Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Arrival in a Foreign Land

Although I am currently sitting comfortably on my bed, with two fans blowing on me and a protective tent of mosquito netting draped around me, I still do not quite believe we are actually here, on the island of Nevis. Of course, this disbelief is more the result of the humor that comes from ultimate despair rather than simply pure joy over being in such a place for, you see, today was the longest day of my life. I thought it would never end! And, yet somehow it did, for here I sit. Let me start at the beginning.

Farrell and I left Greensboro at about 1:50 pm yesterday, which was a little later than intended because we stopped in to see my elderly neighbors before we left. From there, we skipped Raleigh and headed to Goldsboro to pick up some last minute supplies. After finding only two water bladders and one field bag, we decided that was good enough and we packed back into the truck for Raleigh where we had a nice, relaxing Chinese dinner with Ty, followed by an hour and a half break at his house. Then, at 11:00 pm it was time to go meet Farrell's Dad at the airport. His flight was a little late, but it was not a big problem, as we still had plenty of time to catch-up. By 2:30 am though, we were all getting sleepy, so Frank decided to head back to Goldsboro and Daniel and I got all our stuff out of the car and headed back into the airport for what turned out to be little more than two hours of awkwardly positioned sleep on a bed of airport chairs and tables. At 4:20 am we woke up and got in line to check-in and check our bags, which could barely even be classified as ordered chaos. But we made it through that line and on through security as well. What made all this worse was that I was not feeling well at all this morning – a combination of nerves, discomfort from awkward sleep, and possibly bad Chinese food. However, I saw a Brueggers in the airport and was able to stomach half a plain bagel and some coffee. Finally, feeling a smidge better, we boarded the plane to Miami which left at 6:55 am from RDU and arrived at 8:55, a manageable ride. Unfortunately, Miami is where things began to turn slightly downhill.

The flight to St. Kitts was supposed to leave at 10:45 am and arrive on the island at 1:50 pm. There are two major problems with this: (1) it is over a 3 hour flight and (2) the plane does not serve lunch or any sort of complimentary food item. To make matters worse, there was no where to eat in the Miami airport; our only choices were moderately cheap and very unhealthy or ungodly expensive. So, we ate nothing. To make matters worse, once on the plane, they had to do some maintenance, which means we sat there while crews added parts to the airplane. Furthermore, the tv programming provided for entertainment ended about 2 hours into this 3-hour flight...and all there was to look at was ocean. It was the perfect storm for boredom, but, despite what I thought at the time, I did survive the excruciating flight. However, things became even weirder once at the airport, where various men “helped” us (really, the entire group) with our bags, “help” hear meaning to basically take your bags and demand a dollar for each bag to have them returned. They were at the Ferry as well, and every other place we moved our bags. Only the first set managed to sneak our luggage away though, needless to say we all quickly learned our lesson. Despite the stress and angsts, it was still totally worth it! We got a bird's eye view of the volcanoes on St. Kitts and Nevis, a truly unique glimpse of the changing vistas between the islands as seen from the ferry (although surprisingly long for such a short distance), and to finally be here, relaxing under my mosquito net.

Until Next Time,

PS – Pictures are soon to come, no worries!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Quick Update on Following the Blog

I told a few of you that following the blog by clicking 'Follow' in the right panel would give you an option to receive emails when we upload new content. Well, that turns out to be completely wrong. I suspect that you could figure out some way to do that via Google Reader, but pushing email updates should be much simpler than that. I finally figured out, after giving up hope twice, that Blogger does have a (very well hidden) way of pushing RSS feeds via email. Google recently bought some small start up that just got up and running again called FeedBurner. Their service monitors our blogs RSS feed, parses it up, and publicizes it in various forms.

To get signed up:
1. Enter your email address in the box to the right and click subscribe
2. Crack the captcha (type the funky looking letters in the bottom of the box that pops up into the form near them)
3. Login to the email account corresponding to the address you provided in (1)
4. Click the validation link in the email you just got (or will get in the next few seconds)


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hope (for Food)?

Greensboro Farmers Market
Originally uploaded by Farrell
As some of you know, we have become vegetarians of sorts. However, this lifestyle choice did not arise from any new-founded distaste, at least not in the traditional sense. Our hybrid vegetarianism is the result of all the information we have discovered, through various means, about the food industry and the truth about not just how our meat is raised, produced, and distributed, but also our fruits, vegetables, and the false cornucopia of foods that line our grocery shelves. The food industry is just as corrupt as all other industry, receiving little to no regulation: the line between industry and government is non-existent as regulators and companies continually switch employees and employers. Unfortunately, this earth-shattering news is slow to spread due to the tightly drawn "iron veil" that lies between the food industry and consumers, which hides all the misdeeds, culminating in the exploitation of animals, their employees, and, of course, "us" the consumers. And yet, today brought a great deal of hope. Not because we got my parents to buy some organic foods and local, grass fed beef from Earthfare, which was inspiring in and of itself, but because when we went to the local Farmer's Market (as per usual during the summer) we were confronted with something amazing. It seemed as though almost every stall was advertising "organic", "no pesticides", or something of that nature. What's more, there were even local farms selling their locally grown, pastured steaks, ground beef, chicken, and all other kinds of meat. It was fantastic! Morevoer, it was encouraging to see some sort of transparency (or, rather communication) returning between the farmer and the consumer. If you want to know how McDaniel's Farm raised, feed, slaughtered, and brought his meat to market, well, all you have to do is ask. Take a look at the pictures and see for yourself. Oh, and please, if you want to lift the veil between you and your food watch Food, inc. and/or The Future of Food (full version). Of course, if you have any trouble you can always try renting these documentaries from Netflix or some other video store.

Until Next Time,
Jessica (and Farrell)

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Graphics of Our Travels

A Baby Cucumber
Originally uploaded by Farrell
Check it out, our Flickr account is up, running and connected. I've uploaded 90-something of the better pictures from my learning sessions in Greensboro. I'm so impressed with my camera and lenses, could not be more satisfied with them. Despite my inexperience and shooting in full manual mode, I think some of these are fairly sweet. I think this link will show you my latest set, I'll edit ASAP otherwise, comment if you have trouble.

Sign-off as yet undetermined,

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Blog Title, Illuminated

So while I'm waiting on o-so-annoying Time Warner Cable's upload bandwidth cap to stop hindering my first Flickr upload, I thought I would write a little about the title of our blog. 'Blowin' in the Wind' is the title of a song written by Bob Dylan and released in 1963. It could be thought of as a protest song, particularly applicable to the 60's, especially the civil rights movement. Jessica and I believe that it is equally, maybe even more, applicable today. The [gay rights, immigrant rights, human rights] movement is our civil rights movement and the [Iraqi, Afghani, Israeli-Palestinian (by proxy)] war is our Vietnam war. We also have unique issues: the exponentially increasing power and rights of corporations, the strengthening connections between government and corporations, the (finally accepted) environmental waste we have left, our tax subsidy of unhealthy food and living, new copyright and ownership issues from our expanding technology sector, and our paranoid schizophrenic level defense spending, among many others. Anyway, I won't try to boil down Dylan's art any more, give it a listen yourself. Done? That's why Jessica and I travel.

Sign-off as yet undetermined,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

T-Minus 10 Days

Well, we are now back in Greensboro after a nice visit with Farrell's family in Mooresville. Aside from having fun, we also managed to get some work done -- Farrell was able to attend his research meeting via the assistance of the public library (and their internet) and we purchased some protective eye-wear from Gander Mountain, which also sells camouflage bathing suits if you're interested. Now, with just ten days left until we leave for Nevis it seems we have most everything we need with the exception of dry bags and Farrell's birthday camera which he has yet to order...but I am sure he will get that taken care of soon. The anticipation and excitement continues to build, along with some slight paranoia. The goal for this week is to (1) get all the necessary files off my old computer and onto my "new" one and (2) go through my clothes so that I can drop off the ones I never wear at Goodwill. Anyway, I am not sure how interesting that was, but the first few posts are mainly meant to get us in the habit of posting; so, in theory, posting on here will be almost second nature by the time we get to Europe, rather than simply a task to be completed.

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

T-minus 15 Days

In a few short minutes (as it is 11:53pm) it will be exactly two weeks until our departure to the Caribbean and, yet, there is so much left to be done. Sure, we have already bought, or through various means acquired, many of our necessary items, but there are still a great many tasks that stand between us and Nevis. There is a trip to Charlotte, a trip to Raleigh (to pick up supplies from my professor that he literally cannot afford to bring down), a trip back to Greensboro, picking up more supplies, packing, back to Raleigh to pick up Farrell's dad, and then...well, the rest is uncertain as Frank's flight arrives late in the night, and our flight leaves at 6:55 am the very next morning. Needless to say, the next (now) 14 days are going to be very interesting. Nonetheless, I am sure all the stress and preparations will be well worth it once we finally arrive at the Hurricane Cove Bungalows. And, if not, we will be sure to report back and set the record straight.
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