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Valentine’s Day and Turtle Shell

February 14, 2008

Helen –   HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!  I got the temperature conversion for the oven (F to C formula) and decided to bake brownies.  This is a no brainer recipe at home and comes out perfect every time.  All the ingredients are slightly different here; the sugar courser, the eggs larger and better, the flour un-sifted, and the cocoa much richer.  Add that to the microwave size oven and all you can do is hope for the best!!  They took more than twice the time to bake, don’t know why, were denser and more chocolate rich but not bad for the effort.  I shared a few little squares with the Germans for their coffee break, another few squares for the hotel people and the rest for the instructors and students from my walking class.  Then I will explain how we will have to walk a little faster and a lot further for the extra calories!!

Today the electric bill was hand delivered by a person from the electric company, no envelop, no knock on the door.  He just walked through the gate and around the house to the back where I was to deliver it.  It was equivalent to about $78 for the month and we have been running the fans a lot.  The other day we found the water bill slipped under the front door…it was for $5.  A few hours later I heard a bike bell and a call from the driveway gate.  It was the mailman on his bike with a little saddlebag over the cross bar to carry the mail.  There was a letter for someone, of course not here and I think it was the wrong address though I could be wrong.  We have no road sign or house number and this was the reason we had such a difficult time finding it the first time.  Eventually, Kamala walked to the main road and stood waving at us as we drove by…we had already passed the road several times before!!!  We do now know our address!

It seems that the clouds darken and the skies begin to rumble about 4:30 daily now and I never know if we will be caught in the rain during our walk.  We made it today but by the time we got home there was a downpour.  Since we have to close up the house pretty tight when we are away, it was stifling on our return.  We opened all the windows and doors and had the two fans in the dining-living room going.  We sat in the living room in front of the doorway to get the best breeze as we snacked on cheese and crackers.  It was pretty cool looking out of the doorway at the storm and listening to the ocean roar.  Then we saw a bat fly under the roof overhang that extends the length of the house on the beach side.  Then he flew back again, several times…we thought he is larger than our bats back home!!  I looked back toward the driveway door and saw that stupid thing fly into the house and right into my dressing room.  We quickly ran over there and I made Tom go inside to open the double doors and window hoping that he would fly out.  We go sit by the other double door and wait…nothing!!  So Tom goes back into the room with a broom in hopes of chasing it out…it is hanging from the ceiling rafter. He swats at it and it moves higher.  Finally he gets it moving and MY HERO chases it out the doors. Now we have to close the other doors to keep it out because we saw it flying under the overhang AGAIN!

We decided not to go out for dinner with the weather being nasty, so had cold pasta salad and left over chicken instead.  By now the rain let up and I ran across the way to ask the Germans if they wanted to play dominoes.  Yes, we brought a new game with us and it caused not only a weight problem at the airports but a metal problem as well.  We played a few rounds when they came over and we told them about our bat episode.  They asked if it was very big, we answered yes and showed with our hands the size.  They replied, that is little, in the town square there are trees where they hang during the day and they are at least 18-24” long and when they fly they have a slow sweeping wing motion.  UGH!!  Once again the critters are getting to us.

Talking about critters, the other day leaving our office in the physics building, we saw a bunch (10) monkeys climbing up the medical building and jumping in and out of the trees.  They have the longest tails and little black faces.  There were adults and babies and I was calling Tom to hurry and see when the other people said that sometimes more than that come.

Also yesterday walking on the beach, we found a really big sea turtle shell.  The natives had already removed the turtle’s body and left the shell on the beach (lucky for us!).  They said sea turtle is a delicacy for them.  Further up the coast on the east side is a beach area known for the sea turtles.  We have the shell upside down in our yard (yep, smelly) hoping the crows will clean it out for us in the next few weeks before we leave.  Then comes the problem of getting it home!!

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