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Hanging Over in O’Hare

20 Sep

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So I left you in Chicago!

I was saying that I usually cringe at the thought of connecting through The Chicago O’Hare Airport and that last week (well 2 weeks ago at this point) was no different.  After I encountered a standby snafu and had to make that Plan B quotes-quotation-chicquero-bad-decisionsI told you about last week which took me to Chicago for about 6 hours before I bought an American Airlines ticket through Miami to Grand Cayman… it was a long day!  And it was a Saturday, and I went to a party the night before so needless to say I wasn’t just layin’ over in O’Hare, I was hangin’ over in O’Hare!!  Don’t judge me.

Having only ever flown United Airlines in and out of Chicago I have not really left the B and C concourses and only sometimes venturing to the F concourse for a United express flight.  Well, let me tell you.  The O’Hare airport is more than the trippy light tunnel with the moving walkway!

When I had to actually look at an airport map to know where I was going I realized how HUGE the O’Hare airport really is! The American gates are on the G, H, K, and L terminals…who knew?!  That’s a lot of space!  And once I started making my way over to my gate in K I got to see a lot of stuff along the way.  I want to give O’Hare, and Chicago really big props on the amount of things I saw in the airport that day.

As I journeyed through the seemingly endless sunny corridors Imap-of-chicago-ohare-airport found many bits of art on the walls and hanging from the ceiling.  Some was really cool and some was really… interesting.  But then it got even better!  As I went past the line I’ve never crossed IMG_0290before – at the intersection of Terminal F – the airport got even cooler! I found a wall lined with photographs at the microscopic level and they were beautiful!  I had to stop and see what they were.  After reading the info plaque I saw that it was an initiative by the Institute of Genomic Biology to bring awareness about their most recent project.

TIMG_0295hen I came into an atrium area that was circular and had a staircase going up to a second level.  In between the levels was a beautiful mosaic called “On the Wings of Water” .   This mosaic is made up of 35,000 pieces of Venetian glass and tiles to show how air travel and water link cultures around the world.  It was completed with help from the students in the After School Matters program.

 

I went up the stairs to check it out and I found a complete hydroponic urban garden!!  Say Whaaaaat??O'Hare veggies  It was not only beautiful but responsible too because some of the restaurants that inhabit the O’Hare airport create dishes using the herbs and vegetables that are grown in this garden!  I also noticed a lot of flight crew members enjoying their coffee and snacks between flights up there on the comfy looking green lounge chairs.  They must have been savvy to this little airport gem for some time!

I have to say, I’m really proud of you, O’Hare!!  And next time you’ve got some time in that airport between flights, take a hike!!  And go check out all the hidden treasures that the Chicago O’Hare International Airport has to offer!!  Cuz it’s a LOT!!

Xoxo,

Em

The Coconut

5 Nov

Coconuts are magical! Thanks for the coco-lesson ReCaFo!!

ReCaFo (Real Caribbean Food)

Just a brief lesson on the coconut. The coconut palm (also, cocoanut), Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos.The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut. This tropical fruit can be found in many tropical climates around the world. In the Caribbean, the coconut is a very popular fruit. The jelly coconut is eaten raw by peeling off the shell with a machete and the water inside is one of the most refreshing drinks you will ever have. On the other hand, when it dry, the nut becomes hardened and this can be used as an ingredient in baking puddings, making snacks (such as gizzada, grater cake and coconut drops) or also to cook a sumptious…

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Stingray City with Red Sail Sports and a Stinky Sighting!

31 Oct

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I recently took a trip to Stingray City with my mom while she was visiting in Grand Cayman.  This is a common tourist attraction here on the island and during high season I’ve heard that nearly 3,000 people will make their way to Stingray City daily!  We were fortunate to not have those kinds of crowds, but it wasn’t low season for the stingrays;  there were plenty in attendance.

Mom and I boarded The Spirit of Poseidon, a 65 foot Red Sail catamaran at the Safe Haven location where we were greeted by friendly crew, James, Jake, Jeffrey, and the other guy… sorry, his name didn’t start with a “J” so I can’t remember it.  We got a short, witty briefing from Jeffrey, who would later be our bartender, before setting out across the sound toward the sand bar that the stingrays call home.

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This 40 minute journey across the water is beautiful!  The water is every kind of blue you can imagine and the reggae tunes on board rounded out the perfect Caribbean scene.  We didn’t have a very large group so there was plenty of space on the boat for however one chose to ride.  There were sun bathers on the trampoline nets, those avoiding the sun by staying in the cabin , and some sitting along the sides with the wind in their hair.

Upon arriving at the sandbar we got another briefing, from the captain this time.  James told us about the sting rays and how to act with them, where their eyes, and mouths and stingers are, then he told us how to distinguish between the males and females.  After that, we all trickled down the swim steps and into the chest high water of the sand bar.

Emmy and christie at stingray

Standing in the water we could see the  shadowy dark circles approaching us.  It’s an odd feeling seeing these creatures close in on us.  Mom was a bit more squirmy than she thought she would be, clinging to me to get her feet off the sand.

We interacted with the rays for a while, petting them, kissing them – for 7 years good luck, and watching other people squirm – which is quite entertaining!  Then we got a visit from another famous islander…Stinky!  Stinky is the lone dolphin that lives around Grand Cayman.  You may remember I wrote about him in a previous post.  This was a treat because he came swimming through the group of us in the water and started playing with the anchor of our boat.  He isn’t the nicest to the poor stingrays though, he chases them and nips at them in a playful, yet bullying way.  Everyone was really careful to keep enough distance and definitely not touch Stinky.  He may be comfortable with humans, but he’s still over 400 lbs. and that is something you don’t want to mess with!

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After an absolutely perfect day at stingray city we boarded the boat again, the crew drew up the sails and we mad our way back across the sound and back to Safe Haven.  I have to say that Red Sail Cayman has very professional and experienced people who make these kinds of tours a really great experience.  When you have your next trip to Cayman take the stingray city tour with Reds Sail and maybe you’ll have the pleasure of being on James’ boat, and Jeff can make you his famous rum punch!!

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Thanks Red Sail and Thanks Jeffrey!

Xoxo

Em