The Lewin Family Virtual, Interactive Year-end Letter - 2018 ©
As a co-worker said every morning when we walked into work at 6:45: "Here we go again!"
Back by popular demand.........Here is The Lewin Family Virtual, Interactive Year-end, Letter for 2018.
It has been a busy year with a little bit of traveling thrown in.
I left you last September when I began wintering in Florida, working in Orlando on the response and recovery for Hurricane Irma. The first three months were seven days a week, 12 hours a day. After the first of the year, I began getting out on the weekends and fell in love with the wetlands: Orlando and Viera. I would go out early on Saturday (who needs sleep, it is over rated) and either drive the roads in Viera Wetlands or ride the cart in Orlando Wetlands. Thank goodness I had my camera with me as I got a few interesting shots of the birds, the plants and the alligators. You will find all the pictures from my time in and around Orlando. I also spent some time on Merritt Island driving Black Point Drive. All the wonderful pictures from Orlando are here
Just a year ago today, Christmas Day, I spent with a grade school/high school friend, Taylor, and his family about an hour north of Orlando. We enjoyed several visits during my time in Central Florida, including a day visiting the Kennedy Space Center.
Carol, all the while, fine tuned her knitting skills and manufactured several wonderful items. She also is a member of two book clubs, rumors are that one is trying to out drink the other.
During the summer, I worked one of my other jobs and made short trips to Reston, Virginia and Midland, Texas.
The first of May, I got a call from work in Orlando, "Do you want to come back?" I thought about the proposition, as my coworkers were wonderful, I could visit the wetlands and Merritt Island again and visit with Taylor, but I couldn't leave until the end of May, as we had a wedding attend. "Was that OK?"
"No problem, fly the next day." I did and spent another two months in Orlando.
Carol, through the Master Gardeners, put in a demonstration garden at the Carlsbad Flower Fields. It is a vertical garden. In her spare time, she remains a very active docent at the local San Diego Botanic Garden.
Mid-August, we departed for another trip, this time on the other side of the world, Southern Africa. We, along with Anthony and Erin, visited South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. In the camps, we went on two game drives a day to see and photograph the animals. We, of course saw the famous big five: elephants, cape buffalo, white rhinos, lions and leopards. Unfortunately, the cheetah was most elusive and not to be seen.
We witnessed animals in nature and came across several "kills." an elephant with very satisfied lions a few feet away and a kudu in a tree with the satisfied and sleepy leopard resting on a nearby branch. Seeing these animals in the wild gives a new perspective of zoos and other confined animal habitats.
When we emerged from the "bush," we visited Victoria Falls and then spent a few days in and around Cape Town. We visited the Cape of Storms, now known as Cape of Good Hope. But the best from Cape Town was the shark dive that Carol had to go on. It was windy, it was cold and it rained. But that didn't deter Carol. Here are a few "before" pictures, as the "after" pictures were not pleasant. Sadly, that day there wasn't a shark to be seen.
Here are the pictures from Southern Africa. We all had a most amazing time. They say you can't visit Africa just once and we completely agree. The animals are to behold. The birds are incredible and our favorites are the Lilac-breasted Roller and the Carmine Bee-eater. Here are pictures of the some of the birds we found.
(Public mea culpa: It was a brand new camera and I only had two weeks to become proficient. My humble apologies that some of the pictures are a bit out of focus and a little grainy. It is the thought that counts and I vow to do better in the future, as I learn the camera.
It wasn't enough to visit Southern Africa, Carol wanted to follow in the footsteps of Erik Prince and Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of a Russian sanctioned fund, and visit the Seychelles. She said the snorkeling must be great. So we spent five days in the Seychelles. Unfortunately, we did not stay at the Four Seasons where the infamous meeting took place, but we did have a great time.
One item of note...the bus drivers on the island of Mahe are crazy. The buses are made by Tata of India and held together with bailing wire, the roads are very curvy, very windy and oh so narrow. When facing oncoming traffic or making a 180 degree turn, we did what the driver did, closed our eyes and hoped for the best.
Here are the pictures.
Several days after Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle, I found myself wintering in Florida, again. This time in Tallahassee. Surveyed the damage in Panama City, Marianna, Port St. Joe and worst of all, Mexico Beach. No structures survived the wrath of Michael in Mexico Beach.
There for two months and of course, the last weekend I had to get up at 1 AM and make the four and a half hour drive to the Orlando Wetlands. I was in the neighborhood, I had to go. Took pictures for five hours and then drove the four and a half hours back to Tally. Pictures of this trip to Florida are here.
Anthony and Erin are dong quite well, living the life in Aspen. Anthony has completed all of his training to become a bona fide volunteer fireman for the Aspen Fire Department. Erin is continues to work from home overlooking a golf course and the mountains. Erin had to call in some professional help to assist in the business, Fred has now come on to the payroll.
Oh, when insomnia strikes in the dead of night, take a look at all our pictures. You will fall asleep in no time.
A happy and healthy 2019 from Southern California and Aspen, Colorado, to all of you.
Oh, one last thing...if you forgot to bookmark this wonderful epistle, you can always go to arnie.org and find your way back. There is even a link to send an email.
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