More Thinking in Monte Cristi

Submitted by eagle on Thu, 11/21/2019 - 21:22

Last night, went for a walk. Found an enclosed area right before it started to rain!

Far fewer dogs, motorcycles, insects here. Plus, nice views!

Next, going in to do some more work!

The edges of town have more padding away from the busy center. I've been thinking of my stay in Monte Cristi as a short residence in town. Already I'm heading to the quieter edges of town!

Instead of waiting for just the right moment -- create just the right moment!

A delivery truck for a Dominican snack, Hojuelitas, keeps parking on the street in front of where I work. I think the driver may be stopping at the banca next door to buy/check lottery tickets. The truck is decorated with local slang, only some of which I understand. Including: en pila, aplatanao, papaupa, como tu 'ta?, que chulo esto e'e!

Investigative epidemiology in Republica Dominicana: The people seem to yell often. With all those loud motorcycles, dogs, and music, they may have hearing loss. The people pronounce Spanish without many of the letter "s". With all that sugar in coffee, bread, and other foods, they may have tooth decay.

DEET works WAAAAY better than the alternatives!

A heavier rainfall.

Wet weather makes me feel a thousand times heavier.

On the topic of aging, I feel that the older I get, the more in touch I become with who I am, my interests, etc.

Increasingly, I notice & choose my projects such that they fit in with my expected activities over the long term. For example, I blog about my travels, which I expect to continue (traveling) for years. I have freelance writing work, which fits with my expectation to need work that I can take on the road for years. I am developing goggles, which I expect to need for years. Seems more efficient to work on something that can last than to expend the same effort on something of shorter duration utility.

I've always been self-aware, self-conscious, etc. However, now I feel like I've had the chance to develop into much more of the person I want to become, my ideal self. Before, I felt like much of my self-awareness was theoretical, concerning who I wanted to be as an unreached ideal. Of course, there's ever room for improvement!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles: Refinements!

Submitted by eagle on Thu, 11/21/2019 - 21:11

Working on the goggles some more. They're coming alive!

With more work, the product becomes better, as does the producer!

Working on 3D products is fun.

It's like playing with stuff in your hands, but it includes all sorts of tools, and you can save, reload, and otherwise modify the stuff. It's extra convenient for those of us who are clumsy!

I'm now working on refining the measurements. I want to make the frame fit on my face, and the lens and strap fit in the frame.

This is somewhat difficult. I have some measurements for my face. I'm tracing the lens shape by hand. I'm also making minor adjustments in the model.

Overall, I'm figuring things out as I go, trying to get a method to get the frame fitting. I still expect to have some problems in the printed product. Still, I want to minimize those, so that at least the first learning pair fits enough to wear!

I now feel, about this goggles challenge and more generally, "I can do this!"

At first, challenges often seem insurmountable. There are so many unknowns, about oneself and about the task. Yet, as one gets into the challenge, one learns the ins and outs, and becomes more capable and more confident.

Coffee also helps!

Often the problems along the way turn out to be the best parts!

It's starting to look like an actual set of goggles, to me. At first, it looked like a rough sketch, messy.

The goggles feel to me more like a model now, less like some sketch of an idea.

At first, I had the idea for the goggles. Drafting the approximate shape, I was quite unsure how to do most of the tasks involved in assembling the proper shape.

Now, it feels like a bike or something, a product that already exists.

I feel like I'm hammering away at the model, instead of vaguely reaching for some way to transfer notions onto computer.

In some ways, it's extremely unlikely for any new product to repay its investment in development. Suppose that I simply wanted a pair of goggles. Tons of models are already available for prices ranging around $100-$200. The number of hours I've spent on this design -- which may still to fail even to provide basic functionality -- would already have been enough to work at a paying job and earn several pairs of goggles. However, I was thinking of various (perceived) improvements anyways, and wanted a month-long challenge anyways, and want to improve at 3D product design anyways. Therefore, many of these costs are not costs for me, or in a sense sunk costs. As such, I may be able to make fun, personalized goggles, which other people can also use. Still a gamble, but I feel that I'm already gaining more from the challenge than the costs by far. Plus, if it works out, then I and others can have a new design to develop for years to come!

Now swinging the upper frame part way above the nose, trying to reach a comfort zone on the forehead above the nose.

You develop techniques as you go. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Made it to another draft!

Here is some imagery.


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!

Rain & Desert, Now & Later

Submitted by eagle on Wed, 11/20/2019 - 18:53

Another rainy night last night. More rain, including thunderstorms, expected the rest of this week.

I like the desert, the people, the food.

Desert people seem to survive!

I'm worrying somewhat about the forecast storm. Not too much, I think it'll be fine. However, probably an unpleasant amount of rain, maybe worse outcomes.

So far, my week of poverty has gone quite well, thanks in large part to the generosity of the people here!

I'm now planning to stay in Monte Cristi at least to the second week of December. Maybe also further. I'm even considering staying until the end of December, when I think my visa expires, but that may be pushing it too tight, and I'm not sure that I want to cross the border on New Year's Day. Maybe I'll go around mid-December.

This is one of the nicest places I've been. I'm going to feel sad leaving Monte Cristi, Republica Dominicana!

It's hard to handle the stresses of the road, or even everyday stresses. Still, it's important to push through, find ways, instead of giving in.

Much of the fun of various activities and events comes from the surprise of not knowing. When visiting a different place, it's often safe and informative to read up beforehand, but it's also a surprise (often pleasant) to arrive. No amount of preparation completely sets you up for the arrival.

I think that I've often been irresponsible. I chalk some of it up to my not-so-conscientious personality type. Humans become more conscientious with age. I'm noticing that development in myself. It comes as a pleasant surprise to see myself more interested in taking initiatives, taking action. And I think that it leads to more desirable results, outcomes.

Overall I think/feel that I have a more positive attitude now than I did as a younger adult. I think that's also a common side effect of aging.

We have unprecedented technology nowadays. Of course, in the future our technology is likely to look crude and outdated.

I guess that we can strive to make the most of our ongoing situations. Even though things will be different later, at least do what we can now.

Whatever the case may be, keep on rockin'!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles: Another Session!

Submitted by eagle on Wed, 11/20/2019 - 17:54

Working on the goggles again!

Trying some more refinements of the shape, to make it fit better.

The lenses should fit in the frame. The frame should fit on the face.

The strap should fit in the frame.

In this part I feel like I'm manipulating small parts, refining, more than the previous bulk stages. Still not at the finest part.

My plan now is to spend the rest of this week's sessions smoothing out the frame shape, then have next week as my leeway week.

Then, on to the next stages of production!

It's hard to get going on a project. Especially when it's gray and cold, you're without caffeine, and you have other distractions. Still, once you get underway, momentum carries you along!

In any process there are imperfections, distractions.

I think it's important to carry on anyways.

Focus on the goal!

After a bunch more editing, I've smoothed out the frame in some parts. The frame now approximately fits around the lenses. I made the strap holders more even.

Also, I updated the procedure for mirroring one side of the model onto the other.

Here's some imagery!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!

More Thoughts in Republica Dominicana!

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 11/19/2019 - 21:12

For various reasons, I've had no cash for the week. So far I've been getting by through a mix of what people give me (food, cash), and what I find (fruits, vegetables). Fun!

Looks like there's still a fair bit of Republica Dominica to discover in the southwest. May not be nearly as developed/populated as the other parts, which is fine by me. After Haiti I may be looking for some quiet.

I consider it important, for me anyways, to lead a busy calendar. It prods one to do more interesting things, to have fewer regrets. I handle regrets poorly. Better to do tons of things!

There are tons of mistakes along the way. You adapt. Not to excuse sloppiness. But some mess or waste is part of any process.

It's funny that to me now being in a town seems like a bizarre challenge, while being out between towns seems normal. Normally it's the opposite!

Having some beautiful days in Republica Dominicana.

Some tough parts, some easy parts, but overall with numerous learning opportunities!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles: Now Featuring!

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 11/19/2019 - 20:36

Now working again on the goggles!

I want to make them comfortable.

I think that it will be quite difficult to get the measurements right the first time, just from theory.

I'm basically aiming to make the first version, 1.0, a prototype for testing out theories. I have ideas as to what makes for comfortable frames, and of how to make such. Yet, I want to try them on.

More testing to do, but it looks like the edits I did previously may have resulted in the difficult URL embossing that I wanted!

"Oops. Wait!"

My reaction on seeing that the embossing may have worked.

Numerous ways to do things!

You often gain insights from viewing things from multiple different angles.

Things often go unexpectedly. I still think it makes sense to plan, but also plan for your plans to go awry.

It sure feels cool to accomplish something difficult that you want!

One step at a time, going from idea to product!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!

Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!

Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!

Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!


Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!

Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles: Another Session!

Submitted by eagle on Mon, 11/18/2019 - 20:12

Working on the goggles again!

Now I'm trying to fix the URL in the frame. So far I have the gist of the text, but still trying to get it in the frame properly.

It's coming along. I just resolved one part of the problem, but still don't have a fully tested solution.

Precision work drives me crazy. Still, I think that precision work is important to make a workable product.

To be continued!

Eagle Eyes Adventure Goggles!

Another Week in Monte Cristi!

Submitted by eagle on Mon, 11/18/2019 - 13:42

It's interesting to see the commonalities, and differences, among people in different places. e.g. same family structure in different ecologies/climates, yet different trees, etc.

When I first pronounced "Canada" in Spanish, I placed the emphasis on the first syllable, as in English. I recall being corrected, that it has an accent on the last syllable. Here in Republica Dominicana, I've been corrected for pronouncing it with the emphasis on the last syllable. I just looked it up and it shows with an accent on the last syllable, so I'm not sure if there's some uncommon regional pronunciation here, or what.

People in Republica Dominicana have warned me against going to Haiti, often saying that Haitians are bad people, will kill me, etc. (in one case even saying they'll eat me "como vaca," like a cow).

Dominicans have a historical grudge against Haitians, who invaded a few hundred years ago. However, Haiti does have serious violence.

Protests near the U.S. Embassy, I've also read that foreigners are targets of Haitians.

Shortages of basics like water and food.

Shuttered banks and other businesses.

Burning barricades, roadblocks.

Rock-throwing, shooting, kidnapping.

Dangerous neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince apparently include Bel Air, Carrefour, Cité Soleil and Martissant.

Downtown dangerous, public transportation dangerous, night dangerous, border area dangerous, periods before special events dangerous, ATMs dangerous, etc. Seems like a dangerous country!

Petion-Ville has numerous armed robberies.

Also along Route Nationale 2, Petit-Goave to Miragoane.

It sounds like a poor country in a poor situation. I'm not really looking for that, but I do still want to see some of Haiti. At least a small amount.

Looks like 90 days in Haiti is legitimate without any visa extension.

$10 cash entry fee. Like a nightclub.

It's been a while since I've been sick here in Republica Dominicana. I therefore suspect it was just some initial travelers' illness from various local foods I ate, which my body has now adapted to.

Interesting. A disease I'd never heard of, chikungunya, is a virus that can cause long-lasting fever and joint pain. I wonder if I've ever had this, chalking it up to the weather?

Not much in the way of medical care in Haiti. Don't get sick!

Sounds like a poor African country, which in many ways it is.

Apparently boiling water is the best way to disinfect it. Convenient to know!

Reading government travel advisories is kind of funny. I think I've violated pretty much every rule! Seems like their advice would make for boring travel.

Haitian currency is the gourde.

Haiti also has Haitian dollars. Annoying when countries have two currencies. Five gourdes equals one Haitian dollar.

Bank cards should work in Haiti, when the ATMs work.

My main concern is the violence, both the systemic Haitian violence and the situation with the political turmoil. I still plan to see at least a small part of the country, and maybe by when I get there it'll seem safer.

Haitian Creole seems like the main language of Haiti, more than French. I'm going to try learning some Creole, somewhat before going, and more when I'm there.

Seems harder than one may think, from French to learn Haitian Creole. Still, I think at least a basic sense is manageable.

Another weekend in Monte Cristi!

Warm, sunny weather.

Went for a walk. Found a bike shop, a few blocks north of the town center. The first I've seen in town. Maybe I'll go back there before leaving town, to pick up a replacement pump (mine is broken, only partly works), a lock (I lost mine), and some spare tubes (the bike I traded for uses a different size than my previous bike).

The bike repair I did previously seems to have worked. The tire still holds air!

Eagle's law: Every Latin song contains the word "corazon".

Also popular in Latin songs: "olvidar" (forget, as in "I can't forget you"), "amor", "cuerpo" (body), y mas.

Republica Dominicana, like Cuba, feels like a "real" country. It has mountains, deserts, forests, cities, towns, farms, and more. Not to say that other countries are in some sense fake or anything. Just that people often have a notion of what makes a country, e.g. different regions, large enough size & population, etc. These larger islands feel like mini-continents, countries in the sea. By contrast, Puerto Rico feels (to me, anyways) more like a state or province, while Bahamas and other smaller islands feel like towns or counties.

Puerto Rico has a neat & tidy culture, yet with passion. A somewhat uncommon combination, which makes for catchy music (like Ricky Martin, Menudo, Despacito, etc.). Also, tasty & convenient food.

Puerto Rico has a neat & tidy culture, yet with passion. A somewhat uncommon combination, which makes for catchy music (like Ricky Martin, Menudo, Despacito, etc.). Also, tasty & convenient food.

By contrast, Cuba & Republica Dominicana seem hearty in a rough & wild way. The latter makes for more adventures, I think.

After Haiti, I'm planning to see the southwestern part of Republica Dominicana. Then, head to other Caribbean islands, not sure yet exactly in which route.

There are positive & negative experiences. For anyone, at any stage. I think it's important to be able to handle both.

Vendors walking by selling something, I can't make out what. It sounds like "cora" or something when they yell. The product looks like some herb or something. I also see what looks like cacti.

It's funny to see the contrasts, such as modern cars or trucks next to horses on dirt roads.

I heard that motorcycles require a license available at age 18. However, I see many people way younger than that riding. Some look no older than ten or so.

Republica Dominicana seems to be developing rapidly. As with some other countries, it seems that the adult generation had quite traditional agricultural conditions in large part, while the younger generations have in many senses modern conditions. By contrast, countries like the US seem to have developed a while ago, such that adults already had fairly modern conditions.

It's important to deal with uncertainty. Something that I think doesn't come easily to me. I've read that this ability improves with age, and I think that I'm getting better at it. Also seems more important during travel.

You can do a lot with not much.

In Republica Dominicana, chicken seems more common than pork or beef. Seafood is common on the coasts, and around larger lakes. Goat seems like a regional dish. They seem to make pork tastier here.

It's extra hard in a different culture to gauge when should arrive or go places. It seems to me like Dominicans consider it more normal than in North America to hang out for a while, e.g. a few hours.

A number of occasions recently, I've tried to work on the weekends, but wound up with so many distractions, other things to do, that work doesn't happen. I often then feel better, so I think that it's important to take weekends off!

Woke up early.

Monte Cristi strikes me as one of the most comfortable, middle-class towns I've seen in Republica Dominicana. People drive somewhat nicer vehicles than average, it has a nice location, etc.

More rain last night.

Back to work!

Monte Cristi, Republica Dominicana

More Monte Cristi Comments

Submitted by eagle on Fri, 11/15/2019 - 14:07

Monte Cristi seems like quite a dynamic town. People arrive & leave throughout the day.

People in one country often warn you about people in other countries. Everyone thinks they're fine, it's other people who are the problem!

Let's improve ourselves first.

Learn by doing!

Another Dominican Friday morning. Noisy again, after a quieter day.

Motorcycles and pickups roaring by. A woman sweeping the floor of the bar where I'm writing, which has been closed on weekdays but open on weekdays.

People chatting.

It's nice to have an extended period here!

Dominicans can be quite active, in social situations, yet they also leave you alone in the sense of not interfering. If anything, Dominicans are more likely to offer assistance, as in other Latin countries. I often feel like people are on my side, unlike in certain areas where I feel that many people are looking to cause problems. Of course, there are still criminals and other problems here, but overall I feel like some of the towns are quite upbeat!

Monte Cristi, Republica Dominicana