n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

back from the wilderness, but no internet

So I am at an Internet Cafe for a few... it´s probably a good thing since I only have today and tomorrow left before I leave Costa Rica to come home, so probably I should be out and about enjoying the heat, which is finally intense... summer arrived here while I was in Corcovado Park.

I have a lot to say about Corcovado... I ended up flying in, and flying out as well. If my pack had been lighter, I am pretty sure I could have done the hike, but actually I was pretty damned sore from the day hikes I did: each day tackling a new one, and by the end, I did all the day hikes around the station: Rio Claro, Along the Beach (several times), Naranja (several times), Sirena (several times), Part of the Patos trail, Espaveles, Ollas, Rio Claro again, and finally Guancoste. Most of the animals I saw on the first couple of days, but the forest and trees were always amazing, and I swam in a cool pool in the Rio Claro, and sat on palm trees drinking coconut juice, and climbed up to where I could see the coast sprawled out in front of me...

And am fairly happy with myself desite the lazy flying in and out. All yesterday I read a trashy book in the heat and lazily watched the white-faced cappuchin jump around in the mangroves (for my last three nights, I booked a mid-range hotel, which is pure shee-shee after the hostel dorms and camping awning I´ve been staying at). Today my plan is to rent a bicycle and go down to the Playa Preciosa again and go bobbing about in the surf. First a few chores though.

Oh, and I got stood up last night! I was walking down the street yesterday, and ran into a guide I had spoken with several times. Just as I was walking away, he asked me out to dinner and he was clearly asking me out on a date. I asked if we might postpone it until today because I had plans to do absolutely nothing last night, but he said ¨pleaaaaase,¨ and so I agreed and changed my plans (didn´t drink the beers I was planning on drinking in the afternoon). But then he didn´t show. Irritated that I had changed plans for no reason, I went down to the bar to say hey to Kenny and there was this guide, drinking with a couple of girls! He didn´t see me, and I didn´t punch him. Heh. Instead I went home, drank my beers quietly in front of a lit Christmas tree, and finished my lazy sprawl. What a strange world!

I have to say, I feel pretty good today. And I´m off...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

well, what about that!

First thing the abuela who owns this hostel told me in the morning is that I need to get married to someone rich soon, because ¨youth is free and easy, everyone loves you, and you can do whatever you want, but when you get older and uglier, nobody wants you and everything is hard. Best to find someone soon.¨ I am trying to remember the context for this pithy commentary, but Im not sure there is an acceptable context, at least not first thing in the morning! I laughed and told her she was scaring me, and she said ¨good.¨

So, the folks I met the second full day I was here...

When I got up, it was raining so I decided to eat breakfast, but found that all the little cheap cafes were closed because it was Sunday. So I went to a slightly more expensive resturant on the main drag, and ordered some coffee and a ¨pinto¨ which is rice and beans with something else to the side, often a meat in sauce or eggs and ham. I finished and had another coffee... it was still raining... watched the people passing by under their umbrellas, or racing through the puddles, played some of my vacation logic puzzles that I find so relaxing, and finally this woman shows up and sits down at the table next to me.

She looks at me several times, and I think that perhaps she wants to strike up a conversation but doesn´t know how, so I started and asked her something. We have a very mellow conversation about this and that, about the park and her travels so far, and then the conversation settles down. But before long, she is conversing in German with the gentleman at the table one over from her. When that conversation ends, the man asks me a question over her table, we talk for a few seconds, and then the woman in the middle table says, ¨Hmmmm, I think you should both come to this table.¨ And so we do.

We actually have a really nice conversation about where everyone has been, where we´re going, who we are traveling with (we are all traveling alone), what has been the best, then what our careers are, and so forth. The Swiss guy, Adrian, is a type of social worker that focuses on educating families on how to create a healthy place for their children. The German gal, Astrid, is a therapist who focuses on movement, or how peoples movement, positions, and physical interactions reflect a type of psychology. They are both smart, unusual, well-traveled and highly interesting. Over the course of the day, it turns out that they are both genuinely nice people as well. In fact, they are two of the nicest people Ive met in a very long time, and we were well matched in age (Astrid is only a few years older than me, and Adrian is in his fifties) and character.

So, a good conversation turned into an agreement to go together to the Botanical Gardens, which ironically is what I had arranged to do by myself, but so had they. And we were the only people in the park! Again, nice conversation, a good pace, monkeys and toucans, flowers and trees, avejas cortepelos (which I could have done without as they burrowed into my hair and clung there for dear life). After a few hours in the park, we split up for a half hour or so, to meet up again and go to a recommended beach in Adrian´s car. The beach was a long sandy, rolling beach, and I had bought some pastries for us to share, and Adrian sat on the log and looked off into the distance, while I wandered down towards the waves and Astrid beachcombed for seed pods and interesting pieces of wood.

After this, dinner together at the seafood place... and that is when the soccer tournament was, so we enjoyed that afterwards, then went to a bar and had a few drinks. We were joined by a Tica girl who is a guide and tourist worker who had met Adrian before... she was totally and utterly tossed, kept repeating herself, and slowly as it came out, was hitting on Astrid to a large degree! Also, it turned out that our waitress, who was acting a little strange and utterly hostile to this girl (Eileen), was a former girlfriend... and either they had only broken up three months ago, or three years ago, or they had dated for three years and broke up three years ago, or they broke up because of incompatibility or because of a desire to play the scene, or whatnot, I don´t know because Eileen told us approximately 2.3 different versions of everything, including her age (either 17 or 27).

Anyhow, Eileen was shit-faced, the waitress was pissed, Astrid was nervous, Adrian was entertained, and I was extremely amused when Eileen set about telling Astrid and Adrian why women-women love is far better than anything they´d ever possibly experienced. I tried to keep the disagreement off my face. Heh. She was pretty funny... would have been great had she not repeated herself endlessly, including a few English tics like saying ¨really really¨ and ¨No No, No, really really, I no lie to you, for sure, its the TRUTH!!!!¨ Regardless of whether we were disagreeing with her or not. She also had the amusing habit of ordering a beer from the angry waitress, taking a mouthful, and then ordering another one. She bought beers for everyone at the table, although nobody was finished with their drinks and Astrid had stopped. All and all, she was an interesting endpoint to the evening, and so it ended and Astrid and I gave each other a big hug, Adrian and I exchanged one of those cheek-kiss things that I still find slightly traumatizing, and we each went our ways... to different ends of the earth.

Strange these small encounters with kindreds. They are so easy, so easy they make you wonder why the rest of human interaction is so damn hard.

I have been having many thoughts on this trip. I will try to note them down in my notebook while I am in the park, but I must tell you, the park has no blog and so I shall be swapping to paper for these thoughts. I think they are good thoughts. Observations about myself, about life. For instance, all those bad recursive, endlessly repetitively thoughts that I struggle with every day in my life back home, well, they are not here. They havent followed me, and this is such a relief to my mind. It is so nice to be full every night with new information, new input. To not have to fret about certain things.

I still feel dreadfully out of shape, fat, and dull as a teaspoon. I still feel unaccomplished. But I also feel relaxed, like I can see my way over the edge of the teapot.

So I will write about that. In my notebook. In the meantime, I will mention that the sun was out all day today, and after spending a day by myself yesterday - renting a bike and going down to the beach for a bit - then biking back in the pouring raining to arrive dripping and happy just in time for a beer on the porch. After that, I went back to Kennys to try and arrange to get the photos to him, and he told me he had a surf tour schedule for today and I was welcome to join and take pictures. Which I did, and after taking some photos... I went swimming with the surfers and bobbed and floating in the warm Golfo Dulce on the Pandulce Beach. And my body thrummed all the drive home in satifaction... when I get back from the park, I am going swimming every day, I tell you!

In the meantime, Merry Christmas, folks. And happy return of the sun.
I ran into Eileen the next day, and to my surprise, she actually remembered me and had the good grace to blush.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I should be renting a bike and going to the beach but...

...it`s another tropical downpour. Jeesh, it`s friggin` crazy here! The people dont know what to think because normally the rain slows down and stops at the beginning of December, but everything is still flooding. Last night I woke several times to the sounds of absolute fury of water on aluminum roofs nearby and around town.

So, let me start from the hostel that I`m staying in, which I described in brief last entry. I`ve done alot of my normal wandering around, looking at houses, figuring out the layout of the streets, the animals around, and so forth. There is the main part of town, which follows a strip of paved road for about a mile... with stores and resturants, mostly tourist offices, along this drag, and people always standing or sitting around in clusters, drinking beer or hawking wares, or gossiping I guess. The sentiment on this strip is, or feels, a little hostile (or agressive) towards tourists, but once you get off the strip, this changes completely. It`s rather strange. Off the main town strip, there is one main road that runs along the waterfront, down past a small ferry pier, the middle-cost hotels, bars and seafood restaurants. Along this road, the teenagers and youngsters in love gather and hangout, rev their motorcycles, play music from their cars and look out across the gulf.

Last night was a huge national soccer competition... I guess the equivalent of the superbowl for Costa Rica, and everybody went hog wild at about 7pm, after the game ended in penalty shots. Boys and girls were gathered in trucks, riding around on bicycles, waving flags, pounding drums, and singing Ole Ole Ole! In fact, this make-shift parade made two circuits around the town, with everyone in the resturant I was eating in rushing out to join them whenever the passed by. An interesting contrast to the morning, which was utterly quiet and shut-down for the morning services.

I finally met some people here - two different sets actually. The first night I was here, I wandered around and wandered into a friendly looking resturant to ask about the advertised tours. The guy sat down and talked with me about it, but when he saw my camera, he got excited and offered to give me free tours in exchange for photos he could put up on his webpage. Every day he wanted! I agreed to try one day with Kenny, and see how it went. Just to secure the time, I went back to his bar at night and he treated to a beer, and talked and talked and talked. About the third time he tooted his own horn, talking about how just the other day he bought a headstone for the father of some poor friends of his, who he told -Money doesn`t matter, and you should hold your heads up with or without moeny.- I started to wonder if his offer of photo for tour exchange was on the up and up, or whether he was just hitting on me.

Leave it to me to be hit on by the only man in this town who has an ass at least three times the size of my own. Oops, that was uncharitable.

Anyhow, I was skeptical but thought I would give it a shot. I didnt feel threatened, so no worries. So, my first full day here, I wandered over to his place after running some chores in the morning (gathering a huge bottle of water for my hostel room, and getting a sheet to use in place of a sleeping bag, which seems overly heavy). After waiting impatiently for a couple of hours... well, patiently for awhile, because I wandered around the beach, into the mangroves, dipping my toes in the water, and visited a crocodile trail where you can whistle and a bunch of baby crocodiles and small caimen rush up to see if you`re going to feed them... finally we were off.

And in a crappy old jeep with the muffler tied on with wire... I could hear it clanging the whole way. The roads out here, off the one mile paved stretch, are spotted with lagoons, lakes, small creeks, rushing rivers, and in a couple of places actual oceans. At times, the jeep disappears halfway into the standing water, and at least in three places, we had to drive through rivers. Full rivers. It was intense, and I wondered for a bit if my back was up for it, but then put the thought out of my mind and clung to the side of the jeep.

We stopped to look at one beach, and then went to a second in a place called Matapalo, which is named after a type of ficus tree that wraps around other trees, particularly palms, and slowly kills them and usurps their position and no doubt nutrients. It was a sandy beach with significantly large rollers. They took me there to take pictures of the guy they are setting up to teach surfing lessons, and overall there were about six or seven surfers, quite good surfers, in the waves, and so I spend a good hour taking photos and enjoying their skill.

Kenny then offered to go with me on a walk down the beach... along the way we saw, at first, spider monkeys fighting with white-faced monkeys (along the way in we saw squirrel monkeys), and then... to my amazement, a sloth (two claws), which I`ve never seen before. They are absoultely the strangest, cutest, wisest smiling-faced creatures I`ve ever seen! This one was about two feet off the ground when we saw it, and climbing a tree. Kenny said it`s rare to catch them this far down, but they do come down to go to the bathroom, then go to another tree. I could have touched this guy. And yes, he slowly slowly slowly, one leg at a time, went up the tree, smiling at the leaves above, nay grinning at the leaves above with this divinely meditative smugness.

So, a good trip. When we got back, Kenny bought me a beer and returned to the topic of love and relationships, finally asking me about my boyfriend. When I told him that I rarely date, but when I do, it`s women, he looked irritated, is the best way to put it. He told me that`s pretty normal in Costa Rica, but had, within a half hour shuffled me off and equivacated about going on a trip the next day. When I asked him to let me know one way or another so I could make other plans, he said -Let`s take a break. And when I went by today, he definately wanted to locate a card reader for the photos I had taken, but didnt seem even slightly interested in going on another photography trip... kind of part of my impression of him. He seems to hatch a lot of plans, and I`d be surprised if more than ten percent of them actually happen. But I had one free trip!

Okay... it`s stopped raining. I`ll write about my German and Swiss friends-for-a-day later.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

twenty minute interum

I actually quite want to talk about where I`m at now, but only have twenty minutes before I am meeting up with folks, so couldnt possibly catch you few readers, including E-cita, up to date in that time. However, I will say Ive experienced something of a 180-degree turn. At least for awhile.

Lets skip Fortuna and the ride home for now, and fast forward to Oso Peninsula.

I decided to take a flight instead of the 9-hour rutted road drive from San Jose, and am not regreting the decision despite the expense. It was well worth it, and a sweet little ride in a small 16-seater plane with enormous windows... enough so that I could see most of the landscape below as we passed, although there were intermitant clouds.

By the way, I should note that I know I have many spelling errors in these entries, but have been dashing them off with a strange keyboard, so dont feel too guilty about that.

I flew into Puerto Jimenez, which is on the southern pacific side of C.R., on a peninsula next to a large bay called Golfo Dulce, which is warm and spotted with mangroves and river estuaries, and on the other side, the Pacific Ocean proper. Most of the land along the Pacific Coast is part of the large national park, Corcovado, which is known as the most intense and one of the most diverse (biologically) national park in C.R. I chose it under the advise of a friend who had lived here for 7 months, who said it was the place to go if I wanted pristine wilderness.

Ive been a bit worried about the hike in... its about 20 kilometers, and since I will stay at the ranger station for 5 days, ordering only one very expensive meal per day, I have to carry in 5 dinner-lunches, not to mention all my own camping gear. I keep getting conflicting reports re: what basics they have there, and have been told that I might not even need to carry in my tent, but can instead rent one, but we will see. I did find out that if my back is not super-good, I can fly in... pricey and wimpy, but perhaps an acceptable alternative. On the other hand, I really want to hike in, and my back has been so much better its like night and day. They question is whether the feeling better is mostly due to the pills... but I have only been taking them at night, and not during the day at all, so it could be that the better sleeping at night is just helping in general, although I might just be stubborn and need to be reasonable and take a flight out.

Anyhow, Im ahead of myself again... into my daydreams and plans rather than what is.

Puerto Jimenez is a sweet little muddy town, both a fishing town and a tourist town, and I have the impression that high season for everything starts next month, so everything is just poised on the brink and gearing up right now. Its still the tail end of the rainy season, so its been raining every day, but its warmer, so I am usually too hot rather than too cold, which I think helps with my bones. There have been some nice spots between the rains however, and I even had to put on sunscreen yesterday (and probably today, though it is cloudy).

I had reserved a spot to stay called Cabinas Iguana Iguana, but when I got there, the gate was solidly closed, and when I entered, I couldnt find anyone around until I noticed a man on a mattress in the middle of the bar, snoring away under a fan (it was 1pm). I snuck around and checked out the rooms, which were dank, and decided that between the sleeping man, the silence, the puddles, and the dankness, I better locate another spot. And so I did.

I am now in a cute hostel... paying a bit extra for my own room. Its still pretty cheap, and is run by an adorable older woman named Berta, who ruthlessly charges forward with her spanish regardless of whether her customers understand her or not. I have been very amused watching others who speak nothing... glad that I at least understand about 60% of what she is saying. Ive had to translate for her, but Berta acts just like they understood her in the first place, of course! She is well worth staying at the hostel. Aside from this, it is clean and comfortable.

Ah. Out of time... and I havent even mentioned the other people I have met. Tonight perhaps?

Friday, December 16, 2011

the mountain cloud forests

Okay... backing up... notwithstanding the fact that I am now on the Oso Peninsula and have already seen crocodiles, egrets, kingfishers, and swimming children... I will talk about the first part of my journey.

So, after arriving at Costa Rica Backpackers the first time, not sleeping well and fretting about my back all night, I got up at about 530am and caught the bus up to the mountains at 630, specifically a place called Monteverde, which means green mountain, and is two towns, close together, that are right on the edge of two cloud forests. It is supposedly the place to see certain unique animals like sloths and quetzals, although Ill quickly dispell any ideas you might be having about me seeing animals.

I guess the town of Santa Elena has been there for years, whereas the town of Monteverde nearby was settled some years ago by Arkansas Quakers who were briefly jailed for refusing to join the Korean War. Decided to go to a country where there was no army, they selected Costa Rica, and settled down to start farms in the area. I actually visited the lecheria (or dairy) run by the Quakers the second day I was there, and had myself a delicious blackberry milkshake and bought some gouda that supplied the cheese side of affairs for at least ten sandwiches Ive had since then.

The ride up to Monteverde was bumpy, that much I can tell you, but I was totally exhausted and slept most of the time, so I cant tell you much more than that.

Once I got there, the sun came out of the clouds and I walked around after finding a neat little hostel with clean beds near the bus station. It was strange because the sky was blue, but I felt a constant spritz of moisture, like light lawn sprinklers were poised just above me. However, it was warm and the trees were amazing so I wandered around town and took a look at everything after a brief nap at the hostel. Then I ate at a cute little spot called Cafe Maravilla, and again hit the pillow at an early hour.

The next morning I got up early with the idea that I wanted to swap hostels. I am still undecided about whether this was a good move or not, but Im going to call it adventurous and in the spirit of connecting with others. The pluses of my first hostel were that, for such a cheap price ($10), it was incredibly clean, I ended up with a dorm room to myself, and the breakfast in the morning was fine. The minuses were that I was almost the only person in the hostel (two couples other than me), and I felt like I wouldnt meet anyone, which is something I wanted to do... and second, there werent any comfy chairs to sit on and rest in between doing things.

So I traded for the lavishly recommended Pension Santa Elena, which is run by a Texan brother-sister combo. The pluses and minuses of this spot were pretty much the opposite of the other. Dank dorms with crummy beds, but lively activity and a sweet communal kitchen and common space. Like I said, Im not sure it was a good trade-off, but I did have several good conversations... ironically with Scottish couples (sister: check out Surf Louis in the inner Heberdies - the nicest travelor Ive met here, Rodney, runs the joint). Although I have yet to meet anyone to hang out with (until today, when I was asked by the proprietor of a surf school-tour spot to take pictures for his place in exchange for free tours. I blathered a bit, unsure whether my photography skils are up to snuff, but told him that I would go and do my best). But it was lively people (and dog) watching at the place.

Anyhow, after the first light spritzing of the afternoon walking around post-nap, the weather rolled in: high winds and pouring rains. And it never rolled out. Even down here at the Oso Penn., where it is warmer and muggier, it is still raining off and on and expected to through the weekend. In the mountain towns, it was cold on top of this, though not like home cold, just colder than I expected, and the cold I thought I was down with took a turn for the worst and turned into full-fledged coughing, which I still have. I wonder if its allergies though? Not sure.

So, my time hiking in the area was damp, to say the least. The first day, I hiked up the hill along the road, stopping at the little art and souvenier stores, the co-ops and one little resturant pastry store (pastry stores here are disappointing... the selections pretty lame, if you ask me). I then hiked over to the trailhead for El Bosque Del Ninos, which is the Childrens Forest, where some of the `save the rainforest` moneys go... apprently a good cause for eco-tourism. I hiked along its well kept and fairly steep trails, to the `mirador` where there were some exceptional views of the mountainside on down to... I think the Pacific Ocean! Water in the distance, at any rate.

Towards the end of the two-hour hike, I saw an agouti and a mama black-chested wood quail with chicks... both of which I had to look up in the books. Thats it for animals in the Monteverde area for me!!}

Afterwards I was exhausted and so walked just a bit further to the lecheria I mentioned before, where I waited hopefully for a bus that fortunately came. I went home exhausted, made a sandwich, ate it, then fell painfully into bed.

The next day was similiar, with a trip to the Santa Elena reserve on the other side of the hills... I took a shuttle this time, thankfully, and when I got there, took a trip along what basically became a streambed. It was POURING!! Beautiful, but hard to see anything past the close canopy. I rode back down to the hostel, went out for supper, hung out and people watched, hatched plans for the next day, then fell into bed early again.

Thats it for right now! Maybe tomorrow, I will catch up to today for my one or two readers?

pretty little pills

I couldnt quite convince myself to write when I was feeling miserable in Costa Rica... felt like a total ingrate, and whiner. But today... today is all new.

And Im on a computer that apparently doesnt allow me apostrophes or exclamation points or parentheses, perhaps an interesting challenge, no?

Okay, the deal is that my back has been a nightmare, getting increasingly more painful, particularly at night when I can barely move and hardly sleep for fear of moving. The whole experience has been of listing the reasons to go back home early in the night hours, and listing the reasons not to around mid-day when Im feeling slightly better. Not a good experience.

So the day before yesterday, I decided to stop staying in Monteverde, where I was cooped up due to the rain - more on that later - and go to La Fortuna where there are hot springs that I felt might save the day. I did this, went to the hot springs - more on that later - and my back actually felt worse the next day. So I went to the pharmacy and asked for something stronger than advil. What they gave me is part codeine, part somethinge else, and I held out on taking it until last night because codeine has always knocked me out in the past, but then I took it and Im totally converted.

I actually had almost zero pain last night... and kept waking up to feel how good it felt. Heh.

So, pre-pills, post-pills.

Im going to try to be better about posting, although I have a limited time this morning. Its about 715am in San Jose, and my backpack is all re-packed for the flight Im taking in a few hours to the lower Pacific Peninsula in Costa Rica... El Oso Peninsula. The weight of my bag is precisely the allowed amount, and Im planning on eating breakfast for the first time in forever before going... Ive mostly been living on sandwiches for two meals, and one meal out - usually rice and beans and chicken - a day. Its been pretty tasty and I have certainly not gone hungry.

Anyhow, a brief mention of whats happened and I will try to fill in more later.

I flew in to San Jose and went to this place called Costa Rica Backpackers... I hated it the first time I was here, but am enjoying it okay this second time. The mattresses are pretty crappy and that might be partially why I disliked it, but I also thought the staff was rude, and I was irritated they charged 25-bucks for the shuttle from the airport, when I hear the going rate for shuttles is closer to 15-bucks. But they stored my camping gear so I wouldnt have to haul it to the mountains, where I was going the first week with no plans to camp... so you got to give them credit for that. And now that I am back, either they are friendlier, or I am, and the noise level wasnt quite so bad as it was on the weekend. There is a bar right next door, part of the hostel, and it must draw quite the unruly crowd because the noise lasted all night that Saturday. Last night was quieter although there were some folks sitting right outside our room talking until about 3am... considering how large the place is, Im confused why they picked right by the rooms to talk, but although I am a light sleeper, I can deal with noise pretty well. After Chicago, some part of me even finds it relaxing...

Okay, anyhow, I flew in, was at this spot for one night, wandered around town a bit and thought what a friggin hole San Jose is... a bit like Guayaquil only more hilly. I try not to compare though... remembering how Sarah criticized me once for comparing places when we traveled instead of seeing what was there precisely for itself. I have a hard time with that and tend to categorize and connect too much... so far Costa Rica reminds me a great deal of Ecuador, only it is much much wetter and thus greener. But it also reminds me of the Canaries, in the way the hills and mountains are terraced and farmed... although with entirely different crops. In the Canaries, it was mostly potatoes but also bananas and other fruits, whereas here it seems to be mostly coffee, and other crops I cant identify.

But San Jose is a big, noisy dirty city with scads of traffic and honking horns. Flying in, it actually looked pretty green from the air, but on the ground - at least in the part I am at - it is decidedly not green. The cab driver I got on my way back into town, when I asked him what the prettiest or best part of San Jose was, told me he couldnt think of one - Its all ugly, he said. At that time, the traffic was horrendous and he took me through some back streets to get me to the hostel, passing a former penitentiary, which is now a Childrens Museum. He told me all about the horrible people who used to live there - the devils henchmen, he said, who were known to rip out hearts with their bare hands and feed them to the cats. Why the cats, I do not know.

He was a lively taxi driver, and I quite liked him, I must say.

The places outside San Jose were incredibly beautiful though, although it has been absolutely pouring - flooding on the Caribbean coast, so glad I decided not to go there - so much so that staying indoors is the only alternative to getting completely and entirely sopping wet and cold from head to foot, regardless of raingear.

But that is another story, and Im out of writing time for this morning. Ciao.

Friday, December 09, 2011

I'm off

to Costa Rica...

Send out little prayer bubbles that my back doesn't give out. You do this, and I'll take care of the rest. Heh.

Happy Chanukah
Sassy Solstice
Merry Christmas
See you in the New Year!

Peace, and I'll try to post here and there, 'though the pics will have to wait.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

I travel and write

very soon. May I be gifted with very interesting things to watch. And may my back not give out. And may the heat be grand and hammocks hung and animals friendly.

amazing speech, and random natterings of thoughts in appendix

I have always felt strange about my membership in the queer community. Strange like unwilling. And I mostly prefer my straight friends to my queer ones, erg. ufta. Did I say that?

I have reasons within and without for my wariness, but I must say, I have not faced horrible discrimination as a lesbian in America. I am unusually lucky. Mostly, as one of the two major downsides to being a lesbo in the PNW, I find that friends sometimes go missing. There are always reasons, and friends go missing for everyone, so it's hard to say which of my friends go missing because I'm queer, and which go missing because life involves change and natural attrition (or because I'm a bizatch). I would guess, however, that I've lost at least five people I've really loved due to being gay. Not tons by the standards faced by many queers in the rest of the world. But enough to impact this life.

In my part of America, discrimination doesn't often occur directly if you're a lesbian up until you want to get married although it surely occurs in a thousand indirect ways. I doubt this is true if you're a gay male, but there's less outright rage and public violence (although there's plenty of private violence) against women because, I think, women are less threatening and make less money and women's right here coincide with lesbian rights in that we're both less of a worry or fret, really, so why get worked up?

Mostly, I think the loss most lesbos in my region find is the slow or sudden erosion of friendships or community. For me, this has mostly been in the ostensibly 'queer friendly' or liberal community. I have few conservative friends, but those few have been supportive of me; they don't understand or approve, but I'm here and they're here, and that's that (maybe they don't want to talk about it, but they're willing to accept what I got to give if I'm willing to give it...). On the other hand, most of my friends are liberal and 'supportive' but not always although I do still have many such liberal people I adore about the world.

But for instance... I have friends who don't want to talk about this shit. There are always more important things to talk about, and any mention of gay rights or marriage is always a distraction from the god-fucking-awful recession, or the Afghanistan war, or the erosion of Constitutional rights, or the environmental buttfuck we've found ourselves in. And I agree so much that it's hard to articulate the reality I live in, much less the reality that so many other less fortunate queers live in. Straight folk take straight life for granted, just like white folk take white life for granted, I think. Or Americans take American life for universal shiznit. Why talk about this, eh, when there are so many problems?

But as Hilary Clinton seems to have expressed here, whenever we talk about LGBT rights, we are talking about human rights, higher rights, principles to strive for, right?

Another, for instance... my best high school friend isn't married, and when I asked her why, she said she and the father of her kids weren't getting married until gays had the same right. However, she stopped returning my letters and phone calls, stopped talking to me altogether though I never did a damned thing wrong and did many things right, but still... and as far as I can tell, all of her current friends are straight. It's very hard for me to understand. I mean, I really don't know what's in her head. All I know is that she's been no friend of mine, despite her politics.

Of those interested, I guess some are quite up front, and that's good. Others are infatuated with the queer life as it fits into the culture wars, and that's less good. A fair amount of my friends I discover to have never really been my friend. Some of my friends have dissolved into family and not included me as a part of their life's growth and change; or maybe even told me I'm not welcome in their life's growth and change. That's the most frequent form of discrimination I've found. People who don't want me around their babies, or their hubbies.

Most of my over-the-years close friends have made a space for me, wiggle room for my involvement, pockets for greater discussion. Others I just know or trust will find space for me to participate in their lives when new arrangements of time and space occur.

It's not always obvious when a friend has disappeared because their life is complex and full, or when a friend has disappeared because I am not welcome. This is, I think, true for everyone, but I have to say, I think it's more true for queers.

It is amazing that Clinton gave this speech. It is most meaningful for those LGBT folks who live in countries that brutalize this community. It is very meaningful for those LGBT folks in America who suffer in the many parts of this nation that don't feel that human rights apply to everyone, equally. And it is still meaningful to spoiled creatures like me, who are loved by their family, and have inspirational friends who love them, and don't even feel that being queer is much different. (I am, like many straight people, [eternally] single, after all.)

When I talk to my friends, it is mostly about life and gossip and interesting things about existence, and only about identity or religion when it's important. So I feel strange about words that involve my sexuality, which is not the bulk of me, not anywhere near the bulk of me or my interests. But it's still enough of me to be really touched by this speech. But maybe that's because I believe in the true and free spirit of all creatures, believe it's an amazing thing, something to love and nourish and protect.