Category Archives: Birds

Nasty Monkey Hostal

Just for the record, I didn’t want to stay there.  I wanted to be in town where I had freedom to walk around day and evenings. Plus, I am always  sceptical of anyone who keeps wild pets and yet ignores starving domestic dogs and cats. I was there for one night because a new friend had made reservations.

The owner of Alto del Aguila,  known as the frier, keeps, according to the Lonely Planet, a few monkeys and a pair of mcaws that will “gather around you’ one would assume in a welcoming manner.

Having been there long enough to dump my stuff, I was standing in front of Claire’s cabana when suddenly the frier appeared. Simultaneously 3 squirrel monos were on me. “No.No.” I said. He trust a teaspoon of sugar at me. I took it because I was already in the game. When the sugar was gone two of the monos left, but one stayed. He was sort of hanging upside down on my midriff. “That’s enough now,” say I. The guy laughs. The mono’s ass in my face  was not any prettier than any other ass might be. I touched him, gently, but with a downward motion. “Go now,” I say.

Pissed that monkey off!  It turned and bit my wrist, came up toward my face which I was hiding, bit my upper arm, and put two small gouges on my chest. Maybe the owner got him off me, really I lost track of the sequence. The mono, now back under the eves of the building, the owner, muttering as he made a brushing motion down, “Defense. Defense, as he led me to the community room where he put something like iodine on the major bite.

The asumption was that It was my fault. I made the mono angry by brushing him off. I, a stupid tourist, didn’t know monkey lingo. Hell, I’m struggling with Spanish.

So later that evening a guest from Ireland,told me the macaw, that I called Lucas because he was under Cabana Lucas when I first saw him, that can’t fly, tried to bite her shoe, but when she put her hand down to stop it, it bit her finger. She clearly was ignorant in the macaw language.

When I woke up the following morning, Lucas was at my door. I made him a deal. “I have a mango. I’ll share it with you if you let me out.” I took a couple photos of him, then closed the door a little to move him back. I got a knife, cut the mango and gave him the meaty seed and skins because, although I am an ignorant tourist, I keep my word.




Musings; Birds, Relaxation, Impending Danger

It’s a quiet day here on John”s Island, on my back porch office. This morning was a lazy one, filled with reflection. It’s possible to be grateful, content, meditative, fearful and angry within just a couple of hours.

 Back porch office, Casa de Updike, Johns's Island

Back porch office, Casa de Updike, Johns’s Island

The birds are apparently not hungry. I hear them calling to one another in the woods. It’s a language I don’t understand, but wish I did, a melodic cacophony. Walking through a mall in Beijing comes to mind. Probably they will come down soon for lunch. Peanuts and sunflower seeds every day free for the taking, first come- first served. image

Brash handsome  jays calling, jeer, jeer jeer, graceful doves, cardinals, (love to watch the mom feed her loud, demanding babies), woodpeckers: a downey woodpecker and what looks to be an endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, which will both soon be gone due to developers denuding the surrounding forest, a pileated woodpecker, yik-yik-yik,  that was the inspiration for the infamous Woody the Woodpecker, juncos, and other unidentified chirpy sparrows, loud barking crows…  and then, a large predator swooped into the forest. Too much in the shade of other trees for me to see what it was with my binocs, but the crows knew. They gathered together screaming and flapping like regiments in battle,  and forced it back, and off. 

We should be able to do the same to the Tea Party that threatens our way of life in America, just as  the Taliban are in the Middle East. Think about it, & check out the similarities at Politburo of Teabilly Mockery.

*open carry of military weapons, despises and wants to topple the US Government , supports the death penalty, opposes women’s rights, anti-abortion, wants to teach religion in schools, integrate religion and state,  no respect for law, authority, or the president, views homosexuality as evil. Scary.  

Casual Guns

Casual Guns


I  can’t imagine the bird scene in the jungle or even the town that is built on the Amazon River in the jungle,  but in seven weeks I will be there. First a few days in Bogota, then fly to Leticia, Amazonas. Can it be anything like I imagine it? image

Walking through the Amazon forest en route to an indigenous village, paper and pencils, maybe a portable CD player, teaching them  our language-learning theirs.  It makes the dreaded yellow fever vaccine, and the mosquitos worth it. 

I spent Sunday with my daughter and her boyfriend at a lake home she is going to buy. In the back is a 12X20′ cookhouse that I’ll turn into my studio. It won’t be the first house I’ve transformed, but probably the last. It will allow me freedom: to be with my family and friends, write, travel, kayak; what else could a nomadic gramma ask for? Lucky me.  

Relaxing with Anna.

Relaxing with Anna.

Dock, Goat Island.

Dock, Goat Island.