Saturday, December 15, 2007

sun enough to melt the ice

Surfing. The word conjures up glorious rides on long, gently breaking waves sparkling and curling over the head of any surfer gutsy enough to hang out in the tube. They carve languid lines along the wave and tear up the curl with the greatest of ease. When they are done they make their triumphant exit from the water, beautiful beach babes scented with coconut and ylang-ylang greet them with back rubs and pina coladas. the reality of this kansas boy varies a bit from this version. My surfing (although improving each time) consists of burning up the shoulder muscles attempting to get through the primary breakers near the beach. Simply getting to the calm of the swell just beyond the break for a chance to relax and feel the ocean roll beneath me (not to mention the pelicans gliding by) feels like a victory. From here, it's a matter of seeing a wave I might have a chance with. Then paddling like mad. If the timing is good, the wave picks up the board up and for that moment I'm moving as quickly as a bootlegger and as lightly as the air around me. Next, stand up quick and for the next few moments yours truly feels like the golden god of surfing. This feeling is soon followed by a fall from heaven into the massive water that is crashing over my head and salt water cleaning out the sinuses and an underwater disorientation that can only be solved by following the leash up to the (thankfully) bouyant surfboard while another wave crashes on my nearly drowned cabeza. Although there is no gaggle of senoritas waiting ashore, there is one senora bonita who squeezes my hand and tells me how proud she is proud of my attempts-no matter how feeble. Tuanis, mai!
Laying on the beach or floating in the pool overlooking the ocean with the sun on her skin and a book in her hand is Kendra's speed. The surfing is to be tolerated not attempted. We are soaking up these last few days of sunshine before we depart for the cold Midwest. Just wanted to prove it, so here we are, truly enjoying pura vida. Ken finished her pina colada before the picture was snapped.

mi casa es su casa

Some of you faithful readers have asked about the house we live in here. Our friends Jake and Julia who split their time between Ojochal and Kansas built it. They just finished it and it is now on the market. If any of you are looking for a sweet second home in Costa Rica or just want to skip outta the states and settle in sunny Central America, let us know. This house sits on a beautiful piece of land with mature coconut, avocado, mango, lime, banana and plantain trees. Sugar cane too. The mural upstairs is an orginal by “LOS MARABLES”. This way the hibiscus bloom all year ‘round both inside and out. The toucans, hummingbirds, and ocean view add the icing on the cake.

food for thought

We just finished our last painting project. We made this sign for the Mennonites that sell baked goods, goat milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. in our village every Friday. We traded them the sign for their goods and everyone was happy. George and Joel beamed when they saw the sign and said “This really means a lot.” Over the last 9 weeks we’ve used our art making abilities to bridge cultural gaps, create beauty and inspiration where it didn’t exist before and instigate conversation and connection.We now see our painting as a skill worthy of bartering and trading. Painting has rewarded us with overnight beachside stays, cafeteria meals, cinnamon rolls, beer, and respect in our community. In fact, tonight we are dining in a sweet little french joint because the woman who runs it saw a little drawing in our sketchbook and was willing to trade a meal for it. All proof that not all artists starve.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

animal crackers

Our nephew Will was excited to see the picture of the scorpion so we thought we better take it up a few notches and keep him impressed. He’s only 3, but we want to keep our cool reputations. Here are some more animal pictures. These were all taken on our last big adventure around the country. The monkeys were super tame, we fed them bananas and plantains. It was thrilling. Its really impressive how they swing with such ease from branch to branch by their tails and long arms. Their little hands were unbelievably human. FIVE FINGERS! The crocodiles were under a bridge we drove over. Eerie. They look so prehistoric. There were about a dozen of them, basking in the murky water to catch some sun. And possibly waiting to catch something/someone else? The iguana was so photogenic, we wondered how many other people have shot his portrait? And last but not least, the giant beetle was caught in our house last night by Uncle Aaron. He heard the buzzing of the wings from upstairs and went down to investigate. He choose to use the coffee pot over the usual “creature trap” for optimal viewing. Now who’s impressed?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Canela Lee Zuleta Harper

We were so thrilled to see our dear friend Erica Harper in San Jose and meet her partner Marco and their new baby Canela. Canela is Spanish for CINNAMON. What a sweetheart. She was born at their home on Nov. 12th. We are in awe of Erica for having her baby at home...not to mention she did it standing up! Gravity and sound vibration should not be taken for granted!
It was really inspiring and grounding to see how they are living their lives. Erica and Marco are both artists and make a living doing street theater-circus performances. Think unicycles and juggling fire. Their performances are complete with costumes and social commentary. They also sell crafts and jewelry that they make. Beautiful. Stellar examples of living with creativity and integrity.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Many things have been dismissed as unnessessary in these parts.These folks get by just fine in their seemingly primitive approaches to taking care of business. The same holds true for milling. No hulking buildings with their steel teeth and hydro electrics chomping away at the jungle. Instead, a couple of young men take petite nibbles on our surrrounding trees. Using only an extended chainsaw fixed with a jig, these dudes slowly but steadily (and neatly) mill los arboles of our area. The planks are mostly used for concrete forming in all the building done here. The operators of these saws are all lean, incredibly strong, and evidently deaf as ear protection seems to be a thing for the weak. ouch. The younger helper pictured here was last seen helping us out with the mural at his school. We were a bit surprised to see him sweating so hard on an early saturday morning. So much for Saturday cartoons!

Frutas y Queso

While we were staying at Zancudo Beach, we did some sign painting in trade for a couple free nights at the cabina we were staying in. There was a produce truck that rumbled through this one road town selling fruit, vegetables, cheese, homemade rum, etc. People hang signs out by the road to signal they want "Willy" to stop. Here are a couple of our favorites.

miles and miles

We've been out of the blog loop as we were travelling around the country for a week without the computer. Our friend Chris Kuhlman from L.A. met up with us here and we rented a car and made some tracks. We were so impressed by the diversity of the landscape. Being 'down south' in Ojochal for 6 weeks in the humidity and warmth has been great, but the mountain air of Monteverde was WONDERFUL. We finally got to wear long sleeves and cuddle under a quilt just like all our friends and family back home. Our adventures were numerous. Here is just a tiny glimpse of the landscapes we travelled across... we saw agricultural expanse, coffee plantations, cloud forests and even two active volcanoes. Looking through the binoculars from the base of Volcan Arenal we could see boulders rolling down the hillside, spewed from within...the sound was like a grumbling and rumbling we've never experienced before.