Boquete, Panama: climbing Volcan Baru

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Cochita is in the shop with a broken head gasket, so we have been stuck in the mountain town of Boquete, Panama. Yesterday we decided to actually get off the couch and go do a bit of mountain-climbing; we didn’t make it all the way up, but here are some photographs from Volcan Baru.

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a few pictures from Nicaragua

Nicaragua! Things that have happened: bid farewell to Ben at the Managua airport; bought a surfboard; celebrated my birthday with an enormous pinata; sprained my ankle; more-or-less healed the ankle; explored a half-dozen beaches of the southern Pacific coast of Nicaragua; learned about the hell-on-earth that is San Juan del Sur on the penultimate day of the Semana Santa.

The heat is a beautiful enveloping blanket, searing at midday when we walk up and down the steep dusty roads to the coast toting our surfboards; comforting at night when the wind blows through the thin screen of our tent; and always, always riding the fine line between sensuous and overwhelming. At noon today I stepped out of the shower, cool for an instant, then five minutes later wondered in despair if my skin would ever be free of sweat again. But now the ubiquitous wind is blowing, blowing, blowing towards the sea and the open second floor of the hostel is shaded and cool, perfect, paradisical in the sheer luxurious pleasure of warm air flowing over my body.

Some photographs:

 

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Handstand improvement, slowly. Playa Hermosa.

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Sunset beach-goers, Playa Hermosa

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Howler monkey – there are hundreds of them in the forest here, screeching to each other at night.

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Nicaraguan flag

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From Mardi Gras to Mexico: the journey continues

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Sunday costume – je suis un ananas!

I write from Austin, Texas. One week ago I arrived in New Orleans for Mardi Gras; two days ago I picked up my friends Jane and Ben and drove with them to Austin. Tomorrow we cross the Mexican border. The first leg of my journey is over, and from here on out I won’t be enveloped in the hospitality of old friends; I’ll be ‘hablo-un-poco’-ing my way into the lives of people I haven’t even met yet. I can’t imagine what awaits.

Mardi Gras was a dream, and I wish I’d had more time to spend in New Orleans. There are a few cities I’ve visited on this trip where I’ve felt like Yes, I could stop right now, park the car and just start living here. New Orleans was one of them. Unfortunately, it’s going to drown in a few decades – along with Miami – and I can’t decide if it’s brave or idiotic, romantic or head-in-the-sand, beautifully rebellious or blindly defeatist, to throw your chips in with a doomed paradise. Where were YOU the night the world changed forever? There is no such single night, really, and so every night along the road feels a bit like that. We’re poised on the edge of a precarious future, slipping further into it all the time.

Below, too many (and yet not nearly enough) Mardi Gras photos. Next missives from Mexico!

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Jakob on the way to Eris

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Eris winds its chaotic way through the streets towards the river

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The first of many, many, many marching bands I would see

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Beautiful faces in the crowd at Eris

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The jester, Eris

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Jakob on the railroad tracks as I walk on the wall beside them

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A moment of affection on the riverbank as the parade reaches its final destination

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The choir sings to close out the Eris parade

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Bacchus, where John C. Reilly threw me some Mardi Gras beads. 

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Bright lights and confetti at Bacchus

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LOUP GAROU, the canoe parade! Hands-down my favourite parade.

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Waterborne revellers

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The cacophony of being underneath a very low bridge with a very loud marching band and dozens of people hollering and banging their paddles

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Society of St. Anne’s parade, Mardi Gras day.

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More from the Society of St. Anne’s, Mardi Gras day.

 

 

Florida Keys

I’m writing this from a hotel room in Tallahassee, Florida. This morning I left Miami and began my drive to Clarksdale, Mississippi. “What brings you to Tallahassee?” the front desk clerk asked. “I’m on my way to see my grandmother in Mississippi,” I replied, which statement always makes me feel like (1) I’m Little Red Riding Hood and (2) I need to give some kind of explanation about why a West Coast half-Asian hippie has a Mississippian grandmother. Not that the front desk clerk, of course, gave a shit about anything other than fulfilling their company’s guidelines for friendly customer service.

Today’s entry is brought to you by ten hours on the road after not-enough-hours-of-sleep, and will therefore consist solely of photographs of the Florida Keys, where I was last weekend.

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highway through the ocean

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canals dynamited into the limestone by the army corps of engineers, so that everyone can dock their boat

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sleeping porch… basically, paradise.

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did you know: some species of bamboo can grow up to THREE FEET in one day, so fast that apparently you can hear it growing.

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palm fruits of some kind

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“the porch” bar in Key West

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feral roosters in Key West

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Bahia Honda beach

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sandpipers. I will never, ever get tired of their busy little legs.

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SPLASH

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Bahia Honda beach

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sponges



Ice in Montreal

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On Sunday, freezing rain fell and covered the trees with a coat of ice. Every twig was like an eel in a diving bubble, sealed off from the world and gazing outwards from its separate space.

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So much beauty! Today it’s -15 and I walked two kilometers to Fairmount Bagel, bought a dozen perfect inimitable Montreal bagels to take back to the loft plus one just for me, to scoff from my gloved fingers on the walk back. Being cold makes me panic but I could love winter for giving me afternoons like this, bundled up in down and wool and wandering through a gallery of ice.

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ice on st-laurent, montreal

Brooklyn

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A few photos from Brooklyn. I dashed in for a night to see a friend I met on the set of a Bollywood film in 2008, then to Princeton, then back to Brooklyn, then Pawling for the holidays. I forget how much I love urban landscapes until I’m back in them.

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Scraped layers of paper and paint, rust, patched asphalt. The clatter of New York’s old subway system, which still seems to me like the only real subway system, so that Vancouver’s skytrain always felt like a slightly dissatisfying pale vision from the future.

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I love how haphazard it is – the logic of continual addings-on.

Tomorrow, I start driving back to Montreal for New Year’s. I hope you had a wonderful holiday, wherever you were.

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Taken at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University while stomping around with an old old old friend. He runs a new company that produces films of medical procedures. We took the T to Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital and I sat in on a meeting, nodding, giving good eye contact and firm handshakes, quietly taking notes: masquerading, again, as someone who belonged.

city trees

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City trees, Chicago (above) and Boston (below). I’m lying on my friend’s couch in Cambridge right now, looking out the window to where bare branches are tangling with power lines and the shallow curve of the streetlight is nudged by exploratory twigs. Night trees and 10,000 volts of silent electricity. As a child, I used to live for the nights when storms would blow down the heavy fir branches and knock out the electricity: we would light a fire and play board games by candlelight, wrapped up in blankets on the sheepskin rugs. It was a sort of party.

A few years ago I was at home with my family in Victoria, and the power went out just as it used to. We looked at each other, thought about it, and then we all four piled into the car with our various devices and drove up to the University, where lights and the internet were still available. I seem to remember commandeering an empty lecture hall to watch “Machete” on the big projector with my brother. The lofty atrium of the new computer science building was echoey that night, most of the students gone home to dorm rooms whose power had not been interrupted by the storm; they would never realize it had blown down power lines throughout the surrounding neighborhoods. A few hours later, we went home to bed, and in the morning it was restored.boston tree

Montreal

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Photos from the the top of Mont Royal. I clawed my way up using the railings, skidding around on the ice in the same Doc Martens I wore the first time I came to Quebec, in 2001. It’s still just as beautiful and I still feel like a teenager.

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trees on mont royal, montreal

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