Monday, July 30, 2012

Letters from Honolulu

I've mentioned before that my dad was stationed at Pearl Harbor from February 1944 to February 1946 during World War II.  When we were cleaning out my parents' home earlier this month, I found a bundle of letters that my dad wrote to the folks back home along with more photos of his time on Oahu.

I thought it'd be interesting to visit a different beach destination during a different era today.

16 February '44  11 p.m.   I am on a draft and I will ship out overseas tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m.  I will know more when I get underway.  That's all I can say at this time. 

    My dad's the guy on the right in this photo taken on Waikiki.

24 November '44   I have been having a lot of fun on my liberties lately.  Some of us guys found a fresh water swimming hole out east of Honolulu.  It is really swell.  If I can get some film, I'll take some snaps.

16 September '45   As far as liberty goes, we're getting the best around here.  We rate one out of three days and have two out of three weekends.  Trouble is you can't find any rooms for the night.  We usually come back in around 10 p.m.  (wink wink)  When we don't go to town, a couple of us go fishing.  Can sell all we catch to the island people and they pay about 50 cents a pound.  What a racket!  With a little luck you can make $5.00 plus having fun.

Vintage Waikiki postcard found in a box.

The letters chronicle his progression of duties as a Navy corpsman stationed at Base Hospital No. 8, from ward to operating room to dispensary.

I finally got into the operating rooms.  It's really swell duty and interesting.  So far I have scrubbed in on 11 cases.  I like it a lot better than ward duty and the hours are much better -- just like a banker.  Go to work at 9:45 and get off at 4:00.

8 August '45   I am liking the duty at the dispensary fine.  It's a change from hospital work.  The way things are going, I may not have to come back after this two years of duty is up.  We heard just today that Russia is in now.  I sure hope the war comes to an end in a very short time. 

The dispensary mascot Mitsie.

Posing outside the dispensary.  Looks like he was leaning on a rake.  He also wrote in his letters about working outside doing gardening chores when they weren't busy.

On liberty in Honolulu posing for a photo with a friend.

Walking down a Honolulu street.  There was a note on the back to my grandparents.  He cropped the photo at the chest because he didn't want them to see he'd gained weight.  (He was still in excellent form by today's standards.)  Looks like he'd just come out of a uniform shop.

 Wednesday evening    The weather out here is really nice.  Sunshine all the day and the nights are nice and cool.  They say this is the perfect climate, but myself, I'd give anything to see a little snow again.  The lights will be going out in a few minutes, so I'll have to close for this time.

Friday, July 27, 2012

South End Spin

Our main form of recreation the last four or five days of our June Isla trip was riding in the golf cart.  (Mainly because I was sick and didn't feel like walking anywhere or going to the beach.)  Every afternoon, we'd take a spin out around the south end of the island. And sometimes Craig would find the brake pedal on the cart and I would snap a few photos.  (He doesn't like to stop for pictures.)

The battle of the iguanas -- fake vs. real. 

 Proud Mayan warrior.

 She's ever so tempting with those chi chi's, but please don't climb her.

Rules aren't really made to be broken because it's a steep  fall over that wall.

Does this boat ever move?  I can remember when this was a great spot to take photos.  I should search back through my photos and do a yearly progression of the ruin.

The zip towers at Garrafon.

Look at that fancy umbrella!  These kids were walking with mom in front of Guadalupana.

Guy with a furniture delivery enjoying the view at Garrafon.


The Caribbean Village at Punta Sur.

View through a hole in the hedge.


It gets harder every year to take a decent shot of the Shellhouse.

 Man the guns!  I think I've mentioned before we call this the turret house.  I don't know why.

Cancun in the distance -- just where I like it!

My chauffeur!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Caribbean Casa

And speaking of beach chill pill destinations, a trip to Isla always fills that bill! We spent our first 11 glorious nights on Isla in June at Caribbean Casa on Juarez.

I took a lot of photos of the views from both Isladise and Sonrisa while we were staying in the casa, but none of my interior pics are as good as those in the owners' slideshow.  Click here to view!

The upper unit, Isladise, has three terraces, providing phenomenal water, island, and sunrise/sunset views.

These glass doors in the upper level master suite open to the front terrace with loungers and a dipping pool.  I loved sitting in the dipping pool with the camera taking photos of the bayside views.

Snorkelers at the lighthouse in the bay.

Sunset over the bay.

The car ferry and Ultramar ferry passing at sunset.

Last light over the bay.  That's the Navy base in the foreground, which is located across the street from Caribbean Casa.  They're very quiet neighbors, and the big perk is that the Navy store is just a few steps south on Juarez.  Stocking up has never been that easy!

Some of the best views on the island are through this window in the master shower.  Several days, I jumped out of the shower to get my camera so I could snap photos of the car ferry passing below in the bay.

The terraces on the Caribe side of the casa also have amazing views.

The frigates hover and circle Caribbean Casa in the late afternoon.  I got lucky our first evening and snapped this photo of a frigate passing the moon.

One particular afternoon, the frigates reminded me of Hitchcock's famous movie The Birds.

The terrace off the downstairs living area at Isladise is a great place to relax on a hot summer afternoon.   It's also a great place to people watch since a lot of locals use the malecon below to walk to and from town.

And then there are the sunrise views from Caribbean Casa!

The neighborhood also makes for easy quick access to restaurants and El Centro.  La Lomita and Victor's Cuban restaurant are both just a quick stroll down Juarez, and both have great food.  

Looking down Juarez from the neighborhood at sunset.

We don't have plans for our next trip to Isla yet, but I'd stay at Caribbean Casa again in a heartbeat!  It's easy walking distance to everything in El Centro, so cabs aren't required.  And the setting and views are so peaceful.

I think I need to start watching airfares again!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bad Timing?

Just when we finally had ourselves convinced that it was safe to drive over the border, I see this on the Trip Advisor forum.  It's an article about a gun battle that took place on a main street in Rocky Point last week at 6 p.m. in the evening. 

Here's a telling line from another online news source But until Thursday, the city had largely avoided the public gunfights that have afflicted many cities in Mexico's border region.

I'm not exactly an alarmist because we still travel to Mexico, but I think we'll hold off on our first drive trip south of the border to Puerto Penasco for now.  So unfortunate.

For now, we'll stick to safe harbor. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Desperately Seeking Beach Chill Pill

We're in need of a gigantic beach chill pill after our roadtrip to and from Kansas, but some photos of  Playa Norte will have to do.  By the way, that photo above is not mine, but the quote's one of my favorites!

Before our cross country gruel with the shedding dog in the backseat (and front seat), we were considering a long drive up the West Coast in August, but that option doesn't sound very relaxing now.

After a passing comment from a friend on the Fourth of July, we're wondering about a drive south of the border to Puerto Penasco.  We've never taken the car into Mexico, so we're a little reluctant.  Recent reports I've read sound like the Mexican government has pretty much locked down the road from the Lukeville border crossing south to the Rocky Point area to ensure it's safe for travelers. We're thinking a week in an oceanfront condo on the Sea of Cortez might be an interesting option, especially compared to the prices we'd pay for less desirable coastal lodging in California, Oregon, and Washington.  Not to mention the Pacific Ocean to points north is too cold for swimming!

For now, I'll get back to posting Isla Mujeres photos from our June trip.

A photo from one of my favorite spots on Playa Norte.

The lounger lineup early morning in front of Ixchel.

The Bienvenidos hut.

Cue the yell.  Tarzan's actually a very nice guy.  He greets us every time we pass carrying our beach chairs.

Maria making her daily rounds.  We always give her a little extra for a Coca-Cola.

If any readers have advice on border crossings from Arizona to Rocky Point or other Sea of Cortez destinations south, I'd love to hear your recent experiences.   I think we just need to put on our big girl/big boy panties and give it a try!  A friend also mentioned that there are shuttles running from Phoenix to Rocky Point, so that or driving in a caravan would be another option.  I know it won't look like Playa Norte, but any beach five hours from here is worth exploring (if the trip's safe).

To paraphrase Mark Twain, I might be disappointed if I don't sail away from safe harbor and give it a try!