Posts tagged ‘Americas’

February 24, 2021

My Florida, wonderful memories!!!

And why not continue in memory lane and bring back this wonderful experience to remember forever. Let me update text and links on my memorable life in the State of Florida USA, just before my moved to my beloved France. Hope you enjoy as I and thanks again for reading me over the years!

If you search my blog you will see several posts on Florida. I am reminicent of my previous lives. Read and you will notice I lived for 18 years in Florida in addition to four years of University studies!!!while living in NJ (see post).  Florida is the Sunshine State incorporated into the USA in 1845. It has about 1,350 miles (2,170 km) of coastlines so a water lovers paradise as well. The earliest settlers were here before those northern claims…. when in 1513 a Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León landed and named it La Florida ( land of flowers) as it was during the Easter season or Pascua Florida.

You have several sources for tourist info depending on the area you are going. I lived in Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, both in Volusia county, as well as in  North Miami, Hialeah, both in Miami-Dade county; and finally, Miramar in Broward county.

North Miami is a totally different city than Miami in fact there are about 7-8 towns with Miami on the name including the county!!!

Some of the things to see in North Miami are: The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) ,The Miami Auto Museum with large collection of classic cars, Hollywood cars, mini cars, scooters, motorcycles and bicycles from the collection of Michael Dezer, The Oleta River State Park is the largest urban park in the Florida State Park system. The park is located on 1,043 acres (4.22 km2) – 993 acres (4.02 km2) of land and 50 acres (0.20 km2) of inland water – on Biscayne Bay; the park contains one of the largest concentrations of Australian pine trees found in a Florida state park; and The Arch Creek Park is an 8-acre (32,000 m2) site at the junction of N.E. 135th Street and Biscayne Boulevard , just the area I lived! , and offers many opportunities for botanical, historical and archaeological study. It has a museum/nature center modeled after an early Florida pioneer home, displaying Indian artifacts dug from the grounds, and live animals from the nearby hammock. Remains of the original coontie mill are still visible across the creek, and the park exists as the only preserved archaeological site in the County.

The city of North Miami on things to do: https://www.northmiamifl.gov/514/Things-to-Do

Some of the things to see in Daytona Beach, other than the beach itself of about 23 miles or 37 kms are :City Island (married my Frenchie here) , City Island Ball Park, Daytona Beach Bandshell and Oceanfront Park Complex Seabreeze Historic District , South Beach Street Historic District, South Peninsula Historic District, the Tarragona Tower , Daytona 500 Experience, Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach Boardwalk, Daytona Lagoon Water Park, Halifax Historical Museum, Jackie Robinson Ballpark, Main Street Pier , Museum of Arts and Sciences,(best  Cuban museum outside of Cuba), and the Ocean Center.

The city of Daytona Beach on recreation: https://www.codb.us/891/Activities-Recreation

The Daytona Beach tourist officehttps://www.daytonabeach.com/

Some of the things to do in Ormond Beach ,other than the beach are: The Casements is a mansion , famous for being the winter residence of American oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. It is currently owned by the city of Ormond Beach and is used as a cultural center and park, Bulow Creek State Park is a Florida State Park next to the Atlantic Ocean. The park is adjacent to Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park, and close to North Peninsula State Park, Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area and Tomoka State Park. Tomoka State Park within the park is the site of the Timucuan village of Nocoroco, located on the Tomoka River. The site was inhabited approximately a thousand years ago.

The city of Ormond Beach on leisure services: https://www.ormondbeach.org/258/Leisure-Services

Some of the things to see in Hialeah are: Great transport hub served by the Miami Metrorail at Okeechobee, Hialeah, and Tri-Rail/Metrorail Transfer stations. The Okeechobee and Hialeah stations serve primarily as park-and-ride commuter stations to commuters and residents going into Downtown Miami, and Tri-Rail station to Miami International Airport and north to West Palm Beach. The Hialeah Park Race Track is a historic racetrack on a site covering 40 square blocks of central-east side from Palm Avenue east to East 4th Avenue, and from East 22nd Street on the south to East 32nd Street on the north.The Hialeah Park Race Track is served by the Miami Metrorail at the Hialeah Station at Palm Avenue and East 21st Street. Originally opened in 1922 by aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss and his partner, Missouri cattleman James H. Bright, Hialeah Park opened as a greyhound racing track operated by the Miami Kennel Club. The Miami Jockey Club launched Hialeah’s Thoroughbred horse racing track on January 25, 1925. Even Winston Churchill visited in 1949. There are plans for a redevelopment complex but still going on unfinished.

The city of Hialeah on things to see: https://www.hialeahfl.gov/101/Visit

The Greater Miami and the Beaches tourist office: https://www.miamiandbeaches.fr/

My last town was Miramar, Broward county, before leaping forward to France with after convincing her to live with me in the State of Florida for 13 years she convince me to come to France where we are already 18+ years here ::) as French.

Some things to see in Miramar are : Silver Lakes Sports Complex (where I played softball), Forzano Field (where I played beach volleyball), and SoccerZone Indoor (where I played indoor soccer). The city has over 40 parks, for the entire family.

The city of Miramar on parks and recreation: https://www.miramarfl.gov/1726/Parks-Recreation

The Greater Fort Lauderdale tourist office: https://www.sunny.org/

And things we were fond of while in Florida, was to eat out at a Cuban resto in Altamonte Springs near Orlando with parents; the train ride outside Fort Myers, the alligator sights at Cypress Reserve in the Everglades marshes; the frozen papaya trees in Ormond Beach, yes it can get cold there like down to 25F (minus celsius 0C =32F). The now closed Silver Spring in Ocala where the original Tarzan movie was filmed!

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Go on to watching the Yankees baseball spring training in Tampa, our eating runs into Columbia the oldest Spanish restaurant in the USA since 1905 in Tampa (me and my Frenchie) and then we also visited their branch at Saint Augustine, (me) the oldest city in the USA. The fancy French as always great restaurant La Provence in Miami still going strong!! The visits to Magic Kingdom and Epcot center French Pavilion!(me and oldest son) The visit to the Daytona Beach museum of Arts and Science and the best Cuban arts collection outside of Cuba!!! My university old dorm and apartment house right on Hollywood st off Main St Daytona Beach home of Bike Weeks!!! The Marineland of St Augustine, Miami seaquarium and Zoo as well as Mallory square in Key West, the beaches of Daytona and Ormond (my dear Martine), the birthplace of speed! (world record automobile in 1902). Picking up wines in Coral Gables from Crown wines (me), and up to the concerts at Daytona bandshell on the beach. And our last house in the USA at Miramar. All wonderful memories that I like to share with my readers and keep in my blog for the memories,for history,and for passing on down to generations of my family.

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The State of Florida tourist board! https://www.visitflorida.com/en-us.html

Cheers y’all, enjoy it as much as I do. Florida, the Sunshine State. Always remembered as if for anything else, where I was married and my sons were born! Hope you enjoy the post and do visit when possible me last time was 2015.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

February 24, 2021

New Jersey ,a story of human triumph: My American life!

And my saga continues not only of updating older posts but bringing my life’s history in my blog. That was my idea from the beginning and I am glad doing it. Thank you all for reading me over the years, and hope you enjoy it too. Let me bring you back to my American experience, Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, and New Jersey was first! Of course, I have other posts on NJ overall in my blog.

I think I came up with a poetic title to this post. After running from left and right wing dictatorships I finally landed in democracy. Not an easy adjustment with a totally different culture and language, but we persevered the American dream , and I made it with my parents. American as apple pie ,even on further lands we came to know and be part of, we will always be thankful of the New Jersey experience. This is my humble homage.

Some background info on the State of New Jersey: It is a state in the Northeastern and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States of America (USA) . It is a peninsula, bordered on the north and east by the state of New York; on the east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic Ocean; on the west by the Delaware River and the state of Pennsylvania; and on the southwest by the Delaware Bay and state of Delaware. New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state by area but the 11th-most populous and the most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states! It is divided into three geographic regions: North Jersey, Central Jersey,(mine!) and South Jersey.

Ok so we move on to the county I lived for 13 years of my early life; Middlesex County.  Middlesex is part of the New York metropolitan area, and its county seat is New Brunswick (where i became US Citizen in 1980) . The center of population of the state of New Jersey is located in Middlesex County, in East Brunswick Township, just east of the New Jersey Turnpike. The county was primarily settled due to its ideal location near the Raritan River and was established as of March 7, 1683, as part of the Province of East Jersey and was partitioned as of October 31, 1693, into the townships of Piscataway, Perth Amboy and Woodbridge ; The county’s first court met in June 1683 in Piscataway, and held session at alternating sites over the next century in Perth Amboy, Piscataway and Woodbridge before relocating permanently to New Brunswick in 1778. My parents below in Edison Menlo Park Mall!

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And now to the town I lived for 13 years and my first contact with the American scene. My English is from here, my last years of middle elementary school, all of high school, my first driving license, sports, worked in parents small businesses as well as industry to save for University studies in Florida. Wonderful early life ,always fondly remember; Perth Amboy Panther forever !!!

Perth Amboy was formed by Royal charter on August 4, 1718, within various townships and again by New Jersey Legislature on December 21, 1784, within Perth Amboy Township and from part of Woodbridge Township. Perth Amboy Township was formed on October 31, 1693, and was enlarged during the 1720s to encompass Perth Amboy city. Perth Amboy Township was incorporated as one of New Jersey’s initial 104 townships through the Township Act of 1798 on February 21, 1798. The township was replaced by Perth Amboy city on April 8, 1844. Perth Amboy served as a capital of the Province of New Jersey from 1686 until 1776. In 1684, Perth Amboy became the capital of East Jersey and remained the capital until the union of East and West Jersey in 1702, and became an alternate colonial capital with Burlington until 1776. Thanks for several sites of historical government sites to gather all the information above. 

Some of the colonial legacy is still around such as the Proprietary House, the home of William Franklin, the last Royal Governor of New Jersey and estranged son of Benjamin Franklin, still stands in the waterfront area of the city. St. Peter’s Church was founded in 1718 by the first Episcopal congregation in the state. Its current building, dating from 1875, is surrounded by a graveyard of early inhabitants and displays a collection of stained-glass windows with religious scenes as well as early depictions of New Jersey receiving its charter and a meeting between William Franklin and his father, Benjamin. Perth Amboy City Hall, first built as a courthouse in 1714, survived major fires in 1731 and 1764 and is the oldest city hall in continuous use in the United States, since 1789. The Kearny Cottage, moved from its original location, is a remaining example of 18C vernacular architecture. The site of a ferry that crossed the Arthur Kill to Tottenville, Staten Island. Regular service began in 1709. This ferry became less important when the Outerbridge Crossing opened in 1928, but continued to operate until 1963. In 1998, the Perth Amboy Ferry Slip was restored to its 1904 appearance. A replica of the ticket office has been constructed and is used as a small museum. The Waterfront, This is where the city was first settled and one of the few places left in New Jersey that has a historic and marina culture surrounded by water. Local attractions include the Perth Amboy Ferry Slip, two small museums, an art gallery, a yacht club, and a marina. Near the marina lies a park with a small bandshell. And this is the area of my last residence before moving on to Florida.

The Outerbridge Crossing, which opened to traffic on June 29, 1928, is a cantilever bridge over the Arthur Kill that connects Perth Amboy with Staten Island, NYC. Known locally as the “Outerbridge”, it is part of a popular route on NY-440 / NJ-440 from the south and west to New York City and Long Island. The bridge clears the channel by 143 ft (44 m), providing passage for some of the largest ships entering the Port of New York and New JerseyThe Victory Bridge carries Route 35 over the Raritan River, connecting Perth Amboy on the north with the borough of Sayreville to the south. A project completed in 2005 replaced a swing bridge that carried four lanes of traffic with twin bridges, each carrying two lanes of traffic, an outside shoulder and a bike lane. The city has NJ Transit train service at Perth Amboy station. The station provides service on the North Jersey Coast Line to Newark Penn Station, Hoboken Terminal, Secaucus Junction, New York Penn Station and the Jersey Shore. I had my first train experience in the USA here! going to NYC! NJ Transit buses serve the Port Authority Bus Terminal. More on the train station here: https://www.njtransit.com/station/perth-amboy-station

My parents below fishing out of Point Pleasant Beach on the Dauntless!!

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My schools! The William C. McGinnis Middle School for grades 5–8; and Perth Amboy High School for grades 9–12.  All from the 7th grade onwards , memories never forgotten and fondly remembered. At home 809 State St coming for visit from FL univ! below picture!

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We came in renting an apartment at 349 Oak Street, then move on to a bigger second floor apartment house at 809 State Street,and finally my parents were able to buy our first house ever at 106 State Street by the waterfront area. My parents had several small businesses in town that I of course help out; from grocery story, men’s clothing store, nightclub with live music and dancers, restaurant, and handyman sales of sundry items all over the State and even into NYC and Philadelphia, PA.

I played baseball on the Babe Ruth World Series sponsored by Chicken Delight restaurant and we won! Played baseball Freshman and JV at High School, intramural Volleyball, and foremost continue my soccer/football paths at the High School as I came over from Madrid, Spain.  All many memories, friendships that I must tell you endure today even after 40-46 years!!! My last visit to NJ dates from 2007 for four days! coming there from France.  A blog post or even a blog won’t be enough to cover it all but the heart is on this post. Thank you Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, New Jersey, USA; from a grateful citizen.

The city of Perth Amboyhttps://www.perthamboynj.org/

The New Jersey tourist board on gateway region with Perth Amboy: https://www.visitnj.org/nj/gateway-region/history

The Middlesex County official webpage on its history: http://www.middlesexcountynj.gov/About/Pages/History.aspx

The Central New Jersey tourist board on things to see includes Perth Amboyhttps://www.gocentraljersey.com/historical-sites-tours/

Again, hope you have enjoy the reading as much as I writing the post. Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, New Jersey! remembered!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

February 15, 2021

Casa de America, Madrid!!

In my continuing saga of updating older posts in my blog I bring you back to my beloved Madrid! Yes culture and history are part of any society and without understand it, you are doom for errors or least more of them. This is a cultural center of the Americas in Madrid where all countries of Latin America can meet and exchange culture, arts, theater, and conditions; it is a must while in Madrid to understand the whole of the American conscience (American is the sense of the continent). Let me tell you a bit on the Casa de America of Madrid!

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A place to visit for the culture and understanding  a lot more than just a tourist sight, even if many things will help you understand the things you see as a tourist/visitor of my Americas. I have touch briefly before, but I like to tell you a bit more on the Casa America.

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The Casa de America is a consortium created in 1990 and integrated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  the community of Madrid and the city of Madrid. It is coordinated through the Governing Council, the upper management body of the Consortium and the delegated commission of that Governing Council formed by a representative of each of the three institutions plus the Director General or General Manager.

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A bit of the history I like

This consortium has the headquarters of the Palacio de Linares in Madrid.  It is located in the district of Salamanca, in the northeast corner of Plaza de Cibeles, on which opens the main entrance, between the Paseo de Recoletos and the Calle de Alcalá (my street!).  The Murga family’s fortune declined after the Marquis ‘ death in 1902, and the palace, damaged during the Spanish Civil war, was about to be demolished when it was classified as a historic monument in 1976.  It escaped destruction but remains abandoned for many years.  This palace built in 1873 for the Murga family is impressive. Baroque style, it was completely renovated in 1992. One of the peculiarities of this palace is the Casa de Muñecas, or the house of dolls; located in the interior patio of the palace, it was built by the Marquis de Linares for his adopted daughter Raimondita.

Casa de America is a public consortium that aims to strengthen ties between Spain and the Americas, especially with Latin America. This approach is encouraged through the organization of seminars, conferences, roundtables, exhibitions, lectures, projections, concerts, symposia, presentations, workshops, etc.

The Casa de America Consortium was founded in 1990, on the occasion of the preparations for the celebrations of the 5th centenary of the discovery of the Americas (by Europeans)  by Columbus.  The headquarters of Casa de America hosted the 2nd Ibero-American Summit in July 1992. S.M. King Don Juan Carlos I and the Heads of State and Government who participated in the summit inaugurated the institution.  The Casa America has since received the most important personalities of the continent: leaders, politicians, economists, authors, sociologists, artists, etc

The activity of the institution is divided into two areas: American Tribune and American Athenaeum.  American Tribune: It focuses on the diplomatic and institutional sphere by emphasizing political-social, economic, scientific, technological and general thinking issues. American Athenaeum: Focuses on the cultural field, and its activities revolve around cinema, literature, music, the visual arts and scenic.

Some webpages to help you enjoy this place fully are:

The official webpage of Casa de Americahttp://www.casamerica.es/

The Madrid tourist office on Casa de Americahttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/casa-america

During the visit you can see the different rooms of the palace accompanied by specialists in history and art, and you can, also discover the stories and legends related to the building. Visits can be made in English, Spanish and in mixed groups. Saturdays and Sundays at 11h, 12h ,13h. Buy your tickets directly at Casa de América information point from Monday to Friday from 11h30 to 14h30 and from 16h30 to 19h30.  General admission: 8€. There is now a nice Raimunda restaurant on site.

There you go another jewel in a very nice area of Madrid, not far from my old home when living there. Its a cultural center in a cultural city, enjoy it

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

February 15, 2021

Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, this is Florida!

So time to update/revise this old post from 2018 that I did with pictures from my last trip there in 2015. I never lived here but worked and lived in cities around them. This is the world renown Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale in the Sunshine State of Florida USA! Let me tell you a bit on them ok

Times flies, this was my last stronghold in the USA before leaving permanently to France in 2003. I had not been back there since 2009 with the family in 2009, and now had 3 great days in the area. This is the South Florida area where I still have lots of family there!

I was lucky to have on my way back from Mexico the company ok to attend a finance conference in Fort Lauderdale arriving at Miami airport on American Airlines.

One of my cousin was there to greet me and take me to eat at a local Cuban restaurant now very popular for the last 10 years or so;but there for over 30, Molina’s in the nearby city of Hialeah on which hospital my twin boys were born!!! The place was typical of old Cuba and the food very Cuban, something did not had for yearsss! picadillo ,moros rice, sweet plaintains, and a nice corona beer ::) webpage: http://www.molinasranchrestaurant.com/

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Afterward ,I was taken to my conference hotel at Fort Lauderdale, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel; right off the ocean drive and very near Las Olas blvd chic area. This was heavens of course, and this time at no cost! Sublime and I fully enjoyed walking my old area all over. OF course, the hotel was top luxury, the room well the apartment as it was two rooms with living room and bedroom, TV in both in addition to a smaller one in the bathroom. There had bathtub and shower and lavs for two. The wonderful beachside restaurant was wonderful too. A great place ,location, and friendly prompt service. Memories forever. Recommended, my family back in France were jealous! Hotel webpage: https://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/florida/fort-lauderdale

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The evening had the chance to eat dinner at the Ritz Carlton Hotel overlooking the ocean and Fort Lauderdale beach , nice oysters, shrimps, and cocktails mojitos was wonderful right at the bar with a friendly bartender. Needless to say went to bed very late into the morning hours lol!!!

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Once the Finance conference was over, we were invited for dinner as part of it, to the wonderful Brazilian charrusqueria Chima’s right on Las Olas blvd and about 15 minutes walking back to the hotel which me and a group of warriors found out. Chima’s has a wonderful front terrace to mingle and drink, and then great laidout indoor tables for the feast of bringing those different cuts of meats charrusqueria style (call here steakhouse) all night long with wonderful glasses of red wines. Good company and pleasant evening afterward on the way back and at the hotel bar ::) Webpage: https://www.chimasteakhouse.com/

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The last day got pickup by my cousin again and given a ride in the laberinth of roads and tolls the area has become, really change felled big and different already. Saw the new Marlins baseball stadium, the Lincoln Road Miami Beach area, and the bridges before finally depositing me at Miami airport for the trip back home. A nice nostalgic if short trip to what was once call home ::)

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The Florida Marlins baseball stadium on MLB webpage: https://www.mlb.com/marlins/ballpark

Open air Lincold Road Mall on Miami Beachhttps://lincolnroadmall.com/

At Miami before the flight home…. had some snacks at La Pausa in concourse J Mia for a mahi mahi sandwich fries and a glass of California Hogue cellars red wine. A nice send offs indeed. More on the resto here: https://www.shopmiamiairport.com/directory/la-pausa-south-terminal-h-terminal-j-connector/

The flight back was my first ever ,believe or not, delayed in an airport, happening after a heigthening of security tension for the atrocious terrorist acts in Paris, they found two bags checked-in but no passenger so the plane was asked to return to gate!! wait and wait finally departed to Paris. There, as was getting ready to board my last flight to Nantes, once already in the passerelle to the plane we were asked to return back inside as they was a fuel leak on the plane, wait wait, finally took off. Arrive home five hours late missed my twins birthday outing and needed to catch up next day lol! Now ready for another long journey tomorrow to Brazil!!!

The tourist office of Miami and the beacheshttps://www.miamiandbeaches.com/

The tourist office of Fort Lauderdale area: https://www.sunny.org/

Hope you enjoy the short trip ,for me a memorable spot always will be. I am thankful of all my previous experiences no matter what, it always enrich your mind and soul! A wonderful one two combination Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas of Florida!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

February 12, 2021

A visit to Belize!!

Oh this is a wonderful update I am doing, bringing back many nice memories and good friends still around. The post is from 2018 when I was able with some friends from Mexico to fly from DF to Chetumal and then rent a car to go into Belize!!! Love to tell about this nice little country, and hope you enjoy the tour!

Let me bring you back to a tiny country that is very nice to visit in Central America. Let me tell you ,there is a North America, a South America, and then a Central America and they are all the Americas ,ok.  Belize is in Central America, and main language amongst many is the English.  Let me tell you a bit more on the history and country on this post.

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Belize, is an unitarian constitutional monarchy with a ministerial-tendency parliamentary regime, whose territory is located in Central America, southern Mexico and eastern Guatemala. It’s capital is Belmopan. Belize was once called British Honduras. The current denomination is from the name of the old capital and the river of the same name.  Northern Belize consists mainly of flat, swampy coastal plains at highly forested sites. To the south is a low mountain range of the Maya Mountains, whose highest point in Belize is the Victoria culminating at 1 160 meters. Belize is located between the Hondo and Sarstoon rivers, with the Belize River flowing in the center of the country. Along the coasts of the Caribbean Sea there is a coral reef forming cays.

A bit of history I like

16C BC. – 4C AD: Expansion of Maya civilization from the north of the peninsula of Yucatán. The Maya civilization spread across what is now Belize around 1500 BC, and flourished there until about 900 AD. In the 17C, there were among the haunts of corsairs, pirates and freebooters, Huguenots or Puritans, along the coast of Belize. In 1798: Battle of St George’s Caye: During the wars of the French Revolution, a naval expedition mounted by the Spaniards, allied with France, was repulse back. In 1862: The colony is called British Honduras. As part of the British Empire (1862 – 1981). In 1981 the Independence of Belize, as Commonwealth kingdom in the UK came to be.

Throughout Belize’s history, Guatemala has claimed ownership of all or part of Belizean territory. This claim is occasionally reflected in maps drawn by Guatemala’s government, showing Belize as Guatemala’s twenty-third department. As of today, the border dispute with Guatemala remains unresolved and quite contentious with all leading international groups participating in keeping the peace. Today Belize is divided into 6 districts such as Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, and Toledo.

As to beach activities abound, the most known and just awesome is the Barrier reef.  The Belize Barrier Reef is a series of coral reefs straddling the coast of Belize, roughly 300 meters (980 feet) offshore in the north and 40 km (25 mi) in the south within the country limits. The Belize Barrier Reef is a 300 km (190 mi) long and section of the 900 km (560 mi) along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System which is continuous from Cancun on the northeast tip of the  Yucatan peninsula through the Riviera Maya and  up to Honduras making it one of the largest coral reef systems in the world. The Belize Barrier Reef was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1996.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and it is worth the trip.

The Belize tourist officehttps://www.travelbelize.org/

The Belize hotels associationhttps://www.belizehotels.org/

A private webpage Ambergris caye on Belizehttps://ambergriscaye.com/pages/town/factsbze.html

Another good private webpage on Belizehttps://belize.com/

There you go enjoy the Caribbean beauty on the small country of Belize in Central America.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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January 17, 2021

My first encounter with Brazil!

This is an old update that love to tell you again with updated links and refreshing text! This was my first encounter with Brazil! Thereafter, I have come several times and have written several blog posts on Brazil and you can do search to find a plethora of information on the country in my blog.

Many years ago, in my working life in Florida USA, my boss asked me to do some business traveling. The year was around 1999 or so, do not recall exactly and did not dated my photos. My boss a CFO was a very busy men and we have even become friends over the years and still in touch. He was doing all the traveling and I stayed behind handling the battleship (office) of a multi billion dollars corp traded in the NYSE.  Finally, one day he sat with me and told me I need to travel. I try to evade it claiming have small children and do not wanted to be away so much from home. However, he insisted and touch a nerve on me when he told me that he trusted my decisions and was sure I would do a good job doing these travels. That was it, confidence and self acknowledgement are men’s best friend , could not refuse anymore.

The trip that I needed to do for two weeks! included Porto Alegre, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! Now to most this would be like a dream trip, but at that time I was sad to go leaving my little boys ( ages 7 and 5 ,5) behind for the longest period as of that time in 1999. The rest is history, memories, souvenirs , the best experience of my life up to that point, the trip went beyond my expectations ,the job was done well but what I saw and the friends I met have stayed with me even today. Yes, today, still have friends from that trip from Brazil in touch with me in social media!!! And of course, my travels took off !

Previously to this trip i had played football/soccer with the Portuguese community clubs and was aware of the language to a basic level. This trip push me to learned the language which now I do fluently and improved each time with subsequent trips. A Vida É Bela!!!  What can I say more than to tell you again a bit more on these 3 cities.

I  came first to Porto Alegre with a stop at Sao Paulo airport.  Porto Alegre is the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, located between the Rio Guaíba and its many islands. The city is decorated with parks (nine large urban parks) and tree-lined streets, especially in the ancient districts of the Cidade Baixa (lower town). In addition, the city has a biological reserve, around the beach of the district of Latif, on the river, which it is known to have one of the largest urban concentrations of birds of the country. The city has many hills, the Morros, which can reach up to 311 meters in altitude.

The port of Porto Alegre is the southernmost of Brazil. A river system that unites the regional producer center on streams that flow into the Lagoa dos Patos with the largest seaport of Mercosul, the port of Rio Grande, 300 km south, on the South Atlantic Ocean. Its old entrance portico was built in an iron structure decorated with stained glass, commissioned in Paris in 1919. The latter is a tourist attraction point of the city, from where the cruises on the Rio Guaíba leave.

Here my HQ have been the Ceasar Hotel, since then it has gone thru some changes first to Blue Tree Towers Hotels, and lately Hotel Radisson Porto Alegre located at Coronel Lucas de Oliveira, 995 – Bela Vista. they had a japanese resto there very good, then, Becco churrasquerias, and now Don Pallesi Restaurant-Italian style. It has been with mixed emotion seeing all the changes here, I still sentimental for the Ceasar! The new webpage for reference is at https://www.radissonhotels.com/en-us/hotels/radisson-porto-alegre  

In Brazil, it is managed by Atlantica Hotels webpage here: https://www.atlanticahotels.com.br/hotel/radisson-porto-alegre/

The area is known for the gaucho tradition, very horse oriented with great shows for eating and entertainement not to be missed. The Mercado Publico is great now housing many shops of local flavor and tradition centered around the gaucho heritage. Many restos and pubs around Bela Vista and Centro typical of European cities. Galpao Crioulo is an excellent place to see the gauchos in action and eat well very well,its located at Avenida Loureiro da Silva s/n – Centro. I was able to get a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/galpaocrioulochurrascaria/

Porto Alegre friends at gaucho show Churrascaria Galpao Crioulo 1999

For the traditional dish Feijoada, try Panapanà Bistro,Rua Demétrio Ribeiro, 174 – Centro. This has now closed but for the memories a local site that talks of it in Portuguese: http://www.mochilinhagaucha.com.br/2015/06/panapana-bistro-porto-alegre-rs.html

 Another is the great football/soccer team Internacional de Porto Alegre at river banks of  river/Rio Guaíba,in Avenida Padre Cacique, 891, at shopping  Gigante da Beira-Rio. I could not attend a game but did walk by it as consolation. Locally is a giant forever! Webpage:  https://www.internacional.com.br/beira-rio/gigante-para-sempre

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The official tourist office of Porto Alegre has a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/portoalegre.travel/

The Rio Grande do Sul tourist office on Porto Alegre: https://www.turismo.rs.gov.br/cidade/1/porto-alegre

Many memories here of a family who would read this having white wine in her restaurant that kept her cellars loaded with wine bottles!! right in old city center. Unfortunately, forgot the name of the restaurant and no pictures just my early travel flops…Always nice memories thus, always remember.

And then I went to São Paulo ,the largest city in Brazil and South America. On the plateau of Piratininga at 760 meters above sea level, the city is crossed by two rivers, the Rio Tietê and the Rio Pinheiros which confluent before crossing the whole State of São Paulo and to throw themselves in the Rio Paraná. Founded in 1554 by Portuguese Jesuits, the city developed thanks to the gold of the surrounding mines until the end of the 18C, and then became prosperous thanks to the cultivation of coffee and sugar. In the last century, it has gradually become the economic heart of Brazil, with its business district around Avenue Paulista , hosting the São Paulo Stock Exchange and seats of large Brazilian and international companies. The city is known for its unpredictable climate, its architecture-and in particular its skyscrapers-, its gastronomy, its gigantic traffic jams and the number of helicopters flying over the city (biggest in Latin America).

As mentioned above, this was my first entry point to Brazil, the airport international at Guarulhos, and the country main airport . However, now I came back to see the city! Now traffic here is big and if you are planning to head out by car, I did; better get your bearing on the traffic before leaving home. Not perfect but better than go out blind. Of course, it helps if speaks Portuguese (I do) .CET Webpage http://www.cetsp.com.br/

And of course , more firepower in Portuguese but the AutoBan of Brazil expressways (rodovias), I take from here the Anhanguera (330) and Bandeirantes (348). More on the webpage: http://www.autoban.com.br/

Of course if scary there is the metro or taxi (i have taken the taxi never the metro) ,for info Metro of Sao Paulo webpage, and here they have an English version: http://www.metro.sp.gov.br/en/your-trip/index.aspx

My old time favorite here for stays has been the Maksoud plaza althought lately family feuds has kept renovations from been done until lately, was and is still a grand hotel, done by the architect owner Maksoud tire of staying on other hotels, the one and only Maksoud plaza. . It has wonderful places to eat inside like the Atrium lobby cafe and the Arlanza Grill. Ibirapuera park is nearby for a nice jogging and conferences were held every year for the business traveler in those times . The close by Ave Paulista is the grand avenue for stores ,shopping in the area. Webpage: https://www.maksoud.com.br/en

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

For eating out do not missed the Famiglia Mancini, a tradition restaurant not to far from the hotel, and of great renown amongst locals who took me there for dinner ,try the all you can eat choice, awesome, and lately totally renovated. Webpage : http://www.famigliamancini.com.br/?page_id=3418

And for a nice bar go to Bar Original ,there since 1996 near the big park  a taxi ride from hotel. Located at Rua Card Arcoverde, 1265 – Ibirapuera. Webpage: https://www.baroriginal.com.br/

Many things to see here, my favorites are:

The city has many monuments, parks and museums such as the Latin American Memorial, the Ibirapuera Park (big park and many business conventions attended there) and its flag monument, the Municipal Theater b. 1911; The Museum of Art of São Paulo (MASP); The Cathedral of the Sé, the Botanical Garden ; the Trianon park, the Zoological Park , Rua 25 de Março ,the largest outdoors market place of Latin America, with over three thousand stores, the wonderful Sao Bento monastery , the Benedictines arrived in São Paulo in 1598, but only in 1634 was created the Abbey and the Chapel was dedicated to St. Benedict. The site, which hosted Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Brazil, home to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption and the monastery. Avenida Paulista; the most popular avenue of the city  (yes) concentrates all that is best in São Paulo. It is possible to visit museums and cultural centers, find a park amid great skyscrapers, check book launchings, enjoy the happy hour in one of its many bars, enjoy the evening at nightclubs, watch theatrical performances and movie sessions of the most diverse productions, and go shopping: all in one place!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The Metro area of Sao Paulo tourist office in Portuguese: http://www.capital.sp.gov.br/turista

The tourist office of Sao Paulo in English: http://cidadedesaopaulo.com/v2/?lang=en

And again many memories of good cheers and still good friends, who would read this page. Thank you all for reading me! Sao Paulo is big but lucky to have been afterward.

And as it happened, left Brazil by Rio de Janeiro, last on the trip and again many nice memories. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the State of Rio de Janeiro.Originally designated the Bay of Guanabara, discovered on 1 January 1502 by Gaspar de Lemos and Gonçalo Coelho, captains of the fleet of the Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, discoverer of Brazil. On March 1, 1565, marks the foundation of the city of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro (“St. Sebastian of the River of January”) in honor of King Sebastian I of Portugal and the celebrated Saint on the day of his birth. San Sebastian who remains the patron of the city is celebrated every year. The capital of the Portuguese kingdom was thus transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, which became the only European capital located outside the European continent. It was the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves, following the escape of the Portuguese court during the invasion of the Napoleonic troops (1808-1821), then of the Empire of Brazil (1822-1889), of the República Velha (1889-1930), of the Estado Novo (1937-1945) and the beginning of the Second Republic until 1960.

The Bay of Guanabara is 30 km into the landside. Its entrance is guarded by two forts of the 17C and 19C. It is easy to cross the Bay of Guanabara to get to Niterói or the islands, from where you discover a magnificent view of the city of Rio and the lush mountains that crimp it. The most interesting stage is the island of Paquetá, one of the 84 islands of the bay, where the landscape has not changed since the 19C. In this island, cars are not allowed. The largest of the islands is the island of the governor (Ilha do Governador), where is located the international Airport Antônio Carlos Jobim. From where I left this time and have come in later.

Many memories at Rio, the anecdote is that upon ariving at the airport, my buddy call to verify the hotel reservation, the company had cancelled it because he booked the Palace Copacabana!!! very expensive place; in the haze to change the reservation the company made a booking at another hotel in Copacabana beach, the Othon Palace, but booked it for two nights instead of one, so we took advantage lol!! Located at Avenida Atlantica, just marvelous again , the views,the service the food all is sublime,and the Skylab bar fantastic!

Rio de Janeiro Othon Palace Hotel fr Copacabana beach 1988

Rio de Janeiro view from othon palace hotel window over copacabana beach Brazil 1988

Many things to see here me think , my favorites are:

Pao de açucar (Sugar Loaf) is a rocky peak at the altitude of 395 meters and the so singular form that has always been the symbol of Rio. The famous statue of Christ the Redeemer , a cross-arm, stands on the peak of the Corcovado with a height of 710 meters and can be seen from all areas of Rio. Copacabana beach  ; and its extension to the north, the Leme, with its six kilometers of length that describe a perfect curve is certainly the preferred beach of foreigners. The local friend took me to Niteroi for a nice view of the bay and hang gliding!!!

Along Copacabana beach try the bar Boteco da Garrafa, great pints of beers ,Belgians, Germans you name it ;located at Rua Bolívar, 27, Copacabana.  See it on Restaurant Guru: https://restaurantguru.com/Boteco-da-Garrafa-Rio-de-Janeiro-2

Restaurante Quinta da Boa Vista in Sao Cristovao, inside park same name, open from 1822 when it serves the royal Portuguese family. webpage : http://www.restaurantequintaboavista.com.br/

 Ipanema Beach is located in the most exclusive residential area of the city.  Ipanema Beach, less extensive than that of Copacabana, is the venue for the golden youth of Rio and the homosexual community. Less lively and less noisy than Copacabana, Ipanema is arguably the most romantic of the twenty-five beaches in Rio. The São Conrado beach is located in a cove surrounded by mountains covered with dense vegetation. There rises the Pedra da Gávea, a huge block of granite much more impressive in its shape and size, with its 842 meters, the mountain of Pedra da Gávea overlooks the long beaches of fine sand. You can access it after the Botanical garden . Each of the 141 hectares of the Botanical garden hosts specimens of the Brazilian and World Flora.

The fame jewerlers H Stern store in Niteroi or Copacabana is another great place to shop, webpage :https://www.hstern.net/

The Church of Nossa Senhora da Glória do Outeiro ,white and graceful, the Church of Glória dominates from its height the bay of Guanabara. Built in 1739, this Chapel was intimately linked to the life of the imperial family. In his arms, Joao VI carried his granddaughter, Princess Maria da Glória, to present her at the altar, and Don Pedro I made the same with the future Emperor Pedro II. The decoration is made of carved wood and azulejos (colourful ceramic tiles).  National Historical Museum was only converted into a museum in 1922. Its collections, spread over fourteen halls, retrace the history of Imperial Brazil (19C). It has a library of 70 000 volumes. One of the things to see in this city is the museum Carmen Miranda, the great Brazilian actress of Hollywood fame.

Case apart for this beauty and the errors of incapables governments. National Museum, located in the park of Quinta de Boa Vista, the Sunday promenade of the Cariocas (natives of Rio are call) of the suburbs, this former palace was once the home of Joao VI and the imperial family, until the proclamation of the Republic in 1889. It contains the largest scientific collection of zoology, mineralogy, archaeology, ethnology in Brazil. Unfortunately for lack of funds and proper fire system ,on September 2, 2018, the museum is ravaged by a fire that has burned hundreds of rooms and destroys all historical archives!! This museum webpage:http://www.museunacional.ufrj.br/

The tourist office of Rio de Janeiro: http://visit.rio/en/welcome/

And so famous I give you the Carnival of Rio webpage: http://www.rio-carnival.net/

There you go, a nice 1 2 3 punch in Porto Alegre, Sao Paulo,and Rio de Janeiro to enhance all the beauty of Brazil. Hope you enjoy it as I always will.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

January 14, 2021

Sunshine State, Florida !!!

And I am going deep back in my life to remember dear places of my life’s existance. This is a memorable post I had hidden in my blog and needs update, refresh text and links. I have it in my black and white series as pictures are in individual posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy my life in the Sunshine State, Florida!!!

My first contact with the State of Florida took place in 1974 when I went from New Jersey to visit my father’s side aunt in Miami Lakes; it didnt seem that great, I guess I was already used to the cold weather from Spain and New Jersey lol!

Then in August of 1977,  I went to pursue my university studies there, and settled at Daytona Beach. It was instant love, the city was warm, sunny but also cool in winter, nice folks and the beach and the girls was awesome. Spring Break is an event all American college students need or do go thru in their life,and its not to be missed. At those times Daytona Beach was it, over 500 000 of them collapse the beach all of its 23 sandy miles with a party atmosphere tops in the USA. Dont get me wrong, I did my studies too, and finally graduated in april 24, 1982 with a graduation at the Peabody Auditorium on the beachside and a class of 396 students.

I went back “home” to New Jersey, and began my working life at the Newark International Airport EWR with Butler Aviation the following month May 15 1982. However, my heart was left in Daytona Beach, on my first year vacation in the summer of 1983 ,I came back for a visitor spring break time, and reunited with old friends and students.  Then ,finally it set in ,and made the decision to move to Florida. I did on January 4, 1985 arriving in Ormond by the Sea, North Peninsula, just 150 meters from the Atlantic ocean and 200 meters from the Intracoastal waters of the Halifax River. I had the Oceanside country club to the south and Bicentennial park to the north. Heavens !!!!!!

The pay was less, but the feeling was great. My first job was in the wine department of the ABC wine and liquor store by Yonge st US 1 Ormond Beach, under JD Brandy as store manager; the rest is history as I was able to get back into my accounting career with 5 resorts timeshare condominium builder/manager called Aqua Sun Investments,  with Finance Director  Mike (who crashed his Ferrari on Anderson Drive against a tree !!)  and later collection manager, Arthur ,whose wife was my bank counselor at Barnett bank (today Bank of America) , then the career took off into the Commercial Credit (citibank) with good person assistance manager Marc and Manager Bill; and Equifax AR as Senior Supervisor with the branch in Holly Hill ;  working with a group of people who donated a Bond EE for my son’s birth I never forget the folks like Barbara,Terry, and Angie.  While living in this beautiful Ormond Beach area  where by now its a sweet history for me, I encounter in one of my trips to Paris a nice lady from Meaux, France, we were married  December 26, 1990 at City Island govt building in Daytona Beach. We had our first son at the Halifax Hospital on March 9, 1992.

While working for Equifax, the Credit Bureau office in Daytona Beach, the company decide to close several sites, and was offered a move to North Miami city at the entrance to Williams Island (Elizabeth Taylor owned there ::)). So this cause my move to South Florida, and it was fantastic, job wise and activities wise. Once they decided to close the North Miami office as well! , I took off into computer distribution to Latin America based in Miami with CHS Electronics (at the time the 3rd largest in the world and NYSE), this allow me many travels in Latin America and my future looks bright. We, the family and I eventually moved to the Silver Lakes division, Sapphire Bay subdivision in Miramar, Broward County, to the west of FT Lauderdale while continuing to work in Miami Beacon Center area. Before the move to Broward County, my twin boys were born at Hialeah Hospital , Hialeah city near the fame horse racetrack in 1993.

We have continuosly made trips to France every year since my marriage in Daytona Beach City Island municipal government building on December 26, 1990 with my frenchie , Martine. Our boys went there since been 6 months old at each time.

The Daytona Beach tourist officehttps://www.daytonabeach.com/

The Miami and the beaches tourist officehttps://www.miamiandbeaches.fr/

The Greater Fort Lauderdale area tourist office: https://www.sunny.org/

The State of Florida tourist officehttps://www.visitflorida.com/en-us.html

Florida was very good to us, and we have great memories of our stayed there, all in all, I lived 18 years in the State of Florida. Finally in August of 2003 the family made the decision to move permanently to France, and the saga continues. Never look back, all forward with always keeping the memories of the places and people, especially those no longer with us.

I hope you enjoy reading a bit about me from my blog. It has been a fantastic ride going back to these old posts and bringing to life again, Florida will always be there for us; thanks for reading along.  And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

January 14, 2021

My college days in Florida –ERAU!!!

And I am going deep back in my life to remember dear places of my life’s existance. This is a memorable post I had hidden in my blog and needs update, refresh text and links. I have it in my black and white series as pictures are in individual posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy my life in ERAU – Florida!!!

I was visiting Florida since 1974 from my home state of New Jersey. When it was time to choose my university studies, leaning towards a career in aviation , hopefully with an airline, and by reference from a friend who was going to the US Navy, I heard of ERAU=Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida ,USA.

That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship or love with the state of Florida. I was admitted to the school fairly quickly and arrive at Daytona Beach, ERAU campus by August 24th 1977. In time to get me into dormitory No I (later call Doolittle for the general) and began Freshman or 1st year classes.

I was totally new to the place, the area, the habits, so my first year spent going to the beach, “the worlds most famous beach” almost daily, becoming a beach bum ::) Going to the Daytona Connection, 600 North Club, Mocambo, Big Mamma, Daddy’s, Razzles, and Oyster Pub (the last two still there!) greatly enhance my feeling for the area.  Seeing my first Spring Break in the spring of 1978 was awesome, never seen so many girls in one place !!!! I quickly learn the best way to enjoy the area is to have your own place off campus. The school has limited space on its campus dormitories so changing was easy and the area landlords were nice to us, we had a nice “reputation”.

My second year or sophomore, I was already renting a house by Winchester St, Holly Hill an inland community just to the north of Daytona Beach. This was a 3 bedroom home so I found myself 2 roommates to share the cost, and have a whole bedroom for myself, plus lots of more freedoms… Great place to study too, the school demands were very heavy, focus on learning and little space for entertainment or sports inside of it. I was on the Aviation Management degree curriculum for a BS=bachelor of science degree, fyi I got it!

While hanging around a field that look like a football/soccer field, kicking my soccer ball around, a grey older men approached me and asked me if I had previous experience playing soccer/football. I told him learned with a team call Real Madrid in Spain lower divisions, played with ethnic leagues in New Jersey semipro and with the high school, so he immediately signed me up for the team, he was the purchasing manager, named John C Butler, from Leicester ,England and a former player of that city’s team. From then on we had an interesting relationship, one of which ,was getting together at the end of each year to schedule my classes for the next year so my free time was available for the soccer team.

The school soccer/football team was composed of many international students like England, Holland, Trinidad and Tobago,Iran, Portugal, Venezuela, Mexico, Spain, etc all playing for the love of the game, no scholarships. We played against NCAA div 1 and 2 team on an open schedule, by the end its was club level as the school ERAU refuse to sponsor a team for lack or simply not wanting to offer funds.  Sadly, if you now read the story on the school webpage no mention of this history is shown!! and has the soccer program started in 1986!!! writing to them made no moves so I am completely away from all university activities now as Alumni. We organise the games ourselves with the other schools. I did played in the Central Florida Soccer league out of the Daytona Beach YMCA complex (which was actually in the city of Holly Hill).

My third year began at a new rental house closer to the center at Magnolia Avenue and Charles Street (did not see it seems new construction there now!!)  It had two bedroom and the other was rented to a friend from the soccer team so we both can have same interests. School was taken its toll as the subjects became more complicated and more study time was needed, however , the soccer continues and trips to the beach and other parts of Florida. the Razzle disco was on as well as the country music place Finky’s on Grandview. The weekend trips to the Nickels alley place in Gainesville home of the Univ of Florida was great escapades with lots of fun dont want to go into it ::) I was checking out the same chain Nickels alley in Amelia ave, Orlando too as well as going down to Miami at Tiffany’s in the Sheraton (no longer) at Bal Harbours, Limelight (burn down no longer) by the Hollywood dog track area , and the 747 by Miami Springs. Coming down I stayed at the Don Sebastian motel (no longer there) in North Miami Beach for ease on driving after a long night dancing away, a great souvenir indeed. Participating in spring break activities was great, in addition to our Spring Fling festivities on campus, I visited the Univ of South Florida River riot festivities by the Hillborough river, Tampa. As well visiting my family in the Miami area for the weekends, the Christmas breaks were still spent in New Jersey with my parents, and some summers too.

My last year 4th or senior year, again was the time to try another housing, and closer to the action, so I moved to a two bedroom house in Hollywood ave and Main Street, Daytona Beach surrounded by bikers Lol! My neighbors were the Pagans gang from Vineland NJ and I guess my car plates were from NJ so they were friendly ::) I could use their hoses to clean my car Lol!!! I was by this time very involved in the school with the Management Club, and was its Treasurer my last year there. Under me and with the help of Professors Rudi Knabe , our club advisor, William Chamberlain ,our accounting prof and Peter de la Rosa, our Finance prof; I was able to implement a scholarship doing fund raising events to help pay our members book expenses while investing the proceeds with Merrill Lynch, and did established the club as a non-profit organisation. This is still without recognition by the school who simply just asked for donations!

The soccer/football continues at the club level playing by mutual agreement with other Universities in Florida under our new coach who had played for the Seattle Sounders of the old NASL and was from Liberia, but unfortunately forgot his name; this was our last year as a school team.  Playing with the Daytona Beach team in the amateur league as well. Another popular activity was playing intra mural volleyball and softball where we finish second place on both sports as the Management Club team.

The school had gone thru some transformation and new buildings were erected, the student body reach 5000 on campus and they had purchase another campus in Prescott ,Arizona, (near Phoenix). The city had some lesser crazy spring breaks as the city fathers decided to put more efforts on family vacationing. Of course, the Daytona International Speedway was always a great event to go to, and my 1977 Chevy Monte Carlo was a sight in fire red in and out Lol!!!

Graduation came eventually on April 24 1982 at the Peabody Auditorium ,Daytona Beach, where 396 of us graduated with college degrees. What it seems yesterday, it became a reality we were now going into the “real world”. I went back to New Jersey for work at EWR  Newark International Airport, Newark, with an outfit called Butler Aviation an FBO doing ticketing for charter flights from England and Greece as well as the UPS second day air delivery contract. This only lasted for about a year, as I realised I missed Florida !!!!!

The following summer 1983,  I took myself my spring break visiting the area alone, and then on January 5 1985 arrived for good, this time living at Seaside Drive, Ormond by the Sea (North peninsula) on a house my parents had bought for their retirement ::) Beach bum boy was using it first Lol!!! Living was great as I could use the school library ,and became active in the soccer/football team that was playing in the Daytona Beach YMCA fields. I did obtain sponsorship with Coronado Title Co for a Co-ed indoor soccer team that finish Champion in 1986!! It was easy as my team was made up of women from the Univ Central Florida (rank in top 10 in USA soccer) and resident guys from England , Greece, and Germany!

The ERAU university Daytona Beach campus webpage: https://daytonabeach.erau.edu/

The ERAU Alumni office: https://alumni.erau.edu/s/867/bp20/home.aspx

So even thus I am now far away, I want you all to know, I love you Volusia County, Daytona Beach/Ormond Beach area in Florida. You have been very good to me and my family and we always mentioned you, never forgotten all the folks we encounter there and some still keep in touch, so if you read this; this post is for you.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

January 14, 2021

Perth Amboy, New Jersey, USA

And I am going deep back in my life to remember dear places of my life’s existance. This is a memorable post I had hidden in my blog and needs update, refresh text and links. I have it in my black and white series as pictures are in individual posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy my life in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, USA!

The name is not on anyones travel page, nor in the main news, nor in most people’s mind. The name is of a small central New Jersey town of about 50K inhabitants right off the Raritan river,and the bay to New York city; the main corridor tri state area. However, this is where my life in the United States began as a young teenager.

I had no English, no money, and only the clothings on my back. Arriving from Madrid, Spain with my mother in 1974 to reunite with my father who was already there. Quickly I went to school at McGinnis Middle School on State Street, and she went to work; within a month we were all on our way to a completely new life in a new country. The country embraces us very nicely, Perth Amboy nurtured us, feed us, taught us how nice it is to live in a democracy , learn the English language, and play baseball and soccer/football in summer leagues.

The years went by and my English improved a lot as like a native! My parents went into small businesses such as a grocery store, restaurant, fine mens clothing store, nightclub ,and misc sundries line throughtout New Jersey and into Philadelphia ,PA. I graduated from Middle school and went on to High School, Perth Amboy Panthers !!!! I had my varsity soccer/football story,and the sneak out days, the girls, and the trips to Florida. I graduated there in June 1977 from high school. I became an American citizen in December 1980 at New Brunswick municipal courthouse, Middlesex county . Finally leaving the city for good in 1985 heading to my next step in life ,at Florida.

The city was the capital of East Jersey while the 13 colonies were around, one of the governor base at Perth Amboy was William Franklin, the son of Benjamin Franklin,who was a royalist. The Propietary House (see post) in Perth Amboy was where he lived as governor. He was instrumental in opening Queen College (later Rutgers University) . He was arrested in 1776-78  as he was against the American independance movement, and finally was exile to Great Britain in 1782, and died there in 1813  buried at St Pancras old Church Cementary. The Propietary House erected n 1762 is the only provincial governors house still standing in the USA: located at 149 Kearny Avenue, Perth Amboy.

The City Hall (see post) is the oldest continues in use city hall government building in the United States, built during 1714-1717 or 1718.  It burn down several times and rebuilt while for a time it serves as the  Provincial Assembly . It  was in City Hall that the State of New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights. Many sections still dates from 1717 today.

The city once had a ferry service to New York city that is in the works to re established again.  You can read in my posts  some of the historical things that was done or happenned in Perth Amboy. It is now a major marina with pleasure and fishing boats docking.

The Rudyk Park complex underneath the Outerbridge bridge to Staten Island, NYC was used by many to play summer league soccer/football sometimes with as many as 40 nationalities playing!  The wonderful tennis courts by the waterfront was entertaining, and with great views of the bay of NY all in Bayview Park. It has a vibrant downtown or city center area around the Five Corners as five avenues coincide at this junction. The roads are very easy as it is at the crossroads of the NJ Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway, and the Routes 1-9, 35, and 440.

The Newark Liberty Internatinal airport is only about a 30 minute car ride. There is a train station to take you to New York city Penn station from the airport call AirTran. Amtrak train site for train travel in the US and train station in Perth Amboy at trains now stop at Iselin.  For bus connections NJTransit No 116 takes you to New York City. These needs to be verify at time of travel as with the virus they may have change.

The city is ,also, the gateway to the Jersey Shore area, full of beaches and history like the Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen areas etc, lots of beautiful beaches such as Asbury Park, Point Pleasant Beach, Seaside Heights, Atlantic City, Ocean City, the Wildwoods; that were my favorites while living there. 

For lodging in the area I have used the Holiday Inn Express Woodbridge-Avenel, 874 Rt 1 north in my last visit there in 2007. Very nice clean residential and close to all roads. webpage: https://www.hiexpress.com/hotels/fr/fr/avenel/ewrwb/hoteldetail

The area is full of all types of accommodations but this one I have stayed personally. As for restaurants, the old reliable still there, Portuguese Manor, as I play soccer/football with the Portuguese community there, this was an almost daily routine; and keep coming back as late as 2007.  You will be in Portugal or Europe here ,great food, (last info I have it has closed sadly) ; another old favorite is the The Barge, by the waterfront, just wonderful seafood while overlooking the Arthur Kill bay to New York City, its an institution in the city,  The armory is another jewel of historic significance as class reunions and graduation parties are held here, as well as a restaurant, The Armory Restaurant.

As for shopping, the best is just outside the city in the towns of Edison and Woodbridge, Menlo Park  Mall and Woodbridge Center Mall (one of the biggest in the USA), Downtown area has lots of stores but very difficult parking best head for the malls above.

Hope you enjoy this little bit of historical showcasing of a small city so close to my heart. Go Panthers !!! I came back last in 2007 for my High School 30th reunion but was unfortunately canceled at last minute and I end up going around the city for 3 days alone!!! Flashing back memories of a wonderful landing at last in democracy. Perth Amboy lovely dot in my world map. Hope you have enjoy the story as I.

The city of Perth Amboy webpage: https://www.perthamboynj.org/

The State of New Jersey tourist office on Perth Amboyhttps://www.visitnj.org/nj/perth-amboy/attractions

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

January 10, 2021

Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca !

Ok given on the post title his full name; I have mentioned him briefly in my previous posts but I believe he deserves a post of its own. To me, he is the greatest of Spanish poets/playwrites of all time. You probably know him better by Federico Garcia Lorca or simply Lorca for us. Let me tell you in a black and white series his history and places. Hope you enjoy my another entry into literature.

I like to tell briefly the story of a very famous men and one of my historical favorites of my beloved Spain. The name will tell it to all if into the arts, poetry,theatre, etc one of the giants of the Spanish speaking world. I happened to trace his life on my old visits to Granada, where I am an honorary member of a sport club ,but now the main thing is to tell you about the poet Federico Garcia Lorca. It’s a long history, that I like.

Federico García Lorca (born at Fuente Vaqueros, June 5, 1898- died on the way from Víznar to Alfacar, Granada, August 18, 1936)   was a Spanish poet, playwright and prose writer. Assigned to the generation of 27, he was the most influential and popular poet in 20C Spanish literature. As a playwright, he is considered one of the tops of 20C Spanish theater. He was assassinated by the Nationalists side a month after the coup d’état with which the Spanish Civil War began.

He was born into a family with a comfortable economic position, and was baptized as Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca; his father was the landowner Federico García Rodríguez (1859-1945) and his mother, Vicenta Lorca Romero (1870-1959), second wife of his father.

The term of the Generation 1927 ;starts from the date of December 1927, when several Spanish poets meet in Seville, in an event organized by the Economic Society of Friends of the Country to commemorate the three hundred years since the death of Luis de Góngora. It should be noted that this meeting is the origin of what some call the Generation of ’27, which includes writers such as Jorge Guillén, Pedro Salinas, Rafael Alberti, Dámaso Alonso, Gerardo Diego, Luis Cernuda, Vicente Aleixandre, Manuel Altolaguirre and Emilio Prados. This group is characterized by fusing the forms of traditional poetry (neopopularism) with the avant-garde movements; for treating the same issues in a similar way (death in a tragic sense; love as a force that gives meaning to life; social concerns such as injustice, misery, etc.), for the use of metaphor and image; etc.

Together with Eduardo Ugarte, the writer from Granada, he co-directed La Barraca, a university theater group that represented theatrical works of the Golden Age of Spanish literature such as Calderón de la Barca, Lope de Vega, Miguel de Cervantes, etc;  through cities and towns in Spain. Financed by the Ministry of Education, it had its own project in its hands for the first time. The outbreak of the Spanish Civil War would frustrate the effort.

A personal anecdote we all love him for. In March 1930 he left New York to travel to the city of Havana, Cuba as he is invited by the Hispano-Cuban Institution of Culture to give conferences in Havana and other Cuban cities.   He travels by train to Tampa, Florida, where he boards the steamer Cuba, which docks on March 6 in Havana, where his old friend José María Chacón y Calvo, the Cuban poet Juan Marinello and the journalist Rafael Suárez Solís await him. The Instituto de las Españas (Spain’s institute) offers him a tribute, in which he delivers his lecture The Mechanics of Poetry. He friendship with Antonio Quevedo and María Muñoz, a friend of Manuel de Falla. He gives several lectures at the Principal Theater of Comedy in Havana: The Mechanics of Poetry; Closed paradise for many, open gardens for few; Spanish lullabies; The poetic image of Don Luis de Góngora; The architecture of cante jondo. He works in the play The Public. Friendship with the Loynaz brothers, whose home he visits almost daily and whom he reads The Public. In the company of the writer Lydia Cabrera, whom he had met in Madrid, he attends a “ñáñiga” (black Santeria type) ceremony. Conferences in Caibarién, presented by José María Chacón y Calvo, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. He receives a tribute in Santiago de las Vegas. He writes the “They are of blacks in Cuba”, and the “Ode to Walt Whitman” that will be part of Poeta en Nueva York. His friends García Maroto and Adolfo Salazar arrive in Havana. Friendship with the Guatemalan writer Luis Cardoza Aragón. He knows Nicolás Guillén and José Lezama Lima. He enters a clinic to have warts removed. Farewell meal at the Bristol Hotel organized by the Avance Magazine. On June 12, he embarks on the steamer Manuel Arnús, which, after stopping in New York, arrives in Cádiz on June 30. The Grand theater in Havana has the main room named after him.

A bit of his last steps alive.  He went to the Huerta de San Vicente to meet with his family. He arrived there on July 14, 1936, three days before the military uprising against the Republic broke out in Melilla, leading to the Spanish Civil War. The sequence of his ultimate assassination is related briefly as such:

At Calle Virgen Blanca , then surrounded by fields, linked the García Lorca house with the center of the city. Federico travels through it in a taxi, a Fiat that had been owned by the family, and driven by a former servant. At Plaza de Gracia, headquarters of the Minor Seminary of the city. Lorca passed through the square in the taxi on the evening of August 9 on his way to the Rosales’ house, where he was seeking refuge. Corner of Plaza de Gracia with Calle Jardines, the beginning of the Magdalena neighborhood, where García Lorca passed on the afternoon-night of August 9. By Calle de Gracia, in the Magdalena neighborhood, then bordering the city with the plain. He goes by Plaza de la Trinidad, the square had hosted a convent of Trinitarians Barefooters until the 19C. Nearby was the family home of the Rosales, friends of Federico. The Reina Cristina Hotel is located in the same building as the former Rosales family house, on the corner of Angulo and Tablas streets. Federico was welcomed and hosted. He trusted that the Rosales’ connection with the Falange (Franco’s party) could protect him from the rebels. He doesn’t go outside and spends the day playing the piano. The Reina Cristina Hotel occupies what was the home of the Rosales family, where the poet Federico García Lorca spent his last days. It must be said that the hotel owners have made a great effort to preserve those aspects of the building that go back to the time when the Rosales family lived here. The building, full of Andalusian air, reminds us, between its patios and fountains, the universal figure of the poet in his last days.

The door of the Casa de los Rosales on Calle Angulo, 1. According to a police document drawn up many years after the poet’s death, the building was surrounded with a great apparatus by Militias and Assault Guards who took all the nearby intersections and rooftops. Lorca left through this door on his way to the Civil Government building.   Lorca had taken refuge in the Rosales brothers’ house out of fear. His friends tried to intercede for him to avoid his arrest, without success. Federico is on the second floor of the house at the time of his arrest, on August 16 1936. An illegal detention, “without a written or oral order,” as the poet Luis Rosales declared years later.

His biographer Ian Gibson (Irish-Spanish now living in Madrid) relates the account of a witness: “He wore dark gray pants, a white shirt with a loose tie knot and, on his arm, a blazer.” By the Plaza de Los Lobos, Lorca passed through here when they were taking him prisoner. The square is the central point of the journey, barely 240 meters long, which separated the residence of Los Rosales and the Civil Government of Granada. Despite the short distance, he was stopped and transferred by car. The Puerta del Jardín Botánico, next to the Faculty of Law which, in 1936, was the seat of the Civil Government. The poet remained imprisoned in a dungeon in this building on Calle Duquesa before being taken to Víznar where, according to police documentation, he is “passed over by arms.” (shot dead) Today there is no plaque that recalls what was Federico’s last stay in Granada.

The Puerta or gate of the Faculty of Law was  crossed by Garcia Lorca on the way to Víznar. Some sources believe that the transfer occurred on the same day the 16th, others on the 17th August 1936. Be that as it may, he spent his last hours in a large house on the outskirts of town, La Colonia. At Viznar he spent his last night in a makeshift jail, along with other detainees. It seems definitely established that Federico García Lorca was shot at 4:45 a.m. on August 18, on the road from Víznar to Alfacar. His body, which was never recovered, remains buried in an anonymous mass grave somewhere in those places. One of the most shocking works on the fact of his death is the poem «The crime was in Granada», written by Antonio Machado (another great poet) in 1937. One of the most documented, controversial and popular biographies on Federico García Lorca is the published best-seller in 1989 and entitled Federico García Lorca: A life (Life, passion and death of Federico García Lorca, Spanish edition in 1998), by the Irish-born Spanish Ian Gibson. Calle Duquesa was one of the last images of Granada by Federico Garcia Lorca.

Tracing his places of stayed in a brief description of them to follow:

Fuente Vaqueros located in the western part of the Vega de Granada region of the province of Grenada. In 1767 the colonization of the farm began. In 1777 it returned to the hands of the Crown, then passing to Manuel Godoy (later prime minister). Upon returning to the Crown again, in 1813 the Cortes donated the estate in perpetuity to the Duke of Wellington as a reward for services rendered during the War of Independence against the French. Until 1940, the current town of Fuente Vaqueros belonged to the Duke of Wellington, having its land leased to the settlers and little by little it was sold to them, who populated and gave way to the current town. Internationally it is known for having been the hometown of Federico García Lorca.

Some of the things to see here are: Monument and monoliths to Federico García Lorca Museum , Federico García Lorca’s birthplace. Federico García Lorca Municipal Theater ,and the Royal House of the Duke of Wellington. Hence, in this town there are many references and traces of the universal poet and playwright, with monuments and museums built in the memory of him.

The town of Fuente Vaqueros things to see: http://www.fuente-vaqueros.com/que-visitar.html

An official webpage on the routes and places of Federico Garcia Lorca on Fuente Vaqueros in Spanish : https://www.universolorca.com/lugar/museo-casa-natal-en-fuente-vaqueros/

Valderrubio is located in the western part of the Vega de Granada region, in the province of Granada. The town of Valderrubio is one of the thirty-four entities that make up the Metropolitan Area of Granada.

Federico García Lorca lived in this town, when it was still called Asquerosa. The origin of this name seems to be from Latin in Roman times, its meaning was Agua de Rosas or Acuarosa, in Latin Aqua Rosae. Its current name, which, to avoid the name meaning disgusting in Spanish, officially replaced the name on August 15, 1943, to the new name of Valderrubio ,which refers to “valley of blond tobacco”, since it was a majority crop until the middle of the 20C. So much so that it is said that it was the first town in Europe where the blond tobacco brought from America was planted.

It was in this town where Federico García Lorca, considered one of the most important Spanish poets of the 20C, was inspired to create one of his best dramatic works: La casa de Bernarda Alba. Among the places of Lorca, the house of Bernarda Alba stands out, the house on Calle Iglesia where today the House Museum, the Fuente de la Teja and the Daimuz farm are located, two km from Valderrubio, next to the Cubillas river, near the confluence with the Genil river. Valderrubio brings together a landscape and natural environment that still revives the basis of the great work that the poet left behind.

Some things to see here are  the Federico García Lorca House-Museum; Bernarda Alba House and Monument to the Entrepreneurs and Tobacco Workers.

The town of Valderrubio on things to see in Spanish: http://www.ayuntamientovalderrubio.es/rutas-turisticas-e-hitos-de-interes

An official webpage on the routes and places of Federico Garcia Lorca on Valderrubio: https://www.universolorca.com/lugar/casa-familiar-de-valderrubio/

The old Café Alameda created in 1909 was known as the Gran Café Granada by most of the people of Granada at the beginning of the 20C, as it was the initial name with which the hospitality establishment was inaugurated, nowadays disappeared as such. It was located in the Plaza del Campillo. In that special corner at the beginning of the 1920s, the Bohemian intellectual gathering known as the Rinconcillo ( a little corner or place) was born, cradle of characters, some of them already prominent artists and others who would come to be recognized in disciplines as diverse as poetry, literature, journalism, the arts, politics, music and diplomacy, both nationally and internationally. In 1922, Manuel de Falla, Federico Garcia Lorca, Ignacio Zuloaga and the Granada City Council organized the first national Cante Jondo competition, which took place on June 13 and 14 in the Plaza de los Aljibes in the Alhambra. These modernizing ideas for renovation of Granada society, were supported at the time through periodic visits to the gathering by characters as diverse as H G Wells, Koichi Nakayama, Rudyard Kipling, and the musicians Wanda Landowska and Arthur Rubinstein Among the usual protagonists were Federico García Lorca and his brother Francisco, Manuel de Falla, politician Antonio Gallego Burín, the doctor and politician Manuel Fernández-Montesinos and his brother José, a philologist, the musician Ángel Barrios, the painter Manuel Ángeles Ortiz , José Acosta Medina, Miguel Pizarro Zambrano, the journalists José Mora Guarnido and Constantino Ruiz Carnero, José María García Carrillo, the politician Fernando de los Ríos, who would be Minister of Justice and Public Instruction, the Arabist José Navarro Pardo, the painter Ismael González de la Serna, Hermenegildo Lanz, the sculptor Juan Cristóbal, Ramón Pérez Roda, Luis Mariscal and the guitarist Andrés Segovia, and as conductor and cultural animator, Francisco Soriano Lapresa! Wow a who is who indeed of my beloved Spain!

An official webpage on the routes and places of Federico Garcia Lorca on El Rincocillo or old Alameda café in Spanish: https://www.universolorca.com/lugar/el-rinconcillo/

The Federico García Lorca House-Museum, familiarly known as Huerta de San Vicente, was the summer estate of the García Lorca family from 1926 to 1936, shortly after Federico’s assassination during the first weeks of the Spanish Civil War. The house and the orchards that belonged to him are located in the heart of the Federico García Lorca park, inaugurated in 1995. The farm seems to have its origin in the second half of the 19C and would be known as the Huerta de los Mudos (mute). Later, it became the property of Federico García Rodríguez, father of Federico García Lorca, who signed the purchase on May 27, 1925. The artist’s father, in homage to his wife Vicenta Lorca Romero, changed the name of the farm to Huerta de San Vicente.

Federico García Lorca wrote in this place, in whole or in part, some notable works such as So five years pass (1931), Bodas de Sangre or Blood Wedding (1932), Yerma (1934) or Diván del Tamarit (1931-1936). Among some of the poet’s friends who visited the area are the following personalities: Manuel de Falla, Miguel Pizarro, Antonio Gallego Burín, Manuel Ángeles Ortiz, Eduardo Blanco Amor, Eduardo Rodríguez Valdivieso, etc. In addition, the artist spent the last days before his arrest and subsequent execution of him on the farm, before moving to the house of his friend Luis Rosales.

On April 6, 1985, it was acquired by the Granada City Council from Isabel García Lorca (younger sister) to turn it into a house museum for the poet Federico García Lorca. In 1995, the only reliable documents that existed on the arrangement of this furniture set were a series of photographs taken in the period 1926-1936, among which the series taken in 1935 by the writer Eduardo Blanco Amor stands out, as well as family photographs taken starting in 1918 in other places where the García Lorca family lived and in which some of the furniture, works of art and objects that can be seen today in the Huerta de San Vicente are collected. These photographs make it possible to delimit with precision the qualifier “original”, applied to the furniture that decorates it: in them we see the poet’s desk, the gramophone, the baby grand piano, the divan, the rocking chairs and the Thonet chairs, the reproduction from Botticelli’s Spring, the mirror with an art deco frame , among other minor items. In addition to the photographs, the testimonies of the people who lived in it were very useful, especially Isabel García Lorca (sister) and the nephews Vicenta and Manuel Fernández Montesinos. The rest of the furniture, as well as the belongings (crockery, ceramics, and household objects such as the coat rack, the tablecloth, or peasants such as the cheese maker, etc.) and other documents and works of art that can be seen today in the House-Museum were either part of the furniture in La Huerta in some of its periods between 1926 and 1936, or they belonged at some point to the Lorca family.

The official house museum Huerta de San Vicente: http://www.huertadesanvicente.com/

An official webpage on the routes and places of Federico Garcia Lorca on the Huerta de San Vicente: https://www.universolorca.com/lugar/huerta-de-san-vicente/

Víznar  is located in the foothills of the Sierra de la Alfaguara, in the central part of the Vega de Granada, about 9 km from Granada. In one of the ravines between the towns of Víznar and Alfacar, the Guardia Civil:( Civil Guard) assassinated Federico García Lorca.

An official webpage on the routes and places of Federico Garcia Lorca on the ravins of Viznar in Spanish: https://www.universolorca.com/lugar/barranco-de-viznar/

Additional webpages on the Cervantes virtual library on Federico Garcia Lorcahttp://www.cervantesvirtual.com/portales/federico_garcia_lorca/

There you go folks, I feel better. I did as briefly as possible but long enough to give you the complete story on a great men, one of the greatest, still play, spoken and worship of the Spanish literature giants. Federico Garcia Lorca sits at the top.  Hoping the wounds of the Spanish Civil War can one day be completely healed and we just remember,never to let it happened again.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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