Friday, June 29, 2012

Floral Friday Fotos

Copy this image and its link to place on your blog
I'm posting over here today!
Costa Rica is a natural botanical garden filled with wonderful tropical flowers. One of my favourites, is the Heliconia Rostrata also known as Lobster Claw. We took this photo on our trip in 2002.

Skywatch Friday

SkyWatch Friday 

I'm linking up over here today! 

Seattle Needle

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Recipe Box - Lemon Basil Shrimps

Foodie Friday
I'm posting this recipe over at Foodie Friday.

It's been a while since I posted a recipe. I made these last night and the recipe is definitely going into my virtual recipe box.
I used one pound of shrimp for two of us but I made the marinade as outlined below. I used basil from my garden but probably could have used more.

My photo is from a charity lunch we attended last month. The chef called it "shrimps on the Barbie".

1/3 cup basil leaves, minced
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp liquid honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger root, grated
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 lbs uncooked large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (leave tails intact)
8 12-inch metal skewers

Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Place shrimp in a large, heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. Pour marinade over shrimp and seal bag. Turn bag several times to coat shrimp with marinade. Marinate in fridge for an hour.

Preheat grill to high. Thread shrimp onto skewers (5 or 6 shrimp per skewer, depending on size of shrimp). Discard marinade. Brush grill rack lightly with oil. Grill shrimp for about 2 minutes per side, just until shrimp turns pink and no gray remains. Be careful not to overcook shrimp or they will be rubbery. Serve.

All photography on Junk Boat Travels is under copyright unless stated otherwise. If you would like to use any of my photographs please contact me first.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bermuda Onion where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky! 

finished Prague last week.
samizdat - "The press's catalog of samizat was patently unprofitable, comprising mostly journals and essays: brutal descriptions of life under Communism, philosophical treatises on living honestly amid dishonesty and betrayal, hopelessly fantastical and irrelevant then retrospectively amazing and prophetic imaginings of a future democratic Hungary's structure and soul."
I consulted Merriam-Webster:
: a system in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and countries within its orbit by which government-suppressed literature was clandestinely printed and distributed; also :such literature
Origin of SAMIZDAT
Russian, from sam- self- + izdatel'stvo publishing house
First Known Use: 1967

Also from Prague:
fratultery - "John Price smoked a slow cigarette on his balcony, kissed the photos of his antique wife and child good night, then lay on his folded bed's covers, unable to file the events of the day, the head injury and fratultery."
This word is not in most dictionaries. I found this definition at Jacanaent.
: an affair between a man and his brother's girlfriend or fiancé

Again from Prague:
oneiric - "This perennial, gaudy oneiric bloom sprouted from seeds planted Halloween of 1990, when, floating over other guests" heads on a slightly raised platform, Emily really did wear football shoulder pads under a green Philadelphia Eagles jersey, and her tight white pants, although convincingly gridironic, were in fact a pair of her favorite casual slacks."
I used Merriam-Webster:
: of or relating to dreams : dreamy
— onei·ri·cal·ly adverb
Origin of ONEIRIC
Greek oneiros dream; akin to Armenian anurǰ dream
First Known Use: 1859

Wordless Wednesday

I'm linking up over here and at Tina's Wordless Wednesday.Tina´s wordless wednesday

Russian Lay's potato chip bags - photo taken on our Russian river cruise May 2011.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Paris to Normandy River Cruise Itinerary

This is our itinerary for our August trip to Paris. We will arrive in Paris the day before the riverboat sails and stay at the Waldorf Trocadero located near the Eiffel Tower.

Avalon Waterways

Day 1 | Morning and early afternoon on our own to explore Paris, France's capital on the River Seine, the “City of Light,” where romance fills the air. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at a welcome reception. (D)

Day 2 | Paris. Paris’ famous sights are living history. Included city sightseeing shows you magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral, the unique Louvre Museum with its glass pyramid as a contrast to its ancient architecture, the commemorative Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Madeleine, Champs Elysées, and the Eiffel Tower, a structural miracle of its age. The city is well known for its colorful nightlife, including some of the world’s most famous cabaret shows. (B,L,D)

Day 3 | Paris. Conflans. After breakfast, enjoy a relaxing morning on the Sky Deck as your ship slips its moorings and glides gently down the River Seine, passing through suburban Paris. This afternoon, dock at Conflans—and now the choice is yours: either join our guided excursion to AUVERS-SUR-OISE, the quaint little town where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died, or Napoleon and Josephine’s CHÂTEAU de MALMAISON just outside Paris. Requiring extensive renovations, this large country estate was purchased by Josephine Bonaparte in 1799 while Napoleon was fighting in Egypt. It was her aim to make it “the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe, a model of good cultivation.” (B,L,D)

Day 4 | Vernon. This morning, choose between a guided visit of Claude Monet’s house and stunning gardens at GIVERNY or a visit of BIZY CASTLE with its magnificent courtyard. There’s still time to stroll through this delightful city on your own before your ship departs for Rouen. Relax on board this afternoon or take in a pastry-making DEMONSTRATION. (B,L,D)

Day 5 | Rouen. Rouen is the capital of Upper Normandy and an important commercial city, perhaps best known for its connection to Joan of Arc, who lived, was imprisoned, and burned at the stake in the marketplace of this town in 1431. Enjoy the guided walk through the medieval quarter with its half-timbered, glazed-tile houses, and the Gros Horloge, an intricate Astronomical Clock dating back to the 16th century. The splendid gothic CATHEDRAL was once the tallest building in the world and the subject of a series of Claude Monet’s paintings. The afternoon is free for you to explore on your own, or you can join an optional excursion to the pretty coastal town of Honfleur or to the busy port city of Le Havre with its contemporary architecture. (B,L,D)

Day 6 | Rouen. Make your choice today of an included excursion to the historic NORMANDY LANDING BEACHES—with poignant sites such as Omaha Beach, the Pointe du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery—or a “TASTE OF NORMANDY” for a more in-depth look at this picturesque, mainly agricultural region. The most important products are dairy, apples, and grain. Camembert cheese is a specialty, as is Calvados, a strong apple brandy. Thoroughbred horses are also reared here. (B,L,D )

Day 7 | Les Andelys. The most dramatic sight along the Seine is imposing Château Gaillard at Les Andelys. Built by England’s King Richard the Lionheart in 1196, the château is truly a masterpiece of medieval military architecture. Explore on your own and enjoy this last day in France in this delightful small town. (B,L,D)

Day 8 | Paris. Disembark. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. Departure flights should not leave before 8 am. (B)

Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday 2 
I'm posting over here today.
Taken in Paris in 1992. We hope to visit Le Moulin Rouge on this upcoming trip.

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Paris Reading List

I mentioned over here that I'm going to Paris in August for my birthday with my DH and very good friends.
As always planning a trip makes me want to read books about the area.

There is no shortage of books set in Paris. There are many many classics such as A Tale of Two Cities, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Phantom of the Opera, The Razor's Edge, and many of Henry James and Hemingway's books.

Madame Bovary takes place near Rouen which we will be visiting as well.

Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway's First Wife
I've read about Hadley before but this is a new biography.
Hadley Richardson and Ernest Hemingway were the golden couple of Paris in the twenties, the center of an expatriate community boasting the likes of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, and James and Nora Joyce. In this haunting account of the young Hemingways, Gioia Diliberto explores their passionate courtship, their family life in Paris with baby Bumby, and their thrilling, adventurous relationship--a literary love story scarred by Hadley's loss of the only copy of Hemingway's first novel and ultimately destroyed by a devastating mEnage A trois on the French Riviera.

Compelling, illuminating, poignant, and deeply insightful, "Paris Without End" provides a rare, intimate glimpse of the writer who so fully captured the American imagination and the remarkable woman who inspired his passion and his art--the only woman Hemingway never stopped loving.

The Paris WifeIs also about Hadley and Ernest. This is historical fiction and not a biography. Synopsis here.

Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs: The Left Bank World of Shakespeare and CoThis sounds delightful! Synopsis here.

This is not going to be one that I will read but I found the cover to be enchanting.A Man in Uniform

It's Monday What Are You Reading?


It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. For this meme, bloggers post what they finished last week, what they're currently reading, and what they plan to start this week.   

Last week I mentioned I was reading these two books at the same time.


Prague is set in 1989 to 1991 after the fall of communism and takes place in Budapest.
Fortunes of War is set before and during the Second World War. This caused me some confusion going back and forth between the books, forgetting what generation I was reading about.

Since we had visited Budapest in May I was pleased to recognize many of the places mentioned including the McDonald's, the first in post-Communist Europe.
It is the aftermath of the fall of Communism, when Hungary is experiencing the challenges and opportunities that integration with the West represented. Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur and become rich. The Americans and a Canadian in the story are there to either "experience the cultural event" or are there to make money.
The meaning of the title Prague rather than Budapest where it is set refers to the grass is always greener as in nothing happens in Budapest but everything happens in Prague.
I said last week that I was hooked. That was in the beginning. I was interested in the descriptions of Budapest immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall. he does an excellent job at the beginning to draw you into Budapest and his introduction of the characters.
But as the book went on and Phillips attempts to make these characters "meaningful" and instead I just found them boring. I began to wander in the middle section of the book when the Hungarian printer is introduced and a business deal is set up. However, it slightly recovered towards the end and I'm gald I finished it.
Fortunes of War

Other than the story line about the financial aspect regarding the German industrialists during WW II the rest of Fortunes of War was just unbelievable. The characters are bland and have way too much money available to them. Their lifestyles just don't seem to fit into the war years.

There were lots of things annoying about this book.  The characters continually mention their answering machines. However according to Wikipedia "the first commercial answering machine offered in the US was in 1949, the Tel-Magnet, which played the outgoing message and recorded the incoming message on a magnetic wire. It was priced at $200 but was not a commercial success."
I highlighted this section:
"She routinely unplugged her phone, made no dates, and refused to attend meetings, script readings, or rehearsals. Dressed in sweat clothes, sneakers, and large, dark glasses, her hair tucked under a ball cap, she could do her shopping and and come and go as she pleased without being recognized."
Could phones be unplugged in the early 1940s?
Really? She went out in sweats??sneakers?? ball cap?? I think we've all seen enough old movies to know that no one went out dressed that way in the 40s.
So I am glad this was a free Kobo book download and I am glad I read it for the historical financial aspect of the monetary side of war.

The Cold Cold Ground (Sean Duffy, #1)
From the book jacket:
The Cold Cold Ground is the start of a major new series from Adrian McKinty, author of the acclaimed Falling Glass, Fifty Grand and the DEAD trilogy.
Featuring Catholic cop Sean Duffy whose outsider status in the mostly Protestant RUC makes it as hard to do his job as the criminals he’s fighting, this is the start of a new series set in Troubles-era Belfast. A body is found in a burnt out car. Another is discovered hanging from a tree. Could this be Northern Ireland’s first serial killer, or another paramilitary feud?

2012 books read (43 to date):
The Coast Road - John Brady
Still Midnight - Denise Mina
The Bulgari Connection - Fay Weldon
Good Bait - John Harvey
The Heretic's Treasure - Scott Mariani
Dead I Well May Be - Adrian McKinty
The Devil's Elixir - Raymond Khoury
A Darker Domain - Val McDermid
The Impossible Dead - Ian Rankin
GB84 - David Peace
The Emperor's Tomb - Steve Berry
Stonehenge Legacy - Sam Christer
Inquisition - Alfredo Colitto ABANDONED!
The Troubled Man - Henning Mankell
Nineteen Seventy-Four - David Peace
Faithful Place - Tana French
Dead Like You - Peter James
Brother and Sister - Joanna Trollope
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton ABANDONED!
A Beginner's Guide to Acting English -Shappi Khorsandi
The Snowman - Jo Nesbo
The Leopard - Jo Nesbo
The Stone Cutter - Camilla Lackberg
Miramar - Naguib Mahfouz
The Gallow's Bird - Camilla Lackberg
Nineteen Seventy- Seven - David Peace
Timeline - Michael Crichton
Millennium People - JG Ballard
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins 
Birdman - Mo Hayder
Clara Callan - Richard B. Wright
The Paris Vendetta - Steve Berry
Little Girls Lost - Jack Kerley
The Reutrn of the Dancing Master - Henning Mankell
Nemesis - Jo Nesbo
Dublin Dead - Gerard O'Donovan
City of Bohane - Kevin Barry
This Beautiful Life - Helen Schulman
The Copenhagen Project - K. Sandersen
Prague - Arthur Phillips
Fortunes of War - Gordon Zuckerman

Macro Monday


Macro Monday is hosted by Lisa at Lisa's Chaos
Macro Monday is easy to play, snap a macro (or any close-up) photo, post it on your blog and come back to Lisa's blog and sign McLinky. 

You can hardly spot the grasshopper on this leaf! Taken in Tabacon, Costa Rica in 2002.

Blue Monday

I'm linking up over at Blue Monday today.

We are getting very excited about our August trip to Paris.
When we were last there in 1992 we stayed at this hotel for three nights. In 1992 there wasn't any internet to comparison shop hotels. I had gotten a tour book from the library and it was listed under budget hotels. So we made a reservation.
When we checked in the clerk asked how we had heard about the hotel and we explained. We shuld have known something was up when she said "oh, we've renovated since then". When we checked out we almost had a stroke as the cost was $300 a night, an awful lot of money twenty years ago. Hotel prices have remained about the same for a room in Paris.

It is a small quaint hotel in the heart of the city and only has thirteen rooms.

Built in 1480, it has a history of its own!  It belonged to the Duke de Luynes and the Duke d’O and was once the dwelling place of Pierre Seguier, the true Marquis d’O.
 In the 1950s and 60s, American poets adopted the site and in the same movement created the "Beat Generation"». Among them were Burroughs, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corso.

I found this information at a site documenting photos taken at the hotel of famous guests.
From 1956 through 1963, the writers who formed the core group of the Beat Generation lived in a run-down hotel on the Left Bank of Paris. These expats—Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Gregory Corso, Harold Norse, William S. Burroughs, and on occasion, Jack Kerouac—stayed in that small 42-room residence at 9 Gît-le-Cœur, which became known as the Beat Hotel. 
Allen Ginsberg's Howl (1956), William S. Burroughs's Naked Lunch (1959) and Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957) are among the best known examples of Beat literature.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Snapshot


Saturday Snapshots is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books.

We have just finalized the plans for our next trip! We're going to Paris at the beginning of August on a Seine river cruise with very good friends as part of my significant birthday celebrations! The last time we were in Paris was twenty years ago in a cold November.

Here are some photos from that trip. I can't wait to go back with a digital camera!!

Taken from the top of the Arche