Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mr. Hunter and an Apollo Command Module

Mr. Hunter pretended he was an Apollo astronaut -- and maybe a little bit of a Major Tom, as well -- when he peeked through the window of this Apollo command module door.  

Mr. Hunter's floating in a most peculiar way.

This particular Apollo command module was on display at the astonishing and highly recommended Saturn V Center at Kennedy Space Center.  The spacecraft was originally intended for NASA's Apollo 18 mission, but instead flew on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, which was the first joint mission of the United States and the Soviet Union.

The John Weeks site gives more details about this Apollo spacecraft, which has since been moved from Kennedy Space Center to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

Apollo/Saturn V Center
Kennedy Space Center
Merritt Island, Florida
May 2002

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

With a Cherry (and Mr. Hunter) on Top

You know how people sometimes say, "That's just the cherry on top" to talk about something great that happens that's a bonus to the good things that have already happened?  Here's Mr. Hunter adding even more of a bonus to this super-sized sundae outside of Ben & Jerry's at the Marina Village.

This bench was quite a people magnet.  Most days we walked by, the bench would be too crowded with ice cream eaters and other tourists posing with the sundae.  But one morning we happened by much earlier in the day on our way to the ferry, so Mr. Hunter finally had his chance.

Ben & Jerry's
Marina Village
Atlantis Resort
Paradise Island, The Bahamas
July 2012

On the Shelves with Souvenirs

Mr. Hunter feels a special connection with souvenirs.  Souvenirs are his people, after all... as we were very soon to find out.

Well, some souvenirs are perhaps more kindred than others...

Mr. Hunter and I much preferred these carved wooden sharks.

Looking back toward The Reef and The Royal Towers,
with the marina in the foreground.

Marina Village
Atlantis Resort
Paradise Island, The Bahamas
July 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to Bimini Road

Mr. Hunter and crew found themselves rather unexpectedly back at Bimini Road for dinner just one night after the junkanoo chicken disappointment.  This time, the meal was a much more satisfactory experience.

Mr. Hunter and a local beer.

My "rake and scrape" sandwich,
which had portobello mushrooms and peppers.  Yum!

Mr. Hunter tries to become one face among many near the wall murals in our corner.

Bimini Road Restaurant
Atlantis Resort
Paradise Island, The Bahamas
July 2012

Hey, Conch!

Remember that conch fritter Mr. Hunter sampled earlier in his Bahamas trip?
Here's a look at the conch meat and the conch shell, courtesy of Bimini Road's seafood display.

Conch is a big theme not just on menus but also in some of the tourist patter you encounter.  Later on the trip, we took a ferry to Nassau, and in both directions we were treated to slightly different versions of the same "conch as aphrodisiac" jokes...
Men should eat two bowls of conch salad a day.
It's like Viagra.
It'll put some slide in your glide.
Some pep in your step.

Charlie the Cool Cat, the narrator on our first ferry.
He may be pointing out the Sivananda yoga retreat
and telling jokes about all the rules there: "No tobacco,
no meat, no doobies, no drinking... and no hanky panky."
"That's why there's no one there."

The yoga retreat in question.

Bimini Road Restaurant
Atlantis Resort
Paradise Island, The Bahamas
July 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Here Comes the Rain

You know how it is in Florida or the Bahamas in the summer: afternoon thunderstorms likely.  Our afternoon at Atlantis's water park was cut short one day by just such a storm.
We'd been throwing a little football in one of the Atlantis pools when we first heard the thunder.  So we kept checking... were the lifeguards about to close the pools?  How long was it between lightning flash and thunderclap?  

For awhile it seemed that the storm wouldn't be coming close, but then we decided to head back to our pool chairs.  And then, very quickly, the wind arrived.  The whoosh and whisper of palm trees, and we knew that rain would soon follow.  So we packed up and joined what quickly became a mass exodus from the Aquaventure water park to the hotels.

Back in the room, Mr. Hunter peeked out to watch the rain, and he noticed a soggy pigeon who had taken refuge on our balcony.

Our soggy pigeon visitor.

No rain poncho handy for this guest.

Video of the afternoon thunderstorm and the pigeon who waited the rain out on our balcony:

Atlantis Resort
Paradise Island, The Bahamas
July 2012

Bird Friends at Atlantis

One morning at Atlantis, Mr. Hunter noticed a couple of laughing gulls who were hanging out on our balcony.  They were probably just hoping for a quick snack, but they charmed us nonetheless.

A friendly laughing gull.

Atlantis Resort
Paradise Island, The Bahamas
July 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mr. Hunter Shops for Stuffies

Mr. Hunter found an especially soft and welcoming crew when he shopped at the big Atlantis Logo Store at Marina Village.  Nominee for the cutest of all stuffies for sale: these camouflage sea lions.


Green and orange clownfish.

A more classic style of stuffed animal.

Time for a bit of snorkeling...

Partying with some pink camouflage sea lions.

Mr. Hunter found Nemo... and Nemo's twin.

These stuffed spotted rays were difficult to photograph but also quite charming.

Mr. Hunter chills with a gigantic sea turtle.

Atlantis Logo Store
Marina Village
Atlantis Resort
Paradise Island, The Bahamas
July 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dinner at Bimini Road

Mr. Hunter's family stayed at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas.  I suppose it shouldn't have been a big surprise that the Atlantis dinners were so expensive, but we were also struck by the relatively small selection of places to eat and by the seeming lack of Bahamian dishes at many of the places.  

One restaurant that did offer some Bahamian food was Bimini Road, located in the small Marina Village that's part of the Atlantis property.  Our first meal at Bimini Road was a mixed bag.  It started with a dish of banana chips (yum), and then for an appetizer we ordered conch fritters.  

Conch (pronounced "konk") is a classic Bahamian food ingredient (anybody remember that episode of Top Chef: All-Stars when the finalists had to snorkel for conch?), and on menus with Bahamian food, you're likely to see mention of conch fritters, conch salad, conch chowder, and more.  

The all-powerful conch fritter.

A couple of us ordered something called the Junkanoo Chicken Salad for our entrees.  The chicken in question was described as having jerk seasoning, but we were sad to find out that this particular jerk seasoning was... well, for us, it was inedible.  But we did return to Bimini Road later in the trip (did I mention that there weren't many nearby restaurants to choose from?), and on that later visit, more of us had satisfactory meals.  So Bimini Road is no Jamie's Italian, but they do serve some worthwhile dishes.

Mr. Hunter is afraid that he cannot recommend
the Junkanoo Chicken Salad.

A burger that had a big scoop of pulled pork on top of it.

Bimini Road Restaurant
Marina Village, Atlantis Resort
Paradise Island, Bahamas
July 2012

Official site for Bimini Road: http://www.atlantis.com/dining/casualdining/biminiroad.aspx

Welcome to Nassau

Mr. Hunter looks pretty pleased to have arrived at the Nassau airport, doesn't he?

Lynden Pindling International Airport
New Providence Island, The Bahamas
July 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Flying to the Bahamas

Mr. Hunter and family recently braved the heat and humidity of July in the Bahamas.  Here's Mr. Hunter admiring the view on the flight out to New Providence Island.

We'd been flying for awhile when we saw this island.
It could be Bimini.

Here's some video of when we were flying over the northeastern section of Andros Island.  I love the blues and blue-greens.

We were on a prop plane,
and the camera gave the propellers a notable look.

flying over the Atlantic Ocean
The Bahamas
July 2012

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Where in the World Is Mr. Hunter? The answer (Rope Bridge edition)

Where was Mr. Hunter when he encountered this rope bridge?

He was exploring the grounds while he vacationed at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, home to water slides, a lively lazy river, expensive restaurants, heat, humidity... and a little something else that shall be revealed later on Mr. Hunter's blog.

Those are the famed Royal Towers in the background,
and a lagoon filled with rays in the foreground.

More to come on Mr. Hunter's visit to the Bahamas!

Atlantis Resort
Paradise Island, The Bahamas
July 2012

Where in the World is Mr. Hunter? - The Rope Bridge

Where was Mr. Hunter as he prepared to cross this rope bridge?
(Hint: you may have noticed those palm trees in the background...)

You can find the answer here.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Backyard Birding with Mr. Hunter: Chestnut-backed Chickadee Nest

Mr. Hunter's family has a wooden birdhouse hanging in the backyard, and one day this summer we noticed the sounds of baby birds chirping from inside the birdhouse.  A family of chestnut-backed chickadees had moved in!  (See video down below.)

Later in the summer, once the chickadees had fledged, the wire holding the birdhouse broke and the birdhouse fell onto the ground.  So we got a peek at the nest that the chickadees had made.

Here's video of the chestnut-backed chickadee parents outside the birdhouse:

Side view of the nest.

We could see bits of bottlebrush woven into the nest.

A close up of the nest.  You can see some red strands of bottlebrush
in the mix.  And that dark area at the top of the picture
is the top of the hole where the baby birds must have been nestled.

In case you were curious, we did rehang the birdhouse, and we also put the nest back out into the backyard, in case other birds would like to make use of the nesting materials.

July 2012

Saturday, August 4, 2012

No Pets Please

Mr. Hunter hesitated when he saw the sad "Sorry - No Pets Please" sign posted at Eugene, Oregon's Saturday Market.  But then a sympathetic Terry reassured Mr. H that he didn't qualify as a pet.  Phew!

Eugene, Oregon
August 1992

Friday, August 3, 2012

Mr. PotatoMouth

Mr. Hunter turned himself into Mr. PotatoMouth after he spotted some notably connected potato wedges at a pre-flight lunch at Heathrow.

Heathrow Airport
London, England
September 2011

Official site for Giraffe - http://www.giraffe.net/classic

Mr. Hunter Takes the Tube

Don't be fooled.  Mr. Hunter may have eventually found an empty seat on the London Underground, but when he first got onto this train, places to sit were hard to come by.  It was only after we got further out of town and closer to Heathrow that these seats opened up.

Some of the people on the Tube.
At one point on the journey, Mr. Hunter and I were especially intrigued
by one passenger who was transporting a big stack of pies.  Yum!

London Underground
Piccadilly Line
London, England
September 2012