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March 31, 2003

a good way to keep track of the "war"

drew linked to this site, thought i would to, colorful graphics help all of us in so many ways.
going job hunting today, yesterday managed to really sprain my left big toe, maybe i'll get some work out of sympathy.
cross your fingers for me.

Posted by bendan at 10:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 30, 2003

lots to do

gotta get my second roll of film developed, then i'll figure a way to get fotos up on here. have a list of places i'm gonna go look for work at tomorrow, cringe.
this is turning out to be scarier then the iraqi war.

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March 29, 2003

reeeeeennnooo...

being back is alternately really good and saddening, seeing everyone is helping so much, drew is down from portlandia so i get to hang out with him a bit, plus a lot of the running into people everywhere i go and getting to say hi. i'd forgotten how it is, it's really fun at times, dropping by my friends' works and businesses, getting to say hello, see how reno has changed in the last 6 months (not at all).
monday is job hunting day, not terribly thrilled about that, the job market is crap here right now, but i have to start saving really soon for the interpreter course i'm taking in arizona in april. which means that if i get stuck at some shitty job, at least i know it will only be for 3 months. at least i'll have good memories to push me through the long work hours.

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March 27, 2003

guess where i'm at?

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March 25, 2003

homeward bound

went and checked out the boat thing, looked like it would take a week or two of schmoozing with yacht people (not the most appetizing though for me i must admit) to get on a yacht, plus the fact that not so many yachts are heading north since the hurricane season is closing in. so i will be flying back to the reno, it`s good in a way cause i`ll get to see family and friends supersoon, but also a little of a bummer, mostly cause i was hoping for some boat time to reflect on my trip and prepare myself for the states again. not that i need preparation like i`m taking a test, and also panama city is very much like a western city, so i`m not worried, with luck i`ll be able to go camping soon after i return, that always helps tons.

this may be one of the best get your war on comics he`s ever done. specially the second to last one. check it out.

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March 24, 2003

panama city and the canal

went to the canal today with my friends, pretty impressive. we were goofing around all day, dancing in shops, practicing our breakdancing as usual. tonight will be sorta sad cause everyone will shortly be parting ways, daniel the swede first of all, tomorrow he goes to the airport to try and get a cheap last minute flight to ecuador or bolivia. then pascual and joanna try and get a boat to columbia, which might take one day, might take a week. exciting for them. and manali the swiss girl heads back up towards guatemala, on busses, she`s not afraid. she rounded us out well, though more french is spoken and daniel and i end up goofing around more since we don`t speak the french so well.
still trying to figure out my return route, some chance i may have to fly.
ok all for now. more better thoughts later.

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panama city

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March 23, 2003

last big bus trip

just got back from isla bastimientos, the best beaches ever there, supergood body surfing and hanging out with the travelling partners. we picked up one more, a swiss, so five of us are heading towards panama city in short order. last long bus ride for me, really stoked about that, 11 hours though. im old hand by now, got a book and some music.
my trips coming to a close. on the 2nd it will be 6 months. hard to believe in a way. really good though.
ok gotta get moving, more from panama, my last city.

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March 20, 2003

im in paradise, but theres a war on

today i went scuba diving in the morning with daniel and only one other diver plus the divemaster, which is a perfect size group. it was good, not as clear as the honduras coast but better than the pacific, saw no sharks but a giant grouper fish. probably my last dive for a long time.
after that daniel, pascual and i rented kayaks and rode around this small island which is next to the island of colon, which is where we are. we spent two hours paddling, taking time to jump off of and knock each other off of the kayaks into the amazingly warm water. afterwords pascual said he felt like we were all kids again, having contests as to who could hold their breath the longest (i won) and stuff like that.
but out there, as i was cruising along next to the beach coast backed by palm trees, i continued to think about how, while i am in paradise pretty much, people are being bombed to death in iraq, for reasons that so many people find unacceptable. i was watching cnn world and reading salon.com and indymedia.org, trying to keep abreast of the situation (found myself longing or npr), but still i feel very far away from it all, and in a way its ok but its not a good feeling.
ok enough of that from me, i cant imagine how many blogs today have similar whinging, so instead ill post this link clara sent me that i like very much, maybe you will to, read it its funny.

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March 19, 2003

bocas del toro island, panama

everyone in here is reading about the war on the internet, i feel fairly informed about it but really far away.
getting here was interesting today, i came with pascual and joanna from puerto viejo on the carribean side of costa rica, we had stayed there two nights on route from san jose, it was a nice little town, very tranquilo, read a lot and swam a ton, the water is so warm down here, such a good shade of blue, i lack adjectives so ill throw out the generic damn amazing.
anyways, we crossed the border and caught a truck taxi towards the town from which you catch the boats to here, however we didnt make it all the way cause people had cut down a bunch of trees over the highway to protest bad road conditions. they had a point, and i guess its hard to get panama city to pay attention to them when theyre on the other side of the country, but we ended up walking about two kilometers through the heat, so it was a little annoying.
ran into daniel bendrick from sweden as soon as we got here, he and i plan to go dive tomorrow. this island is nice, its cooled off now thank god, were gonna go cook dinner and listen to music at the hostel, they were rocking neil young earlier, sounded good.
here are some fotos ive linked to from ran the israelis page.
this is us at majagual, on the southern pacific coast of nicaragua.
this is me and daniel the swede on the boat that took us diving at playa el coco in northern costa rica.
me at montezuma, lookin cool. hehe.
the 13 meters plus waterfall we jumped from in montezuma.
ok thats all for now, back to reading about the war.

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March 17, 2003

the right decision

not gonna drive the jeep back home, realized i didn`t want to when i was watching the film gangs of new york, which i thought was ok. the jeep thing is too much headache. pascual agreed, he might fly back here from peru and then drive it home himself, it sounds better that way.
today i`m off with pascual and joanna towards panama, not certain still whether i`ll stop off at puerto viejo before i cross the border, gonna flip a coin and decide.
our family dog was put to sleep yesterday, we`d had her since i was 11 i think, i`m still processing it, it kills me though. i get to think about her on the long busride today. guess i`m starting off today sad.

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March 16, 2003

possible chance of plan for return to the u.s. (high adventure?)

so i got into san jose a few days ago, its been nice after all the beach time. today is a rainy sunday here, for some reason the view from the balcony of the hostel is bringing back tons of memories of spain, all the days id roll out of bed, shoot to the supermarket to buy food before it closed, everything is closed here as well, then made lunch and hung out with bob and aaron and airielle and dawn, who has her birthday hoy dia, so wish her a happy birthday, wed cook a good lunch and watch the simpsons. good times.
anyways, on the the reason for the title. i met up with pascual here, hes happy as usual, joanna keeps him in that goofy grin. he pulls me aside a few hours after i arrived, with something that might interest me. then he half whispers, ive fell in love. motion to joanna and tell him, i know. he replies, no man, with a jeep. apparently the old toyota land cruisers are worth their weight in golden igloos up in canada, and their abundance down here has had pascual salivating for weeks now. he said he talked up a guy with a really nice one, really nice in monteverde, and got quoted 2700 bucks american, including some work on the tranny. he said his future brother in law would loan him the money, but that wouldnt help much since pascual is dedicated to continuing down to chile with joanna. heres where i come in.

so would you wanna drive it back up to the united states for me?

its a big choice. fact of the matter is, i have a fairly certain (no eye rolling please) way of returning home, the boat hitching out of panama city. i have 2 good leads on yacht clubs where i can catch a ride, plus enough money to get me there after i do a last dive in bocas del toro. if i say yes to pascual it could be a disaster, i would have to go back up to monteverde, purchase the car in my name so that its easier to bring into the u.s., then drive the entire way back up without encountering major problems, i.e. the jeep breaking down, road bandits, border problems and customs agents extorting money out of me. the good knews is that ran says hell go along for the ride, giving me a worthy partner.
i told pascual hed have to pay for all the customs and border crossing costs, most of the gas, and the insurance ill have to take out in my own name if im to sign on to this potential barrel of headaches. i had planned to head to the coast tomorrow, but now i might get stuck in this city, trying to figure out logistics.
so now the question is, do i want to do it? for one, i wouldnt get to see much of panama, and i would surely exhaust all the money i have thats remaining. but getting to cruise freely through the parts of the countries ive missed would be really good, not having to worry about busses. i reckon ill have a long talk with pascual about it when i get back from here, then probably flip a coin. hell, ill probably do it.

tomorrow ill tell of the decision.
hope i make the right one.

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March 14, 2003

malpais to capital city

so yesterday went from montezuma to malpais, a surfer beach, super tranquil. had a good afternoon there, made a campfire and sat in hammocks and read. we were gonna get surfboards and surf today, but none of us felt up to it, sometimes the beach life is deadening, so we packed our bags in record time and went running up the beach to catch the bus.
spent half the day getting here, its such a shock, from the beach to bustling streets in 4 hours. of course staying at the same place as pascual, think i might finish out the route down to panama city with him and joanna and maybe some of it with daniel.
more tomorrow about this city, it seems alright.

Posted by bendan at 03:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 11, 2003

um, kinda paradise

in montezuma on the nicoya peninsula, a little town, touristy but super idylic and the water is so warm you wouldn't believe it. got here yesterday with ran and daniel, immediately i donned my swimtrunks and jumped in, the temperature was so perfect, i sat floating looking at the early moon and listening to the waves, it's really good. today we went up to a waterfall, there is a ropeswing tied and a good 13 meter jump into the deep pool, it took me a bit to get up the guts but afterwords it was excellent to look up at the steep and tall rock i'd just thrown myself from. the whole waterfalls and palm trees thing was what i had expected from costa rica, it's good to find it.
tomorrow going to malpais, 16 kilometers but who knows how many hours in bus up the coast, gonna surf for two days, then shoot back towards san jose, maybe visit paddy the scot, or else head south towards panama. met some yachties yesterday, they said it's the wrong time of year to try and catch a boat up to the eastern seaboard of the u.s., the wrong winds, so i might be stuck heading up towards california. which would still be really cool, but then i wouldn't get to visit aaron in ohio. we'll see.
(tried to find a foto to post with this but all the searches just turn up hotels and crap instead of fotos. lameness)

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March 08, 2003

costa rica

just got into santa elena, in the mountains of central costa rica. ran into pascual for what must be the 8th time, another happy reunion. still cruising with daniel and ran, we came from playa el coco, where we spent two evenings. that town is a place id recommend everyone to avoid, pretty but a weird kind of touristy, by that i mean americans with young prostitutes walking around everywhere like it wasnt a disgusting sight. i sure was for me.
we went on a two tank dive with the hopes of seeing sharks, i hadnt realized how bad the visibility is in the pacific versus the carribean. its ok, we saw some cool sting rays and eels, i was happy to dive again.
i like costa rica, but find myself unable to stop comparing it to other countries down here in central america. quite a bit spendier then nicaragua, much more organized, and everyones tries to speak english, which at the same time that i can appreciate it bums me out. a surprising thing is that bus travel is less organized here, whereas in nicaragua or honduras the people at the bus terminals run up to you asking where youre going, here they look at you and shrug their shoulders, a bit of a difference, no big deal.
gonna go walk through cloud forests tomorrow, its meant to be fantastic, i remember tell of my father and stepmom doing it, it sounded really cool. ok all for now, this is the worst internet connection in a while, 54 ks for 3 comps, so not gonna spend much time doing this, which is good.

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March 05, 2003

truck adventure

so two days ago me, daniel the swede, this french guy and this belgian girl paid some guy to drive us and our two rented surfboards to the playa madera beach, 20 minutes north of here. we scheduled for him to pick us up that night at 6. at 6:30 he rolls up in his little truck with his wife and brother coming along as well. the brother reeked of booze, and the driver didnt get out to help us load the surfboards, so i was a little wary. we started off down the dark dirt road, and it soon became apparent by his weaving and slow driving that he was shitass drunk as well. not good.
as luck would have it, the piece of shit truck broke down. the guy stumbles out of the cab and pulls out some bicycle brake wire, and starts to fumble around under the hood. after a bit we got curious, and came to find that the line connecting the gas peddle to the accelerator part had broken. when it became apparent that he was too drunk to fix it, the french guy and i stepped in and did the job, but we couldnt connect the bike wire to the pedal, so the only way to give gas was to pull on the line.
i asserted myself and said that i would be the gasman, the driver pretty much fell into the cab, and after a few hundred meters and several stalls, we realized that he was to stink-eye to handle the more complicated shifting procedure. the french guy kicked him out and took over driving, and we headed off. soon we were working as a team, me letting off the gas to go over one of the 500 speedbumps we went over and us coordinating the shifting from first to second, and up to third gear we got it a few times. one time we had to stop and the driver tried to get back in to drive, but we yelled and he went back to the back of the truck.
the hardest part was going down this steep hill cause the damn truck had bald tires and no brakes. if that gives you an idea of how exciting this occasion was.
after at least half an hour we rolled into town, two gringos driving this fucked up truck with 3 drunken nicaraguans in the back as well as daniel, the funniest swede ever, who looked bemused, and kristen the frightened belgian girl.
we pulled up and almost ran into a dumpster, remember, no brakes, then hopped out and dropped off the surfboards. the driver stumbled up and demanded his 100 cordobas, and the belgian girl went off, yelling at him in spanish about how drunk he was and how we drove his damn truck home. we all walked away, and though he pointed a threatening finger, nothing came of it.
yesterday went to the beach and slept there in my tent, surfed all day, finally getting it, ran the israeli came along and picked it up way faster then i did, no worries though. tomorrow he, daniel and i are going to costa rica, gonna check out santa elena, its next to monteverde but said to be a little less touristy.
keep in touch friends. good day to you all.

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March 02, 2003

a list, then a bit of a worry i`ll share

so since i`ve been in this town of san juan del sur, or the sur as paddy called it in his thick scottish accent so that it sounded more like the sewer, i`ve ran into ran the rad israeli, one of the swedish guys from utila who the norwegian readers of this webpage will remember as being hysterically funny (this one still is), some canadian hippy girls who have been showing up exactly 2 hours after i do to each of the last 3 places i`ve been to, and then practicing bongo drums, the english bloke i met who is cycling from the yucatan to panama, this other english guy with a motorcycle who i`ve seen in tulum and granada, the 3 canadian college students i climbed volcan madera with, the list goes on and on, sorry if it`s only interesting for me. the gringo trail, it`s a well worn trail. it gets to be almost ridiculous when you stop on the street every 10 minutes to greet a new old aquaintance. it`s quite fun.
one observation i`ll make about nicaragua, it`s not funny but it`s true that the match skills down here are atrocious, you give them a 100 cordoba note for an 87 cordoba bill and it`s off to find the calculator to get the sum. paddy and i agreeded that it was a damn shame, but that didn`t stop the creating of a future tshirt design that looks as such:

20
- 8
-------

donde esta la calculadora?

Nicaragua

not very nice it`s true but still funny.


so i did a check of my bank balance today, seems the bank on utila where i withdrew money for the diving school just now decided to put through those withdrawls, so that my remaining funds are a site lower then i`d thought. in the face of this, i went swimming in the ocean and body surfed some waves. then i came out and decided that i`m gonna continue on to panama, where with all possible luck i`ll be able to find a boat ride back to the states. otherwise i`ll have to get a job there to pay for a plane ticket, which could be interesting.

i`m not going to worry about it, but i got a bit sad when i realized that before too long my trip will come to a close. in truth i`ve been thinking about a conversation i had with a spaniard a week ago in granada, about how these travel periods in our lives are una ficcion, a dream as he said, that fades a little into a blurred yet amazing memory when we go back to the grind of working. today is the 2nd of march, i left reno the 2nd of october, 5 months and 6 countries ago. it`s a feeling i love so much to wake up in a new city and know that i`ll be wearing one of 4 shirts i`ve been wearing this whole time, walking around, responsible pretty much just to myself and my time. however, it will be good to get home and have objectives beyond learning to scuba dive or meeting new friends.
ok enough about this, i`m going into extreme cash saver mode, so more cooking my own food, more sleeping in my tent, more filtering my own water, more walking instead of taxis, and sadly, less internet. we`ll see about that last one.

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isla de ometepe to san juan del sur

back from the island, had a killer time out there, stayed at finca magdelana on the far side of the island from the port, it was a good hostel, though it was swarmed with canadian highschool students on some volunteer field trip. 3 weeks in latin america, lucky bastards.
the best part was that i climbed el volcan madera with paddy the scot, dave the drinking aussie and some canadians. the last half was muddy and hard as hell, but the crater was so perfect with it`s little lake, we sat in the sun for an hour, dreading the slippery climb down. after descending we naturally did a good bit of beer drinking, paddy and dave were formidable, i couldn`t keep up by any means.
paddy and i caught the boat over back to the mainland today, he went straight to costa rica, i came here to san juan del sur. went and sat on the beach and read a book, after this i`m gonna go hunt up some food in the market.
ok gotta get off this comp it`s spendy, hope everyone is well.
more later.

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