(To read El Gringo Feo’s Costa Rica Diary from the beginning, start here.)
Wednesday, October 10
I woke up in the United States this morning for the first time in two months. The trip thus far has been uneventful. I hired a driver, Fernando, who got me safely and quickly from Uvita to San José, where I spent the night in a Marriott Courtyard near the airport. Nice hotel. The flight out was no problem and the only complaint I have on the trip thus far was a long line at passport control coming into Miami, including an asshole French Canadian who decided to just walk past everyone in line until he got to … me. I stepped in front of him and he got a little indignant. But he wasn’t willing to push the issue. He went through after I did.
I’m flying out this morning for Iowa via Chicago. More fun and thrills in airports. This is a lifestyle that I don’t miss in any way, shape or form. I think there was one year when I worked for Scripps that I traveled 40+ weeks. (Some of those trips were one-day jaunts, but still … 40 weeks of airports and hotels and crap food. I’m still not sure how I survived that.) So far, my ankle is holding up really well. It was sore after yesterday’s travel but not abnormally so.
I also started reading The Golden Ass by Lucius Apuleius. It was written in Latin in the second century A.D. and I did a little research on translations after initially downloading the 1566 translation by William Adlington from Project Gutenberg. I just wasn’t up for wading through archaic English spelling and style while trying to read it, and I also wanted a more contemporary take since the book is pretty bawdy in spots and I didn’t want to read through the gauze of some translator trying mightily not to offend.
Enter Sarah Ruden. Thus far, I’m really impressed with her translation. I have both her version and Adlington’s on my Kindle so I’ve jumped back and forth a bit to see how they compare. Very similar, but her language is much more fun and interesting. I’m glad I opted for it.
This book is the story that inspired Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Instead of a cockroach, the narrator here is turned into a donkey when he messes with witchcraft that he doesn’t fully understand. It’s an early take on the picaresque novel that Don Quixote, Tom Jones and Confederacy of Dunces all took inspiration from. I also am working on a sub-theme in The Book that is inspired by this story. So there’s that.
Onward to Iowa. Hopefully, no one will turn me into an ass. Or a bigger ass, as the case may be …