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Amerikanomade: Two Argentinian Gypsies On the Road For 3 Years in 1965 VW Van Road

I saw this van on the next beach down from where I'm staying, was fascinated and stopped in at sunset last night to meet Diego Mariot and Veronica Bavaro from Argentina. Diego started out on a road trip in the van 3 years ago and on the fifth day of the trip, met his soulmate Veronica and they have been traveling together ever since. Their main source of income comes from Veronica's handmade necklaces, bracelets, and ear rings. They look like beadwork, but are woven knots (I don't know what the correct name is for this craft). They are lovely things.
Diego and Veronica were fascinated by Home Work. I left it with them overnight. We were immediate soulmates as soon as they saw the book

Every square inch of the van inside is decorated, and it's neat and orderly and intelligently designed. Diego does all the mechanics on the van.
You VW van fans will love this: Diego showing off the "air conditioning."
Parts are sometimes hard to get, he says. They are vegetarians. So far they have spent 2 months in Argentina, 20 days in Bolivia, 6 months in Brazil, 1-1/2 years in Venezuela, 2 months in Columbia, 9 months in Panama, and have been here in Costa Rica for 2 weeks and will probably stay 3 months. Then on to Mexico "…for 6 months or 3 years." They don't speak English, so I'm gathering this info in Spanish.
They have a killer: website (in Spanish). Trust me, check it out even if you don't speak Spanish. These two have a beautiful, interesting, exciting life.
By the way, America does not just mean the United States. It also refers to Central and South America.

Surfing and Swimming in Warm Water, Rafa and Chilón

I get up at 5:30 every morning, make a cup of coffee, and walk to the beach. Yesterday I swam about a half mile, around a rocky point, and walked back on a jungle trail. A little south swell came up yesterday and this morning there were 4 of us in the water surfing at sunrise. It's uncrowded enough to be friendly. Water 80 degrees, mon! The same as in British Columbia, I'm running across people who are real familiar with our book Shelter (1973). Seems a bunch of people here and in other tropical places used the book for inspiration.
Before I left home I had heard from my friend (Leo), who with partners owns the place where I'm staying), that their cuidadora (caretaker) Rafa was very tall. I told my wife Lesley I could see the photo, with Chilón, who is short and wide with Rafa, tall and lean, and, sure enough, here it is. Rafa is a master of the jungle, knows every plant, bird, animal and insect and is also a good surfer.

Palapa en la Jungla

This is a precious part of the planet where I'm now hanging out, and there are a lot more people here now than there were a few years back. It makes one wonder if this place will get bulldozed by the rapacious industry of tourism, as did the Los Cabos area of Baja California. I sure hope not, and in this spirit I'm going to be unspecific about just where I am. Let's just say it's the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

La Jungla

Sunrise through the jungle (beach in background)
It's Sunday and we've been here three days, and I'm overwhelmed. We've been getting up before sunrise, making coffee and walking to the beautiful beach, sitting an a simple bench and watching the sun rise over Panama across the water. I've gone surfing twice and am working out the rusty skills. I go swimming at least twice a day, swimming in warm water is one of the best things in my world. The surrounding jungle is just unbelievably full of life, monkeys, birds, butterflies, mapaches (CR's version of the raccoon), plants and trees and flowers in profusion like I've never seen before. Chilón turns out to be a world-class cook and has been making fantastic meals. I've shot about a 1000 pictures, and have a ton of stuff to show people, but for now it's time to get a meal. We came back into town this morning to get provisions. Chilón has found out from out local maestro of the jungle Rafa of a Tico place (no gringos) to eat lunch and we're going to do that, then get ice and groceries and head back out to paradise. In Spanish, the word for jungle in jungla (hoon-glah). Mas despues.

Both photos by Chilon

Into the Jungle

We got on a 12-seat single prop plane heading for the coast. You had to squeeze by people to get to your seat. It was like getting into a phone booth. Up we went over the mountains and then along the beaches until we reached the landing strip in the small town that was our jumping-off point. I sat right behind the pilot and we're looking down at the landing strip here. Not only was the runway short, but the town cemetery was right alongside it. We landed nicely and got out into the jungle heat.

Costa Rica 2, Honduras 0

Photo by Chilón
We ended up spending 5 days in the city, going to the soccer game between Costa Rica and Honduras Wednesday night, a world cup game between two fierce rivals. We sat in the end zone, Chilon bought a crazy Tico hat, and partied with everyone within range of his voice. There were maybe 35,000 fans, of which maybe 5000 were Hondurans. I'm not a soccer fan, in fact I don't really watch much of any sports these days, but this was an experience to be in the midst of screaming crowds. Ticos insulted Honbduras — the country and the players —all night lobg, chanting:
O-lay, O-lay, O-lay, O-lah,
Tico a Ganar
The players were in such fabulous shape. I loved watching the stretching and warmup, their grace and strength (and in the game, endurance). I like the facts that they're not giants, like football or basketball players. They're normal sized humans with extraordinary athletic skills. Each time CR svored, the stadium roared like a lion amplified.