Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Back in the saddle..

Hello all--

It has certainly been awhile. At this moment I am sitting in my bathrobe reading about UNIX shells and perusing the discussion forums for my online classes.

School. It's happening.

I am pretty stoked about this term, Intro to UNIX and Intro to C++, but am a little intimidated by my schedule... I do however, very much want to rock it, so I will be busting USDA Prime Select ass to do well this term.

Before I get too far, an update would be apropos:

Since I have come back to the States and gotten married, more than a year has passed. I went through some hardships finding suitable work, but in October of last year I began working as a software developer for medium size company in downtown pdx. Score!


The floor

Heh, I have never seen this place

Since then my life has been pretty much programming, and recovering from programming. I of course am still surfing (when I can get it), and training in kung fu (which has now been virtually squeezed out by work and school), and have even taken up amateur astronomy-- but now my life is pretty scheduled.

Anyhow, now that I have a great job, it's the perfect time to go back to school. I am lucky enough to have a job that will subsidize my education, so I am setting out to finally finish my long overdue physics degree, and am also tacking on the computer science for good measure.

I am starting to feel like a real programmer. :)

More posts to follow.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Summertime and the living's easy

The next round of travels approaches! Utilizing the Honda I shall tour the Northern Rocky Mountain states. The top objectives are: Yellowstone NP, Glacier NP, The Grand Tetons, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument and Laramie, WY to see my dear friends Rick and Fox. Of course the actual route and logistics are only in their nascent stages, yet I foresee a very fun road trip ahead. But enough about coming attractions.

Since my last post July has given way to August, which is already on its way out! This summer took a while to start, but seems to have no problem ending on time. July is beer month in Portland, and I mean on a city-wide scale, not just my own tastes. There was a beer festival, or some beer-related event every weekend of the month. Like all such mass events the experience was mixed. Good beer, bad beer, crowds of people, sunshine, live music, expensive food...the usual festival lineup. I must say, looking back I think the general level of work and play is why my summer went by in such a blur.

Well, I must return to the world offline again. Next post may even have pictures, assuming I can get this hand-me-down camera to work right.

Until then,


Friday, July 25, 2008

The road goes ever on...

Well, I have not posted since Dave up and left me in the great Ciudad known as Panama. In the months between now and then too much has happened for me to write about in one post. Hell, a book might cover it, but right now I do not have the attention span for that kind of thing.

So jumping right to the present.

I am in the great metropolis know as Vancouver, Washington, USA. I work a regular 8-5 job making decent money and am recovering my finances from the extended months of shenanigans that I was engaged in.

This post should be considered as an opening shot in the new round of blogging for the Cskondin. Many adventures have come and gone without being committed to this most timeless electronic medium - but no more! I am back. And may God (or whatever you may or may not believe in) smile upon us all.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A slight respite

Hello all:

It has indeed been a while since my last post. It has also been a hectic couple of months.

So far, here is what I have been up to:

  1. Being married
  2. Being unemployed
  3. Meeting the new fam (holidays and all)
  4. Frantically looking for a job
  5. Finding a "job"
  6. Quiting that job
  7. Being unemployed
  8. Frantically looking for a job
Picture break!

Me and Mo after the wedding (which was on December 21 btw)

Cash and Jason did not have anything to drink that night... It was just cold and lonesome

My new cousin Jade!

You know, there have been a lot of other vignettes, like crazy family introductions, random attacks by ninja, and helping Mo with her math and English, but sustainable living has been my overriding stressor. Right now I'm hopeful-- I am brushing up on my bartending skills through my bartending alma mater, and also putting out a lot of tech support feelers.

Actually, the bartending deal was pretty serendipitous... After another interview with a tech sweatshop, I called Zee h'Academy up and hazarded the inquiry if they still could place me in a bar. To my surprise (and oddly, to the sound of Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall... submitted for your approval of course) they told me that I'd have to re-certify on my speed test to get their endorsement, but that they remembered me and that I could retrain in their facility on my own time for free.

Right on

That said, If all goes well, I will find a decent tech job in downtown PDX with a side or weekend bartending gig.

I figure with that, I can keep Mo in the books, keep our bills paid, and start saving up some "fuck you" money--you know, that precious dough that you can burn if a situation suddenly becomes untenable. For instance, see the listed item #6 for reference.

After getting a little more on my feet, I also plan on revisiting my SCUBA and sailing school. If I have to work for the next few years so that Mo can go to school full-time, I might as well be doing something awesome... Or at least something that doesn't suck

~Dave out.

P.S. Pictures of the wedding soon!

A sleepy us

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Surprised? Probably not

Hello all:

Cash was correct--a major change has happened for the p:w crew: I came home.

On the road I realized that it was time... Time to come home and to marry my beautiful fiancé. It's as simple as that. Every day that I have been on the road (for about 2 months now), has been a mixed blessing. Yes, I am experiencing all of this new stuff, but at the same time I am doing it without the person that I want to share my life with. There was joy, but there was always an underlying frustration and loneliness.

So, Cash and I had a heart to heart and decided it was best to walk our own paths. We still had some money to fool around with, and Cash was excited at the prospect of really being on the edge. You have to understand, Cash hasn't ever been in a space to survive solo--to get his own place, find his own job, and to create a social network from the ground up on his own. He is changing a lot, and I believe that our brotherhood and our quest has catalyzed a new level of focus and commitment from him.

In accord, we would travel to Panama City together, block out a Maslowvian scheme for survival, and be on with it. We also agreed to one last rager in the City! With our finances and some other logistical concerns squared away, Cash now has an excellent shot to hit his stride there in the Middle of the World and make it at least until February when we were scheduled to hit Argentina.

As for me, I bought the next ticket home: Panama City to Guadalajara to good ole Portland, OR USA. I didn't tell Mo either... The other night I just showed up and she opened the door for me--it was perfect. Sarah, the clan mother, aided and abetted the scheme. It has been wonderful since.

The tentative plan for this member of p:w is to go back to school to complete my physics and math undergrad (for those in-the-know, long overdue), continue my training in kajukenbo tum pai, and to get a job I truly enjoy. Mo and are currently living together and this upcoming week we'll be trotting down to the courthouse to get married. The reception of course will happen when Cash makes it back to the States for a short stint before heading off to Alaska to do some resourcing to further his expansions down in Latin America. I hear there is a lot of vespene up there, and by the sound of it, Cash may require more shortly!

For those curious, I will continue to post on p:w from Portland, as Cash will continue to relate his experiences from Panama City. For me, the trip was a success: I got to that magic threshold of self-sufficiency, and this was the proof of concept. Could I make it indefinitely as an expat, and not just survive, but thrive in the process?

The answer is reflected in my posts: I learned how to surf, improved my cooking, vastly improved my Spanish, undertook an art project that was immensely satisfying, generated some job offers, and I made a ton of friends and contacts. Stepping back, I realized that I could drop everything and do it all over again if I wanted to... The world is ever so close, and walking the path is as easy as your resourcefulness and commitment affords.

So here and now I would like to build something else. A family and a career path, and I am excited to do it! I will continue to wander and to blaze my path here, and someday--sooner than I think perhaps--I will be back out on the road that leads to Everywhere and Nowhere.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

¡Viva Panama!

We bid farewell to Costa Rica on Wednesday. We said goodbye to Rocking J´s around noon - J gave us some beers for the road and invited us to return if we got the chance. Then it was a final walk through Puerto Viejo, drinking out of coconuts and having a leisurely time. The bus to the border took about an hour, and most of that time we were crammed into our seats with our bags on our laps. I still dont know why they didn't let us store them under the bus. We will miss Costa Rica, but it was really good to get moving on.

The border crossing was very cool. We had to get our exit stamp from Costa Rica, which took no time, then started into Panama. To do this you have to cross over a wide, muddy river. The only bridge is an old rail bridge built by the banana companies long ago with some boards thrown on top. A constant stream of people were going back and forth as we swayed over the river. The customs and immigration people in Panama were very bored-looking and we breezed through. They didn't even check if we had an ongoing ticket, which is good because we didn't have anything of the sort. An interesting side note is that the official currency of Panama is the US Dollar! No more figuring out exchange rates or converting prices.

After the border crossing we took a cab to the nearby town of Changuinola. This is the global headquarters of the Chiquita Banana Company, but it looks like some random slum thrown into the middle of the jungle. I was glad we only spent a few minutes there before cramming onto a small bus to David, on the Pacific side of the country. The bus across the continental divide was crowded and slightly dangerous as the driver had little regard for speed - especially when going around sharp corners at high altitude. After five hours or so we reached David, where the express shuttle to Panama City was waiting.

Of course, it cost $30 to get both of us to Panama City...and we only had $20. So I asked a cop where an ATM was, and that one was out of order. So I started walking around town asking people in stores (I figured asking people on the street was asking to get robbed). I finally found a working ATM, but it meant we had to wait for the Midnight bus to Panama. so we sat around until it was time to go. The express buses are large double decker rigs. They have comfy seats and air-conditioning. The thing is they have too much a/c. It is downright cold on those buses. So bring a blanket or something. Dave had no trouble sleeping, but I couldn't quite pull it off with a blast of cold air coming right down on me.

I was so happy when we finally got to Panama City and I could get off the bus. It was 7am and the temperature was a lovely 70 degrees. Yeah, it can get pretty hot here. We caught a cab to the middle of town, where the guidebook said our hostel was. It was only $4, cabs here run for real cheap, unlike CR, so it was worth it. Of course the hostel wasn't there, our guidebook is the 2004 version and it moved about 2km down Via España, one of the main streets here. So we walked, navigated with map and compass and found the place. After so many hours of traveling it was so nice to put our stuff down and take a shower. After all the cold showers in Costa Rica, this one was actually lukewarm! It is hard to describe how awesome little things like that really are. Cleaned and unburdened we headed out to explore the city.

Panama City, including the suburbs, is only 1 million people. However the place feels more like Seattle than Portland. There are a crapload of skyscrapers and it has a very international feel. We had brunch in a diner that almost resembled a Shari's. While there we ran into an Israeli guy we had met in Tamarindo named Nir. We chatted with him for a while, then he took a cab to the airport and we went to the waterfront, which is an interesting place. On the horizon you can see a mass of ships lining up to go through the Canal, while nearby there are local fisherman, plying the dirty waters of the bay. The skyscrapers come right down the to water, creating a strange man-made cliff face. The waves crash into the boardwalk and sometimes will send a huge spray up onto the sidewalk. The first time it happened Dave and I thought the sidewalk was collapsing. There was a big cracking sound then we saw white spray in our peripheral vision.

We followed this into the heart of downtown, where we had an afternoon snack. This consisted of sitting on couches on the sidewalk, smoking a hookah and drinking mint tea while eating fruits and Mediterranean appetizers. All the while the place next door was playing French jazz as a soundtrack. It was a surreal, yet incredibly enjoyable experience. After that we walked down to the old colonial district (Casco Viejo), bordered by slums to the west and the rest of the city to the east. While wandering Casco Viejo we walked right up to the doors of the Presidential Palace before realizing what it was. Of course there were alot of police and a few soldiers around, but still, try to imagine walking down a narrow street, turning a corner and you are next to the White House. We had a good time strolling Casco Viejo before returning to downtown for drinks and dinner.

We drank at a supposedly Irish pub, but there was nothing Irish about the place. It was an American Sports bar, with huge plasma screens showing basketball and bull riding. The view was nice, as it was several floors up. After that we went to...the Hard Rock Cafe, Panama. Yeah, so other than the waitress not speaking English it was like any other Hard Rock Cafe I have been to. They had a 2 for 1 deal going with Hurricanes, so we were really drunk by the time we left. I don't really remember much after that, but somehow we made it back to the hostel without getting robbed, so things turned out all right.

Well, internet is alot cheaper here than anywhere else I have been in Central America, but it is still not free. I will post again soon, as there are some significant events that have befallen Project:Wanderer the last two days. But for now, that fills in the middle of the week. Until the next post - Pura Vida.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The prodigal poster: with good excuse

Hello all--

I have been conspicuously absent from the posts lately due to a project I have been working on in Puerto Viejo. Our current hostel, Rockin'Js, is a pretty incredible joint. This place is set up to handle the masses with dozens of comfortable hammocks, dozens of tents, spaces to do your own camping, as well as private rooms. There is a treehouse commons with tv, a restaurant and bar, and the entire compound ('cause that's really what this is) is strategically studded with tiled stalls and cold water showers. There is even a community kitchen. To boot, the entire place is covered from roof to floor with tile mosaics. It is brilliant. Beautiful, easy to clean, and by offering guests the opportunity to create their own murals, the owner "J" gets a bunch of free art and labor while everyone else gets to leave their mark. The entire place is just a stone's throw from a sliver of beach that gives way to a portion of turbulent Carribbean reef that produces La Salsa Brava.

Here are the dorms. We splurged to stay in tents for the storage, but I have enjoyed a few nights here listening to the surf pound and day dreaming.

The commons

Just one of the myriad mosaic walkways

Anyhow, after J approached me to do a mosaic I got to thinking. I thought of one of my favorite pictures of my fiancé Monine, and then made the decision to try her face. I went to the internet cafe, printed out her picture and bought a few more sheets of blank paper and went to the hostel bar to brainstorm. I grabbed some charcoal from the bonfire pit and started sketching her face and blocking out colors over drinks. The next day I picked out tiles and a suitable section of wall and started transferring my sketch. The rest of the time was devoted to breaking dozens of tiles, hand carving some that were stubborn, and learning how to use the cement and grout.


In all it took about 40 hours, with close to a quarter of that time working by the light of my headlamp. I have lived an entire lifetime in it. I went through scrapes, and cuts, and cracking fingers from cement for about 6-8 hours a day. During the moments I was working on this, I realized I was living a statement... I was loving Monine through my hands and out through my fingertips. It is the closest I've come to touching her in weeks. It has taught me a lot of compassion for myself and my work.

I used cut glass for the nose ring

It was also meditation for me. I had nothing to do but listen to the ocean, sleep in a hammock, and work... And I worked baby. I worked through fear, self-loathing, hope, lust, appraisal, form, frustration, love, loneliness, and joy. She was with me. The only tools I used for the majority of the time were a pocket leatherman and a round river stone.

Whew! 40 hours and uncountable beers later

I have hated and loved this thing several times in quick succession, so I don't know what I think of it... it changes with my mood. It is a living entity and I will feel a slight pang leaving it to time and space. It has been a satisfying week though. I spent hours on little details, so that when you see it in real life it jumps out at you.

The inspiration for the piece

My contribution to the mosaic farm here at Rockin' Js. Cash got a little taste of the action with me the last night. He helped me by scrubbing and polishing grout until about midnight. Thanks Cash!

So now that this is done, it is time to get work in Panama City. Here's to work and play, to friends and lovers, and to rambling on down the road for another day.


Another day in Paradise

The boys: cue music

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Costa rica by Bus

Our last night in Tamarindo was fantastic. The dinner was wonderful, and everyone who partook was satisfied, including us. Somehow we managed to recoup the entire expense of the food plus a little change extra, which was nice. After that it was time for drinking, followed by a few hours of dancing. At some point we made it back to the hostel, passed out, took a short nap, and woke up still drunk and caught the only bus to San Jose at 5:30am. The bus ride was a little over 6 hours, by the end of it I was hung over and very tired.

When we finally got to San Jose we went to our hostel, ate some food at the restaurant upstairs and crashed for about 2 hours. Then we walked across town to try and get our plane tickets refunded or changed (which didnt work). Finally we got a good nights sleep, woke up figured out the bus we needed to get to Cahuita and since it didnt leave until 2pm went to the Jade Museum and walked around to waste time. The museum was ok, the best part was using the labels to practive spanish.

The bus to Cahuita took almost exactly 4 hours. During that time I read Siddartha, by Herman Hesse. When we pulled into Cahuita we walked along a dirt road looking for a place to stay. We hitched a ride with the local mechanic at one point and he took us to a place called Reggae Cabinas. We got a dirty, hot room that was not worth the price we paid, but at least we had a place to put our stuff. We got dinner at a local joint back in town, had some drinks then went to bed. I had a bad night of getting bit constantly by bugs and waking up from the heat. We woke up looked around town and decided to go to Puerto Viejo right away.

This turned out to be a great decision. The bus ride was short, especially since I got off at the stop before town. So we walked along the beach, until it started pouring down rain. Then we walked for about 2 miles down the road to a place called Rocking J's, where we are currently staying. J's is a pretty incredible place. They have private rooms, tents and hammocks all in a large compound. The owner, a guy from Arizona named J encourages people to decorate the place with paintings and mozaics. The place is very colorful as a result, giving it a warm feel. It also lies right on the beach, which is nice. Puerto Viejo is a very laid back, cool place. It has been raining alot since we got here, but we have kept ourselves entertained.

Anyway, that brings us more or less up to date since the last post. The internet is very expensive here so there will probably not be another post for a while. Until then.

Pura Vida


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Heartfelt goodbyes to a wonderful dinner

Tomorrow p:w leaves for Cahuita on the Caribbean Coast by way of San Jose. It is good to be moving again, but its bittersweet after having made such genuine friends.

La Botella de Leche has really been a second home for us. Weve made friends with a few people in town (a shout out to Pedro y familia), and a few long term regulars here at the hostel--Juan (Dengue Boy), Crystal, Wences, Santiago, Christian and Stephanie--which has made our stay so wonderfully hospitable. You really cant ask for a better experience than this, or for better people to have spent your time with. You all will be missed.

I have a lot of love in my heart for Mariana, the hostel mother, who has taken us in and made us all feel special and loved. From travel stories over the terriffic Costa Rican coffee, to the hugs and laughs over my studying trig and computer science at the free computer station, Mariana has been so gracious in her acceptance and genuine in her love. I will sorely miss her when I go! I still have a smile though, because I know I will see her again. Hasta luego...

I especially want to give thanks for the cleaning ladies here: Socorro, Piedad, y Reina. Over countless questions in broken Spanish, to eventual jokes and running conversations as I labored over rolling out and cooking the tortillas (and I mean labored), Socorro has been such a friend. She helped me with my Spanish, my black beans, and my rice, and when we hugged goodbye this evening I missed her immediately.

That being said, to celebrate Cash and my departure, and that of a few other "regulars," I put together a huge dinner. I was cooking for 12! The menu:

Mahi Mahi tacos with all the fixins, a spicy mango-cucumber salsa, homemade tortillas, spicy refried black beans, and rice pilaf with grated carrot, garlic and onion.
It was a giant success! It started with a trip to Pedros, a final high five and goodbyes, and 4 1/2 pounds of fresh caught Mahi Mahi. Let me tell you, that is a lot of fish. The marinade I put together was spicy lime with cilantro and garlic. Next was rolling out 35 flour tortillas (with extra butter!), starting a giant pot of black beans, and whipping up two pans of toasted Spanish rice. Then came the salsa, chopping up the avocados, cabbage, tomatoes, and the rest. I was cooking for 7 hours today, covered in flour, sweat, and campfire smoke. Cooking is hard work baby... I really was slaving over a hot oven all day. I dont know how some people can do that all the time, but I certainly have a lot more respect for it. Heres to use #37 for a nalgene bottle: rolling pin.

Cash was really helpful as well. From all the prep cook work, to building the firepit, to cleaning up the dishes, Cash made the entire process 100% smoother. He learned a lot too, so I expect him to do a little more cooking in the future. Stephanie helped as always, simulatneously stirring two pans of rice, chopping veggies, and being a guinea pig taster for the salsa. All this with me looking on and giving advice and directions. Thanks to you both for your help and your patience!

The final product was amazing. Bright yellows and greens and reds mingled in the salsa, stacks of warm, fresh homemade tortillas adorned neatly folded red towels, while two plates piled high with beautifully grilled fish stole the show. There were giant ceramic pots with black beans, and another for the orange and yellow colored rice. A great heaping bowl of avocado, a mass of purple cabbage, red tomatoes and grated carrot completed the presentation on separate cutting boards to the side. Everything was served with great big wooden spoons with worn handles, and everyone was delighted. It was a feast for the eyes and the belly! All the hostel animals agreed--the 3 dogs Pujo, Romi, and T.B.--dutiful opportunists to the last, had to be shooed several times during the course of the meal ambling woefully off before appearing just minutes later somewhere else. We all dug in.

You know, there is nothing like a big dinner to bring people together, and its even better when everyone has gelled into a family. To see everyone laughing and eating and having a great time fixed that image and sensation for me, and suddenly all the work was worth it. It was a rush. Compliments, jokes, and rum and cokes abounded.

I even had a money bowl for people to help pay for the work and ingredients. It was so successful, Cash and I ended up eating for free and got a little money in our pockets to boot. This is definitely a good skill to have on the road--now if only I had my bartending equipment...

Anyhow, now it is time for packing up and getting prepared for a 5:45 am, 7 hour bus ride to San Jose. Cash and I will be making our way to the Carribbean the day after that for another week of surfing and relaxing before we hit Bocas del Toro in Panama, and then eventually sailing to Columbia to feel out the waters there.

Again, a great big thank you to everyone in La Botella--I will never forget the good times.

Con gusto,

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving - Costa Rica Style

For me, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday of the year. It is a time when friends and family come together just to have a godd time with each other. The idea of taking time to give thanks for your life resonates with my spiritual quest. The mass consumption of food, drink and sweets helps too, as does the 4 day weekend - though this year that didnt matter so much.

Yesterday Dave and I had quite the time here in Tamarindo. Somehow, despite some rumors we heard the night before, we were absolved of cooking and cleaning duties. It pays to build up goodwill - our efforts the last 3 weeks to feed others and keep the communal kitchen clean obviously did not go unnoticed. We spent the daylight hours engaged in the random pursuits of Tamarindo life - surfing, walking on the beach, etc.

Then the sun went down, the food arrived. The table was filled with veggies, baking materials and 4 chickens - which after a brief debate it was decided to add two more to the mix. The food didn´t start until around 5:30, and people began congregating at about the same time. There were over two dozen people all told.

For most of them it was their first Thanksgiving. I mingled with Canadians (who have thanksgiving in October), Germans, Israelis, Argentines, Ticos (Costa Ricans) and a handful of other Americans. The atmosphere was quite festive, with the courtyard and every room in the hostel full of people buzzing about enjoying themselves. Beer and rum flowed freely. Joints were passed about without worry and there were some intense games of ping pong. At one point the ball was knocked into one of the fires and burned up in only a few seconds. The two chickens on that grill got a "special" flavoring - though no one noticed when it came time to eat.

The meal took a long time to cook, even with substituting chicken for turkey. It was around 10 when we finally ate dinner. When the time came though it was magnificent. I will try and get some pictures from the people saavy enough to still have their cameras.

The kitchen was set up buffet style. Bread station - Chicken - Mashed potatoes with gravy and cranberry sauce - stuffing - salad station with salsa. It was wonderful food. The common room filled with people. All the bean bags and much of the floor was covered with hungry guests. For a while there was silence as we savored the long-awaited meal. After the first round those quick enough got seconds before dessert - pumkin pie with a graham cracker crust - was served. Damn it was tasty.

All told it was a great time. Everything turned out for the best. The only thing missing was my family and friends. I love and miss you guys. Being down here has made me appreciate you all more than I can express right now. I hope your Thanksgiving dinners were full of joy, love and good times. Until next time.

Pura Vida.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Happy Thanksgiving from Bob Dylan and the P:W Crew

Hello everyone. Its Thanksgiving!

Ah, I miss my family. Damn, and what is it about Dylan that makes everything melancholy? Anyhow, here is the latest:

Whew! Last night I made some homemade tortillas and homemade refried black beans and Spanish rice with grated carrot. Props to Pedros and Antonio in particular, since I got the rice recipe from him. The carrots added a meatiness to the rice that really complemented the rest of the dishes. I also made chile rellenos again, and again, everyone loved it. I was told by the womenfolk here at the hostel that I would be cooking today. A kitchen full of women and your truly... That should be fun.

Yesterday, I also went surfing to the sunset after I squared away all the intial preparations for the dinner meal. (Homemade tortillas are amazing, but take a lot of preptime dammit). If you can picture me in a camo bandana, brown and barechested, awkwardly riding a circa 1980s girls cruiser bike painted like a cow with one hand, clutching a 7 and a half foot board in the other, I rode my dreadsteed to a beach called Langosta a couple of kilometers away. It was the Bucephalus to my Alexander, and I was on my way to conquer the sunset estuary point break.

The sunset was liquid yellow, tinged with orange and red, with the sky hanging a giant, nearly full moon behind me in a frame of deep blue. The clouds were cumulous, low and purpled. The light of the sun burned at a low angle to the water, so the details and texture of each wave popped out in dazzling relief, and when the water crashed over me the waves were illuminated from behind in a flash of brilliant jade green. The violence of the colors was apocalyptic; their ferocity was offset by a pregnant stillness in the air broken only by gentle offshore breezes...

All of this was reflected in the surface of the water so that paddling out to the waves was like paddling out over sky; it was an impressionists mottled gold, paint bucket fantasy. Waiting for the set to roll in was serene, and before you knew it, suddenly from the horizon they would approach... The lighting and the speed of the waves gave you time to savor the approach, all this made catching them a leisurely pursuit. When I caught a wave and surfed it in, I could see the bowl of the moon burning white. It was really spectacular.

I have seen so many sunsets like that. I have watched them alone from secluded beaches, watched them from the board I was riding, bobbing out in the bosom of the ocean, watched them from my favorite fish shack enjoying a blackberry shake. They bleed together in a place where you dont count time; they are like different members of the same species... Similar, but with their own personalities and eccentricities.

Despite how amazing this sounds, today I miss my family the most. I miss Sarah and I miss Katie and Criss, Tim and Kate, my Monine, and I miss Lee. I miss my family back home in Riddle, and I miss Jon and Crystal. (However, I do not miss Cricket, the little turd with fur that lives with my parents) If I could be anywhere it would be with them. I am really thankful to have such a great family, and I am thankful for my opportunity to be here.

I am thankful for my lady
for her laughter
and for her choice to honor me as her partner,
for her grace
and her acceptance;

I am thankful for my persepective
for the love of my family and friends,
for opportunity
for what my suffering has taught me
and for having such a bright future ahead of me;

I am thankful to be here.
I am thankful for the ability to see and love and cherish;
I am thankful to be alive.

From Central America, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

A Longosta sunset. Alas, not mine since I am without a camera, and not nearly as beautiful as the yesterday, but you get the idea.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pedros es Numero Uno!

A couple of days ago I had the pleasure of hanging out with Pedro and his family at his family's restaurant, Pedro's Fishshack, Numero Uno. There is a funny story about it actually. The fish house is so popular amongst locals, that when tourists want to go they ask, "Where is Pedro's?"

Without fail, they are directed to the waterfront. There just so happened to be a local Tico who had the idea to make an impostor fish house and decided to call it Pedro's as well. People would show up and ask, "Is this Pedro's?"

"Yes, yes. Please, have a seat." And so it went.

Pedro Sr., furious upon hearing about this, painted a brilliant red "Numero Uno" on the side of his restaurant to let it be known where his fish house stood in relation to all others.

Anyhow, hanging out with Pedro Jr. is always super chill. All he does is drink, fish, smoke, fish, and drink some more. And somewhere in there, he helps run the restaurant. I usually show up to Pedro's around noon, when the fishing boats come in from the morning catch. These guys are out at 4:30 in the morning hauling nets and Pedro and a few of his relatives and friends free-dive for octopuses (nod to Tim), conch, red snapper, lobster and anything else they can pull up.

The day I went I took a look at the mahi, tuna, and a parrotfish. A parrotfish is a big damn fish with a turquoise skin with orange sherbet stripes and spiky fins--straight out of Dr. Seuss. Shrimps with arms and pincers longer than their bodies, crabs, and squid. It was fascinating.

A Parrotfish submitted for your approval: This is basically what I saw at Pedro's, sans lifeforce.

Pedro then gave me a taste of a local delicacy. Fresh, raw conch soaked in lime juice with a pinch of salt. It was chewy and tart, and tasted surprisngly refreshing and not at all fishy.

Have some freakin' conch already--I'll take mine with lime.
The real thing is even less appetizing than this picture, but far more tasty.

After a look, I struck up a conversation with Pedro's dad, Pedro Sr. for whom the eatery is named after. He is well into his 70s, still laboring hard with his 3 boats for a diminishing catch and increased competition from larger corporate outfits. Gas prices are rising and he can feel the labor in his bones, but none-the-less he enjoys the work. And really, what else is there to be done?

It is funny, sad and true that sometimes the entire family will get pissed one night, and then continue to drink for 2 weeks straight. No lie. The fishing stops, the restaurant stops, eating stops. There is a laid back relaxation to everything, but at the same time, there is a low lying tension. The world is changing, Tamarindo is becoming more commericalized, city ordinances have changed so the fish shack is technically too close to the water... All of this makes for a quiet desparation that puts paradise into relief.

Pedro's mom, Angela, is a sweet and sharp woman. You can see in her eyes the numbers being crunched; the next week's finances being calculated. It is my thought that Pedro's exists because of this shrewd woman. Despite her alacrity, she is still mirthful, genuine, and quick to smile.

After talking, I purchased arroz con leche, a rice pudding made with cinnamon from a local merchant. This is the kind of wandering merchant that usually frequents local businesses, and for whom gringos rarely patronize. The pudding was still warm, and Pedro and I enjoyed a juice made fom milk and starfruit, each eating our pudding in silence.

Pedro then told me about some of his horror stories from diving. To catch an octopus, they have a long pole with a hook at the end. You can't see octopuses very well since they are such experts at camouflage, but one thing makes them standout: their posture. The stand perfectly still and hope that you pass right over them. If you know what to look for you can see their eyes protruding from their large round heads. So, having the luck to see an octopus, you slowly extend the pole with the hook underneath it. It will not move because it is banking on its gambit of deception. When the hook is underneath it, jerk, and as fast as you can, grab the head. Flip the animal over and bring the hard end of the pole down on the center of the beak and try to kill it by crushing it as quickly as possible. Once thats done, turn the head inside out and discard the brain and entrails. In less than 30 seconds you have caught, killed, and cleaned an octopus. Pedro assures me that speed is the key. With the entrails hovering about you, other fish are attracted and that is generally when Pedro will use his speargun to hunt for snapper. Speaking of his experience of hunting octopuses, Pedro confided:

"Once man, I didn kiel it fast enough man. It wrapped eight legs around me and started to bite me with its beak man. Man, that beak hurts you man."

Pedro's girlfriend confirmed this telling me a story of Pedro returning from a morning's fishing expedition with an arm covered in blood and circular hickeys.

"You have to pry those suckers off one at a time man. They leave poka dots like this." Pedro slowly makes sucking sounds. It then occurs to me that all of this action is happening on a single breath of air under about 4 meters of water. I laugh and continue to eat my pudding.

This is the horrifying maw of a squid. Can you imagine engaging in single, mortal combat with this?

"Man bro, I need to burn." Pedro produces a joint, and begins to puff. In quiet solemnity, I look on. *grin*

At one point I asked if I could see the cooks do their work, as I am interested in local cooking and everyone here was so friendly.

"Sure man, sure."

Upon entering the hectic kitchen, I met two Nicaraguans, Antonio and Kenya. Antonio is a flamboyantly gay cook, with french manicured toenails and the smoothest legs I have seen outside of a magazine. Kenya is a sweet woman who earnestly preps vegetables and sauces. Right away, Antonio begins to direct me in preparing seafood pasta, frying plantains, and the correct manner in cooking small blue crabs. In a cooler is all of the bounty that Pedro caught earlier that morning, waiting to hit the pan. So I cooked and asked lots of questions in broken Spanish and had a quite a few laughs. It was a great experience.

After my stay at Pedros for the day, I brought them the tropical fruit salsa I prepared as a thanks. Needless to say, Pedros is Numero Uno for me, and I would recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in Tamarindo.


Friday, November 16, 2007

The quiet moments

Hello again all,

Life here in Tamarindo is continuing as ususal. Slowly and easy. Each day is full of experience and life. Each night is full of good food, good drinks and good people. Usually during the day I go surfing or swing in a hammock, reading and listening to music. I also try and find time each day to explore the areas in and around Tamarindo. The natural world around and in this town is incredible.

For instance, two days ago I decided to take a long walk to clear my head. I wandered the streets of Tamarindo at first, navigating through loud, dusty streets. Loud constructions sites, dusty roads, noisy vendors and packs of yammering tourists was not the environment I was looking for, so I headed out of town.

After a few minutes of relative quiet, broken only by the ocasional car hurtling past me spewing up a large cloud of dust, I was walking through a patch of woods. A little ways into the woods I found a beach access trail behind a bus stop and started walking slowly. The trail went through a small swamplike patch of ground straight to the ocean. The woods stretched off to my right. On the left a simple farmhouse stood, the yard overgrown with grasses and shrubs, the house itself slowly crumbling under a tin roof. It was quiet and perfect.

After the bustle of town standing in a patch of marshy woodlands was a catalyst for me. I cleared my mind and focused on just experiencing the life around me, and it was incredible. The path was lined with these brightly colored red and yellow land crabs I hadn't noticed before. There were dozens of them lining the path. As I walked along the path they would jump into these holes they had dug in the mud at incredible speed. I never got closer than about 6 meters (20 feet) to any of them, but if I stood still I could watch those further away moving around. I sat and watched the crabs, birds lizards and insects around me for a long time before continuing on to the beach.

It is little things like this that make life here so amazing and each day worth waking up for. Well, that is a sample of my life here in Tamarindo, along with the crazy stuff Dave has told told you all about. Stay tuned and live well.

Pura Vida.


Dang theives

Arg. A couple of days ago someone stole our digital camera. Needless to say, pics and videos will be out for the forseeable future due to this set back.

Cést la vie.

That said, anyone who has an old digicam beater that wants to donate it, feel free to contact me at and let me know.

Anyhow, besides that, Cash and I have decided to get a move on early. Costa Rica has been good to us, but it is time to go soon. Instead of staying here another month and week, we are playing with the logistics of traveling overland through Panama, taking a boat to Columbia, and then overland to Ecuador and then to Peru.

We still don´t know exactly how this will work, but we are figuring it out! At worst, the added expense will cut the trip short, but we figure that experiencing the overland journey through southern Central America and South America will be much cooler than stewing here another month and then hopping right to Lima.

Other items of interest:

Last night I made some red snapper. It was great! Macademia nut/toasted coconut encrusted snapper with lime butter on the barbeque. I also made a killer fruit salsa with fresh papaya, pineapple, mango, avocado, jalepeños, chiles dulce, lime juice and salt. To finish, a rice pilaf with mushrooms.

When I bought the fish from a local fisherman named Pedro Jr., I also asked if I could score some line and a lure and he was into it. I also asked if I brought him a beer if he would spend some time with me and help me perfect my fish fileting skills. So tonight or tomorrow night, I will hopefully be drinking some beers to the sunset and surf casting and maybe even cleaning my own fish!

Until then,

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Chili rellenos, Pokerfest 2007, and my best wave yet!!

Hey all:

Life here in Tamarindo is still creeping forward at it´s lulling, Costa Rican pace. A friend of mine remarked today that it is a bit like the movie Groundhog´s Day, since every morning we walk the same couple of kilometers to the beach, see the same people and animals lazily shuffling about, and hear the same merchants hawk their wares. It´s as if we´re all in a perpetual Sunday morning. These last couple of days have been dominated by surfing, cooking, and evening parties--the most recent of which I whipped together some red pepper chili rellenos.

For those interested, I started the process by roasting the chilis on an open flame until the waxy skin was charred black. The smell is tremendous and right about this time you can expect fellow hostel mates to poke their heads in and casually ask what´s for dinner. After removing the peppers from the heat, I stored them between two plates (the top inverted to make a small enclosure) to let them sweat. Next, I combined some Mexican cheese and cream cheese in a blender, along with a little garlic and a touch of milk. This makes a delicious and thick white cheese paste that you can put in the freezer to thicken as you prepare the rest of the meal.

After letting the chilis sit, the charred skins are easy to scrape off. A quick slit down the pepper and you can remove the seeds and begin stuffing them with 1 or 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture. I used toothpicks to seal these puppies back up and set them aside to cool some more.

Here is the hard part--the batter. Separate about 6 egg whites and yolks (for about 7 rellenos) and set aside the yolks. Whip the whites until semi stiff peaks form. This is not an easy task with a crappy bowl and a fork... But with some cursing, determination, and a few cold beers, it can be done. Whip the yolks together with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of flour. Fold the yolks into the egg whites, add a bit of paprika, and the bam! You´ve got a light airy batter just waiting for some chilis.

Heat a pan full of oil, dredge the stuffed peppers in flour and then drop them into the batter, then into the hot oil. Flip. Take these bad boys out when they are golden brown and you´re done! I didn´t even get to eat a whole one of these before they were all snatched up, so when you make them, more is better.

Whew! Just recounting that recipe has me sort of sweating.

After dinner, Pokerfest commenced!

The idea for poker night (besides the fact that a bunch of 20 something males are drinking together in a hostel looking for something to do), is the copious amounts of change you get here in Costa Rica. 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, and 500 colones coins makes for a huge amount of clanging metal in your pocket so we generally leave a giant stash of coins in our hostel rooms. Splitting them up, we each had a couple thousand colones.

The match quickly declined into shenanigans, and so Christian, (a German friend of mine here at the hostel) and I, put the shades on. Below are some vids of the action. Anyhow the game lasted for hours and in the end it was Cash and I duking it out for a pile of tin. Cash won. Damn.




And today!

The best wave yet. I was at Playa Longosta, and there was no one there except for the La Botella de Leche surf crew. On my second attempt I caught this wave--and I kid you not--there was a moment of silence as I dropped into the pocket. Blue sky, blue water, hangover, perfect break, and I was on the face of this 2 foot wave (yeah yeah I know... 2 feet? but come on, that felt like a 6 footer you know... damn they always look bigger then they are) cutting right. The feeling was amazing. Everytime I get to a new plateau with surfing, I realize I haven´t surfed before that moment.

Takin´a break

The Crew

Needless to say, I was buzzing. The only downer was that late in the day some local kid committed to a ride when i was clearly paddling back out right in front of him. We made eye contact and everything, but I think he thought he had control... unfortunately for me, he grazed me and dinged my board pretty bad. Time for some epoxy. Little turd.

Well, this really is the home stretch for Tamarindo. About 10 more days of this and then time to relocate. So until then-- ¡Pura Vida!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Out of the woods and onto the beach

Hello all!

First of all, I apologize for the lack of entries. My internet connections have been spotty at best, and I have been loathe to go to internet cafes that charge by the minute. Luckily, tonight is a good night and there is connectivity! So to sum up since my last entry, San José was largely forgettable and the highlights for the capital were the anti-Bush graffitti and a stroll through a butterfly preserve. There were an amazing few the size of small dinner plates, slowly fluttering to and fro, wings drenched in iridescent blue. Most were smaller and of every hue you could imagine. The scene was reminiscent of something out of a tropical Secret Garden, with lush native flowering plants providing homes for the thousands of butterflies lazily winging about.

One of the denizens of the preserve, stopping for a photo-op.

The Halloween party consisted of me navigating a bumping discotech for yet another whiskey-coke. Sorry there aren´t pictures, but the camera was safely stowed as we stumbled around in the rain... Fun, but mostly expenisve and exhausting. Anyhow, right now I´m in a town called Tamarindo, in Guanacaste on the Nicoya Peninsula. It is beautiful and touristy, and totally relaxed.

So I have been here for about a week, and will be here for another 2 to brush up on my surfing skills. To that end, Cash and I have purchased two surfboards:

Exhibit A: Our funboards in our dorm. Cash rides the banana to the left and I´m on whitie.

We are staying in a hostel named, La Botella de Leche, or "The Bottle of Milk." The entire hostel has a cow motif, complete with cow utensils in the community kitchen, and white boulders with black spots lining the hostel walkways. The space is airy and colorful, and everyone who´s here is super chill. Cash and I got a special rate since we are staying 3 weeks here, so it is only costing both of us 12 bucks a night. Internet and community kitchen and t.v. included! The hostel is run by a fabulous Argentinian family, and the matriarch´s name is Mariella. She´s kind and goodhearted and makes the place feel as close to home as you could hope for out here in the world. Here´s a pic of the commons:

The girl to the left is Gunilla, a Swedish surfing pal and to the right is Wenses--the son of the hostel mother and a great guy to bullshit with.

Here´s the sign for the hostel, shaped after its namesake.

Upon closer inspection, you can see the cow here is tokin´a doob. My kinda bovine.

As you can see--totally relaxed and be-beanbagged to boot. So far Cash and I have been surfing the various playas together-- Tamarindo, and a little place called La Casita on Playa Grande. To get out to La Casita, you have to paddle out across a river that runs out of the rainforest and that is infested with caiman alligators. No shit--it makes for an exciting morning.

Other than that, I walk the beach a lot, practice my Spanish, relax during the amazing Tamarindo sunsets, drink copious amounts of beer, and I do a lot of cooking. A couple of times I have been to local discotechs to check out the nightlife. Amazing! The music here is so pumping. At this one place, the pianist was incredible. He sounded right out of Buena Vista Social Club. The percussionist was also amazing, and the whole place writhed as if it was an independent organism. Here, the music drives like a heartbeat: blue light, bongo rhythms, mambo steps, and bass hitting. The only downside is the premium price on drinks, so this kind of entertainent is necessairly limited.

Relaxing here at the beach has been a fulltime job for me. It is actually surprisingly hard to let go of the constant nagging your mind is used to enduring... It almost seems that my mind is encouraging that kind of mindset. I wake, with literally nothing to do but catch some waves, nap, and cook--but I am still finding that worry creeps in to harsh my mellow. Don´t get me wrong, it is a challenge that I feel totally blessed to take on, but then again, it is what it is.

So anyhow, here at the hostel my new found friends and I have been having a great time, and we´ve even started a dinner club of sorts, so in the evenings we are throwing together community barbeques. I am usually on cooking duty for these, so on any given night you can find me whipping up Spanish rice (thanks ma), or marinating chicken and fish. Also, thanks Sarah for your help in the kitchen--it has certainly proved to be useful here!

Here´s the dinner and surfing crew from the left to the right: Dave, a northern Cali contractor here for the surf, me, Cash, and a German couple named Christopher and Stephanie.

Believe it or not, I have also been brushing up on my trigonometry and have been having candid conversations about quantum physics and technological singularity with some hostel mates. Soon my friend Gunilla and I will also start training tai chi and sparring together on the beach--I look forward to that. So here´s to 2 more weeks on the Pacific!

A typical sunset here: just another day in paradise!

Okay all, I better get back to my tallboy of Pilsen and the sea of random conversation that only an international hostel can provide. Con gusto!

--dave out.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Drunken Horror Night

Hey all:

Here´s some pics and a vid from Hostel Pangea in San Jose. Enjoy!

Rooftop bar baby

I got a fever, and the only prescription is more rooftop

Dave and Cash for the win

Here´s to our first night!

Oh yes, and did I mention that tomorrow is Halloween. How convenient that Hostel Pangea has a blowout Halloween party to celebrate. See flyer below:

Need I say more? Pictures and other defamations will be posted soon no doubt. Stay tuned!

Sun, Surfing and San Jose

Ok, so it has been a while since my last post. Dave's post about surfing and Southern California pretty much sum up our last days in the good 'ol US of A. Surfing, chillin' and having a fantastic time.

At around 11:30 last night we boarded our flight to San Salvador. We had been drinking 20oz. beers and eating overpriced airport food. Dave was on the phone right up to the last possible second with his special lady and then we got our seats. Luckily I passed out for most of the flight down, so it went by pretty fast for me. The 3 hour layover in San Salvador sucked though. Dave had no problem sleeping through the whole affair, but I just couldn´t pull it off.

The flight to San Jose was short and sweet. It lasted less than an hour and was one of the coolest flights I have had the pleasure to be on. They had this funky air-conditioning system that blew a cold, white mist out of vents throughout the plane. It made me feel like I was in a refrigerator. Once we stepped off the plane though the humidity hit us and we were crammed on a bus to get from the plane to the terminal. Luckily all of our packs arrived in good order and we had no issues with customs.

There was a pack of aggressive (yet somehow still friendly) taxi drivers when you stepped out of the airport. They had pretty good sales pitches, but we had already done our research. We stopped by the national bank branch and got some US$ and Colones then caught the bus to downtown San Jose - which cost under $2 for the both of us, unlike the cab fares for $10-$20. The bus ride taught me that I never, ever want to drive a car in this country. Just...damn. The incredible thing is that I only saw one accident on the 30 minute ride into town.

Once we arrived in San Jose we needed to find our Hostel (thankfully Dave had secured reservations for us last week). The thing about San Jose is that there are almost no street signs and no address system. People use landmarks and distances in meters instead. So we busted out a map and compass and began navigating. We found the hostel pretty easily actually, and walking through town (especially the central market) was an awesome experience.

The hostel we are at is called the Pangea Hostel and it is pretty awesome. Visit the link to see a list of the amenities. So now we have our bearings, we are operating within budget and tomorrow is going to be a day of sightseeing and exploration. For pictures and videos, check out Dave's posts as he has the camera, so he gets the fancy stuff.

Well, we're here and its happening. Day one of Project:Wanderer has been a success. Take care all and We'll keep you posted.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Los Surfistos

More good times in the HB.

These last few days have been pretty chill. Due to the raging fires this season, and the fact that Whiting Ranch has been totally consumed, mountain biking has been out... and surfing has been what it´s about. It has been a little strange to surf to the haze of smoke and the smell of campfires, but breathing is a lot more managable here than inland. Anyhow, my daily ritual has been waking up, eating breakfast, and then hitting the water. Today being our last day here (10-29-2007), we went out a little early to surf to the sunrise. It was amazing. The morning started grey and quiet with no horizon--the ninja swells sneaking in through water that was nearly indistibguisable from sky.

Toward 9:00am the sun came out (while I was under water!), so that when I surfaced the ocean was suddenly visable. It was incredible! It was like an ocean-rise if you could call it that--turqouise and green sparkling with sunlight, reflecting the bowl of the suddenly blue sky.

And I have to admit, my paddling, duck dive, and turtling skills are tons better than they were. For those that don´t know, duck diving is where you push the tip of your board under and through the wave to prevent getting your ass knocked off, while turtling, done mostly on a longboard since you can´t duck dive it, means that you flip upside down and pull the nose of the board to you as you slip under a wave. What this amounts to is saving a ton of energy to burn up actually catching waves, which is a helluva lot funner than going through the rinse cycle over and over again.

Below are a couple of shots of the crew, and a couple videos. Enjoy!

After a hard day surfing

That is a text book example of ¨Shit-eating grin¨on Cash. The gentlemen on either side are Chris (left) and our pal Jason (right). Thanks guys for letting us use your boards!!

Here are some videos!

River Jetties-- one particular surfspot in Southern Huntington Beach

Waxin´the boards baby

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Duking it out with Whiting Ranch

More updates!

Today I went mountain biking with my good friend's dad Dana and his friend Bill. Dana had all the gear and a ride up to the mountain so I thought I'd try out my hand.

For my first experience, let me tell you, mountain biking is nuts-- but what a trip! Riding up I heard a lot of horror stories of mountain lion attacks and bleeding anuses (but definitely not in the same sentence), so I was mentally preparing myself for an Orange County Armageddon. Thankfully, there was a little hyperbole, but the trails were still pretty intense.

The park where we were at is called Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. It's this half forest, half desert chaparral landscape--a parched old mountain with its face etched by dry creeks, covered in old oaks, and studded with granite bluffs that stand like ancient sentinels whistling at the wind. Gearing up I saw that there were signs everywhere warning about mountain lions and trail hazards...

"Just don't stop moving," Dana says to me.


Heading out to the trail the leaves burned a furious orange and yellow, and soon we were bombing down dry creekbeds studded with small rocks and boulders. Strong whiffs of eucalyptus and skunk and something sweet and piney rode with us through the invisible moats of air carved out by the wild and dusty wind.

Frequently low lying oak limbs jutted out into these luge-like runs with banked edges, so we had to tuck under them Indiana Jones Style to prevent being clotheslined off our bikes at 15 mph. Pedaling along these blind turns, suddenly the ground would disappear and dump us into these 45 degree chutes that rocketed us up over the opposing riverbed banks.

As awesome as all this sounds, it sort of flew by faster than I could process. A lot of it was lower brain function stuff--I just had to stay committed to it or risk dying. Or worse, getting off the bike and walking it. You know... the old go big or go home kind of a thing. At least that's what I tell myself now in the relative safety of my good friend's bedroom typing this. At any rate, I was glad that Dana and Bill were around giving me casual pointers on technique, and also mapping out the terrain ahead of me. Bill was usually ahead tearing it up which gave me a little more confidence since I had literally no idea what new devilry was hurtling toward me at a near relativistic clip. Or at least it felt that way. Thanks Bill. Or should I say, Bill the Skill.

Carving these natural halfpipes, totally connected with the machine I was riding, I felt that this was exactly what people meant when they said that they were going to go mountain biking. Before I could really catch my breath and snap out of my reverie, I was powersliding on hairpin curves that had so much inertia and kinetic energy that I was bounding over wickedly knarled tree roots and washboard trail features that normally would've stopped me dead in my tracks.

Sore ass aside, it was an amazing ride. And I'm please to say my anus is not, in fact, bleeding. Yet.

So next week Dana is on vacation. Cash gets here and I plan on waking early and riding in the glassy sets at Huntington Beach, and then taking the afternoon to do some more biking. It has been ideal to be so elemental, and so far I've absolutely loved being so active.