Here it is, two months away from Big Year day zero, and 58 days before I leave for Texas. Like all great adventures, one needs a start and a finish. Before great battles, Spartan Kings went to visit the Oracle. Others went and prayed for guidance at chapels, cathedrals, or went to places of special spiritual importance and sought out special people for blessings. Me?
I have my own special spiritual place and I guess it is filled with naked gurus and everything and I wont be able to visit it at all in 2016. You would guess at where this is if you read my Boobies Peckers and Tits or any of my many blogs on this place. This place is Orient Beach in St Martin in the Caribbean and specifically, Club Orient.
To make a long story short, I went to the beach, made peace with the beach gods and got myself ready mentally for my adventure. This isn’t done like a normal shrine. It is done by sitting under a yellow umbrella reading during my “Naked seawatches” I watch birds and naked people. The seawatch wasn't that productive, a few frigatebirds, a couple of brown boobies (the avian kind), some royal terns, and a couple of pelicans...very few pelicans for some reason this year, but that is inconsequential.
I read a book called Big Magic: Creative Living beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert…(“Eat Pray Love” author) .this was a book sent to me a week back from one of my ER Doctor friends Celeste Jibben, who like me is a bit of an adventurer. She (Gilbert and I guess Celeste too) basically gives a license for those creative types like me to write, explore, and to do what you need to do, and ignore those naysayers. I've had many naysayers and not just family members. I once had an older woman pick up my book and read about it, put it down and proudly say it was fiction because nobody would have the time or money to do this, and even if they did, such a person would be prudent enough to save their money…..well not only was that adventure NOT fiction, the same goofy guy is going to go out and do it all again, this time with pants on. It is tough to prepare mentally for a textile year of birding while you aren’t wearing any pants or well anything else, but this trip was for the soul and not for birding well almost..
Like all spiritual journeys mine involved attending a religious festival of sorts.....
The festival I’m talking about is the Annual Halloween party at Club Orient
I’ve written about this before that describing it in 100, 1000, or even 10,000 words cannot give it justice. With cameras not allowed, the thousand words worth of pictures can’t be included here.
Well here is a couple tamed early ones, my wife Silja as “Dr Barely Hertz” complete with a “Trust me, I’m your doctor” button. The dance floor in The Papagayo is very hot so air holes have been added to lab coat
Olaf, well, I was her patient, complete in just a hospital gown and a Foley Catheter and bag (accessories are key!) I was jaundiced from Liver failure (too much drinking during the pre-party, hence the dark color of my “urine”
I had a bandage on my bum that for some reason didn’t want to come off until much later, even that made people laugh
It was an intense party, one of the best, costumes have been more creative but dancing was the best of all parties. There is a pattern to these parties…..arrive a bit late, do a show off phase making rounds of the 160 participants, then you sit and eat, then you dance and work your costumes, you got to get noticed to win, start a crowd murmur so to speak.....then they give awards $500 in lodging and other things, then as the dancing and drinking continues and it gets hotter, costumes come off …well what there were of them and pretty much everyone is wearing only their birthday suits by the end.
Someone asked me why I now dance the “Curly Shuffle” with all the women….being the only male except the head waiter dancing with 30 naked women? Do I really have to answer this? Even a guy with two size 14 feet can dance “to the right to the right to the right right right, to the left to the left to the left left left, the walk it all about …”
Let me say the most stunning woman of the week was a recent cancer survivor, not long our from a breast reconstruction for breast CA at a very young age and if she could come here anyone could and quite likely she was also coming to this beach for a bit of a spiritual answer.
Costumes, everyone will want to ask me about the costumes……of course there was the usual slutty costumes, ones I couldn’t figure out, simply masks etc, and the usual Emperor with no clothes but others defy description…so I’ll just leave at such, but there were big winners, big winners and well I think the winner was deserved this year.
First place couple: Body painted parrots (red macaws --papagayos) complete with a rubber head and blue wings and nothing else save the paint paint. The manager told them to shower otherwise they were buying sheets. The next morning there were feathers floating all around the resort.
2nd. “Good and evil." Body painted as forest, -Garden of Eden, she, breasts painted as sumptuous apples, (and the tree as well) him, the male appendage as the head of the yellow and black snake (fer-de-lance?) that also wrapped his body. They did have crowns of leaves.
3rd, the horny wolf and the little red riding hood….yea use your imagination there
Best male: the best of the three “Kaitlyn Jenners” the guy with a sinatra hat in a sports bra..c'mon man! The winner was complete with transvestite approved lingerie to cover certain anatomical issues, it was a carbon copy of the Vanity Fair cover!.....well sort of, Kaitlyn is hotter than this older guy.but he wore his tiara well...then there was also a very perverted Cat in the Hat, so perverted, Mike Meyers would be impressed………he got second, well it could have been Mike I guess
Best Lady, a Woman dressed up as a pumpkin patch, weeds and pumpkins in the correct spots…LOL
There is nothing like anatomical correct pumpkins and I guess when her man said to plow her field it was a triple meaning.
There was a bee, with a stinger that got me in the dance floor, she was fondling my urine bag, is that sexual? Her husband was the bee keeper and had stings all over him, she got second
3rd, dear in head lights lady with car lights the light attached to her breasts. The deer got hot and lost his horns.......then his head, then well, he had nothing else on.
Alas……..we couldn’t win. I danced until I couldn’t walk, which was something and it wasn’t even because of too much drinking as we were “good.” Maybe dressing like Kaitlyn Jenner isn’t politically correct but heck, we are nudists………nothing is very politically correct here at this party, even the couple wearing the costume being the electrical outlet and the plug in, may have offended.
Only during a dance here would you talk about a woman in a tube dress pulling her neckline down being to under her ample breasts so they both popped out and with her dress riding up to her hips with nothing on underneath we pondered why she didn't just take it off? She eventually did.
Well that is that report and some very good dancing was held at other times, pre-party, we had a good 65 birthday party for a friend Stuart on Thursday where the bartender accidentally dropped the storm shutter on my head. Never be the last guy to leave the bar! I left that party with an ice bag on my head and realized even he had failed to knock any sense in me, so at this party just limping home was an improvement.
The wildlife........no not the naked people!
The area where we stay is getting overrun with Green Iguana like this one
Green Iguanas are not native to St Martin, apparently they all are descendants of iguanas that arrived in a box back in 1995 which nobody claimed. I guess the dinner event got cancelled or something. The workers released them. The native iguana the Lesser Antillean Iguana is or was the most tasty of all iguana and unfortunately they were eaten off St Martin years ago.
Besides the iguana and a single mongoose, we saw the usual assortment of birds, some pictures may make it to my island field guide of the birds, but it wasn't a birding mecca,
I drove from the airport and around to the French side and looked at the water in the pond by the French airport in Grand Case and there they were 4, repeat 4 flamingoes! Damn flamingoes and as luck would have it…again, rain came in and we didn’t stop, this wasn’t a little shower either. There have been 1 other sighting since my sighting hustling to the airport for a plane in 2014 from the window of the cab and he also didn’t document the damn pink birds. He saw it landing in a plane in the same pond from St Barths and ran to chase it. Extirpated in 1936, seeing one is akin to Bigfoot, but they do live on both sides of the island and now again I’d claim, they fly over and the naysayers would doubt the sighting, but what else could I mistake a flamingo for? Roseate Spoonbills are even rarer on the island. I visited the pond 5 times in the week and five times the only thing pink I saw was my sunburn. Oh well………..damn flamingoes.
I did go out and photograph one of the more obscure birds on the island, the scaly-naped pigeons at Anse Marcel, there are really only three good spots to find them on the island and only one that doesn’t involve getting mugged or an expensive lunch. Very few of them are around. This is my second sighting, first photographs. They are not quality publishable for my island field guide but one can’t have them all. These pigeons are very shy birds as humans to them are a threat.
I got two island firsts, an American Golden Plover and Ring-necked ducks in my excursions to find the flamingoes.
AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER, my island record, someone saw presumably the same one a few weeks earlier.
LESSER ANTILLEAN BULLFINCH
I finally was able to photograph an AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER
these were just of the few birds I saw, I will note that pearly eyed thrasher were everywhere, many more than any other time on the island.
Otherwise I stayed put, sold a few of my books, the Club Orient Boutique is one of my best retail locations and had three people stop me and say how impressed they were about my book. I should have bugged a few of my friends for a few sales of my new fictional novels but I didn’t. My goal was to get a tan, enjoy being married to a wife books and blogs are written about, and find my inner self.
I had higher things to think about. I know I can ignore all and spend a year on the road. Anyone who has survived a Surgical internship for a year will understand that a Big Year is a piece of cake compared to that….I do not remember 1992-3 fondly at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville PA but it is like scar tissue, one doesn’t forget, but I survived, I persevered, and in the end, I may have even prospered, but again here I am at aged 49 not practicing medicine with a license to do so in three states, so I guess I could. They tried to break me but in the end they failed, a few have tried, all have failed. Birds….?
As I came to a special understanding in my week in the sand and sun, so readers, I would ask you, Do you love birds? I would assume most of you, at least the birders out there, would say yes. Then I would ask the bigger question one you probably will hesitate to answer yes, Do birds love you? Now there is the rub! There is a common belief the living nature is indifferent to them. There is also the common asked thought of who are you? Many would ask me as many have asked me in my various businesses, what right do YOU have to do this or even what right do you have for nature to Love you? I am not a famous birder, probably the opposite, an infamous birder, one who has decided to enjoy life, do what I please, and not follow convention, with the many abundances I have. I have something better, I understand, though, that nature and birds love me. It is a clear thing to see anyone who has birded with me has seen it, and noticed how lucky I am…well all except flamingoes.
The truth…I make my luck, as life and luck is a commensal relationship. Humans are not parasites that take take take. Hell, sharp-shinned hawks and Peregrine falcons just take take take too, if you look at it that way. I learned this during my nude year when at times I felt as one in the universe and have learned to have an emotional relationship with the world around me. Nature may create the seed but I create the garden. If my garden is nothing more than to instruct and inform those around us of the birds and life in it so be that. Maybe it is a bit of a zen philosophy or something more akin to Pastor Olaf and the church I created during my nude big year but the nature is out there and I am to report on it, in my own creative style and that is what I give back.
I left St Martin at peace with it all. I walked extra slowly from gate B1 to the plane saying “savor it..savor it.” Much the same as I savored the last northern pike for a while on last summer’s fishing trip, or the view of Glacier National Park. I felt the hot air, the taste and smell of the ocean intermixed with aircraft fuel, the feeling of a slight wind on my face, the slight pain in my feet from dancing, the bump on my head still not totally healed, or even the slight tightness of my sunkissed skin, fully tan and line free from my week in heavenly bliss. I had vivid memories in my mind of my hot wife emerging from the ocean or dancing with me at the Pap.....I stopped and looked around and sighed. In 61 days I get to do what few have dared to do, but heck I spent a week doing what few have ALSO dared to do, spent a week at a nudist resort, and I’ve done that repeatedly. In the end the Universe may not get me what I want, 750 birds, but it WILL get me what I need, and what that is I have no way to know, but I know it is there out there, somewhere, maybe in St John’s NFLD, maybe in Gambell or the Ruby Mountains, but I know, I just know I would find it, ……….what ever IT is, I would find it.
Guess where I'll be 1/2/2017?
Guess where I'll be 1/2/2017?