Category Archives: history

13th Annual Valentine’s Day Cup

Image via brilliant
We missed attending this years 13th annual Valentine’s Day Cup in Middle Caicos but luckily Brilliant didn’t!  Anita and Chanelle captured all the fun and festivity with flying colors, please see their blog posts Part I and Part  II for a picture perfect recap.  To see more of North and Middle Caicos and the Cup festivities, check out last years post here.  To view the race results click here.

Valentine’s, hearts and all

 Images via desdemventana
I must admit, I have an aversion to heart shapes, and to red (that flower above bothers me and I am resisting cropping it out as I think the photo would be highly improved without it).  So as one may see from yesterday’s post I am trying to challenge my inner heart scrooge.  I do find it interesting that the symbol, generally though of as the human center of emotional, moral, and spiritual being, comes to us from ancient times with varying opinion on what it references.  Some believe the human heart (although it only resembles it when from this angle), others the medicinal seed of the now extinct silphium plant, and yet others a direct reference to certain female anatomy.  The last theory “intertwined with the true-to-life idea that the heart emerged as a symbol for love in the now lava-covered city of Pompeii. It holds for true that brothels conveyed their business via heart-shaped symbols depicting female breasts and sexual organ. This symbol reached high popularity as a motif for tattoos during late antiquity and spread quickly with the heavy seafaring of the time. Since few wanted to declare the true meaning of the tattoo it was usually explained as a symbol of love.”
Quote via wikipedia.
One place I could certainly handle seeing the shape repeatedly would be at the Prieure Notre Dame d’ Orsan, an early 12th century monastery in Central France.  Wander on over to the website where you may take a virtual gaze at the gardens, enjoy a leisurely lunch of fresh ingredients from the orchards, organic gardens, and neighboring wine and cheese makers, followed by a restful sleep at the architectural beauty of a hotel, free of televisions and telephones.  Talk about a February 14th dream date!  What might you be doing for your dear?  I best get busy making banana pancakes for my love!

Fieldguide Friday – Wild Sea Island Cotton

I am ashamed to admit just how long it has been since I have featured a Field Guide Friday post.  That is all going to change now that I have a file folder full of local species identified (thank you Naqqi)!  First up, locally known as Wild Cotton or Sea Island Cotton, Gossypium hirsutum.  The photos above were taken in January of 2012 on the way to Southwest Bluff, an area where there were a great concentration, but if you are driving around Providenciales this time of year you are likely to see these fluffy white poofs by the side of the road in many areas.  Contrary to popular belief, it was not the British Loyalists who introduced this species to the Turks and Caicos.  It came long before, but by whom?  For a couple of hints, reference the wikipedia link above; “native to Central America” and “cultivated for over 5,000 years.”  A people who were weaving the cotton, not into clothing, but very cleverly into sleeping hammocks and mosquito netting. Have you figured it out?  Whether your certain or stumped, you must read this fascinating article to discover this and so much more: Back In Time Sea Island Cotton.
 Image above and images below via the brilliant botanist, B Naqqi Manco, who captured this thriving wild cotton in Lorimers, Middle Caicos in 2012.  Remarkable the white and pink colored blossoms stemming from the same plant!  This lovely looker seems to be spared entirely from the Cotton Seed Bug, Oxycarenus hyalinipennis.  Referencing this CAPS Survey Report; “In the
Western Hemisphere, it was first documented in the North Caicos Islands in 1991 (Slater
and Baranowski 1994); and by 2005, it had been observed throughout the Turks and
Caicos, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Hispaniola (Baranowski and Slater 2005).” 

The cotton industry in the Turks and Caicos was sadly quite short lived due to the invention of the Cotton Gin, the quality of the soil, and another unfortunate pest, the Boll Weevil.  I have often thought about creative uses for the cotton we still have growing on this island, someday I will hopefully have the opportunity to style with the fluffy stuff like this rustic-wedding-decor-creative-with-cotton!

2012 Turks & Caicos Conch Festival

The Turks and Caicos Conch Festival celebrated it’s 9th year in beautiful Blue Hills last Saturday. 

The crowds gather around the front stage for the conch blowing and conch knocking competitions.
 The highlight of the afternoon is always the ” ‘conch-etition’ which pits the island’s best chefs against each other in a hotly-contested tasting competition judged by a panel of experts as well as the Festival attendees. Categories include Best Conch Salad, Best Conch Chowder, Best Specialty Conch and Best in Show. ”

Micah, a friend from high school, came all the way from Austin, TX to spend Thanksgiving weekend in the Turks and Caicos and finally experience a relaxing holiday at Fleur de Lys.  She and Teresa  are pictured all smiles while enjoying the festival.

A local bartender entertains with his impressive balancing and dancing skills.

Just after sunset the We Funk Junkanoo Band took to the street party by storm.  This event lets Turks and Caicos traditions shine, be sure not to miss next 2013’s 10 year celebration, sure to be the biggest and best yet!


When we arrived in France we picked up our rental car and debated what to do from there.  Plenty of people had advised us to leave it at the airport versus trying to navigate Paris, well known for walking and public transportation.  The map looked like a straight shot from the airport to the hotel, how hard could it be?  Perhaps any other time of year, we should have taken the advice, but as the city was void of the typical mayhem traffic, finding our way to the B & B wasn’t terribly difficult.  We found a parking spot a few blocks away, and as our hotel greeter informed us that parking was FREE for the month of August, we lucked out with leaving the car parked in the same spot until we were ready to depart.  We had found a local telecommunications provider to set us up with a local SIM card and a one month plan for our I-PAD. BEST DECISION EVER!!!

Not only did we have google maps to guide us to Chateau Versailles, I purchased our tickets on the road there!  My online receipt had a barcode which was scanned in lieu of entrance tickets. 

 Versailles was a village, documented as early as 1038, but it’s link to royalty began when Louis XIII ordered the construction of a hunting lodge there in 1624.  By 1678 it was one of the largest palaces in the world, and for the Ancien Regime, the center of political activity.  They obviously adored all things lavish and highly decorative; ornate does not even begin to describe the place.

A welcomed distraction from all that excess, were the modern sculptures of Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos;

We were running for the door after a few hours of being shoulder to shoulder, tourists packed like sardines, in those countless rooms filled with those countless gilded, marble, crystal things.

Escaping to the gardens should have crossed our minds earlier as this,

 is how we felt at the end of the day!  Not only choking for air from too many people, but a little sick to our stomachs at the thought of all those riches, all those rooms, wasted for an arrogant few.