Monday, April 25, 2011
Upon arriving at the Royal West Indies Resort, we saw a bike rack with colorful beach bikes. Since we were early and our room wasn't ready, we decided to take a bike ride to the grocery store, Graceway Gourmet. The store had everything we needed, rum; breakfast, lunch, and happy hour fixings; and suntan lotion rated 50 and 70. After buying our stores we headed back to the resort. I took a bike ride each day for exercise, to explore, and to shop.
Our room was ready. We were stunned at the beauty of the studio and of the size. It included a full kitchen, except a stove. The microwave and toaster were all we needed and the full-size refrigerator was ideal. Our studio was on the ground floor and our terrace overlooked the magnificent garden and the ocean. We were in the second building from the beach. We had a breakfast setup, but we used the terrace to eat. In addition we had two rattan chairs, one with a foot stool. We had a large screen tv with great cable (international fare: CBC for playoff hockey; ESPN Inter for world soccer; and baseball) as well as wireless internet to keep up with the royal wedding plans. We were set. We went to the beach.
The sand on the beach never got so hot we needed shoes. The sand was clean, soft, and beautiful. The beach ran for four miles to four miles to the left and to the right. It was a perfect walking beach as it provided exercise and views of other resorts. The best way to go was to the right past Club Med, a private resort, a new uninhabited resort, open land and then the Coral House, followed by four more miles of uninhabited land.
This was a lovely stretch for early morning runners, walkers, and sunset views. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen and walked. There were no hawkers selling things. Each beach offered the usual fare of para sail, banana boat rides, hobie cats, and the assorted water toys. On windy days the windsurfers came out and put on fantastic shows as they streaked around the water and soared through the air. The beach crew set us up with chairs and umbrellas, while the restaurant sent waiters to the beach on a regular schedule for those wanting food or drink. The walk to the left was more populated. A daily routine was established. I'd go to the beach take a walk, take a swim, set up the chairs, and return for breakfast. Chair were also established at the pool. We'd switch back and forth. Naps would be had at one of the two under the umbrella when the urge happened.
If the beach were too much for us, then we could retire to one of two pools. The first pool from the beach was next to the restaurant and was mainly peopled by young kids. Further on the meandering garden path was the Quiet Pool for readers, sleepers, and those seeking quiet. This zone was strictly enforced as noisy children were asked to leave if they couldn't respect the quiet zone. It also provided respite from the wind of the beach.
We ate dinners at the Pelican Bay Restaurant which was superb and the service was top notch. The highlight of the menu was the conch which was served many ways: as chowder, fritters, and grilled. Of course there was local catch of snapper and mahi mahi. In addition they had great jerk food as well as standard fare to accommodate every palate. The presentation was creative and inviting.
We discovered a black cat with white paws, tummy, and nose. He was sitting on our terrace the first morning. That night he strolled through our legs at dinner. We saw the cat off and on the next couple of days as he stopped for pets and a meow or two. Then we didn't see the cat for a couple of days. I bought some cat treats at the store and we left them on the terrace. The treats disappeared, but we didn't see him. We left some more out the next day and it too disappeared. Then on Friday evening, he appeared just before we were heading out to dinner. He walked right into the room. We fed him some treats which he ate from our hand. We gave him some water which he lapped up. He stayed in the studio when we went to dinner. After dinner, he was lying on the ground in the gazebo by the pool next to the restaurant. He meowed when he saw us and followed us home. He came into the studio for more treats, water, and pets. After he supped, he jumped up on the bed and found a place to sleep. He stayed the night and was gone when we woke. During breakfast he returned for his breakfast and then headed out to the jungle as we retired to the beach. On our last morning we saw him on the beach as we returned from our last swim to have breakfast before packing for our trip home. There was a sudden downpour while we ate breakfast and he came scurrying over, wet and meowing. We gave him the last bit of food, some water. As I dried him off he purred and fell asleep on my backpack. When it was time for me to pack it he simply got up, meowed and left.
We slept with the glass doors open and the screens closed except when the cat was here. The sound of the ocean was delightful and was very soothing as we went to sleep or woke in the middle of the night. Waking the sound of the ocean in the morning was heaven and far better than an alarm clock. It is amazing our internal clocks. We still woke early and went to sleep early. We began to use the sun as our clock. It was all about the sun, sand, and surf.
The gardens are stunning. They are perhaps one of the finest features of this resort. Considering the climate and the terrain the gardens here are magnificent. The gardening staff works tirelessly to maintain this idyllic scenery. The colors were rich, the aromas fragrant, and the designs creative.
One of delightful respites was the rain. It may have rained every day. The rain never disturbed our time. It rained sometimes when we were swimming and then just as suddenly stopped. It rained when we were lying on the beach and were about to take a dip to cool off. It rained at night or in the early morning. The rain never lasted very long. Sometimes the sun was out during the quick refreshing rain. Always the air was cooler and so fresh with that delightful aroma of clean.
The people who work at the resort are friendly, helpful, and delightful. While on the beach and it was time to take a dip, suddenly it would gently rain and cool us down and then just as suddenly stop and the sun would reemerge. On many occasions it would rain briefly as I was in the water. Most of the rain happened at night or early morning. It was always followed by a needed coolness and raised a lovely aroma.
This resort is one we will return to.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Since it is April, poetry month, a Shakespeare sonnet is another perfect example. He uses the three quatrains to say the same thing three different ways, so as to reach his audience. Guess how he uses the concluding rhyming couplet? Yup to say it yet again.
From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content.
And, tender churl, makest waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Describing education and education equality as the “civil rights issue of our time,” President Obama called Wednesday for a renewed effort to eliminate the achievement gap between African-American students and others.
reminded me of a research project conducted at Berkeley in 1975 involving the failing of Black students in calculus.
In that research project we learned about the importance of collaboration and working in groups. Schools haven't changed much since 1975, in spite of A Nation at Risk and all the follies of educational policy makers. Success always happens when a group of people get together and work collaboratively and equally. Education in this country has always been top down and not democratic, in spite of what John Dewey taught us. The same response to Sputnik has been repeated by Obama with STEM. What Obama and other educational policy makers seem to miss is product creation. Instead we continue to see more Multiple choice tests and very little pedagogical insight. Obviously our leaders learned nothing from that 1975 study about the solution to solving the reason blacks failed calculus in 1975.
CyberEnglish is such a course that transcends the limits of current educational policy by encouraging collaboration and being producers instead of consumers. Scholars in CyberEnglish go beyond the MC test. CyberEnglish addresses inequality and promotes democracy and the advancement of learning in the classroom in the 21st Century in spite of the continued presence of the 19th Century classroom in our educational policy today. What continues to confuse me about our educational policy is the lack of the use of technology. In every other industry in this country, technology has made great inroads and has affected major changes to the good. Despite all of this, education has yet to embrace technology in its practice. We have to stop thinking about how we were taught; we need to imagine how we should be taught and to begin practicing those ideas. CyberEnglish is such an example of how we should be taught.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
It doesn't matter why Cathy Black is out. The point is she is gone and good riddance. The real issue is why she was ever appointed in the first place. This is disgusting. One has to consider the number of deputy chancellors who have left since she took office. When will we learn that non educators make for bad education leaders?
This also speaks to the fall of Mayor Bloomberg and his very stubborn and arrogant ways of doing things. His forcing a third term was a bad idea and since then he has bumbled his way along.
So much for the children of NYC. What a total disaster this is for education in NYC. Public polls are one thing our leaders better listen to, just look to the Mideast to discover that mistake.
Now maybe we will stop seeing these business oriented people heading our schools, it doesn't work. We know this as we look at the failures of non educators in leadership of schools from Paige to Rhee and all the failures in between, including Cathy Black.
Even Walcott, although a better choice, is still not the best choice for chancellor. He, too, will have to go through the waivers. Let's do it right in the future Mr Mayor. Why can't you get this important job right?
Listen to Brian Lehrer discuss this, hear Mayor Bloomberg announce the change, and introduce our new chancellor, Dennis Walcott.
More conversation has been discouraging as some see Walcott as a competent replacement and even Canada's name has emerged. Boy have we lowered the standard of what would make a good chancellor. Think education and educational credentials, NOT business credentials. We have seen the failure of this tact over and over again across the country.
More from The Brian Lehrer Show a day later.