Archive | February, 2011

Costa Rica Retroactive Diary Day 5: Goddamn Bloodsuckers!!!

27 Feb

Hypercortizone eased my discomfort for seconds at a time. But it didn’t help much. Looked like I had a really bad rash, or poison oak, or elephantitis. Every time my arm itched my temper flared. I remembered when Paul thought I broke the laundry machine and he (jokingly?) suggested that I could stay an extra couple of weeks and work the costs off. The nerve of this guy huh?

At this point I knew I was heading for the hot springs in San Gerardo, from there maybe go to Domenical to get some beach time.

Sleeping the night before in this (two bit) motel: arms on fire, sirens going off, Calypso music playing down the street, fireworks going off, and my throat was hurting. Some vacation. It was like I was actively seeking  higher levels of discomfort by the day.

But I wasn’t as overwhelmed as when I first got into the country.  Despite the craziness this was still a good choice. Made me wonder about Mazatlan and El Bolson…..some day soon for both cities…..and I’d definitely would be ready.

It seemed like the more uncomfortable I got, the more I valued the experience. My throat was burning and my body felt like it was wilting from dehydration.

Luckily for me, on Costa Rican buses, people are allowed to come aboard on stops and sell stuff. Two Ticos jumped onto the bus selling chips, sodas, and “pipa” juice. I bought myself two bags of coconut water and drank them up (Hepatitis be damned).

I immmediately felt better.  In two short weeks I’d be returning to the states a completely different person.  Hopefully I’d be more confident, feel more solid. I’d survived a couple of weird scrapes so far and my Spanish was actually fairly decent for a negro gringo. I was starting to consider the option of teaching English in a foreign country…Japan maybe?????

Quite beautiful here. One of the nicest bus rides one can ever take (and cheapest 12 dollars for a 300km ride)  Cute little thang checking me out….dark skin, nice body…maybe 18 years of age. She seems DTF, which means she may have an STD.

Earlier in the ride I had a gal’s strong buttocks rested against my shoulders, and supported my back muscles. Then I had a guy’s crotch in my face for the next 40 kms.  He was polite though so I didn’t mind too much.

Cumbia music playing on the busses. I spotted a white kid and his mother and two sisters. “Hey Yankee.” I yell. “Where you going?”

Turns out he’s going the same place I am. Chirripo National Park. I follow him and his family to the a hostel and squeeze into the same place. Turns out we’re bunkmates–all five of us.  They are from Amherst, Massachussetts, which isn’t far at all from where I stayed out in the Berkshires. Nice people, they’ve even hiked part of the Appalachian Trail.

The mountain itself was beautiful and overlooked everything. The fog came up a couple a hours after we checked into our hostel. The way it ate up everything around me reminded me of the Berkeley fog out in the bay area.

It felt good up here. The hostel was really nice. Casa Mariposa. Run by two married ex-pats from Arizona. This had bed and breakfast written all over it. In the States you’d pay at least 45 bucks for a room here. Nice showers, wood everywhere. This was the first time I’d felt comfortable the whole trip.

I spent the night talking to a very lovely young lady from upstate New York and went to bed happy. So far this was the best part of the trip. I had no idea how long I was going to stay but it felt so good to be able to relax again.  I slept like a baby that night.

Fry St.

27 Feb

(For Andrew)

We watched her sway

in the drizzling rain

to Willie.

Because it seemed


“written the song just for her.”

She was drunken

stoned and crazy.

The front headlights

captured her dancing

in an almost tragic way,

like a scene

out of a

David Lynch movie.

It was too late to

be so loud.

But it was college.

and we lived in

a college town.

I wondered quietly

how long would

these organically magical moments

continue to happen with us.

~Edward Austin Robertson~

More of what the doctor ordered

14 Feb

And congrats to the Arcade Fire for winning a Grammy for album of the year (though there wasn’t much competition) Pretty sure that next  year’s winner will be Radiohead:

Definitely cause to dance:



12 Feb

My doctor says that I need more David Gilmour in my life.

Birdfoot’s Grandpa

12 Feb

In fifth grade, my English teacher Mrs. Robertson taught us this poem. Her husband was a reporter for the Houston Chronicle. Many moons later,  I was working the media/ elevator for the University of Texas football program, when he stepped in. I immediately recognized him and told him I was a student of his wife’s back in 1989. I then added how she was the best English teacher I’d ever had.  This was always one of the poems that stuck with me the line, “We’ve got places to go to.” Stayed in my head enough that I had to look it up and post it.

The old man

Must have stopped our car

Two dozen times to climb out

And gather into his hands

The small toads blinded by our lights

And leaping live drops of rain.

The rain was falling

A mist about his white hair

and I kept saying

You can’t save them all,

Accept it, get back in

We’ve got places to go to.

But leather hands full

Of wet brown life,

Knee deep in the summer

Roadside grass,

He just smiled and said

they have places to go to too.

~Joseph Bruchac~

(Stolen Kisses) On Borrowed time

9 Feb


He flew in on Frontier airlines

into Denver.

Frozen Snow on the tarmac

thinking of that time he touched down

into Alaska

to meet up with a college friend

to shoot guns and chase the lights.

He was only a connecting flight

away from seeing his grand plans

come into fruition.

A Plantain farm

somewhere deep in Costa Rica.

The big payoff

for his year of frugality.


He kicked things off on

New Year’s Eve hitching

a ride with a malcontent buddy

down to Oklahoma City

for the Flaming Lips freakout.

The most spectacular show in

his life’s most recent memory.

Though his buddy was far from impressed,

he had a party to attend

and so they parted ways

with a promise

to meet later so

he could collect his booze

and belongings.

And when asked how he was going to get around,

he said ” I’ll figure it out.”

Then he focused his attention

towards the stage and the

performing of the “Soft Bulletin”.


And so the show ended.

He didn’t scramble nor panic

but made a call to someone

he knew that had floor seating,

and caught a ride to a party

in the Paseo district near the

neighborhood where his buddy

would be staying for the night.

He grabbed a drink and ignored

the other drunks and turned

his focus to the dimples

on her adorable face.

The more they talked

polygamy, anarchy, and

Edward Abbey,

the closer their faces got

and the lower their voices dropped

and the crowd around them disappeared.


Inside her house,

kissing in her doorway,

with his belongings

in the trunk of a cab

the meter running

the departure time nearer

his heart racing.

Slipping his tongue into

the tender and erotic,

hands sweeping across her buns,

her fingers dancing along his waist.

It couldn’t be the end

maybe back in OKC

or a farm in south Texas

but this wasn’t goodbye,

not at 5:30 AM.

Which is why he calmly ignored

the jumping dog pawing at his arms

and the running meter outside

and the bus sitting at the Greyhound station,

the people already boarding.

Because sometimes you just know

when the mojo is in your favor

that everything is running on time

that everything is okay.

She says to him,

“You have to go don’t you?”
and he nods his head yes.

They kiss one final time

before he heads out the door

and out into the

cold Oklahoma streets.

~Edward Austin Robertson~

Winter Blast 2011

5 Feb

We got hit pretty hard down here. And because Oklahoma can’t figure out whether its in the midwest or the southwest, the state is never prepared for when the winter storms hit. The whole city is shut down. But since I work at a 24 hour emergency shelter, we never close. Through some weird circumstances, most of the employees on payroll are trapped in their homes and can’t make it to work. I had a feeling I’d be relied upon pretty heavily, so I gathered up some provisions, extra clothing and hiked the 1.2 km to work during the initial blizzard on Tuesday (I unscrewed the handle from my broom and used it as a walking stick to guage the depth in questionable areas). That was around 3pm and I’m still here as of 5:22 AM February 4th.
I’ve been camping out here ever since. There were two other counselors here who were stuck and couldn’t leave the shelter until yesterday afternoon. But I’ve chosen to stay. Part of this is due to not wanting to go home until I absolutely have to (its still pretty nasty out–kinda like Empire Strikes Back) and also because we are still short handed. Some counselors have found it easier to get to work but its still pretty treacherous. Some have walked, others chose to drive.
We’ve managed to make it fun for the kids though. Games of football, XBox and of course television has kept us occupied. When the kids go to sleep I get to work on projects and the counselors all sleep in shifts. The best thing about it all is that I’m making hazard pay which is like time and a half, and my overtime pay kicked in this evening. And our local rivers desperately needed the precipitation and snow–they’d been severely dry lately.
So the sleepover continues for another couple of days. I’m very fortunate to be safe and we still have electricity.