Sunday, April 27, 2014

Creatively United

On Saturday I Forest Gumped my way, to and through, the Creatively United For the Planet, festival.

"Nance look at the sign behind you." Candy said.
 I was talking about having found a context
for my workshop Flying - a Healing Meditation in Motion
I walked downtown intending to join up with the Earth Walk Parade, starting at Centennial Square, ending up at the festival grounds at St Ann's Academy but, my sister Face Timed me. I tucked into a storefront and sat down on the window ledge to get out of the noisy traffic flow around me. Our conversation included a very quick tour of the street scene and the exterior of the wool shop where I planned to spend "a few minutes to kill" before joining the procession. We chatted freely and easily. 30 minutes later, when we said our good byes, the parade that had started without me, was winding its way into the lawns of St Ann's.

Oh well, now I'm free for some serious window shopping at THE BEEHIVE. I indulge my senses of sight and touch, fondling every bit of yarn and knitted samples I can find. The colour and texture of the gem coloured balls of yarn tempt me. I gather a few up, dig into my wallet to find I've brought just enough cash for food and some entertainment OR few balls of yarn. Well, I'd had a sampling of JUMA'S most delicious creamy hummus the night before when I visited with Aidan's parents while he was setting up his food truck. Aidan is the owner/chef of Juma. His parents Jan and Jim who supply his truck with produce and chicken are former co-op mates of mine from 30 or so years ago. So, I was really geared up to sample some more of his fare. Food won out and my stomach and taste buds prodded me to head out with empty hands. I leave the Beehive for now but -  Tomorrow is another day - and I'll be back.

My stomach's rumbling as I pass by Armeni Jewelers on Humbolt St but I'm drawn in for more sensory delights. The proprietor/designer/goldsmith pulls out and proudly displays for me, stunning, one of a kind creations that he, his wife and daughter have crafted. Such beauty and, yes, more temptation…but I only have cash (thankfully) and food's calling my name - Tomorrow is another day

I make a bee line to JUMA. The inaugural launch of the truck has been a wonderful success; they've sold out of Chicken Creole and hummus but there's Dhal. I'm not normally knocked out by dhal, I find it's usually too bland, but not Aidan's, his is delicately delicious. I can't resist the sticky rice with coconut cream and fresh organic apples, that was supposed to be dessert for Rod and end up gobbling up the whole thing, so I have to go back for another serving to take home.

Jan and Jim were my inspiration for Cosmo and Moonbeam. I don't know if they know this.
© Nance Thacker 1984

After touring tents full of displays: educating us on the impact we have on the earth - and how to minimize it; promoting social causes and offering the opportunity to sign many, many petitions; offering weekly delivery of organic produce; showing lifestyle options such as co-op living and co-housing, it's time to dance.

The thumping, driving beat world beat music selections by DJ Nils and DJ Joshua vibrates through the grounds and before I know it I'm jumping and gyrating with all the other hippie, shrubby and free-spirited folk that populate festivals such as this…potential embarrassment factor is ridiculously high so it's probably a good thing that Rod decided to stay home.

After this, I'm no near ready to go home and take in a showing of THE CLEAN BIN PROJECT  and participate in the discussion afterwards. The documentary follows a couple who challenge each other to live as garbage free as possible for a year which means: staying away from plastic wrap, extraneous packaging, and bags for meats and produce AND no shopping - no buying "stuff". The winner gets…applause.

The film and the impact of the whole conscious-earth festival has me wondering what can I do?
I already clear litter on my walks, wash and re-use plastic bags, get my coffee in re-usable containers or mugs. Then I realized that I'm carrying a "doggy bag" of food in containers that, though compostable, will get thrown out. Meals are so big nowadays that I'm ALWAYS taking home doggy bags. In fact, if there's not enough for a complete meal, I'll use the food as a base for a full meal the next night and supplement it with veggies, sauces etc. I've got perfectly great stainless steel containers, sitting at home on the shelf, that I'd bought just for this purpose. Time to start using them.

And time to start spreading the word, so here it is.

Check out the film to see the impact that our consumer culture has on our environment and discover small changes you can make that, compounded by the efforts of others, have the potential to create great change. You'll be inspired during the brainstorming discussion after the film. I've got to look into sites for disposing of soft plastic here in Victoria and though I live in an apartment, which doesn't have composting, there must be other options. Maybe vermiposting? Oooo, more pets to feed but they don't need to be walked.

I step out of the auditorium into the cool night. The festival's wound down so I pop my head in to say bye to Aidan and his crew who are amongst the last to break camp and then head down the road with my container of sticky rice dessert tucked under my arm.

I ran into 6 people that I know from different venues: art class, Spanish class, a dream student, the art centre receptionist, as well as Jan and Aidan. Ah, Victoria's starting to have that small town feel again.

Don't miss next year's 4th annual Creatively United for the Planet festival - great food, inspiration, creativity, entertainment and education all wrapped up in one location!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Livin' like a local

SUITCASE DIARIES: week 2 Costa Rica

Day 8 - Tues March 25 - I'm so proud of myself. Yesterday, inspired by Florencia's example, I arranged, with my broken Spanish, our ride to Tamarindo with Michael via a connection he has down at the beach. Much cheaper than the shuttle van service from the Villa and, by taking a short, direct route, he got us there in just over 1 hour. In Tamarindo Michael arranged a trip to the airport for Sunday with a "legit" taxi driver. He cautioned us that a "taxi" sign on a car's roof doesn't mean the driver is legit, insured or even a licensed driver. Michael took us right to the inner courtyard of Domus Kahuna. Great service!

We enjoyed a siesta in our one bedroom apartment which we've been given for the duration of our stay.  There's a bedroom with AC, a balcony with a hammock that I've claimed as "mine", and a stove top ( which I never use during our stay :-). We've been upgraded from our bachelor suite due to scheduling complications. Originally we were going to be moved on Friday to a bachelor but I think Paulo took pity on the poor suffering gringo geezers. Either that or he wanted to keep us from infecting others - though we weren't infectious, we sure sounded like it; coughing and hacking.

I lay in the hammock, severely hearing compromised, hacking my lungs out. Separated from the cocoon that Flo and Jack provided us, a deep sense of vulnerability washes through me. I've never experienced illness in another country where I don't speak the language well, hear even worse and don't know what to do. Despite the application of my many healing techniques, things are not getting anywhere near better. I have to do something… I will have to see a medico soon. 

During our dinner at an outdoor patio a fine spray wafts into the dining area. Water for the plants? Nope, don't think so but I could be wrong. I gobble down my dish - yam stuffed with fish and a cerveza and then we walk on the beach and witness the sun setting so fast that steam should be coming off the water as it sinks into the sea.

Day 9 - Wed March 26 - We went to the very thorough, medico today. Diagnosis: throat and inner ear infection. I leave loaded down with drugs that I'd normally never take. But, here I say, "Never say never. Bring on the antibiotics, antihistamine, AND throw in that expectorant too. Let's blast this baby outta here". Best news since I got here is, since my equilibrium is good, my ears and lungs are clear I can go swimming, yea!

Our daily ritual has become: afternoon siesta and the ingestion of a pineapple, mango, banana, yogurt and fruit juice smoothy to soothe my raw throat ("Our" awesome blender is a godsend!) followed with a  beach walk around 3p.m., sunset worship and dinner out. Tonight we share a tasty grilled Mahi Mahi, veg and rice dinner. On our return "home" the delicious aqua blue waters of the little pool beckon me. Swimming underwater provides the only relief for my throbbing ears. I float under a starry sky peeking through the banana trees, thankful for this bliss!

Day 10 - Thurs March 27 - A light breeze provided us with a welcome cool night after some brutally hot days so I decided to sleep outside last night in the hammock under the stars. Crazy, throbbing drum rhythms and the shouts of ramped up revellers fill the night air from 10p.m. til 3a.m. finally driving me inside.

I arise early this morning and walk the beach, deserted (no wonder, I think all of Tamarindo was at that party) except for one lone yoga practitioner. When I feel better I'll follow her example. (This doesn't happen til my last morning here.)

Spinning their boards around in the waves, riding in while holding headstand, ducking through the pipe - the kids make surfing look like a piece of cake. I'm taking notes from a rare shady spot under a tree, psyching myself up for my own foray into the mix. Paolo has a connection with a surf shop and can rent me a board for $10 for the day. I won't have to go down with my ID and can pay by cash by giving his name, yea! He says the tides and times are promising for tomorrow. I've gotta give it a goand if I really like it I'll go again on Saturday.

Tonight we eat at a food court at the base of our street. Fish burger with fries and a coke for Rod and guac with salsa and a cerveza for me - cheap and delicious. Rod's ear became plugged on our way from the beach; we are now "speaking" to each other in a form of sign language. I get a mocha to go from Diego's stall and vow to return tomorrow for french toast to change up the daily routine, though appreciated, menu of gallo con pinto, huevos revueltos y pan tostado offered at Domus.

Anyway…the adventure continues and we're starting to get into our groove here. Livin' like the locals takes a lot of effort when you're not feeling well. It's a learning curve…