Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hemispheric Scenes and Thoughts

This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad.  They should all be days for rejoicing and gladness, but yesterday certainly fulfilled the proclamation.  And, if all goes well this evening, so will this Saturday, February 25, 2017. 

I accomplished so much yesterday----for a winter day----that I certainly did some rejoicing.  Garbage to the landfill, new supply of shavings and straw purchased and put in the barn, five bales of hay moved by sled from shed to barn, Festus' kitty litter boxes cleaned, picked up sign for supporting the upcoming school levy. 

Accomplishing that much on a winter day and rather easily on a winter day is quite satisfying, to say the least.  And, since I was feeling good about the day, I drove to the beach and took a walk---on a bare sidewalk and over some bare but frozen sand.

Others seemed to be coming from their respective nesting areas to breathe in that fresh, cold air and take in that magnificent sight across the lake toward the Cabinet Mountains. 

I met a group of folks from Usk and San Diego who were enjoying a photo shoot at Sandpoint's own Stature of Liberty.  Their carefree attitudes and obvious glee at having such a beautiful setting for photos, visiting and even leaping off the dock was infectious. 

I talked to several of them and even enjoyed an exclusive ukelele solo performed by a talented young lady who taught herself how to play.  She also plays piano and violin, and I'm guessing she's gifted with musical talent. 

The area near the dock leading to the Statue of Liberty apparently provided the perfect place for a trio of guys producing a commercial.  It took true grit for the actor as he sat for about 15 minutes shirtless in 25-degree temps.  

They were quite nice about letting an old lady with a camera snap a few photos too.  

After walking back to the pickup and snapping a quick shot of the birch tree with mountains and lake in the background, I drove through the parking lot on the west side of Sand Creek where tall snow banks pretty much block off views of Sandpoint's jewel. 

That was okay, though, as I found a couple of neat photos next to the Panida.  Don't know who owns the limo, but it was parked in a perfect spot.  Even though it's hundreds of miles away, the scene said "Oscars" to me.  

I love watching the Oscars and told Bill just a while ago that we have two great nights of television viewing this weekend:   the ZAGS last season game and tomorrow night's Oscars. After seeing Lion this past week, tomorrow night's movie award extravaganza should be more fun than usual. 

But first we must get back to "This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

For every fan who has followed the Gonzaga men's basketball team for several years or even just for this year, today is a very special day.  

We do not know how it will end, but what we do know is that we are proud and we are thrilled with what Mark Few, his staff and his team have accomplished over the years and especially this year. 

And, their achievements that have touched so many people, young and old from around the world, move far beyond final scores.  It's difficult to adequately describe ZAG fervor, but it includes admiration, pride, excitement, inspiration, love and a sense of being part of something uniquely special.  

The ZAGS have honored the Inland Northwest with their outstanding play on basketball courts across America and their deep love and involvement for community where they come together each year to provide incredible and thrilling entertainment for their fans throughout the winter months. 

And, so as we reflect on their journey, we can't wait to watch tonight's WCC season-ending game and see the ZAGS  complete a perfect 30-0 season.  

Let them rejoice and be glad!  They deserve it!

GO, ZAGS onward and upward tonight against BYU and on through March Madness AND early April's Final Four.  

7 p.m. PST -- ESPN2.

Finally, I'm posting a few photos and another wonderful blog report (below) about yesterday's Argentinian activities from Annie's geocaching friend Simon.  So, be sure to check below. 

A Puma presence slowed down their efforts to see the magnificent waterfalls from the Argentinian side. 

Blog posting Feb. 24, from Simon Evans in South America:

                                                                                                      ---Annie Love Photo

Well I am rather sad tonight but only because my last full day on my tour comes to an end. Today is Day 7, and in the early morning I fly back to Sao Paulo and onto Paris and finally London. I have had a truly life-changing experiences on this trip and I will certainly never forget it. I am very fortunate and I appreciate the opportunity to have this experience. To think where I was ten years ago with my life to where I am today, even I have to pinch myself.

So today was a new country for me again today. Adding number 73 to the list meaning that I have now visited 30.5 percent of the world. Argentina🇦🇷 was the country today and again we were off to the seventh new Wonder of the World Iguazu but from the Argentina side, which we are told is better than the Brazil side.

I must admit that I was not sure what to expect when I crossed into the Argentina side. The UK and Argentina do not have the best relationship for obvious reasons so I was not sure how the immigration process would go. 

The immigration process was a lot more strict for all of our tourist. We needed to pick up and exit stamp for Brazil followed by an entry stamp for Argentina and again the opposite on return. The process for both ends took about an hour. This was a lot more controlled than going to Paraguay yesterday where we probably exited and entered illegally as we did not get the stamps. However that was then and not a problem.

So I had nothing to worry about the Argentinean people as they were lovely. Very friendly at the border crossing and welcoming. Of all the people we met in the park from Argentina they were fantastic. It just shows politics can alter people's perception this was the same experience in St Petersburg in Russia.

So today we had booked an Adventure Day Out Excursion from the hotel. This included the bus transfer, truck ride through the jungle and a boat ride in the rapids and waterfall. I'm sorry but loads of waterfall pictures again today. Also a few videos as well.

We had a problem at the park when we arrived as most areas were closed apart from the excursion that we booked and a train ride. Only the upper trail was open. The reason? A family of five Pumas had been seen at 9am and were probably looking for a child for breakfast to eat. Normally I would be ok with that as long as they did not see me and think that I would make a suitable meal for five!

This meant that we spent over an hour in the sun queueing at the narrow gauge railway for the train to take us to the excursion meeting point where normally you would walk the 700 meter trail, which today was closed. Clearly this did not happen very often as staff members were taking photos of the snaking queue from the office windows. Wardens were stood waiting with stun guns should a puma spot a suitable meal.

Thankfully we made it to the excursion where we were taken on a road trip through the jungle. We got to learn some basic facts about the wildlife, animals, spiders and snakes that lived there. I won't tell you about the number of poisonus things that could make your life a living hell and take you from this world. The good news is most of them are scared of you thankfully and keep their distance.

Next was the boat ride. Once we got the life jackets on and our bags put inside dry bags it was time to take the boat down the Iguaçu river. This was all nice and calm until we hit the rapids where a bit of holding on was was then time to approach the waterfalls the mist, the power and the tremendous amount of energy thundering down towards you was heart stopping. 

Then into the waterfall we went. Not once but three times. Soaked through to the skin in every place you can think off (I'll leave you with that image there). It was hot, but cold and also invigorating. It was truly amazing. So lucky to be able to do that.

The tour cost about £80 and whilst more expensive than I normally pay it was worth every penny. I would highly recommend it. A real lifetime experience. People say the Argentina side is better than the Brazil side. They are right but the Brazil side is still beautiful. You really need to visit both sides over two days. Make sure that you visit the Brazil side first. If you do it the other way you might get that let down feeling and not see the bigger picture.

The rest of the day was spent taking in the various walks that you could do and have different angles of the waterfalls. This is certainly better in the Argentina side. It really was a great experience.

It was then time to make our way back to the hotel. We got stopped for an ecological tax, near the border. We were not sure if this was a scam and we suspect it was but it was also supported by the police. Thankfully it worked out as about £1, but it's the principle.

So we had our final meal together as a group before saying our good byes. This was followed by packing and getting ready for the flight at 06:15 to Sao Paulo. I was still wet for the rest of the day too from the waterfall close up. Thankfully we found two caches in Argentina to add another country to our cache map.

For now. Good night and thank you for reading. Enjoy the pictures and videos and don't forget to let me know what you think.

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