0411passportA giant cup of cof­fee that I can just refill and refill and refill as is my God-given Amer­i­can right, that’s what I’ve got right now … and I don’t have to pay extra for milk. My very own black gold.

Ah yes, won­der­ful to arrive into Newark yes­ter­day after­noon to learn that we’ve won the war with Iraq. Whew! That must’ve been a close one. Glad we sqeaked by that one. Good to see the stat­ues falling, don’t you think? Res­onates with how safe I feel right now, prob­a­bly as safe as we all feel, right?

Any­way, enough enough­ing. To recap the last few days: we bused in from Panama to Golfito, then took the water­taxi to Puerto Jiménez, then a 2 hour ride in the back of a pick-up fixed with 2 benches in the back and a tarp over­head (reminds me of an Aus­tralian Out­back kind-of thing, you know?) to what is com­monly called the last fron­tier of Costa Rica, the south­ern Pacific coast of the Osa Penin­sula. Noth­ing there, for the most part … no phone of elec­tric­ity, just miles of black-sand beaches and jun­gle and an occa­sional leath­ery expat try­ing to set up a lit­tle cab­ina busi­ness in this jun­gle get­away … we stayed there for 2 days and just wan­dered the beach, as well as tak­ing a for­mi­da­ble hike up the Rio Madri­gal into the jun­gle … that is, until we heard the knee-rattling roar of a pack of Howler Mon­keys, at which point we started back tracking.

Then back to Puerto Jiménez, where Maja and I planned on tak­ing a small small plane to San Jose … and here our trou­bles began. The pilots were wishy-washy about fly­ing due to the heavy storms over Golfito, which we needed to land in first because they had avoided doing so on the way over due to the same storms. After about an hours delay (mind you, we’re on a gravel run­way in the mid­dle of the jun­gle, for all intents and pur­poses), 12 of us (includ­ing pilots) board the lit­tle cof­fin with wings … land­ing in Golfito, ok, then more wait­ing … as its pour­ing on us, they rush us into the plane and we take off, onlt to fly through gray numb­ness that just kept get­ting darker and darker, rain pound­ing (lit­er­ally pound­ing) the plane, they 2 small tico pilots can barely see over the dash­board, which we unfor­tu­nately had a clear view of … the GPS and other panel controls/lights kept going out, and we could see the con­cern and fran­tic ges­tic­u­la­tions of the pilots try­ing to save their own lives … then the plane starts really rock­ing, quickly tip­ping left and right with such degree that your head actu­ally snapps against your shoul­der or the nearby win­dow or fel­low pas­sen­ger … great drops in alti­tude … fish­tail­ing, so much so that you look out the win­dow and expect to see the tail of the plane out beside you … dead silence except for the repeated beep­ing of emer­gency sta­tus indi­ca­tors from the cock­pit … prayers and incan­ta­tions all around, I’m sure … then, sud­denly, though the edge of the clouds and into sun­light beauty and long-limbed vast­ness, and the ner­vous laugh­ter and excited chat­ter begins … the cap­tain looks back to check on us and you can see it on his face, the holy shit we actu­ally made it expres­sion you never want to see on the pilot of your aircraft …

More later on the com­ings and going of whatshisface …