Don’t Finish That Book!

It’s been a long time since I finished a book I hated. Well, now that I think of it I suppose that isn’t entirely true but I now read a lot more books that I enjoy. I attribute this primarily because I drop books that aren’t worth reading.

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The Russians at Sea by David Woodward Book Review

227 Actual Pages

It is hardly ever possible in the 250-year history of the Russian navy to say that that service enjoyed good fortune.

In doing recent research I decided to order a number of books from my local library to see what I could find on a specific naval battle in Russian history.  In one of these books I received a copy of The Russians at Sea: A History of the Russian Navy by David Woodward which I doubt has been opened since 1966. And possibly for good reason.

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The Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you, ProvincialWoman for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

Because when people think of me, they think of sunshine.

For anyone new to this, the rules are:
Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
Nominate 11 bloggers and ask them 11 different questions
List the rules and display the Sunshine blogger award logo in your post and/or on your blog site

The questions that were asked of me:

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Baja California by Lisa Lindblad Book Review

Baja California extends southward like a gnarled finger for eight hundred miles from the United States border of California.

Actual Pages 183

Baja California seems to be principally known for the Baja 1000 which has become a famous off-road race. However my recent, but likely brief, interest in the region has nothing to do with the race, nor the state’s more famous cities, Tijuana or Mexicali. Rather my interest lies in between, in the old towns, the sparsely populated areas or those that have become completely deserted.

Baja California by Lisa Lindblad (and an assortment of other authors) is largely a coffee table picture book about Baja California and its scenic region.

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Reviewing: My Method

If you’ve seen my reviews you’ll note that there isn’t much to them. Reviews are one of the few areas where I don’t like to be long-winded mostly because there isn’t a reason to be.

When I used to look for reviews of books, movies or anything really, I’d look for concise answers. Anything that was a paragraph was obviously too short but anything that read like a saga – and many book reviewers are especially guilty of this – was simply too long. I could at least understand the former while never comprehending the latter. The first is usually too short to get an understanding of what is right or wrong with the book and the second makes me feel like I’m reading the book, and often times, the book has been given away when I read those “reviews.” Reviews, in that sense, seem to have been confused with analysis or brief rewrites.

I never saw that it was the reviewer’s job to make the reader interested in the subject. The subject is what it is and you’re either going to be interested by the premise or you’re not. My goal is to do something basic and simple: To tell you why I like it or hate it.

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The Tide At Sunrise by Denis & Peggy Warner Book Review

Actual Pages 556

The time came when Baratovski’s performing horses found themselves confiscated by the cavalry. The circus itself became a Red Cross hospital.

When I aborted my attempt to look deeper into the Battle of Tsushima I had yet to open The Tide At Sunrise by Denis and Peggy Warner. My interest in Russia has spanned for over a decade and beyond Tsushima I hadn’t looked too deeply into the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. While I did have a new project I wanted to focus upon, I didn’t want to simply toss aside a piece of Russian history.

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The Imperial Japanese Navy of the Russo-Japanese War by Mark Stille Book Review

Actual Pages 42

Last month I was trying to find more information on the Battle of Tsushima and ordered whatever I could get my hands on from my local library. The Imperial Japanese Navy of the Russo-Japanese War by Mark Stille is one of the few they delivered to me.

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The Life of an Airship Captain

Sun setting light beamed over the rolling tufts of white clouds.
It became a scene Isaac had grown accustomed
often providing a simple feeling, staring into the sun.
A soft smile slipped across his face as he sighed,
thinking, ‘If only Galileo could see me now.’
It was the life of an airship captain, cruising the cranberry skies.

Isaac’s eyes glinted every day like a wondering child.
No matter the distance the drive was something he craved
like an addict feeding on cotton candy clouds, come what may.
Tensions melted away when he flew so high
while borders below grew stronger for miles and miles.
It was the life of an airship captain, cruising the champagne skies.

Floorboards creaked underfoot, whining under the pressure.
The paint had bleached, but it was of no concern
for priorities dictated cannons be placed upon the stern.
Days grew bleak but for now the sun still shined
while young men rushed forth seeking their adventure.
Such were the troubles of an airship captain, cruising the burgundy skies.

Wrinkles grew deeper around his eyes, a casualty of the profession.
‘They never learned,’ he thought, looking from vessel to vessel,
airships lining the skies like hovering castles.
It was times like these he thanked Daedalus to be alive
while invisible men below became consumed with aggression.
Isaac was experiencing interesting times, in the dark rouge skies.

Off launched the salvo, its explosive power shuddering the ship.
Firing over the bow metallic shards struck the foreign men
for the ships must be saved to be used again and again.
The war drove on until the ships sat where they lied
and the balloons stood proud as though nothing were amiss.
The ships hovered even without a man, in the Blood Red skies.

Prepping For Ecuador

It’s been just over three months since I left Ecuador and in just over three months I should be returning.

The most difficult part about going to Ecuador is learning their intricate visa system after you’ve used up your initial 90 days. As I mentioned in my About Me page, when I was trying to file for a three month visa extension in December I received seven different answers from seven different people. I was told I had to buy certain forms (which I didn’t need), was sent back and forth between three different buildings across Guayaquil and had to wait hours. I suspect I wasted somewhere around 15 hours in waiting and travel when I needed to have spent less than 1.

C’mon, you know these are turtles.

Eventually I got a little lucky by finding a lawyer behind a desk at one of the buildings where I had arrived and was told I could get everything done there and that day. However, even this lawyer had to consult with another lawyer who worked in the building just to be sure on the law. She told me to return a day before my initial 90 day visa would expire as the new 90 days would begin as soon as she entered the information. I told her to do it right then because I had been getting so many different answers from everyone and I didn’t want to take a risk on her not being there on the day I needed everything to be processed.

Airline tickets are expensive the day before you have to travel. I wasn’t going to risk it.

The problem isn’t that the government employees don’t know their job. The problem rests in that politicians in the country seem to make it their sole purpose to mess around with immigration laws. They’ve even delayed voting on a law numerous times which would be levied against foreigners stating that the foreigners must provide proof of health insurance. However, it should be known that this does violate Article 9 of their constitution which is why they’re having such a difficult time pushing it through.

We should also remember the long wait times and much of the confusion comes with the steady arrival of Venezuelan refugees. They don’t merely stop at the Colombian border.

Later today I will find out if indeed I can return to Ecuador in September.

Pelicans on a boat up the coast from Montañita.  Careful, it’s a party town in every sense of the word but it’s also a surfer’s paradise.

After contacting one lawyer and having someone in country ask questions at the public buildings (I tried calling in the past using both the English and Spanish lines while in country however both lines had the issue of where the person would pick up the phone but then place the phone off to the side without even an ‘Hola!’  The only choice is to physically show up at the buildings and wait as their email responses were also substandard) it seems that the answer lies in the affirmative. I would be able to return in September.

Never one to trust the immigration system, I’m checking one final time later today just to be assured that a last minute change to the immigration policy hasn’t affected anything.

If everything is a ‘Go’ then I’ll be sure to detail my plots and plans for Ecuador as I move closer to my lift-off date.

This will not become a detailed account of how to obtain or get around visas. I’ll never give advice for doing anything nefarious and besides, anything I discuss will likely be out of date as soon as I hit the publish button.

Paragliding over the beach of Montañita.

If you’re planning to go to Ecuador or any South American country, be sure to know the visa laws and that many of them have the same stipulations as Ecuador in that you only have an allowance for 90 days for the calendar year on a tourist visa. What this means is that if you arrive on 1 July 2018 and stay for the full 90 days, that you cannot return until 2 July 2019.  If you want to stay longer you can always apply for a visa extension.  And tourist visas are given out to most foreigners as soon as they arrive so there’s no need to apply in advance.  Just be sure to double check and make sure that your country is on the list of accepted countries who are eligible to receive the tourist visa upon arrival.

The visa extension process is a very stressful one and I’m even going to make an attempt to take my dog, Iris, with me. In the future I may go into further detail on taking a dog to Ecuador because that seems even more confusing and even more of a mess than trying to get myself there.

Over time I may continue to update this story with new articles published about Guayaquil, Ecuador and any visa troubles I may run into but you should not use my adventure as a guide. While I have yet to have a problem getting into or out of any country, laws consistently change and you would do yourself a disservice to not look up current information yourself.

If you’re an American, this site is a great starting point for understanding visa laws for any country you may be interested in visiting.