jmcptimps - Main Menu for pre-2010 Travels Website - quick lynx for Anecdotes Page - bottom of page lynx

Collages prepared by Jim McPherson for the 1000-Daze mini-trilogy

"Janna Fangfingers", the final mini-novel extracted from "The 1000 Days of Disbelief", and "Goddess Gambit", the concluding novel in the "The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories" trilogy, are now available for ordering online and direct from the publisher

E-versions of "Feeling Theocidal", Book One in "The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories" trilogy, and all three mini-novels making up "The 1000 Days of Disbelief" are currently available on the Kindle platform exclusively through amazon.com and many of its overseas affiliates; hit on the straight-to-amazon ordering lynx and load up your copies today

And while you're at it, spend some time checking out www.phantacea.com for the latest news, book excerpts and web-features regarding all of Jim McPherson's PHANTACEA Mythos publications

Collages prepared as potential cover for PHANTACEA mini-novels by Jim McPherson, 2010
Top of Page - Upwards - Downwards - Bottom of Page Ordering Lynx

Two gifs, one an elephant with a painted third eye, the other the wooden diver, photos by Jim McPherson

Jim McPherson's pre-2010 Travels Site

Top of Page

Anecdotes, Amusements and Cautionary Tales

  • Introduction
  • Jim McPherson's post-2010 Travels Site
  • The Wonderful Weather Wizard of Oz -- That'd be me, Australia 2011
  • The Crumblies Quest -- Olmec and Mayan, Mexico 2010
  • Panamanian Bucketheads and related oddities -- El Explorador Garden, overlooking Boquete, Panama, 2009
  • Domingo Demencia -- Sunday Insanity on Santa Clara's Playa Blanca, Panama 2009
  • Sloshing around with sloths proves far preferable to sloshing around in slush -- Costa Rica & Panama, 2009
  • In Brazil, the Splendour's Mostly Outdoors -- unsolicited observations and photos taken in Brazil, 2006/7
  • The No-Cane Trip (Too Bad It Wasn't A No-Rain Trip) -- Brazil, 2006
  • The Necessity of Knees 2005 -- Tales and Scans from India, 2005
  • In India, the Splendour's Mostly Indoors -- unsolicited observations and photos taken in India, 2005
  • The Necessity of Knees 2003 -- London, Istanbul -- scanning of a picture postcard bought in British Museum
  • El Retorno del Maximon, Part 1 -- photos taken in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, 2003
  • Godly Caterwauling and other Rude Awakenings -- photographs from Egypt 2000
  • Beware of Aussie's Being Breezy and other Donkey Dispatches -- photographs from Egypt 2000
  • Tholos Tombs (Beehive Ghost Houses) -- photos from England, the Yucatan, the Vatican and Malta, 1997
  • The Ephesian Heads Stone -- a variety of Head Museum worthies scanned in from a single photograph taken in Turkey, 1996
  • The Phantom Train and other not quite Turkish Delights -- photos from Turkey, 1996
© copyright 1996 - 2012 Jim McPherson

Jim McPherson's

Two Bonehead on Vacation shots - mask bought in Ziahuatenjo Mexico in the late 80s or early 90sA pair of collages prepared by Jim McPhersonTravel Website(s)

Being unscheduled yet ongoing Web Feature(s) written, photographed, scanned in and/or otherwise prepared by Jim McPherson, also known as James H McPherson, Publisher.

Both'd be me.

| Introductory Cliffheads | Sloshing around with sloths proves far preferable to sloshing around in slush -- Costa Rica & Panama, 2009 | The No-Cane Trip (Too Bad It Wasn't A No-Rain Trip) -- Brazil, 2006 | The Necessity of Knees 2005 -- Tales and Scans from India, 2005| The Necessity of Knees, 2003 -- London, Istanbul -- scanning of a picture postcard bought in British Museum |


Some Cliff Heads taken by Jim McPherson during his travels in his pants over the years

Once in a while I manage to escape my sometimes rat-infested home near Vancouver's waterfront and fly away elsewhere. Dependent on finances and day-to-day commitments I try to take a couple of one or two week packaged tours a year, whereupon I then go off on my own for the balance of the trip. I don't go looking for adventure, a book and a beach is the best way to end a vacation as far as I'm concerned, but I do go looking for interesting pictures.

Often the pictures I take present peculiar perspectives that I feel should be more widely disseminated. Examples are the five cliff heads represented above. At one point in time I intended to use them, and others like them, in a for-the-future PHANTACEA-pHAQpage. Well, there is no formal PHANTACEA-pHAQ page as yet (though a start can be found here and here) but I still think they look neat so here they'll remain.

The best way to disseminate photographs these days is via the Internet. Since, until I began www.phantacea.com in the Summer of 2008, my only presence on the Worldwide Web is pH-Webworld, aka PHANTACEA on the Web (nowadays found at www.phantacea.info), and since I like to write, I generally try to nest the pictures in a photo essay that has something to do with what I've come to call the PHANTACEA Mythos.

There are times I can't find a suitable hook so what I do instead is write an extended travelogue. Hence TIMPs (short for 'Travels in my Pants'), a number of which I prepared for pH-Webworld and have now transferred to this website (for pre-2010 travelogues) and its baby sister (for post-2010 dot-dittoes).

This page is intended to be used when I have shorter pieces, ones without a unifying theme, that don't fit in anywhere else. Lynx to other other websites featuring my photos, collages and occasional, almost always unsolicited, observations are here and here.

[NOTE 1: re the 'Bonehead on Vacation' rollover: No, it's not a cliff head. It's a mask I bought in Mexico (Zihuatanejo, to be precise) in the mid-80s. I've used it before, minus the sun hat, to represent Mars Bellona, the Apocalyptic of War, as per here.]
[NOTE 2: re the Siamese Pumpkin and Panama Past rollover, they're here mostly because I like them. More on the former's here whereas the main entry on the latter's here. Double-click smaller image in both places for an enlargement in a separate window.]
[NOTE 3: re the logo rollover: the elephant with the painted third eye shows up primarily here; the original entry re the wooden diver is here.]
[NOTE 4: Additional galleries featuring Jim McPherson's photos, minus the travelogues, are here, here and here.]
Top of Page - Photo Essays on this Page - Bottom of Page Lynx

Costa Rica & Panama, 2009

| Introduction to Sloth '09 | A partial list of lynx to additional timps on this website | A partial list of PHANTACEA Mythos Print Publications | Start of the Sloth '09 Dispatch from a Distance | Having a Slothful Day | Graphics for Costa Rica & Panama '09 | Top of Page |


Wooden diver, spotted and shot on Manuel Antonio's public beach, photo by Jim McPherson 2009Of Sloshing, Slush and Sloths

A cutish sloth, scanned in from a postcard bought in Costa Rica, 2009 Onetime Donkey Jim, he of the chronically rebellious knees and ancillary, anarchistic ankles, determines he must be cured of said infirmities.

He arrives at this optimistic, not to mention wholly unlikely diagnosis in January 2009, the day after surviving a 4-hour, not-just-legs-jolting, white water rafting roar down the Chiriqui Viejo River on the Panamanian border with Costa Rica.

That, on the following, slightly amended e-mail’s duly recorded date, he can barely move suggests he may have jolted his howsoever-wooden head as much or more so than his licentious legs, let alone his brainless butt.

| Start of Costa Rica & Panama '09 Section | Top of Sloth Section | Photo Essays on this Page | Bottom of Page Lynx | Top of Page | Onwards |

Online TIMPS


A red serpent alive but bottled in Boquete and a collage entitled Fractured Floats of Panama, photos and prep by Jim McPherson 2009

Photographs taken by Jim McPherson on his travels, as well as collages usually composed at least in part with these photos, can also be found on websites devoted to Phantacea Publications and Jim McPherson's PHANTACEA Mythos

Click here for lynx to their welcoming pages


 

Sent: January 29, 2009 8:59:36 AM


Greetings, all

I've been gone in excess of two and a half weeks now. Shot taken during a very early morning rainstorm at the Mono Azul, Costa Rica, by Jim McPherson, 2009Can't say the prospect of returning home in barely 2 more weeks appeals, sorry to say. (Yikes! Can it be only that far away? 'Fraid so.)

It's been pelting rain most nights, and occasionally during the day as well. At times pelting is a complete understatement. Terms like tropical rainstorm are hard to resist, yet they're just as inadequate.

Thoughts of deluges of Biblical or 4-Ever & 40 proportions spring to mind -- springs racing downhill to become cascading waterfalls, more like.

That said, I'm constantly reminding myself what it was like when I left Vancouver. Let me assure you that sloshing around here beats slushing around there any day of the wintry week. Of course not much beats spotting sloths in the wild.

(Here by the way is Boquete, Panama. Its near-daily drizzle even has a name: 'bajareque'. Don't ask me what it means, though 'baja' does mean 'low', but it certainly does produce some fabulously photogenic rainbows.)

A somewhat distorted view of a rainbow spotted and shot in Boquete, Panama, by Jim McPherson 2009

| Top of Sloth Section | Top of Page | Onwards |

I’m having a slothful day, as opposed to a sloth-filled day. I can, however, now say that I’ve seen sloths in wild: Five of them if you count one baby tenaciously clinging to mommy as she advances up a tree trés slowly, even dare I say it slothfully. (Guess I just did.)Sloth clinging from tree in  mangrove swamp north of Quepos, Costa Rica, photograph by Jim McPherson, 2009

Two were within Manuel Antonio Park in CR, on the Pacific side (where I also shot these monkeys). I spotted #3 while kayaking through a mangrove swamp south of Quepos,A pair of monkeys, part of a large group of same, cavourting just outside of Manuel Antonio Park in Costa Rica, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009 which is on the other side of the oversized (oversexed?) hill from Man-Ant.

I shot #s 4 & 5, with my digital camera, in Manzanillo, CR, not far from Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side (maybe 20 clicks by rickety old bus on a rocky, deeply pot-holey, old road). They'd be the previously enumerated mama-cub combo.

I’ve an affinity for sloths. They move languidly, sparing much effort, like me. They’re good swimmers, which I was once. They’re also cute. Unlike me, however, they don’t dump where they live (up trees in their case). Mother and baby sloth, shot in Manzanillo, Costa Rica, by Jim McPherson, 2009

Apparently they climb down and use the forest floor when necessary, which is only every three days according to Rasta Ricky, a guide I had in Manzanillo.

Evidently they also sleep for up to 18 hrs a day, which I’ve been known to do, albeit only on occasion.

I’ve had long walks, up and down hills, though I have to admit I ended up flagging a cab to help me surmount a comparatively short distance on the massive one between Quepos and Manuel Antonio.The Avion Bar and Grill  at the top of the hill between Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009

(Cost me $6.00 USD as well, but on that kind of hill, on these unkind, as in pre-cured, knees, hey, it was well worth it.)

I went sea kayaking a couple of days, spent hours snorkeling a couple of other times (including once at an amazing coral reef, in the Bocas del Toro archipelago, that rivalled the outer cays of Belize) and yesterday went white water rafting on the Chiriqui Viejo river.A recently built hotel as it looks after the November 2008 flood in Boquette, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009

It's got 73 separate rapids, 4 or 5 Class 3 rapids and a ditto for the Class 4s. Believe you me, that’s an unpadded bundle of bumping about -- hence the slothful day. I reckon my knees must be cured because I’m walking around today, albeit very stiffly, as in slothfully.

Easily (albeit hardly, as in bloodily wicked hard) the worst thing about the rafting trip was the hike down to the river itself. To call the trail a path is to do a disservice to the word path (or the word trail for that matter). Remnants of a roadway as it looks after the November 2008 flood in Boquette, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009

It was steep and slippery, with no stairs or ropes and only your paddle to steady you. That I fell on my rear end and skidded some distance thereafter, scraping bloody the back of my left leg, almost put me off rafting.

If I wasn’t a quarter of the way down it by then, I might have climbed back up and demanded my money returned. A pair of geckos chirping at each other as they warm up near a light fixture, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009Definitely wouldn’t be legal in Canada due to unsafe river access. Would further say that any self-respecting sloth would have avoided it, except for purpose of bowel evacuation.

I am about to go partway up one of the mountains that Boquete gaps – GAP being the name of the tour group I’m with as well as what ‘boquete’ means in Spanish.

Funnily enough I plan on taking a cab. I may walk back. Then again I may not. No point tempting fate, not after such a remarkable survival, is there?

Did you know that geckos chirp?


| Top of Sloth Section | Top of Page | Onwards |

PHANTACEA Mythos print publications that are still available for ordering from the publisher

Cover for Goddess Gambit, original artwork by Verne Andru, 2011

Final book in 'The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories' trilogy, published in 2012

Suggested Price $25.00 CDN

Cover for Janna Fangfingers, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2011

'The 1000 Days of Disbelief' concludes, published in 2011; e-version published in 2011

Suggested Price $12.00 CDN

Cover for The Death's Head Hellion, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2010

'The 1000 Days of Disbelief' commences, published in 2010; e-version published in 2011

Suggested Price $10.00 CDN

Cover for Contagion Collectors, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2010

'The 1000 Days of Disbelief' continues, published in 2010; e-version published in 2011

Suggested Price $10.00 CDN

Front Cover for The War of the Apocalyptics, artwork by Ian Bateson, 2009

The first book in the 'Launch 1980' story sequence, published in 2009

Suggested Price $23.00 CDN

Front Cover for Feeling Theocidal, artwork by Verne Andru 2008

Book One in 'The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories' trilogy, published in 2008; e-version published in 2011

Suggested Price $23.00 CDN

Front Cover for Forever and 40 Days, artwork by Ian Fry and Ian Bateson, circa 1989

The thus far only PHANTACEA Mythos graphic novel, published in 1990

Price $10.00 CDN

Front Cover for Phase One 1, artwork by Ian Bateson, 1985

The last (to date) PHANTACEA Mythos comic book, published in 1986

Price $5.00 CDN

Prices quoted do not include shipping or handling


Certified cheques or money orders only please


Information on PHANTACEA comic books still available on a while-supplies-last basis is here


Order by email

Graphics for Costa Rica & Panama '09

Double click on thumbnail for pop-up window of the full-size image

"A cutish sloth, scanned in from a postcard bought in Costa Rica, 2009"

The wooden diver is a carving I spotted just off the public beach outside Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica. I decided that since I'm a diver, albeit more of a skin diver these days than a scuba diver, and since one of my favourite expressions is 'knock wooden head', that I'd henceforth use it as my icon, hence Diver Jim.

That I don't put actual shots of myself online is partly out of shyness but mostly due to the fact that I prefer to avoid folks taking photos of me. I ascribe that to an irrational fear of someone stealing my soul, or somehow capturing my psychic aura, or, OMG. whatever. (Please consider the preceding as close as I will ever come to doing a personal blog entry.)

The mouse-over reads: "Wooden diver, spotted and shot on Manuel Antonio's public beach, photo by Jim McPherson 2009".

return to image; onwards
"A cutish sloth, scanned in from a postcard bought in Costa Rica, 2009"

The two shots of sloths that I took, the ones wherein you can actually make out they're of sloths (here and here) and not just dark clumps near the top of trees, were taken from too far away to capture how cute the blighters are in person, anthropomorphically speaking. So I scanned proof of said cuteness from a postcard I bought while in Costa Rica.

The mouse-over reads: "A cutish sloth, scanned in from a postcard bought in Costa Rica, 2009".

return to image; onwards.
The Avion Bar and Grill  at the top of the hill between Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009

One of the oddities of the hill or mount or mini-mountain between Manuel Antonio, the National Park, public beach and little commercial village on one side and Quepos (which was created by a multinational fruit growing and exporting concern, one that shall remain nameless, to be the terminus for a no longer existent railway) on the other side, is the dozen or more hotels, casinos and suchlike, built on either side of the main road.

Although the national park is brilliant -- containing among many other highlights the best swimming beaches I've come across in Costa Rica -- with an entrance fee of $10 USD it's also expensive. As for the public beach, it's much too rough for pleasant swimming and reportedly not rough enough for any decent surfing. The Sirena Nightclub on Man-Anthill, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009

The commercial village is no more special than Quepos, yet the whole area betwixt and between is packed with places to eat, sleep, gamble and, um, buy or sell human exotica. (Which may or may not include human erotica but, to judge by the poster outside Man-Anthill's Sirena nightclub, probably does.)

This aircraft, a bomber I believe, has as its last resting place a restaurant with a spectacular view near the summit. There's also a railway car, minus any visible tracks, just down the Anthill somewhat.

It's not an easy hike by the way. And, as I learned to my expense, the buses that go by won't stop on the upgrade.The taxis and collectivos will, however. But they'll also charge you the full fare of $6.00 USD for the entire route just to get to the hill's top.

The mouse-over reads: "The Avian Bar and Grill at the top of the hill between Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009".

return to image

The mouse-over behind the other image in this row reads: "The Sirena Nightclub on Man-Anthill, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009". The reference is to the above, um, 'suchlike' statement. Double click it for a close-up of one the posters on the wall outside it.

onwards
A still alive serpent of some sort contained in a plastic pop bottle, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009

Once, when I was in Belize, I was walking to the main roadway from a farm complex whose bunkhouses had in part been converted by some ex-pats into an extra-revenue-generating, bed-and-breakfast place. It was well after dark, meaning it was probably around 7 pm, and we were on our way to dinner in town.

I didn't have a flashlight on but the person behind me did. Suddenly she shouts, with or without the nowadays seemingly obligatory OMG or variants: 'What's that?'. What that was, in the view of someone who'd been in the area more than a few times before, what I had just unseeingly but ever-so-luckily stepped over top of, was a fer-de-lance.

Although only a baby, it was coiled and reared up like a cobra or some such -- except fer-de-lances are, if possible, reputedly even more venomous than cobras.

I don't know what variety of snake or viper the fellow in the plastic bottle pictured next cell over was; I don't even know if he, or she, was venomous. All the kid who was holding said bottle containing said howsoever-poisonous, but undeniably pretty-looking beastie could say when asked was 'serpente'. Unlike someone I was travelling with at the time, I did not express any regret that it was bottled.

Taken in the extremely quirky garden called El Explorador, up a mountainside, or a really, really steep hillside, bordering Boquete, Panama (above the flood zone discussed here), the mouse-over reads: "A still alive serpent of some sort contained in a plastic pop bottle, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009".

Return to sidebar rollover; onwards
Sloth clinging from tree in  mangrove swamp north of Quepos, Costa Rica, photograph by Jim McPherson, 2009

The mouse-over for the first sloth I shot on this page is: "Sloth clinging from tree in mangrove swamp north of Quepos, Costa Rica, photograph by Jim McPherson, 2009".

The mouse-over for the second sloth I shot on this page is: "Mother and baby sloths, shot in Manzanillo, Costa Rica, by Jim McPherson, 2009".

(NOTE: There actually are two sloths in this shot, a mom and a clinging cub. The lack of a decent zoom lens on my weatherproof digital explains why the baby's virtually impossible to detect.)

return to kayak sloth; return to Manzanillo sloths; onwards
Mother and baby sloth, shot in Manzanillo, Costa Rica, by Jim McPherson, 2009
"A pair of monkeys, part of a large group of same, cavorting just outside of Manuel Antonio Park in Costa Rica, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009"

With the exception of the aforementioned venomous vipers and their icky ilk, seeing critters in the wild is one of the treats of travelling to such places as Costa Rica and Panama.

Sloths are great, monkeys not so much so, if only because they're so relatively commonplace; and geckos ever less so, again because they're nearly ubiquitous. (I've even seen them coming out of working air conditioners.)

They do chirp at each other as well, though natters or squall might be better words for purposes onomatopoetic. I suspect it's a territorial thing. Again though I have no way of knowing if that's it or it's something else, a mating ritual perhaps. My gecko is even worse than my Spanish.

The mouse-over for the monkeys reads: "A pair of monkeys, part of a large group of same, cavorting just outside of Manuel Antonio Park in Costa Rica, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009".

The mouse-over for the geckos reads: "A pair of geckos chirping at each other as they warm up near a light fixture, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009". I took it at Veraneras Restaurant, Bar and Cabanas in Playa Blanca (White Beach), Santa Clara, Panama, which becomes a disturbingly mindless, but thankfully eminently avoidable, place come Sundays.

return to the monkeys image and text; return to the geckos image and text; onwards
A pair of geckos chirping at each other as they warm up near a light fixture, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009
Shot taken during a very early morning rainstorm at the Mono Azul, Costa Rica, by Jim McPherson, 2009

I did endure some truly epical rainfall during the first couple of weeks of this wintry escape. It didn't always rain at night either.

One morning while I was still in on the hill (mount?, mini-mountain?) between Manuel Antonio and Quepos on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, it was raining so hard I cancelled my scheduled sea kayaking excursion in the National Park -- as if I wasn't going to get wet anyway!

By 10 a.m. it was still raining, so I didn't feel too bad about my 6 a.m. decision. I did learn my lesson, however. Despite the fact it was raining even harder in Bocas del Toro, Panama, most of a couple of weeks later, I decided to go snorkeling anyhow.

I was very glad I did so too -- because it had cleared up by 9 a.m. And, as noted above, I thereafter experienced perhaps the best snorkeling I had since my first time in the outer cays of Belize, way back in 1996.

The mouse-over on the left reads: "Shot taken during a very early morning rainstorm at the Mono Azul, Costa Rica, by Jim McPherson, 2009".

The mouse-over on the right reads: "A somewhat distorted view of a rainbow spotted and shot in Boquete, Panama, by Jim McPherson 2009";

return to Mono Azul Rainstorm or Boquete Rainbow; onwards
A somewhat distorted view of a rainbow spotted and shot in Boquete, Panama, by Jim McPherson 2009
A recently built hotel as it looks after the November 2008 flood in Boquette, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009

Boquete, Panama, where I wrote the Slothful Day email, suffered a devastating flood some months before I arrived. I was told a couple of people died in it and that, immediately subsequently, the township spent a great deal of money in an effort to re-route the river that flooded.

While it wasn't the Chiriqui Viejo, which I rafted down the day before I wrote this email, it's awfully clear what kind of damage floods can do in not just these parts.

The brand new hotel on the left was only a couple of months away from opening whereas the road on the right had been there for years and years according to a fellow I spoke to later on this day.

The mouse-over on the left reads: "A recently built hotel as it looks after the November 2008 flood in Boquete, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009".

The mouse-over on the right reads: "Remnants of a roadway as it looks after the November 2008 flood in Boquete, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009".

return to Flood Shot 1 or Flood Shot 2; onwards
Remnants of a roadway as it looks after the November 2008 flood in Boquette, photo by Jim McPherson, 2009
A collage entitled "Fractured Floats from Panamanian Carnivals Past", photos and production by Jim McPherson, 2009

As noted in the timps lynx cell, I enjoy taking my photos, and once in a while not just my photos either, and combining them into collages such as the example to the left.

True, it's usually in order to illustrate characters or concepts contained within what I've come to call the PHANTACEA Mythos.

True also, even though I do feature devil dogs, a couple of Santa Claus types and a certain sometimes sun-headed fellow by the name of Helios in my stories, be they in comic book form or prose, I do not have any 3-headed demons or evidently deceased penguins that I can recall.

Still, seeing these discarded figures, most of which presumably once graced carnival floats in Panama City, I couldn't resist the temptation to put them together as never before.

For the record, the mouse-over behind the collage to the left reads: "A collage entitled 'Fractured Floats from Panamanian Carnivals Past', photos and production by Jim McPherson, 2009".

The mouse-over behind the cut-out of the 3-headed demon to the right reads: "Remnants of 2-headed demon and a demon mask as cut off a dummy spotted in Panama El Viejo, photo and production by Jim McPherson, 2009". Which said, technically, is sooth said.

NOTE: Strictly speaking, to the best of my knowledge at any rate, the full, really only 2-headed dummy that I decapitated with the hatchet-job assistance of PHOTOSHOP has never graced a carnival float in Panama City or anywhere else.

return to sidebar rollover.
Remnants of 2-headed demon and a demon mask as cut off a dummy spotted in Panama El Viejo, photo and production by Jim McPherson, 2009
| Start of Costa Rica & Panama '09 Section | Top of Sloth Section | Top of Page | Photo Essays on this Page | Bottom of Page Lynx | Onwards |

Fly Brazil, 2006

(Finally, a no-cane trip -- though it was hardly a no-rain trip)

| Pelting Rain Email | Amazon River as a Swimming Hole | Shot of Rio Negro | Offending Giant Jesus Email | Shot of Rio's Giant Jesus | Note on 'Flapping' Christ Reference | Pretty Pictures All in a Row | All's among those in this Row |

Dispatches from a Distance 1

(An email sent on the 20th of October 2006)

"Well, I made it to Rio in proper 24 hrs. Had an unscheduled 5-hr layover in Austin due to thunderstorms in Houston but knees are responding to treatments so no cane. (Brought one with me, though. Just in case.)

"Pelting rain yesterday; bit better today, only overcast and muggy. No bikinis yet. Will do a mass email once I get seriously on road. Jim"

... Continue ...

"Does this place we're going to have a swimming pool?"

"Yeah, it's called the Amazon River."

So someone asked, and so someone else answered, during our 'don't walk, do fly' tour of Brazilian highlights in the Autumn of 2006 (for most of us).

This sooth-said-best quip-exchange came courtesy of an Aussie (for whom it was therefore the Spring of 2006) and a Scouser.

Have to say they both heeded our tour leader's admonition not to swim in the bugs, bone crackers and generally beasties-infested Amazon. Me being me, something of an aqua-addict (as opposed to an aqueduct or aquatic duck), I didn't.

Have to also say that I've survived to tell the tale. That is further to say I have thus far.

The Rio Negro

Shot of the Rio Negro, part of the Amazon River system in Brazil, photo by Jim McPherson, 2006

Nope, it didn't rain here, at a jungle lodge beside a tributary of the Amazon River -- the largest, in terms of volume, river in the world

 

... Continue ...

NOTE 1: Apparently, scouser is a non-pejorative term for Liverpudlian. Evidently it derives from some sort of lamb stew popular in the vicinity of Merseyside. Can't recall any Beatles' tune that referred to scousers though, so maybe it is pejorative after all.

NOTE 2: The 'do-fly' bit comes despite an air traffic controllers' work-to-rule labour strategy that meant we probably spent almost as much (if not more) time waiting in airports prior to boarding than we did in the air itself.

NOTE 3: Truth told we did walk, if not precisely hike, a lot; the reference is to the by-then-ground-level highlights that we first off flew to in order to see.

Top of Article ... Continue Article ... Top of Page

Warning: The Following May Contain Material Considered Sacrilegious by Some

Dispatches from a Distance 2

(An email sent on the 3rd of November 2006)

"Yo, all.

"A successful conclusion to the No Cane Tour has been reached. In addition to no cane the tour featured no rain, except for a couple of brief cloudbursts. I spotted a bunch of orange fungi in four different stops (Iguassu Falls, the Pantanal, the Amazon and even in Salvador City bush beside walkway). Consequently for purposes of memoirs I decided to rename tour the Orange Fungi Tour.

"After all, No Cane Tour sounds like every other tour has been a cane tour, as in non-sugarcane cane. Which the last three have been; at least in part, as I recall. (INSERTION: Kindly click to Knees 2003 &/or Knees 2005 for 2/3rd's confirmation of said statement.)

"So, there was no rain in the vicinity of Iguassu (also spelled Iguazu) Falls, no rain in Pantanal Wetlands and no rain the Amazon Rain Forest . Have to admit it didn't pour during the day(s) when we were in Salvador but come night -- hey, welcome back to the coast, eh.

Shot of Rio's famous Giant Jesus, photo by Jim McPherson, 2006"You may recall first missive. Pelting rain in Rio first two days here. So I went up to see Jesus ´Flapping´ Christ on Corcovado Mountain in midst (and mist) of Rio yesterday. All 38 feet of him!

"Went just to say hello and, you know, see if there was anything I could do for him. He must have resented my presumption b/c the skies promptly opened and it was pelting rain time again.

"Fortunately I had my raincoat in backpack. Hundreds of women on mountaintop weren't so pre-thoughtful: Many had bikini tops on underneath their t-shirts. Thus I caught my first real glance of the famous Rio bikini.

"I was going to go to beach today for bikini research but it’s still raining. Will see ... the travel agent tomorrow before going to Paraty and snorkeling. Since I’ll be under water much of remaining two weeks maybe I don’t care if it rains whole time.

"Then again maybe I do. Jim"

NOTE 1: Although I'd read the Corcovado Giant Jesus was called 'Cristo Redentor' ("Christ the Redeemer"'), when I went up there I asked no one in particular, in English, what the locals called. No one in particular answered, also in English, "Why, Jesus 'Flapping' Christ of course." Come to think of it, maybe no one in particular was the blasphemous fellow, not me.

NOTE 2: Mind you (mind me?), I have to admit I used both this shot of 'Flapping' and the one of the Icarus-like figure found below in the Image Map I prepared for the Winter 2006/7 edition of pHpubs. Details on it and its be-worded lookalike lower down the same web page can be found here and here, respectively.

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A Row of Pretty Pictures taken by Jim McPherson while in Brazil, mid-October to late-November 2006

Iguassu Falls

Iguazu falls, photo by Jim McPherson, 2006

Nope, it didn't rain here either -- the largest, also in terms of sheer volume, series of waterfalls in the world

 

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Mt Corcovado

Mist more so than rain clouds this photo of Mt Corcovado from Sugar Loaf, taken by Jim McPherson in Rio, 2006

It certainly rained in Rio, as this shot of Mt Corcovado, as taken from Pao du Acucar (Sugar Loaf) amply, better make that damply, demonstrates

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Ilha Grande

An overhead aqueduct hidden in the jungle foliage of Ilha Grande

Like Salvador, also on the coast, it didn't rain all the time I was on car-free (though not vehicle-free) Ilha Grande.

It did rain, or at least sputter, every night, though.

 

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A Row of Shots taken while in Brazil (during 2006) by Jim McPherson with PHANTACEA on the Web and the PHANTACEA Mythos in mind

The Salvador She-Sphinx

A She-Sphinx spotted in Salvador, Brazil, photo by Jim McPherson, 2006

Everywhere I go I look for shots I can use out here in pH-Webworld.

 

Here's one. I took it in Salvador, where it also didn't rain during the daylight, and most of the evening, hours I was there in 2006.

 

I reckon it reminiscent of All of Incain, who as both herself and as Ginny the Gynosphinx figures prominently in 'Feeling Theocidal'.

 

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Sugar Loaf's Memorial Icarus

Sugar Loaf Icarus, taken in Rio by Jim McPherson

Both a public beach and a gun-laden, very much personnel-armed, military base lie far below Rio's magnificent Pao du Acucar (Sugar Loaf).

Atop a war memorial in the parking lot just as below it you can see an Icarus-like figure. I incorporated said-figure within the Image Map found here.

... Conclude ...

The Demons of Salvador

A wall of demon masks spotted in Salvador, Brazil, photo by Jim McPherson, 2006

In the Winter 2006/7 edition of pHpubs, I utilized various shots of these, or nearby, demon-masks in order to illustrate a web-feature centred on a few of PHANTACEA's nastier, or at least more devilish, characters.

 

It starts here. More Salvador shots, these ones taken in its Afro-Brazilian Museum, can be found here and here.

 

Sorry, I've no shots of the Brazilian flag. Green and yellow are its colours, however.

 

Carry on to "Peas for Knees, Please"

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Peas for Knees, Please (Frozen)

- The Necessity of Knees 2005 -

| Shot of Udaipur Elephant | Modified Email sent from Delhi (Including the 'Sad Sight' Saga) | Email sent from Jaisalmer (Including the 'Plague of Priests' Story) | Shot of Storefront in Jaipur | Shot of Brahma's Sacred Lake in Pushkar |

Elephants have knees too

Shot of an Elephant and Rider taken in Udaipur, India, by Jim McPherson, 2005

(Actually they have 4)

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Email – Kneedful Delhi (21/10/2005)

I don't know what it is about London and knees but, 2 years ago, one of mine went AWOL there. It wasn't until I kicked an ATM in Istanbul, after said ATM ate my credit card, that it found its way back to my leg. It’s happened to me again, my right knee this time. I haven't kicked an ATM in Delhi yet, but I only arrived last night.

Knees aside it's a preposterous place to try to walk anywhere. For one thing New Delhi is massive, with huge long boulevards and traffic that rivals the worst of Cairo or Istanbul. Like Cairo and Istanbul, but no longer like Athens, which was once just as bad, its public transit system is hopeless. As for Old Delhi, best to hire a helicopter if you want to get anywhere.

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Helicopters not being generally available, I've been hiring auto-rickshaws. They're a large reason why the traffic's so impossible. Talk about turning 2 or 3 lanes into 4 or 5 lanes. In Delhi it's more like 6 lanes, with horns honking and dipsy-doodling between cars, motorcycles and lorries taken as a personal challenge by the drivers.

You might call it sheer bravado. I’m more inclined to call it a citywide death wish. I suppose it'd make for a great spectator sport. But not when you're in the back seat of the eminently crunchable vehicle.(Which actually looks like a three-wheeled rickshaw; although the front wheel's doing the pulling, not the driver.)

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Forget about the sanctity of sidewalks. They seem to be used more as parking spaces for motorcycles and scooters than for their purportedly pedestrian purpose. Another thing to be said about walking in Delhi is you can rarely go ten feet without someone wanting to escort you to the best place for beer, food, sights and overall good times.

For a price of course. In that it's like Cairo as well. You also have to be wary of Delhi’s rickshaw drivers giving you a quote then upping it again, ostensibly for time lost due to ‘unexpected’ traffic, once you arrive where you're going. Naturally their meters are on the fritz.

I had a sad-sight character with no legs, one using a skateboard and wooden hand-bricks to propel himself along, roll up to me while I was in an auto-rickshaw at a red light. He obviously wanted me to give him money but, presumably in order to make the point, he offered me a handful of coins instead. I chose not to accept them.

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He said something else in Hindi. Acting as an interpreter, the auto-rickshaw driver said he'd seen my cane and wanted to know if I wanted to rent his skateboard. Fortunately the red light went green, whereupon the rickshaw driver drove off, so I didn't have to further frustrate and annoy said-sad-sight by saying no to the kind offer of his skateboard.


Email – Mein Fuehrer, I Can Walk (29/10/2005)

Yes, it's true. Didn’t have to kick an ATM machine either. I hooked up with the group I'm travelling with in Delhi. I was pretty pathetic. Speed and stairs were, respectively, non-existent and very slow.

I'd been putting ice packs on my knee every night and, after we left Agra (famous for the Taj Mahal), I mentioned to my designated roomy that nothing beats frozen peas for icing down knees.

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We’re by now ensconced in Jaipur. My pleas for peas (frozen, for my knees) had as usual gone ungratified. So, come the next day, I'm still gamely (not to mention gamily) trying to keep up with everyone else when the roomy spots an air conditioning sales and repair store.

Its name? You guessed it. "Frozen Peas"! I took a picture of it and, by golly, I’m now cane-free and quoting Dr Strangelove.

Who says India isn't a magical place? (Not me, not out loud anyhow.)


Although there was no need for me to kick an ATM in order to repatriate my knee, I was still somewhat tentative a couple of days after my approaching magical recovery; still carried my cane, albeit more as a prop than anything else.

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Frozen Peas Storefront, photo taken in Jaipur, India, by Jim McPherson, 2005

'Frozen Peas' Storefront in Jaipur, Rajasthan, 2005

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I was in the Holy City of Pushkar by then. That's the location of Brahma's Sacred Lake, which is entirely surrounded by concrete (unless it's stone) steps or ‘ghats’ leading into something like 50 different shrines.

Someone claiming to be a top-caste Brahmin or Hindu priest accosts me for wearing shoes too near to the lake itself. That is to say the concrete walkway beyond the steps and temples is equally holy ground.

For my transgression, he and two of his buddies insist I have to be blessed before continuing on my way, howsoever shoeless. Me, with cane in hand, submits. Then, blessing concluded, he, with bully boys nodding their accord, insists further that I must now seal the deal with a donation.

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Five hundred rupees might do the trick but many tourists, he reliably informs me, with supportive nods, offer a hundred dollars or Euros. Sometimes more. Since he didn't say anything about money until then I decline to offer anything.

You'll have heard about sticks and stones, how they can break bones. So had he, I guess. I had stick (cane) in hand. Bully boys back off as I hobble back up and off stairs onto walkway. I'm significantly not using my stick as anything more than a break-bones threat.

Priest says: ‘Let him go. He'll suffer from bad karma from now on.’

To conclude this little e-missive, India suffers from many a blight and plight but, in my humble, a plague of priests is well up there in terms of its most serious problem.

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Brahma's Sacred Lake in Pushkar, Rajasthan, 2005

Brahma's Sacred Lake in Pushkar, India, photo taken by Jim McPherson, 2005

A Priest-Plagued but No-Shoe Zone

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The Necessity of Knees 2003

| Modified Email originally sent from Istanbul, 6 September 2003 | Notes on Knee Graphic | Re Relevance to the PHANTACEA Mythos |

Greetings. London hasn't been very good to me recently. You may recall that when last I went there, in the Year 2000, on my way to Egypt, I left Vancouver with a tennis-wrecked right thumb. This time I left able-bodied. Unfortunately, be it because of 9 hours sitting mostly knees-locked on an airplane or, once again, due to excessive tennis the weekend before leaving, I got off the plane with a wrecked right knee.

Enlargement of Pict's nastier-looking kneeCompounding the problem I missed my Underground stop and had to hump my luggage up one side and down the other side of some, to my mind and no longer quite so able body, unnecessarily extensive stairs in order to catch a different train and retrace my journey to the correct tube station. Then I had to walk, make that limp, most of a mile or more to my hotel.

Ah well, I brought my anti-inflammatories with me so at least this time I didn't spend my first full day in London going to a hospital. Instead I spent part of it buying a cane. Hate to say it but the very next day I successfully put my weather-proof camera down while I was checking a map of London and got up without successfully putting it in my backpack. By the time I went back for it, half an hour later, it had successfully escaped.

Am now in Istanbul waiting to hook up with tour group tomorrow and head east on Tues. Today's main task, other than seeing the Archaeological Museum I managed to miss last time I was here, is to price and maybe buy a new camera. Might even go digital.

Wax rat spotted on Faerie Tree near Kensington Palace in London, photo by Jim McPherson, 2003Considering the proliferation of ratty noises in my house, rat-rather my part of the house, my choice of plane reading material was hardly ideal. It was by Terry Pratchett and called 'The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents'. Asking me to take the side of a clan of talking rats was, given my sensibilities, not the best idea.

I was hoping the bad guys would win, only it turned out the bad guys were led by a King Rat, a bunch of rats tied together by their tails and consequently mass-minded. Not fond of cats either but at least Maurice took care of the bugger, and a bunch of other rats, before, sadly, regaining his conscience.

Oh, yes, lest I forget. Had my credit card eaten last night at an ATM. I immediately looked around for something to hit. Decided to take out my frustrations on the obvious target and punched the machine. Hit every button I could hit and kicked the wall as well. With the gamy leg, idiot that I am. No sinister affliction for this right-thinking fellow. Primal screaming can be very liberating, I've heard. Though not as loudly as those in the near vicinity heard me screeching.

There's a better ending to Educated Rodents or camera successfully escaping. Instead of attracting the police in Turkey (recall that movie?) I must have set off a silent alarm system of some sort. A bank employee came by within 15 minutes of card's mastication. He got into the bank and managed to retrieve my card, barely chewed at all. Funnily enough, my knee feels much better today.

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Part of a cover for PHANTACEA 5, written and published by Jim McPherson, cover artwork by Verne Andru, circa 1979

Artwork for this cover is by Verne Andru. More of Verne's artwork can be found on the web page dedicated to the PHANTACEA comic books and on a couple of the 'The Trigregos Gambit' synopses pages. Verne has his own website.

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Knee Notes:

The scan on the left is of part of the cover for PHANTACEA 5, which I wrote and published in 1979.

I scanned in the image on the right from a postcard bought at the British Museum in 2003.

What strikes me as pertinent for purposes of this TIMP is the Pictish fellow has distinctly nasty knees.

Link to enlargement of nasty knee Link to enlargement of Chest Owl Link to enlargement of Pict's Belly Beast Postcard bought at the British Museum in 2003, it's of a Pictish warrior, painting by John White (active c. 1575-93), scanned in by Jim McPherson, 2004

This postcard of a Pictish warrior was produced by John White (active ca. 1575-93). Run your mouse over it and, when a hand forms, click to take you to enlargements of his chest-owl, his beastly belly and his nastier knee.


Enlargement of Pict's belly beast

Additional Notes re Relevance of the Pict's Postcard to the PHANTACEA Mythos:

Enlargement of Pict's Chest OwlThe Pictish fellow on the above right reminds me of the Attis, a character who appeared in the serialized version of 'PREGAME-Gambit'. He's holding a circular shield, has a curved blade, and wears a torc about his neck. They're reminiscent of the Trigregos Talismans, the three sacred objects so much in demand throughout 'The Trigregos Gambit'. Vetala's Soldier, the fellow on the above left, has much the same accoutrements.

For some reason the Pictish fellow also has an owl's head on his chest and the head of a humanoid beast on his belly. In PHANTACEA a screech owl, not to be confused with a Primal Scream Owl, is a common form of lamia such as Neith and Lathe, who were featured in 'The Moloch Manoeuvres'. Except for what might be a third eye in the centre of his lower forehead, between his eyebrows, the belly-beast could be a representation of Wildman Dervish Furie, who appears in many of the web-serials.

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