Sunday, April 27, 2008

Trail Maintenance-Google Earth Map Improved

Bonaire Wellness has a couple mountain bike races coming up in the near future. A practice race is set for May 3 and a real race is scheduled for June 1. Of course, here on Bonaire, even a real race is pretty low key, and all ages and abilities are welcome. As I write this, the Bonaire Wellness website seems to be broken and my emails to it are bouncing back to me. So if you would like more info about either of the races, or if you would like a .kml file of the race course that you can open in your own copy of Google Earth, just email me. Above is the course profile. The altitude is in meters and the distance is in kilometers. The loop that makes up the race course is only about 2.4 miles long. The level of difficulty is deceptive however, especially if one does multiple laps. There is no place to rest/recover/regroup. The course is either super bumpy, which tends to beat you up physically, or it is climbing uphill. Different race classes ride from one to four laps of the course.
Above, you can see the course plotted on a Google Earth view of Bonaire. You'll have to click on the picture to see it bigger. Google Earth has greatly improved the resolution of their map of the North part of Bonaire. I'm really psyched about that, even though there are pesky clouds hiding some key areas.

I spent last Saturday morning cutting back thorn bushes that seem to grow like crazy and block the "donkey trail" part of the course each winter. Those thorn bushes don't give up without a fight and my arms and legs look like a cross between a pin cushion and a cat's scratching post. Miguel and Sam recently did a trail clearing session as well. So now we should be able to ride the course without collecting a bunch of cuts and bloody scratches. Miguel, of Bonaire Wellness Conexxions, calls them "souvenirs." I guess being an optimist is the first prerequisite to being a personal trainer/fitness program director!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

White Coats

Renvi, one of the students at the St. James Medical School, invited us to their recent graduation - white coat ceremony, held at the beach level, north of the Lions Den restaurant.
Outgoing student govt. president, Rhett Nelson, pictured above, came to the school from a career as an EMT - paramedic. EZ, pictured below, came after a tour of duty with the US military. Rhett and EZ were regulars at the International Bible Church during their time on Bonaire. We'll miss them.

There are a couple nurse practicioners at the school, a married couple who are both still serving in the US Army, and of course, some kids right out of college. A whole bunch of nationalities are represented, making for a diverse and interesting student body.
In the picture below, Renvi and some of the other 35 graduates are reciting the Hippocratic Oath.

Long time readers of the blog may remember that the first graduation ceremony was held at the TWR activities building some three years ago. We continue to be very impressed by, and enjoy interacting with, the top quality young people participating in this intensive 16 month program.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wide Eyed Wonder

TWR staff member, Ivan, is on the right. On the left is a pastor and denominational leader from Colombia who is visiting a sister church on Bonaire.

He told us that he's been listening to our Bible based radio programming for 40 years. He didn't have to tell us about the impact TWR has made on his life. The smile on his face and his wide eyed wonder as he toured the studio building said it all.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Church on the Move II

The International Bible Church of Bonaire held its first Sunday service in the High School auditorium last week. I recently posted a picture showing the location of the High School relative to some other downtown Bonaire landmarks. To make sure that no one gets lost, Walt parks his pickup with this sign at the end of the school driveway. The school auditorium was perfect for our group, and had great cross ventilation to keep us cool.
A big thank you goes to Lucy for these pictures!


I heard this week that we are almost at the end of cruise ship season here on Bonaire. I know my biking buddy, Miguel, will be relieved. If he had a guilder for every person who asked him "where's the beach" while basically standing on it, he could retire a rich man. Long time Trans World Radio volunteers, Perry and Sally Zavitz dropped in at the office recently, when their cruise ship was in port. It was great to catch up on what all they've been up to since their last time on Bonaire.
We were hanging out at Rum Runners and saw this great Iguana sunning himself on the wall. Perry snapped this colorful image.

Dog Bed Upgrade

Well, we've upgraded and augmented our guest bed setup, adding a new futon in the TV room and moving the sofa bed to the carport. But anyone who wants to sleep on the sofa bed will have to clear it with the dogs first. We had thought of selling the sofa bed for some nominal sum, but we also needed new dog beds. We calculated that the cost of the materials for making dog beds would be as much or more than what we could sell the sofa bed for. So the dogs inherited the cushions, and the bed as well.
Actually we keep the sofa bed closed in sofa mode so we can pull the dune buggy right up to it in the car port. The dogs love sleeping on their new "couch cave."

Beach Bash

A bunch of the students attending the St. James medical school have been attending the International Bible Church. Graduation is coming up next week, so the IBC had a hang out with the med students beach party last Saturday. Here we see the students with Pastor Baran. The church has had activities for the med students, off and on, over the years. The young people are always fun to be with, sharp as a tack, and focused.
Amado Felix provided some shade tents to provide some relief from the sun.
There was LOTS of food.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Bonaire Bargains

Some necessities of life, like electricity at a little over $.40 per kilowatt hour, are pretty expensive here on Bonaire.

But some things are real bargains. For example, last week we took our three dogs to the vet for checkups, and the annual shots for two of them, and a wart frozen off of one. All that, plus a previous visit for a "barf shot" to empty the puppy's stomach after he ate a poisonous blue tail lizard, only cost us $59!

Yesterday, Sandra and I flew to Curacao for the day to see a medical specialist. During her lifetime, Sandra has seen this type of doctor on three continents, likes this one better than any of them, and the office visit yesterday cost us a mere $30.90. What a deal. Over the next four months Sandra is going to transition into a new medication, which we hope will work better, with fewer side effects, than what she has been on for the last 25 years or so. If our next family photo shows her with two heads, you'll know that it didn't work!

Of course, travel to the Dr.'s office yesterday cost us about $250, so we'll just chalk that up as a one day mini vacation. After all, creeping around Curacao's ring road in bumper to bumper traffic, and eating lunch at Mc Donalds IS a big change from Bonaire. ha-ha

By the way, I want to put in a good word for the ticket and gate agent (same guy) of Divi Divi Airlines in Curacao. Because of those traffic jams, we got to the airport at the very last minute and it was only because Divi Divi went above and beyond the call of duty that we weren't stuck in Curacao for the night. Thank you Divi Divi!