Grasshoppers On Motorcycles: Chapulines en Motocicleta

The word chapuline means grasshopper in Spanish. In Mexico, the word is used to describe a politician jumping from one party to another. In Costa Rica, chapulines refers to thieves who rob people on the streets. Two guys will roar up to a pedestrian on a motorcycle. One will jump off with a knife and demand your money. And they’ll roar away. San José is a wonderful city in many ways, but it has its dark side. Its a crossroads of cultures: people from Nicaragua, Salvador, Guatemala, Columbia — come here because of desperate poverty at home. It’s a strange mix. The hospitality and warmth of just about everyone here, the good vibes and openness and positive attitude, with the backdrop of ripoff artists. Every door and window and courtyard within the urban area is barred. There’s concertina barbed wire on roofs. You can’t leave anything in a locked car on the streets for 5 minutes. When we go out at night, we take enough money for dinner and a few beers and leave passport, my silver bracelet, everything else in the hotel room. It’s just a fact of life in this city. Yesterday 2 chapulines jumped off their M/C and accosted a priest carrying his church’s donations. They were wearing M/C helmets with darkened visors. When they asked for the money, he told them they were stealing from God. They shot him in the leg, grabbed the money, and vrooom!

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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