Back In The Big City, Oh Boy!

I’m a bi-polar traveler. After 5 or so days in a big city I need to flee to cleaner air and less pavement. Then when I get out away from it all, a week or at most two, I want to connect with both more people and yep, the internet. After 6 days in Bocas de Toro and environs (I’ll try to give you an updated take on this very beautiful and wonderful, but, but…) I got a Natureair flight from Bocas back to San Jose, from where I fly home. I was pretty lethargic from the tropical heat in Panama, but getting to this 3000′ elevation, mountain-surrounded city gave me a jolt. Wake up, dude! Checked into the unique little jungle-in-the-city hotel, Los Cinco Hermigas Rojas (The Five Red Ants) and ventured out for dinner, after which I stumbled into some kind of cultural festival in a downtown park. Right away it felt good.

Thousands of mostly young Costariccenses, lots of children, fire-jugglers, gymnasts, and best of all a band I was sure was Irish — fiddler, bagpipes, guitar, drummer and a guy who clogged as additional percussion. They were sensational. Here and there young people were dancing like Irish jigs. They turned out to be a Costa Rica band, Perigrino Gris, The Celtic Band from Costa Rica.

Not known outside the country. I’m not kidding, these guys would knock them out in New York, or London, or San Francisco. People were all jumping and dancing and yelling. I tried to get one of their CDs at 3 stores today, but they were sold out.

THEN, as I walked back to the hotel and passed the Escuela Metallica, the 100-year old beautiful prefabricated steel building (shown here in the daytime), there was a stage in front, and a small orchestra. An organ started playing Bach, and a spectacular MacIntosh-generated light show started bathing the building in light. I’ve never seen anything like it. The crowd would gasp or go ooooh! Children were transfixed. It went on, with different music for maybe 45 minutes. When it was over, there was about 20 minutes of world-class fireworks. I shot maybe 30 pics.

On my way home I wandered into a patio where a group of avante-garde dancers were whirling and twirling and moving graceful and artistic (and flexible) ways. It makes me think there may be some kind of cultural revolution going on in Costa Rica, a blending of world cultures. Pura vida!

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:

Leave a Reply