Desierto norte de Chile

Friday, December 30, 2011

The year is closing...

... and to celebrate, I'm spending a week in the Dominican Republic. I ordered a map, and the Lonely Planet travel guide, and have spent the past month charting a weeklong plan to explore the country. If all goes according to plan (and it never does, but that's part of the fun, isn't it?), here's what my itinerary will be:

Saturday: Arrive in Punta Cana around 1:30 p.m., grab a rental car, and head toward the beach resort of Juan Dolio (about 2-3 hrs drive west), along the south coast. Ring in 2012 in the "Casa de Beatrice", hopefully with some Dominicans (it seems Beatrice is an European ex-pat... nothing wrong with that, just hope to hang with some locals, too!)

Sunday: spend the morning on a beach, then head back east to La Romana to hang with Alexander Hernandez, a connection I met via Never done a couchsurf before, so this should be interesting.

Monday: bid adieu to Alex and head up the highway to Las Terrenas on the Samana peninsula, staying at Nicki's Art & Surf Hostel. Again the photos online are pretty wild, so this should be a funky place to stay, too. They say they have a rooftop terrace where you can star-gaze without much light pollution- that sounds pretty cool!

Tuesday: Head west again from Las Terrenas (spending the morning either on a beach or on horseback to the El Limon waterfall, depends on how I feel I guess!) toward Luperon, another primarily ex-patriot (German, this time) community. Stay at the guest house La Casa del Sol. Maybe they'll have some neat foods to try?

Wednesday: After a beach morning, head down the country again to the town of Bani, staying at the Hotel Caribani. Depending on when I arrive, either head inland to do some exploring, or walk around town to see what's up.

Thursday: Hang out in the morning on one of the beaches nearby, then head back east to the capital, Santo Domingo. Staying at the renowned Hotel Duque de Wellington. Probably head into the city at night to see what it's all about.

Friday: Explore Santo Domingo by morning, head east to the town of Higuey at night. Today is a national holiday (the day of the wise men's visit to Jesus), so something extra might be in store today (or perhaps just less traffic?!)

Saturday: beach in the morning, turn in the rental car and head back for the airport. Arrive back at Washington-Dulles (IAD) around 8:30 p.m., clear immigration & customs, grab my car, and head for my comfortable bed in cold Annapolis.

Happy New Year to you and yours, however and wherever you choose to spend it!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

'Tis 4 nights before Christmas and...

'Tis 4 nights before Christmas and:

1. The temperature|dew point combination at 9:00 p.m. at KNAK was outrageous. 64/59, a combination more likely seen at 9 pm in late September than in late December! The resultant theta-e must be at least 1 standard deviation above normal (maybe 2).

2. Another paper submission (this one to Atm. Environ) keeps inching itself closer to being done. The intro & methodology sections are written, and the figures are (mostly) made, just have to write up the results & discuss them. Target date: 30 Dec. We'll see!

3. All but 2 of my Annapolis gifts have been delivered

4. I'm heading to N. Carolina in 2 days!

5. There's essentially no hint at all of any snow for either central NC or MD for the next 10 days.

6. The Dominican Republic sounds like a great place to spend the first week of January, doesn't it? :)

7. UNC just beat Texas in basketball. OU gets its 2 chances later in 2012.

8. Work-related travel is getting closer- AMS in Jan, Chile/Ecuador in Mar, SWIFT in May, and summer?

9. Summer funding is still up in the air. I'm hopefull for NSF, but I guess if nothing comes through I'll have a couple of months to myself - not a terrible alternative (just a costly one!)

Friday, December 09, 2011

In other news...

In other news (besides weather), the next few weeks look to remain busy. I'm wrapping up taking a Spanish class, and working with the professor to publish a study on the effect of gender on second-language acquisition. I'd love to get the paper submitted by about the first week of classes next semester (get it out of our hair!). This weekend I'm hosting a barbeque watch party for Round 1 of the "Superclasico" between Real Madrid and Barcelona soccer teams. Still not sure how many people will be over, but I'll probably end up with around 15 or so. Sunday afternoon is our Oceanography department annual Christmas gathering, and then afterwards I'm having the 4 students who are going with me to Santiago and Quito over for dinner and to discuss trip logistics.

I'm also furiously working with my two research students this year to study relationship of the MJO to air quality in Santiago. We have very interesting results in both studies - results that will be publishable - just need to carry on with the projects. I'm traveling with both students to the AMS annual meeting in New Orleans in January. They'll be presenting, as will I. It'll be the first conference I've been to since the AMS regional meeting (mesoscale) back in Los Angeles in late July.

Travel for the next 5 months:

late Dec: to N.C. for Christmas with family
early Jan: to Dominican Republic for vacation
late Jan: to New Orleans and AMS Annual Meeting
mid Mar: to Santiago and Quito for LREC
mid May: to Great Plains (Okla, Texas, etc) for SWIFT

Lots of fun in the upcoming days! Good thing the weather is quiet (for now, lol!)

Weather, yes, but precipitation?

After last weekend's predictions of a coastal low and snow for Maryland didn't verify too well (the ground was just too warm, although we did get 3"+ of precipitation!), is it sad that you have to look allll the way out to the 384-hr forecast time to see any hint at frozen precip for Maryland? (As an aside, the 384-hr forecast would be for Christmas eve/day!) The next 10+ days look mostly dry and seasonable. Temperatures in the 20s/30s in the morning and in the 40s/50s during the afternoon. Weather? Yes. But no precipitation. Will be following it.

Monday, December 05, 2011

I like this forecast

This forecast is pretty sweet. We'll see if the same NAM, which fooled with Oklahoma over the weekend (where it predicted a snowy day today 72 hrs ago and instead it's just mostly cloudy), actually gives us the 'good stuff'. Stay tuned...

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