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balance (2): September 2004

Monday, September 27, 2004

i heart NY (really)

so new york is nice with the painted concrete and the constant movement of things. ...there is a lot of art, magic... a lot of everything....

but the area in which i would like to have a drop down, drug out fight with this city (and hopefully kill it or myself) is that in regards to the people.

maybe it's people in my age range, maybe i just don't meet enough of them... but the ones i do meet either i have little in common with, or if i remotely relate to them are pretentious, superficial losers. i don't want casual friendships where when you run into each other you check for all the accessories and drop a few common names. walk off and talk shit about the person you just met... i like people who care about me because i care about them. i expect that people be honest and open. i expect that people will do what they say they will do (i am occasionally guilty of not too but some people habitually flake). i expect people to love life and push ahead into it and not be pacified with the same group of colorful, loud, usually drunk idiots they hang out with and do the same mindlessly hyped things over and over. i think sex is fun but not the point of my existence. i expect people to have identities of their own. i expect them to return my kindness and generosity with the same... or at least a bit of acknowledgement. i expect people to seek out and do new things, i expect compassion and diplomacy. in short, i would like to be treated as human just once...ugh.

not everywhere in the world has this problem, thank 'god'.

i do have a couple of friends whom i rarely see but love, who fall into the opposite category (the good one). katie, who is beautiful and much braver, free spirited, and more well adjusted than i am. we went to salivate over gael garcia bernal in the movie about che guevara (the motorcycle diaries), and then talked for like 6 hours last night. i love katie.... ted, who sends me all the political info so i remain informed, and who takes great pictures of his own respective trips (here). angel who lives up to his name and is always happy and cute. patrick who is sleazy and has a gay bent but treats hairstyling like and art and will chat with me about everything, a couple others (hi helen)....and of course x. my friendly siamese twin. who is bravely fighting off gangsters in the heat of jamaica right now.

the rest of them can kiss my ass... i'm out of here! :)

Thursday, September 23, 2004

oh the guilt

seeing as how it is the last quarter of the year, a time in which nobody in my industry is inclined to hire for any spectacular job, and seeing as how NY is a very expensive place in which to be unemployed, i was forced(!) to buy a ticket to spend the rest of the year in thailand. eek, do i feel guilty for this but as my second home, i know it well and can live cheaply (and have a fabulous time). i may even venture into the world of volunteerism or get a TEFL certificate and teach kiddies english so that i am not just floundering happily with otto as usual. whatever, i'm going in 3 weeks.

hrmmm. just as i was really starting to like being in NY too! i guess it's to be continued...

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

my karma is broke :(

i swear i will never do anything nice for anyone again.

i have spent the last year taking care of other people who are either unemployed or have shit jobs. result? i lose my job.

tonight i spent 4 hours rebuilding the computer of a guy i have only met once. result? as soon as i get home my own laptop dies a tragic death.

argh. no more ms. nice gal.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

san jose redux

x gave me a wake up call for breakfast and we decided to head for the city since it was too late by then to take any tours. i scoured the bookshops in the san pedro area for english books but found only crappy mystery novels and shakespeare. snapped some pictures of statues, bought a kilo of fuzzy sweet rambutans, giggled at the matronly whores flouncing in front of a brothel. wondered why anyone would ever want to live in san jose.





x spent the day doing his boy thing. i watched more movies- happily. and ordered room service brought to me by a shy boy who tried conspicuously to hang around. in the late afternoon it rained torrentially- very beautiful and creepy. i smoked a cigarette on my balcony and stared at the black brooding clouds, breathing in the fog.

x arrived late, drenched but happy, and we headed out for a final night on the town. some very bad fish at del rey and great music at key largo. i swear i will take salsa lessons! it's so sexy! ...lots of elderly men from florida with young 'ticas' undulating in their laps, wearing midriffs and hauling shockingly fat bubble booties which x insists all latino girls have. they are good dancers. no boys to speak of though.

...um. & that's it. we had to catch our shuttle to the airport at 5am. a blur of xanax, uncomfortable seats, cinnabon, hurricane-dodging in miami, and a curious excitement at coming home. byebye costa rica. i may not have had the best attitude to start with but all in all i doubt i will be seeing you again.

Monday, September 06, 2004

ya like travelling, do ya?

i woke up feeling pretty refreshed and walked along the beach to a coffeeshop. i read the spanish newspaper over coffee and a baguette. wandered around the sleepy town for an hour or so (pacing the same 50 feet or so over and over) until finally i decided to blow this joint. if i can't enjoy the nightlife without being fondled mercilessly then it's not for me. besides which i have done the whole beach thing.

so. hopped on the 4 hours of hell bus back to san jose. filled with jabbery american kids discussing such enlightening topics as counting crows lyrics (groan). i watched the green blur out the window and read my book- a diary of a rapist (cheery). the mountainous areas are breathtaking, and dotted with graves of people who have apparently driven off the steep fluffy cliffs. there were several waterfalls and lots of little roadside fruit stalls.

back in san jose i luxuriated in a cool bath and fresh sheets. not to mention cable movies with spanish subtitles. i avoided the paranoid american media which is hyping the hurricane as if the apocalypse has come.

x arrived late in the evening from his own trip, which sounded divine and made me jealous. he had funny stories of panic attacks on runaway horses.

i think i just went to sleep this night too. just couldn't get into costa rica, don't know what's wrong with me. had planned to go on some tour or another (canopy tours of the rainforest, volcano watching, white water rafting, etc.) but really didn't feel like doing much of anything but moping.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

dislocated

x left his hotel coffee outside my door this morning as an offering on the way to his volcano-wonderland. i hauled my pack down to the bus station to head for the carribean coast. the bus was full of costa rican people. i sat next to a plump girl who attempted to be friendly in a fast-talking sort of way (i couldn't keep up with her espanol). i fired up the iPod and sat back for 4 hours of grueling, stifling heat. the countryside looked very similar to thailand's, but i didn't get the same otherwordly feeling there as i do in asia.

i had read online about aviarios del caribe. it's a wildlife preserve in the rainforest near the carribean coast. as it is also a bed and breakfast i thought it would be a lovely place to stay. my bus driver called out the name when we had hit the middle of nowhere, and i shook off my confusion and hopped off. the grounds were super lush and green, though every tree was labeled and it had sort of a prefabricated feel to it. a friendly carribean girl met me at the front step and led me in for the tour. the lodge was huge and made of dark wood. it was covered with relics of local wildlife. including, to my excitement, a variety of sleeping two- and three-toed sloths! the owners have made it their mission to save them, as they trickle in to their clinic after dying mothers and car wrecks. they have a total of 52 on the premise. the girl showed me two videos which were very educational, and i was impressed at how well taken care of the sloth babies were. speaking of sloth babies- squeal!!!!! they had several brand new ones! sleepy in their box, they burrowed cozily into each other and blinked slow, humungous eyes at me as their nurse prepared their bottles. sooooooo cute. i rubbed them behind their ears and they yawned happily at me.


  


unfortunately, as nice as the place was, i was in the middle of freaking nowhere and i felt very alone. i couldn't very well take the canoe nature tour, as it was meant for groups. and i was told that i would have to flag down a bus that came once an hour to find food 11 kms away. i sighed, swallowed, and guiltily informed the owners i was moving on. they kindly charged me for the night anyway and sent me off towards the road.

supposedly in central america the way to catch the bus is to nonchalantly wave your hand in the vague direction of the ground in front of you as they pass by. nervous that i would miss it, i jumped up and down eagerly and waved my arms in the air as soon as i saw it coming. they drove right past, laughing and shaking their heads at the stupid gringa. the stupid, starving, overheated, dirty, grumpy gringa who had narrowly avoided being attacked by the local guard dog to get to the bus stop. i stomped the ground and pouted to myself, chucking rocks at the chickens running around, and settled back to wait the next long, hot hour for the next bus in the glaring sun.

luckily an SUV driver took pity on me and stopped to pick me up. his name was victor, and with his crisp white shirt and nametag (not to mention air conditioning!) he was the best possible person to get a ride with. he insisted on driving me past cahuita (where i had planned to stay and which he insisted was a drug-addled dump) to puerto viejo, on the coast. i talked to him entirely in spanish, which was fun and surprising. he was very respectful and friendly. he even stopped along the way to show me a cacao plantation and some banana patches. he left me at a little travel agency on the outskirts of puerto viejo, a small beach town. a friendly carribean guy stuttered hello and took me to a nearby guesthouse, where i got a rather shabby but cheap room for $12. it had a fan and a window overlooking a black sand beach, and i relaxed for the first time on my trip.





wandering around the one-horse town, i noticed that it was very similar to beach towns in thailand. the same westernized restaurants playing eminem, the same stalls selling sarongs and coconuts. the people were on bikes instead of motorbikes, were very black instead of brown, and the beaches were less hypnotic. i enjoyed an imperial over some pseudo-thai food and watched a stray dog scratch it's mange while the 'tica' girls giggled over the cute american tourist boys walking past.

after a rest in my room i ventured out on the town to see what nightlife i could find. the town was entirely dark, with a rare torch lit up on the dirt road about every other block, and there were throngs of people surging through the alleys. i attempted to blend myself in with them and failed miserably. i practically ran from torch lit block to torch lit block, being followed by gangs of boys who were whistling and kissing at me. it was all good natured at first, until i was accosted by a particularly nappy looking guy who stank of chemicals and had dirty dreadlocks. he grabbed on and wouldn't let go. i told him in spanish i just wanted to relax by myself over a drink, but he invited himself along. i tried for about 3 blocks to get rid of him and his offerings of ecstacy, walks on the dark beach to see "turtles", and a romantic cd in his room. ugh. finally i saw a place that was playing a movie outdoors and excused myself to slip into the safe audience.

not to be deterred, nappy mon plopped down next to me with a beer and a serious case of roving hands. i was freaking out internally and as rude as i could be externally. finally i just ignored everything he did until he shouted "fine! ok!" and wandered off, rather wobbily. i shuddered and tried to get into the movie, which was something stupid with ice cube. can't remember a thing about it. i studied the groups of american kids, who seemed safe but were oblivious to my situation. sometimes i really hate travelling alone.

saw a dog get hit by a car. don't even want to talk about it.

left the bar after the movie, hoping to get away without molestation, but nappy mon found me almost immediately and latched right on, trying to follow me home. i made up some excuse about having to go back and get allergy medicine, and ran off as fast as i could... directly into another nappy rasta man. repeat above scenario. utterly spooked i finally ducked down the pitch black side street and felt my way home to my room. shut my door, collapsed on my bed, and wished i was anywhere else. fell asleep to sounds of reggae drums, chirping crickets, and shouting boys.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

san jose, costa rica

my hotel room has great cable. i am embarassed to admit that i have spent a lot of time perusing it. i watched a special on living in chechnya (hellish), a couple of stupid reality shows on latin mtv, and cheesy soap operas in spanish... and a special on baby turtles leaving their nests for the wild blue yonder in this very country, which unfortunately i probably won't have time to see in real life.

x and i wake up late, but still in time for breakfast. i have black beans with rice and picante sauce. and delicious costa rican coffee. we lazily make our way downtown in the stifling heat. again, not much to see. crowds, pavement, a couple of scattered parks with monuments. everything i read about this place is wrong. for one thing, it's not americanized in the least. it's sort of a dirty waystation at best. x saunters happily behind me, snapping pictures left and right as i search for a place to get money. it becomes rather an ordeal, as most of the ATMs don't function. i sweat more than i thought i was capable of. there is no convenience store, people aren't especially friendly. i start to get grouchy. back to the hotel it is then (after we stop at a dirty pharmacy to stock up on RXs).



lost most of my san jose pics (sigh) but there is one & here's another...




x meets a pair of gay men at the pool and chats away- very unlike himself. i watch the clouds roll in and read my book while they discuss travelling in southeast asia (where i fervently wish i was). finally i head back up to my room for more cable, feeling guilty for floundering so.

later on x and i head out to a place he read about online, called machu picchu. it turns out to be a hole in the wall with delicious food. groups of 'ticos' drink and laugh in the corner. x and i sit under an awkward light and he looks over the paintings as i translate the menu. after i get some ceviche and a peculiar concoction of potatoes, shrimp, and avocados in my belly, i break into tears. x hates the fact that i cry in restaurants, and it's true, i can't avoid it. i think it's secretly romantic. i am not entirely sure why i am crying. i think i just miss x, the way we used to be before he became a hardened patron of the sexual arts. he doesn't have much time or consideration for me any more, and i feel like a constant encumbrance. i tell him he is afraid of responsibility, commitment, and intimacy. he insists he has no use for any of them. i suppose this all comes from his plan to take a girl with him to a lovely hot springs resort overlooking an active volcano and surrounded by rainforest. not sure how i can still be jealous but the fact is i am. we argue petulantly (me hating myself the entire time) and after a silent cab ride home i give up and go to bed.

x wakes me up in the middle of the night with a fresh loaf of banana bread he bought from the bar. somehow the fact that he does love me makes me even more sad and i hit myself in disgust and fall back into the relief of sleep as he slips off into the night.

Friday, September 03, 2004

off...

after a stressful meeting at work in which i lazily agreed to do lots of things i can't possibly do in the next few days from costa rica, by about noon x and i had hopped a taxi to JFK. the rest of the day was a blur of long, exhausting plane rides (american airlines is for ghetto people!!!), layovers, and a grumpy x telling me he hoped i would do my own thing in costa rica because he didn't want to hang with me. :(



from the plane


late at night and drunk with exhaustion we found ourselves in the ghetto of san jose. our squeaky clean best western hotel was surrounded by crack heads, and a midget prostitute eyed us slyly at the entrance (really!). i got my own room and took a quick, luxurious hot bath, listening to spanish t.v. x soon knocked at my door and we hailed a rickety cab to someplace he calls "the gulch" (sex tourist speak). san jose is tiny and sort of dark and shadowy. not much to see at all, but the hotel del rey has a good restaurant where i tried delicious ceviche and the very yummy local beer (imperial). the restaurant was filled with prostitute girls, of course. pretty but no match for thailand (i am inadvertently becoming a connosieur). the waiter was polite and once we had satiated ourselves we poked our heads into the back room to find a kitschy casino. we wasted lots of colones on the slot machines- not as lucky as we think. afterwards we headed to the key largo disco, across the street. more prostitutes but more good beer as well, and excellent salsa dancers to watch and envy. a decent vibe but overall i was just sleeeepy.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

missed connections

preparing to go to costa rica, which to be honest i am not too excited to do. x bought me a free ticket and that is the main reason i am going. otherwise it seems like such a hassle and a waste of money(!!!). besides which we leave around the same time mr. (yick) bush speaks in NY and a hurricane hits in miami, where we layover. so i am unusually a-skeered. what's wrong with me? why am i so negative today? especially where travel is concerned. isn't it my favorite thing on earth? sometimes i wonder....

well, i did lose my job, which is a bit of a downer. i have some other prospects but none too exciting and of course none that will keep me as well-heeled as good ol' bank of america has. :( sigh... and the cute boy (m) i have been dating turns out to be a lying psychopath (no surprise there really, i am in america)... in fact i had a very psychopathic moment myself in response to his psychopathic moment and wrote him the meanest letter i have ever written anyone in my life. didn't know i had it in me, really. i am usually a very kind girl. hrmmm. something in the NY water. pent up rage- pent up life.

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