Thursday, September 30, 2010

Best laid plans

Good-bye baby turtles running to the sea. Good-by glassy blue water that is but a rumor to me. Good-bye Capuchin and Howler monkeys. Good-bye frogs, coati and boas. Maybe another time? We are not sure where we will go, maybe home, but Costa Rica is a mess, roads washed out, mudslides, swollen rivers. And, as in all of Centroamerica, you are on your own. Traffic continues to move over roads that have been undercut by slides and already beginning to drop into burgeoning sinkholes. Mr. Lee blames me. Every time we get near the Caribbean the place is ravaged by rain and hurricanes. Last time we tried was during Hurricane Wilma. Not that we wanted to go there but even Cancun was shut down. We managed to camp on a wild beach though and I got a good poem out of it but ultimately the storms won, chasing us out early, leaving behind the two starving beach dogs we had befriended. It was so sad watching them in the rear view mirror as they ran down the mud puddle road after us.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


The trip to the dentist went well. I may be done by Friday after all, which means we can still go to the coast, provided the road hasn't washed out. It is raining just about non-stop at this point. We went to our favorite soda (tiny cafe) for lunch, two people... rice, beans, plantains, fish, salad and tea... 4450 colones. We were home by three and saw no corpses along the way. There were lots of cops on the pedestrian mall today. Maybe it was their routine crackdown on vendors selling pirated music from plastic tarps on the sidewalk. I don't know. In any case, today the presence of the policia was as conspicuous as their absence yesterday.

Being home early, I am enjoying the company of little Dublin, one of two resident dogs here at Casa Feliz. She is very very sweet, extremely tiny and is, at the moment, cuddled beside me in the orange chair in the upstairs sitting room. As usual, Casa Feliz is one big dysfunctional family in which everyone gossips about everyone else. Currently, the most screwed up character is a 60 something Brit who recently married a much younger Tica woman who barely speaks English. He simultaneously suffers the ecstasy and despair of this insanity.

As I hear it, after a brief acquaintance they married earlier this year. After a brief honeymoon, she beat him up and he returned to the UK. They then reconciled via email. He returned to Costa Rica and they have been on and off ever since. Our host is of the opinion that she is trying to provoke him to violence (she hit him again recently) so she can divorce him and get his money though Mr. Lee tells me she would not be entitled to property he had before the marriage. Anyway, a couple of nights ago, while he was waiting for her to maybe come over at nine and maybe spend the night, he and I chatted about where they could live happily ever after. Not Costa Rica. Not the UK. Not the US or Mexico. I suggested Panama. He like that and decided that's where they would go. She showed up sometime after 10, left the next morning and he stayed in his room for the next 30 hours. People did call through the door a couple of times to see if he was alive. Tonight he and Lewis, a 23 year old UPER and graduate from a high school class of 15, went drinking.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Outtakes, San Jose

Hello pandemonium of parrots. Hello Costa Rica rainy season. Hello all day at the dentist. I go back again tomorrow. I am having some crowns redone and we are stuck here until the work is finished.

Sorry. No photos for now. The camera I have with me this trip is too conspicuous plus, at the moment, the rain is nearly endless and I don't want to risk ruining it. I should have kept my phone. I could have taken stealth pictures with it but that didn't occur to me until this afternoon. The day before we left Florida we mailed our phones, GPS, some clothes and a bunch of sea shells etc. back to Nevada to lighten our load as we are traveling only with carry on luggage. But I could have used the phone. Oh well. Writers write, right?

We took a cab from the dentist's office to the bus terminal tonight. Generally we'd walk but after six most shops are shuttered and locked turning colorful streets into grim alleyways after dark. Through the window of the cab I saw people wrapped in plastic and cardboard lying on the street in the rain and on a side street a dead guy lying on his back, hand palm down on the asphalt, a white plastic bag covering his body from the waist up, a yellow police tape stretched over the entrance to the parking lot and one cop car, lights flashing parked in the middle of the otherwise deserted street.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Crack in the world

Good-bye gopher tortoises. Good-by dolphins. Good-bye manatee. Good-bye herons, pelicans, ibises, dunlins, cranes, coots, terns, egrets, gulls, plovers, cormorants, skimmers, frigates, sandpipers, ducks and loons. Good-bye love bird vultures. Good-bye scary hawk. Good-bye pigeons and crows. Good-bye needle fish, jelly fish, off shore fish and clams. Good-bye crazy little cicada. I love your music. Good-bye baby turtles I did not see. Good luck to you all. Bon voyage, little lizard as you float away in the sea. Better luck next time, my friend.

We are sitting at the Orlando airport waiting for our flight to Costa Rica. Not much more to say about that. We will be in CR three weeks, part of that time on it's east coast. Maybe we'll get lucky there and see some baby turtles making their mad dash to the sea. It is still the season.

Good-bye, Florida. Maybe see you again someday.

About the photo of the jetty and sailboat. It is strangely otherworldly but I swear I did not shop it. I think what happened is that, as I waved the camera around as I do, I aimed it at a crack in the world and by chance, in that lucky fraction of a second, photographed it.

As for the crow, she is holding a sea grape that she won from a gull... not an eye.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Florida update

I have so many photos, videos and antidotes about Florida from the last few weeks that I have once again overwhelmed myself and posted next to nothing. It's a habit of mine. The short of it is that we have biked at lot, generally 15 to 20 miles nearly everyday, walked for miles on the beach and bobbed mindlessly in the sea until the dirt and confusion of the world washed away. Don't hate me. It comes back.

According to local rumor, Oprah's cottage on Casey Key

We have also spent a fair amount of time biking and driving around in an effort to get an overview of the area. Florida is amazing but I wouldn't be saying that if we were spending much time in the cities. When I say Florida I mean the beaches. They are amazing. Florida has over 8000 miles of shoreline. And the wildlife is beyond amazing, although humans have paved over most of their habitat, leaving them to fend like hobos rummaging for leftovers. Will we learn before it all goes away?

Lizard enjoying the morning. Do you see the lizard?

This morning I rode to the little coffee shack on the jetty at the south end of Casey Key. In case you're wondering, a key is a skinny barrier island. Got lots of photos of pelicans sitting in a tree airing their wings and a lizard enjoying the morning. After breakfast M. Lee and I went for what amounted to about an eight mile walk on the beach although we gave ourselves credit for 10 given that we were walking on sand. We wanted to see if we could walk all the way to Oprah's shack but we didn't get that far (this time). It is cleverly situated in the exact middle of the key, and being that the filthy rich do not allow public access to the public beach, it is a long walk from the public beach in the hot sun. However, we did see Stephen King's house the other day. It's on the north end of the key, which is much easier to reach. It looks like a huge warehouse. I suppose the hurricane shutters were down. Anyway, I got this photo of Oprah's place during a bike ride on the key. It sprawls out of the photo on both sides and is far more grand than it looks. Use your imagination. Go wild. It would be hard to over estimate.

Most amazing house on the key.

This is about the time when baby turtles begin hatching from deep within the sand and scampering into the sea. There are several carefully marked nests long the shore but we haven't seen any of the little darlings make their famous short but perilous journey but we did find part of a turtle egg shell on the beach the other day. It was rubbery like a swim cap and, of course, I took about 40 photos of it. However, the big event today, as well as one of the big events of the whole trip, was spotting a manatee slipping through the gulf. A manatee! Sorry, Kristiana. I know you ordered a photo of a manatee but she was moving too fast. Still, a cavorting manatee happily nibbling sea grass in the sea? How cool is that? I still owe you a photo but, until then, use your priceless imagination and you will see her with your mind's eye. Isn't she lovely?

And the other day, while hiking in a wilderness reserve on a different key, we met this charming little gopher tortoise with sand on her lips. She was a beauty too. We were all stunned, Mr. Lee, the tortoise and I. Gopher tortoises are endangered and extremely shy so the three of us just stood there looking at each other not knowing what to do. Unfortunately, we did freak her out a bit but, in general, I think we did okay. We took a couple of photos and went on our way.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

News travels fast in Bird Land

Everyone knows that birds of a feather flock together but not many people realize what huge gossips birds are. I am over 2000 miles from home and the Bird Park but these guys had my number the minute I hit the beach. What? I should carry a bag of treats wherever I go?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Evening on the jetty


I had no idea the place was so beautiful.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Alligator Alley Cloud Alligator

I met
my first

wild alligator yesterday.

She was panhandling

at a rest stop

along Florida's infamous

Alligator Alley.

She was such a willing and

lovely subject that I felt bad

not sharing my lunch with her.

She was clearly disappointed

but feeding wildlife snacks

isn't good for them or us

so I managed to resist

her mesmerizing charm.
She had incredible hands.
Larger photos here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Night wrap

We are so busy everyday, it's hard finding the time to post anything. Like tonight, it's after 10 and I'm sitting in bed in the dark writing this on my very overheated netbook, sweat running down my face and body. Don't ask why. If you do a blog, you will understand or maybe that's the wrong word but you get it. If you don't, well... you're lucky I guess. Anyway, we rented shitty "comfort bikes" as they are called and have been riding hours a lot. The bikes suck but it's still fun. Then we cool off in the ocean. I am really loving Florida. Yes, yes... it's the honeymoon phase but still ... a warm ocean two blocks away?

Pelican tree in the morning

Tomorrow we drive across the state to spend the night with a couple of Mr. Lee's cousins. That should be interesting.

Love Buzzards
(They posed for this)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Yard birds

I (heart) Florida cranes

...which, in a round about way, reminds me of this little treasure Mr. Lee included on a Valentine card he made for me one year.

(UPDATE: Seems these birds are actually herons. (blush) Anyway, I heart cranes, herons, vultures, cockroaches. You name it. Life is cool.) Now on to the poem...

The Heart

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.

I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter - bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

-Hart Crane

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Outtakes 09.05

Holy fucking god, there are a lot of rich people in Florida. The last few days we have been driving around the canals and keys. Palaces beside shacks but a boat in every backyard.

This crane didn't seem the least bit concerned when I took her photo.

but the crabs really hated it. I chanced upon about 100 basking in the setting sun. In about 10 seconds they managed to disappear.

The gestating turtles didn't seem to mind the camera but you never know.

I guess I was the lucky one here.

Just a little shack by the sea.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


When I first saw it, I thought it was a shark

but a friendly stranger explained it was a dolphin
and that seeing one around that particular pier
is a fairly rare occurrence. Beginner's luck, I guess.
A dolphin!

This is just an urban park but
it still has the feel of a real Florida swamp.

Posted by Picasa

Okay, it's been a long day so that's it for now but, if you'd like to see a few more, I posted some others here.

Nevada - Florida Express

We're here. Florida. What's not to love?


Florida from the kitchen window

Don't get me wrong. I love Nevada but this is great. We're staying in a 50's era apt. for $28 a day, renting a black bug for $16 a day. It's nice as Hawaii at a fraction of the cost.

Anyway, gotta go. My only regret is that I didn't bring my bubblegum pink COEXIST tshirt. Pink. It's Florida, man. What was I thinking? There was a old guy Floridian on the plane returning home from Vegas,,. pink sport coat,white slacks, gold chain, over-sized sunglasses, white panama style hat... younger lady friend, talking about how he loved throwing bacon under the trailer to attract the bears. Florida...

Well... gotta go...