Bodies In the sand…

Visit all the places mentioned in the Beach Boy’s “Kokomo” 4 of 8

Aruba

The latest trip found Kit, Duck and myself on two of the three ABC islands. Aruba and Curaçao. Curaçao will be getting its own post shortly since visiting it was a stand-alone item on the list. I’m actually having a hard time writing about Aruba, not for lack of trying or for not enjoying myself while I was on the island, It’s just, I’m not sure what to write about. The perfect weather? Iguanas stealing food? Swimming in the crystal clear waters? The egyptian cotton like sand? I guess I just wrote about it all.

One thing I could write about Aruba is how accessible the island and the culture is. Which in my opinion is a double edge sword for the people of Aruba and it’s culture. Let me explain.

When one is looking for a vacation destination that is completely non-commercialized, non-americanized or remote. Aruba is not your place. If however, if one seeks after a 5 hour flight to find the same McDonald’s next to the same Senor frogs across from one of a dozen well-known resorts, then yes, Aruba might be your place.

Don’t get me wrong I love a good ol’ sloppy Big mac and a yard stick filled with a tropical drink like any other American tourist… sometimes. I get disappointed when I see an American chain on island after island that we visit. On one hand, tourism being the major income on the island, appeasing the masses might sound like the smart thing to do. But, when does it become detrimental to the island’s culture? After the 2nd or 10th hotel chain?

Nonetheless, you can’t  discount how transparently blue the water is, or how incredibly soft the sand on the beaches feel, or how orange the sunset becomes and lets not forget how good the constant cooling winds are. You can’t take any of that from Aruba. No matter how many Senor Frogs get erected up instead of real local restaurants.

Enough of my preaching, here are some of the pictures. I only have 4 more places to visit before I can complete this list item. Regardless of my feelings towards commercialism, I am having a wonderful time completing this item.

Mr. Starfish hanging out at Eagle Beach.

Fun Fact: Aruba is a desert Island, with on average 16 inches of rain a year. Next time someone asks  if you would like to be stranded on a desert island, You should probably opt for a Tropical/Rainforest-y type island instead.

Trekking to one of the “beaches” on the remote North coast of Aruba.

The natural Pool.

Stacking rocks is a way of saying “We were here” without using graffiti.

No caption needed.

Defying gravity at the natural Bridge.

You can’t say “Life sucks”, when this is your view.

And if you forgot how the song goes, or you need a little inspiration as you sit at work…

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I Have Made Fire!

The inner caveman in me spoke out when I added Have a bon fire on the beach to the list. Actually, it was because of a scene from Police Academy which included the notorious Blue Oyster Bar… Here is the video incase you needed reminding.

In almost the exact fashion as our boys in blue from police academy, my bonfire went just about the same way minus, the naked women, saxophone, crowd of people and being that Kit and I were in Montauk, the black guy. Minus all those things, it was exactly the same.

Danny’s Guide to a successful Beach Bonfire… The Guide.

Step 1) Pick a beach

Step 2) Gather all materials needed for creating fire. Most survival experts say get a couple of stones, or a bow made of wood and tinder to light. I say, hogwash. Duraflame and a lighter. Added benefit to the Duraflame, you can purchase one that imitates the sound of real wood burning, or if you are feeling artistic or autistic they also have a special log that emits festive colors while burning.

Step 3) Light it up, Drink it up and enjoy.

(Traveling Duck optional)

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Whoa, it’s been awhile…

I haven’t realized how long it’s been and how much has happened since the last time I posted. Quick update, I have two more items completed and they will be posted shortly. I have three items that will be completed in the next two weeks when we go away. That will be another post entirely. For now here are a few items that were added to the list…

Live above a bar.

Own a Jeep Wrangler.

Own a mug in a bar, or stool.

Run from an explosion and then jump out-of-the-way at the last possible moment.

Spend an entire week eating all you can eat wings and beer at a bar.

The last one is special so you need to click Here to see it.


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The Legend of Bagger Vance… Danny…

After an exciting  18 holes last Saturday night, Kit can no longer claim that I never beat her in mini-golf. I must have had Tiger woods, or Happy Gilmore looking after me, cause I kicked her ass! This item is being crossed off again. I felt like Roger Maris tainted with an asterisk next to the list item for all this time. And before you anyone can make accusations, I did beat her without the use of performance enhancing drugs! Take that Barry Bonds!

Notice the perfect form, like a white-r Tiger Woods.

Finding my happy place…

Kit right before she hit par, unlike all the other holes.

And the final score…

Kit 62

Danny 52

The face of the loser…

And the face of the Winner…

My Caddyshack ending…

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Is there a pilot on board?

Yes, there is.

Skyhawk 428PD

Tower this is Koala, requesting fly by…

Flying over Oyster Bay

428PD cleared for landing, and don’t worry the bird shit didn’t affect our aerodynamics…

(From left to right) Gold Leader, Koala

This was an awesome experience, even if we almost crashed due to a rogue bee. Rest assured the Top Gun soundtrack was blasting in my car all the way home.

Koala over and out.

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My Top Five Most Favorite Places in the World…So far.

Number 5

Boston, Massachusetts

Since high school I have traveled to Boston almost once a year. Whenever I stepped off the Amtrak train onto the platform in Boston, my mood would instantly change. I am just happy whenever I go there or think about going into Boston. Maybe it’s the accents? Or, the Sam Adams brewery? The T? The Red Sox? I don’t know, possibly a combination of all those things. Whatever it is, Boston comes in as number 5 on my list.

Number 4

Bermuda

Holy Shit are Bermudians nice people! You would think being 2 hours from New York, that New Yorker attitudes would somehow rub off on the people of Bermuda, thankfully the attitudes and dispositions of Bermudians are worlds away from that of the people of NY. And Holy Shit the island is just gorgeous! Manicured everything! Even the waves were picture perfect. Landscape alone puts this place on the list. The prices keep it out of the top three,  but number four is just about right.

Number 3

Rincon, Puerto Rico

I have been to Puerto Rico countless times throughout my life. Mostly to visit family and whatnot. Up until last year I had never traveled to the west side of the Island. I am so glad I had waited until I was older and would be able to appreciate the beauty of the West coast. Rincon, is an amazing place. A place where time slows down enough for the simple pleasures of life catch up to you. Watching the sunset wading in the ocean, while small reef fish swim around your toes, it’s heavenly. And don’t get me started on the bread. Pan de agua (water bread) is proof that god loves Puerto Ricans.

Number 2

Reykjavík, Iceland

The top two spots where tough to decide. I knew from the start of writing this list Iceland would absolutely be in one of the top spots. This is a country that should be on everyone’s travel list. As long as you can get over the rotten egg smell that flows out of every water faucet. Looking through my Iphoto library, it was almost impossible deciding which pictures of Iceland to use for this post, the landscape was just so vast and awe-inspiring. It is very hard for me to express why Iceland and Reykjavík especially, is one of my top favorite places in the world, it’s not because of the food I can tell you that much. Nonetheless, just go there. Book your flight today (you shouldn’t go there right now, only because of a certain volcano eruption, but as soon as the scientist say it is safe, book it.) You won’t be disappointed. No fear the people of Iceland are nothing like they were depicted in the Mighty Ducks movie.

Number 1

Dublin County, Ireland

Intoxicating. The first word that comes to mind when I think of Dublin. The people, the Bacon and of course the beer all of it, just intoxicating. Being one of the most expensive cities in the world does not keep it from being my favorite place in the world… so far. If the city life isn’t for you, you can simply hop on a train or bus leaving the city centre and head for the country side or the beach. No matter where you head the charm of Ireland will be there. Sitting in a real Irish pub drinking a pint of Smithwicks or Guinness just seals the deal for me. Ireland gets top spot.

Where in the world would you consider your favorite? Leave your answer in the comments.

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Red Wine and Death

Sometimes when someone dies and they have red wine in their stomachs, when their heart stops, they are likely to vomit. When the red wine comes up it looks like a dark strawberry smoothie complete with fruit chunks and a very distinct smell.

Last night my fire company got an ambulance call for an unconscious male. When we arrived we found a 75-year-old man laying in bed in cardiac arrest. When I attempted to intubate him, his body decided to unleash the slurry of red wine from his stomach.

With the amount of red wine coming from this man stomach, it was impossible for me to intubate him. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital after continued unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate him.

The last thing he did before he died was drink some red wine with dinner and go to bed. I know nothing else about him. I don’t know what he did for a living, how many children he had or if he was a fan of baseball. All I know is that he had drunk some red wine.

I hope he was a happy man.  Or, at least I hope he tried to live a happy life. A life filled with great memories of things he has done. I hope he was able to do the things he really wanted to in life.

Those are the same thoughts I had when my father died. I hoped he had lived a happy life, and he was able to do everything he wanted to with his life. Unfortunately, I know that a lot of his dreams were left unfulfilled.

My father always wanted to be a doctor, he was a very good mechanic instead. A doctor for cars I guess, but not exactly the same thing. I know that there were a lot of other things that he wanted to do also but the responsibility of earning a living and providing for family got in the way.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely appreciate all the sacrifices my father made for me and my family, but I still can’t help but feel guilty for all the excuses he made for not pursuing his life’s dreams. What would he have done if he lived longer than a day after his 50th birthday? Would he have studied medicine at night before he went to bed to earn his MD? Most likely not. He would have kept going to work well past his retirement age, at a job he didn’t necessarily hate, but one he did not love. He would have still been quoting his favorite expression, “life sucks.” Even if he had lived till the age of 200, knowing him, he wouldn’t have even tried to make his life into what he truly wanted. I do believe he was happy to have a family that loved him, and that he was very happy with how his family had turned out thanks to his parenting, but I knew deep down there was more that he wanted.

I would love to think that maybe eventually he would followed his dreams, maybe not become a doctor but some other dream. But, I know he wouldn’t have. His family came first, making sure we had a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs was his number 1 responsibility. Even after we all moved on with our own lives that would still be his top priority. But, what if he would have pursued his dreams? Would he have been happier when he died?

A few months back I had a pretty cool experience at work. I was able to save an elderly woman’s life when she choked on her lunch. All the training and the great work of my crew came together at that moment and we were able to give that woman a second shot at life. Too bad, she was well in her 90s, lived alone at a disgusting nursing home and was in advance stages of Dementia. If I had been given the choice who would I rather have saved, her, or the 2-year-old I wasn’t able to bring back, I would have chosen the child be given the second chance. But, we don’t get those choices.

A week later I got called to the same nursing home. When I walked into the room, the elderly women was sitting in her favorite chair smiling at me. I know she was not smiling at me because she remembers me as the man who saved her life, she was just smiling because at that moment she was happy. And some times you just have to be happy with those small victories. Maybe, she was smiling cause she can remember being younger and living her life to the fullest possible extent?

All the bad memories of lives I couldn’t help made pursuing my list more important to me. I want to be able to look back on my life and with all honesty say that yes, I am happy with how it all turned out. I want to be able to say, I did all those things, rather than recite all the excuses I made for not at least trying the things  I wanted to do. It’s a lot easier to make excuses, I want to make memories.

What will you be able to say? Will you look back and say, “Life sucks?” Did you take full advantage of all the opportunities life gave you to be happy? Did you just make excuses? I can’t stress enough, you only get one chance at this life, make it a life worth living. Dance, love, make yourself uncomfortable some times. Whatever it is that makes you happy just go for it.

And, when your number does get called up, just take it easy on the red wine, your medics will thank you.

Thank you Papi.

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