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I'm Off to Costa Rica

In about an hour, Lesley is driving me to the Airporter, where I'll catch a plane to Houston, then Costa Rica, where my friend Chil&oactue;n will join me and we'll spend a few days in San Jose, then catch a $99 plane ride out to the southern Pacific coast. I've got surfing, swimming, hiking, shooting pix, exploring the tropical world on my agenda. As well as exploring with Chilón; we've been on many avventuras together in Baja: remote ranchos, small-town festivals, cave paintings, y mucho mas.
18 years ago I went the Caribbean side of Costa Rica.. I went from Puerto Viejo south to Manzanillo. From there a friend and I took a 2-day walk through the jungle and along the beach when possible, into Gandoca, a small town in Panama. I remember two things:
1. When we got to the town, it was a dirt road, and the dirt was brick red. It was raining softly. I looked down the road and thought, what if I just kept on going? See where it leads?
2. But I didn't, and we went into the open air bar and sat there drinking beers. A big guy walked in, carrying a machete. No shirt, kind of sweaty, he'd been working.
"Come éstas?, he said.
"Bien, y tu?
How great, when you ask a guy how he is and he says, "I'm tranquil." It's relaxed and friendly.

I actually love posting these blogs — it took a few years, but now it's part of my fabric. I like telling people about what I find, because goldarnnit, I run across so much interesting stuff. Check here in about a week or so for La Costa Rica Avventura de Chilón y Lloyd…

Mountain Bike Rider Jacquie Phelan's Blog and Wombat Website

We just got a postcard from Jacquie Phelan saying, "Love your boox!" I checked out her website & this photo caught my eye, it looks like one of the temple friezes at Angkor Wat. Here's what Jacquie writes:
"Mumamel of Barcelona took this groovy pic! It’s at the Casa Macaya in Barcelona…There is something very comforting about the fact that someone (Josep Puig) designing and building a modern house would take the time to include in the facade a (carved? cast?) cyclist. Upon further research, I realize this Catalan architect was in perfect tune with his turn-of-the-century mood…when worldwide, the bicycle was extolled (or reviled) as a harbinger of progress, change, and ‘efficiency’. And women grabbed that tool so fast no one had any time to erect rules. When the motorcar came along, the patriarchy (and the heads of industry as well) were prepared to frame the car as a power symbol that women would willingly let their man steer. Do I sound biased?"
Here is Jacquie's blog.
Here is the website of the Wombats (Womens' Mountain Bike and Tea Society), which Jacquie founded).

Namba Parks: Green Rooftop Gardens in Osaka, Japan

This photo is on Flickr. Here's what Wikipedia says about it: "Namba Parks was conceived as a large park, a natural intervention in Osaka's dense urban condition. Alongside a 30-story tower, the project features a lifestyle commercial center crowned with a rooftop park that crosses multiple blocks while gradually ascending eight levels. In addition to providing a highly visible green component in a city where nature is sparse, the sloping park connects to the street, making it easy for passers-by to enter its groves of trees, clusters of rocks, cliffs, lawn, streams, waterfalls, ponds and outdoor terraces. Beneath the park, a canyon carves a path through specialty retail, entertainment and dining venues."

Baby Great White Shark on Beach

Our friend Tom came by Saturday afternoon and told us he'd just found a baby Great White Shark down on the beach. He was pretty excited by it. "It's like a pit bull," he said. So yesterday just before sunset I went down and found it. By then it had been somewhat gutted by buzzards, but it was still an impressive little animal, a miniature version of one of the Pacific Ocean's most powerful predators.

Heritage Salvage in Petaluma, California

Michael "Bug" Deakin at his Heritage Salvage company in Petaluma, California. I just discovered this place last week. They have all kinds of reclaimed lumber, doors, windows columns. handcrafted furniture and slabs http://www.heritagesalvage.com/

Clay Clown by Roxanne Swentzell Celebrates New Era

I've been to visit Bill and Athena Steen (see below) three times at their strawbale building compound (at the end of a dirt road in the southern Arizona desert). I love going there. The Steens are kindred spirits; hospitality and good vibes abound. The first time I went there I saw this incredible clay sculpture of a woman (maybe 18" high) perched on a low wall. It was startlingly alive. It was done by Athena's sister, Roxanne Swentzell, and you can see more of these remarkable sculptures at:
http://www.roxanneswentzell.net/roxanne_swentzell_bio.htm When Bill and I exchange emails we often include a photo or two. He sent me this last week, saying it was a "…whimsical pueblo clown done by Athena's sister Roxanne in celebration of the new era."

More Oakland Early Morning Pix

Left: Obama pariphenalia. Hey, the American flag means something different these days!