Friday, February 24, 2017

Joy, Joy, Joy! Well, Sorta!

38 minutes ago

The Christian heart is always full of joy. Always. Joy received as a gift and kept in order to be shared with everyone.

It was a blowout and a blackout. The sold-out fan section at Jenny Craig Arena saw something last night thousands of ZAG fans around the world failed to see:  the No. 1, only undefeated men's basketball team in the nation chalk up victory No. 29 against San Diego 96-38 and win outright the West Coast Conference championship.

Those folks who packed Jenny Craig got what they paid for.  Those fans around the world (including the lady from Ireland who got up at 3 a.m. to watch the game), got a few minutes of game time, a whole lot of commercials and several minutes of nothing except an announcement about technical problems which were being fixed. 

It was later called a total transmission failure.  When that verdict was reached, some got to see a fascinating interview with NBA star Russell Westbrook, while others got to see a sitcom, reportedly (by the Spokesman-Review guy who has envious job of watching the ZAGS from his living room couch and then writing his observations of the game) featuring a theme of  "casual sex," set in a Wal-Mart-type box store, mind you!

Not much fans in the vast ZAG Nation can do with a total transmission failure as the No. 1, only undefeated team in the nation---which still hasn't done enough in some perennial cynics' minds to get its due respect---wins again and wins in what their coach Mark Few described as the best game he's ever seen ZAGS play in his 18 years of coaching. 

And, a lot of people missed it!  Oh well!

Well, we're happy and joyous for the ZAGS, and I'm sure the Pope would agree.  After all, besides good basketball for men and women (the women won last night too), Gonzaga has just been recognized as one of the ten best Catholic universities in the United States.

Now, they'll move on, playing BYU tomorrow night, and that's on ESPN2.  I'm hoping those folks are checking their technical gear and checking it twice cuz we'd love to see the whole game and, of course, victory No. 30. 


Speaking of technical difficulties, I went shopping at Wal-Mart yesterday, where I witnessed no casual sex.  Instead, by the time I left the store, the gallon-sized freezer bags I needed, had joined $66 worth of other groceries. 

Once back at the car, I checked my cell phone, wrote a quick note to my friend Asa in Denmark and then turned the ignition key.  Dead battery. 

When the car is parked right next to the long cart rack (I always park there  in case of senior-memory transmission breakdowns, causing me not to know where the car is). Beside the car was a big pickup, and another truck was parked directly in front of me.

My first inclination was to go to the Wal-Mart auto shop and ask if someone could jump my battery.  Later, I decided it was best to just wait until someone came to one of those trucks and hope to God they had jumper cables. 

Well, the Good Samaritans must have sense that I did not want to spend a beautiful afternoon sitting and waiting for strangers to do their shopping.  Within seconds, a couple came walking toward the pickup in front of me.

Yes, Mike and Sherri Waites from Kimberley, B.C., who knew our first Schweitzer Ski manager Sam Wormington, had jumper cables, and, yes, Mike figured it all out while Sherri and I visited.  Sherri told me they come to Sandpoint quite often and enjoy meeting people in our Wal-Mart parking lot.

I'll tell you that I sure enjoyed meeting Mike and Sherri and definitely felt the joy to which Pope Francis refers----especially when I turned the ignition and the Suburu started right up.   Thank you, so much, Mike and Sherri, and do enjoy your cruise to the Carribean.  

Meanwhile, off in South America----I'll share another Dispatch from Annie's British geocaching friend, Simon Evans, which he posted yesterday. 

First, I must say, especially because I included the Pope's tweet today that Annie and her friends are in Pope Francis' homeland of Argentina this morning, waiting in line to see the falls which Simon mentions below.  

From Simon:

Hello From Paraguay🇵🇾 and from one of the New Severn Wonders of the World!
After having spent the day in the car yesterday travelling to Iguaçu, it was time to pick up the pace again for a crammed packed day of adventure!

                                                                                       -----Annie Love selfie

                                                                            ---Photo by Simon Evans

So what better way than to get on our way this morning to the recently voted new 7 Wonders of the World also known as Fos Iguaçu, looking at it from the Brazilian side.
We made our way to the visitors centre, which is about five km away from the actual falls. 

The idea is to protect the environment there and keep the cars away. You park up get your ticket from the visitors centre and then take a coach down to the waterfalls. There are also some other businesses offering a similar service, however one of the people who we asked for information became very aggressive. My advice is to keep driving to the official parking and ignore everyone else!

We took the bus and there were two or three additional stops that you could have made for either a bike, walking adventure trail, and boat rides for an additional fee whilst also being told information about the park. We decided to exit at the penultimate stop where we could walk to the waterfall instead of the lazy persons’ scenic elevator up and down.

On arrival we were met by a number of Ant Eaters, that whilst looking cute probably had loads of flees! There was also a sign warning you about the possibility of Rabies as well. I am just relieved I had the jab previously. You certainly don't leave anything unattended around them or they will be off with it. Annie found this out with her can of coke, which they robbed off here!

The views of the waterfalls were truly stunning and beautiful. It is one of the most outstanding places I have ever been to and I make no apologies for the 20+ photos I took of the waterfall today from different angles. Hopefully you will enjoy them too.

The whole trip including parking cost about £20. If you are ever in this part of the world it is a must do. There is an airport nearby if you don't fancy the drive that we did yesterday! 

This is from the Brazil side. You can see why it is one of the new wonders of the world.
Whilst in the area it would have been rude not to pick up a few geocaches as well. I was also very lucky to get a First-To-Find [geocache] with my team as well. I don't get many these days but it is always rather special to be able to do it abroad. I've managed in in Mexico and Brazil in the last couple of weeks. This is special for me. I know my work colleagues think I am mad!

The afternoon was also rather special too. Yes! I visited my 72nd country in the world. This was Paraguay🇵🇾. We walked across the border from Iguazu on Brazil to Ciudad del Este I'm Paraguay using the Friendship Bridge. This gave me memories of using the friendship bridge between Bulgaria and Romania (Snow chains.... Really😉)

I must admit that I was expecting it to take some time at the border to cross, however this border crossing was more leaky than a sieve! We literally walked past the Brazil immigration and then past the Paraguay immigration without being stopped or checked. The same on the way back. They were not really interested in any of the traffic either. Only pulling the odd vehicle over for a quick look.

As it turns out many Brazilians travel over to Paraguay each day to do their shopping. A lot of the souvenirs sold in Brazil come from Paraguay as the cost is considerably less. 

Paraguay is the second poorest South American country according to GDP figures.
So Paraguay is a very poor country and this showed. Border towns are not normally that impressive but Paraguay was a good example of a third world country. 

Granted, market day was today and there was rubbish all over the streets waiting collection but it was filthy. The buildings were run down apart from the expensive looking shopping centre, the infrastructures poor and it looked like you could get a good dose of some life threatening illness from most of the surfaces. In addition to the bugs and mosquitoes that you have to contend with.

I am sure as you get into the country it becomes more beautiful. You certainly can't judge a country on an hour or so visit. It was still very interesting place. It's interesting people watching especially those people who carry around old fashioned shot guns. I felt reasonably safe but a little uncomfortable. 

I was pleased to get back to Brazil! It's an interesting place and it would be nice to visit again. I am pleased to report that I also managed to colour in this part of my Geocaching map as we found two caches here. There are pictures from the adventure too in the photo album.

Finally we visited the Rodissio where they bring meat to your table and carve it onto your plate whilst also having an all you can eat buffet. The meats included pork, beef and chicken. As you would expect the steak was fantastic. For the buffet meal and deserts and drinks it was about £11 a person. Back home you would easily pay about £30-£50.

So hopefully you have enjoyed the read and the photos and not got too bored. Tomorrow is my last full day here. The plan is to visit Argentina to see the waterfall from that side and a boat trip, whilst picking up a few geocaches. In the meantime. Have a good day.


Thank you, Simon.  It has been fun to share the adventure with you, Annie and the gang. Looking forward to learning about today's fun.

In the meantime, that's all from the Lovestead for now.  Hope everyone has some joy in their day and no total transmission failures.  

Happy Friday. 

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