Louis Self
To Kiteboarding
Lou's Kiteboarding home page
To Comedy
Lou's Comedy home page

Arizona Lou

Blog Archive 2015 Jul

Previous <-- Archived Blogs --> Next                   Latest Update

Thu Jul 2 = This morning I adjusted my drip system from 1:30 to 1:00 hour. That will give my dieing myoporum 15 gallons of water every two days. Hope it pulls through while I am gone.
- I tried to arrange a travel alert with my Desert Schools Federal Credit Union debit card. On the phone, Shannon had all the positive phrases on the tip of her tongue, like, "We want you to enjoy your trip," but her words said, We don't care enough to protect you. All her options would add even more risk to my money or make it inaccessible. I had already gotten travel alerts on credit cards from two other banks. Thanks DSFCU :(
- Four more of my customize arrived in the mail from Deep Blue in Avon, NC. That doubles the world's supply of Arizona Lou T-shirts. I didn't get quite what I ordered, but got an extra shirt, so am a happy camper. I ordered three shirts (medium, large & extra large) with blue designs but got four shirts (two medium and two large) with silver designs. Good job, Tim!
- I took my van to Discount Tire for a slow leak in the passenger rear tire. They found a screw.

Fri Jul 3 = Most of the day was spend figuring out and confirming my flights to the Dominican Republic and printing out itineraries and lodging arrangements. I guess I don't understand this airline stuff very well. Some of my flights are on American Airlines and operated by US Airways and some are on US Airways and operated by American Airlines. Who do I check in with? Between Expedia and the airlines there are:

Sat Jul 4: U.S. Independence Day = You may remember, on
Hatteras Island and the Outer Banks off the coast of North Carolina
I left my new Walmart anchor beach towel on a beach somewhere (or so I thought) and replaced it with a queen-sized sheet from the Hot Line Thrift Store. Today I found the towel, similar to the one pictured here) underneath towels and stuff on my van's linen shelf. At my advanced age I really need to be more observant.
- DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ADVENTURE STARTED HERE: I got both of my 5-foot kite bags packed and weighed, containing four kites, two boards and ancillary equipment.

Sun Jul 5 = I forgot one small thing, but it is turning out to be a really big deal... and potentially expensive. Of course it could be worse. I could have lost my computer. As I was rushing to get my things out to the SuperShuttle I forgot to zip up two compartments on my fancy Bayer backpack... the compartments where I had my computer and my camera. I did not notice that my camera was gone until going through security at Sky Harbor. Although my computer was hanging out a little, it was still with me, thank goodness. Hopefully my camera fell out in my house and is safe, but I didn't hear any crash. Second possibility is that it fell out on the way to the SuperShuttle van. Third is on the SuperShuttle. I phoned Walter there but Corntell, my driver, was headed out to Cave Creek and out of contact. I decided not to spend the two hours until my flight retracing my steps around the airport terminal, as it probably fell out before I got there. Also I would have to go through security again. For the rest of the trip I might buy a cheap camera to get me by or just use my phone for the trip. As of takeoff, Paul is seeing what they can do at SuperShuttle.
- Except for that today was a good one and a busy one. I watered my gravel to activate the preemergence spray since there had been no rain, packed and weighed all carry-ons, checked the wind forecast for the Dominican Republic, printed my boarding passes etc, Moon Juiced the myoporums, delivered weed spray to Ken, my neighbor who watches my weeds, scheduled the SuperShuttle pickup, checked in and took off for Tampa, FL on US Airways just before midnight at 11:50.

Mon Jul 6 - I updated this blog between 6:30and 9:00am using the Wi-Fi at the Tampa, FL Airport during one of my two layovers, then flew to Miami, then on to Puerto Plata International Airport, Dominican Republic where the processing of the international arrivals did not take too long. A taxi was waiting to take me to the Kite Beach Inn in Cabarete. I paid the driver a few extra bucks to take me to a grocery store for some basics where I also got a SIM card for my phone. In case you're interested, my Dominican Republic phone number, for the next four weeks is 1 827 987-9949.
- From Lucy and Jim Strack, operators of the Kite Beach Inn, I learned several useful things. The cheapest and quickest way to get around is on a motoconcho, a small displacement motorcycle. They seem to be everywhere and the driver will take you anywhere in Cabarete for PR$50 (50 pesos)... PR$100 at night. I also learned that, here, people never leave or listen to voice mail, but DO text. I also learned where some restaurants are (all nearby) and that a person does not want to be out walking alone at night.
- For supper I walked across the street to the Comedor Mini Miguel restaurant where they only accept Dominican pesos. I got my first ride on a motoconcho to a bank that was open to change US$20 into RD$888, then back to the restaurant for supper. This little semi-outdoor restaurant is under a palapa, cooks with propane and has plentiful, delicious, reasonably priced, food. I wasn't sure if I was glad after I asked for a place to wash my hands there before eating. The older lady took me back to the really rustic kitchen, turned on the water tap and... nothing. Guess the city water pressure was down. You're not supposed to drink the water so I wasn't sure about washing my hands in it, anyway, before eating. Plan B, she took a serving bowl and dipped it in a 50 gallon plastic drum of water and handed me a bar of soap. I got my hands washed but learned to do it in my hotel room before showing up for dinner in the future. My dinner was RD$170, which is about US$3.85.
- I scared myself this evening and then went straight to bed. It was the first time in my life I went to sleep while standing up. All I wanted to do was a little simple thing like add my Dominican telephone number to my hidden web page, but I kept falling asleep sitting up in bed, so decided to put the computer on a shelf and do it standing up. Of course, flying here, I had gotten little sleep for the previous 30 hours. I didn't realize that I had fallen asleep until I was jolted awake going down - straight down. It could have been worse. My knees buckled and I only went down about three inches before I recovered. Then headed for bed. Got to sleep about 9:45 after brushing my teeth etc.

Tue Jul 7 - Got up at 9:56 after 12 hours of sleep and 3.5 pees. I found the best setting for the AC is 27°C with the fan on low (really low). It took me the rest of the morning to eat breakfast in the room, figure out how to find the balances for my talk-time and for the 500mb of data. This involved process consisted of dialling #100#, menus, sub-minus and lots of visits to an online language translator since everything was in Spanish. To make things more difficult, to select a menu item, instead of simply pressing a number on the key pad, they force you to put the number in a text box and then press [send]. Bottom line: to get your talk balance (in DR$) it takes #100# 1 1 1. To get your data balance it takes #100# 3 2. By the time I got all this figured out it was past lunch time, so I took advantage of their communal kitchen and fixed a liverwurst sandwich, had some mixed vegetables from a can and some apple sauce.
- This morning the electricity went off and then back on in a second or two... just enough time for their standby Diesel generator to kick in. I saw it still running about an hour later. Not only does the hotel need backup generator, but also a water pump to increase the city water pressure to normal from its usually nonexistent.
- The middle of the afternoon I finally got to the beach for my first two KITEBOARDING sessions here. I stayed mostly up wind from the other kiters. On the way out, across the waves, I practiced hoping on the lips of them. On the way back in I practiced catching waves. Never really got one, really, but had fun trying and got some not-too-stressful ocean experience. GPS info for the two sessions, respectively: Time out 43:04/45:00; miles travelled 4.05/6.2; maximum speed 15.3/19.2 mph. Farthest out was .42 miles.
- I ate supper, again at the little restaurant across the street from the hotel: pork and pasta. There I met Ralph and Tammy from FL. Tomorrow, Ralph said, they are heading west to Bueno Hombre a little fishing town with flat water and 5-10 mph better winds than here at Cabarete. On the Internet back in my hotel room, I found no such on the coast but did find Buen Hombre almost a mile south of Villa Vasquez that is on the coast by Playa Buen Hombre. On that beach you'll find the Buen Hombre Hotel and Buen Hombre Kite School. It will be interesting to see what Ralph and Tammy have to say when they return in about two days.

Wed Jul 8 = I never got around to kiteboarding, in spite of good winds, because today turned out to be a comedy day... not doing comedy but making contacts. At the Casa Memi restaurant here on Kite Beach I met the perfect person to hook up with, Danny, who was in the process of loosing a chess game with the owner of the restaurant. Danny said that Stand-up comedy has never been done in Cabarete and is going to connect me with some opportunities so I can be THE FIRST!
- Later in the day I took a
a small displacement motorcycle driven by local guys in the Dominican Republic
into town to see Danny and to meet some of his contacts. On Cabarete Beach at the Mojito bar I met Sonya and Frank, her non-English-speaking husband. I had this delectable pineapple salad for supper there, then walked the most commercialized beach ever.

Thu Jul 9 = Two-session KITEBOARDING day, and neither one very good. The first session was with my 15.7m Epic Renegade Infinity and AXIS Vanguard 132 x 41cm twin-tip board. The main bladder had a catastrophic valve-flange failure due to a manufacturer's defect. The leading edge deflated but I was able to make it to shore, but downwind. Later in the Day I had Eduardo at Dare2Fly repair the kite for RD$500.
- The second session with my 12m Epic Screamer and Naish Custom Fish 5'2" x 17.5" surfboard with no footstraps put me downwind also. I had launched by KiteXcite where the beach is relatively wide. I should have taken the time to tack back upwind to where I put in, but it was getting toward sunset and the beach walk wasn't too long. BIG MISTAKE! I came in at the first of a submerged natural rock wall and scraped my left elbow and left hip. At least I found that my blood is still red!

Fri Jul 10 = Comedy arrangements day: After inflating it and checking the repair, I picked up my repaired 15.7m Epic Renegade Infinity kite from Dare 2 Fly, revised my appearances slips, with the help of Lucy printed them out, went to Janet's in town (the BIG grocery store) where I started passing out some of the appearances slips.

Sat Jul 11 = Finance this morning included paying my two credit car bills and downloading my DSFCU Checking account statement.
- For kiting, I measured the wind at the Aqualina Hotel Beach 2mph higher than at the corner of the deck at Kite Beach Inn. I rode from the Kite Beach HOTEL with my 12m Epic Screamer on my AXIS Vanguard 132 x 41cm twin-tip board. I was a little overpowered so rode UPWIND about .2 mile to the point because it was closer to my room in Kite Beach INN where I picked up my 8m Best Nemesis. I had fun with it popping off the waves all the way downwind to Kite Beach Hotel where I found my 12m bag, shorts etc were locked up in their office. I appreciate them taking such good care of the stuff I left with them. Fortunately I brought a spare pair of cargo shorts.

Sun Jul 12 = This morning I took my 12m Epic Screamer to Dare 2 Fly because the right hand short strut came back completely deflated yesterday. This morning it held air. The heat probably stopped the leak with the delaminating valve flange. How disgusting, Epic Kites!
- I spent most of the rest of the day preparing myself and my routine, with local bits, for tonight at Voy Voy's open mic and publicizing the comedy. The comedy, itself, didn't go over too great. I was too close to my notes and forgot to just have fun. I did learn something. More about that later. I set out a cup for donations to the Dream Project, a program that helps poor kids with preschools, youth programs, workforce training, libraries, summer schools & camps etc. I matched the donations so ended up with a total of RD$510. No biggie, but it DID increase awareness of the worthwhile Dream Project.

Mon Jul 13 = Kite and comedy today. I worked out a different routine for comedy at tonight's 9:00 Karaoke show at Voy Voy.
- Late afternoon I went out from the point with my 8m Best Nemesis and AXIS Vanguard 132 x 41cm twin-tip board, staying upwind and having fun popping off waves, even in the rain, which eventually killed the wind, so I road downwind, making it down to GoKites where I loaned my kite and board to Mike, an instructor who needed to check on a student of his and then rolled up my stuff and walked back to Kite Beach Inn, in time to eat across the street before heading down town to Voy Voy for the show.
- Before I went on, Danny asked me to do my funniest stuff without anything local, even if it meant repeating last night because he said this was a different, younger crowd. So I did... almost. After the show I realized I follow themes instead of doing a series of mostly unrelated jokes. I did my funniest themes: being old and forgetting stuff. Next time I'll probably just pick my funniest jokes, although the set will not follow logical themes.

Tue Jul 14 - I interviewed instructors at four kite shops on Kite Beach to find who was the best fit for giving me a jump lesson, considering that my jumps have deteriorated over the past few years. Nicholas from GoKite got the nod. We were going to go out to the Boca River for flat water and then do an 8-mile downwinder on the sea to GoKite. That didn't work out because of clouds that heralded possible rain and wind shut-down - not good when you're miles from anywhere. The lesson was a good one. We would have gone a little longer if my chafed bar line tube had not gotten a kink in and kept me from sheeting the kite in.
- I went into town to a hardware store (did not have the right size of tubing) then to Janet's Grocery Store for some cheese etc. I lazied out (didn't ride) after getting the tubing fixed (sort of) because it was within an hour of sunset and I had things waiting to be done, like this blog, adding the local shops to my Shops & Links web page and working on resolving my checking account.

Wed Jul 15 = I got Cabarete finished and uploaded to my Shops & Links web page. It was a big job, but now is a resource for me and anyone else who wants to come to Cabarete kiteboarding in the future. The wind has not been disappointing.
- Today's
a small displacement motorcycle driven by local guys in the Dominican Republic
trip was to the Dream Project office (upstairs) to make a donation, Orange phone office (downstairs) to activate the data plan for my cell phone and to Fredies Hardward (around the corner) for plastic tubing (for my RRD kite bar) which turned out to be a little too large to allow the bar to function properly.
- I had two KITEBOARDING sessions today, both with my 8m Best Nemesis and both from the point. A gal at Kite Club talked me out of using my 12m, which I had already inflated. The 8m was a good call. The first session (around 3:30pm for 1:06 hours and 9.19 miles) I practiced what I learned from Nicholas yesterday, jumping with my AXIS Vanguard 132 x 41cm twin-tip board. I got a few good jumps... some of the lip of waves.
- The second session (about 5:30pm for :38 minutes and 3.77 miles) was with my Naish Custom Fish 5'2" x 17.5" surfboard with no footstraps. I intentionally went downwind to avoid the reef. I stayed upwind when I reached KiteXcite, riding over some waves etc. It seemed I blew more port-side jibes (on the outside) than starboard jibes.
- This evening I took a shower and had dinner with Oliver, who just arrived from Sweden for some DR adventures, including kiteboarding.

Thu Jul 16 = At 3:30 this afternoon I met Max at Kite Club for my first trip to La Boca, a river mouth which is flat water similar to the lagoons of Brazil. It was a long, rough
a small displacement motorcycle driven by local guys in the Dominican Republic
ride out there, costing three times the local Cabarete fare of RD$50. It wasn't easy for me to hang on against the wind with my board crosswise between the driver and me. My driver took my sandals, cargo shorts, kite bag and kite pump back to Kite Club. The kiteboarding was neat. With my 8m and twin-tip I mostly practiced jumps on the river. After about 40 minutes of river riding we crossed over a little isthmus and headed out on the Caribbean. My kite never touched the water... until the sea... then only once, when it decided to invert. I got separated from my board one time but body dragging back to it was no problem. The wind started to die at about our half way point so Max and I quit playing in the waves, surf and shore break and I headed pretty much straight downwind. We made it OK and then the wind came back (of course). During the whole ride, which took 1:40, I went 13.6 miles. The whole excursion took about 2.5 hours. The ocean dowiwinder portion was 8 miles.

Fri Jul 17 = Another black eye for Dimitri's Epic Kites. Kiting today was with my AXIS Vanguard 132 x 41cm twin-tip board and 12m Epic Screamer, which smallest right-hand strut had a catastrophic leak. Its valve flange delaminated. Probably the seventh one on this kite. I wish I had kept a record of the Epic problems I have had.
- I think my Garmin Foretrex 401 is waterlogged, as it wouldn't even turn on this morning.
- I attempted to resolve my checking account this evening.

    Sat Jul 18 = This morning I removed the leaking kite bladder and paid Popo RD$200 for gluing the valve back in place. Kiting today included my second trip to La Boca River - this time, solo, and with my AXIS Vanguard 132 x 41cm twin-tip board and he newly fixed 12m Epic Screamer
    - I had the
    a small displacement motorcycle driven by local guys in the Dominican Republic
    return to Kite Beach Inn with my:
  1. Kite bag, which contained:
  2. Sandals
  3. White T-Shirt
  4. Cargo shorts
  5. Four-color Bic Pen
  6. Kite pump
Flat water of La Boca River
River Jump; JanWachtmeesterPhotography
- The most significant thing that happened on the downwinder to Kite Beach was that I got really separated from my board, which I finally retrieved, washed up on shore downwind from where I lost it.

Sun Jul 19 = I'm glad all my KITEBOARDING rides are not like today's two-hour session. I was, again, using my 12m Epic Screamer but this time with my Naish Custom Fish 5'2" x 17.5" surfboard with no footstraps. I made quite a few jibes and was slowly working my way back upwind toward the point when I crashed my kite and the lines slackened in front of a breaking wave about .4 miles from shore. That wave tied my kite into a knot with half of the kite inside out and the other half right side out. The kite was unlaunchable and, of course, unflyable. Two local boys, probably in their late teens, came out to help. Danny took my kite to shore and the other rode me in, hanging onto his back. What a feat! My board was still way out there... somewhere. I agreed to pay Danny US$20 to look for my board and US$50 if he found it. In about ten minutes he came riding in with my board under his arm. My kite ended up OK except for two small tears. Thanks, guys!
- Danny borrowed a motorcycle and took me to his house where his mom repairs kites, and will have my kite repaired by 10 am tomorrow - important because it is my day to pack-up for the trip to Las Terrenas.
- I ate supper across the street from my hotel at Comedor Mini Miguel's restaurant and headed into town to Voy Voy for a Caesar salad (they take cash only) and to appear for their open mic. The large table of six, right in front of me, talked LOUD Spanish my entire set. Most of them spoke little or no English. Tonight, after my bomb, I figured out how to deal with the situation... next time. Guess that's experience!

Mon Jul 20 = I picked up my repaired kite and got my packing ducks in a row enough to ride with it and my AXIS Vanguard 132 x 41cm twin-tip board for about a half hour at 4pm. Of course the kite and lines never got wet so everything packed up nicely for tomorrow's departure.
- 9:00 this evening Danny (not the kiter) gave me about six minutes to do comedy before he started his legendary Karaoke show at Voy Voy. It went fairly well.
- As of tonight, and as a result of bombing here in the Dominican Republic, I have quit doing comedy. I will be switching to the circus approach. I now will be telling people that I am going to attempt stand-up comedy.

Tue Jul 21 = I checked out of the hotel this morning and left Deisy, my regular cleaning lady, a lump-sum tip for my two weeks, suggesting she use it for her future like investing or education. I figure daily small tips typically slip through one's fingers.
- Plan B kicked in this morning when Rob Baker came by to pick me up for the drive to Las Terrenas. I guess it did not register when I had told him that I had two 5-foot equipment bags. He took one glance and said, There's no way in our little rental car. Plan B was to take a taxi. Tony, the driver who picked me up at the airport was available and we arrived in Las Terrenas at the Casa Nina B&B in early afternoon.
- I dumped my stuff in Room 12, was bitten by four microscopic misquotes about as soon as I entered the non-AC room, took a
a small displacement motorcycle driven by local guys in the Dominican Republic
out to Playa Portillo, a local kiteboarding location where I got acquainted with Yannick Dennis of LT Kite (1 809 801 5671). Then hitched an old pickup truck taxi back to town to buy a few things at the local, big, Supermercado Lindo Supermarket, which is located in the Plaza Rosada.
- Back to Room 12 at the Casa Nina B&B, I can take the heat with the ceiling fan, but not the misquotes. Céline let me move to Room 1 which for US$15 more per night, includes AC, a refrigerator and a TV... with CNN news IN ENGLISH! Dinner was with Dave and Lesley from New York, also staying at the hotel, at the fancy little restaurant in front of our hotel. I have yet to see a restaurant here in the Dominican Republic that has four walls - most only 1.5 walls.

Wed Jul 22 = About 11am Danny of LT Kites (a few doors up from my Casa Nina B&B hotel) took some of my kite equipment out to Playa Portillo for me in his little motor cycle pulled trailer. I got out there by
a small displacement motorcycle driven by local guys in the Dominican Republic
about 2:30pm.
- For KITEBOARDING, I rode my 12 and Axis twin-tip for a total of about 1.3 hours in two sessions, working mostly on pops and jumps - some of them were decent. Still need to get the timing. The only thing I forgot to take out to the point was my riding sun glasses, so I went without UV protection in the sun for about two hours. I hope that didn't make my beginning cataracts worse.
- I was involved in a kite crash... not of my doing. My kite jerked and I thought I had broken a kite line, but a relatively new kiteboarder, riding too close behind me in my blind spot, tried a transition, lost control and crashed his kite just in front of me with his lines crossing mine. My kite went down to the water after I depowered it and pulled me downwind enough that his kite was on top of me. I unhooked to let my kite float, depowered, on its safety line and managed to get his kite off me and to get clear of his lines. When I had set up my kite, it was one of the few times I had, fortunately, set up my safety system for a symmetrical emergency release, so, after untangling, when I pulled my bar back to me my kite and lines were still OK, so continued riding. Later I talked to the young man to find out what really had happened. He was, of course apologetic.
- It turns out that Danny wants US$5 per day for taking my equipment to and from Playa Punta Popy. That's a little steep for my budget, so I am going to consider going with my equipment by motoconcho. Motoconchos are guys on small motorcycles that whisk people wherever they want to go... at a reasonable price if you're willing to haggle a little.
    Back at my hotel now with my computer. An efficient set-up of the Firefox web browser is important, and goodness knows I need all the efficiency I can get. Here in DR, from left-to-right, my default tabs are:
  • Arizona Lou, local, Latest Blog
  • Arizona Lou, Internet, Shops/Dominican Republic
  • Gmail In-Box
  • Google Calendar, month view
  • Google Contacts
  • FaceBook
  • Google Translate Spanish-to-English
  • XE Currency Converter: 1.00 USD = 45.0249 DOP
  • SuddenLink for news headlines
- This evening I did some financial calculations and took a motoconcho to get some pesos and groceries.

Thu Jul 23 = I hung around the hotel this morning and got this blog updated for the past seven days.
- This afternoon I made the 10-minute walk out to the nearby Punta Popi kiteboarding spot, across the road and then east on the beach. Out on the point there seemed to be enough wind for my 12 so I went back to the hotel and got it. I KITEBOARDED for about 44 minutes, barely able to get upwind with a lot of kite pumping. Out there I saw a couple kiteboarders that I had met at Cabarete, including Nicholas from whom I took my jump lesson. I also met kite instructor, Felix. We may ride tomorrow at 4pm after his lesson. Some of the young bucks affectionately call me Paspa.
- Those of you who know me know that my whole life is an experiment. My current experiment was turning off the room's AC this afternoon to see what living in the tropics without it and if I can keep the mosquitoes at bay with just using the ceiling an... and not even that when this evening there was another electric power outage. The previous outage was yesterday morning for two hours. That time I was using the AC.

Fri Jul 24 = This morning at the hotel's breakfast I visited with 11-year-old Jan (John), from Methuen, Massachusetts, who wants to be an architect. He and his younger brother seemed to be interested in my website and some investment ideas. Starting now with a saving attitude Jan has the potential to become very wealthy. After breakfast I resolved my checking account to within $2.
- KITEBOARDING started about 2 this afternoon I headed out, walking along the beach, to Punta Popi with my 8, 12 and Axis twin tip board. I kited for about 40 minutes; working on some jumps on the upwind side of the point.
- A little after 4, with my 8, 12 Axis board and Felix Soto, one of the Kite Life instructors, I headed up to Prtillo on a quad (the quad driver returned my extra stuff to Punta Popi) and did a downwinder of about five miles back down to Punta Popi with Felix, where we continued riding for about another 15 minutes.
- I met one of the neatest guys around: Alex Soto, Felix' older brother. I heard about him through Lesley at my hotel. Alex has kited professionally in competitions all around the world and just this year started the Kite Life Kite School here in Las Terrenas. He said he heard about me from other kiteboarders on his travels and through my website. It seems that we were mutually star struck. He packs all his kite school equipment into a mini cab-over truck and, just today, got his mobile compressed air system for inflating kites operational, using the truck's unneeded AC compressor.
- On the way back to the hotel I did an about 4-minute beach run, since Alex was bringing my kite stuff to the hotel in his minitruck. Thanks, Alex!

Sat Jul 25 = Today I found a gym: no AC (a little sweat in the gym never hurts) and three walls; reasonably priced at RD$100 for one day or one visit. It has pretty complete machines and free weights, in amazingly good condition considering it is open air and in the tropics. The gym's address is:
El Gimansio Forma y Ntricion's
55 calle Juan Pablo Duarte
Atigua Rancheta de Marianita
Las Terreras, Samana
Dominican Republic.
Fredrico took this short video of my famous inverted shrugs. A couple of the young bucks tried the shrugs. They were successful... sort of. I did a tough medium-weight full-body workout followed by a mostly heavy-weight full body workout. They let me work out without a shirt, which is why the workout was tough... holding my stomach in the entire time.
Inverted shrugs: 130 lb without compressing my back
Bet you can't do this!         Both videos 18 seconds
    Things to take to this gym are:
  • soap
  • wash cloth
  • hair gel
  • deodorant
  • comb (already in my green day bag)
  • workout shorts
  • towel
  • padlock if you do not want to use their little key padlocks

- On the same trip I stopped by the One Love Surf Shack at Pueblo de los Pescadors to see about trying COMEDY there and found that I need to see Terry, the manager after 4pm today. I also stopped by a hardware store and had two extra keys made for my motel room to help out, stopped by a little grocery store for three cans of mixed vegetables and some cashews, and also got five bananas for RD$5 each at a little market.
- It was getting so late that I almost didn't KITEBOARD, but ended up going out the the nearby point at 5pm and kiting for about 34 minutes, working on jumps on the upwind side of the point where there is no coral reef.
- This evening I hung around First Love Surf Shack and talked to Terry, who said he would be interested in stand-up comedy during the high season, before Christmas into April.
- Casa Nina provides free Internet... in the one-walled breakfast/lounging palapa area but, since I am in Room 1, I found that I can get good signal if I put a kite bag on the little desk which is by the window and set my computer on top of the kite bag. That means working standing up, but that beats fighting the mosquitoes.
- Winds are forecast to be good tomorrow, so I'd better get to bed.

Sun Jul 26 = Here at the hotel, at my request, Céline put the router up on the counter in the office so that I can use the Internet in my room. Theoretically we don't have Internet and our rooms, just in the common area under the palapa. Since my room is close to the palapa, it allows me to maintain my website in my room in the evenings without providing a feast for the mosquitoes. The people are very accommodating here. I paid Céline 50 pesos for a 5-gallon container of drinking water. Thanks Céline!
- I did stand up Paddleboarding for about an hour starting at 1015 AM. I paddled east to Punta Popi where they do the kiteboarding. I visited with the Kiteboarders and then headed back west to the hotel. The wind had picked up to the point that paddling back was very quick. Didn't fall in once!
- By the time I got back to the point with my kite equipment, the clouds increased, it started to rain a little bit and the wind died. We stayed around, a little chilly, and watched our kites getting wet as the rain increased.. I helped the Kite Life instructors roll up some of their kites, keeping them clean and up off the sand. So I could do a beach run back to the hotel, Alex brought my kites, still in their wet bags, to the hotel in his little mini truck. Thanks Alex!
- This evening Google chrome was not opening so I reloaded and reinstalled it

Mon Jul 27, 2015 = I knew it wasn't a good sign when I noticed my right index finger tip was ripped off below the fingernail and dangling by some skin. (Pictures below).
- Starting about 9:00 this morning, I had started doing stand-up Paddleboarding. Should have been doing something safe like kiteboarding except there is no wind in the mornings.
- I went east of Punta Popi, and laid on the board on the beach in the sun for a while, watching a guy walking down the beach in his Speedos, and then decided to see if I could catch one of the little waves. At one point I was standing in the surf and saw that a wave was going to come in and wash the board up onto the shore. Not wanting to chase the board, I grabbed a little rope on the back of the board and held on tight to keep the board with me. I was successful but just about lost the tips of my index finger and ring finger in the process.
- My ring finger was completely severed below the fingernail except for a little bit of skin by which it was hanging on. This was definitely GOOD NEWS, because I knew were my finger was. If other people had been around, think how embarrassing it would have been explaining to everybody what I doing in the surf. "Has anybody around here seen a finger?" More GOOD NEWS: I didn't even break a fingernail!
- I put my index finger tip back on the stub hoping that the little blood circulation it might get would keep it alive. Keeping my right hand elevated, I carried the board and paddle up the narrow beach and across the road to a big white house, whistling my loudest and yelling "EMERGENCY! EMERGENCIA!" to attract somebody's attention. The only person near was a uniformed security guard about 40 feet behind a fancy gate by which I deposited my board. The guard didn't seem very interested in getting out of his chair until I put my index finger back into the dangle mode. Then he moseyed over and agreed to put my board and paddle inside the gate where they would be safe.
- Perching my finger back on top of its stub, I ran back to the road, right hand still in the air, to flag someone down, wearing only: a wet black hat, wet silver sunglasses, wet red blood and my wet little black Speedos. The first vehicle passed me up, which was a GOOD NEWS, because the second vehicle was JOHN PAUL, living in the Dominican Republic from Germany. He was awesome. He knew exactly where I needed to go and how to get there. I returned the favor by not bleeding all over his SUV. I was surprised that there was not more blood. It only ran about halfway down my arm. Since it was on the way, we stopped by the Casa Nina hotel where I put on sandals, shorts over my wet swim trunks, grabbed my cell phone, a copy of my passport (thanks for reminding me John Paul) and the dingy white T shirt with dark sunscreen stains on the seams and collar, that was handily hanging on the back of a chair. My mother would not have been proud.
- John Paul deftly took us through the narrow streets, cluttered with motochonchos and old trucks that didn't seem to know that we were in a hurry. We arrived at the Clinica Especializada Internacional Las Terrenas emergency room about 45 minutes after the accident.
- In the emergency room the first thing they did was to start an IV. They do this, you know, so you can't escape. Then they wrapped gauze around the 3 injured fingers and wrap them all together with an ace bandage. Alex and Céline came for a while to see how I was doing. Next was up to my room (206) and then down for x-rays. They found fractures in my index and ring fingers. The first fractures in all my 73 years.
- Then I spent about an hour with Meilyn the very gracious and helpful insurance lady - and the only English speaking person on staff except for the doctors. Her helpfulness was no match for PacifiCare, Medicare, and Citibank, the credit card through which I purchased the trip. After I signed financial responsibility, I was told to go back upstairs to my room. Those of you who know me, know that I like exercise and stairs but not elevators. I wheeled my IV pole to the bottom of a staircase and looked around to see if anybody was watching. They weren't, but if they had been I would have smiled and done the same thing anyway. I took the IV pole in my left hand, like a scepter, and headed up the stairs -conservatively, only taking one step at a time.
- I waited about an hour for Dr Luis Aguilar Dominguez, the surgeon, to arrive and finish his launch. They took me down to the operating room and while they were prepping me for the emergency surgery, I thought of all the things I could have done in the four hours since the injury. Since the bleeding and pretty well stopped, back at the hotel I could have grabbed a spare cell phone battery and charger, anticipating the need to make telephone calls and read books. I could have packed a toothbrush and deodorant. I could have put on a CLEAN T-shirt. I could have taken a picture of my finger. I could have even put on some DRY underwear, although it might have been embarrassing asking for the needed assistance in the process of getting it pulled up... and things tucked in just right.
- Laying on the operating table, the last thing I remember is admiring the big high-tech LED surgical light being turned on and aimed at my right hand which was outstretched on a padded table extension. The next thing I remember was being back in room 206, groggy from the general aesthetic. It was sort of like, " Beam me up Scotty," And there I was.
- The rest was a pretty normal hospital stay. I WAS somewhat concerned about DVT since I had a pulmonary embolism (blood clot) after my PVP surgery about three years ago, so while in bed, I periodically moved my toes in big circles and shook my legs to keep the blood circulating. It also helped that I had to get up and pee... about 50 times. The hospitals staff was good. It was was like having brown, Spanish-speaking Ewoks coming to your assistance. You're not sure what they're doing but you knew it the right thing.
- I occupied my time by reading some books about comedy from my cell phone, and telephoning back to the U.S. about insurance and to let family know what was going on. Toward the evening Felix and Céline brought some necessary items up from my hotel room, like a cell phone battery and charger, toothbrush and toiletries.

Tue Jul 28 = Late this afternoon, I did not know how to tell the nurse to wait because I was expecting to be discharged from the hospital, so I watched her spend about 20 minutes removing the non-functional IV from my left arm and installing another one in my left hand. Then, 15 minutes later, I watched her spend 10 minutes removing the IV from my hand just before I was discharged. On the way home, by
a small displacement motorcycle driven by local guys in the Dominican Republic
of course, I stopped by Supermercado Lieno for a few needed grocery items. I felt silly with my bandaged hand on the back of a motocohcho (see below)... until I saw my surgeon on the back of another one.

- This evening I searched the Internet four speech recognition software, and found that my windows 8.1 computer includes one by Microsoft. I spent the rest of the evening setting it up and learning to use it, since I can't type well using only my good left hand and my thumb and pinky finger functional on my right hand.
- Take a deep breath. Here are some pictures from my accident. It all started when I grabbed the line at the back of the board to keep a little wave from catching the board. The wave turned the board sideways, twisting the line round my fingers, and then hit the board with its full force:
The board and the line
Day 0 (the day of the accident) x-ray, Jul 27, 2015
Day 0 after emergency surgery, Jul 27, 2015
Wrapped hand
Day 0 after emergency surgery, Jul 27, 2015
Wrapped hand
Day 4, Jul 31, 2015
Day 4, Jul 31, 2015
Day 4 x-rays, Jul 31, 2015
Day 4, wrapped, Jul 31, 2015
Day 7 (infected ring finger), Aug 3, 2015
Day 7 (blood thinners started), Aug 3, 2015
Month 2, Sep 29, 2015
Month 2, Sep 29, 2015
Month 5, Dec 28, 2015

Wed Jul 29 = This afternoon I jogged up to Punta Popi, got some sun, visited with the Kite Life guys and took these videos of some of their awesome jumps with my cell phone.
Alex Soto, the pro; photo by Louis Self
Alex then Popo jumping into the stratosphere; Video by Louis Self w phone
You're a pro when you can act like crashes don't happen; by Louis Self
The dreaded out-of-phase video of sand. shamefully taken by Louis Self
    This evening Alex Soto came over and we talked about his business. When I was about his age and older man helped me, and I try to pass it on. Our topics included:
  1. Entreleadershipd by Dave Ramsey
  2. business classes at a junior college
  3. hats
  4. Clark Howard
  5. byline
  6. big pie theory
  7. the Kite Life flier

Thu Jul 30 = Today's big projects were organizing the videos that I took yesterday, finishing the story about my hand and uploading it to this blog.

Fri Jul 31 = This morning's motoconcho trip included going to the gym to get my shrugs video from Fede and to the hospital where the doctor unbandaged my hand, x-rayed it and said it was doing fine. It looked pretty much as I had expected, only more bruised. I finished the trip by going to Supermercado Lindo for bananas, cereal and meat. I got back to the hotel in time to chill out a little and then lay in the noonday tropical sun for 20 minutes.
- This afternoon I took a couple naps, figuring my hand needed it, selected the pictures of my hand to use from this morning, processed five videos and uploaded them to YouTube, and went across the road to the beach where I visited with Arnold Dublet (partner in Kite Life) and his friend who were interested in hearing my hand story.
- This evening I fought off a few mosquitoes in the room and figured out two new ways to transfer videos from my cell phone to my computer. In the past I would take the micro SD card out and plug it into my computer. The new ways are 1) through the USB cable and 2) through Gmail.

Previous <-- Archived Blogs --> Next                   Latest Update

(back to TOP of page)