El día de los muertos

(To read El Gringo Feo’s Costa Rica Diary from the beginning, start here.) Friday, October 26 “Only against death does man cry out in vain.” — Malcolm Lowry At this time of year, my mind wanders the streets of Urubamba in Peru’s Sacred Valley. I brush past the spirits of Incan warriors who roamed the area […]

A haunting, hilarious talk on the beach with George Saunders

(To read El Gringo Feo’s Costa Rica Diary from the beginning, start here.) Tuesday, August 28 I’ve been thinking a lot about ghosts. We passed a Tico cemetery at some point while Jeff was driving me from the airport in San José to Uvita, and I noticed the graves there were above ground, a cluster of […]

Dia de Los Muertos

“Only against death does man cry out in vain.”  — Malcolm Lowry Anita seemed perplexed. Lara, Emma and I were all standing in the middle of San Gregorio Cemetery with tears streaming down our cheeks. It was all so beautiful. So sad. So poignant. We were surrounded by hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Mexican families who […]

Nuns with paddles

It’s so dark I don’t see the nun buoy until I’m a few feet away. How odd. The red, nun-shaped marker on Parks Bend conjures an instant flashback to angry Sister Mary Library chasing me and Doug Hamilton around book shelves with a paddle, hoping to put a hurtin’ on us after we’d glued alarm […]