Thursday, March 31, 2016

Things to do in Boston in the summer time.

SANS Boston 2016 is in 123 days. Get your cybersecurity training and have a great time while you are there.  August is a great month to visit Boston and here are just a few things you can do while you are there. Start with TripAdvisor's Top Ten and go from there.

Specialty Tours
  • Looking for something Dark, Decadent and Delicious? Try one of the Boston Chocolate Tours. You mean there is more than one? Uh Huh. And you haven't tasted chocolate until you have visited LA Burdick. These are all walking tours, if you prefer, there is a Boston Trolley Chocolate Tour.
  • Boston Duck Tour. Great way to enjoy the end of the day cruising the streets of Boston and eventually into the Charles River while getting to hear exciting stories about Boston’s history! Tickets are about $30.00 and you may want to book in advance, they sell out from time to time.
  • With the rich history of Boston, it is no surprise that they have Ghost tours. All Boston Tours is a middleman that can sometimes save you a few dollars. Trusted Tours is a similar operation.
  • Photowalks is a guided photo tour. I have been on two fairly serious photo campaigns in Boston and it is MUCH more effective when you have a trained spotter. Otherwise you are walking, trying to shoot and trying to locate the next great shot. Hint, there are a lot of reflective new glass office buildings close enough to historical sites that you can get the reflection of the historical site in the shiny new building.
  • Like riding bikes? Boston's downtown bike shop can hook you up!

Overview Tours, see a bit of everything
  • Nothing paints tourist on your forehead like riding around in a big orange fake trolley car, but hey, if you are a tourist who cares, no one knows your name anyway, Boston Trolley Tours.
  • Want to ride a boat, everything from the harbor to whale watching is available from Boston Harbor Cruises.

Walking and Self Guided Boston Tours
  • Boston by foot, is a paid, guided, walking tour led by volunteer guides, got kids, check out the Little Feet tour.
  • Boston Harbor Walking Tour Use the link to download and Audio Guide and best of all it is free.
  • Very popular neighborhood, Four Point Channel Audio Guide ( learn about Lucky's Lounge and see the scene in the Departed where luck runs out for Martin Sheen) Free
  • iPhone GPS guided tour of Boston $.99
  • iPhone GPS Tour, Detailed tourist map with all of Downtown Boston's major historical monuments, museums, parks, tourist attractions, roads, public bathrooms, subway stops, and more. Free
  • Boston GPS Tour, Declaration of Independence, Boston Tea Party and probably the new Tea Party as well, Boston Massacre, Freedom Trail which is a must see according to Bill Brenner, Boston Common home of the Swan Boats, Boston Public Garden, Walking Tour, GPS Tour $7.95 (Highway robbery *grin*)
  • If you do not suffer from color blindness you can actually do Freedom Trail low tech, just follow the red six inch strip or buy a guide.
  • JFK's Boston Tour, (would need a car) $5.95
  • The Go Boston Card is priced on a sliding scale allows access to 70 attractions
  • The Old State House is not to be missed if you have an interest in history

Insider Suggestions for Tours

  • Outside of Boston, Eric Hacker recommends history buffs take a quick trip to Salem, MA is excellent for learning about early America. Only a half hour train ride from Boston's North Station, Salem has numerous places to visit. See the Peabody Essex Museum, the Witch Dungeon Museum and the House of Seven Gables. Stay away from the Witch Museum though.
  • Andrew Williams suggests if you stick around for a couple of extra days and want to get out of the city, try Nantasket Beach: It's not the quaint type of beach (although the beach itself is really nice). It's a boardwalk kind of beach. Think arcades, tube tops, and the occasional knuckle head. For food, try Jake's . Great, fresh, authentic New England Seafood overlooking the harbor. As with most destinations outside the city, you'll really need a car. Without traffic, Nantasket is about a 45 minute drive. It's one of the only beaches in the area that has public/pay parking. Most of the others require resident stickers and have no open/public options

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A day in Placencia

We could not take possession of the boat until after the chart briefing so we rented a golf cart and drove to Placencia to see the sights and pick up some more food and water.

The buildings are very colorful.

Belkin is the local beer.

You can tell which shops have AC; most don't.

Rumfish restaurant is not air conditioned, but it is shady.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Belize City to Placencia

Williams Shuttle met us at the airport. As we drove along the highway we passed a Coke stand. The bottling facility is only a mile away. They use sugar cane derived sugar.

Many of the buildings are very colorful. Cheery blue.

Belize's only prison is called Central Prison, it used to be called the Hattieville Prison or Hattieville Ramada. The 1,370 residents, men, women and youth of the prison work there creating products, get to keep some of what they earn and also grow some of their own food. The USA has 1,800 times more prisoners per capita.

Central Prison is close to the Western Highway. It passes the "Female sleeping giant" mountain and the Hattieville Police station. The yellow is the standard color for police stations in Belize.

The shuttle stopped at the supermarket shown below. There was a bathroom and we were strongly advised to pick up supplies. Since Kathy and I were the only passengers in the shuttle, there was plenty of room for supplies.

As we turned towards the capital into the Hummingbird highway we passed a game reserve.  Now I know why they call them howler monkeys. They say you can hear them from two miles away. The Hummingbird highway is not for the faint of heart, one section was being repaved, one lane bridges, not lighted except in towns, pedestrians and bikes share the road with cars, buses and trucks.

The Williams van driver was really pushing it at the end. But the Southern Highway is a bit easier driving. I think he was tired and just wanted to rest. The folks here are nice and the place is first class. Our room is right on the beach.

We ate in the resort restaurant, (picture is from their web site). We shared their local rendition of guacamole. The feta cheese is a nice touch. Kathy had the shrimp casserole and I had the snapper. I don't normally like a sauce on my fish but this was done well

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Getting ready to fly

Crazy day. The Mustang would not start. I used my charger on max and after an hour it was enough to turn over. Geico road service sent a tow truck and they took it to Riverside. I drove by and gave them a credit card.

It snowed.

When we got everything done, we opened a 2012 Apex Cellars red blend called Catalyst. Didn't really move me, but after today a glass of wine was nice.

Final Aloha Oe for Pastor Lyle Birkey, (Pastor B)

Lyle Birkey, February 5, 1927 - March 4. 2016. I am not going into much detail, if you didn't know him, he was a man of God, if you did, you already know whatever I can write. The cover of the bulletin for the service was from Matthew 25:21

Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

It was great seeing the folks from Lake Tapps Community Church. Pastor Tim Heath "preached it" including a call to know Jesus.  This was something he promised Lyle he would do.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Back in Seattle

Since we have been in Kauai it has been a really long stretch of great weather - incredible. Then the day before we flew this strange mist rolled in on the South wind. It was like 24 hours of being in a cloud, though it was gusty sometimes. Our plane, Alaska 832, was two hours late. The previous flight had been battling 100mph headwinds and had to land early in San Francisco to have enough fuel.

No problem, we did not have a connecting flight so we just left two hours later for the airport. Now we had > 100 mph tailwinds. Wow. And not much turbulence either. We flew from Lihue to Seattle in about 4 hours, not quite Concorde speeds, but the fastest I have clocked to date.

It is raining here, not hard, just a grey drizzle. For lunch we had GF Crispy Cod. I rarely eat beef, but there was a really good looking piece of top sirloin at Winco; it is soaked in a marinade at the moment.

We met with the fencing contractor after the annual SANS state of the union address, and we have a plan shaping up so that Yogi can run safely in the backyard.  Kathy is no longer concerned that an eagle will scoop him up and fly away with him, (remember the movie, The Proposal? ), but I do have concerns regarding the coyote and the deer who frequent this property.  

Kathy woke up this morning with that familiar set of travel set of questions:  where am I?   where do I need to be next?  when are we flying out again?..  This sequence lasts about 15 seconds while I clear the sleep out of her eyes..  

According to Kathy, I, (Stephen), on the other hand, wakes up and goes 0-60 before his feet hit the floor, lol.