“When the destination becomes gracious, the journey becomes an adventure of beauty.”
One week from today I return to the Costa Rica South Caribbean (Atlantic Coast South of Limón) for my 5th trip there, not counting 3 other visits to the North Caribbean (North of Limón or Tortuguero NP).
I’ve been “mulling over” (That’s a late 1800’s English idiom meaning “to think about” or “to ponder.”) what my photography focus would be this time (see previous focuses below–mainly birds!). I originally thought I was going during Carnival week, but got the dates confused (It’s the last week of October not August) so Carnival is no longer the theme for my photos and ultimately a photo book. 🙂 Here’s my previous South Caribe galleries & books:
Browsing Blurb’s Bookstore travel and art photography books (for ideas) I came across the above quotation by John O’Donohue in a book and decided next week’s destination is such a “gracious” place (both the Hotel Banana Azul and the Caribe) that the friendly, loving, kind graciousness of the place will make it truly an “adventure of beauty!” So now my mind is running in a thousand directions of how I can photograph that gracious beauty!
Of course there’s the beauty of nature as my sunrise photo above from another year depicts. The graciousness of the people there presents opportunities for grand portraits or activity shots. While the graciousness of the sea, or the forest, or the wildlife, or the plants . . . oh my, oh my – the destination becomes so gracious!
Soon I start my next adventure of beauty!¡Pura Vida! 🙂
I arise today Blessed by all things, Wings of breath, Delight of eyes, Wonder of whisper, Intimacy of touch, Eternity of soul, Urgency of thought, Miracle of health, Embrace of God. May I live this day Compassionate of heart, Clear in word, Gracious in awareness, Courageous in thought, Generous in love.”
The above featured photo by Charlie Doggett is of the Bribri Watsi Waterfall in the South Caribe of Costa Rica. The latest international report to place Costa Rica as the happiest place on earth lists some of the reasons. See the full article at World Economic Forum or here is my brief summary:
Seventy years ago we did away with our army and now spend 8% of GDP on education while the rest of the world (including the U.S) spends only an average of 4.8%. So our strength is human talent, human wellbeing.
Not spending on the armed forces also allows this country to protect the environment. Costa Rica generates more than 99% of its electricity from renewable sources.
The Costa Rican government has used taxes collected on the sale of fossil fuels to pay for the protection of forests. “We saw in the eighties that the forest coverage was reduced to 20% due to animal farming and timber. We’ve managed to recover all this and we’re back to forest coverage of 50%. By this we are combating climate change.”
Costa Rica hosts more than five per cent of the world’s species, despite a landmass that covers just 0.03% of the planet. “Many people say that to protect the environment goes against the economy. Whereas it’s the complete contrary. Our tourism has grown precisely because of this,” says Alvarado.
As a result, Costa Rica is the happiest and most sustainable country on Earth, according to the 2019 Happy Planet Index (HPI).
See my photo Gallery of happiest, most sustainable country:
Here’s the LINK to the photo book of my trip two weeks ago: Caribe Tuanis Click title to REVIEW the book electronically in my bookstore, all pages for free! Best seen at Full Screen!
The title is my fusion of two Costa Rica slang words and is not grammatically correct Spanish! One Tico tried to get me to add “El” like “The” in English. No. “Caribe” is CR slang or short for Caribbean which I think is used in English some also and the slang word “Tuanis” is like the American slang of earlier years “Cool.” So my English translation of the title would be “Caribbean Cool.”
Since my last year’s book on the Caribbean was all birds and nature, I wanted to do something different this year, featuring teens jumping off a waterfall and surfers riding the waves plus Bribri Indigenous People, and of course the Rastas of all Caribbean Culture. Enjoy!
This stop reminded me of growing up in Arkansas with natural swim holes on streams with and without waterfalls and cliffs that teens love to jump off. This is the kind of swim hole rural people everywhere enjoy, including the indigenous here. We were there on the weekend so lots of local kids and whole families were there enjoying these wonderful swimming holes and of course I enjoyed getting shots of the kids jumping (3 different sequences below – watch as slideshow), most are indigenous Bribri kids, though other local Ticos come here too! The adult man ran a little snack stand at the top of the hill by the parking lot where we ate cold watermelon. A cool, old-fashion summer experience on Rio Dos Aguas near the Bribri village of Watsi. I’m the luckiest man in the world to live where I can enjoy these kinds of experiences in nature. ¡Pura Vida!
I suspect every one of the above teens felt something like this:
“I nodded, pretending to be a hundred times more courageous than I felt. But that was the thing about courage. Sometimes you had to fake it to feel it.”
― Lisa Tawn Bergren
One of the most intriguing things learned from this indigenous people was about the process of chocolate, in a similar way as with my visit to the Bribri Yorkin village 3 years ago.
In brief, the cacao seed grow as more than a dozen inside a fruit shown in the slideshow. The seeds are surrounded by a white jelly-like substance that you can suck off the seed and it is very sweet! The seeds are not! The seeds are removed from the fruit and allowed to ferment for 5 days during which time all the white substance goes away (not shown in slides). Then the dark brown seeds/beans are spread out in the sunshine to dry out for 22 days (not shown in the slides.) The seeds are then roasted (shown here in pan on wood fire). Then they are ground up into tiny pieces (shown here with old-fashion stone grinder by hand). Then they are winnowed or the shells are separated from the seed meat by tossing in the air (shown here by woman). Then without the shells they are ground some more until they turn to a creamy paste (shown here with a hand grinder though can be done with the same stone grinder).
Aaron then took half bananas sliced lengthwise and spread with the chocolate paste and we ate the little banana-chocolate sandwiches (not shown here, sorry). Then the woman had boiled some water into which she put some of the chocolate paste, a little cinnamon and some brown sugar. She stirred it well and gave us each a coconut shell cup of hot chocolate (see photo of one in my hand). It had no milk, so tasted a little different that the hot chocolate Americans are used to, but was good, if a little stronger chocolate taste than usual. The slideshow includes many of the above activities. After all this I don’t understand why chocolate is not more expensive than it is! 🙂 It is a labor intensive process! And reminds me of coffee production here.
We need to return to learning about the land by being on the land, or better, by being in the thick of it. That is the best way we can stay in touch with the fates of its creatures, its indigenous cultures, its earthbound wisdom. That is the best way we can be in touch with ourselves.
Yesterday I joined an all day tour Terraventuras Bribri Culture, where me and two ladies from Spain spent the day in an indigenous village near Puerto Viejo including first the Shaman, then medicine man (I got herbal medicine for my
diarrhea), a plant study hike in forest, chocolate harvesting and production demonstration, indigenous lunch of boiled root vegetables and chicken, and a visit to the local teen hangout waterfalls where I photographed local teens jumping off the falls into plunge pool. A cool day! I will present in installments.
First is a slide show of our visit to the Shaman, their spiritual leader and trainer of the medicine man. We got lots of knowledge about the Bribri culture and their use of the conical structure for spiritual and history training of the children and various ceremonies. Then we were “cleansed” in their cleansing ceremony where we had a leaf heated over the fire whisked over our bodies with some Bribri words uttered.
If people can’t acknowledge the wisdom of indigenous cultures, then that’s their loss.