|CrystalblueoceanSailing and Diving Around the World|
sailing and diving around the world
Hey all. Those of you who've been following my site will remember Noellie from the post I did about her when I was in Curacao. She is the young pilot who is hoping to get into the Air Force. We keep in touch and she recently returned to Curacao from an amazing trip to northern Brazil. I think it's fantastic that her high school admin sets up these trips for the students. I would have loved to have done a trip like this when I was a student up in Canada. Anyway, this post is all about Noellie, and even though English isn't her first language, I left her email pretty much the way she wrote it. She gets a little embarrassed by some of the minor mistakes.
I went on a school trip to Manaus, Brazil. Manaus is the capital city of the state of Amazonas, in northern Brazil. It is located in the middle of the Amazon jungle, and you pretty much have to get there by boat or plane. It has always been fairly isolated, so the culture of the culture of the native Brazilian tribes. We traveled 1 ½ hours from Curacao to Panama, and then a connection flight from Panama to Manaus, for a total time of 5 ½ hours. It was a school trip for 1 week. Which we stayed on a boat for 4 nights in the Amazon Jungle, on the Rio Negro. And 2 nights in a hotel in town. The Jaguar Jungle Tour guided us during our tour, on the boat in the amazon and even in the city and shopping mall. They were our tour guiders and were very great and friendly, some of them especially the director of the tour used to work for the brazilian army. So our tour guide crew were prepared for everything. Some of them can speak English. We also had 2 translators with us during our tour. The food on board was fantastic! Fresh juices like parchita (passionfruit), and guyaba (guava). The meals tasted really good, and every day we had a buffet of fish, beef, chicken, fries, salad and fruits.
We did a lot of activities. We fished for piranhas and swam with them, and also with the pink river dolphins. Yes piranha are everywhere in the river. and yes i am crazy and they are dangerous, but they attack you only if you have any flesh wound (blood). I caught just one piranha. We fished them with bamboo and a fish string. It wasnt easy fishing them. We had chicken with blood on the fish hook, but they ate it but didnt get hooked easily. Well the locals don’t eat them, I guess. The Piranhas are very small i mean they are very thin/ skinny. The piranhas can grow big! last I’ve seen one at the Cigs it was about 30 cm, according to my estimate.
We had a short trip on the canoes. The canoes were not small. They were a bit wider than the ones we know as canoes. You can get 10 people in one of these canoes and it has an engine on it, so no paddling necessary hahahaa. I will look after to get a picture of one them. We visited a school in the Amazon, and it was a pleasure to spend time with the students. They told and showed us everything about the school. The guys of my school trip played soccer with guys of the amazon school. It was really great. And yeah the score was a tie hahahaha. 1-1 Something thats really bizarre about the school is that on the backyard, there is a small river, it seems like a big splash of water. And they told us that there are caymans (a type of alligator) and anaconda in the river. They have those dangerous animals so nearby and it is very risky and dangerous. When we went to the river, we didnt see any of these animals.
We visited an indigenous family and they put on a show. We all danced with them and we took a lot of pictures. We bought some of the souvenirs they sell at their house. At our last night on the boat, they had organized a party for us. It was on a beach. We had dinner there. Buffet. They made us caipirinha! It tasted so good. I’ve never tasted such good caipirinha before. Caipirinha is the national alcoholic beverage of Brazil. They also invited the indigenous family at the party. It was amazing with music we all danced, with the family. It was a great pleasure and lifetime.
We also did a half day survival courses in the amazon/ jungle. It was an incredible lifetime. It was really warm and its wasn’t that windy like on the boat because the high trees blocked the wind. So when walking in the jungle, you can’t speed up otherwise you may feel dizzy, or sick. We learned about the 5 most important elements for survival. Which were water, fire, food, shelter and ...... I do not remember the other word but it has to do with consciousness, awareness hahahahahaha. We had a fantastic lunch in the jungle, of grilled beef, steak, chicken, and chorizo. And yeah as always fresh fruits!
And then the next morning we headed back to town. We went to Presidente Figereido, it is another state in Manaus. It was another 2 ½ hours of driving from the coast to the other state where the waterfalls were. There are a lot of waterfalls in Manaus. But we went to 2 waterfalls. We could also swim there. They were really nice. The water is cold but amazing. At the second one we could jump off a wooden ledge into the water. Later on we went to the Opera house in town. It was really nice.
The other day we went town, city tour. We bought a lot of things, souvenirs, clothes and so on. We visited a fish, herb, and souvenirs market. After lunch we headed to a botanical garden and a zoo Cigs. We saw some amazing animals. Anacondas, leopards, panthers, the river fishes and kinds of monkeys.
Later on that last day in Manaus, we went to the shopping mall. It was really big. My friends and I bought a lot of things. We all bought a lot of things. We had dinner in the food corner and it was fantastic. Souvenirs were really cheap, like 5-10 Reales. Well it depends where you buy them. Arrows are very common there, and I bought one. It has feathers on it. It’s really nice. When we were done it was about 9:45 pm and the tour bus didn’t pick us up til 10:30 pm because it got a flat tire on the way over. So yeah we arrived late at the hotel and we had only 1 hour and 30 minutes to get ready for heading to the aiport for our 12 pm flight back to Curacao via Panama again. So yeah that last day was really fun and long. We all were very exhausted we arrived in Curacao at 12:15 am the next day.
I hope this is good hahahha my English is not very clear yet. I’m working on it. Speaking English with friends helps a lot. At my school many students speak English with each other. English is very cool. In schools in Curacao, our lessons are given in Dutch but we just speak English everywhere we go.
I was sitting at my usual table, at The Pirate's Nest, here in Caracas Bay, Curacao, laptop plugged in, and this lady walked by. I know all of the people that work here now, but I hadn't seen her before. I could immediately see that she was a different kind of person. There was a 'purpose' behind everything she did.
Eventually, while she was checking with all of the customers, to see if they had everything they needed, she made her way over to my table. She had a steady, confident gaze, and a matter-of-fact way of speaking. She called me 'sir,' as she inquired if all was well, so I introduced myself as plain old Jason, and she told me her name is Noellie. That's one of the things you need to prepare yourself for, especially if you're one of the many that forget peoples' names, because it seems that everyone in Curacao has a unique, not-so-common name. For example, just here, at The Pirate's Nest, there is Noellie (pronounced noeelee), Naomi, Verusca, Merusca, Brendon, Inika (eeneekah, the manager), Erwin (ehrrween), Maria, Tirzah (teerzah), and Shary (shahree). Steven, the General Manager's name, also happens to be my uncle's name, so it wasn't so hard to remember his name. Steven, by the way, knows a heck of a lot about music, and, thanks to him, my music library is a lot richer. Here's a very cool song for you, a song Steven told me about- Wild Goose Chase, by Steel Impulse.
So, back to this remarkable young woman.... After she told me her name, I repeated it, and got it right, the first time. But, by the time our short conversation was over, I had forgotten how to say her name, so, naturally, when I tried to say it I fumbled the ball. She kindly repeated it for me, and playfully said, "get it right!" I liked her instantly. She'll be 18 soon, but she is one of the most focused focused people I've ever met, of any age. She moves and speaks with confidence, and projects a polite, sincere demeanor. Her high level of intelligence was obvious.
I happened to be doing some research on the internet, and I asked her a computer-related question, and she asked me to email her the info so she could take a look at it later. We chatted for a bit and she asked me a few questions about where we have been, on the sailboat, and to which country were we planning on going to next. She seems interested in every subject, a girl after my own heart. Heck, when she asked me if I was from the French or English side of Canada, that alone impressed me.
As we chatted, I found out that she flies planes! She's been learning on a Cessna, Skyhawk, and she's about 5 hours away from her license. She went on to tell me that she is going to join the Air Force. I was delighted to be talking to such a driven, young person, so I asked her if I could write an article about her, as inspiration to others, especially, hopefully, to any other young people who might be following my blog. It's very rare, I know, but this woman seems to have no mental or emotional handicaps.
Noellie knew she wanted to be a pilot from the time she was 5 years old. Truly amazing. Amazing in the sense that she is actually following through. I don't think I was able to form a coherent thought when I was 5 years old. Noellie's parents, not surprisingly, had a profound influence on the development of her character, especially her mother. Her mother is also a very strong, determined woman, and Noellie cleary respects both of her parents. Noellie has one younger sister, and I'm sure the younger sister is lucky to have such an exceptional role model.
To make a long, and very interesting story, short, Noellie is very connected to family, and she believes in traditional family values. While growing up, she didn't watch much of the 'brain-freezing' fodder that the television has to offer. Instead, she watched a lot of 'Discovery Channel' documentaries, and loved to watch brain-twisters like CSI, and NSCIS, a show about military investigations. As far as reading material goes, besides the immense pile of school books that always beckoned, she pretty much stuck to Carrie Slee, a Dutch writer that writes true-to-life stories. Interesting. Although I was never as focused as Noellie, I also loved to read those kinds of stories, especially the true-to-life stories that 'Readers Digest' printed in each edition. Reading stories about the obstacles that other people overcome, I think, builds character in young people, by illustrating how strong the human will is, and how far people can push themselves to accomplish any given goal. Students, here in Curacao, so it seems, are kept pretty busy with lots of homework. It wasn't rare for Noellie to be doing 2 or 3 hours of studies at home, after a full day at school, each night. For me, it would be especially tough to do that, living on an island, that has white sand beaches in every direction.
Young people need examples to follow. They have many role models today, bombarding them with different 'brands of influence.' Some of them are real people, but lots of them are fictional characters. Just how wholesome some of these 'role models' are is up for debate, I suppose. However, Noellie's role models were real, accomplished people of action, all with a positive message. What intrigues me most, about people like Noellie, are the influences that made them the way they are, and one of the common denominators seems to be that their parents treated them with respect, and that, in turn, teaches the young person to respect themselves.
I asked Noellie what she would say to other young people, as advice regarding the setting and accomplishing of goals. She was brief in her answer, and it was uncomplicated. "Follow up on the things that interest you and, no matter what happens, just keep going. Find out what you can realistically do, and afford, and see it through to the end, once you've committed. One of the many pitfalls today, is that there are so many tempting choices. Keep the list of goals small, and realistic. Just do it."
Compliments to Noellie :)