The Call of the Common Loon


Common Loon , originally uploaded by bill kralovec.

Yesterday we went on a boat ride on Ottawa Lake here in Iron County, Michigan. My father arranged a boat and life jackets for us, even a guide. My brother Andy took me and the boys out on the water. We had a nice time cruising in the lake. Ottawa Lake is in the Ottawa National Forest and it is a protected lake. There are no cottages on the lake like many in Iron County. While on the water we saw two loons (Gavia immer) and got close to one to record its haunting call. A beautiful bird and a symbol of the north woods !

I want to thank my brother and father for making this happen as well as our neighbor “Hoov” for lending us the boat for the day. We had an unforgettable time.

Uncle Andy Masterfully Directs the Boat
Uncle Andy Masterfully Directs the Boat

Happy Birthday Andy!

Andy, originally uploaded by bill kralovec.

My youngest brother celebrated his 37th birthday in style by hiking up to the magical, ancient, Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru. He is teaching at the Cotopaxi Academy in Quito, Ecuador and during his spring break, traveled to Peru. He did the 26 mile hike in four days. Not too bad for an old man! It was mostly rain during the hike, but it cleared up when they reached  the ruins.

Andy In Front of the City
Andy In Front of the City

Macchu Pichu is in a remote location in the mountains above Cuzco, the former capital of the Incan Empire. Researchers believe that it was used as a ceremonial site, mostly for priests. It was not a main city and was not discovered by the Spaniards, but only in 1911 by British explorer Hiram Bingham. The ruins themselves are nice, but it is the surroundings that are spectacular. Nadia and I visited in 1998, but we took the train instead of earning it like Andy did.

I seem to blog much on Andy’s eating habits. He sampled the Peruvian delicacy cuy which is guinea pig. He didn’t like it, although perhaps it was the chef and not the food itself. I remember it being mostly bones and not much meat.

Andy is on the far right of the photo
Andy is on the far right of the photo

Congratulations Andy on making it and all the best for another year of health and happiness! We love you!

From Bill, Nadia, Owen, Oliver, Ocean

Andy Makes TIE Magazine

I took a photo of The International Educator newsletter page featuring my brother, Andy. He is in the top row, far left of the photo. Andy is one of the new hires at the Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador. He is teaching chemistry in the high school. Congratulations!

This is Andy’s third international posting. Last year he taught at the prestigious, Escuela Anaco, in Anaco, Venezuela and previous to that, he worked as a science teacher in the Peace Corps in Malawi, Africa.

TIE goes out to almost every international school in the world. It is read by all international teachers and can be found in every teachers lounge. It is also used to advertise for open positions.

Andy’s Final Empanada Run

Andy’s Final Run, originally uploaded by bill kralovec.

Pictured above is my brother Andy at Empanadas La Negra. He left yesterday afternoon for the USA, but before he said goodbye to Venezuela, he had to get a final “empanada.” The empanada is a popular Venezuelan breakfast food. It is not as popular as the “arepa” which is unique to Venezuela.

The empanada is in the shape of a half circle. It is a corn flour dough wrapped around a variety of fillings. At this particular place, there are 16 different types of fillings. Andy’s favorites are chicken and ham & cheese. There are also meat, fish, spinach, etc. The delicious aspect of the empanada and the reason they are so popular with Venezuelans is they are deep fried in oil. They are a cholesterol raiser! In fresh empanadas, the bag which they are placed, is soaked in excess oil from the flour.

Empanadas La Negra is named after the head chef, “La Negra.” She is a Venezuelan of African descent that is proud of her shop. It is located near the entrance road to the school on the main highway leading out of Anaco. It is a five minute walk from Andy’s house and many mornings he would visit for his daily dosis of grease. The restaurant is very popular with Venezuelans working in the area. There are always oil field workers dressed in their company’s jump suits inside. To accompany an empanada, La Negra offers coffee, soda pop, or malta.

Andy is quite popular wtih the serving ladies. The woman above asked Andy to take her to the USA with him. Andy politely refused the offer, but gave her a big hug and a smile, before he headed out the door with his greasy bag of empanadas.

Andy Getting Stitches

Andy Getting Stitches, originally uploaded by bill kralovec.

This morning Escuela Anaco PE teacher Andrew Kralovec collided with a student during a soccer game. Both were going for a header and the student’s forehead ripped a gash into the forehead of Mr. Kralovec. He bled profusely, but valiantly made it to the office and we drove to the nearby clinic to get stitches. He ended up getting 4 stitches and despite a bit of nausea, he came out feeling okay. Being the dedicated educator he is, he came back and taught his third period chemistry class!

The other student is doing well without any injury. The emergency room visit cost us $40 and the prescription antibiotic was another $5.

You can click on the video above to watch a bit of surgery and Andy describing the play. I also put up some other photos of the incident.