Monday, October 31, 2016

The Oldest Cemetery in Central America

The Granada, Nicaragua Cemetery just might be the oldest in Central America. That's a lot of ghosts. Colorful and Colonial Granada was established in 1524. The city is awash with painted architecture, grand churches and history. This white washed cemetery certainly was grand with its ornate granite carvings, grand mausoleums and cows. Yes cows! Nine Nicaraguan presidents are buried here. And beautiful volcan Mombachu looms in the distance. We entered during a hot and fiery afternoon. The white mausoleums resting against a deep blue sky looked absolutely Grecian. Simply striking. But, we were melting. Next time we visit, we'll go when the sun isn't so harsh.

Cows! I love it. Only in Central America.

I read that most mausoleums have basements built underground. Housing more of the dead. But, I didn't take a subterranean gander.

As soon as we entered we were trailed by a sad hustler. Actually, he just followed us, mumbling, inaudibly, about the different tombstones. But, luckily, there was a funeral going on and living security guards roaming on foot. So he left to stalk some other tourist. Or ghost.

I've always been fascinated by cemeteries. I don't know why. Maybe it is because of the fine line between the living and the dead... 

Did I mention the dead? Hide the crayolas! Halloween month comes to a grisly and ghostly end.... 

Over at my other blog, The Chorus of the Crows

Happy Halloween!

I'll be back in December!

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Birds of Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens, near Tampa, Florida is beautifully landscaped. We had a great time there last March. I loved the combination of exotic bird encounters, zoo animals and thrill rides. 

A wily octopus.

A sleepy Tawny Frog-mouth in the Kookaburra den. (Thanks to Stewart M. for identifying)

Duck or goose ballet.

A monster.

Cheetah run.

This is how I felt after roaming around the park all day.

An ibis of a different color.

The innocent beginning of our parrot encounter...

We fed little parrots in a boisterous enclosure. We both look like we're terrified. Or grossed out. That was not the case. But, my shoulder parrot was freaking out. He was so upset that the red bullies were getting all the food. So, I thought he might peck me in the face. He didn't. But he cried and begged pitifully the whole time. I'll never forget the desperate mews. Right in my ear.

See, my husband grimaced too! He's really loaded down here. We loved it. Really!

Did you know that flamingos stink? Clothes pin style.

Look at how they sleep. Awkward. Pretzel style.

A scarlet Macaw close up.

Of course, there's rides too.

Oscar waves goodbye!

Meanwhile, Halloween month really gets serious this week. We visited the lonely Sand Hill Cemetery last summer. Oh, and it's haunted...

Visit my other blog, The Chorus of the Crows for the gory details...

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Mayowood Mansion

The Mayo Clinic is legendary.

I've never been there. Thank goodness. But we did tour Mayowood.

 Dr. Charles H. Mayo built the 38 room Mansion in 1911. At one time, Mayowood was the center of a 3,000 acre estate near the Zumbro river. I asked the docent how the Dr. made all of his money while we toured the site. It might seem like a stupid question, but I just couldn't believe that a mansion was built, not from oil, not from railroad or timber, not from vast properties or mining, but from doctoring. I guess I always think of the old days, when doctors received a chicken or a bag of potatoes for their work. Obviously, a doctor of the caliber of the Mayo clinic, was in high demand. 

William Worrall Mayo, the founding father, arrived in Minnesota in 1863 as the surgeon examiner of the Northern Army, before the civil war.

To learn more about the Mayo father and sons click here!

My favorite part of the tour was the patina on the cellar out back!

And I was immensely intrigued by the crumbling, spooky building below the Mayowood Mansion. If I remember right, the family lived here before they built Mayowood. 

If walls could talk...

Meanwhile, Halloween month continues over at my other blog, The Chorus of the Crows  Find out what lies beneath an abandoned limestone quarry in Rochester... 

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Duluth, 2016

Canal Park

We go to Duluth, Minnesota in September ever year. My husband participates in the NorthShore Inline Marathon. It was the 21st year for the race. My husband has been skating for almost all of those years. I just take pictures. I love the beauty of Duluth and its rocky Basalt environs. 

The sunken Uncle Harvey's Mausoleum. Or "the cribs" A sand and gravel hopper built in 1919.

 Duluth via Paris locks. 

Local Vikre Gin with a view! Right down my gullet. Get the Boreal Cedar variety. Vikre forages for wild botanicals and you can taste them. Yum!

There are always carins.

The groovy tower. Or the Historic Central High School built in 1892.

That's it. Another year in photos. I love gazing at the architecture just as much as the sparkling waters. And yes, I mean the gin!

Meanwhile, have you read any great ghost stories lately? I have. On TripAdvisor! Halloween month continues over at my other blog, The Chorus of the Crows There's Belize snow. See below. And oddly enough, you'll also find a scary and hilarious review. "It was a ghost..."

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Monday, October 3, 2016

The Panama Canal

We visited the engineering marvel that is the Panama Canal in January, 2016. There are locks at each end to lift the ships to lake Gatun. 

It all started in the year 1534, when the King of Spain ordered a survey of the Americas, looking for a route to ease the voyage of ships between Spain and Peru.

In 1881, the French finally started construction through an isthmus belonging to Colombia.

By 1884, the death rate of workers building the canal was 200 per month.

Eventually, in 1889, the french ran out of money. By this time, a reported $287,000,000 had been invested in the canal. And 22, 000 lives had been lost.

President Roosevelt famously stated that "I took the Isthmus, started the canal and then left Congress not to debate the canal, but to debate me." 

On November 2, 1903, U.S. warships blocked sea lanes for possible Colombian troop movements aimed for the Panamanian rebellion. President Roosevelt signed a treaty supporting the separation of Colombia and Panama. Panama declared independence in 1903.

"On November 6, 1903, Philippe Bunau-Varilla, as Panama's ambassador to the United States, signed the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty, granting rights to the United States to build and indefinitely administer the Panama Canal Zone and its defenses." Wikipedia

In 1904, the U.S. bought the french interests in the canal including the equipment, excavations and the Panama Railroad for an estimated 40 million and started re-construction.

In 1921, the U.S. granted Columbia special privileges in the canal zone and paid Columbia an estimated 25 million.

The U.S. upgraded everything. And according to Wikipedia:

There was investment in extensive sanitation projects, including city water systems, fumigation of buildings, spraying of insect-breeding areas with oil and larvicide, installation of mosquito netting and window screens, and elimination of stagnant water. 

After U.S. construction of the canal began, an estimated 5,600 people lost their lives. Even after all of the improvements. It would cost 375,000,000 to complete.  

In August of 1914, the canal was formally opened. 1,000 ships passed through that year.

In 1977, the U.S. handed over the control of the canal to Panama.

It takes about 6-8 hours to pass through the 48 mile waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 

And in my opinion, is fun to watch! Building, not so much.

 It's Halloween month over at The Chorus of the Crows  My creative writing blog.
My feathered and checkered past is revealed, once again...

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