October 21

I was too exhausted to write on Jonah’s birthday but I am glad to report it was a great success. I decorated the salon the night before and Jonah loved it when he woke up. We gave him some presents in the morning  because he was so excited. In addition, he finally agreed to be called 5 years old. The night before he screamed when we said he was 5 – he is a very precise young man. Yeah crazy boy.  We had the kids from Dragon Lady and the BBQ and cake were a great success. Mary from Dragon Lady helped out by making hamburger buns which we had forgotten about till 2 hours before the party.  

Jonah got a lot of phone calls to wish him well – his phone manner is still pretty shaky. He basically shouts or whispers and no one ever  understands him. Despite that – I know it meant a lot for him to have all his family remember him.  

I had the insane idea of a sleepover that night which was latched on by the kids. It seems thrilling to sleep somewhere else when you are five years old. They watched a new movie Jonah got from Grandma Barbara and Grandpa Jonny. They played with the very cool space/rocket setup thang that Jonah got from Grammy Rita. The other gifts waited till he could focus – he was very excited that day. The sleepover went well – they slept like rocks but woke up at 5:30. I promptly introduced them to the VCR and tried to sleep some more.  

We have been doing a bunch of snorkeling around here and it is the best snorkeling I have ever done. The tops of the coral heads are perfect snorkel depth and the life on them is everything you see deeper (except for big fish). They have the most amazing giant clams around here.  

Yesterday I burned our three huge bags of stinky trash on the beach. I asked at the Turtle Breeding Station. The guy said “oh just throw it in the bush if its paper or cans.” Yeah – sanitation disposal is still a very new concept in most of the third world. At least that gentleman recognized plastic is different. Most of the these cultures only had biodegradable trash and just threw it in mulch pits. They are not really tuned into the special problems of plastic. I was told that in Samoa garbage pickup just started this year! So the countries in the Pacific are trying (helped and led by New Zealand and Australia ’s example) but it is just happening now.  I know burning plastic is not ideal but better than having it float in the ocean killing animals.  

Yesterday I taught Jonah Chinese Checkers and regular checkers (a gift from Uncle Danny) – phew it was tough for Jonah to learn all the rules and to try to think about the whole game board in a strategic way. Its good intellectual work out for him. Next Chess! Hey it was a multigame box!  

Today its raining and I don’t think we are leaving. The sail to Benga is overnight and would be a major drag in the rain. The winds are very light and fluky. So we wait.  

News from the US has been terrible. My heart aches for all the trouble, pain and suffering of the people of the US and, in particular, New York City . Although I grew up in Boston , New York is a city that I think of as home. The anthrax stuff is just insane. I feel so lucky to be somewhere safe and worrying about mundane things like mold in the shower.