Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Parky of the Caribbean

     Last week, Parky and I made it to 6 Caribbean nations.  For those of us counting countries, that's 11 for Parky and 118 for me. Don't forget to start making your plans to join Parky in Portland, Oregon for the World Parkinson Congress in September 2016!!


St. Vincent

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Running Across Antigua...searching for the finish line

      Given that I had missed my flight to Antigua, my run there started later than planned and I finished after sunset.  However, the added challenge made the satisfaction even greater when I completed my run across the fifth island in five days.  The next morning I was able to walk around the town of St. Johns, before catching my flight back to the States.  Here are a few of the images:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Driving Across Dominica...in search of a soccer game

      This morning I woke to find that my rental car battery was dead. I left the car in Roseau, took an hour-plus taxi ride across the island to the airport and still ended up missing my flight and radio interview.  On the bright side I had plenty of time to put up a post while waiting for the next flight from Dominica to Antigua.
     My wife has long accused me of planning all our travel around soccer games.  This is not actually true...sometimes I plan the travel first and then look for the soccer later.  That was the case with Run-the-Caribbean. After I selected the countries that I planned to run across - I became aware that regional qualifying for the 2018 World Cup would occur while I was in the islands. When I scanned the list of fixtures, I found the perfect one - Canada vs. Dominica.  This was ideal because Dominica didn't have a reasonable running route across the island, it had a number of natural sites that I wanted to visit and Canada featured a player from my favorite club, Portland Timbers.  So my schedule was set to ensure I would be in Roseau on June 11th.
      My travel from St. Kitts, started with another ridiculous exchange with airport security. I arrived at the modern, comfortable St. Kitts airport only an hour and half before departure, but was happy to find that I was the only person in the check-in line for Liat Airlines, the only person in line to have their boarding documents reviewed, the only person in line for emigration, and most importantly - the only person in the security line. As the four security staff members stood up from their chairs I placed my laptop and cellphone in a bin and then asked if they wanted me to take out liquids. When the answer was "yes", I place my bag containing 3 packets of laundry soap, a nearly empty sunscreen bottle and a small shaving cream can in a second bin. That's when the security staff asked me if I had a smaller bag. I was puzzled. She gestured to a "smaller bag" with some items inside hanging from the wall, and stated, "You should use a quart bag.  You have a gallon bag".  Thinking this was a suggestion, I thanked her for the information.  She then asked me, "So do you want to go back out and see if you can get a bag?"  Now in most places in the world this strict enforcement of "the rules" meant one of two things. Either we were about to have a stand-off to see if I would flinch and pay a bribe or there was a near-by shop/stand in which the owner sells nothing but quart-sized zip-lock bags at an astronomical mark-up. In this case, the official seemed not to be looking to profit, but just requiring strict adherence with "the rules". I surveyed the situation. The cost of the items in my bag was approximately $4US. Even if I could find a quart bag, I didn't know what the cost would be. Without laundry soap, I could wash my clothes with shampoo (which is what I usually do anyway), sunscreen could be purchased anywhere in the Caribbean, without shaving cream I would have one more excuse for not shaving, and getting rid of the bag of liquids would simplify procedures during my connection in Antigua.  Realizing the clear benefits, I let the security staff know - "thanks, I'll just leave this stuff for you".  Thus allowing me to clear security and allowing the staff to sit down and plan their next "shake-down".
     Once in Dominica, it was immediately evident why this island is known as the undeveloped, natural gem of the Caribbean.  I was only a few miles down the road in my rental car, when I felt the need to pull over and snap a few pictures of a beautiful, deserted beach.  After driving across the island, I had one place to visit before checking into the hotel. Trafalgar Falls was on all the lists of top sites in Dominica and it was definitely worth the trip.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Running across St. Lucia and St. Kitts

     Fortunately, my runs across St. Lucia and St Kitts did not bring me any misfortune.  After about 20 more miles of running, I just had more soreness in my muscles, more great images of the islands and one proud moment.  As I completed immigration in St. Lucia, the official found that my passport was too thick to squeeze through the little slit in the window typically used for this exchange. He looked perplexed for a moment, then defeated - got out of his seat and walked around to the other side of the glass to hand me my passport.  I'll have to added this to the, "You know you are obsessed with travel when _______" list.

Running and Recovering in St. Lucia


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Running Across St. Vincent...taking selfies

      As I stated in my last post, my plan for blogging this trip was to post a series on photos from each island...I had not planned for those photos to be limited to selfies.  In St. Vincent, that's what happened - here are the images and the explanation.
The West Coast and the new airport under contrustion
Climbing the mountains...again

Monday, June 8, 2015

Running Across Grenada...in search of food

      My brief stop  in Grenada found me wandering historic St. Georges on a sleepy weekend, struggling to run-hike 15 miles over the island's central mountain range and enjoying the quiet, beautiful beach near my hotel...and hunting for food. Here are some the images from my time in Grenada...
On top of St. Georges
My travel buddy - Parky

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Solo Running

      This afternoon I arrived in Grenada for the start of my short, but intense, run through the Caribbean. Since I planned my Run-the Caribbean 2.0 itinerary, the goals for this journey haven't changed. Over the next week, I will be traveling to six island nations that I have not visited in the past. During five of the days, I have runs planned to cross islands from shore to shore.
      From my prior travels through smaller countries and my earlier contacts in the Caribbean, I was aware that it would be a long shot to identify Parkinson's support groups on any of the islands. This has proven to be the case. Whether hidden from me or, more likely, not yet established - it's clear I won't have any such groups to partner with over the next week. On the other hand, I have been fortunate to become acquainted with a few journalists and have tentative plans for some broadcast interviews. Over the past year, I have had a number of chance connections facilitated by media spots that have led to fruitful relationships to help further Parkinson's awareness - so I'm hopeful this will also be the case in the islands that I visit.