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New Book Coming

Truck Rollover, Blogging, Priorities,
Getting Stronger, Greed,
British Columbia,
Yurt Book

SE Asia Miscellany,
Together Builder.
Tiny Houses.
Butterfly Poster.
Organic Sweetener.
Fleetwood Mac Blues.
Killer Bees,
Satellite Maps.
Travel Shirts,
Canon Camera,
Email Tyranny,
Hunter Thompson

Recap of Trip to SE Asia

Builders, Allen's Hillside Homestead, Good Poetry, Digital Photography, Bird and Mushroom Books

A Trip to Telluride, Colorado

Beach Caves, A Trip Up the Coast, Busted at Sea Ranch, and Patti Smith at the Fillmore

Shop Talk on Putting HOME WORK Together

Trip to Frankfort, the Cologne Cathedral, and the Adriatic Coast of Italy

Road Nomads, Barn Builders, Hot Springs and Skateboarders

Sherm and the
3-Legged Dog

New York Times Interview of Lloyd

Top o' the Bridge, Ma...

City Scooters

Skateboarding (for the older crowd)

Kayaking Into San Francisco

Destroyers Wreck Fillmore

On the Road

Grab Bag

Baja California

West Coast Publishing

Painted Streets

Chubasco en Baja

One of the Great Cities of the World (San Francisco)

Prague and Southern Bohemia

Brandy from the Summer of Love

Want to Walk Across the Bridge?

Dropping Butter on Queen Victoria’s Head

Log Cabin in the Park

Merle and the Band

Quotes of the Times

Shelter Publications’ World Headquarters

Gimme Shelter
Costa Rica, Panama, and 3-Dot Reflections

“If you're receiving this for the 1st time: it's a monthly-or-so newsletter going out to about 600 people. Sorry it's so long. "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” – Mark Twain


I just got back from 6 weeks on the road in Costa Rica and Panama. I met my Mexican friend Isidro Amora (Chilón) in Costa Rica and we spent 5 days in San José, the capital city, and then 2 weeks at the beach/jungle in the southernmost (Pacific Ocean) part of the country. Chilón then flew back to Mexico and I spent three weeks in Panama. It's the longest trip I've taken in years. I lugged along 2 cameras and my MacBook, shot some 2500 photos, and did a lot of blogging.

Our first day in Costa Rica we lucked into the 2nd annual Costa Rica Blues Festival (highlighting Guitar Shorty), then spent the next 4 days exploring San José while dodging the ever-present dangers of being attacked and robbed. Chilón is gregarious and funny, and my adventures with him were way different than if I'd been solo. Being a chilango (born in Mexico City), and having been a disc jockey, he has the gift of gab. The Costariccenses (Ticos and Ticas) loved him. Everyone was laughing, day and night.

we stayed in a friend's house in the jungle

We slept in top story, kitchen was on 1st floor.

We both shot a ton of photos in this photogenic city, and on our last night in town went to the World Cup soccer playoff game between Costa Rica and Honduras, and sat with rowdy Costariccense fans in the end zone.

The next day a short bumpy small-plane flight across the mountains to the Pacific coast where we stayed in a friend's house in the jungle; it was just back from a sandy beach with a surf break. A tropical paradise.

Here's something I wrote while there (that didn't get posted on my blog for some reason):

Dispatch From the Jungle

Lloyd's morning coffee

I get up every morning at 5:15, time to make a cup of good strong Costa Rican coffee and walk down to the beach for the sunrise. Simple things can be such a joy.

I'm on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, inside a bay facing east, so the sun rises over Panama to shine on the water. If there's no surf, I go swimming. The water is 80 degrees.

I realized this morning that night is black and white. Only with the rising of the sun comes color. As the sun came up today, the water became blue, the sky misty blue; palm tree leaves luminous green. I walked to the next beach on a jungle trail, where pelicans were dive-bombing for sardines. Surf was head-high and surfers were sliding across green walls of water. I watched a fisherman catch 3 Spanish mackerel and then bury them (temporarily) in the sand to avoid a lurking and hungry blue heron.


Above 3 pix + monkey below by Chilón

I've been shooting photos of some beautiful bamboo work in this area (which shall remain unnamed so as not to encourage ever more visitors). It feels good to be shooting pictures again. I'm not big on sitting around, I'd rather be out recording the surroundings. It gives more meaning to my travels.

Yoga retreat

Yoga retreat under construction at Encanto la Vida hotel

Howling Monkey

Howling monkeys (called mondos canos in CR) don't howl, they roar. One little monkey will make this roaring sound, as if you round your lips in an ooooh sound, then suck breath in through your throat. Guttural, low pitched, loud, reverberating through the jungle. A 26-inch monkey sounds like an 8-foot gorilla. There are animals of every kind here. Mapaches and pisotes, cousins of the raccoon, that patrol the lower-floor kitchen of this house every night. Woe to me if I leave the slightest morsel of food unlocked-up. The monkeys are a joy to watch, ballet dancers of the jungle canopy; they move in bands through the trees, masters of the ethereal tree-top world. I'm envious. I want to be doing that! Simian roots calling.

Multi-colored birds, iguanas everywhere, an anteater climbing a tree the other night, snakes (if you get bit by a coral snake, your chances of survival are 1 in 10), insects in infinite variety, fish in the sea and multi-colored birds in the air. There are 12,000 species of butterflies in CR! This morning I watched a large bright iridescent-blue butterfly float dreamily by the house; it's name: morpho. Well, of course.

Diego Mariot and Veronica Bavaro

Diego Mariot and Veronica Bavaro from Argentina on a beach in Costa Rica, with their table of macrame bracelets. They have been on the road for 3 years in their 1965(!) VW van. They loved Home Work so much (Diego holding it here), I left them one of my 2 copies.  Soulmates. More on them on my blog.

Some 3-dot Reflections From My Travels

  • Tourism is way down in Central America from last year...

  • Mainstream tourism, when it hits an area, sucks...

  • I'd swim every day if I lived in the tropics...

  • I love balmy tropical weather, but I'm happy to be living in a cooler climate; better for the brain...

  • I continue to blunder across wonderful things in various parts of the world...

  • After about a week in the jungle (no electricity) I was glad to go into town and get online...

  • Just about all the gringo builders I met in Costa Rica knew our book Shelter...

  • There's a new generation of bamboo builders these days; they've refined techniques utilized in the '70s-'80s...

  • Travelling with laptop adds a lot of weight, but gives you Photoshop, photo storage, your own email and blog setup...

  • The backpacker circuit is way different from today's typical tourism. I did it in Europe 50+ years ago and was glad to still find it workable. Closer to reality, young people from all over the world...

  • The big cities of Central America (judging by San José and Panama City) are a strange mix of delight and danger, with dangers getting worse as the poor get poorer...

  • Every single Costariccense and Panamanian we met was glad about Obama. Talking about Bush, a cabbie told us "El cajo en todo el mundo!" ("He shit all over the world!")...

  • Costa Rica is a lot cleaner than Panama, where there's a lot of garbage. A Tico cab driver said they start training kids at age 5 to not litter, and it sure shows...

  • I took a bunch of books, gave all of them away except for a beatup copy of Home Work which worked wonders with everyone I showed it to...

Bob Marley open-air bar

Bob Marley open-air bar on Isla Grande, a small island of the coast of Panama. No roads, no cars, no motorcycles…

Pics from Central America

I posted a ton of stuff from the trip on my blog:
February postings:
March postings:
You can check my blog at any time by typing in lloydkahn in your browser.

OK, screw your head back on, Lloyd, back to work.

Shelter's Coming Books

1. Stretching - 30th Anniversary Edition
Will include stretching routines for computer operators and office workers. The book has sold 3 million copies worldwide and is in 23 languages. We are printing a new version of our laminated 4-color wall poster titled 101 Stretches for promo, and we're printing 4-color bookmarks - "Stretches for Booklovers" - for bookstores counter give-away. I'm going to the Frankfurt Book Fair this October and will negotiate contracts for the new book in foreign languages.

2. Gardener's and Poultry Keepers' Illustrated Catalogue
from the William Cooper Company
Reprint of turn-of-century London catalog of greenhouses, farm buildings, bungalows, and rustic furniture. Hard (linen) cover, gold foil lettering, 2-color text, it's a gem.

3. Tiny Houses
Start simple, build small, scale back in the 21st Century. Timely, eh? We'll start on this once the above two are off to the printers. There are plenty of books on the subject, but ours will be different, Shelter-style. We have a ton of material already, with new photos showing up almost every day. Plus I am continually shooting. We got "content!"

State of the Publishing Business, Locally

We've managed to survive for over 35 years. It's only in the last 7-8 years that we've been able to operate without getting advances or loans. (There's about a 6-month time-lag between a publisher paying a printing bill and then getting paid for those books by bookstores.) If we hadn't been stung by a bankruptcy situation two years ago, we'd be OK, but as it is, we sweat out paying the printers in time. We're still scrambling for income just staying afloat. One book at a time.

In book production, I've gone from linotype (hot lead) to the IBM Composer (Whole Earth days) to the Macintosh. In book distribution, I've seen it go from a powerful independent bookstore system to the chains to Amazon. I'm not sure where it will all end up, but I'll admit I'm excited by the online world. I love doing my blog. I'm thrilled to be able to track down just about any bit of obscure information (or photo) online. We keep trying to figure out how to "...leverage our content" for more online and bookstore income.

At the same time I keep reminding myself to balance keyboard time with physical activity. Like hiking to a beach to shoot photos a few days after I got back:
Driftwood dragon

Driftwood dragon at Northern California beach by Bob Demmerle, Kim Caroselli, and friends

Partial Explanation of Why the Digital World is Confusing to Us Old Folks

We had no idea. We thought communication would forever be telephones and typed letters. We used maps to find city streets. I couldn't believe the fax machine; how does print come through a telephone line? Now the world has turned upside down. We struggle (someone said to me recently that younger people have computers in their DNA.) But boy, what a payoff! Rick showed me how he can point his iphone at a song playing on the radio and a photo of the album and name of song will appear on-screen AND you can order it (Shazam software.)

"I have seen the future and it is the iPhone." -Dan K. Holly

Poppies in the Valley

I went to my first yoga class in over 2 months yesterday and lord, am I stiff after 6 weeks on the road. The valley was beautiful in the early morning light. The wind had stopped and the hills were an almost emerald green, with the orange miracles called poppies everywhere. In the afternoon I went up on Mt. Tamalpais and jumped in the creek under a waterfall. Cold! Tuning back into my own climate after so much time in the tropics.

Mural on the wall of the Cajun Pacific Cafe

Mural on the wall of the Cajun Pacific Cafe in San Francisco on a bright sunny morning last week

Writing Tight

I've been reading Dashiel Hammet again, find his pared-to-bone writing inspiring. Opening lines of Red Harvest: ''I first heard Personville called Poisonville by a red-haired mucker named Hickey Dewey in the Big Ship in Butte. He also called his shirt a shoit.''

Jeez and here I've written this overblown email. I should practise what I praise.

No Pain, No Gain

There are a lot of good things about the "economic downturn." Consumerism can't expand infinitely. Duh!

Sambadá's Latest Music Video

Closing Note, Dept. of Nepotism: Our son Will is a member of Sambadá, a Brazilian band from Santa Cruz (Calif.), and they are hot (playing in NYC as I write this). Click here for their new youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T69IgeiF_nc


Costariccenses, when bidding goodbye, say pura vida. Pure life. Isn't that wonderful?

Pura vida, amigos,