Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sietemares

Sietemares is an ecoposada & spa beach resort on the Venezuelan coast about 2 hours drive from Caracas. It's a wonderful weekend getaway with all-inclusive meals & drinks, an infinity pool, massages overlooking the ocean, and 7 beautiful private coves with interesting rock formations all along the coast.

The bar and dining were outside and covered. There were plenty of shade or sun spots. You could sit or lay out by the pool or the ocean. It's easy to relax how you want to there. The ocean was a little rough for swimming and the protected area by the resort was small. However, the beauty of it all made it more interesting for us compared to a nice pristine beach suitable for swimming.



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Los Roques

A 3 day weekend in the Los Roques archipelago!

It's approximately 350 islands, cays, and islets in a total area of 40.61 square kilometers. The archipelago is located 128 kilometers (80 miles) north of the port of La Guaira. It's awesome to see and relaxing to be. There's very few people overall because you have to fly out to Gran Roque in a small plane and take a small boat to any of the other little islands. It's not made for having a ton of tourists so it's a special place to visit in Venezuela. It's also a bit isolated from everything going on in Venezuela.

I highly recommend La Gotera with their beautiful seaside porch for dining and hanging out. It looked like they had one of the best setups of any of the other posadas there. The gourmet food was outstanding and everything was wonderfully done. They really took care of us.

I took lots of pictures so I think I'll just let some of them speak for themselves. Click on the pictures for larger versions or scroll through to at least take a quick look at this beautiful place.


Monday, October 30, 2017

3rd Tour is... Riga!

Next stop is Riga, Latvia!



I've been to Riga for a weekend but that barely scratched the surface for experiencing a place. I wasn't bidding completely blind since it already left a good first impression as a nice place to be. The earliest we can leave Caracas is August which should put us in Riga around September 2018.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Mid-Level Bidding Continued

I'm heading into the home stretch for Monday when handshakes can be offered. I have a good feeling now for my next assignment in Sep 2018 but there were some bad feelings along the way. I'll end up somewhere on the planet so the game is about trying to get to somewhere I prefer. I definitely think it's a huge game and I haven't enjoyed it very much. Read Mid-Level Bidding Game for way too much information on what this is about.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Mid-Level Bidding Game

The first two tours in the Foreign Service are directed. My first tour was a competition of 23 people for 23 positions (just my class) and second tour was 42 people and positions (all first tour people moving that summer). We ranked the full list from 1 to n and provide a little narrative explaining why we needed or wanted the posts we picked. A Career Development Officer (CDO) reviewed it all together and considered personal constraints like family and medical needs. The CDO put people in positions in one big step. It seemed like a fair system for balancing service needs with individual needs and desires. I miss that system.


This blog post is about the completely different game of mid-level bidding. It's not unlike Sheldon's Friendship Algorithm. However, imagine a huge diagram that has a bunch of people engaging in this diagram with a bunch of posts in order to narrow down about 50 options into 5 to 10 bids for each person.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Caracas - Year 1 Review

It's been just about a year so it's probably time to take a look back from this halfway point. I knew there wouldn't be as much leisure travel from here like I did from Stockholm. We took short trips to Aruba and Curacao since they're so close and affordable flights were available. We only managed 2 trips inside Venezuela. There was the nearby Colonia Tovar for a night and the nice beaches in Morrocoy for a long weekend.

Our first R&R was back to Stockholm. Cost-construct actually covered the flights so that was a nice affordable vacation. R&R is a good little perk for serving at a hardship post. The usefulness of it increases in places with lower flight availability. A lot of the flights out of here are expensive so going to the U.S. or Europe was equally expensive when we did it.

Here's a very small map of this year's new travels:

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Curaçao

I forgot to post pictures of Curaçao with everything going on lately in Caracas. We still managed to do a lot in about 2 days even though the trip was aborted early. It was just a 30 minute flight to get there but because of the timing we had to take 2 flights and spend the night in Bogota to get back!

The beaches appear to be smaller than the wonderful wide beaches we had in Aruba. We stayed a weekend in the area of Eagle Beach to Divi Beach on Aruba and didn't leave much other than downtown but it was very nice. In comparison, Curaçao seemed more interesting for other things if you're not after the most perfect beaches. It has more character than the area of Aruba we stayed. Aruba felt more American commercialized and we were fine for a weekend relaxing without a car. Curaçao felt more like the Dutch Caribbean and you definitely need to rent a car to get around and see some stuff. They're both cool destinations for slightly different reasons. Here's some pictures to compare to my post about Aruba.