Thursday, January 31, 2008

And the answer is...

...canoe and kayak launch! That's the answer to Tuesday's quiz.

Most of you came close to guessing (with the exception of Rauf, as usual ;-)), but Kate, Nikon and JoAnn were practically spot on! Congratulations! And thank you all for playing!

Looking back, I have had many adventures in kayaking, in different parts of the world. But the one that stands out is meeting James Michener, the author, while we both (he in a sailboat, I in a canoe) floated around Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.

Any paddling adventures you'd like to share?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Quiz Tuesday part 38

It's that time again - Quiz Tuesday! Did you miss it?

Well, even if you did not, here's today's question: What are you looking at here and what is it used for?

(and no, it is not the "Live long and prosper" Vulcan salute ;-))

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What's in a name?

Guess what I found growing in the bushes - a Lotus. Well, not exactly. This is a Toyota MR2 Spyder, a nifty looking sports car, built based on the Lotus design.

When said in French, the name MR2 [em er 'dø] sounds like est merdeux (fr: is terrible, sh.t and hell). Thus, the car was sold there only as the MR. In English, the MR2 is frequently called the " Mister Two." (just an amusing tidbit I found on Wikipedia).

Which reminds me of another urban legend, where GM introduced their Chevy Nova to the Latin American market. They could not understand why the car was not selling well there. Apparently, nobody told GM that "no va" in Spanish means "no go" ;-)

Friday, January 25, 2008

The colors of Naples - 6

Sadly, not even upscale Naples remains unaffected by the current economic downturn. This is Fifth Avenue South, the heartbeat of the city, in the height of the season and, as as you can see, pretty deserted.

You might debate whether or not US is in a recession, but this photo speaks for itself - any other year, Naples in January is the happenin' place ;-)

Are you noticing any negative economic effects where you are?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Casual affair

The Village on Venetian Bay

Since I left the corporate world, I no longer wear high-heeled shoes. For one, I am tall enough, and two, I am not a masochist!

As a matter of fact, that's one of the things I like about living in Naples - its casual lifestyle.
What you see here is our daytime "uniform": polo (shirt), capris (pants) and flats (shoes).

Evening wear? That's a whole other kettle of fish ;-)

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Big Chill

We are having a cold spell this weekend, with the temperatures hovering around 60F/15C during the day. Too cold for the beach...unless you are a visiting Northerner ;-) Then you are just glad to dig yourself out from under the snow and upturn your pale face into the Florida sun.

For the natives, nothing to worry about - Tuesday's temps are predicted to climb back into the 80'sF/27C.

Welcome to winter in Southwest Florida!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Box Step

Molino's Ristorante at the Promenade of Bonita Bay

This photo makes me smile. And it's not only because of the "Dancing Santa"...

Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Killer trees

We have some beautiful...and aggressive vegetation in Florida.

Here's a perfect example - a bougainvillea tree trying to swallow up my neighbor's house!

I guess that's what they call herbicide ;-)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


OK, let me paint the picture for you: it's early morning, I'm sleepwalking walking Truffles on the boardwalk skirting the canoe lake and I see this long stocking draped over the railing. But as I approach, the stocking burps and I am face to fang with a snake! We both freeze - I, from sheer terror and he, from having just ingested a palm rat (one hopes ;-)).

Since my formal education did not include herpetology, I have no idea what kind of snake it is - corn snake? rat snake? - so if any one of you can enlighten me, I would be very grateful.

In the meantime, I plan to walk softly and carry a big stick ;-)

Special thanks to Olivier for presenting me with the "You make my day" award! I hope he feels the same way after today's post ;-)

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Weekend on Venetian Bay in Naples. Boating, shopping, dining...

And just so you know, this condominium complex is firmly planted in the middle of the Bay. WaterCar mandatory ;-)

Friday, January 11, 2008

The colors of Naples - 5

The Village on Venetian Bay, Naples

If you've been to Paris, you are undoubtedly familiar with the stereotypical French mademoiselle - very thin, dressed in black, cell phone in one hand and cigarette in the other.

This is the Florida's version - more rounded, wearing bold colors, with latte instead of cigarette, but with the ubiquitous cell phone ;-)

(BTW - did you notice the bead store motto: "Don't worry. Bead Happy"? )

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Blue heron in my community wetlands

"The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply that they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings."

~James Matthew Barrie

(I love the birch tree reflection on the left, don't you?)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Le dejeuner au bord de la mer

One of the perks of living in a vacation destination and thus hosting a slew of visitors, is that they often insist on taking you out to eat. Whether they are grateful for lodging or just tired of my "healthy" cuisine - why look a gift horse in the mouth?

We enjoyed this delightful lunch at Marie-Michelle's - a French bistro, right on Venetian Bay in Naples. Warm, sunny day, the sight of dolphins frolicking in the water and a slightly fruity Chardonnay...need I say more?

Every dish was finger-licking good, but I personally recommend the Saumon Poche aux Fruits Tropicaux - Poached Alaskan King Salmon served with a mixture of exotic mango and papaya, laced with lime ginger Beurre Blanc.

Oh, I almost forgot: halfway through the meal, Marie-Michelle herself, came out and double kissed all the diners. The French way ;-)

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Remember how much fun you had combing the beach for shells as a child? Or even as an adult ;-)

Southwest Florida has some of the best shelling beaches in the world! I previously wrote about it here.

There are approximately 400 species of multi-colored seashells in our area, from the commonplace scallop and clam to the exotic – tulips, olives, fragile paper fig shells and the rarest of the all, the brown speckled junonia. This poster lists the most common ones found on Naples' beaches.

What kind of seashells are common in your area?

Thursday, January 3, 2008


"A squirrel leaping from bough to bough, and making the wood but one wide tree for his pleasure, fills the eye not less than a lion,—is beautiful, self-sufficing, and stands then and there for nature."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I wonder, is that where the expression "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed" came from?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Theme day - best photo of the year

Sail into the weekend. Naples Fishing Pier (with pelicans)

It is nearly impossible to pick one's best photo of the year. What criteria should I use: what I consider the best, or the one you liked the most? The most dramatic one or the most visually pleasing?

So I took the easy way out and picked the 5 top comment garners. Hope your favorite is among them ;-)

Photobucket PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket


Please visit the rest of the DP Bloggers who participate in today's theme:
Paris, France - London, England - Hyde, UK - West Sacramento (CA), USA - Grenoble, France - Stockholm, Sweden - Riga, Latvia - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Manila, Philippines - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Weston (FL), USA - Prague, Czech Republic - New Orleans (LA), USA - Wichita (KS), USA - Cleveland (OH), USA - San Francisco (CA), USA - Hobart (Tasmania), Australia - Greenville (SC), USA - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Mainz, Germany - Melbourne, Australia - Portland (OR), USA - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Toulouse, France - Naples (FL), USA - Jakarta, Indonesia - Brussels, Belgium - Stayton (OR), USA - Selma (AL), USA - Mexico City, Mexico - Ocean Township (NJ), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Toruń, Poland - Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA - Budapest, Hungary - Baziège, France - Nashville (TN), USA - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Chicago (IL), USA - Prescott (AZ), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Nottingham, UK - Miami (FL), USA - Philadelphia (PA), USA - Evry, France - Trujillo, Peru - Arlington (VA), USA - Denpasar, Indonesia - American Fork (UT), USA - Seattle (WA), USA - Chandler (AZ), USA - Coral Gables (FL), USA - Montpellier, France - Joplin (MO), USA - Pilisvörösvár, Hungary - Crystal Lake (IL), USA - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - Boston (MA), USA - Torun, Poland - New York City (NY), USA - Dunedin (FL), USA - Quincy (MA), USA - Stavanger, Norway - Chateaubriant, France - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Jackson (MS), USA - Wailea (HI), USA - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Budapest, Hungary - Austin (TX), USA - Montréal (QC), Canada - Cypress (TX), USA - Bicheno, Australia - Wrocław, Poland - Brookville (OH), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Nelson, New Zealand - Cheltenham, UK - Wellington, New Zealand - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Mumbai (Maharashtra), India - London, UK - Haninge, Sweden - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Arradon, France - Jefferson City (MO), USA - Orlando (FL), USA - Mumbai, India