Friday, December 31, 2010

Adolescent Flamingoes

There were some young flamingoes hanging out betwen the salt company and TWR. I got these shots from my car.

New Year, New Bonaire

There is lots of newness to be had here on Bonaire as we enter 2011. I just saw a good online writeup about the Caribisch Nederland, which is what Bonaire is part of now. We usually just call it the Dutch Caribbean, but "Caribbean Netherlands" shows signs of emerging as the official English way of saying it.

Seems to me that "Caribbean Netherlands", with Caribbean being the adjetive, seems to imply that this is a Caribbean part of the Netherlands, while Dutch Caribbean with Caribbean being the noun seems to allow Bonaire to continue to be a Caribbean island with a Dutch flavor. A generation or so from now, that subtle nuance could make a big difference.

If you want to learn more about the new tax and social structures here, loads of official documents have recently been posted online: in Dutch, Papiamentu, and English. If you download and pour though all of them, you'll know as much as we do. More actually, since I haven't read all of them yet. But we will, we will.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Late Night Spanish Update

Back in August, I mentioned that we had added new Spanish language programming every night. The new segment kicks in at 11:15pm, when we used to sign off, and goes straight through to 3am, when our Portuguese programming to Brazil begins. It looks like these new programs are developing quite an audience.

We recently heard from Annabel, the director of the TWR ministry partner in Venezuela, who wrote: We have received at least 10 text messages every day with the block of the night. The number of emails has also been increased for those programs of the block. We have also received calls with congratulating to us because now they can listen in some places that had time without receiving the transmission.

Please keep Annabel and the team in your prayers as we enter the new year. They are facing some daunting challenges as they minister to children and young people, women and families, and church leaders within their country. The RTM Venezuela team also produces a number of excellent radio programs that are broadcast all over Latin America.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

TWR Bonaire Christmas Party

Here are some images from our TWR staff party last week. We had some great food... And we looked at some slides of Bonaire from back in the old days, before a lot of us were born.
We also had fun playing Wii bowling...
and Wii Mario Kart.

Yep, four way Mario Kart is great fun on a rainy Bonaire afternoon.

Fun Christmas Game

We played a fun drawing game last week at our TWR Bonaire Christmas party. I guess you can call it drawing a reindeer by committee. We all sat in a circle and we each had a sheet of paper and a pencil. We all drew antlers on our paper and then passed the papers to the person on our right. We all added a tail to the picture and passed the papers again. They we all drew a nose and passed the papers again. We continued to add one part of the reindeer at a time: rear legs, ears, front legs, eyes, mouth... Eventually we passed the papers back to their original owners, who drew in the body.

Here are the results. What great reindeer drawings, ha-ha. It was a ton of fun.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

IBCB Youth on Christmas Eve

One part of the Christmas Eve program at the International Bible Church on Bonaire was presented by the youth group. They did a play titled, "live from downtown."
As one church member observed, a number of the kids are "natural hams," so the play, needless to say, was well done and quite entertaining.
The script for the play can be found online here.

If LB posts any video clips from the play, I'll add a link here some day.

IBCB Christmas Eve Pgm

The International Bible Church had a Christmas Eve program last night. There was a great turnout, pretty much filled up the high school auditorium.The choir presented a musical titled, "Festival of Lights," by Tom Fettke. Sue Felix played the keyboard before the program and during the audience participation Christmas carol singing sections.
Joe Barker, far right, did the narration segments and the Barker kids had some special parts too.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

More Rain

There were two cruise ships in today. The skies were reasonably sunny and clear, which is lots nicer than overcast and gloomy. So the people taking tours of the island probably had nice views. I saw some people checking out the flamingoes in the "stink pond" to the east of the TWR studios. We had quite a bit of rain overnight though, which left big "puddles" just down the street from our house on Blve. G. N. Debrot.
It is usually not raining when I go for my afternoon after-work bike rides, but the roads are such a mess, I'm riding the mtn. bike exclusively. We've had some very low wind conditions, which are great for road bike riding, but the roads aren't conducive to skinny tire riding these days.

Cool Eclipse Video

Hi, I just saw a great video that a guy named Burton made out of a series of pictures of the recent lunal eclipse. Here is a link to the video clip.

Here is some of what Burton had to say about the video: I had equipment problems to begin with and the eclipse got started without me (I guess mother nature has her own schedule-and that is good). Individual frames were taken at 1 minute intervals with exposure (exposure time and ISO) adjusted depending on the brightness of the moon. The decision as to how fast to change those parameters is a judgment call, and the effect will vary. That is why there seems to be a slight backward/foreward movement of the eclipse shadow in some frames.
We had been having clouds, snow, rain for about 2 weeks, so I was doubtful we could see the event. It cleared up about 1 hour before the eclipse was to begin (better lucky than good)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Goats

There is backwards wind and rain today, here on Bonaire, but yesterday had some nice sunny skies.
Around mid-day, a herd of goats took shelter from the sun on the north side of the TWR studios.
I could have run out there with a recorder to get some seasonal sound effects. The International Bible Church has a Christmas Eve. rehersal tonight, but I don't think there is a manger scene in the program this year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse

I happened to wake up at 4am last night, so I went outside and saw the total eclipse of the moon. Amazingly enough, the sky was very clear and it was beautiful. I went back to bed around 5am, when the moon started peaking out of the Earth's shadow. That sliver of moon was amazingly bright.

I took some pictures that I'll play with when I have time. This picture, shot at ISO 6400, doesn't do the scene justice.

I drew a line along the three stars that make up Orion's belt, so you can use that to figure out what some of the other stars are.

The moon is over exposed, but if it hadn't been completely eclipsed, it would have washed out pretty much all the stars in this picture.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dreaming of a Soggy Christmas

It's still raining quite a bit here on Bonaire. Donna, from Republik, reports that we had 2.73 inches of rain this past Saturday. Other parts of the island may have had more or less than that, since it depends on exactly where the various clouds passed. We also had quite a cloudburst on Sunday, right between the end of the church service and the start of Sunday School.

Today wasn't too wet, I got in a nice dry bike ride after work - except for suffering a pinch flat at the bottom of a hill on the way home. Fortunately I had a spare tube and my trusty LED bike lights with me, so I was ok, even though I got home a litter later than usual.

In other seasonal news, we now have a bunch of LED Christmas lights, so we can afford to do some decorating, even with the high electricity costs here. Sandra has an LED bedside reading lamp as well. It is actually a very bright three LED bulb that screwed into her regular lamp. Way cool.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Creative Look at the Christmas Story

Our friend, Bill Heatley, just sent me a link to this very creative new take on the Christmas Story.

DX Reports

DX'ing is the hobby of listening to distant radio stations. I was pleased to be able to hear our Bonaire 800kHz AM signal in south Florida the first week in November. We were in Boca Raton, visiting the Gillans, and I tuned TWR's evening Spanish transmissions on a clock radio in the bedroom. Well, it turns out that the Bonaire signal was being heard in even more distant lands at about the same time. Yesterday we received a reception report from Paltamo, Finland, above, and another from Sweden, below.
These two dedicated hobbiests will be receiving TWR - Bonaire QSL cards in the mail. Can you hear Bonaire where you live? We beam the signal North in the evening, switch to an omnidirectional pattern around midnight (04:00 UTC), and then to the South starting at 3am Bonaire time. (07:00 UTC)

Walking on Water II

Sandra and I returned to Goto Lake the other day to check out some of the other flooded sections and to get some more walking on water practice. Just when we were feeling pretty proud of our efforts, along came a Suzuki Samurai, driving on the water.
Sandra and the Sammi later compared notes on the experience.

I like the pastel colors in the view below.

Here Sandra and dog number two check out another flooded spot in the road around the lake.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Islands, Radio Stations and TWR

In addition to Bonaire, TWR also broadcasts Bible based programs from the islands of Cypris, Sri Lanka, and Guam. The Guam station is in the middle of a major rebuild and upgrade. They have a blog so we can keep up to date on the project progress.

In spite of the weak global economy, over 650,000 dollars has been donated towards this project this year. We are especially encouraged by a number of radio stations in North America that have partnered with TWR so their listeners can participate in radio ministry on a global scale.

For example, in November, Moody Radio stations in three major cities (Cleveland, OH, Chattanooga, TN, Tampa, FL) and KCBI-FM in Dallas, TX, held a "Love Asia by Radio" two-day campaign. 2,577 calls were fielded by volunteers at a call center set up at the Cary, NC offices, and over $270,000 was received in gifts and pledges.

Many other radio stations have helped TWR over the years. Back in 2006, I wrote about radio station executives who visited TWR ministry centers in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Bonaire.

Big Bonaire Tent is Gone

Back in 2008, I did a post about an airplane hanger sized tent-like structure that was set up across the street from the TWR office. It was to be the office and showroom for a new all-inclusive resort that was to be built on the site of the old Hotel Bonaire. This past summer, the developers announced that they weren't going to do the project after all. There is now a grass roots campaign here in favor of retaining the site as a public park and beach.
I don't know what's next for the property, but the big old tent was taken down last week as you can see in the above photos.

More "Underwater" Shots from Bonaire

Back on Nov. 21, I posted some pictures of TWR's underwater antenna field. Here are some shots of Bonaire's latest underwater attraction. Some big rains about a week ago, filled up Goto Lake and it spilled over the road from Bopec to Dos Pos. This part of the road has flooded before, but this time around, there is water spilling over some other areas of the road that I've never seen covered before.
Bonaire's latest underwater attraction is a hit with tourists and locals alike. If you click on the picture, you can see, in the background, the top of the goat fence that usually extends a few hundred meters across the dry salt flats.
Here is another shot of the goat fence, with Brandaris in the background.

You know, I didn't realize it until later, but if I had paid a little attention to the lighting angle, I probably could have gotten a good "running on water" picture, shades of the walking on water scene in Superman I.
The road was closed for much of last week, but by Saturday, the waters had receeded enough for the road to be open again. I decided that the water was probably too salty to drive or bicycle through, with my own equipment anyway.

History Comes Alive II

A week or two after we visited St. Augustine, FL, we found ourselves in Plymouth, Massachusetts, home of the Pilgrims, Plymouth Rock, and the Mayflower. Plymouth Plantation is a recreation of what the settlement would have looked like in about 1640 or so. The is a recreated 17th century Massasoit indian village too.
And we explored the Mayflower II, just before closing time that afternoon. Sandra got to help some of the friendly and knowledgable crew batten down the hatches, literally, for the night time hours.

Plymouth village was loaded with actors who dressed and talked like it was 1640. Sandra had an absolute blast conversing with them. Here she is "helping" one of them mix mud, which will be used to plaster the interior walls of the storage building they were constructing.

What the above picture doesn't show is that that mud was reeeeealy cold.

Here is Sandra, with another of the Pilgrims, as she checks out the living arrangements inside one of the houses.