Tuesday, February 28, 2006 

Off again!

Well, it's bon voyage to Maine, and hola! to Spain! Sure hope we can make it back this way again. Don't forget your souvenirs. Why not join us at Cap'n Simeon's for a farewell lunch?


Star Island Tour

Before we depart for our next destination, I want to take you on a tour of Star Island. Star Island is one of the five islands that make up the Isles of Shoals, and is approximately six miles off shore. It isn't very large, but the rugged shoreline makes the island seem like a little adventure. Privately owned, it is mostly used for conferences, and spiritual and educational retreats; still others come for the solitude and artistic inspiration the beautiful landscape provides. If I were an artistic faerie, I would live here.

Jump into the balloon with Newt and I, and we'll treat you to an aerial tour. This is such an awesome place - makes a faerie feel right at home, and we don't even have to use any dust.

Star Island was given its name because the rocky points stretch out in all directions like a distant star. How poetic!

The majestic landscape, though mostly shrubbery and rock, beckons to you, encouraging you to sit down, kick your shoes off, and stay a while.

Come on, pull up a chair. I saved one for you. Don't worry about Newt, he's more comfortable scurrying around, exploring nooks and crannies. What's that? You want to explore too? We will, but let's visit for a while. Be careful the sound of the water lapping on the rocks doesn't lull you to sleep!

Hmmzzz. Hmmzzzz. Hmmmzzz. Huh, where were we? Put on your walking shoes - we're going to explore.

As we make our way down the steep steps, I hear laughter inside. It's the Pelicans putting on their weekly variety show. Today they are dressed as a barbershop quartet. The pelicans do the human maintenance work here, tending to everyone's needs, cooking, loading up supplies, etc. Everything is brought in by boat - food, drinking water, and generators. The island must also make their own electricity.

The tall grass is somewhat annoying, as it keeps brushing against my cheek, leaving scratches on my porcelain white skin. Ouch! We are not amused. Newt would normally be leading the way, cutting through the brush, but at the moment he's found the shore and is wading in the icy water of the Atlantic. What a brave lad!

A solitary fisherman stands on the rock casting his line into the blue-green water. I wonder if he knows that the crabs are sitting at the base of the rocks, just waiting to grab his line, and steal the bait. That there's what you call a free lunch - ayah.

I made the acquaintence of one Oskar T. Crabbe last night. He works on Fisherman's Point supervising the maintainance of the shore line. The periwinkles are supposed to scrub the boulders,keeping it free of slippery mosslike creatures, so that the barnicals have a place to attach and call home. That leaves the crabs and lobsters to clean up the dead. When I heard that I nearly died laughing! It reminded me of a Monty Python skit I saw once. I was in this house bein' tricksy - moving stuff on humans where they can't find it. Anyways, this big talking box had moving pictures on it. A man was pushing a cart down a street, ringing a bell, while singing out "Bring out your dead!" At one home, a gray bearded old man was carried out by his family, and tossed onto the cart with the dead bodies. "Hey!" he cried, "I'm not dead!" A discussion then ensues between the cart man, the family, and the supposed to be dead man. It was quite funny really. But I digress...

Anyway, Oskar told me his when his buddies get bored, they sit at the bottom of the harbor waiting for the silly humans to throw their hooks into the water. The boys just creep on over to the hook and have a snack! Sometimes the humans sit there for hours just bobbing the line up-an-down, with no clue they've been ripped off! Isn't that a hoot!

Friday, February 24, 2006 

On the Move

We couldn't have picked a better time of year to travel! There are few tourists getting under our wings, or stepping on our feet, so Newt and I are able to be constantly on the move. We've been checking out the best rest areas (also known as restaurants), local gossip, and got a bit of replenishment done in the process. Be sure to visit the Maine page, Local Cuisine, Souvenir Shops, and also, stand by for a really awesome tour of Star Island!

This picture is a sampling of the monstrous houses here! Tried to get a shot of the saltboxes and walkways, but Newt wouldn't go out on the limb for me this time. So much for being a trusty servant. Since when did servants have an option? He forgets his place! And then he limped off with an attitude. That's a newt for you.

Did a bit of rooting around, and found out the walkways up near the roofs are known as "widow's walks." Years ago the lady of the house would use these lookouts to search the horizon for her sailor's ship. Sometimes the ship didn't come home.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 

York, Maine

Our balloon has landed on a small white, sandy beach. It's a bit chilly here, with bits of snow sticking to my cloak. My trusty servant, Newt, pointed out there must've been a storm that passed through here recently because of all the seaweed scattered on the beach. There is, indeed, a lot of sea weed around our landing site. It looks more like greenish-brown bubble wrap than a plant, and some pieces are three feet long. A vegetarian delight right here on the beach, and best of all, it's free! But sea weed isn't the only thing littering the beach.

There is a collector's mix of giant clam shells that would make the Old Woman in the Shoe jealous, and a curious, straw-like material strewn about the beach. It looks very much like straw - it is yellow, hollow, and segmented. It tastes salty, and has the same texture as straw, but I do not see any possible source of the material. The beach has almost no grass to speak of. The little bits that are firmly implanted in the sand look more like sea grass than straw, and the rose-like thorny plants accompanying them would make a wonderful little burrow for the night. How very curious this place is!

Vast groves of tall, Eastern White pine trees make a lovely backdrop for the rocky beach, and many homes line the winding road. These people live in what look like salt boxes! - tall and square in the back, with a sharply pitched roof and several dormers in the front. A few homes are tall with many windows, like a faerie hotel, but there is a walkway in front of some of the windows closest to the roof. How strange! I will have to make inquiries about these homes tomorrow.

I soon find a nice periwinkle shell to rest in, and I marvel at the absence of activity here by the shore. There are a few sea gulls dropping their dinner of mussels on the rocks, and a pair of humans being led down the shore by their dog, but little else. I have sent Newt off to find a good place to eat. We smelled something wonderful in the air as we landed, so there must be a hot fire and good bread somewhere nearby. The blustery wind, mixed with a delightful salty mist, feels quite refreshing after a long flight and I find myself dozing off.

Monday, February 20, 2006 

Up, Up and Away!

Thank you everyone for the great send off! Newt Verne and I appreciate your support. Our first stop is Cape Neddick in York, Maine. The weather is considerably warmer, which will be a nice change of pace. Check in with us in a few hours for the first tour!

Thursday, February 16, 2006 

Welcome and Bon Voyage

Welcome travellers! I hope you are all packed and ready to go, because our "balloon" will lift off in 24 hours. That's right - I said balloon. As the title implies, this is a virtual balloon flight around the world within 60 days. My trusty servant, Newt Verne, and I will travel to unknown countries and present to you - our guests - a travel guide as none have ever seen. We will show you the hotspots, and the cool spots in each of the nine countries we highlight; and if you are patient, you will also have virtual souvenirs to take home with you!

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