My Driver

I had a nice driver that drove me from San Juan out to the coast, which was about a two hour trip. He brought his 12 year old daughter with him. After the rough section of the road, I sort of had a headache so I asked him to stop for some food. We went in and I bought them some lunch. During lunch, I found out that his daughter’s favorite American celebrity is STEVEN SEAGAL.

Zipping through the canopy

I took one of those rainforest tours where I was forced to hang out with a group of tree-hugger strangers for four hours. They spent the whole time in a metaphysical nirvana state as they communed with nature while taking breaks to lament about the ozone layer, global warming, George Bush, and the usual laundry list.

Despite the droll company, I still had a good time. There were about eight zip lines that went as high as 200 feet from the ground. About halfway through, there was this tree house that was about 150 feet off the ground. It was cool to stay in for about five minutes, but then I was ready to find a Starbucks (as were, ironically, the environmentalists with me.)

(Pictures went on to get married, rent apartments, and pursue careers as political lobbyists.)

Pacific Side

The beach near Villa Caletas was fairly scenic, although not nearly as nice as some other beaches around Costa Rica. I threw on my hiking stuff and jumped over a bunch of rocks and did some other ill-advised things to get over to the cliffs area where the waves did some amazing things in the tide pools. I stayed for a few areas and got about 100 pictures; here are some of the best.

(Pictures threw themselves into the tide pool.)

Iguana Attack!

I was barefooted walking around the amphitheatre area, and I was about 1 inch from stepping on a huge iguana. It must have been three feet long – bigger than a good-sized dog. I stood there in shock for a few seconds, since it seemed unreal to have something so big and green scurrying away from me. It did stop running and I got in close for a few pictures. In retrospect, I was much too close.


More exotic fruit

After my bad experiences in Kuala Lumpur, I decided that nothing could be worse than durian, so I will now try any fruit in any country at least once. I stopped at a little snack place on the edge of the rainforest to see what they had.

Mammon. It was orange and red with rubbery hairy things that stuck out the sides. It was not something you see on a bush and think, “Hey, I’m gonna eat that.” I cracked it open (as you can see in another picture below), and there was a testicle-sized mucousy gelatinous globule (is your mouth watering yet?) with a small seed in the middle. You are supposed to eat it and suck/chew off the gel part, leaving the seed part in the middle. The seed is only slightly more dense than the gel outside, so it was all-in-all a very confusing culinary experience.

Mangostan. In Malaysia, I had something called mangosteen, which was different and better. This tasted like mango, but it was very stringy and there was not much meat on it.

Pipas. They are like coconuts in almost every way. I had a bag full of pipa juice. It was in a plastic bag and there was no opening since they had knotted off the top. I asked how you were supposed to get the juice, and they said you bite through the bag and suck out the juice. I am glad there are no pictures of what happened when I attempted this maneuver.

Here are all the fruits I tried together. The two on the right are called gocope. They were the best of the ones I tried. Well, the orange one was soft and good. The green one was a different type of gocope and it was hard and sour. Like Hilary.

Great time in Central America

Wow I had a great time in Costa Rica. I don’t have enough time to post here, since it is tough to find a wireless connection in the rainforest. I will post a few pictures here and add more insightful textual context after I land in Korea and get settled. In the meantime, here are a few pics!

(Pictures stolen by wireless rainforest tribe.)

Costa Rica

After one day back in Austin, I decided to head down to Costa Rica for a few days. I understand there are many adventures to be had and many diseases to be caught. It sounds like a good time!

Bravos Area

Towards sunset, we traveled over to the west side of the island to watch the sunset. We were in an area called “Bravos,” where all the gringos hang out and do all kinds of fun white things like badminton and not looting.

There were some very pretty houses over on this side of the island and there seemed to be a lot of renovation happening. It is starting to appear that people are finding out about how pretty Vieques is and it may turn into another St. Bart’s, in terms of escalating real estate prices.

Isla de Vieques

Spanish Fort

After making several wrong turns and going through a slum area where people scowled at me as I ripped through their shanty town with my sweet SUV, I finally found my way to an old Spanish fort that overlooked Isabella Secundo. I would have stayed up there longer and taken more pictures, but there was a Conquistador following me, trying to give me Legionnaire’s Disease.

(Picture quarantined.)

Welcome to STUCK IN CUSTOMS Welcome to my travel photography blog!
Enjoy the daily photos, tips, tutorials & more!
Newsletter Sign Up
The Most Beautiful Newsletter Ever!