Last Day of My Fulbright

I had my last day of my Fulbright fellowship at CERMES and the University of the West Indies last Friday. I probably should have posted this earlier in the week but here it is. Short and sweet.

This year has been a gift to me. I have had a golden opportunity to spread my wings and take flight and I have had encouragement and a stable base to do so. Sure, I contributed some of my expertise to a few projects. But I gained so much more than I gave. Last Friday the department gave me a coffee, tea, and banana bread party send-off. It wasn't until a little later when I got in my car to drive home that I cried. I cried nearly the entire way home. What a joy to weep about missing a place that embraced me in such a short period of time.

The first project I worked on I did some final edits and additions. You may recall that work was a Google Earth project based on data from the Grenadines. Here is the MarSIS project site. Here is the project KML (will open in Google Earth). Take a look. It came out great, I think. But would love your feedback if the user experience is less than satisfying.

The second project was to organize the CERMES GIS data library. There were already some geodata up on the CERMES server but I just added some more data, organized by country and region, and set up a template for future data to be added. I hope this helps the students out. I'm not a librarian. I should try to go back and get an MLS degree if I really wanted to be an effective GIS consultant, but I don't think I have the time. I really do admire librarians, though.

This week has been spent packing and reflecting and filled with lasts...last full moon, last flying fish sandwich, last Magnum bar, last trip to Animal Flower Cave...our flight back home is Monday. Back to New York. Back to reality.


Monday Night at Ju Ju's Beach Bar and Restaurant

There's a great restaurant just a short walk or swim from our apartment. It's called Ju Ju's Beach Bar. It's a little tucked away and hard to find so I wanted to make sure to sing its praises.

Ju Ju's is owned and operated by Joanna. She and her skilled chef serve up fresh fish of all sorts (flying fish, dolphin, snapper, whatever is in season and fresh) grilled or fried. Very tasty. The kids like the chips (also known as "fries"), hamburgers (the meat-eater anyway) and the cheese sandwich. The flying fish sandwich is great too. The prices are very reasonable given the high-end location on the west coast.

You don't have to wait for Monday. Ju Ju's is open everyday but closes by about 7 p.m.

Where is Ju Ju's?

Latitude: 13°12'16.83"N, Longitude: 59°38'24.63"W

Located directly off the Coast Road in St. James, Ju Ju's Beach Bar is just south of the Lone Star Restaurant. It is seaside. Look for the lime green house and the sign that says "Dive Barbados" (both shown in the photo to the left) and follow the walking path to the left of the green house. There is no sign for Ju Ju's. Watch the video below to get an idea how to get down to the restaurant and see what it looks like.

But not only do you get delicious Bajan seafood, you cannot beat the location and view of the sea. This was from the beach at Ju Ju's taken in May.

And this was taken tonight.

The photos can be found on my Flickr page and the video is on my YouTube page.


Things We Should Adopt in the U.S. #4: Traffic Circles or Roundabouts

By whichever name you choose to call them, traffic circles do their jobs well - keeping vehicles moving along the roadways. Here in Barbados roundabouts are employed all around the island, on small roads, in the city, and on major highways. The cars roll on. I'm not saying that there are no accidents here, but I don't see fender benders resulting from navigating the roundabouts.

Barbados was colonized by the British and their influence can be seen in many arenas in Bajan society - the traffic circle is but one of the marks the English left here. Because of living in Barbados (as well as in Trinidad where they also have roundabouts) we could easily adapt to traffic circles when we took our U.K. trip last month.

I write this post because of past experiences with a traffic circle controversy that occurred in my neighborhood in Poughkeepsie. Some community members wanted roundabouts put into a busy, too-fast roadway and some others thought these traffic devices would be a menace by diverting all vehicles to their street causing snarls in front of their homes. It pitted neighbor versus neighbor. I wish I could pull up a couple of letters-to-the-editor from the local newspaper but they are archived and not free. Well, the traffic circles went in, as well as some traffic-slowing devices on the other street, and all is well in Poughkeepsie. To think, if everyone could have just experienced the joys of roundabouts first hand by driving through them in Barbados or the U.K., we could have avoided all that angst.

Here, take a look for yourself:

The Creative Commons photo of the roundabout above was taken in England and was found on ztephen's Flickr page. The video I skillfully took while driving around a traffic circle near Dover Beach in the southern part of Barbados. I was very careful. Note the coconut sellers on the left towards the end of the video. You don't see that in Poughkeepsie!


Turtle Beach

We moved temporarily to Barbados on September 1 last year. The apartment is nearly right on the beach. We feel very fortunate. It took me awhile to realize that not only do we have access to one of the most beautiful beaches on the island with swimming in Caribbean blue water but we have turtles.

In the first month we would snorkel and see what looked like discarded ping pong balls strewn across the reef that is our backyard. We'd pick them up underwater, bring them to fresh air and realize that these were not athletic equipment but some sort of egg. Then we went on a turtle patrol walk along the south coast of the island. We saw hundreds of baby turtles and one turtle track. Still, I did not think of our beach as a turtle nesting beach. Plus, I knew what a marine turtle track looked like because we became fascinated with Leatherback turtles in Trinidad a few years prior. It was not until November when turtle hatchlings came scurrying up from the sand on our beach that I understood the magic that we have on this beach. They've been here nearly the whole time. Certainly we see sea turtles when we are snorkeling but they've been nesting and hatching throughout most of our time here.

Yesterday when I went for a morning run I saw eleven turtle tracks along my usual route. That was more than usual. Today I saw just two, but the point is there are tracks and nests every morning. Here are two from a couple of weeks ago.

When you come to Barbados, wake up early and take a walk along the beach and you will see the tracks. Most beaches enjoy frequent visits from nesting turtles, I'd say from May to October. It's best not to walk up to a nesting turtle, shine a flash light (or torch) on her, or scare her in anyway. If you see hatchlings, feel lucky! But let them make the journey to the sea on their own; don't help them, they need to feel the sand and stretch their legs because they have their work cut out for them.

These turtle shots are from my Flickr account.