off of for at least a year. I’d just like to say a few words about sleeping on a boat. Amazing, as if you are sleeping in a huge rocking chair that never stops. But that’s not all folks, there is also the breeze that travels straight across the cabin and the hatch overhead that provides a spectacular star show on clear nights and a rain shower song on stormy nights (my favorite). We haven’t sailed yet b/c Achim (the dad) is still working making the boat perfect with all of his engineering inventions. The other morning I heard someone up at 6am (I am usually the first one up by far at 7:30am for my beach run in the sun :). He had solved the problem that was nagging him about the self-steering system and he just had to start working on it. He is putting it in so he can steer the boat while in bed. They have 4 big solar panels that will generate all the necessary electricity while at sea. Engineers on the list, all that stuff we learned in school when applied is actually really fun and interesting!

Time to talk about the munchkins. Well, Ari, the blond-haired, blue-eyed, two year old boy just pooped on the floor (I knew a few of you that would love that one!) We are in the potty training process and so far he only likes to pee pee in the potty. He is an adorable little monkey that makes you want to hug and kiss him every time you see his face or hear his little voice say things like ‘yuckabuffsky, dog poop!’ There are lots of dogs here and no one picks up after them. Ari is also a computer expert. He knows how to start the computer and find all of his favourite programs from the start menu, usually the train building one where he is conductor! Choo chooo! Antonia, the four year old is such a sweetheart. She loves to share every thing and to protect her little bro. She is translator when I try to speak in German. Note the TRY. I am so impressed with how well these kids play together and alone, looking at books or making up games involving trains, superman capes from dish towels, imaginary cats to name a few.

I can only think of one word to describe Erika (the mom): supercool. In a nutshell she is fun and crazy and creative and thoughtful and smart. She dances around the cabin singing at the top of her lungs, plays guitar, squirts whipped cream into her mouth from the can, tries to set me up with her 30 year old friends who speak only French, comes up with ideas like touring France, Germany and Austria out of no where, discusses philosophers and science and all her adventures of life. Achim is what I have always imagined a real engineer to be. He does not accept what the traditional design is, but instead decides what he imagines ideal, comes up with a way to achieve it and then implements it. It is a pleasure to watch and learn from him.

Next on the agenda is a whirlwind tour of Germany and Austria on account of my new Eurail pass. We have the time and we have the desire so why not? Sign me up! First it’s a trip to Bodensee in Germany (Lake Constance in English) for a radio transceiver conference (HAM radio stuff). Yeah sailing geeks! Then onto Hamburg to see where Dr. Opa went to school followed by Badgastein (Austrian Alps) for a little taste of the mountain and then Waidhofen, Austria where the Bruckschwaigers live and back to Bacares where we will sail off into the sunrise.

Congratulations if you are actually still reading at this point. Hehehe That’s plenty to keep you abreast haha on my trip thus far.

Until next time I have the urge to write…

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

ON the train between Frankfurt and Offenburg, traveling South.


After several
hours of being tortured by an extremely tired, excited son, I have been given a
few minute respite from being mama, with two small beings conked out on the
floor of a first class compartment.

My mother in law was so nervous this morning that I could hardly get ready.
The train was leaving at 12:24, and it takes approximately 25 minutes to get to
the station from Kornweg. Fifteen minutes on either side of that, and it seemed
to me that an hour would be more than enough time to have everything properly
prepared. At 9:45, when I said I would like to take a shower, her eyes became
wide and fearful. "You don't have time! " she said.

Of course I made the time for everything I needed to, including shlepping
kids' bikes and strollers and tricycles up to the attic, canceling my AOL
account (that free month was SO helpful!) and kissing goodbye the things I will
love and miss: all those photos, my books, diaries, bathtub, four burner stove.
I kissed goodbye my telephone, my answering machine. Goodbye nice clothes.
Goodbye big playroom and balcony. Goodbye, you comfy suburban German life, blue
acres here we come.

Outside on the street, our little 3 year old neighbor Alina stood cherub
cheeked, ready to wave us goodbye. She, like all the children in the
neighborhood, looked like she knew that street so well, that every little patch
of grass around her home was familiar territory. I thought about my daughter,
how used to moving she is, how she looked at Alina... did she remember her name?
Did they ever even get to play together? I doubt it. All the four years we've
spent part of her life visited Oma and Opa's house in Wellingsbuttel, Antonia
has not made a single close friend on that street. In europe it seems to take
ages to really have kids meet kids, or you need to have been a part of their
world for awhile.

"So," said Alina's father, Sunday morning rake in hand, "You're going back,
are you?"

Back? I thought about it. Where did he mean by back? I suppose we were going
back to the boat, but somehow it felt like going forward more than back.

Port Barcares, France

We’ve been aboard for three days now.

The kids are having a ball. This place would be perfect, if they had space at
the kindergarten where I wanted to put the kids. No room at the inn! What can I
do? Hire a babysitter for a few hours a day. Money, honey. And that doesn’t
solve the playing with the kids thing. There may still be a apace for Antonia at
the school here, but even that’s not for sure.

But the kids are thrilled to be aboard, I can tell. They finally seem to be
“at home.” Isn’t it strange, ironic and weird how much I wish we had family
around us : Oma and Opa, Gramma and Grampa, Aunties and Uncles… and they all
want to be around us, too… and yet here we are, far away from anyone we know,
haven’t met a soul around here yet (although the people seem friendly enough!).
What wouldn’t I do to just have a little something or someone for the kids… but
there I go again looking at the down side of things. The boat is getting better
and better. Right now Achim is installing two shelves for the big books taking
over the cabins… he began to install the CD player so we can have music… washing
machine and dishwasher are both kicking, I took my first hot shower on board for
our 12 year anniversary yesterday. There is always a ton of stuff to do and I
can’t just plant the kids in front of a video anymore… we only have 4 dvds!

Port Barcares is a feast of famine tourist spot, completely dead in the off
season and absolutely packed in the high season. And right now it’s extremely
windy, especially down at the port. I am SO happy to be in one place, though,
and not have to run around. The kids still just talk about taking a train,
plane, bus… for once we are staying somewhere for a little while!

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Toni's Year of Travel : 2003 encapsulated

Dear Friends and Family,
Yesterday, I was playing Travel with Ari.
I said, “let’s go visit gramma.” I put Ari’s backpack on him, filled it with Tarzan figurines, and headed for the door.

“How do you plan on getting there, young lady?” mommy asked.
“With a plane and a boat, I said, then added, “ and a car.”
“Choochoo train!” Ari screamed.
So I thought I could give you a summary of what our year looked like:

We go to the beach a lot in Kailua, where we live in a highrise apartment

Gramma and Grampa visit us in Kailua. We can walk to their apartment and they
take us around in our double stroller. Ari almost gets circumcised but talks
mommy and daddy out of it.

Everything mommy can’t sell on Ebay, she packs into the Volvo and leaves it in a
garage, then we take a plane to see Gramma and Grampa again. Then we are on
another plane to see Oma and Opa again.

We take the train down to Bad Gastein Austria, where Oma and Opa take us for
walks around the Alps and where we can throw things off their balcony. It’s a
lot of fun to stay in an apartment with no electricity, and I help mom light and
blow out the candles every night.

Mommy gets ripped off on Ebay, I see her tearing her hair out on the computer.
We take a car down to our boat in France, then take another train up to Hamburg.
I like the train better than the car.

Take a plane to Santa Fe New Mexico, Where Mommy read Aristotle and other stuff
without pictures. We got to watch lots of Cinderella, eat lots of ice cream, and
go to the children’s museum with gramma and grampa.

Still in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Some nights, gramma puts us to bed. Mommy doesn’t
know how to do that. We get to see an Indian feast, play in the swimming pool,
and watch gramma and gramma schwitz.

Mommy wears a funny cap and gown. We celebrate my fourth birthday with piñata,
pin the tail on the donkey, and lots of friends. Take a plane to Germany in time
for a second birthday party.

Take a train to the Lüneburger Heide, where I get to play with kittycats and Ari
gets to play with a cool train set. Then we take a train down to South of France
and help daddy to Make the boat.

We drive to St. Tropez to look at Sarah Darling’s pretty Galapagos animal
pictures. Ari can’t talk them out of it this time, and we take him to the
clinic. His peepee hurts for awhile, so we don’t take any trains or planes for a
few weeks.

I go to a French school called “La Maternelle.” I learn to say “Stop that!” and

“Sit down!” in French.  Ari goes to his own school called “the Little Chickies.”
Sometimes I go there with him, and I like it there better.

We take a train back up to Oma and Opa’s to celebrate Channukah and Christmas.
Daddy escapes from a bad guy in Port Napoleon with our boat, which he sails to
Port Barcares,
the Spanish border. We
can see snow on the Pyrenees from our
deck. Next
year, we’ll be sailing a whole lot more, we