Wednesday, 31 October 2007


When Em and I bought travel insurance, one of the big criteria was that we would be able to just not pay, and they'd pay the bill on the spot. Not exactly the way things have worked out. My ear infection wasn't doing well the afternoon after I took the last of the amoxycillin tablets. I went to a doc, who prescribed a new one, cefuroxime (aka axetil, Zinnat). Yes, he said, it is fine to take the doxycycline antimalarials concurrently. That was Monday; last night at 5am I gave up on sleeping. The pain wasn't letting it happen, and the clear but slightly yellowish liquid emanating from my ear at a rapid rate was worrisome. Did I mention that last time the doc removed a bunch of necrotic flesh from inside, and said that the infection is in the outer and middle ears? Yeah. Anyways, I go back in half an hour; emergency gave me some pain meds and told me to keep it hot, which seems to be helping a lot, though the liquid's still coming out reasonably fast. Gurk. Long story short: out over $200, probably more after this upcoming visit. Volounteering in the rainforest might be postponed. We'll see. Edit: yup, can't leave the city until Monday at the earliest. Pain, swelling, aggravation. Upside: gives me more time to work on my travel writer's resume - there's a pilot program that I'm hoping to get into. It's a one-week travel writer's course, with the possibility of later employment, for the absurdly cheap price of $20.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Short notes:

Post offices are hard to find in Central America. Mandriva as a desktop distro is great... but not the best when you want to get photos off of a windows-drivered-cardreader and you don't have su access. Tamarindo sucks except for surfing. It could be southern Florida, easily. Surfing wears your sunscreen off very fast, but is very fun. Next time I'm in Tofino, I'm saying no when they try to rent me a frickin foam board. Plastic and fiberglass are so much more fun. Also, rocks are hard. San Jose has two great cultural venues a block from each other: the Museo National and the Centre Des Artes Contemporaria or something similar. Hector Burke's seemingly abstract pieces are both powerful and most definitely not abstract, if you take the time to notice. Snakes and insects are cool. Neurotoxins and hemotoxins are neck and neck for best category of fluids that can kill you. Up to probably 200 Spanish words. My conjugation is atrocious. I really hope this isn't an ear infection, as we fly tomorrow. Sentence fragments are sucky, but. More to come when the monitor's at a refresh rate above 60hz and I can actually get photos up. Love and rushing red cells, -Dan

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Of cloacas and coral

Costa Rica, in particular the Osa Peninsula, is breathtakingly beautiful, and the variety and density of flora and fauna was constantly surprising. The food at camp was pretty exclusively rice and beans, and the nearby Corcovado park held anteaters (saw one!) taipirs (only saw tracks), snakes (Emily stepped on one) and lots of other good naturey stuff. On one collectivo trip (you sit in the back of a truck for 2-3h to get to and from Puerto Jiminez), I saw five kinds of bird of prey; a king vulture, flying away with a frog that bounced like a bungee cord. A few red-headed vultures, doing their rounds. Two zone-tailed hawks, one just hanging out right at the edge of the road. A falcon or kite, which hung out in a tree before zipping off. And a black and yellow toucan, which up until a few days ago I didn´t know ate other birds, but apparently they sure do. On our busiest night we had 93 turtles, not counting false crawls I believe. At 5:30am, 10m from where the path to camp starts, of course there was one last turtle - the only one I´ve seen during the day. 95% of them were Olive Ridleys, but we had a few greens, and one leatherback track, which was exciting but frustrating, as we were mere meters away when it came up, but there was a sand dune in the way. I´d released some baby turtles just a few minutes before it crawled up, too. Osa in general was full of awesomeness; parts are alost untouched by modernity and by humans, and... well, go if you can, I doubt there are many places like it remaining on Earth, if any. Pura vida. At the end of our time volounteering we weren´t able to stay in Corcovado overnight, as they were booked up despite it being the low season, so we did a six-hour day hike then went out that night and started the trip to Bocas del Toro, arriving last night. It´s really touristy, and we´ve been accosted pretty much every five minutes since we got here, but we went out on a boat today and, post-haggling-and-being-constantly-lied-to, snorkelling and deserted islands evened things out. That said, I don´t think we´ll be here too long. Em´s not interested in diving, is done with snorkelling (which is nothing new to her), doesn´t want to party, neither of us is interested in the local ganj, and... well, that seems to be just about all Bocas has to offer. Plus, it´s not the cheapest place in the world, booze excluded. My Spanish is veeery slowly improvinga, Em´s has bounced back to quite good after some months of disuse, and she seems to be enjoying her birthday thus far. No pics yet, sorry. I´ll put some up when it´s convenient. Hope you´re all well, and such.