Thursday, February 08, 2007

Ever Tried a Podcast?

I know I'm way behind on the use of this technology, but yesterday I finally got around to it yesterday. While I was here at the Internet place, I took the time to download some public radio shows to the computer. When I got back to the apartment, I downloaded them onto my iPod. Is that way cool! It suddenly occurred to me that an iPod with podcasts of your favorite shows would be a great way to pass the time on a long flight. So, I'm trying to find episodes of The World (the nightly new hour from Public Radio International) to download for the trip home. I already pulled off Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, MarketPlace, and Weekend America. Like I said, I'm way behind discovering what others have been doing for several years. But--if you're taking a long trip, it may be worth you while to explore. (The photo is courtesy of Javier's assistance. You can also see a little of what his place looks like.)

What is a Pulmonia?

I got an inquiry from a blog reader wondering how Pulmonia translated into English, so I asked Javier, the guy who owns the Internet cafe that I'm using. Believe it or not, pulmonia actually translates as a sickness of the lungs. Evidentally, when a person is in the open a lot, as at sea, they are susceptible to contracting some sort of pulmonia. As Javier explained, the little golf-cart-like vehicles are called that because they are open and it's riders are subject to the wind. I was completely surprised! There may be another translation, or perhpas the meaning of the word has now evolved to include these little carts, but it sounds as if Javier put me onto the words origins.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Walking, Walking Everywhere (Almost)

In order to get exercise, I often walk to the Internet cafes or other places I want to go. It's a good way to get some exercise. But I did bite off more than I should have on Sunday. Remembering the little Internet place I went to last year, I set off on foot. I had forgotten how far into the city it was, and before long I was getting really tired. And lugging 15 pounds or so of computer and associated materials along with me didn't ease my task. I passed by an Internet cafe actually quite close to my hotel (about 20 minutes into the walk), which was open, but I passed it up for the favorite spot from last year. You know what's coming, right? I got to my destination only to find it closed. Bummer! That was after about 40 minutes of walking. I was exhausted and was reminded that I need to get on the Nordic Trak machine for a month or so before I take off on trips like this!

So I headed even deeper into the city. A secondary destination was an instant cash machine, and I found that. After getting my cash and catching my breath, I took off again, this time quite leisurely, taking time to look into the shops. I came accross a little food store that is a cross between a convenience store and a small grocery store. I bought what remaining items I needed, and set off again. Eventually I ran out of gas, which is embarrassing for me, because I pride myself in being able to walk about when I travel. But, I gave in; enough was enough. I hailed a pulmonia, a kind of open-air taxi (like the one in the picture), and paid for a ride back to the condo.

Then I took a nap.

Time for Reading

Hi, everyone. I have to tell you that I finished reading a science fiction fantasy, Web Mage, by Kelly McCullough. I spent all of Monday afternoon and evening and all of Tuesday reading. I finished it this morning with coffee. It is so much fun to be able to take a large block of time and just sit and read. It's pure luxury, something you should afford yourself every so often. Web Mage is a fast-moving, delightful book, rich with Greek mythology. Kelly has a rich imagination in how he sets up the interactions among the gods and the demigods, one of whom is a magician-college-student who is a descendent of the Fates. By the way, Kelly was the instructor for the fantasy writing class I took at The Loft a couple of years ago. So I have enjoyed that. Now I would like to turn my attention to writing, but I still have to walk on the beach and spend a little more time downtown.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Mazatlan 2007--Getting There and Through Customs!

Northwest Airlines really makes you pay the price when you cash in Frequent Flyer miles. I took a NWA flight out of Minneapolis to Tuscon, and then got handed off to to AeroLitoral and Aero Mexico. Got on the twin-engine puddle jumper you see in the photo. I had to land three times more in order to make it to Mazatlan.

First stop was Hermosillo (pronounced air-mo-SEE-yo). It’s straight south of Tuscon in the state of Sonora about 1-1/2 hours. I was confused and worried about my luggage getting passed through, about customs, and the language barrier and the lack of clear sinage in the airports.

Well, when we got to Hermosillo, I found some official-looking young man and told him I was going to Mazatlan. He asked me if I was coming from Tuscon, and as I was, he directed me through Customs. So I filled out all of the requisite paperwork and got my passport stamped and all that. I thought I was going to have to get my luggage and have it inspected there, but instead he directed me to the gate area. After a 3-hour layover and some anxiety about whether I would find the right flight, I ended up on another puddle jumper and headed for Los Mochis, which is again almost straight south and in the state of Sinaloa (same as Mazatlan). Finally, after one more hop, I was in Mazatlan.

By the way, these small aircraft are SAAB 340Bs and carry maybe 36 passengers. There is one row of seats along the port side of the craft, and two seats along the starboard side. Kind of cozy. Fun to fly in, really. They are very responsive--kind of like a rally suspension on a sports car--you can feel every gust of wind and bump along the way.

I go to get my luggage and find—get this—it’s the second bag on the conveyor. Usually I feel like my bag is always the second-last bag. ☺ So I am preparing my story about how my wife must have put that sausage in my suitcase as a surprise and that I had no idea it was there. I show the Customs agent my paperwork from Hermosillo. She sees that I have already passed through Customs, so she waves me right through. No stop light button to push—nothing. I walked right in. Could have been carrying guns and dope!