Questions For Harry

2014 - St. James City, Florida

Schim from Florida writes:
Your home fans are waiting for an update.  We all have no lives and love to hear of yours, so get your butt in gear and do it.

02/04/14 - Harry replies:
I have a life here in the Sunshine State, so fishing, fun, golf, and fast women all take precedence over the updates.

2012 - Back to the Baja

Schim from Florida writes:
If you die from the dog bite (rabies), can I have your iPad 2?


02/27/12 - Harry replies:
It is far too complex a machine for you to master.  BUY YOUR OWN!

2012 - Back to the Baja

Ed from Pennsylvania writes:

I hope you're feeling better.  Was that really an earthquake today or was it the return of Montezuma?  Seriously, did you feel the tremors?

6.2 quake hits off coast of southern Mexico

The Associated Press

MEXICO CITY - A magnitude-6.2 earthquake that hit off the coast of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas on Saturday shook as far away as El Salvador but brought no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The quake at 12:47 p.m. local time (1:47 p.m. EST; 18:47 GMT) broke windows in the Chiapas state capital of Tuxtla Gutierrez and sent frightened residents into the streets in numerous cities. It was felt from the Mexican state of Veracruz, through Pacific regions of Guatemala and into El Salvador.

"It was quite long and felt with a lot of force," said Carlos Lopez Mendoza, spokesman with the Red Cross in El Salvador.

The temblor, which some said felt like waves, also shook the Mexican cities of Comitan and Tapachula, said Jose Manuel Aragon, spokesman for the Chiapas Civil Protection agency.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean about 35 miles (57 kilometers) southwest of the city of Mapastepec, on the coast near the border with Guatemala. It had a depth of 41 miles (66 kilometers.)

"People here wanted to run," said Juan Carlos Hernandez, a restaurant owner in Mapastepec. "Luckily it was nothing bigger than a scare."

01/21/12 - Harry replies:
You know, the tremor could have been some collateral damage from my case of Montezuma.  I didn't feel it, however.  The shock waves must have passed east and south.  Thanks for thinking of me, though.

2011 - California:  You Have to Like Driving!

Andrea from Florida writes:

Doesn't your wife miss you and vice versa?

01/28/11 - Harry replies:
Aaaah, Andrea, don't you know that "Absence makes the heart grow fonder?"  I hope and suspect that she misses me, but you wouldn't know it from the way she encourages me to stay longer and go farther.  Perhaps there is something there about which I should be suspicious??

2009 - Key West, then Mexico by Bus

Marie from Pennsylvania asks:

What are the churches like there and do the people have a strong faith?  Is the Catholic Church the main church?  Just curious!!

03/21/09 - Harry responds:
Yes, the people are strongly Catholic. I am always amazed that even when riding in a car (or a taxi), the driver will always kiss his fingers, then cross himself when passing a church or shrine along the road. And, the Catholic Church is always the most significant building in even the poorest of towns.

2009 - Key West, then Mexico by Bus

Schim from Florida writes:

It seems to me that each year I am not with you, you miss me more?  Who is taking the brunt of your jokes with me not being along?


03/17/09 - Harry replies:

Your place is being ably taken at the current time by Crazy Larry of northern California. He has some amazing characteristics in common with you, but some significant differences. Like you, Larry spends little money on food, but what he spends is mostly at the market; he cooks for himself to save cash. Unlike you, however, he spends his money on beer, more important to him than to either of us, as I recall. Another couple of differences: he tells funny jokes, but he has no gorgeous girlfriend at home waiting for him. Just like last year, you missed a great experience!


2009 - Key West, then Mexico by Bus

Luke from Pennsylvania asks:
Hi Harry,

In your March 4 blog you mentioned ceviche, RAW fish COOKED in lime juice???  It sounds to me like either the cooked or raw can't be right.  Which is it, or did you mean it was raw and then cooked?


03/05/09 - Harry responds:
Hi, Luke,

Ceviche is raw fish cooked only by the citric juices in the lime juice in which it is marinated. Sometimes mixed with finely chopped onion and tomatoes and always with the herb cilantro, it is a light, fresh-tasting, delicious seafood dish started in Peru. It is now served as an appetizer in most of Latin America. I love the stuff.


2009 - Key West, then Mexico by Bus

Jesse from Florida writes:
Hello Harry,

Any chance you'll get to the trophy smallmouth fishery that is Lake Erie?  Specifically the Buffalo, NY region. It's not as glamorous as Spain or Italy or even Africa but the smallies are as big and mean as hyenas. Let me know. I have a good contact.

Great to see you.  Thanks for taking the time to "take a kid fishing".
Jesse Romero

03/04/09 - Harry replies:
Hola, Jesse!

I haven't heard about the trophy smallies in Lake Erie, but since there has been a major fish kill the last few years in the Susquehanna River, which had been a major smallie destination, I might just head up that way.  I have fished the Thousand Islands area, so I know the northern smallmouth is a fighting fool.

I remember our fishing expedition very well. I think that all adults should take the time to take a "kid" fishing, especially one who may not get that opportunity very often. Thanks for making contact.


2008 - South Africa, then the Dalmation Coast

Abby from Michigan asks:
     You mention people lingering over a cup of coffee - do they get refills like in America, or is it just one cup of coffee?
03/20/08 - Harry responds:
     The coffee is not bottomless, you get one cup unless you want to pay for another.  Interestingly, coffee with cream or milk costs more.  What's worse is that when you buy a sandwich they usually have a group of stainless steel dishes in the display case and you can choose what you want - pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, fresh cabbage, marinated cabbage, and a mild, red hot sauce - all at no extra cost.  But, if you want mayonnaise on the bun, there is an extra charge.  You just have to adjust to the differences and get with the program.

2007 - Pampas, Gauchos and Tangos... Then Chile, Panama and Costa Rica

Joanne in Pennsylvania asks:
     Do you talk with the 'locals' about their opinions regarding the Iraq war, America's foreign policy, America's standing in the world, etc.?
03/08/07 - Harry replies:
     I talk with the locals about almost everything. Last night, I ate dinner on the patio of my hotel, overlooking the lights of the beautiful central valley of Costa Rica. Dinner was take-out rotisserie chicken, cole slaw, chips, wine, and water. I bought enough to share with the night clerk at the hotel and I planned on dining with him and talking about whatever subjects came up. He ended up watching TV and eating by himself and, had I known that, I wouldn't have bought him the chicken and two beers. But, the uncle of the family that owns the hotel was needed to open my wine bottle with his Swiss army knife corkscrew, so we shared the bottle and talked about many things. Last night, one of the subjects was cheap labor (Nicaraguans) undercutting local craftsmen with household repairs and construction. The uncle is a trained and certified electrician, but he no longer works in his field, except at the hotel. He now works at the lumber yard/hardware store also owned by the family.
     Like the Amish in our area, the Nicaraguan semi-skilled workers don't buy insurance, don't follow building codes (our codes are usually so tight the Amish must follow most codes), don't pay minimum wage, etc. and do cheaper (and more shoddy) work than the skilled craftsmen.
     Well, that isn't what you asked, is it? Yes, I talk to them about Iraq and America's standing, etc. Generally, the people in the countries I have visited over the past few years like the American people, but the current government's policies and personnel are ridiculed. This President has dropped our nation's reputation down quite a few pegs in his six years in the oval office. I noticed this slide soon after we got involved in Iraq and soon after his Texas gunslinger comments went global. Our country and government were loved during the Clinton administration and most foreigners just laughed off the Lewinski thing as a "boys will be boys" behavior. Of course, most countries weren't begun with a puritan ethic and have a more liberal (and I think healthier) view about the human body and sex in general. Clinton was pretty much respected and admired worldwide. Our reputation as a nation was at a wonderful peak and it made traveling a breeze. I have talked to American travelers who now put Canadian flags on their luggage to avoid confrontation with others. I have not found that necessary, but I don't wear a lot of American flag shirts or hats, either.
     Got a little windy there, didn't I? Nothing much has changed in retirement, eh? Almost sound Canadian, eh? Thanks for staying in touch.

2007 - Pampas, Gauchos and Tangos... Then Chile, Panama and Costa Rica

From Luke in Pennsylvania:
     It looks to me like San Jose is around 9000 feet up and if you're higher I'd think you'd have breathing problems. I've been traveling vicariously with this site and especially with it's pictures. How do you get around without Glee??

Harry responds:
     How do I get around without Glee? Good question. This morning, I walked about a mile to the bottom of the hill, caught a public bus to Santa Ana, and then hailed a cab to take me to the golf course. I went to hit a bucket of golf balls, but a young guy who moved here a couple of weeks ago talked me into playing a round. I had a great time, but got a little too much sun - no real burn, though. After golf, I called a cab to take me back to Santa Ana for the bus home, but the people in the pro shop talked the cabbie into taking me back here (in the Internet center in Escazu) for $8.00, so I cabbed it back here about 15 minutes ago. The answer to your question is mostly walking and public buses, although cabs are usually very inexpensive. I hope that you are enjoying the trip this year.

2007 - Pampas, Gauchos and Tangos... Then Chile, Panama and Costa Rica

From Judy in Pennsylvania:
     I was just at a wine tasting in NYC and tasted a few great malbecs (Noemia).  If you stumble across any pick up a bottle or two.  The cost here is about $95.00/btl.  I'd be curious to see how much it is there.  Keep me posted on your travels.

Harry answers:
     I don't take these questions lightly.  I have not located the particular wine that you mention, but not because I haven't tried.  Futilely, I first tried a large grocery store recommended by a senior citizen on the street.  It had a huge wine section complete with two large shelves of Malbec whose every bottle I perused.  Then, I tried two Vinotecas (wine shops) with no luck before turning despondently to the wine bars.
     At Puerte Zuelho, which has a great selection that I regularly sample, they had never heard of Noemia.  But, later last night, at a new, larger wine bar (a real hot spot among locals) they sold a bottle from Bodega Noemia called "A Lisa" that sold for 90 pesos ($30).  The knowledgeable bartender, who fortunately spoke English, informed me that Noemia had two better wines at much higher prices, but that they didn't carry them.  Don't despair, the research goes on.  Next to the bikini research that I have conducted in the past, this could be my favorite.

Judy in PA. responds:
     I appreciate all your hard work. I sampled the A Lisa as well as the other two (the A Lisa is only $16/btl - my cost in 2005).  The Noemia Malbec 2003 and 2004 were quite good - I preferred the 2003.  Both are Bodegia Noemia from Patagonia.

Harry replies:
     I will continue my search for the Noemia Malbec, either '03 or '04.  You have presented me with an interesting challenge and one that is fun to pursue.

01/16/07 - Harry writes:

     Success!!! My search has finally yielded the 2004, J. Alberto from Bodega Noemia about which you inquired. I found a huge wine shop with cooling rooms that held the wines at the proper temperatures and they sold all three Noemia wines. I didn't price the A. Lisa, but the middle J. Alberto was priced at $160 pesos ($53). The J. Alberto 2004 that you tasted in New York sells for 190 pesos ($63). I am eager to taste the bottle of the one you recommended that I brought back to my apartment, waiting for just the right mood and occasion to enjoy it. My buddy, Schim, is appalled that I would spend that much for a bottle of wine, but then he has never paid more than $10 for a bottle in his life. I will give him only the smallest taste of this one. Thanks for the challenge!

2006 - Condo Renovation, Charleston, SC, and Glee's Demise

Abby from Michigan asks:
     What is the scariest travel experience you've had?

Harry answers:

     My scariest travel experience has been this year's (2006) thought of having to stay home and face the ravages of winter in PA, instead of making my annual three-month pilgrimage to warmer climates.  I am still hoping to get away for a shorter time, but the thought of snow and cold wind is frightening.
     Other than that, the intimidating border crossings in Central America come to mind, as well as the night Leonardo (my motor scooter) broke down in France and I faced the prospect of sleeping outside on a cold winter evening.  But for sheer terror, I would pick the first day of my scooter ride the previous year when I failed to check a map and took a route through the mountains of northern Italy to get to Genoa along the Mediterranean.  The sides of the road were covered with snow, icicles hung from the overhanging rock ledges, and the road itself looked suspiciously shiny.  On two wheels, an icy road could have caused a treacherous skid and my heart was beating wildly in my chest during that entire day's ride.  I never lost control of the scooter, so the road only looked icy, but it took me a couple of hours soaking in a hot tub in Genoa to warm up and to slow my heart rate.  That same year the Mistral (winter wind from the Alps to the Mediterranean) forced me to lean the scooter precipitously as I crossed several bridges heavy with truck traffic in France and that was also pretty harrowing.
     Basically though, my trips have been a delight and the few scary moments have merely caused a slight adrenaline rush and made for more colorful stories when I report back to my friends snuggled in their winter beds.

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