Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I went South as far as I could go, it was cool, well actually it was unbelievably cold. This is my story.
In my life travel has been a passion. I have now been officially to 137 countries, and not just to change planes. To experience the culture, to enjoy the differences, and mostly to taste the food and come to know the people. There are some good places I could stay forever, some places with no soul that were challenging just to visit, and some places that lit my imagination like a rocket.
Antarctica! The South Pole! A pure white covering of ice over the very beginning of the earth. The core of Gondwanaland. Frozen mountains, Katabatic winds that blow up to 150 miles per hour, a sky of endless sun and endless dark, and the South Pole space station, in search of the origin of the Universe. Imagine yourself in the midst, all alone in the world's most brutal place. It is the highest, coldest, stormiest, driest, windiest place on the earth, and far away from any civilized life. What would it be like, and what would you be like in it? Would you survive? Would you cope? Would it change your life forever?
In this world of instant gratification, immediate global communication, streaming video of every facet of life there seems not much left to explore, to find, to discover. TV shows fly around the world on a racing adventure, anyone can raft the Amazon, we've been to the moon, to caverns far below the surface, I guess we have been there, done that everywhere.
Or, wait, have we? There is a huge difference between looking at a picture and actually standing in the spot. I think that only in the physical experience can we truly know where we are, and where we are going.
When you put your hand into the water in iceberg alley you can feel what the seals and penguins feel when they swim. You can have your guide yell "Get your hand back in the boat" at the top of his lungs, and wonder why until a leopard seal at least 10 feet long pops up to see where his snack went. PHEW! In a 12' zodiac inflatable boat you are on the water and part of the wildlife. The small motor is a huge attraction for penguins who love to swim and jump in the wash of the propeller, and the leopard seals follow to find their next of the eight penguins a day they eat. As you sit very still on the cold and rocky shore two juvenile penguins come to check you out, nudging each other forward until one thinks that jumping into your lap is a good idea, and you are not sure that he isn't after your eyes - so you shoo him away, gently, and he hops off to tell his parent. You watch with horror as a bird large enough to be a nightmare snatches a baby penguin for its supper. You also watch as the penguins snuggle their young and cuddle their mates.
Reality is not on TV, get out there and see it for yourselves. More on Antarctica tomorrow, then the North Pole!
Monday, July 27, 2009
Today we are reprinting the letter from Michael Bingham, the correspondant for Ice Ice Baby, our Magellanic penguin. AND we have photos! Ice Ice Baby is sitting on two eggs today, and we'll keep you updated on the progress of our flock. (Hey, are a bunch of penguins a flock?)
Dear Icebar Orlando
Thank you for supporting our penguin adoption programme with the adoption of Ice Ice Baby.
Your adopted penguin is a Magellanic penguin of about 5 years old.
Magellanic penguins are only found around southern South America in Chile, Argentina and the Falkland Islands. Each year we monitor population changes at selected breeding sites throughout their breeding range, and money raised through our penguin adoption programme pays for this work.
See www.seabirds.org/penguinstudysites.htm to see where we work. Click on each link for more information on each of our study sites.
At the beginning of each breeding season we visit our selected study sites and examine each and every nest to see how many breeding pairs are in the colony. This allows us to record any population changes, since Magellanic penguins return to the same colony to breed each year. This work has revealed a 90% population decline over the last 20 years in the Falkland Islands, whilst populations in nearby Chile and Argentina have increased.
As well as population counts, we also monitor all our adopted penguins throughout the season, in order to see how many eggs hatch, and how many chicks survive. By monitoring penguins over a number of years we are able to spot differences in breeding success, and find the causes of population decline.
These studies have shown that in the Falkland Islands, breeding success is much lower than in nearby Chile and Argentina, due to chick starvation in the Falklands. Chick survival in the Falklands is less than one third of that of Chile and Argentina because commercial fishing around the Falklands makes it hard for penguins to find food for their chicks.
In Chile and Argentina, where commercial fishing is banned close to penguin colonies, chicks are fed every 12 to 14 hours. In the Falklands, where there is no such protection from commercial fishing, chicks are fed every 34 hours. The lower abundance of food resulting from commercial fishing means that adult penguins must spend over twice as long finding food to feed their chicks in the Falklands. As a result, chicks in the Falklands receive less than half the amount of food, so few chicks survive, leading to population decline.
In September 2000, members of the International Penguin Conservation Work Group passed a resolution calling for no-fishing zones around penguin breeding sites in the Falkland Islands, as has been done in Chile and Argentina. Unfortunately the Falkland Islands Government have refused to honour this, despite the decline in penguin numbers.
Another potential threat to penguins is tourism, however our studies into the effects of tourism show no differences in breeding success for sites visited by tourists and those which are not. This is good news for anyone wishing to visit their penguin. They can be confident that their visit will not cause disturbance, and that we are monitoring the affects of tourism on penguins.
Our adoption programme runs for one year, although of course it can be renewed each year to follow the same penguin. Magellanic penguins arrive at the breeding sites in September, which is when we begin our monitoring work.
Eggs are laid during October, and chicks hatch during December. Chicks leave in February, but adults that have reared young remain around the breeding site until April.
Between April and September, Magellanic penguins remain entirely at sea, migrating northwards up the coast of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, where the austral winter offers longer hours of daylight and warmer waters.
Throughout the breeding season you will be kept updated as to how your penguin is doing - when the eggs are laid, when they hatch, and how the chicks fare. We will also send you a photo of any chicks.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
While we know that "sex sells", we are also part of the Orlando family of tourist venues and for that reason don't want to be overly suggestive. We did want to show that being at Icebar Orlando is fun and also let guests know that we do have the best Ice Princesses that Orlando can offer. Please give us your comments, we appreciate any thoughts and suggestions. Ice Blue Princess will also be part of our upcoming Ice Princess Calendar, which we are shooting very soon. We have found our photographer, and our Ice Princess team is excited to be part of this opportunity. Just have to find a great publisher to make it happen. We'll keep you posted, and hope you let us know how we are doing.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
At the crack of day this morning the Icebar team opened early to meet FOX news 35 Entertainment maven Christine Van Blockland for a live taping of our ICEBAR. This had been scheduled three times, but today there was no news more worthy and we were LIVE.
Omar, the camera guru, set up shop at 6:00 AM. His truck, looking like a van from space, cranked up a tower about 30' tall and snaked wires out to hook us all up to the towers LIVE. Interestingly we OOPS "lost the feed" on one segment, and seems like we were being beamed to a tower in Sanford, which was a little too far, but the Hunters' Creek tower was down, and so we were transferred to the Bithlo tower. I did not know there were so many from which to choose. Omar was truly a one man crew with an amazing array of wires, batteries, microphones, cameras, tripods and other magic gear than seemed to appear and reappear while he effortlessly filmed with a camera that had to weigh 35 pounds. Great job, Omar, and THANK you for making us look good.
Christine Van Blockland, star of Fox 35 Entertainment, and "ASK Christine", is a tiny dynamo. She and our Ice Princess Tristen are the same size, I think they claim to be 5' tall, but from my clogs it looked a little like a "tall tale".
Christine talks, energetically and FAST. She is an upbeat whirlwind at 6 am. First fixing her hair and makeup, she cheerfully let us throw capes over her head and then even asked for an Ice Princess fur headband. (Note to self: Christine would make a great Ice Princess should she ever decide to leave the world of TV). She walked us through the process of being on live TV, and told us she would give us about a 10 second warning... that seemed long enough, and we spent the next two hours mostly waiting for the next shot.
It was fun, we had a good time, and when we were taping inside Christine told our guys at the side bar that since it was morning TV they could toast with the ice glasses, but not drink, because we wanted to be careful not to show alcohol consumption. She didn't tell the Ice Queen, so when it was my turn, Hey! I DRANK! It was water with blue curacao just to show some color, but Sean our Ice Bartender, put real vodka down the luge, so I got my first drink of the day quite early! The one thing that seemed to be a problem was our drink names. We serve Seal Bite, which is red, Thin Ice, which is green, Yellow Snow (you figure it out), and our signature cocktail, Penguin Pizz.
The Pizz part gave them a lot of angst. Christine just could not bring herself to say the word, so she said, hey, the drink comes out like a Penguin PEZ !!! The anchor said HUH!
This was fun, we look forward to seeing ourselves on the news, and you can see it at:
Friday, July 17, 2009
Saturday the 18th of July is the 3rd Saturday, and another JADE Event at Icebar Orlando. This groups parties have been a mainstay for the local crowd enjoying the Icebar and the Fire Lounge. With the sponsorship of Godiva Chocolate this month, and the birthdays of Ernest Wilson, Sophia Jones and DJ Saxwell we expect to have a great crowd.
We roll out the red carpet, crank up the volume and welcome everyone with FREE champagne at the door and $2.00 per glass for this months' Birthday Celebrations.
The music, a creative combination of r & b, hip hop, top 40's will be mixed by DJ Saxwell and guest DJ Dr. Doom, who won the Jacksonville "People's Choice" award. A night to dance under the Nordic lights in the Fire Lounge.
With specials like $5.00 Long Island Ice Tea, $2.00 Domestic Draft, and $100 bottles with VIP service you are sure to be treated like loyalty by our Ice Princess and Icebar Team. The doors open at 9 pm and don't close until the wee hours.
A sell out is expected, so come early to get in, and it's for the grown ups only tonight, you must be 21 and dressed to impress..
In the past we have had many celebrities make appearances at Icebar Orlando, recently, Marcus Jordan came for a birthday party, we have had boxers, pro football players, basketball players, arena football players, and even a film star and producer. You never know who will show, so come, see,and be seen at the premier red carpet event of July.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Did you know? Penguins can run faster than most men, and swim faster than most fish! Skeletons have been found that are about 50 million years old. These guys are designed to be the best fishermen in the world. While penguins are perfectly adapted to the environment in which they live, they are less able to cope with alterations of the environment brought about by commercial fishing, oil pollution and coastal development.
We'll be working to help make changes in the dangerous practices of some folks that are threatening the penguin existence. You can help! Adopt your own penguin, or just join us at Icebar Orlando on any Sunday where we feature Little Penguin Wine and donate all proceeds to Arctic and Antarctic preservation.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Since it is by initiation, if you didn 't get one, shoot me an email to: email@example.com to get on the guest list. You must be an employee of hotel or travel business, and have ID to show at the door.
We're mixing up our best beverages to give you a taste of what we can do with Vodka. I will tell you that 95% of the people who come and say "I don't like vodka" become, "Where can I get this?" in one visit.
We will also share our Ice bar with you, the cape, the gloves, the glass made of ice. You will feel what the Arctic feels like, and you won't have to go 3,812 miles to get there.
We'll tell you the story of Little Penguin wine, and why we serve that brand. It's about conservation of habitat (that's a hint). We'll show you a good time.
See you tonight.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
The Eskimos, when they hunted polar bears to have warm clothing in the arctic winters only had spears to use as weapons. They didn't want to pierce the skin, because the cold air would then get inside whatever coat they made, so they had to come up with a way to capture the polar bear. The father Eskimo would cut a circle in the ice, and the mother would gather peas from their meager stores. The children would place the peas carefully around the hole in the ice late at night. In the morning,when the polar bear came to take a pea they would kick him in the ice hole.
Continuing with the new shooter menus, we have the following tests to report:
ESKIMO KISS REALLY TASTES LIKE A CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRY, CREAM FILLING AND ALL
1/3 fl oz Swiss Chocolate Almond (I used chocolate)
1/3 fl oz Cherry Brandy
1/3 fl oz Amaretto
Layer in order and top with cream. SHOOT!
This is one good shooter. I used Pinnacle Vodka Chocolate flavor, and it Made The LIST!
Saturday, July 11, 2009
SHOTS FOR OUR NEW MENU
Testing new shots for our Icebar Orlando shot menu is hard work, but heck, the Ice Queen is up to the challenge…. I left out all the ones with objectionable names, hey, we’re in Orlando!
ANTI FREEZE yuk
This is actually awful tasting. Even with the smooth Pinnacle Vodka. Maybe I should wait longer after I brush my teeth.
AMARETTO CHILL good, sweet needs a lemon twist
1/2 a fluid ounce or 1.5 centilitres of Vodka
1/2 a fluid ounce or 1.5 centilitres of Amaretto
1/2 a fluid ounce or 1.5 centilitres of Lemonade Mix
1/2 a fluid ounce or 1.5 centilitres of Pineapple Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a 2 ounce shooter glass.
AVALANCHE YUMMY might make a good sweet martini with some vodka YUP, chocolate pinnacle is jist right Just add the Pinnacle Chocolate Vodka and the martini is VERY GOOD