Monday, September 29, 2008


Went fishing on the Orinoco this past weekend. We went to the small town of Mapire. Not much going on there except life on the river.

We left El Tigre early Saturday morning and saw these crazy vultures sunning themselves on the fence posts. Had to stop for a few pics. My camera was set on ISO 1600 (for low-light conditions) so the pics are somewhat grainy. Anyway, it was a trippy sight indeed seeing all these birds posing like they did.

Got to Mapire and the Orinoco is HUGE! It is about 1 mile across at Mapire. A few weeks ago, it was even higher, but the water has receeded some.

We went to several places on Saturday on the Orinoco, but had no luck. On Sunday we motored 1 hour west, up river, about 16.5 miles to the confluence of the Rio Caura. The Caura is a black river, full of tannins from the vegitation upstream.

We started trolling on the Caura. I was trolling a white and purple diving lure and got a hit almost immediately. I landed a "sardinata" in the boat, got it in the cooler, decided it was time for a beer. Even before I was halfway down with my beer, I had another hit.

I decided to give Oscar the purple lure, and I put on a silver lure with red spots. Our guide decided he found a good spot and turned off the motor and we started casting. On my third cast, I got a big hit! I landed a 8 lbs sardinata! Killer!

Total I got 9 fish, Daniel had 2, Oscar 1, and Matthew 1. It was great fun!

Also there is a life on the river like nowhere else. I bought cheese from a river lady. And saw some guys bring in a couple of young bulls by boat. Wild country!

Friday, September 26, 2008

101 Orbits!

Wow! Grandmother has completed 101 orbits of the sun! Happy Birthday Grandmother!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Reading Week

Having reading week this week. The students decorated the doors with their favorite book titles. My secondary students did the "Cat in the Hat". The winning door was "The Giving Tree". My favorite was "Dinosaurs" because it went beyond the door...kind of cool.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Mini-Tiendas at C.C. Plaza Mayor

Bumper Cars at the "Parque Mechanical"

The "Ranger"

Ranger Danger!!

This weekend our teaching staff participated in a weekend professional development workshop. I gave a presentation on my science teaching ideas, inventions, and techniques that I have made over the years, and received a good reception from all those who attended.

Saturday's session was okay too. I enjoyed the math and the technology sessions I attended in the morning. The afternoon session wasn't as fun. During the "Job Alike" lunch, when I told the other teachers I taught 8 preps, their jaws dropped. They were teaching only 5 or 6 science only classes. I am not complaining. Its a challenge for sure, but I know I can do it. No sweat!

Saturday night, Tania wanted to go to Plaza Mayor for something to do. I had my camera (Canon SD1000) and took a few pics to keep myself entertained.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

C.C. Plaza Mayor


C.C. Plaza Mayor

Took some photos today. I love my latest Canon ELPH, the SD1000. Small, easy to carry, but lots of neat options to play with. Today I shot mostly in black and white. Here are my favorite shots taken today.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

An Interesting 15 hours

Thursday afternoon/evening into early Friday morning...

3:00 – 4:00 PM: Played a practice volley ball game, teachers vs. students. It rained so it was like swamp ball.

4:00 – 4:50 PM: Go to apt. shower, get ready to go to Lecheria for Grand Opening party at the new Tony Roma’s.

5:00 – 8:15 PM: Epic 200 km drive in rain, dark, a water crossing with water over my axles. The most sever and dangerous driving conditions in Venezuela. Pick up wife for party.

8:30 – 12:00 midnight: Party at the Tony Roma’s. Open bar…scotch or red wine, free ribs, cesar salad, hot wings, and those onion things. The first person I see is Peter, and he tells me about the Chavez announcement of kicking the ambassador out and calling us Americans, “Shitty Yankees.” This is the big topic over whiskys and ribs. Every one is excited. We decide we better head out about 12:00. I drop Tania back home, and we head out because we need to go to work.

12:00 – 1:50 AM: Rocket back 200 km to El Tigre. Very light traffic, road is dry. Hit speeds of more than 140 kph (~90 mph) from time to time, but mostly cruised at 130 kph (~81 mph).

1:50 AM: As I am getting into my apt. I get a cell phone call that my boss, Aaron has a flat tire.

2:30 AM: No new word on Aaron’s status, so I go to bed. Need to be at work at 7:30.

2:31 AM: Cell phone rings, Aaron wants me to bring my spare, his is bad.

2:40 AM: Head out with two other teachers me in my Kia, the others in a Ford Fiesta. We are hoping one of our spares will work on a Chevy Corsa.

3:00 AM: Arrive at Aaron’s car.

3:00 – 4:00 AM: Neither spare, Kia or Ford, will fit the Chevy. We try all sorts of things. Finally getting worried that our odds are increasing for potential danger from bad guys in the night. Aaron is reluctant to leave the car because Corsas are the 2nd most stolen cars in Venezuela. We abandon the car on the side of the road, collect the tires to look for a 24 hour tire repair place. The teachers in the Ford go home.

4:00 – 4:10 AM: Drive back into town looking for a 24 hour tire repair place.

4:10 AM: Pull over at a 24 hour tire repair place, but it is dark. Oscar and Aaron get out to see if anybody is in there. Security gate is closed, but they look through the gate to see if there is a phone number on the wall or anything.

4:10 – 4:30 AM: A pimped out Fiat Uno drives past, then back up. The window comes down and the woman in the passenger seat starts asking Aaron and Oscar where they are from. Oscar tries to explain the situation. The driver starts arguing with Oscar. Aaron and Oscar get back in the car, Oscar says “Let’s go! That guy want to fight us!” The guy cuts me off, so I put it in reverse and pull away. The driver gets out of the car. He has a dark blue police uniform (dirty) on. He pulls a BIG FUCKING nickel-plated revolver (probably a .357), looked like a cannon, from under his tunic. Oscar yells, “Oh shit, he’s got a gun! Let’s go! Let’s go!" The guy points it at the car and stays, “Para! Policia! Para!” Like a deer in the headlights, I stop and freeze. My heart is raising.

The guy is obviously high on something. I think he was smoking crack! He won’t listen to reason. He uses his cell phone and more Police Anzoategui come screaming in sirens wailing.

Those guys take over the situation. Oscar gets us off, but has an interesting conversion with these putas that call themselves police. Oscar let it be known that the driver of the Uno never identified himself as a police officer until he pulled the gun. The guy was a genuine malandro and lunatic.

4:30 – 5:00: We look for another tire repair place, but decide we should wait till daylight. The sky is already getting light.

5:00 AM: I get to my apartment.

6:15 AM: Alarm goes off to wake up.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Paddling and Snorkelling

I am back in Venezuela (arrived Aug 23). I've been working for about two weeks now. I took my Klepper out for a paddle this past Sunday. In the front seat was Matt, the new teacher at school. I figured I would show him another part of Venezuela besides El Tigre.

I like paddling the Klepper. It is a stable, forgiving boat, but still fairly fast across the water. We paddled to the "Hemmingway House" at La Piscina, and paddled around Isla Arapo. Here are a few pics.