Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Visit to Mike's World -OR- Someone Else's Family Vacation Pictures

My friend Mike G. scuba diving off Roatán Island in the western Caribbean, Oct. 2010.

#######

This entry features pictures of my long-time friend Mike G. and his wife Galina on their October 2010 cruise that took them to the Cayman Islands and the coast of the Yucatan and Honduras in the western Caribbean including on Grand Cayman and in the tropical waters off Mahahual, a seaside village in the Costa Maya region of Mexico's State of Quintana Roo (I love that name), and Roatán Island (Honduras).

(Part 2) Mike G. scuba diving off Roatán Island in the western Caribbean, Oct. 2010.

Careful touching that coral.

######

As background, I've known Mike for many years -- specifically, since late August 1994 when he and I started meteorology graduate school at the Univ. of Maryland, College Park. This was the first of three masters programs I completed at "UMCP", and it along with the journalism one was a mistake. I should have gone directly to public policy and I would be in a VASTLY different place in life today.

But we can't redo the past -- well, maybe in some parallel / many universes sort of way we can and already did, but that's not an option for me, whatever this "me" is ... Huh?

(Part 3) Mike G. scuba diving off Roatán Island in the western Caribbean, Oct. 2010.

Nine what?

#######

Any-who, one of the few good things to come out of that program is I made some good friends, including Mike G., as well as Gary and Chester ("BEWARE THE TERRITORIAL HIPPO WHEN WHITEWATER RAFTING DOWN THE LIMPOPO RIVER!").

(Or in best Steve Irwin voice: "WEEEE'RE HEEEAH IN THE LAAAAHYIR OF THE CARROLLIAN BEER E-ANIMAL ...!").

#######

Anyway, back to the pictures and topic at hand ... 

A sea turtle explores the tropical coral reefs off Roatán Island, western Caribbean, Oct. 2010.

For Chester: "I'll save the wee turtles! AAAAH! Somebody save me from the wee turtles!!"

#######

I also learned in that meteorology program what arrogant jackasses professors can be, such as the papa smurf one ("ROSSBY WAVES?! YOU PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ROSSBY WAVES?!?"). As it is, the program isn't even called meteorology anymore but the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science.

A school -- or more like a swarm or a cloud -- of small blue fish swimming by the tropical coral reefs off Roatán Island in the western Caribbean, Oct. 2010.

#######

The coral reef life in the tropical waters off Roatán Island in the western Caribbean, Oct. 2010.

#######

Had the department been called this current name back in 1994 rather than the Department of Meteorology -- or as it really was, the Department of Inscrutable Chinese Computer Science Graduate Students and Indifferent Professors Sinecured in Cushy Lifetime Jobs -- I probably would never have gone there. It was basically mislabeled -- and in general falls into the sprawling category of the consumer fraud that is much of American academia these days with its half- higher learning nun, half-corporate whore approach to everything, but I digress.

Tropical coral reef splendor off Roatán Island, Honduras, Oct. 2010.

#######

And as I said, a few good things came out of my meteorology time* -- including a lifelong friendship with Mike, a person who has been one of those few people in my life who always seems to be on my side, even when I mess up, which is frequently.

*This is unlike my journalism grad school, which was a complete mistake.

This is a particular beautiful coral reef scene with the dazzling electric blue fish and alien-like brain coral, as seen in the waters off Roatán Island, Honduras, Oct. 2010.

#######

Mike is also a regular reader of this blog and posts comments -- he is the comment poster "к.нео.физ.де.му", whatever the heck that means. He told me once but I forgot.

As you have probably surmised, Mike is Russian. He is actually originally from Baku, Azerbaijan in the former Soviet Union, where he and his parents and brother lived back in the 1970s and into the 1980s. There were ethnic Russians in one of the peripheral Muslim republics of the old U.S.S.R.

Here Mike swims with one of the southern stingrays that gather in large numbers in the sandbar formations known as "Stingray City" at one corner of Grand Cayman Island, Oct. 2010.

What exactly do these things feel like? I imagine they are large, slimy, heavy, and maybe smell. I would also imagine something this large can bite pretty fiercely. Oh, and don't they have spiky things on them that can suddenly thrust out -- and isn't that exactly what claimed the life of Steve Irwin??

#######

Mike climbing a coconut palm tree on a beach on the island of Cozumel, western Caribbean, Oct. 2010.

#######

Mike went to a hydrometeorological institute in then-Leningrad where he met Galina, whose father had already immigrated to the United States (to New York City) as a Russian Jewish refuge in the 1970s.

His is a very interesting, indeed, fascinating story (written any letters to Leonid Brezhnev lately??), but that's not for me to tell. He drove a taxi for a while in New York City. He passed away about 5 years ago. I'm sorry I never got to meet him.

Here Mike is swimming in the sunlit tropical waters off Grand Cayman Island (at least I think it's Grand Cayman Island), Oct. 2010.

#######

A beach on Grand Cayman Island, Oct. 2010.

#######

Eventually, Mike and Galina and their then-baby son Boris came over to the United States around 1991 or thereabouts (early 1990s). They lived in New York City for a while among the Russian Jewish emigre community in Brooklyn. Galina and Boris lived there longer than Mike, who came to Maryland to go to the UMCP meteorology program.

It's like something out of Condé Nast Traveler: Mike and Galina on Grand Cayman Island in Oct. 2010.

#######

Today, Mike and Galina live in suburban Maryland along with their 5-year old son (while their older son is now at university). Both their moms are also here. (Mike's dad passed away a long time ago). Mike and Galina are both doing very well -- as is, for that matter, Chester and Gary. I'm the failure in the group, as it were.

Another Condé Nast Traveler-quality picture: Galina on the cruise ship off Roatán Island, Oct. 2010.

#######

Ah, life is good ... Mike on the cruise ship somewhere in the western Caribbean between the Cayman Islands, Costa Maya, Roatán Island, Oct. 2010. 

#######

And here are a few other Mike G. vacation pictures on other excursions ...

Mike on the Caribbean coast of on a previous trip to the western Caribbean in Oct. 2009.

#######

Mike G. in the surf along on the North Carolina Outer Banks, Aug. 2010.

You sure spend a lot of time in water.

Speaking of the Outer Banks, my dad used to live on the Outer Banks in Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk. Highlights of the three years there included almost being stabbed by a jealous ex-boyfriend of one of his romantic interests AND being banned for two years from the Jolly Roger ...

#######
And here is a very nice  -- magazine quality, really -- picture of Mike's two sons -- Boris and little Mark.

#######

And that, Gentle Reader, concludes my posting pictures of someone else's family and life and I return to my own world.

Me in my apartment ... Actually, a sloth in a tree in Costa Rica, Oct. 2009.

#######

Say, how did Toucan Sam get into these pictures?? Were he and Mr. Sirius on holiday in Costa Rica also at that time??

#######

OK, my next planned update will be perhaps Tuesday. Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday, and then it is my birthday on Saturday, but I'll have 42 more to say 42 on that later 42. I'm hoping everyone forgets it.

--Regulus

2 comments:

к.нео.физ.де.му said...

regulus,

just wanted to let you know i consider myself very lucky to have a friend like you!

:) thanks for your kind words...

Regulus said...

Thank you and you are welcome.