Saturday, May 5, 2018

GE 2018: Sayonara from South Beach

It’s the end… Farewell, So Long, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu… So very sad for it to be the last day of Global Scavenger Hunt 2018.  We are in Miami, Florida and fly home tomorrow. But we squeezed the very last drop of fun out of the trip ... and got to see our Burner family and my nieces as well.
We arrived last night and are staying at the Intercontinental:  very nice hotel with great ocean views from the room.  Latin music blasted outside of our room until the wee hours but the very soft bed and exemplary pillows offset my urge to smash a maraca or two.
Most of the competition teams headed out to do the bonus challenge of a swamp boat/ gator viewing trip in the Everglades.  But we have done that trip before, so we headed to South Beach, where we rented bikes and rode around checking out the art deco buildings and tried to find a “kitschy” pink flamingo to pose with.  Sadly South Beach has really upped its lawn decoration style in the last few years and there was not a flamingo to find. True Tragedy. 
We did find a VERY plump and lazy iguana... does that count?
Museum of Ice Cream … who can resist?
Then we had lunch (a long, long - filled with laughter and catching up - lunch) with our Burning Man family (i.e. the group that we camp with at Burning Man).  This year we have applied to be an actual theme camp at the festival (which apparently involved a 6+ hour, multi-page application process and LOTS of  administrative work...tip of the hat and much thanks to Rick), so we did loads of planning around that event. I just want to make it clear that I designated myself QUEEN of the theme camp… so no stealing that spot.  Too much to talk about, so little time.
Check-in today was at the pool bar in the hotel.  Marnie and Greg flew out this afternoon so it was also time to say goodbye to them (if I knew how to add emojis to this blog, I’d have a big sad face right here).

The event coordinator, Bill, announced the winners of the competition:
In second place, NOLA Second Place (Jim and Betty) - with their medals
In first place, SLO Folks (who rocked the event)
Plus - exciting news - for the very first time – ever – I won the Player’s Pool (along with Marnie).  The Player’s Pool is this tradition that - at the start of the competition – everyone guesses which countries they think we are going to and chips in $20.  At the end, the person with the most correct countries wins the pool.  I typically get zero – or at best one - correct country… but this time, both Marnie and I guessed FOUR correct countries (although not the same 4) and split the pot. YAY.
I’ll leave you with my favorite street art from today…. Until the next adventure …

Thursday, May 3, 2018

GE 2018: Playing with sea lions in Peru

We are now in Lima, Peru.  We’ve been here the last 2 days and we leave tomorrow morning for Miami, Florida (last leg of the very sad about that).
You got to admit ... the cool Peruvian hat (with flower) adds a real touch of class to the street vendor pose. 
I will start with the A+++, Triple WOW experience of the trip so those of you with short attention spans (I’m looking at you Rainey Booth) can read about that bonus scavenge, even if they don’t get any further.  Off the coast of Lima are a series of islands with NO vegetation. None. They look like icebergs from afar, but are actually just cream-colored rocks rising from the ocean (look behind Rainey’s shoulder).
On one of these islands lives 4,300+ sea lions (and I know this fact because they count them every 3 months using satellite photos and the most recent count came out last week). Every brown speck on the island is actually a sea lion.  
We went by boat (long trip, very rough waves) to the island and … here’s where it gets amazing… jumped in the freezing cold water and swam and played with them.  A real life National Geographic moment.  The water was actually so cold– and the dark, dark, dark water so filled with large slippery sea lion creatures - all around and underneath you  - was so intimidating that I had to start yoga breathing (to stop full out panic) when I first jumped in.  Then I talked myself off the ledge and relaxed.  The boat guy showed me how to float on my back with my two feet on top of the water up in front of me… and after a moment a sea lion came right and touched my feet with its whisker-y mouth (probably to make sure I was not a penguin and thus snack-worthy).  The sea lions were barking and frolicking and jumping out of the water all around me… It was incredible. 
Interesting sight: where the river meets the ocean (fresh water meets salt water) there is a clear line of green water touching blue water. I've never seen anything like it before.
Old man and the sea (with Lima behind him)
Last night, our last scavenge before we headed home, was to see the Magical Waters… which are dancing fountains in a park.  They move and change colors to music (similiar to the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas). There are park benches all around the fountains where you can sit and eat an ice cream and enjoy the night.
Scavenge: Try some Peruvian Coke
Otherwise known as Inca Cola, this is a super sweet, diabetic-coma-inducing soda that is a fluorescent color definitely NOT known in nature.  It is very popular in Peru.
Scavenge:  We had to find a policeman that spoke English and ask him some questions.  In this entire group, ONE had a rudimentary understanding of English (obviously still more than my Spanish, so no judgment).  The full riot gear (while very intimidating) was apparently just because they were guarding the president and not because they actually anticipated Armageddon. 
Scavenge:  Find the Peruvian Last Supper at Church of San Francisco and discover what Jesus is eating.
Apparently, on this continent, Jesus sat down for his last meal and chowed down on roasted guinea pig.  I know… yuck. And a little cultural appropriation. (No photos allowed inside the church)
This morning we went bike riding on the El Malecon (the wide boardwalk-like sidewalk that runs all down the coastline) to the Parque Del Amore (I think you can figure out why it’s called that).
As to the scores / rankings for this year’s competition. Since we joined in the middle of the trip, we are not in the official competition. But in the last leg (Argentina / Uruguay) we busted our butts and tied for first place with Marnie and Greg.  We actually turned in identical score sheets since we did everything together.  The actual first place winners of the entire event is the indominable SLO Folks team, who are now so far ahead of everyone else that they could take a nap from here to the end and still win.  So proud of them.  They have been working hard all around the world. Paula and Tom from San Luis Obispo (SLO Folks) are great competitors (good strategizers and they see the fun in the competition) and very much deserve to win. Plus – the best part – that means they will be back next year again and we will get to see them!!
Lima at night.. isn't she a beauty?

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

GE 2018: Meandering through Montevideo

Woke up today in Montevideo, Uruguay (not a place I ever imagined being or really even knew existed)… and found that it is very nice here.
Since it is May Day EVERYTHNG (and I mean, everything) is closed.  This is worse than even Christmas in the US.  No buses, no taxis, no shops, only a handful of restaurants in the whole city are open.  It’s been a challenge to get any scavenges done.
First up, Rainey went swimming in the South Atlantic for 35 points.  It was cold – and brown (apparently not from pollution but sediment - or that's the story they are sticking to) – and he had to go in up to his neck for the points.
We managed to find a bike rental place who – after we waited almost an hour – delivered 4 bright orange bikes to the hotel for us to ride on the Rambla (the wide, boardwalk-styled pedestrian and bike path all along the ocean front). We headed out for a park that seemed less than an inch away on the map but turned out to be over 4 miles in the real world.  But it was fantastic.  Sunshine (a new experience for us this trip so far), cool brisk winds (it’s Fall hear) and lots of people at the beach and on the Rambla.  I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
At the park, we had to strike up a conversation with a group of locals and get them to give you some mate.  Seems like an impossible challenge, right? Especially because mate is a tea (that tastes exactly like a mixture of mud and grass) drunk in an individual cup with a fancy metal straw.  Which stranger is going to share their cup / straw with you?  Apparently anyone from Uruguay.  The group we chatted with offered up their “I-just-took-a-sip-from-this” straw to me readily (crazy people) and I took a big swig of bitterness.  Then smiled brightly and exclaimed how delicious it was (my mother raised me right).  
This afternoon we were stuck seeing stuff that is big and in town squares and thus cannot be closed. The founding father of Uruguay – Jose Gervasio Artigas
Remaining piece of original city wall
Parliament building
And, of course, the totally touristy photo that is a MUST-HAVE. Note the slope of my leg... exactly matching the V.
Interesting art.. Blue Man Group - solo (with fans at feet)


blog stats
catalog outlet store