Monday, July 20, 2009

International Robotics Competition at Mayaguez UPR

About a dozen teams from all over the world are competing this year at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. These competitions are called Missions and this is the 5th Mission. Essentially, a small flying robot has to enter and make its way around a building without human intervention. There's a $10,000 prize for the winner.
Check out a video of what this small robotic craft can do:



The team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology is staying at Villa Orleans. They've ignored the beautiful sandy beach and focused on their project. For more detailed information, check out the IAR Website. Competition day is Wednesday, July 22, 2009.
Here's a link of the MIT team. Check out their other flying robot videos. I hope this isn't the beginning of SkyNet.

Update: The MIT team won this event. Congratulations guys. I last saw them barbecuing burgers and having a few beers on the beach. They were flying their robot over the villa and taking pictures.


Rincon PR

Ginger

Ginger plantsThis is Rosita Sanchez next to her ginger flower samples. Rosita farms ornamental ginger and at the farmer's market in Rincon she brought a bunch. I met her last week at the farmer's market in San Sabastian. She has about 30 varieties on her farm.

BeautifulSome of these flowers don't look real, they're very beautiful. Rosita visits the farmer's market in Rincon. It's a great place to get fruit, honey, jellies and all sorts of organic goodies.

Exotic plantsI bought eight varieties, including ornamental banana, beehive, and others and these are going into the Secret Garden Gallery area.

Bumble Bee GingerI love the elegance of ginger.

Like a wax sculptureIf you'd like to speak to Rosita her number is 787-877-2167. She charges from $7 to $10 per plant and will make you a deal if you take a bunch. She visits Rincon the first and third Sunday of the month. In San Sabastian's flea market her area number is 267, or just look for the ginger flowers.
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Hiking Rincon Beaches

We began our hike at 7:30. Our goal was to hike from Aguada/Rincon border to our beach home in Barrero, which is on the Rincon/Añasco border. The morning was cool and great for hiking. I had no idea how long it'd take. We took a gallon of water a piece, and a few granola bars. I guess I'm optimistic. I estimated our hike would take an hour.

We started late, 7:30 is late as it gets really hot on the beach. There was no convenient drop off point near the border so we started our trip at Casa Isleña. There's a parking area which makes a nice entry point. (The food at Casa Isleña is great. They close during the summer but reopen November.)

Our first stop was by Dennis Rich's home. He was outside with his dogs. His home has a wonderful view where the Atlantic and Mona Passage meet. Dennis owns Pools Beach Bar. If you haven't eaten there, add this restaurant to places to visit. They serve sushi, some raw, some fried and some tasty seaweed salads. Dennis also owns part of the old train track route that once circled the island. We hopped on the trail and this circled to Dome's Beach.

There was only one man in the water. Bobby from Mar Azul. Rincon is a small community, so everyone knows everyone. Bobby helps out during Surfrider beach clean ups. He was out in the water standing on his paddle board. He rents out surfboards and paddle boards. (Dennis is also a Surfrider volunteer) There were waves, slow ones, shorts ones, and they floated under Bobby's paddle board.
We hiked as much as we could along the beach and then cut though the road along the light house. This area seemed deserted. My son and I also volunteer for Surfrider and the area around Maria's we've helped clean up many times. Beaches in Puerto Rico are wonderful and many folks are still not aware that you can't leave trash on the beach. We saw a couple of Do Not Litter signs along the route.

We stopped along Steps Beach for a few pictures, a water break. If you're looking for things to do in Rincon, visit Steps Beach. The water is clear and wonderful. We continued our journey and stopped by The Spot Restaurant, for a granola break. The Spot is another place with good food, but they're only open during the winter like many other restaurants. The day was getting hot.

We passed by the public beach area, the Balneario. There was a nasty area we had to climb over, and then we were attacked by dogs, two dogs. I own dogs, so I'm not afraid of them. But these two dogs came up at us fast, teeth glaring. I picked up a big stick and tried yelling to scare them. Both stood their ground and inched to me. I thought of what a great picture they'd make, but one began turning to my right, as if to get behind me. They'd lunge forward and then inch back. I tried faking hitting them with the stick, but they weren't afraid. Instinct told me "release the stick", so I flung it at the bigger one. Apparently he was used to getting stuff tossed at him, he dodged the stick and ran back about 10 feet, then I tossed a fist full of sand, and he ran back to his house, followed by the other one. I've never been bitten by an angry dog and this is as close as I've come.


*
We continued our hike, and boy was it hot. We passed Tres Sirenas, Rincon of the Seas, Villa Cofresi. It was one straight walk. I left my watch at home, but the sun was overhead at noon. We came up to the Barco de Milan, a cement boat structure on a rock. We walked past the fishing village, which is in Barerro. We past the Horned Dorset and finally made it to Villa Orleans. It took you a minute or so to read this post, but it took us 4.5 hours to hike the beach. My feet were wrinkly.
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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Papaya Trees

We have about 20 different kinds on fruit trees at the Villa. Most have seasons, but papayas grow year round. The larger variety is less sweeter than the smaller round one. Some cultures use them as vegetables.

We use our papayas as fruit in smoothies, fruit salads and as a plain snack.
These papayas are loaded with seeds, and you can grind them up as well. They have a sort of pepper taste, but I don't like it.
I toss the seeds and toss them in the yard and cover them with dirt.

Papayas like dry ground. We always get a bunch growing where they land and as they grow only two or three make it.

Rincon PR

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Beach Kitten Needs Home

We found this kitten wandering in front of the beach. Would anyone like this adorable kitten?
We have 7 dogs, and I don't want to condemn this kitten to a life inside the house.
Our Villa number is 787-823-4758.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Beach Day

We spent a day on the beach. You'd think living in Puerto Rico we'd go to the beach all the time, but we don't. You actually get tired of the beach. We barbecued with our guests from West Virginia. They collected several gallons of sea glass and found rare red glass.

Nina watched the girls, while one of the guests took the kayak out for a spin. I grilled, so I kept an eye on the fire.

Limpy our sea dog, is at the bow of the kayak.

It rained earlier, a torrential rain and the day was some what cloudy, and water gray, but after the sun came out the water changed greenish. It's usually this way before a rain.

This year I didn't see the thousands of sardines migrating across the villa. Tarpon, jack fish and barracuda follow. After rains you see tarpon float at the surface, but I guess they're following the sardines. I didn't see any either.

We grilled fresh fish, chicken and steak. Barbecue aromas called everyone to the table. One of our guests asked when I'd last visited the states. About 20 years ago. I like living in the tropics. Our winters and summers are similar. These are the perfect days in the Caribbean.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oceanfront Vacation Rental

Villa Orleans has a new design. I started the first website with Frontpage Express. Then I rewrote the design with Frontpage 2003 at least a two dozen times.
I needed a new web design program since I switched over to Mac. I tried a bunch, but the one most similar to Frontpage is DreamWeaver. I never understood why Mac folks were so fanatical about the Mac, but I do now.  I like my Mac.
My design is now more consistent, and in CSS. It's fun learning DreamWeaver. At Villa Orleans we do the gardening, minor and major renovations, publicity, marketing and our websites. I did our Youtube Videos, and I'm waiting for my Hi Def Panasonic camcorder so I can create better looking videos.
I'm still tinkering with the site; there are still kinks to work out. If you're looking for an Oceanfront Vacation Rental, check it out:

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