gracias, senor

I remember riding on a bus from Palenque town to Villahermosa, Mexico last October.  The driver played this song probably ten times. I dare you to listen to it over and over and then not remember it randomly 10 months later. He would also make the sign of the cross on himself every time he veered into the oncoming traffic lane to go around another car.  I couldn’t decide if I found that comforting or unnerving.

pura vida

I realized that I A) don’t update often enough around here and B) Never said much about my trip to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. I’m here to remedy both of those situations. Two birds! I’m a notorious non-rememberer-to-take-picturer so all I have are the few uploads from my phone I remembered to send (oddly enough, my cell network worked better in Nicaragua, the western hemisphere’s second poorest country, than in Costa Rica, the richest country in Central America). I’ve interspersed them here.

My then-roommate and I traveled for two and a half weeks flying in and out of San Jose. San Jose is a bustling, nondescript, dirty city and we quickly moved on to our next destination after spending a day trapped in the hostel hiding from torrential rains.

Our next stop, Puerto Viejo, proved to be much more interesting. With a decidedly Carribean culture and feel, Puerto Viejo looks like what I’d imagine Jamaica to be. It’s probably in the most dangerous area of Costa Rica as drug trafficking is a big problem, from what I hear. We experienced none of this but ran into a couple who were mugged at gunpoint while riding their bikes in broad daylight. After petting some baby sloths and monkeys, drinking coffee on a black sand beach and swinging in a hammock for many, many hours, we were off to our next destination: Arenal Volcano.

Let’s pause. June in Costa Rica is considered low season and not without good reason. There were times when it rained so hard, we were completely stranded. Nevertheless, it’s hot. In order not to be miserable, you need to make peace with being hot and wet… all the time. My personal slogan (which I intend to pitch to the Costa Rican tourism board one of these days) was Costa Rica: You Can’t Stay Dry! Which reminds me of the  almost convincing actual tourism slogan of Colombia: The Only Danger is Wanting to Stay!

Back to the trip. We arrived late in La Fortuna, the city closest to the hot volcano action, in the pouring rain, soaking wet from a rafting expedition earlier in the day. After sleeping in a tent because they had run out of beds, we skipped town thinking we’d return on the way back. We didn’t.

Next we moved on to Monteverde. Monteverde was beautiful and not unlike the Pacific Northwest in temperature and to some extent scenery.  We spent our first day crossing hanging bridges hung throughout the rain forest and finding monkeys who seemed a lot more pissed off than our delightful baby monkey encounter days before. Our second day was spent doing absolutely nothing. Well, not nothing, but pretty much the same thing that Unemployed Alexis does back in Portland: drink coffee, look at Facebook, read, sit, stare.

A 5am bus the following day took us up across the Nicaraguan border to the colonial city of Granada. An immensely welcome change from Costa Rica’s expensive tourist track, Nicaragua had culture, character and most importantly, things we could afford to do. We spent the most time here taking in the sights and trying not to have a heat stroke. Did I mention this was winter? I can’t even imagine what- no wait I can imagine it and I’m going to stop now. Let us not think of such things.

One of the best/worst days of the trip was our trip to Lake Apoyo. Before the unfortunate incident where I dared another American tourist that he couldn’t cross the entire lake via kayak and nearly killed him in the process, we really did have a nice afternoon bouncing around in the clear waters and swimming in an out of hot spots (the lake was actually a volcanic crater filled with rain water making it the cleanest lake in Nicaragua and creating fish that exist nowhere else on earth in addition to the aforementioned hot spots).

After recruiting a British girl on gap year to join us, we proceeded back into Costa Rica and on to the Pacific Beaches. Once we snapped out of sticker shock from the ridiculously high prices in this region (more expensive than the US), we enjoyed our final days on various beaches, the best of which was Playa Conchal, made entirely of small ground up shells.

Fin.

the list!

One of my favorite things to do is make lists. My longest and most important list consists of things I’d like to do in my life (don’t call it a bucket list or you’ll get a swift kick in the face – i started this before that awful movie which I have proudly not seen). Some of them simple, some of them complex. The list changes as I mark things off but it always stays at 100 or so. For your perusal:

The List!

  • Adopt a Child
  • Throw a wedding – working on it!
  • Snorkel in a cenote
  • Hug a baby elephant – awww, this will be the greatest moment of my life
  • Visit Valladolid, MX – drove through it, couldn’t stop at the time
  • Go to Africa
  • Visit a Muslim country
  • Go to Antarctica
  • Donate Blood Marrow
  • Be a foster parent
  • Volunteer in a Foreign Country
  • See Guernica
  • Visit Lisbon
  • Live outside the US for a year
  • Read every book I own
  • Visit Veracruz, MX
  • Get a dog
  • Get a Master’s Degree – might start this soon
  • Sew an article of clothing – I have a skirt that I’ve sewn almost entirely but it’s remained unhemmed for over a year now
  • Own a hybrid or electric vehicle
  • Visit Sian Kaan Reserve, MX – I was close!
  • Go on a meditation/ yoga retreat
  • Take a martial arts class
  • Attend Carnivale
  • Go SCUBA diving
  • Take an Indian Dance class
  • Stay in a yurt or teepee
  • Take a French Class
  • Drive a car onto a ferry – I don’t know why I want to do this…
  • Induce a Lucid Dream
  • Ride 25 miles on my bike
  • Go Mountain Biking
  • Design an article of clothing
  • Buy a Home
  • Go to Reykjavik in the summer
  • Stay in a beach bunglaow/ cabana
  • Go to a hot springs
  • Teach an ESL class
  • Try indoor sky diving
  • Go Camping – believe it or not, I’ve never been!
  • Try to Skateboard
  • Try to Snowboard
  • Cut my hair short
  • Visit India
  • See Angkor Watt
  • Finance A Microloan
  • Decorate a cake
  • Camp at a music festival – Sasquatch 2010, woohoo! Spring Break! MTV! (?)
  • Take a pointe class
  • Taken an ayurvedic cooking class
  • Camp on the Beach
  • Join a Book Club
  • Sit cross-legged – never could
  • Visit Montana
  • Make my own kombucha
  • Do yoga every day for 30 days
  • Run a 5k in under 30 mins – I hate running and I’m slow
  • Start a business
  • Ride only my bike for a month
  • Be a Bartender
  • Attend a Quaker service
  • Color my hair an unnatural color
  • Build a snowman
  • Drive a scooter
  • Visit Austin
  • Visit Philadelphia
  • Visit Boston
  • Win a prize of $5000 Value
  • Play in an adult soccer game – not “adult”, pervs
  • Sit on the board of a non-profit
  • Stay within an Indigenous Culture
  • Mend my own clothes
  • Eat only home-cooked foods for a week
  • Sit around a bon fire on a beach
  • Swim in the Mediterranean
  • Drive Cross Country
  • Visit Tahiti – Only because I love Gauguin
  • Go a month without TV
  • Take photos with a TLR Camera
  • Get on the air on NPR
  • Take a cruise to Cuba – When its legal again someday… this is how my grandparents met
  • Hike to the top of a Mountain
  • Ride a horse along a trail
  • Visit Buenos Aires
  • Start a Vegetable and Herb Garden
  • Jump off a Cliff Into a Body of Water

DONE: Go Snorkeling, Go on a Road Trip By Myself, . Win a Large Prize, Win a prize of $500 or more, Go to Seattle, Make a Snow Angel , Start a Club or Organization, Attend a Charity Gala Event, Work or Volunteer for Oxfam , Go to Spain , Work Full Time for a Non-profit , Attend a Film Festival, Take a Kundalini Yoga Class, Get a tattoo , Attend an Art Opening, Go Kayaking, Be Vegetarian for a week, Attend a formal Wine Tasting Event, Get a massage, Try indoor rock climbing, Try Surfing, Take a Bikram Yoga Class , Teach a Class, Study Spanish Abroad, Be Vegan for a week, Join a CSA, Organize a Charity Event, Go to Vancouver BC, Dress up for Halloween, Attend a Large Rally/ Protest, Ride the OHSU Tram, Walk for a Cause, Take a Grad School Class, Attend an outdoor Music Festival, Hold a fluent conversation in Spanish, Stand Under a Waterfall, Get a Thai Massage, Be a bridesmaid, Get an adjustment from a Chiropractor, Go to Chiapas, Have my make up done professionally, Go for a long train ride, Use a Pilates Reformer, Get a 90 min massage, Take a course in Meditation, Decorate my home

discreet charm

Every 4 months or so I have a day that reminds me of  Luis Buñuel‘s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie in its absurdity. Amazingly enough (for better or for worse), the film is available for viewing in its entirety on youtube.

It’s a surreal portrait of the bourgeoisie and slightly more narrative than another of my favorite Buñuel films, Un Chien Andalou, a collaboration with Salvador Dali. Not bad for his first film! This one is only 12 mins long but also entirely available on youtube. Thanks, internet! I will warn you though, without giving anything away, that this film is best known for one particularly squeamish moment…  
I think its high time I did a Buñuel marathon. I can’t get enough surreality.

two questions and a video

There are so many important questions in life. Here are five of them:

  • Why is Jake Gyllenhaal playing a Persian Prince when he is Swedish/Jewish? Fun Fact: his dad was raised practicing Swedenborgianism which sounds more interesting than it really is. Also, why does his character appear to have a British accent (the film seems to take place before the Brits were all up in Iran’s business)?
  • Would it be dumb to have a crossword puzzle contest at my wedding? There would be a prize and most likely it would be this.
  • And, in honor of my upcoming trip to Costa Rica, I’ve created a new bit I like to call Ugh, Cute Girls ™ in which I post something relevant to me being jealous of some adorable girl. Exhibit A: Las Robertas. Oh, to be young and hip in Central America.

    oh, hi

    So.. I’ve started a blog.

    It’s not about anything in particular but living in a city where it rains as often as it doesn’t, sometimes you feel the need to talk to yourself… or at least speak out into the open without expectation (but appreciation!) of conversation.

    A little background:  I’m 26 years old and living in Portland, Oregon. I spend my days thinking of plans for action and taking in as much information as I can from the world around me. Throw eating in there somewhere and you’ve got a pretty complete picture.  My boyfriend David and I will be getting married on July31st of this year so planning has become a huge, but immensely enjoyable time suck for me.  The photo above reflects another hobby; taking pictures of beautiful things with my little Diana camera.

    Welcome to my blog!