Christmas on the Amazon

Amazon Sunset – Russell Johnson

Talk about a holiday escape.

A few years ago I flew from the real Bethlehem, in the Middle East, to Brazil’s  Bethlehem, to a town called Belem at the mouth of the Amazon. On Christmas Eve, after checking out the anaconda skins and voodoo curses at the local market, I began a jungly yuletide cruise. Take a look at the video and some pictures.


The Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica – Video

I took a hike through Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud forest with Danilo Wallace, a park ranger born and raised in what is now one of the world’s foremost rainforest preserves. He said that when he was a child he shot Toucans with a slingshot, cut off their bills and made necklaces. For his parents, the forest was a servant, from which they extracted building materials and food. That has changed.


Cancun, Mexico or Deja Bu All Over Again

 Ok, excuse the French/Yogi Berra pun but it’s the tequila talking. I have drunk here before, even though I physically haven’t.

I am in a restaurant/entertainment venue called Carlos n’ Charlie’s in Cancun, Mexico. If you have been to one of Mexico’s tourist enclaves, or Los Angeles, or New York, or any larger US city in the 70s and 80s, you have probably been here too, in spirit(s). Years ago there were lots of like establishments around. Thrift shop junk like old telephones, saxophones and posters adorning the walls, a stratum of peanut shells covering the floor like the skulls of dinosaur-chomped voles, and teeshirts for sale celebrated super or perhaps sub-human feats, usually associated with the consumption of alcohol. And while most of these places have faded in the US, they still live in party lovin’ Cancun.


Salvador do Bahia, BRAZIL: Voodoo to You

Washerwomen – Salvador do Bahia, Brazil

Fog-faced, pale-faced San Franciscan, you shouldn’t have done it. Half an hour in the Bahanian sun and skin reaches flash point. With the raw pain of linen scraping parched flesh, I bumpity-bump down steep cobblestone streets in the back seat of a VW taxi, knees nearly touching my nose. Brazilian pop music, gargles through a torn speaker behind my left ear.