Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The difference between a fall and a fail...

Doing anything to move toward a goal means that you have succeeded to some degree.

Put another way, the only way you can fail is if you do nothing.
Success is like scaling a mountain. The goal is to reach the summit.
Sometimes your path may lead to a dead end. Sometimes your path may require a detour or re-tracing your steps. Sometimes you have to stop for a breather. But as long as you're still climbing... you haven't failed.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Smoke gets in your eyes... and in your food

Thick clouds of anti-bug spray envelope our resort.
Nope, not a fire...
Every night at our resort a staff member wandered the grounds, spraying for mosquitoes and leaving thick clouds of chemical fog in his wake.

The backpack contraption he wore sounded as loud as a gas-powered leaf-blower... which I guess it was in a way.

Even more alarming, he wore a respirator even as he sprayed the area around the open air restaurant. Although it was an all-inclusive resort, and all the restaurants were free, we gave that particular eatery a miss. 😒

Thursday, December 26, 2019

More scenes from the ruins...

Some of the ruins at Chichen Itza...
The real deal... not a Hollywood set.
More scenes from the ruins at Chichen Itza...

Not seen here is the ball court in which the Mayans played a unique form of soccer. The ball was played from the hip and thighs as opposed to using their feet. Games could last for days.

As their reward for winning, the victors were sacrificed to the gods.😲!

Although it was considered an honour, they were essentially killing their best athletes in favour of the genetically inferior losers... which might help explain why the Mayan empire went extinct.

Rows of pillars at Chichen Itza...
Rows of stone pillars signifying ???


Monday, December 23, 2019

Mayan mojo...

The main pyramid at Chichen Itza...
A nearly perfect structure...
My wife and I toured the fascinating Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. Essentially, the central pyramid and structures are huge calendars of a sort which used the alignment of the sun and planets to determine their growing seasons.

It boggles my modern mind how these ancient people were able to construct these structures to such precise dimensions.

The main temple at the site...
El Castillo, a.k.a. the Temple of Kukulcan
Our one and only disappointment was the huge number of people hawking their wares on the site, although you don't see them in these photos. Tourists are forced to run a gauntlet of sellers running scams, using noisemakers, shouting out... all to get your attention. It certainly cheapens the experience.

As a result, the heritage site is in danger of losing its UNESCO World Heritage Site, something the local government doesn't want to happen.

Friday, December 20, 2019

The lights of Christmas....

The bright lights of Victoria's Bay Centre...
It's not snow but it's still magical...
Recently, my wife and I took in the display of Christmas trees at the nearby Bay Centre in downtown Victoria. Strings of lights hanging from the ceiling create the illusion of snow... something we don't see often here, if at all.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Cancun love connection

A display of lights sets the mood for romance...
Tables, settings and lights await the wedding guests...
Our resort near Puerto Morelos in Mexico was a popular wedding destination. I think that every day we were there, there was at least one weddings, sometimes two.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Caribbean sunrise

The eastern sky glows with the rising sun.
Dawn comes to the Cancun coastline...
Switching things up, we move from Oregon to Cancun, Mexico where my wife and I recently spent some time.

Personally we enjoy the west coast better, particularly for its spectacular sunsets.

However, there is something to be said about the beauty of an early morning Caribbean sunrise.

Palm trees line up for the sunrise...
The sky morphs from black to blue...



Monday, December 9, 2019

Big bird(s)

An emu gives us the evil eye...
Weirdly innocent looking but threatening too...
I've mentioned before that birds are the modern descendants of dinosaurs. Looking at this emu(?) at the Oregon Wildlife Safari, it's not hard to see the connection. It looks menacing.

This guy/ gal was extremely aggressive about plucking food from our van. At one point it lunged forward, startling my wife so badly that she jerked in fear and tossed all the remaining food pellets around the inside of the van.

When I tried to shoo it away, it made this weird grunting noise that made me pause.

On the other hand, the ostrich below was pretty benign by comparison.

An ostrich gives a lookover...
Taking a gander...


Friday, December 6, 2019

Cats in cages

Assorted felines behind bars...
Pretty kitties...
Despite the fact that most of the animals are allowed to roam freely among the grassy hills of Oregon's Wildlife Safari, the wild cats are confined. It wouldn't be good business to have the assorted herbivores being attacked and devoured by the apex predators.

But, man, it sure would make it a way more exciting attraction...

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A visit to the zoo...

A giraffe meanders down the road at the wildlife safari...
Depressed giraffe is depressed...
From Crater Lake we drove to the Oregon Wildlife Safari near Winston, Oregon. It's one of those zoos where the animals are more or less allowed to roam free in large outdoor enclosures. Visiting humans are confined to their cars as they drive slowly through the compound.

Rhinos get into a pushing match at the compound...
Rhinos get pushy...
We watched these rhinos mix it up a bit on nearby hill. No idea if they were being aggressive, or just giving each other the friendly rhino equivalent of a 'fist bump' 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

House of Mystery

The Oregon Vortex is good kitschy fun. The cheese factor is near the top of the scale for this attraction, but it's done with such sincerity and earnestness that my wife and I just went with it and had fun.

Located (sort of) deep in the woods it's essentially a series of optical illusions that appear to show people changing height based on where they stand at the various stops of the tour. The centerpiece is this wonky house (aka The House of Mystery) where there are no right angles. Everything... walls, ceilings, floors... is tilted in strange ways, and both my wife and I found it disorienting when we were in it.

It's all attributed to a mysterious 'vortex' that exists here. Our energetic guide spent a lot of time tossing out some pseudo-science, even invoking Albert Einstein to explain it all.

As a physics major, I can tell you it's all nonsense, but the illusions themselves are pretty interesting. The house and the various walkways, upright posts, etc probably contribute to the optical illusions as everything is set at odd angles to everything else.

Inside Oregon's House of Mystery...
Apparently, the House of Mystery can cause you to sleep spontaneously...
In the photo above, it would seem that my wife is taller/larger than me despite the fact I'm about five inches taller than her.

Optical illusions in The Vortex...
Which version of my wife appears taller/larger? (I've added the white line to prove that both photos are at the same scale.) Most people think she appears larger in the top photo...