Tuesday, November 19, 2013



I was dropped off near the bus station in Banos where I happened upon an odd sight.

A older gent who drove taxis had approached me and asked if I needed a cab.  Before I could answer, he excused himself and went over to bitch at a local who had dumped a bunch of leaves in the gutter.  He pointed out a garbage can nearby and told her to throw her trash in there instead.

Of course I wanted a cab ride with Mr. Civic Pride.

It turned out to be only a few blocks but for one dollar, I am not bitching.  Always take cabs at night.


Small, basic rooms.   Like everything at this cost level, there are pluses and minuses to this place.


$8 per night per person.  Since it's just me, I can afford that.
Pool table, free.
They serve reasonably priced good food here.
$1 beers.
Hot showers with great water pressure.  Best showers I've had in either Central and South America.
Private cable to wifi - see below.
Really friendly staff and owners.  They actually know where stuff is in the town.


Cat, dog, children.  If you have allergies or disdain for them, don't recommend this place.
Lots of rooms.  This means lots of potentially noisy tourists.
Smallish rooms.
No screens on windows.
Mediocre at best security for gear.

Quick story on the wifi:  They have some sort of problem with their wifi adapter.  Not sure what.  Naturally, it works for most or all of the other guests.  I'd expressed concern about this.  They ran a 'hard wire' cable to my room.  Just for me.  I've never had this anywhere before.  It kind of locks me into this place.  Hot showers and good internet?  Fuck, I'm here for awhile.  Possibly until after New Years festivities are done.  I'm working on avoiding travel during Christmas and New Years because 'travel during holidays - unless you are specifically wanting to view that holiday - is a lot more hassle and expense than it's generally worth.'


Of course there will be a section on food.  According to Wikipedia, I am a 'foodie'.  Their definition is:

"A foodie is a gourmet, or a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages.  A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out for convenience or hunger. While gourmet and epicurean can be used as synonyms they have fallen out of favor and bring to mind a stodgy or snobbish attitude."

While my attitude toward food is neither refined nor snobbish I would say it is 'ardent' and I do go looking for new stuff to eat.  And drink.  Good times.

Anyway, I've managed to break down the general costs of food into a couple simple categories within Banos.  Note that this does not include buying and making your own.  While I agree it is cheaper, I feel you miss too much of the culture when you shop and cook for yourself.  Plus, I am a rotten and uncaring cook.

For either what they call 'fast food' (read as simple dishes) or a set meal (they bring you out an appetizer, soup and main course possibly with a drink) the cost is under $5 USD.  If you want to order your own meal, under $10 USD.


Should you have 'dietary restrictions' due to ill health or ancient religious practices, it is advised to stick to the $10 plus menu.


Years ago I'd read four large phone book sized books on etiquette, just in case the Queen of England wanted to have me over.  I normally don't use this information but it is good to know - just in case.

After observing myself eat, I've written an etiquette guide for myself.

1)  Dining is not a race.  One should chew ones food rather than emulating a duck.

2)  By slowing the intake of food and taking more care, one may limit the amount of other people who become 'involved' with your dining experience by being splattered with said food.

3)  One should not hack at ones food with a knife, nor taunt it.  Conversation should be with ones fellow diners, not the dish.

4)  A soup bowl is not a drinking vessel.  

5)  The purpose of cutlery is neither to assist with the corralling of ones food, nor to point at objects of interest nor to threaten fellow diners with.

6)  Expulsion of bodily gasses should be curtailed or made discrete.  Never advertised nor aimed.

7)  Furred horned helmets and weaponry have no place at the dining table nor are they part of the service.

Note, I don't follow my own advice well.


It's much more active here than in other towns I've been to.

They seem to have put this down as a 'tourist town' and as such, many things are open on Sundays, late hours and so on.  Interestingly, it is the locals who seem to enjoy this in greater numbers than the tourists.

Due to old religious laws, liquor is not permitted to be sold on Sundays.  Due to being Logan, I still managed to buy it.


I was playing a Facebook game (a rarity) where someone assigns you a number and you have to put that many pieces of trivia up about yourself.  Bill G assigned me the number 6, so here are the six pieces of trivia I put up about myself.  [Note, if you want to put up trivia about yourself and don't use FB, you can always put it in the comments.  Though, if you are paranoid enough not to use FB, you probably won't.]

OK - Bill Godfrey assigned me six.

So here are six things people may not know about me.  Hopefully, this stuff hasn't already been in my blog.

1.  When I was young (16) I had moved out of the house and by age 17 I'd joined the military in 'military intelligence' (army, 96B).  I did a lot of boring stuff and some things I still won't discuss today.

2.  The trip I'm on is not my first trip outside of the USA.  In addition to living in both Munich, Germany and Korea I illegally traveled through the former USSR (while it was still the USSR) shortly after getting out of the military.  It was illegal because I'd worked for the government in an intelligence type job after leaving the military living in Germany and it was thought that should anyone find out what I did they would get secrets out of me.  The trip was a couple months long and went from Munich to Egypt with a lot of hitchhiking, camping and searching hotel rooms for electronic bugs - and finding them.

3.  I've trained in martial arts (jujitsu and hapkido) for over a decade both before the military and afterward.  I received (nor requested) any belts.  I wasn't training to do exhibition stuff but to learn to kill people as efficiently as possible.  (Yes, I was a violent fucker when I was younger.)  My martial arts teachers despaired of my slow reflexes and thus I was taught to fight dirty.  Very dirty.  Unknown to me until years later, it turns out my hapkido instructor was very famous in that art form.  The jujitsu instructor was just a short, sadistic oriental guy who enjoyed throwing me around.

4.  I can shoot a smiley face on a target with a 9mm pistol from five meters.  Mind you, it's not a perfect happy face but enough to irritate Matt Lunn when I took him out pistol shooting when I lived in IL.

5.  I've experimented with pot, LSD and hash.  The LSD was trippy but not as trippy as my normal life so I stopped.  Yes, I was once on LSD at a NERO event.  Due to playing Lumsie, nobody noticed.  And it was a lot of acid.

6.  I've never been in a serious relationship though I've had sex with more people than I can honestly remember.  No diseases.  Hot damn.


Fast food or set menu, under $5 USD.
Expensive meal, generally under $10 USD.
Two liter of diet coke, $2 USD.
Cigarettes, $2.80 USD.


  1. I remember people asking me why I was staring at the creek at that Nero event for so long... and I just remember answering, "Because it's awesome!!!" I was pulled away from the bridge I was on after like an hour... I swear it felt like 5 minutes....



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