The Undercover Gardener

To lighten the heavy load that so many dear people are carrying in Puerto Rico and the USA, I share this video shot at the beginning of the wonderful summer of 2017.

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Home-made dolmadaki

I was a fan of dolma for many years, but stopped eating them because I found them so acidic they sometimes provoked reflux. That’s because I had only eaten the canned or pre-packaged versions from stores and restaurants. “Known since antiquity, dolmadaki or dolma are grape leaves wrapped around a filling. They are common in Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East.”¹

In February, a neighbor moved out and gave us a grape bush they had planted in a large pot. Now, in summer, the bush is back to life and producing healthy tender leaves. I cut a bunch, blanched, cooled, stuff, hand-rolled, and steamed them. We tried two fillings: the traditional one of rice, garlic, onions, pine nuts, mint leaves, parsley, raisins, and cinnamon; and our own version of quinoa, fennel, scallions, mint leaves, and raspberries. They are delicious, healthy, and with a very subtle tangy flavor, far away from the acidic commercial versions. I am a fan again.

Enjoy the photos of the grape bush and the steamed dolmas. ¡Buen provecho!

¹From Wikipedia.

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Dios en Nápoles / God in Naples

En nuestro reciente viaje a Italia, pude constatar la presencia de Dios en Nápoles.
In our recent trip to Italy, I witnessed God’s presence in Naples.

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The oldest nuclear plant in the world.

Living only 31 Km from the oldest nuclear plant is not comforting. It is an inconvenient truth that the Beznau AKW is so close to us. Greenpeace informs citizens in my area using street signs in a very clever way. The sign says “the oldest atomic power plant in the world is only 31 Km away”.

On 5 March 2014, Greenpeace activists broke into Beznau, urging European governments to close down the reactors on safety grounds. Some 100 protesters dressed in orange jumpsuits scaled the boundary fence and hoisted large banners with images of cracking reactors and announcing “The End” of nuclear power at the 45-year-old Beznau nuclear plant. 40 activists were arrested and 58 activists were reported to the Public Prosecutor for trespassing. Newspaper Tages Anzeiger commented in October 2015 that two independent sources have confirmed that the reactor 1 pressure vessel contains around 1,000 cavities of half a centimetre in diameter. (From Wikipedia)

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A street named after me

After almost 5 years of living in Schwamendingen, Zürich, Switzerland, the neighborhood council surprised me by naming the street that runs behing our building complex after me. I was speechless. Needless to say, I am humbled by their gesture. Of course I had to take a picture of the street sign.

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3 minutes late

96 % of the Swiss trains arrive on time. 2 % arrive 3 minutes or fewer late. 2 % arrive more than 3 minutes late.
So when people see this sign, as I did a little while ago, (“ca. 3′ später” means it is about 3 minutes late) they generally lose their cool. How is it possible that it is so late!, many ask in frustration. I can get used to this type of punctuality but I do not forget waiting for more than an hour for a late bus in Miami or in San Juan. So I am cool when the train is not on time in the land of milk and money.

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Through the eyes of my brother

Recently my brother Tito visited us. He was in Basel for a conference at the University and stayed with us overnight in Zürich. Through his eyes I witnessed once again what I did almost 5 years ago when I first moved here: how things work well, how superbly organized and clean the cities are, and how amazing the public transportation system is. We went to the Kunsthaus to see the work of Alberto Giacometti, the talented Swiss artist who is emblazoned in the 100 Franc note, we walked in the woods near our house, watched Petra spin thread from wool, had a nice dinner with friends, and went up 2128 meters (6981 ft.) to see Mount Pilatus. It was a memorable visit. I adopted his phrase of calling the 100 bill a Giacometti. Enjoy the video and photos. Check out the interactive map to see where Mount Pilatus is located.

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Loggerhead turtles in Culebra, Puerto Rico

We welcomed the New Year in Culebra, one of the islands of the Puerto Rican archipelago. It is best known for Playa Flamenco, one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. Lesser known is Playa Tamarindo and its well preserved and protected coral reef that hosts thousands of marine species. Sara and Daniel Abruña spotted the area in Playa Tamarindo, where the endangered loggerhead turtles feed. After that, I snorkeled every morning, for a week, with a Go Pro camera, to record these beautiful creatures, along with sting rays and the rich coral reef that borders the coastline.
Enjoy the film and the interactive map!

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Displaced racism

On a recent trip to Italy we encountered this vintage poster in a restaurant. Imagine it in a restaurant, say, somewhere in Miami!

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Love Life.

A highly successful AIDS campaign breaks sexual and racial barriers. Usually displayed in triptychs, the posters are seen across the city of Zürich.

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