Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

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20 Dollar 10 x 50 Binoculars

This evening I'm catching up a few matters prior to taking a few days off work. It's a bit curious taking time off so soon after a holiday, but in my mind, I rationalize the holiday season as a pleasant but mildly tiring time of much socializing, while the upcoming brief vacation will be a time of much rest.

Tomorrow we arise very early to catch a plane east to the Bahamas. I have already mapped out the key questions--will my cell phone work? (the answer seems to be either "no", or "no, unless I want to pay a fortune to the local government telephone company"); what is the best way to call the USA? (as is usual, the answer seems to be "buy a local phone card and use the phone company's phone, but never pick up one's hotel phone for anything but the wake-up call"), and is there a cyber cafe from which I can pick up my e mail? (the answer here seems to be "yes", although the website for the provider seems to be down, never a good sign). I have various work things on hand in case I need to leap tall buildings or some such while I'm gone.

Although we are avid snorkelers, the weather sounds a bit cool now, and we'll have to see if this is a snorkeling holiday or merely a hiking holiday. Today was a very warm day in Texas, so I'm not sure we are going to a place much warmer than the place we are leaving. But the vegetation should be more than a bit greener.

I have this fantasy that something about our paperwork will prove to have a shortcoming, and we will be stranded in the Miami airport, but I have this secondary fantasy about driving down to the Everglades if this happens, so my fantasy life has already solved my fantasy anguish.

Big Lots had a pre-Christmas sale on huge, clunky plastic-y 10 x 50 binoculars. Although I have a new Christmas pair of 10 x 25 portables, my "cheap French binoculars" of indeterminate power but immense ebay cool, and my standard 8 x 25 pair of portables, I have this hankering to own a 20 dollar pair of cheap, clunky, plastic but relatively high power binoculars.

Some years ago, my wife and I flew down to Belize to snorkel, roughly during this time of year. It was a trip whose telling is worth more space than it will get in this post, but I remember standing in the waiting area of the Houston airport talking to a group of Texas schoolteachers who were going birding in the Belize jungle. Their plan sounded so old-fashioned--a mosquito-net tent in the middle of nowhere, sets of huge binoculars, and careful glances that treat the world as one huge aviary. I love birds and butterflies, but as is so often the case with me, I have little training in what is what. I am a bit better with fish identification in that part of the world, but I have learned that underwater fish identification skills are of little use in bird-watching.

Someday, I'd like huge astronomical 20 x 80 binoculars, so that I could take the measure of the deep night sky. But for now, I'll settle for 10 x 50, provided they are cheaply made and cheaply priced.

Poll #88811 Wish you were here!

Would you like a postcard from our Bahamas vacation? If I can get on line on vacation, then I'll be able to send one from our destination. If not, it will look like a Bahamas postcard, but have a Texas postmark. But what could be better than that? If you'd like one, leave your address here (feel free to insert work addresses and such, I have no real "interest" in personal info, and this poll's results will be visible only to me).

What would you do if the water was too cold to snorkel?

get out my cheap binoculars and look for feathery friends
sit on an easy chair on a subtropical lawn and read Jane Austen
hike the length and breadth of the island, noting all the flora and fauna
take long, leisurely bicycle rides on a rented bike
go up and down the island trying to learn about Bahamian culture, preferably eating lots of conch with peas n rice

I know that for some of you I "should have" your address, but I won't be carrying any address books (not that I keep an address book, other than my internet filing cabinet), so please log in accordingly if you'd like a card. I am not sure if non-LJ folks can fill in responses, so feel free to e mail me at if you'd prefer to do so.

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