Back to "Normal?" I put normal as a question, since Katrina, my retirement, and buying a new house, I am just learning what normal could be. I am learning how to be a landlord, now having rental property. After spending over 25 years in Federal service, I am learning how to manage my own business. I'm still doing all the same stuff as for entertainment. I just love Jazz Fest, Strawberry Fest, French Quarter Fest, and all the festivals in the Lafayett area. Following my retirement, I bought a fishing boat, and new truck to pull it with. It seems I'm always on the water, or planning a fishing trip. It has been a good Spring for redfish, and spec's trout.
Recently I bought a small airplane. I've been going to Florida at least once a month. The plane cut my travel time by 1/2 and is fun. I took a lady to Pensacola for dinner one evening, and had her home by bedtime. She said she never flew on a small plane before. I don't think she liked being so high up, and looking down. The flight was great, no bouncing and good weather. Flight time from Lake Front to Pensacola was only 1 hour 50 min. each way.
I do love to travel. Recently I picked up my car from the BMW factory in Munich. What a trip to see all the great places in Germany. Drove the Autobaun, even saw Hitlers retreat in Berchsgarten. Just got back from Costa Rica, saw a lot of colorful birds and wildlife. I've also been to Paris, several times, (may live there sometime) Prague, Budapest, and Vienna. I'm planning a trip to Southern France this Fall.
Last June, I took a trip to New England, Quebec, and New Brunswick, Canada. Saw some interesting sights, and walked plenty of hiking trails. I startled a Moose on the Lincoln Trail, in New Hampshire. Quebec City is very nice, and very clean, no litter, or grafitte. Shadiac, NB is the Lobster capitol of the world, and lobster there is very good, and cheap, only $4/pound. I walked on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, in "Flower Pots Provincial Park" in NB. The flower pot are tall natural structures that formed during the tide surge in the Bay of Fundy. These pots have flowers, and trees that grow on top of the pillar above the tide line. The tide in this area runs about 45 feet. Finally made it to Maine, ate some more lobster, and traveled to the town of Portsmouth NH. Had a great meal at the Portsmouth Brewing Company, and cold Sumtynose, beer. Then moved along to Hartford, and home. I'm looking for a new home, out of the country. Quebec City is nice in Summer, but to cold in Winter. Same with New England.
Here I am now in the island of St. Maarten, Netherlands Antillies. What a place. I'm staying on the Dutch side, but travel to the French side just about every day. The beaches are nice white sand, or course brwon. The area has about 400 restaurants and most are seafood. I'll be fishing for Marlin Friday. Hopefully catch one.
Just retuned from a cruise to Belize, Cosumel, Costa Maya, and Equador. It was fun, but the weather was a bit cool for swimming, and diving. I don't think I'll ever take a winter cruise again. Just to cold. I will return to Belize for a week or two over the summer. I may decide to move there to live. Belize City is not that nice, but the coast is a possiblity. Many Americans live there now, and it is very tax friendly to Americans, and one of the best medical care areas in South America.
Took a little trip in the RV to Florida. I ended up in Navarre Beach. No tar balls yet. People there were on the watch for the BP oil. Oil on the white sand beaches there will be a real disaster. All the local people have something to loose if the tar comes ashore. I spent a week living on the beach, and along the intercoastal waterway. I stayed at the Emerald Beach Campground. Plenty of pull-through spots, and nice back ins along the intercoastal. I'm back home now, sitting in the rain. I'm looking through my books for a good place to visit and use my two weeks of time-share. I may just take a trip to Idaho, then to Italy. Europe is good now since the dollar is back on top of the Euro.
In August, I took a little trip to visit friends in Idaho, and Washington State. It was a nice trip. I did a little hiking, and visited a few festivals. I did enjoy the mountains, and saw some wildlife.
October was a fun month. I took off for Europe. I visited Vienna, and Budapest. Great sites at both cities. Plenty of Palaces, and history. Saw the Vienna riding stables, and the white stallions work out. Budapest was really interesting. Saw plenty of palaces from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Hungary has really cleaned up the buildings along the Danube. I was there right after the Soviets left, and they were black from the oil smoke on the Danube. Now the building are in there original white marble. Budapest is worth the visit, but Vienna is so expensive it makes the cost vs value lacking. I would suggest fly into the cheaper of the two cities, and take the train to the one you really want to visit. Then take the train back to travel home. The train is only 2 1/2 hours, and worth the trip. English is not a problem either. Most Austrians speak English, and many younger Hungarians speak English very well. Menus are in multi languages, including English. So, no problem communicating. Vienna, is on the Euro, but Hungary is on the old Forent. Next trip maybe to South America.
Just got back a few days ago from San Antonio. What a great city. I flew the plane over, and stayed in a timeshare off the 410 Loop. I saw the Alamo, and the other missions on the road. Also, took a little history of the area. San Antonio is a up and coming city, lots nice places to eat, drink and enjoy the River area. It looks like jobs are abundant, and the realestate prices are still up. Still waiting to head South of the Border. I may try Panama later this Spring.