Week 141 December 10, 2016

¡Felices Fiestas! Season’s Greetings!
We were still in Tampa, Florida at the start of this week, visiting with cousins. We were happy to see the finished draft of memoirs that cousin his daughter was capturing the last time we were here, about travels during his career at Exxon. It is going off to the printer soon, just in time for celebrating his 90th birthday this coming week. One day we helped him to the Emergency Room for some precautionary tests. We have since learned that he is doing fine! Overall, we enjoyed good conversation and nice meals together, sharing more about family history and traveling. I regret that I did not take a single photo during this time, though have precious memories regardless.
From Tampa we drove to nearby Punta Gorda, also on the Gulf coast, where we had a memorable visit with a dear high school friend of mine and her mother. We packed a lot of wonderful activity into this regrettably short visit, which included an excellent evening seeing youth in a Performing Arts Christmas Showcase, especially to see their friend participate.
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We all appreciated a lunch date with my Bikram Yoga Teacher Training friend and her partner from Freiburg, Germany, who also happened to be visiting Florida. We arranged for them to stop by at my friend’s home on their way from Miami to Sarasota. With our friends we also attended Sunday mass, and, toasted to another beautiful sunset on the beach, as we did when we were together here last time. Before leaving, we said sorrowful goodbyes to their beloved cat, Harpy.
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We then drove to see a cousin in Lauderdale Lakes on the Atlantic coast for another too short visit. At 94 years young, she seems not a day older than 70. Well, maybe 75… Loren had not seen this cousin since his bicycle ride from California to Massachusetts fotty, yep, that is not a typo, it is her strong Massachusetts’ accent – “party” sounds similarly unique – 40 years ago. We had a memorable time with her and some of her friends who we met at Bingo. She won 3 of the many games we played during that evening. Loren and I also won $5 in a raffle!
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One morning during our visit, Loren and I drove a little north to Palm Beach Gardens take a Bikram Yoga class from a littermate from my Bikram Yoga Teacher Training, and enjoyed a sweet lunch together afterwards at her home.
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With our cousin we drove to Miami, where we had a brief though sweet visit with my Godmother. She actually turned 94 this week, but is weaker physically than she was when we saw her two years ago. She was unable to show us how she feeds the cats and ducks who frequent her back yard, as she did on our last visit. She has very good neighbors who ensure that her needs are met. We reminisced about all our travels and had a meaningful time together. Again, I regret having taken no photos, though I do have treasured memories of this visit too.
Then we went to visit our cousin’s daughter along with her husband. They raised their children just a few miles away from my Godmother’s home, but we had not known that before. She prepared a lovely dinner and we spent our last night in the United States, for now, together catching up on each others’ lives. Their daughter also takes Bikram Yoga classes at a studio that I had visited two years ago. Meeting their son has to wait for another time, as he was away working on a deep sea fishing excursion.
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We bade our farewells, returned the rental car, and flew from Miami to Buenos Aires overnight. Our flight from Miami was delayed an hour due to weather conditions, which caused us more than a little concern, because we already had a tight schedule to make our next flight from the regional airport…
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Fortunately, baggage retrieval, passport control, customs, car transportation, and traffic all went smoothly from the main city airport, allowing us to arrive with time to spare. We learned that this day was a national holiday, so normal commute traffic was absent. The tour officially begins a day before the cruise departs, so had we missed our flight we had leeway. The regional airport departure area was festively decorated for the holiday season, and our flight to Ushuaia, said Ush-why-ah, the southernmost city in the world, went well.
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It is quite mountainous terrain here at Tierra del Fuego.
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Loren and I settled in for our overnight at the hotel, then hiked a couple of hours to a vantage point of Del Glaciar: Martial Glacier. The clouds formed and dissipated repeatedly giving us only glimpses of the grandeur. It seemed as if we had all the time in the world to return to our accommodation, as daylight lasted well past 10:30pm. 
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On our walk back we enjoyed seeing a rainbow over the port, with still wonderful views of the harbor during dinner. Tomorrow we will tour a National Park before boarding our ship to sail away to Antarctica…
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PLEASE NOTE: for the rest of December, we may have limited internet access, so, please check back here again for when we can next post to this site.

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