Tag Archives: travel

Costa Rica November 2011


I spent two weeks in November attending a Spanish language school in Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica.  DON’T ask or expect me to bust out any espanol — YET.  I’ll need another dose.

Here are a few pictures of some of my friends and classmates surfing at Tamarindo Beach (and some random beach bum types.  It may be difficult to discern which are which.)


There’s a town in Costa Rica that’s famous for its pottery (ceramicas).  The story is that these families have been making it there for 500 years or so, using pretty much the same materials, designs and methods.  I met a guy named (disappointingly) “Willy,” who demonstrated his craft.  I wound up flying home with seven pieces of pottery in my luggage.  Amusingly, I also wound up giving a multimedia show-and-tell presentation (in Spanish, of course) to the entire school, describing my visit to Guaitil .


Here are some random Costa Rican sunsets from the trip.



Costa Rican Streets

I was in rural Costa Rica recently.  Driving the roads, you can’t help but notice the basic and primitive transportation often used by many of the locals:  Old, stripped-down cars, kids holding grocery sacks and riding on the handlebars of their parents’ bikes, motorcycles with no lights, and “worse.”  That’s all far from ideal, but despite what we would view as evidence of poverty, the country seems happy and vibrant and is making progress.  I suspect our roads (maybe our country more generally) looked and felt about like this 80 years ago.

That kind of transportation would be illegal in the U.S. today.  We effectively tell our poor people that if they can’t afford a car with three-point seatbelts, emissions controls, liability insurance and a government-certified infant carseat, they’ll just have to stay home or walk.  And then we’re frustrated that the poor have trouble “getting anywhere” in America.

Cowboy James in Moab


I had a little bit of landscape fatigue after four days at the Moab workshop, so for about 20 minutes I wandered over to the “ranch” next to the lodge where we were staying.  I met James, who had worked there as a wrangler/outfitter most of his life.  When James isn’t taking Japanese tourists on dude-ranch style outings along the Colorado River, he’s doing the real cowboy work of taking care of the horses.   He never stood still, but I got some decent shots.

_JJC7475 Cowboy James Profile.jpg_JJC7449.jpg_JJC7458.jpg_JJC7467.jpg_JJC7505.jpg

(Photo nerds:  I used an off-camera flash on the ground in a small Lastolite softbox to get a little light up under that hat.)

Camping at Squaw Lake

I met my Dad in southern Colorado for a week of horseback riding and general goofing off.  My brother-in-law Bill and a friend of his (Derald Glover) joined us for a camping trip to Squaw Lake.  It rained and sleeted as we rode into the wilderness, but the weather cleared and we had a great time.

Oh:  My dad is the one who looks like a cross between ME and a seventy-year-old version of the Marlboro man.  The guy in the Colorado Rockies hat is Ted Dooley, a friend of my Dad’s who owns the outfitter where we got our horses for the ride into the mountains.



Seattle (and Puyallup)


We had a fun little reunion in Seattle.  Greg Cook (a friend since second grade or so) was my college roomate all three years.   My last year of college, another good friend, Dondi Cupp, lived with us in an apartment in Norman.  Dondi’s (incessant) claim to fame is that he was the drum major of the Pride of Oklahoma back when Greg and I were in band at OU.  In fairness, he may have been the best ever in that role, but I’d never acknowledge that in his presence.  (And yes, that’s his real Mom-given name.)

Greg and Dondi hadn’t seen each other since Dondi moved to the Seattle area in 1992. I learned recently that Greg’s band, Ricochet (more on them elsewhere) was performing at the Puyallup Fair (which is quite a big event: www.thefair.com ), just outside Seattle.  So Greg and I both converged on Seattle and spent a few days with Dondi and his family.  Within minutes, we were all happily making off-color jokes and insulting each other, just like old times.  Great to catch up.  And of course we went to the Puyallop Fair and Rodeo.

Dondi’s the guy with no hair.  He promptly gave Greg the new nickname “Blackbeard” (thus the weekend was full of pirate jokes) for reasons the pictures will make obvious.  His old nickname was “Fatty,” so…  That’s me in the ridiculously-large black Stetson — feel free to laugh (I did).  The guy in the straw hat is Heath, Greg’s and my childhood Vian buddy who is the lead singer/guitarist for Ricochet.  Heath didn’t join us for most of the festivities — he was travelling instead in an RV with the rodeo clown from the Puyallop Rodeo (I swear I am not making this up).

Seattle was the furthest I’d ever flown myself.  Greg hopped in N3738R and flew back with me.  Icky weather spoiled our plans for an aerial sightseeing tour of the Pacific Northwest, but the silver lining was that it diverted us to an impromptu landing and overnight stay in Reno.