No More Monkeys. An Iguana [Davíd, Panama]

“Look. A black squirrel,” Tomás says. A small black squirrel crawls down one of the trees in the Plaza in Davíd. I’m standing there with Alejandro, Tomás, and Felix waiting for Kristen and my mom to return from the pharmacy. Each boys is enjoying a raspado — a shaved ice concotion smothered in a sweet […]

Even More Monkeys [Canjel, Costa Rica]

We could hear them. The deep, throaty howl of the monkeys wake me up early in the morning at my aunt and uncle’s finca in Canjel. The howls continue on and off through the morning rituals and breakfast. I search the treetops at the end of the backyard to see if I can catch a […]

More Monkeys [Arenal Observatory Lodge]

Kristen and I didn’t see any monkeys but we could smell them. There was a place on the Hormiga (ant) trail where the scent of the air changed. It suddenly stunk. An inescapable mammally, protein-y stench. We stopped and searched the canopy. Branches high above us were moving and a shadow passed. The branches continued […]

“Wait. Up there. In the trees…” [Arenal Volcano Lodge]

“Let’s go back,” Alejandro said. “This is boring.” We were walking down a jungle trail labeled LA HORMIGA (the ant)/SAINO (peccary). Kristen, Tomás and Felix were back in the hotel room getting ready to go for a swim. “Just five more minutes,” I answered. “Just five more.” I could understand why he was bored. We […]

Costa Rica – The Green Season

In Costa Rica, the Wet Season, our summer is also known as The Green Season according to those who make their living luring tourists to this tropical paradise. The Green Season means it’s going to rain. The rain can start quietly, gradually, dropping increasing amounts of water, gently massaging plants and corrugated steel roofs. Or, […]

R.I.P. Chavela Vargas (1919-2012)

A brief moment of silence, a shot of tequila and a grito de un amor perdido for the great ranchera songstress Chavela Vargas. When I hear Chavela Vargas, I hear ranchera at its most definitive. Her voice expresses hardships and pain, loneliness, bitterness, discontent, desires, love lost and love with a capital ‘L.’ Here’s BoingBoing’s Xeni […]

Felix: The Exploding Kayak

“See, that kayak,” Felix says. We’re walking along the stony beach at low tide in Cabuya, Costa Rica. There’s a small blue row boat anchored on the black rocks waiting for the rising tide to float again. It looks sad and unused. “That’s not a boat. It’s a kayak. And when you sit in it, […]

My Modest Reading List: Summer of 2012 Edition

I’m busy. Unfortunately, that means I can’t read as much as I would like. It kills me, actually. Because reading keeps me centered, keeps my mind fueled, and serves as inspiration for my writing. I was definitely one of those kids who would rather sit inside and read than head outside to play. (I don’t […]

Ray Bradbury R.I.P.

It has been a long time — too long actually — since I had read one of Ray Bradbury’s books. I remember reading The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Something Wicked This Way Comes when I was a teenager. Even though it’s been 30 years, I remember being gripped by fear as I read Fahrenheit 451. […]

Band T-Shirts at JJ Byrne Park

Stretched red STOOGES t-shirt on a bearded, corpulent father. Baggy white DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE t-shirt on an unhappy, stringy haired mother. Bright green PERCY the TRAIN briefs on a screaming three-year old sprinting from the new water fountains.