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San Juan del Sur Travel Blog

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November 27, 1992

San Jose, Costa Rica - San Juan del Sur,  Nicaragua


Dear Jinnean,


Began a hundred letters, a hundred different stories for my journal, an article on Costa Rica & about a dozen almosts with variously international and variously intriguing men. Living fragments.  Defying psychology and biology texts.  I'm not all here.  No matter what the physiology.  Leaving frenetic finger-prints. ...Can't help laughing at the egotism, tho,  since the marks on the walls of each little dive I check into are living proof that thousands of others have wandered the same dreams, leaving their own pathetic grubby signs.


Still, I almost feel I've got the cloning down.  Returned to San Jose last week.  First stop: post office, where I retrieved your letter. Spent the rainy morning in a tiny soda on Avinida 3 Calle 5 y 7 reading your letter and mumbling.  Sipping wryly at the Costa Rican excuse for coffee. [Since they grow it here, it otta be better.]  I'm watching with half an eye as the Ticos breakfast on beans 'n rice and beer.  The other half eye imaging.  Trying to remember what Canada looks like in the snow.


& Yes I'm still living with my "almosts."  My time since studying Spanish began Saturday, white water rafting and kayaking up in the northern mountains.  Then I'm off for the cloud forest of Monteverde.  Wanted space to think and write; instead I find myself wandering sweaty jungle trails with an American lawyer (double "not")  who was really very nice despite the adjectives of his identity.  Paid my way. & would have liked to keep me warm that night I think.  But I am getting good at the "sorry I'm going solo" line.  In the end I believe he was rather impressed with my woman on her own in developing countries routine. [pause] & I am left with an embarrassed smile at the lore that seems to be collecting around me--as light and ephemeral as the clouds that we walked thru.  I'm waiting for the moment when wham,  I run into one of those moss covered trees, blinded by the obfuscation of my mythology


       ...it hasn't happened yet...


So. Fast forward to the next day. I'm off to Arenal (a volcano)  with a group I met at the pensionne: two Germans, two French Canadians, and a Costa Rican.  We get to the volcano only after stopping to explore a 6km cave system that seemed   like a good idea.


 everything so far smells of "seemed" 


But Jinnean I barely survived the too much of is-ness in that cave.  Me, claustrophobe.  This is where is haunts.  Heideggar woulda loved it.  [Bats above, then in my face.] Winching thru crevices anyone with bigger breasts couldn't possibly have negotiated.  & everything dark as blindness when your flashlight battery gets wet..."Hey guys wait up!"


Finally we're out and off to Arenal.



just as i was catching my breath


You see, Jinnean, I saw volcanoes, hell I climbed em in Indonesia: the monster five mile moon-dust outer crater of Bromo with its sulphur smoking inner cones; the glowing yellow mud pits of another; the neon red molasses spilling down Marapi. I wasn't expecting much different this time.



Arenal is not just active--it's still exploding.  Every hour we witness the monumental thunder & light show of its belching.  The sound passing first thru the soles(souls?) of my still soaked sandals.  Lava [glowing red against the night sky] spit hundreds of meters up into the air, then falling, graceful as so-much confetti, onto the slope, to spill down the sides, a slow-motion waterfall, almost to my feet. The Costa Rican guy who was with us had lived in the area and so he took us to a place much closer than the look out.  Our daring rewarded by the ash that covered our skin [true: not rain in every cloud] & the volcanic hail stones pelted down at us by volcano gods.  Kinda foolhardy, really, since all around me were boulders that sometime in the not too distant past  [a few months?  a year?] had been hurled my direction, flaming and blazing and quashing everything in sight. 


            but we were hardy fools


Later, after a night of gaping at geothermic fireworks, I'm fighting off temptation again, as one of the German guys aims for a one-bed room to be shared by two.  "Sorry" I say, "I'm on a solo mission."  Which brings me to now.  A now chalk full of one-and-two-days-laterness.  Two days ago I got a letter from Michael.  Erotic poetry across a couple thousand kilometres is a monumental almost.  Full of possibilities, propositions. 


a phantasmagoric transcontinental transaction


I'm weaving my way in and out of San Jose foot traffic [sidewalk space a premium], reading his letter & dreaming.  And maybe that's what saves me from getting justifiably quashed. This time by third world city traffic ---the cars drive them selves here, & they speak a slang anti-streetsign-ese I've been struggling to master. So, in a moment I run, smack, into an Aussi who's no better at the codes than I am.  Tires squealing around us. 


& everything i do seems to be "a close brush"


Making it hard sometimes to get a grip. Now and then I catch a glimpse of something meaningful, some context.  But  it's like I'm only flirting with these realities...


For the moment however, equipped with my thens and my almosts, my despueses and my antes, I'm off to see Nicaragua.  & Jinnean, I admit, confess, I have one "si" on the horizon to stem the tide of "casi"s.  Jeff has decided money ain't nothing in the face of love and sunshine.  He will come to honduras for 2 weeks.


    in between the moments lived

and the moments dreamed are the blank spaces



& so here are more than four pages of lines and spaces for you.  Enough to make my head spin.  Cuz even this is not all:  all this space, place, time, con-text, for language and memory and dreams and imagination to muck about in...prepositions being the only way to end a sentence like this--shifty sense of here:

            never really knowing where you are

            as you spread yourself thin

            across the page

            across the globe



take good care



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