Monday, January 29, 2007

Tree houses, Rodeos and Centenarians


The Blue Zones www.bluezones.com website is up and running. I've been in charge of the Mystery Photo and Daily Data sections...other than that I've been doing direct interviews with the centenarians and
nonegenarians (age 90+) which has been pretty cool. These are some
phenomenally happy people. The guy we hung out with yesterday lives about 30 minutes from the nearest paved road, up in the hills above Nicoya town, with his wife, daughter and grandchildren. He never went to school, doing agricultural work his whole life. I was amazed how well he and I could understand each other, how well jokes flowed
between us.
We're staying at this great lodge that feels like home just outside
this small village called Hojancha that has a central park painted in
pastel colors. There is a rodeo/festival that has been going on near
here and I've been lucky to end up there the past two evenings. The
first night I was there with the photographer and a video guy. We got
into the lower level (directly behind the barrier on which all the
young men sit). When they went to shoot I climbed up alongside the
young men. See the photo attached or my blog. First they were doing
barrel races, then bucking broncos, and then the bulls. A 5 year-old
girl competed in the barrel race. I went up to the bleachers and made
friends with the ticket checker. The next night I went there she let
me and my crew in for free.
The crew is pretty cool. Good bonding situation. Every night we hang
up a sheet and show the video for the next day. Several american
video guys and journalists, the trip leader and his brother, an
Italian medical expert who studies longevity, a Belgian demographer
and an Italian NG photographer. We also have a Tico liason who works for the demographer here in CR. The science behind the trip is moving along slowly. The journalism side is moving quickly. Its an
interesting dynamic. One side is always pulling at the other.
The tree house at Tommy's farm is unreal. It's built straight up this
tree that hangs over the side of the hill, about 60 feet high. Three
walls, mostly windows. The side facing the central valley is open.
The view is so complete. You can see every piece of the central
valley. It was so beautiful to see it, so shockingly full of all the
moments and feelings I've had about being back in this country, that
when I looked up after ascending the first staircase my knees buckled
and my head had no choice but to look away. I dont know if a view has ever affected me so strongly. It took minutes for me to be able to actually look up, stealing only glances at first. I stayed behind to
be there alone and saw the sunset from my spot curled up in the bed up there.
There is a full bathroom up there too. No door to the bathroom
though, open faced, exposed to the distanced central valley. The
shower is encased in glass too. The view will be enjoyed there too. I
plan on spending the better part of several days up in that tree once
the Blue Zones trip is over.

3 Comments:

Blogger Ryan Petersen said...

Did you take that pic Mike? It's awesome!

9:51 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

can't get enough, Michael, i walk through your rich descriptions like a dream i've had, almost real. not to make you self-conscious, but you inspire me... can't wait until the day i can come find that tree house with Hannah.

7:26 AM  
Blogger bbeizer said...

Thanks for the description of Tommy
's Treehouse! I have seen a pic that Gail F took when she was there. Glad the work is fulfilling and that you are thriving. See you at the end of March!

6:15 PM  

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