Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vacation at Home

Time flies when you’re having fun and that’s my excuse for not writing a blog in such a long time. Mark and I have left the San Blas islands almost four weeks ago! Finding an arrangement for Irie was quite the challenge after planning (and reserving) everything very carefully and months ahead of time, but I’ll leave that ordeal for another time. We hope she is safe on her mooring ball. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing, since communication seems to be a problem. If anybody is around to take a quick look at her mooring lines, we would appreciate it…

To get from the middle of Kuna Yala to Panama’s capital took a while and required careful planning as well. We spent the night before leaving the country in a homey B&B to be on the safe side. You never know around here and you have to account for anything. Transportation to Panama City included a 40 minute boat ride with a lancha and a 3.5 hour trip by jeep. To acclimatize for the Westernized time to come, Mark and I visited the Albrook Mall – easily the biggest shopping mall we have ever seen. Just strolling the main aisle on the lower level took hours.

Our frustration with the problematic internet situation and our decreasing tolerance for a hot and humid climate, made us leave for the United States two weeks earlier than planned. Mark and I were both ready for a break from the tropics and the boat life, after living aboard 1.5 years non-stop. Everybody needs a little vacation once in a while, even we do! :-) This decision also meant that I was able to be with Mark’s family and friends during this leg, instead of spending just 12 hours in the airport on my way to Belgium. We stayed at Mark’s parents’ place, where we caught up on some of the tasks we were unable to do for months. We ordered boat parts and other goods, went shopping in real stores, researched stuff (hurray for working internet!!!) and ate fast food (and healthy home cooked meals as well). We also spent a fun filled weekend with Mark’s best friends and joined Mark’s sister and her husband in Connecticut for a handful of days.

When it was time for me to fly to Belgium, I was ready for the change in culture, language, company, familiar environment, “long lost” friends and activities. I brought the sun with me, as they say in Belgium and after months of crappy weather here, the temperatures turned pleasant. Of course, it started to rain while I write this. I am quite content with the dry and crisp air, the pressurized showers, the space around me and the happy summer vibes. Belgium is awesome in the summer. Of course, it is always great to be the subject of attention after people haven’t seen you for ages! I can’t believe I have been back for almost two weeks. Every day, there is something nice or special to do, see, experience or eat! Or to take care of. Next week – on Friday the 13th – Mark will join me and then, our vacation can start in earnest.

Boston from the air.

Lunch in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts with Mark's parents Carol and Stan, and niece Jo.

Family dinner at Tim and Kristen's place.

Typical American BBQ - with a buffet of yummy food and good friends - on a sunny day.

Ryan mans and masters the grill, while the rest of us relax - and trust him.

Scott and Lisa's new car has a lot of "specials" (gadgets?).

Enjoying the lovely weather on the property Dru and Brian maintain in Connecticut. Could we live like this?

Tasty and healthy dinner with Mark's sister Dru and Brian.


Larry Jenkins said...

Hi Liesbet and Mark,
I just found your blog and enjoyed reading throught it. i read the posts about your losing Kali and Darwin and almost cried. My wife and I lost our golden retriever, Maverick, recently to cancer and it hurt deeply. We are hoping to cruise in the future and will definitely have a dog aboard with us. Best of luck and I look forward to following your adventures.
Larry Jenkins
McKinney, TX

Liesbet said...

Hello Larry,

Welcome "aboard"! :-) I'm glad you are enjoying our stories and I'm excited for you guys to be able to cruise yourself in the near future. It is an interesting lifestyle to say the least.

I am very sorry to hear about your dog. It sure isn't easy and it totally changes your life. The feeling of loss is indescribable. Even though ours have been gone for a while, we still think about them daily and miss them loads. Our boat is still "set-up" for dogs and there will be more in the future.

We have to make a big decision this year: go through the Canal and the Pacific or not. Based on that "plan", dogs will be part of a near future or a less near future.

All the best in sunny Texas and don't wait to long with executing those sailing plans and dreams!