My new friend, Paul, who has been visiting Costa Rica since the 70’s and still plans to move there after retiring, ETA spring ’07, suggests that "with your little red dot located there so far from center in ‘Libertarianland’ you would surely be a country Gillikin living near the Deadly Desert." I LOVE that kind of talk.

Except I looked up Gillikin on Wikipedia. It says "Gillikinese people are distinguishable by their prominent foreheads and slightly gapped front teeth. They often have heads of curling blond hair, and are believed to be temperamental by non-Gillikinese."

I am NOT temperamental.

This colorful illustration is a map of Oz [believed to be] drawn by Dick Martin. Mr. Martin was one of the many devotees to the notion of Oz. People the universe[s] over love escaping into the fantasmagorical;
some devote their whole lives to it! Oz-ians rival Trekkies, Star War-zians and, more recently, Potter-bees.
"[Name your fantasy or bath product], take me away!"

Oz geography alone is totally out there. L. Frank Baums possessed quite the imagination! What inspired a Deadly Desert, the
eastern quadrant of the land immediately surrounding Oz? Or an Impassable Desert to the north, a Great Sandy Waste to the south, and Shifting Sands to the west?

Personally, I am embarking on a search for the Laughing Valley of Hohaho on this planet. Heck, maybe I’ll just be the L.V. of H. Why not?

Key West has always felt like Oz to me. Dorothy says, "It’s not a place you can get to by a boat or a train.
It’s far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain…" Like Oz, Cayo Hueso has always been a magical place, a happy place, filled with creative, imaginative, generous and loving people, dangerously living outside the box.

And I’m not exaggerating this point: the spirit of community is intense here. It’s enveloped us thoroughly this trip. Key West is still Oz on earth. Being here is a bittersweet reminder of the community we’ve been blessed to be a part of for so many years. For all its one or two faults, it’s a hard place to leave. Usually.

Today, the general feeling is depressed. Too many people are seriously hurting by the dearth of real estate sales. There is scary talk of the "shakeout": everyone looks forward to the day after, when the market is moving again, fervently hoping they won’t be one of the shaken out. To add insult to injury, tourism is down. This is always the slowest time of the year, but that is little solace at the end of the day.

Key West will be happy again, as soon as acceptance takes hold, and denial becomes the thing everyone else had. We made the right choice for us, running away to Costa Rica. We cannot afford Key West right now, monetarily nor emotionally.

Legend has it if you really leave Key West, you will very likely
be turned to dust, which is exactly what happens if you set foot
outside Oz onto one of those deserts. To avoid the whole dust thing, we’ll be flying across the Shifting Sands to our new magical home in Escazu. Try to always live in a magical place, that’s my advice. And leave all the doors open as you exit. We are.

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