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Jun 9, 2004

Yesterday I was walking along Copacabana and a well-dressed guy approached me and started asking me where I was from. It was a pleasant surprise to be able to speak to someone in English as I’m nowhere near able to hold any type of conversation in Portuguese beyond ‘hello’.

His name is Marcio and he told me that he works for a real estate broker. His job is to meet foreigners at the beach and try to bring them into his boss’s office to sell them apartments! Ha! You really can buy anything on the beach over here, even a house!

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Jun 8, 2004

This place is really quite different to anywhere I’ve been before!

The beaches are a hub of activity, even on a Monday in Winter when most people are at work!

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Jun 7, 2004

Rio de Janeiro! Sounds so exotic!

The taxi ride from the airport brought some balance to my expectations, though.

The international airport, Gallaeo (pronounced Gal-ay-on) is pretty small and low-tech. However, I got through customs fairly quickly and there were plenty of cabs outside.

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Jun 5, 2004

The decision has been made: it’s going to be Rio de Janeiro.

Things are moving at lightning speed.  Maggie was able to arrange quite a few things: tickets, etc.  She is also going to help me dispose of most of the stuff in my apartment.  I told her if she helps arrange that, she can keep just about anything she wants.  She can keep things for herself, or sell things and keep the money.  She’ll also help coordinate the process involved in giving up my apartment.

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241

Jun 3, 2004

I’m now back at my apartment at Le Triomphe, but it’s going to be a very short stay.

Deciding where I want to go next after leaving New York is high on my list of priorities.  I’ll need some help giving up my apartment and disposing of some of the things I had bought to furnish it.  But getting things lined up for what is going to be the next phase of my life is most important.

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Jun 2, 2004

I had the most extraordinary experience on my return to the US this morning.

I’ve entered the US several times and, although it is sometimes a hassle with long lines and unnecessarily rude and overzealous immigration agents, you just learn to grin and bear it and know that it will be over soon and you’ll be out the front door of the terminal.

This time, I thought things were going as usual until I was escorted to a room for questioning.  This was disturbing, but I kept my cool.  What made it so extraordinary was that I ended up being locked in that blasted room for over four hours!  Four hours!

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Jun 1, 2004

How could I visit Panama without seeing the canal?  I took care of that this morning.

Juan, the driver who took me yesterday to see the Amador Causeway and Panama Viejo, had told me he’d be happy to show me the canal.  So, after breakfast, he picked me up at the hotel and we went to the Miraflores Locks, part of the Panama Canal.

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May 31, 2004

I’m now in Panama: my final country in Central America.  After this I’ll be heading back to New York.

I left Manuel Antonio on Sunday, yesterday, and took a taxi to the airport in Quepos.  From there I flew on the little prop plane to San Jose and returned to the hotel where I had stored my belongings.  I spent just one night there, and then flew from San Jose to Panama City this morning.

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237

May 29, 2004

I’m still in Manuel Antonio, on the west coast of Costa Rica, enjoying the outdoor activities as well as vegging out.

Yesterday I went white water rafting on the Savegre River.  We were picked up at our hotels and taken in a minivan to the river.  The trip took a little over an hour, and we passed through palm plantations and forests.

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May 27, 2004

Manuel Antonio is more or less a paradise for people who like outdoor activities.  There’s so much to see and do here: hiking, fishing, surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving, white water rafting, ziplining, and the list goes on and on.

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