Monday, December 28, 2015

home again!

So our flight out of Jose Marti airport in Havana was delayed by nearly four hours putting us right in the teeth of the Miami rush hour - which we really didn't want to be in on December 23rd.... but at least we knew we would be home that night - some of our group had further flights heading to various parts of the U.S.

We got home by 9 PM and greeted our cats who had been well cared for with twice a day visits from Penny's Purrfect Petsitting... started laundry and were thrilled to be home to our own pillows and bedding and showers! (Travel is a great teacher of appreciation in many ways - not just what you see when traveling but also how you see your own country/city/home when you return)

The following day- which was Christmas Eve- we headed to the Feast of the Seven Fishes at one of our favorite restaurants (a good old fashioned Italian place in Sarasota called Cafe Baci).  Roberto, the owner had warned us away from it before but we were intrigued and insisted on going this year. Never again! He was right- we should have stayed away... the place was a zoo- serving over 500 dinners... the food was fine for a set menu and mass produced meal but the chef is capable of really great food - just not on this night...

here is the menu and a few photos of the food-

The flounder was the winner of the three fish entree. And the panna cotta (despite no photo) was very very good. The service (Henry) was excellent but the place was a zoo and our chairs got bumped every time a server went in or out of the tables behind us which had seatings of 10 and 12 people..

we did manage to drown our sorrows in the champagne we brought- LOL

so we finally got to find out about the feast of the seven fishes and once was enough...

we had a very nice meal last night on the roof terrace of the Beach Street Bistro- the photos are terrible because they have these yellow lights (bug repelling I guess) outside on the terrace but we had lobster fritters and ahi tuna apps and then grouper for me and seafood tower for Phil- a shared dessert of three mini creme brulees- which escaped the photo... the downtown traffic circle was festively lit for the holidays but the parking was over flowing with tourists here for the Christmas week and everywhere has been annoyingly overly full... alas that is a price you pay for living in paradise... everyone wants to have a piece of it...LOL

and soon classes begin for winter term-

I am signed up for one class and a lecture (as is Phil) and then for spring term I have two classes and a lecture---

here is the back to school detail- my class and the lecture we are attending at the local Museum along with local friends John & Barb, and my friend Maryanne, who is visiting that week!

The Cold War was not only America’s longest war, but it constituted the most dangerous period in modern world history. Exploring this essential part of our history can help us understand the world we live in today. Our guides will be the key players of those years, figures like Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Khrushchev, Reagan, and Gorbachev, among others. Through their policies and actions, we’ll examine many different aspects of this fateful era, from its guiding ideologies to programs like the Marshall Plan and iconic events like the Berlin blockade. We’ll also look at the Cold War’s bloodiest chapters, Korea and Vietnam.

“Life, the Universe, and Everything at the South Florida Museum” with Jeff Rodgers
you’ll take off on a journey to the edge of space using the Bishop Planetarium’s 3D map of the observable universe. Follow that up with a walking tour of the museum’s exhibitions, tracing the natural history of life and of Florida back to 500 million years ago. We promise that you’ll walk away with a new perspective of your place in the universe and a new sense of wonder for our beautiful state.

then my spring term looks like this-

An overseas war that divided the country. An economic depression that increased income inequality. Sound familiar? The 1890s are perhaps not as remote as we think. This decade also witnessed the rise of the Populists—a third party whose name is now synonymous with popular protest—and a bitter presidential election that pitted a silver-tongued Democratic congressman against a gold-plated Republican governor. Chicago hosted a shimmering world’s fair and a prolonged strike that closed down its Pullman car works. These are a few of the events we will cover in this course—events which contributed to the making of modern America.

The Middle Ages was a turbulent, formative time in the history of Europe. This class will explore the period from the fall of the Roman Empire to the dawning of the Age of Discovery. Looking at social structures and the everyday lives of the people, we’ll focus on the rise and fall of Central-, East-, and West Europe, England, and the Byzantine Empire. Much was lost during this period, but we’ll marvel at the new and inventive technologies that were gained. Our goal will be to shed some light on these “dark ages.”

and the lecture John & Barb and Phil & I signed up for- 

“Little Known Clever Creatures of Florida” with Florida Master Naturalist Alice Newlon 
We discover some of the good, the bad, and the clever creatures that make up Florida’s wildlife. You’ll learn to look at Florida’s unique birds, frogs, and turtles in a whole new light.

so we are back in the swing of things - planning on a NY Eve at home with stone crabs and foie and duck rillettes etc... and I - of course - have started to comb through my 2500 Cuba photos to bring you the best pictures and stories from our trip... so stay tuned because those posts start any day now...

here are a few photos of some of the members of the dance company we met with while in Cuba- 

we had people to people cultural exchanges one to three times daily, so there are many more photos to follow- stay tuned-  and find out who this mystery cowboy is and what he does --- and meanwhile you can be working on why the N is backward when used in KING and RANCH on his hat...LOL - 

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