Technology For Traveling I Update

Major Update

We have recently had issues with some of our gadgets for travel that require an update to the post Technology For Traveling I.

The serious issue developed with the HP 2in1. My plea for help can be read here.

Just before our last trip I got out the HP to get ready  to travel. Hours after starting it up Microsoft seemed to be done with system upgrades and returned control of the laptop to me. After some playing it turned out the laptop (2in1) was virtually useless.

After receiving a number of articles forwarded to us via readers, it became clear that this problem is widespread. The fundamental problem is with the low-end laptops. A great many of these mini laptops and 2in1 units come with only 32Gb of storage hard-wired on the motherboard. Microsoft System 10 after a few system upgrades and security installations becomes too large to actually operate the computer. All the Microsoft apps and system software cannot readily be transferred to a thumb drive or SD card leaving the 32 Gb virtually full.

It turns out that Microsoft has published a complex work-around for this problem that requires root instructions, a thumb drive and SD card. Our youngest son is a computer engineer and , thus far, has been unsuccessful reviving this device.

As a result we are recommending against buying these low fixed-storage mini laptops and 2in1’s. There is an old Jamaican- Chinese proverb that says “good thing no cheap – cheap thing no good” that probably applies here.

Also one of the Android tablets went thru a system update recently that doubled its system storage usage. That made the tablet short on onboard space and caused serious problems with operation. We had no choice but to replace it. We bought an Amazon Fire 7 at a very good price, but on the next trip the Nook app became difficult to use (maybe Amazon didn’t like sharing a device with a B&N app) and consistently froze up the tablet. We have now settled on an iPad Mini and have set it up to sync with our other Apple devices. Both Nook and Amazon apps seem to work fine.

So again the moral would seem to be there’s a downside, especially in tech, to buying too cheap. That’s especially true if you need to depend on this equipment far from home.

We would also like to thank those people that forwarded articles on these problems.


Champers Barbados – Great Food, Great Scenery

On a trip this December we passed through Barbados and met up with some old friends. We joined them for lunch at Champers, one of our preferred restaurants on the island. Barbados is a favorite destination of ours and is particularly well known for the quality of its’ restaurants.

Champers is located on Skeetes Hill near Rockley Beach on the south coast, and rests on a point with commanding views of the sea and beach. Sitting on the main floor deck looking out at white

Champers main floor deck

sand, palm trees and ten shades of turquoise water you just know you are in paradise. The restaurant features great food, spectacular views and a very attentive staff, and you just can’t do much better for an elegant dinner or lunch while on the island.

We’ve never had a bad experience at Champers and this time was no exception. When in Barbados it’s a tradition to have flying fish, which I had

(fried with caper dressing) along with an appetizer of coconut shrimp with chili sauce, and both were excellent. Lunch was finished with an excellent warm bread pudding. My wife had West Indian shrimp curry with jasmine rice and grilled vegetables, also outstanding.

We were lucky enough to finish that day sitting on the porch of our friend’s house out at The Crane sipping famous Bajan Rum Punch.

Barbados Rum Punch Recipe:
  1. One part Sour (fresh squeezed lime juice*)
  2. Two parts Sweet (Demerara sugar**)
  3. Three parts Strong (Barbados Rum (Our preference is Mt. Gay Extra Old))
  4. Four parts Weak (Water)

Mix well and add a few drops of Angostura bitters. Pour over ice and add a bit of fresh grated nutmeg to each glass when serving

* Mexican or Key limes are preferred.

**Demerara is a type of raw cane sugar that has a large grain, hard texture, with a pale brown color. A substitute If you don’t have Dmerara sugar on hand, is to use an equal amount of granulated sugar and light brown sugar in its’ place.

Graffiti Around the World

I am not sure why but my camera is drawn to record graffiti as we travel. Some of it is incredible street art while much is just a defacing of public and private property.

Historic fortifications, Vigo Spain
Housing project, Crete

I have developed some opinions about why some places are rank with graffiti while others are completely devoid of it. My first belief has to do with how attractive a place is along with a natural reluctance in most people to deface real beauty. The exception of course involves a subculture that sees destroying a places intrinsic value and even natural beauty as a form of expressing hatred for the very place where they live and even the people they live with.

My second conclusion involves regional and local authority. Some places are either overwhelmed by the task of trying to

Ho Chi Minh City

prevent or punish street vandals and do not think the vandalism rises to the level of a serious enough crime to warrant strong punishment. In these circumstances the result is usually a growing blight on the community where the locals just learn to accept the problem as part of life.

Stangeland, Norway

The counterpoint to that is a strong local government where punishment is quick and serious enough to cause potential “artists” to reconsider their chances of arrest, jail or worse.

Graffiti is not new but has been around for thousands of years. Examples of graffiti have been unearthed from ancient Pompeii and Rome. One of the most common forms has been for protest but more and more recently it seems to have no real purpose other than to desecrate.

There are places where graffiti has been channeled into a socially acceptable art form where artists are celebrated and whole communities get involved in decorating walls and fences.In addition to the above there are economies where tourism is a major source of income to the community and tolerance for graffiti has a serious economic impact.

Western Europe seems to be an increasing target for graffiti and many locations seem to be helpless to stop it. Unlike graffiti in many places in the world, the canvas in Europe has often become churches, historic sites and public buildings.

Stangeland, Norway

Often modern graffiti is becoming less political protest and more an ethnic challenge. It is becoming more and more common in the West to see Arabic writing as a major element of graffiti from Greece to Norway to Quebec along with counter graffiti.


Interesting that there are places in the world that are virtually graffiti free. It is rare to see it in rural areas of America, or in cities in Australia and New Zealand. I can’t say I noticed any in Amsterdam which is a very permissive culture  nor in Singapore. In the case of Singapore it probably has to do with a very harsh criminal code and strict enforcement. Even the fine for not flushing a public toilet in Singapore is S$200.

Graffiti on graffiti…

Anyone else a collector of graffiti? Care to share your thinking on this? Love to see what you found and where. E-mail us at

Getting Away for Christmas

Lobby in Grand Floridian WDW

Christmas 2017 at Epcot, WDW

There have been a number of times in our life where going back home for the holidays was not in the cards. Sometimes it was because other family members couldn’t fit the gathering into their time schedule or maybe because money was tight. There were other times where we didn’t have enough time off from work. There was a stretch of Thanksgivings where we, as a family, were just too far away. For almost six or seven years in a row we turned Thanksgiving into a special trip for us and our children. That was twenty plus years ago and for three years in a row we had Thanksgiving dinner in a park at Walt Disney World. In those days we had the parks virtually to ourselves. Unfortunately those days are long past. Thanksgiving day and Christmas in a Disney park are now high attendance events.

Gingerbread Village on Celebrity Silhouette

When we were first married we had friends that would always go to The Homestead in Virginia for Christmas and rave about the experience. One year we spent Thanksgiving there. The hotel was beautifully decorated for Christmas, they would feature special dishes like wild boar or pheasant at dinner, offer tea in the afternoon and hot coco in front of the lobby fireplace in the evening.



Regardless of the reason, if you and your immediate family discover that you’re on your own for Thanksgiving or Christmas consider making it a really special holiday. As mentioned we have spent a number of Christmases at Walt Disney World but have also tried cruising during the holidays.

Lobby, Animal Kingdom Lodge WDW
Christmas at sea

Even though Disney World has become a difficult reservation for Christmas it is still a very special time at “The World”. You would be surprised at the number of families that decorate Christmas trees in their rooms and string lights around the windows. You will also find that cruises for Christmas week are a premium fare but in most cases worth the expense. It is really amazing to go to your cabin at night and wake up to discover that the entire ship has been transformed into a Christmas wonderland. On a recent cruise the central lobby had been decorated by the chefs with an entire village of gingerbread houses.

Christmas parade Magic Kingdom, WDW


To paraphrase a CSN&Y song – If you can’t be with all the ones you love, love the ones you’re with.





Christmas on Celebrity Silhouette

                    Have a Very Merry Christmas and                                       

                          an Adventurous New Year


Tony’s in Cedar Key, Florida

If you travel west on Florida State Road 24 from Gainesville to where the road literally ends, you find yourself in a bit of old Florida. Out in the middle of nowhere on Florida’s northwest coast is the little village of Cedar Key with its’ population of around 700. At the corner of D and 2nd is Tony’s Seafood Restaurant  which is home to what many claim is the world’s best clam chowder.

The Great Chowder Cook-Off is an annual event that has been held at the Newport Yachting Center in Newport, Rhode Island, for thirty-three years. It ranks right up there with the Terlingua International Championship Chili Cookoff or the Texas Championship BBQ Cookoff. All these American classic foods have passionate followers by the millions, hero’s by the score with reputations to protect and profit from.

On Saturday June 6, 2009 Tony’s Cedar Key Clam Chowder won the 28th Annual Great Chowder Cook-off and claimed the title, Clam Chowder World Champion.

Back for another title hunt in New England, Tony’s took to the field again on June 5, 2010 and for the second consecutive year won the 29th Annual Great Chowder Cook-off claiming another Clam Chowder World Championship.

At stake on June 4, 2011 was a third title and a chance for the recipe to be retired into the Cook-Off Hall of Fame. Not even a Grand Champion Chowder from New Jersey could deny Tony’s a third world championship. For the third year in a row Tony’s Cedar Key Clam Chowder captured the title and did so with impressive style in another landslide victory.

With Tony’s third title in three years and the recipe retired into the Great Chowder Cook-off Hall of Fame, the future is still bright for what many fans call the “King of Chowder”.

On our visit to Cedar Key that was where we went for our first meal and we were not disappointed. Some people come to this tiny town for the fishing and some come for the art galleries and crafts shops but we came for the chowder and all I can offer is it was worth the drive. If you are looking for white tablecloths and atmosphere you’re probably going to be disappointed but you won’t be in the food and specifically their world champion chowder.

If out of the way Cedar Key is too far to go for a bowl of chowder you can mail order some, as they have a very successful canning and shipping operation as well.

Back to Barbados

This island is probably our favorite Caribbean destination. It is one of the oldest English outposts and has been an independent nation since 1966. It also has one of the Caribbean’s highest literacy rates and standards ofliving. . Its’ location puts it deep into the southern Caribbean and east out into the Atlantic so that its western shores are washed by the Caribbean and the east coast is famous for good Atlantic surf. Because Bathsheba, on the east coast, has nothing between it and Africa to block waves coming all the way across the Atlantic it has become the site of some major surfing competitions.

Beaches & Nitelife

Bajan Sunset

Geography places a majority of the activity and hotels on the west side of this island stretching from the northwest coast to the western south shore. Starting out on the northwest coast is Speightstown which features a couple of good places to eat and beach clubs and not far away is one of our favorite restaurants, The Fish Pot. From Speightstown south along the sea, you come to the high rent part of Barbados. This area is dotted with palatial estates and upscale beach properties. The center of this neighborhood is the Royal Westmoreland Golf Course and Sandy Lane Beach. The Sandy Lane Resort is a destination for celebrities and jet setters with upscale shopping at Limegrove Center nearby. Limegrove and the local area also feature a movie theatre, cafes and upscale restaurants. Traveling farther south you pass a

Bridgetown Docks

number of good beaches and then the seaport as you approach Bridgetown,. the capital. It is the island’s government center and features a number of restaurants and shopping including the major department store Cave Sheppard. Leaving Bridgetown and again heading due south you find another beach with good resort hotels along with the Garrison and Drill Hall areas. In the center of this is Harbour Lights, one of the island’s destinations for nightlife for tourists and locals alike.

Heading further south you will find resort properties with names like Hilton, Marriott and Radisson dotted along more great beaches along with many smaller local hotels. There is also a nice boardwalk that starts near Bridgetown and winds its way south for a number of miles. It’s a great walk with a number of cafes and restaurants. Near the end of the boardwalk is Rockley Beach. This is one of our favorite areas to stay. There are a number of places to eat from fast food (Chefette is Barbados’ own fast food chain featuring chicken) to upscale eateries, gift and beach shops and grocery and wine stores. The center of this is the Accra Beach Hotel which, while older, is a nice beachfront property. We have also stayed at Coral Sands which is very nice, as well along with several other smaller properties in Rockley. For dining check out Bubba’s Sports Bar, Mojo’s and the Tiki Bar. One of our favorite places in this area is Champers which is a good upscale restaurant overlooking the water.

A little way south down the coast again is the St. Lawrence Gap area, usually referred to as just “the Gap”, another neighborhood for restaurants, bars and nightlife on the island. There are a number of hotels in the Gap area but be warned that the party scene can be pretty loud late into the night. Following the coast out of the Gap you will find another stretch of great beaches with good resort hotels. We have had good experiences staying at Bougainvillea Beach and Coral Sands in this area as well.

Friday Oistin’s Fish Fry

Bathsheba, Barbados

Next comes the town of Oistin where everyone regularly goes on a Friday night for a waterfront fish fry. Oistin is a traditional Bajan fishing village and the Friday Oistin’s Fish Fry is an event that has been going on forever: fresh fish cooked amidst a carnival atmosphere. It is something not to be missed.

Next comes the airport area and after that is the Crane Beach and Crane Beach Resort. The area features cliffs with pocket beaches below and gets its’ name from a crane that was used to lift cargo up the cliffs in early days. The hotel is an excellent resort but somewhat isolated. If your intention is to relax and spend quality time with the family, sand and surf it is a good choice.

Getting Around

Getting around Barbados can be a challenge. There is public bus service and a number of tour operators but to really see the island it is best to rent a car. You need to be warned though, because the traffic is English drive or driving on the left. The roads can be narrow and unmarked and the island makes use of lots of traffic circles (remember that the traffic in the circle always has the right-of-way) that they call round-abouts. Also, the roads in some areas can be a maze where even Bajan friends of ours have admitted to getting lost.

Things To Do 


  • Visit the Barbados Historical Museum and the George Washington House
  • Take a sunset cruise
  • Go snorkeling or diving
  • Eat flying fish with Bajan hot sauce
  • Visit Harrison’ Cave and Hunte’s Gardens
  • Take a ride out to Bathsheba and the northeast island
  • Take the tour at the Mount Gay Rum Distillery


  • Cross a street without looking both ways (your instincts can kill you)
  • Wear clothes with camouflage pattern (it’s against the law)
  • Smoke in public places (it’s against the law)



HELP! Microsoft Ate My Laptop!

I’m looking for advice? Several months ago I wrote that I had bought a 2in1 laptop primarily for travel and how well it was working. My main laptop is a MacBook Pro 13” and it is just too big and heavy to lug around on long trips. What I bought was an HP 2in1 running Windows 10. It was small (10” and ½” thick) and light weight. The keyboard detached to turn it into a pad and I really liked it. The problem was that it only had 32 MB of storage but also indicated that it only had 29.2 GB (where did the 2.8 GB go?). I added a 64 GB SD card to allow for storage of pictures, music and documents, which I intended to just leave in all the time.

Last week I was getting ready for a trip so I got out this laptop to transfer photos and files and that is when everything went south. As soon as I turned it on and connected to WiFi Microsoft took over. It was a full thirty minutes before Microsoft finished and allowed me use of the laptop. Virtually nothing worked. I kept getting warnings that I needed to free up space in storage as it was full.

I went to Settings; Storage and it showed that 27.1 of 29.1 GB was currently used. I Started going thru and deleting Apps that I had loaded (unfortunately most required that they be loaded into the PC’s drive so I couldn’t move them to the SD card) and there were a few big ones (Chrome and Google Drive used almost a GB). After I had finished I restarted and checked Storage again. It now showed that 28.2 of 29.1 GB were used and the System & Reserved storage had actually grown by 2 GB. Apps were using 2.76 MB and they were all Microsoft apps that could not be deleted. There was also something called Temporary Files that as fast as I could delete, filled up again (I think it is being used by updates).

It seems that as I deleted apps to free up space Microsoft took the space to install system updates. As of now there are 11 newly installed and 2.4 GB left to install. Right now they can’t install because there isn’t enough room. One option that was available was to “uninstall updates” but every attempt by me has failed (not enough storage for this operation).

I have a neighbor that is a security systems programmer and when I asked her about this the only comment I got was “Yeah, System 10 sucks.” The laptop only cost me $180 and I will find a replacement (I’m going back to Apple and buying a Mac Air), but who sells a device where the operating system doesn’t leave enough room for operational needs? Maybe HP didn’t understand what Microsoft was going to do with updates or maybe Microsoft didn’t understand that there was hardware being sold that didn’t meet their future system needs but???

Right now I believe that the situation is hopeless but if anyone has a suggestion – I would love to hear it.