Monday, December 17, 2012

Tourist Mode

Prior to the Honolulu Marathon, we were in Tourist Mode on the Big Island. Since we were only there for 5 days (and the Big Island is BIG), we stayed all 5 days at Arnott's Lodge in Hilo, on the Windward side. Doug Arnott runs a very, very, clean, quiet, and affordable lodge. Yes - he is THAT Arnott - of the Tim Tam cookie family.
The lodge is .25 miles from a small wading beach, 1 mile from this beach - Carlsmith Beach, and 2 miles from the blacksand beach with the Honus - green sea turtles.
What is a trip to Hawai'i without shave ice?
Hilo has the BEST farmer's market. On Wednesdays and Saturdays the farmer's market has over 200 vendors, selling fruits and flowers, pearls and Aloha shirts. I bought these anthuriums to take back to Oahu for my aunt.

Honolulu Marathon Report

December 9th, 2013 - Honolulu, Hawai'i, USA This was my second marathon, of the year, of my life. I had a great time, however... my time was not so good. I had anticipated running 5:00:00, but around mile 21 I hit the wall, and my right IT band told me that it wanted to walk the rest of the marathon. So I finished with a 5:44:00 appx. I think there were many factors in this, the first being that I forgot my salt tablets and Snickers bar. My fuel was some stuff I picked up at the Expo that I really did not like - some sweet energy drink of some off brand. The second being that I was tired from a week of being in tourist mode on the Big Island. The course itself is rather easy - flat, except for Diamond Head, but for an East Bay runner, this is barely a hill. And the heat was not an issue since the race started at 5:00 am. Even when the day got warm, the heat was moderate and not really an issue. Lastly, I think my training was slacker than what I was doing last June. I could have stepped it up in my runs, but I had been doing extra cross-training, so I just didn't have the time.
The lighthouse at the top of Diamond Head. Around mile 6, I think. Felt great, and the sun was still hiding....
This is me and Bong Ju Lee, the 1993 winner of the Honolulu Marathon. While visiting the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor the day after the marathon, Mr. Lee's proud father came up to me and insisted on introducing his very fast son. I felt it was appropriate to ask Mr. Lee's dad to take a pic of me and his son. Bong Ju Lee's time in 1993 was 2:13:00.
This is E and M, who are close friends with my Aunt and Uncle. They are hard core ultra runners who gave me a ride to the marathon. Since they are locals, they got to run the marathon for an entry fee of $26.20 - that is way cool! They also got us to start at the very front of the pack - which was exciting! I usually am starting in a corral in the back.... The Honolulu Marathon is classy - they start the marathon with real fireworks, like the 4th of July.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Honolulu Marathon

Ww leave for Hawai'i in 6 days! I will be running in the Honolulu Marathon December 9th. However, we will be vacationing on the Big Island rior to the race. I have not been pushing the training.... I think I will be fine, but my training has been a little understated. Honolulu Marathon

Albany Adult Sports

It is up and running! The Albany Adult Sports website! As the new Adult Sports Coordinator for the City of Albany, one of my job duties is marketing and promotion. Much of this is through the website. The website provides all the FAQ, downloads of Applications and Team Rosters, and links to Twitter and Facebook. I believe that the Twitter feed will be the best feature. Instead of 300 people calling me daily for an update of scores and times, I can post information one time, and anyone interested just needs to follow the feed. Albany Sports

Friday, November 9, 2012

Morton's toe's_toe

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Location:Pierce St,Albany,United States

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

World Series

I am from Michigan, so the Tigers are my Home team. However, I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1995, so the SFO Giants are my new Home team. And both have made it to the World Series! Guess who is going to Game 1!!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tahoe Marathon weekend

This past weekend I had the opportunity to run 2/3 of the Tahoe trifecta, three half marathons back to back, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Due to time constraints, I only ran the Sat. and Sun. legs of the race. The marathon weekend is a four day celebration of all things racing in South Lake Tahoe the last weekend of September. There are multiple marathons and half marathons, SUP races in the lake, a 72 mile loop bike race around the lake, and a couple of Ultra runs, 172 miles and other crazy amounts. In addition, there are pasta feeds, beach parties, Expo sales, and just great weather. None of this comes cheap, including the hotel stays. My whole family drove down from the Bay Area to participate, but not everyone could afford the race fees. 10 of us crammed into a cabin rental 6 miles outside of town, and slept in a hamester pile. Six of us ended up racing various races, including as pirates, running with a borrowed Tahoe marathon expo shirt and no bib number.
As to the two half marathons, I got horrible cramps 3 hours before the run start Saturday morning. I popped 4 Motrins and sucked it up, getting out into the 40d morning at 6 am. Very cold and frosty moring for the all-Nevada East shore side of the race. Regardless of the cramps and cold, three of us ran a good race. I, the human metrinome, ran 2:30 on the dot. The Sunday leg of the trifecta was better. The start was by Meeks Beach on the California side, at 9:30 am. The sun was out and the moring warm. My cramps were long gone and my pirate brother kept me laughing with Gangnan-style dancing. This half was a much hillier, and much more dramatic run. This run was also supported with water stations almost every mile, set up by local children's clubs. This run was a party. My time was 2:40, but I felt that was good due to the hills and the tired legs.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lake Tahoe Marathon I am leaving tomorrow for the Lake Tahoe Marathon! I will be running a half marathon Saturday, and then another half marathon Sunday - back to back fun! My brother Carl will be biking around the lake - 72 miles of fun on a cycle. And my sister in law Andrea will be running one of the half marathons with me. Total family fun time!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mt Whitney packing list

I am preparing to hike to the top of Mt Whitney next week with three of my brothers. Mt Whitney is the highest summit in the contiguous United States, with an elevation of 14,505 feet (wikipedia). To climb Mt Whitney you must enter a lottery to receive a permit. This limits the number of hikers that can enter the park and use the trails. This protects the integrity of the wilderness and registers hikers with the forest service for their own safety. We won a two day pass, so we plan on hiking halfway up on the first night and hit the peak in the morning of the second day.

With that in mind, we don't need much in the way of gear. However, the three of us are notorious over-packers. Here is a list of my intended gear:

1. Backpack
2. Sleeping bag
3. Sleeping pad (a luxury item, but I am old and need comfort)
4. One man bivouac tent (because I do not want to sleep with stink, farty brothers) (you fart alot at elevation due to compression on the body from elevation)
5. Bear box
6. Hiking boots
7. Camp sandals
8. Matches
9. Pocket rocket and gas
10. Map
11. Copy of permit
12. Trek pole (cause I'm old)
13. Socks (I hate wearing socks, but I'll make an exception)
14. Liquor
15. Water bottle and bladder
16. Spork, cup, and tea kettle
17. Duct tape
18. Tooth brush and paste
19. Bug spray and sunscreen
20. Knife
21. Small towel
22. Headlamp
23. iodine tablets
24. Gloves
25. Some clothes

My brothers are supposed to carry the food. And I got a lightweight hammer. And the park service gives us supplies for waste management. You got to pack your poop out!

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Location:Pierce St,Albany,United States

Mt Whitney prep

"I pay the Homer tax. Let the bears pay the bear tax."
- Homer Simpson

One of our 2 bear barrels. The bears will have to play the bear barrel polka to get at our food.

"We're here, we're queer, and we don't want any more bears!"
- Homer Simpson

"Roll out the barrel, we'll have a barrel of fun!"
- Beer Barrel Polka

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Location:Albany, CA

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Half Dome pt 3

So... I took a nap under a pine tree, instead of climbing the cables of Half Dome. Why did I skip the last 400 feet of the hike to the summit? I am deathly afraid of heights. The pictures you see on the internet make the hike look less steep that it truely is. This is a class 6 climb without cables. Many people get stuck due the the fear that flows through your body when looking out from the top. I did not want to be one of those people. And naps are good.
Andrea started her ascent around 12:40 p.m. She made it to the very top at 1:22 p.m. She indicated that there were human traffic jams up there, and that she did have a few instances of doubt, but fought the feelings off. She did drink alot of water and ate snacks. She made it down the face by 2:30, and back at the base of the sub-dome at 2:45. The ranger stated that she was in the last group allowed to summit that day and that we had started a bit late. The ranger was correct; we could see a weather pattern coming in, and at 3:00 p.m. we heard large thunder claps. And we still had 8 miles to hike down the mountain before the sun sets. And one has to keep in mind the sun sets quickly in the shadow of the mountains. Then I got attacked by a tree.....
We stopped and filled our water bottles at the top of Nevada falls, where a tree jumped out onto the path and attacked my sexy thigh. Andrea was totally fried and dehydrated, and soaked her feet in the river while I striped in public to clean off my leg. She did 2 extra hours of hiking, and was ready to eat anything. We finally got off the mountain at 7 p.m. and stuffed our faces with more sausages and pickles. So all added up, we did about 11 hours of hiking (well, Andrea did 11 hours, I did 9 hours of hiking and 2 hours of napping.)

Half Dome pt 2

We reached the top of Nevada Falls around 10:00 a.m. Nevada Falls is the second waterfall on the Mist trail, appx. 2 miles up from Emerald Pool. The path consists of steep stairs, and took us almost 2 hours to climb. Nevada Falls is a great place to eat lunch and fill your water bottles. Do not forget to filter your water. There is bacteria (and virus) in the waters.
The next part of the climb to Half Dome consists of 2.5 miles of relative flat, hot walking around the back of the granite dome, in an area called Little Yosemite Valley. There is a high camp here, and is the base for most hikers who plan on summiting Half Dome. We did not have enough vacation time to consider this option, but it is advisable to hike to this mid-point, camp, and summit the next morning. This method makes for a cooler hike (it was 36c, and add altitude, we were huffing and puffing, breathing hard) and also takes into account fast weather changes. Lighting loves to hit the top of peaks, and summer squalls move in fast. After this relatively boring section of the hike, a fork appears in the trail. Take the left and you will now know pain. For 2 more miles we hiked to the base of th sub-dome, struggling with elevation and heat.
Do not let this photo fool you. This benign scene does not do the next 2 hours of hiking justice. If you have a permit, you are now going to climb up an exposed vertical face, with 200 other people. Fear of falling and lightning, heat exaustion, and elevation is your companion. I went up a little, and decided that taking a nap would be better. Andrea took my leather gloves, gave me her extra gear, and summited. She is one of the dots in the next photo.

Half dome in one day!

My sister-in-law, Andrea and I hiked from th valley floor to the summit of Half Dome in one day. Yep, that is 16+ miles hiking up a mountain, from 4000 feet at the valley floor, to the peak at 8800 feet. And it was an adventure.... Half Dome Half Dome is a granite rock fomrmation, located in Yosemite Valley, California. It rises over 8,800 feet above sea leval. Its distinctive flat face was created by glacial movement, creating a steep, slick hump rising out of the valley floor. It is a California icon, revered and memorialized by many artists, historians, and mountaineers. The photographer Ansel Adams created stark black and white studies of this formation. Royal Robbins summited this peak in the 1950's. North Face uses Half Dome as its company logo. In 2005 the Federal government memorialized Half Dome on the back of the quarter.
We both live in the San Francisco Bay area. We entered the lottery on the park service website at 12:01 a.m., two days before our ascent, attempting to get a spot on the cables of the Half Dome. About a year ago the park service implimented a lottery for recieving permits to summit half dome, due to safety and the crowds. It is surprising that there are crowds on this catagory 3 climb with cables, and catagory 6 without cabled hike. This hike is for real climbers, who are in very good shape and have no fear, not the hundreds of day hikers. Andrea and I are not climbers, however, we both just completed a marathon two weeks prior to the climb, we had proper leather gloves, 6 liters of water, salt tablets, and proper shoes. We were also aware of the danger, and knew that if we could not summit, that is fine. We drove up the night before the hike, pitching camp at the Hodgdon meadow campsite, a 40 minute drive away form the valley floor and trailhead. As a last minute camper, this site is the easiest to get into. Our car overheated, so the evening consisted of attempting to find coolant. I was super surprised that in Yosemite Village there is a DisneyLand of restaurants, stores, parking, fancy platform tent rentals, and a garage (for car repair). We ate dinner early, sausages over a roaring fire, bear proofed the campsite, and bedded down early, me in my bivey sack, and Andrea in her dome tent. At 4:20 a.m. our campsite was visited by a bear, snuffeling and crunching chip bags (not ours). It was fortunate he woke us up; but for him we would not have woken up early enough to summit. Things always take longer than you expect, so Mr. Bear was a lucky alarm clock. We ate, packed up the site and moved it to the next night site, unpacked, and then headed out to the trailhead, where we parked at Curry Village and took the 7:00 am bus to the official trailhead, a steep, paved path to the base of the first waterfall - Vernal Falls. The start of the Half Dome trail is at Happy Isles trailhead, and starts with the Mist Trail. There you have a choice of trails for Half Dome, either the very popular Mist Trail, which looks like the stairs to Mordor, or the John Muir Trail, which is a little longer, not as steep, and not as crowded. We chose Mordor.
At the top of the Mist trail is Emerald Pool, a deceptively dangerous pool that looks inviting. The day we were there 2 children died in this pool, wading in and washed over the waterfall. The surrounding rocks are slick, even when dry, and water levels can unexpectedly change. A squall can rain on a peak many miles away, and the water level can change in a flash, pushing a strong current over the falls.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Marathon foot - gross!

Penis shaped blister, 3 days after draining....

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First Marathon - July 29, 2012 SFO

On July 29, 2012, I ran my first 26.2, at the San Francisco Wipro Marathon. My finishing time was 5:19, appx. a 12:10 pace. Not great, slow, but I ran without any problems and enjoyed the day in full. The day started at 3:30 a.m. with coffee and clothes. At 4:30 a.m. my brother, who was running the half, came and drove both me and Andrea, my sister-in-law, to the start. His intention was to run just 5K and to win a bet that he would show (since the year before he forgot to pick up his bib.) Our wave started at 6:30, so we had to stand around for an hour, wrapped in a snuggy I brought. At the gun Andrea sprinted ahead and Carl paced me at 11:00 a mile for the first 4 miles. At the 4 mile mark he dropped out to catch the bus and cook a post-run feast. My 1/2 marathon split time was exactly 2:30 - not bad. At mile ten my brother Joe left me a care package by the side of the road, with beers and chips. I chugged a beer - a perfect carb for a run. In Golden Gate Park, my mom, sister-in-law Adriana, and brother John had a cheering committee and care package; I at Snickers and Coke with my salt pills. GGP is the worst part of the route because it gets repetative with a few loops. I much prefer the city routes. Husband Hugh meet me at mile 20 with a sign and another Coke, the perfect pick me up for the final leg. At that point the whole race was just a fun run, and pretty uneventful and pretty standard. Since San Fran is part of my regular running and training route, (and I have done many fun runs in the City) this marathon physically felt just like a regular long weekend run. My body did not recognise that this was a special event. The only time I started feeling differently was mile 24 and 25 where I started to get angry. I have read many magazines and a few books on training for a marathon, and I do not recall reading about anger. Hitting the wall, fear, excitement, being overwhelmed - all of these things are mentioned in books. But not anger. I was angry at all the walkers and folks giving up. I had a massive urge to start pep talking people to get going and finish strong. Of coarse I kept my mouth shut. The last thing a stranger at mile 24 of a marathon needs is some stranger yelling at them to start running. I never stopped runnning for those last 2 miles, and in fact, I ran after hitting the finish line until I got my metal. Then I sat down. I didn't want any food, just water and another beer. It felt good to sit. I was very happy to sit. But I felt great. No muscle pains. I did get one big blister on the right foot, but that's normal. The next race I will need to train a little differently. I will need to monitor my nutrition a little more carefully - I gained weight training for this marathon. Too many carbs. Too much pie. And I need to add strength training for the lumbar spine. That is the only sore spot - lower back. And I need a better psychology for race day. Placing myself in the last wave with the slow folks (which I am one of) brought my spirit down and made me angry. I need to be in a wave with upbeat hyper folks who shout and scream and cheer, even at the end! Yep - I have 2 more half marathons on calendar in September, and plan on signing up for my second full.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Foot Report

It has been 3.5 months, and the black toe is still just as black as it was after the half marathon. Absolutely no improvement. This photo was taken July 11. WTF?

Despite this setback, I am ready for my first marathon, set for July 29th. Woot!

In addition, I am ready to hike Half Dome in August, and Mt. Whitney in September. I got new hiking books, to cover Mr. Ugly Blacktoe.

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Location:Albany, CA

Monday, April 30, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Half marathon black toe

April 8 was the San Francisco US Half Marathon. Due to my sting ray injury, I was not in the best of running shape, not allowed to wear shoes, etc...

The foot with the injury was very weak, and I put way too much pressure on the forefoot, since the injury was on my heel. (I don't know if my heel ever hit the ground.) My big toe turned black with bruising. This photo is 3 weeks out from the run, finally looking ok:

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Location:Albany, ca

Vivo barefoot Achilles

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Location:Albany, ca

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Running Shoes - VivoBarefoot Achilles

Due to the sting ray injury, I cannot wear running shoes. However, I am signed up for a half marathon and a full marathon and need to keep training. So I went on the internet to find a product that would protect my feet from stepping on broken glass on a run, but still not be a shoe, an evil shoe rubbing my heel where the fish attacked me...Which lead me to I found a shoe and a company that carried my size - bigfoot for girls. quickly shipped my pair of VivoBarefoot Achilles, giving me time to break them in before a half-marathon. These barefoot style running sandals are a modern take on the huaraches sandals discussed in the book "Born To Run". Made from molded Thermoplastic Urethane, the split toe design is a glorified flip-flop with an adjustable nylon velcro strap that attaches the slipper to the heel. After a month of training runs and a complete half marathon, these sandals successfully protected my feet from the hazards of road running, with no hot-spots or blisters. These sandals are not for the beginner minimalist footwear runner; the ultra thin 3mm sole simulates the flexible feel of barefoot running without fear of glass and heat destroying your feet. The hexegonal honeycomb footbed gives good ground grip for traction, and the slight curve on the sides of the sandal protects the foot from some gravel and the occasional pebble. However, this is a true sandal and not a shoe or foot glove, and use on trail runs will leave the foot wet and dirty. Sizes are general; I ordered size 41 womens, and recieved a product marked large, 41-42. Size was appropriate and I am happy to report a PR while wearing these shoes.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I am reading Wild by cheryl strayed. It is the story of Cheryl hiking the PCT (pacific crest trail) in 1995. I was just on a part of this trail a few days ago (Noble Trail section), and met a few thru hikers. I don't have the stamina or the permits to ever consider a thru hike. But it remains a fantasy of mine. Yes, I can travel the world alone, but not hike the PCT alone. Too easy to fall off a cliff or break an ankle. I always get injured when I travel, so I need to be near a rescue.

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Friday, April 13, 2012


I am at the Hostel International in San Diego, on the third floor kitchen area, looking out the window onto Market Street. It is a cold and rainy day, not a typical SoCal day. My view for the past hour has been overlooking a homeless man wrapped in an American flag shivering in a doorway across the street. Since I live in the Bay Area I am used to such sights. But it is startling after being abroad for a few months. There is homelessness everywhere around the world. But in the places I have been recently it is not as in your face as it is in the USA. Here you dodge homeless on the sidewalk daily. Today on my way back from the drug store a man pushing his belongings in a grocery cart, overflowing with everything he has, apologized to me for taking up space on the sidewalk. I said "it's ok, don't worry," but that is just not right. Umerika, you are a but screwed up....

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Location:San Diego, CA USA

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Stingray 1, me 0

It’s been one month and I still cannot wear shoes. I have been living in my Locals, the only footwear that does not touch, rub, or irritate my right heel. A stingray stung me.

February is the dry season in Nicaragua and San Juan del Sur is the place to be, with offshore winds created by Lake Nicaragua and southwest swells. I hitched a ride from the Pan American highway to the Pacific Coast, planning on catching a few waves. I checked into the family owned Joxi Hotel, located on Main Street, and headed off in the bed of a pickup truck to Hermosa Beach, a few kilometers south.

Hermosa Beach has 2 kilometers of dependable sandy left and right beach breaks at the end of a long, unpaved road, accessible by 4x4. It is pristine, almost untouched, except for a couple small huts selling beer, fish tacos and board rentals. The guys running the huts are more interested in surfing than selling, and loaned me a boogie board and wetsuit gratis. But no fins; I was going to have to kick and paddle to catch waves. With high tide the waves were growing from two to four feet. Perfect.

The Nicaraguan waters are cool, compared to Costa Rica, but warm to my Californian skin. I caught at least two waves and was pretty stoked, with a big fat smile plastered on my face and my eyes all Eastwood squinty against the blazing sun. I saw my friend Andy on the beach, timidly retreating from the rising tides. I rode in and started running, forgetting to shallow shuffle my feet. BAM! In the foamy waters, red salt water sloshed around my ankles. My brain registered “Stingray, damn it. I forgot to shuffle.” “Andy, get my board, I got sting rayed!”

As I sprinted toward the beer huts, the pain began to flow into my veins, from my foot up my leg, blood dribbling a trail in the sand. A stingray has a barb at the end of his tail, which can puncture and release venom as a self-defense mechanism. The protein-based venom breaks down tissue and causes severe pain, swelling, muscle cramps, and loads of other potential symptoms.

“Sit here, give me your foot!” ordered one of the local Nica surfers, pointing to a tree stump. I sat, and immediately two surfers started rubbing down my leg from the top down, squeezing and compressing the venom out of the deep puncture wound. The venom looked both pussy and clear, mixed with blood that would not stop. “Boil water! She needs boiling water.” That was going to take a while. The beer huts were not kitchens, and hot water is not common on the beach. Medical treatment was going to be improvised, without supplies, other than strong hands, hot water and cigarettes. And rum.

Some one brought me a glass of rum and a beer. Another surfer distracted me with stories of other beaches around the world. I laughed and rode the waves of pain and pressure, and the new pain of boiling water. My foot was placed in a bucket of boiled water, creating a poison blood foot soup. Heat breaks down the proteins found in the venom, the only known way to neutralize the toxins. After about an hour, my “doctor”, surfer Manuel, decided to deal with the excessive bleeding. Compression was not working, and no needles, thread or bandages were around, but plenty of smokables and lighters. Old school it had to be. It took two cigarettes to artfully coach the wound closed. United States medical professionals would not approve of this method, I was sure. By this time, the makeshift liquid Tylenol had kicked in, and I was feeling fine. For the next 48 hours I did not have to pay for my own drinks and I was treated like a real surfer, not the Kook I really am.

As prescribed by Doctor Manuel, I went surfing the next day at Playa Maderas, and getting stoked was the best form of medicine and recovery.

Post Script:

It has been one month since the sting and I am back in the USA. I am going in for an MRI. My wound is not healed, got infected etc. I am scheduled to run a half marathon April 8 and a full marathon in July. Looks like cross training on the rowing machine will be my new best friend.

Friday, March 2, 2012

USA air carriers

The only good thing about USA air carriers is safety records. I mean maintenance, not this false anti terrorism, anti homemade lunch safety protocol.

Give me a 19 hour bus ride with border delays any day. At least on a bus you can buy coffee for .50 from a local vendor, and have interesting conversation, instead of paying $5.00 for a bad cup of coffee and then told you are not allowed to sit at the bar with your coffee because you chose a take-away cup instead of a ceramic cup.

And a 6 hour flight is going to take about 20 hours anyway. 3 hours for security and bag checks, 1 hour delay, 3 hour flight, 2 hour layover and immigration, missed connection, 6 hour wait (if not next day) for a new connection, 3 hour flight, immigration processing and delay. Plus extra taxes that you don't pay if you take the bus. Oh, and the bus costs a fraction of an air ticket.

I am comparing my ride from Panama City to San Jose to my flight from San Jose to San Francisco - USA. The ride from Panama to costa rica is easy and comfortable. Yes it is long, yes the border is busy and the electricity went out so there was further delays until the power went back on. Yes we got a drug dog a bag incorrectly for another hour delay. But the ride was enjoyable, comfortable, no extra taxes, no confiscation of dangerous possibly exploding water and forks for your lunch, no confiscation of your apples.

American air flight is insulting, unpleasant, mean, abrasive, unfriendly, hunger inducing, expensive, and inefficient. If it was possible to take a bus, I would.

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Location:21,,Costa Rica

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Liberian mangos

There is a lot of wind and the mangos are flying off the tree!

As I sit under the tree people walking by ask me to give them mangos, which I do!

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Location:Liberia ,Costa Rica

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Peanut butter

Ok, I have succumb to peanut butter.

Understand, I HATE peanut butter. It is one of the few foods I hate. Peanut butter and Lima beans, and milk - the 3 things I don't eat. I will eat almost anything. Scorpions, snake, and Kim chee, I will eat. But not peanut butter.


As of the past 2 weeks, due to many bus rides, too much fried food, and getting sick of Oreos, I have succumb to tortillas and peanut butter as the new ham sandwich.

I just cannot eat anymore gallo pinto or fried chicken or papas fritas. I am getting fat. At least peanut butter tortilla wraps are not fried.

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Location:Eladio Prado Saenz,San Jose,Costa Rica

Crossing the border

Yesterday I arrived to my hostel in San Jose late. very late and tired. I had taken the overnight Expreso Panama, from Panama City to San Jose Costa Rica, normally a 16 hour, overnight ride.

The first half of the ride was uneventful. We left Albrook Mall Gran Terminal at 11:00 pm. I fell asleep on the bus right away, despite freezing because of the strong air conditioner. I woke up at least 3x on the first half of the ride due to shivering. But I slept for the most part.

At around 6:00 am we reached the costa rican border, earlier than expected, and too early for processing. The border does not open that early. So we slept longer, the bus driver eating breakfast.

About a half hour before the border was to open we were ushered to get in line for processing, so we could beat the other buses and crossers. No problem. But. At 8 (or 7, Panama and Costa Rica have an hour time difference) the border did not open. And did not open. The road was getting filled with crossers and semis. Apparently the power was out, and no one was going to cross either direction until it came back on.

So we waited, ate cookies, drank coffee, talked among ourselves. I spoke to a nice German backpacking couple and a local Tica university student from the Caribbean.

Finally we crossed. On the costa rican side, after processing we lined up our bags for a drug dog smell. At first, no problems. But then the dog honed in on the German couples bags. In full public display, for 1 hour, the couple's bags were ripped apart, underwear examined, magazines examined, no inch not scrutinized.

Since there was no findings or arrest, the whole bus had to wait and watch. For another hour. The result was the German's souvenir coffee was confiscated, and they were released to get back on the bus.

We watched 2 American movies in Spanish - Cowboys and Aliens, and Flyboys.
and now I am at La Cuesta, the best value in San Jose.

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Location:Eladio Prado Saenz,San Jose,Costa Rica

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Panama City, Panama

Joseph and I under Balboa. also, Balboa is the best of the 3 local beers (Atlas and Panama being the other 2).

Irish and Joseph under Balboa.

That weird green building that curls....
The other weird building was built by Donald Trump and looks like the sail of a sailboat. Not in photo...

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