Archive for October, 2008

October 23rd, 2008

Visiting London without children

I and Sanna are going to visit London for the forecoming weekend, this time without the boys. Sanna’s parents arrived yesterday to look after the children while we are gone.

I’ve been counting days to the trip and soon we have a couple of days selfishly for ourselves only. I’m dreaming of luxurious long, undisturbed sleeping in comfy hotel bed and a breakfast with nobody wanting attention all the time.

Hopefully we are able to enjoy the trip. This is the first time Sanna is away from the boys, and Niilo is spending the first nights without his parents. We are probably pretty worried about the status back home, and boys are longing us. Monday will be a difficult day, as then all built-up pressure will erupt — on both sides. Fortunately, I’ll be working again that day.

All your food and drink needs catered

If you are staying any longer on the Providenciales island, consider having a visit to Graceway IGA supermarket located in the central parts of the island. The big and airy supermarket is shock full of food and drink items, mostly originating from the US.

Graceway IGA Supermarket on Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

There is also an extensive wine department, and some non-food items, such as utensils and toys. The prices are not bad. There is some extra for being on an island, but compared to the hotel shops the supermarket is a bargain.

The only problem is how to get there. Taxi costs surprising high amount of money, there are no buses to speak of, and walking is tedious at the best. Maybe sharing a taxi with a few other hotel residents is the best choice. I ended up walking with my son in a stroller. It was pretty sweaty exercise under the blistering sun, and I cannot recommend it to anyone not getting some odd pleasure of straining themselves. The stroller helped to carry a big load of items, but I couldn’t bring any ice cream — which was a bit of disappointment when I learned that they carry Ben & Jerry ice cream.

www.gracewayiga.com, Leeward Highway, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

World class sushi

I have always some reservations when visiting Japanese restaurants outside big cities or especially in tourist areas — anything seems to go there. So, you can just imagine my amazement when I had the first bite of sushi in Yoshi’s restaurant in Salt Mills shopping center on Providenciales. It tasted so good that I could have been in New York, San Francisco or, heck, even in Tokyo.

Yoshi’s restaurant in Salt Mills on Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

The restaurant itself is also pretty well designed, albeit a bit too dark for my taste — I felt like eating in a night club instead of a sushi restaurant. The service was swift enough and they were more than happy to bring some rolls to our son that we strolled in sleeping and then deftly woke up when we were finalising our meal. We spent twice the time in the restaurant, but spent only 1.2 x the money — and still the service was as friendly as ever, even while the place was packed full.

The food was pricey, even in the island standards, but worth every penny.

There is another sushi bar on the island, next to Graceway IGA supermarket. It is also run by the same owner and chef.

www.yoshissushi.net, Salt Mills shopping center, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

October 12th, 2008

Lazy weekend

I’ve just experienced one of most luxurious weekends in my life; yet, I’ve been at our home. No fancy five star hotels with huge rooms, comfy beds and out-of-this-world service. Just time with the family.

I was allowed to sleep late on Saturday, and then I woke up in an empty house. Sanna had taken boys out, so I had the house for myself. I decided to return the favour, and made lasagna — I’ve been recently making more and more of our lasagnas. Sanna’s still better, especially this time, as the chicken was a bit tasteless.

Then we went to swim in the nearby swimming hall. It was the first time for Niilo, and he loved it. After that it was nap time for boys, and we could do our own things. Then we visited crazy days in Stockmann and had a good dinner with my younger sister and her sons. Some sauna and chocolate were the program for the rest of the evening.

Today, I’ve been able to do a couple of work related items that have been pending since late August, and then made a meal of tenderloin beef and potatoes with black pepper sauce. Sanna baked an apple pie that was consumed late afternoon when my cousin visited us with her family. Then I played some football with Aapo, and retracted to my den to write some reviews from past trips and this entry.

Nothing beats good family time. You don’t do anything special, but feel special all day long.

Short shopping spree

When you have basked enough on the sun, and laying on the beach or on the pool deck feels a tad boring, it is time to check Providenciales’ shopping malls. We took taxi from our resort to Ports of Call that sounded pretty ok, at least on the paper.

Ports of Call shopping center in Providenciales

The mall was very sleepy, and there were not much worth buying. It was still a positive distraction from the beach life, and the shops are not bad. There is a big gift and island paraphernalia shop, Mama’s Gifts, a sporting equipment shop, small grocery store, a pizzeria and an ice cream parlour.

Ports of Call, Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

Semi-submarine trip

Fancy coral reefs are one major attraction in Providenciales. However, if you are not into diving, you are not able to visit the reefs — unless you take an excursion with semi-submarine boat.

Semi-submarine in the harbour on Providenciales Island

As the name implies, the boat is partially submarine vessel that has seating at the bottom with underwater windows. You take a few steps down when boarding the boat and sit in a comfortable bench while looking the undersea gardens. This works especially with younger children that cannot yet dive at all.

The captain maneuvers the boat with excellent skills and sometimes you are less than a meter away from the corals. There is plenty of fish there, and sometimes an occasional sea turtle. Just keep in mind that photographing the reef is problematic due to the glass and lightning conditions, and you won’t get similar images as shown on their webpage… They are taken by professionals.

www.caicostours.com, Turtle Cove Marina, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands

October 5th, 2008

Alone

Sanna and the boys are visiting Sanna’s parents in Taivalkoski — they’ve been there from Wednesday, and tomorrow I’ll meet them in Helsinki railway station and bring them home.

I’ve been mostly alone during these days, except while working. Of course, I’ve met people while doing shopping but that is not really counted as being not alone.

Being alone feels great and depressing, sometimes even simultaneously. I’ve had all the time in the world for myself, and that is part of the problem at the end, too. Time has dragged sometimes, as there has been nobody to talk with, except on the phone.

Usually I’m pretty productive when having some time for myself, but this time I’ve mostly surfed the net, and done various errands that have been waiting for some time. Nothing major has happened (outside of work that is, there we’ve been kicking ass) and no big thoughts this time — last time I figured out a good strategy for Exove.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that less work during the weekend would have served me better — this hasn’t happened before. Maybe I’m getting older or I’m more tired, but weekend working felt like a chore and not something exhilarating creativity session they’ve been in the past. It might due to the nature of the work — mostly documentation and paying bills, instead of happy hacking.

The silver lining with the chores is that they are mostly gone now. I can spend rest of the evening writing reviews from our recent trips that have been mostly undocumented so far.

Travel reading

The Unicorn Bookstore is a biggish bookstore located next to IGA supermarket. They sell, as name implies, mostly books, but also toys, artist supplies, magazines and all other things that you would envision founding in a bookstore. There is no café in the premises; you need to go across the parking lot to a café next to IGA.

The Unicorn Bookstore in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

Most of the books are American paperbacks, pretty easy to read — thus perfect for holidays. Literary aficionados might have hard times finding suitable books among all Ludlums, Crichtons and such. Everything is more expensive than in the mainland, but not too much — you actually might end up buying something.

The Unicorn Bookstore, Leeward Highway, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands