Archive for July, 2008

Bonaire’s Only Snake Species – Leptotyphlops albifrons

July 31st, 2008 at 12:37 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

It’s fun when one doesn’t even have to leave one’s house to find adventure. Last night Bas spotted a very small critter on the floor in the hallway to our bedrooms. At first blush it appeared to be a millipede, but with magnification we discovered that in fact it was Bonaire’s extremely elusive Silver Snake, the only species of snake known to exist natively on the island. We captured the snake on a piece of paper and found a plastic Hefty plate to put him on to keep him from getting loose (and to provide good contrast) while I took photos.

Bonaire Silver Snake next to a pen cap

As you can see from the above photo, the snake is tiny – we put a regular pen cap near him to show the relative size. The Silver Snake (Latin name is “Leptotyphlops albifrons”) apparently can get up to 10 centimeters (four inches) in length, although we estimate this one at about 2/3rd that stretched out.

Bonaire Silver Snake Close Up

Above is a close-up with macro lens. You can make out the snake’s eyes. After the photo shoot, we released him into the front yard for his (or her) safety.

The book “Nos Bestianan / Our Animals – Curacao | Bonaire | Aruba” by Dr. Bart A. de Boer says these tiny snakes are very hard to find. We’d agree with that as this is the first one we’ve ever seen in our 11 years on Bonaire. They only hunt for a brief time at dusk (which is when we found this one), and are otherwise hunting under rocks. They apparently eat very small insects, including ants, termites, and insect larvae.

Anyhow, a very cool experience – a lot more fun and less hazardous than the scorpions we find with regularity (the scorpions sting with the same pain as a bee sting, annoying but not otherwise dangerous).

 

Visiting With Cyndi Lauper & Company at the True Colors Concert

July 17th, 2008 at 3:00 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

You may have already seen a few individual photos in prior cell-phone based posts below, but I finally got around to uploading the choicest photos from when The Traveling Richters went to the True Colors concert in Dallas last month. The True Colors Tour was conceived by Cyndi Lauper, using the title of one of her best know songs to help promote support and tolerance and understanding for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender relationships. Cyndi herself is married with a son, but feels very strongly that we should all just be able to get along, regardless of our sexual orientation (or religion) – something we agree with wholeheartedly.

To help the tour succeed even more, Lauper brought in a bunch of other major bands of the day as well as some newer talent – with a different mix in each city the tour visited. In the case of Dallas the line-up was Lily Haydn (whom we didn’t get to see or hear because we were at a Meet and Greet with Cyndi at the time), comedienne Wanda Sykes, Andy Bell (we had no idea who he was), Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and The B-52s. Carson Kressley of Bravo TV’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” was the Master of Ceremonies, appearing in different flashy outfits between sets – he must have had close to a dozen different ensembles.

The concert trip was a present to the family for their respective birthdays, as Linda is a big fan of Cyndi Lauper, Bas loves The B-52s’ song, Rock Lobster and thus wanted to the band perform, and Krystyana is just into music as a whole. And of course, Cyndi Lauper, Joan Jett, and The B-52s are all performers from when I got into music during college far too many years ago. In fact I saw Joan Jett in concert in Albany, New York in the early 1980s (I am thinking it was 1982). A darned long time ago, but good memories.

01-The Traveling Richters pose with Cyndi Lauper before the concertOur ticket package was the VIP Meet & Greet, which entitled us to front row seats, a photo opportunity with Cyndi Lauper, and a whole bunch of other goodies (we’re still waiting for the autographed t-shirts though). In the photo at right (click to see larger) you can see us with Cyndi.

13-Linda and Bas watching Joan Jett performThe concert itself was a trip down memory lane for Linda and myself – over four hours of music and fun, and because we were front row, we had dance room too – we took liberal advantage of that with occasional rests (photo at left shows Linda and Bas watching Joan Jett perform).

Considering most of the performers were in their 50s, they moved well and hadn’t lost their respective sounds and touches. It was also the date of Cyndi Lauper’s 54th birthday, and she broke into tears when the audience started singing “Happy Birthday” to her.

22-Fred Schneider of The B-52s performs Love Shack - note the drumstick, which he later gave to BasBut perhaps the highlight of the evening for us occurred after The B-52s performed their hit song Love Shack. Bas had danced up a storm during the song (we didn’t explain to Bas was a Love Shack was), with his ultra blond hair lit up like a beacon. 24-More Rock Lobster - performed by Cindy Wilson, Fred Schneider and Kate PiersonAt the end of the song, The B-52s’ lead male singer came over to the edge of the stage, got Bas’ attention, and then handed him (with my assistance) the drumstick he had been using to hit the cow bell used to give the song some of its interesting sounds. Bas was in seventh heaven – an amazing experience for an 11 year old to have the leader of a world famous band you love give you a “thank you” for showing your appreciation for their music.

Cyndi Lauper closed out the acts with a number of her most popular songs, as well as some new ones, and then most everybody got back on stage to sing the theme song, “True Colors”, together.

While we left with our ears ringing, we also left in high spirits, with a spring in our step, and thoroughly happy about having made the long trip to Texas from Bonaire. And while it wasn’t cheap, the next time we do a concert again, front row is the only way to go. Wow.

The photo gallery album for that evening can be found here.

The following day we headed to San Antonio for a private tour at The Alamo, and several more days of exploration and adventure in Texas. If I get a chance I’ll post more on our experiences, but don’t hold your breath waiting either.

 

Jake & Bas Appear in Florida Travel + Life

July 17th, 2008 at 12:19 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

Cover of May/June 2008 issue of Florida Travel + Life MagazineWe discovered recently that two of The Traveling Richters, namely myself and Bas, had our picture in a recent issue of Florida Travel + Life magazine. It was in the May/June 2008 issue (cover pictured at right).

The occasion of our inclusion was an article on page 107 by publisher Carolyn Pascal about Kids Sea Camp, a program which we first participated in during its inception in Curacao some years back with our friend Margo (the owner of the Kids Sea Camp program). Most recently, we spent Thanksgiving week in 2007 with Margo at Kids Sea Camp in Fiji. Carolyn Pascal (another long time participant) was there and snapped a picture of Bas and myself coming out of the water after a nice shore dive – a dive on which Bas, aged 10 at the time, saw his first ever shark while diving.

Below is a photo of the article page – that’s Bas and me in the upper right corner.

Jake & Bas in Fiji for Kids Sea Camp in Florida Travel + Life magazine