1) Expats are as curiously exotic as the wildlife. Some have been very beautifully created elsewhere in the world then transplanted here, mixing magically with the soil into their own unique being. Others have come here and evolved into slithery and dangerous creatures. I’ve just begun to find the beautifully exotic creatures here which gives me great peace.
One of the earliest things I was told here was that there are two types of Gringos in Costa Rica: the wanted and the unwanted. Wanted as in by the government of another country. Unwanted as in, well, unwanted. I don’t know if that’s the sentiment or not. But I can tell you this story:
I was sitting at a bar one quiet sunset in Herradura, and I hear, “Hey, do you speak English?” It was a shirtless, meaty fellow with long scraggly hair and a black eye. A little younger than me. He gives me a story, clearly he’s a fellow conning his way through life. I give him a dollar. I get an uneasy feeling about him so I leave sooner than I planned. I learned yesterday that, apparently, after breaking the law (and from what I understand, being a general jackass along the way), he’s now in jail in San Jose.
Probably wanted. Definitely unwanted. These are the slitheries that are here. The ones giving Gringos bad names. The ones nobody wants around.
Certainly, on a personal level, everyone I’ve met has been very kind. The man with the bananas waves and smiles big at me every time I see him. I can feel his sincerity. The family man who runs Soda Herradureña, always has a deep smile and a greeting for me. And Jorge, my neighbor (who also manages this place for the owner), is genuinely friendly. I like Jorge. I sometimes wish he would stay and talk longer than he does. But he has more obligations than I do and he is usually in the middle of something. Like picking sour mangoes for his expectant wife.
Jorge and I agree: sour mangoes are not tasty. Seemingly, a lot of people like them. Which is why all the neighborhood kids pick them off the tree well before they’re ready for deliciously sweet consumption.
That went from Point A to Point Q pretty quickly.
2) I never see Scarlet Macaws flying alone. They always fly in pairs.
3) I was just doing a little bit of my Language Studies (by way of watching one of the two very static-y and fuzzy channels I can pick up on the TV, broadcast in Spanish, of course) and realized that there are some shows that are of no help whatsoever to me in mastering the language but are entirely entertaining. I don’t know if I was just watching a variety show, a soap opera, a drama or what, but all of a sudden: seriousness.
A mariachi band stood on the curb and played for the little girl as she was carried out of the hospital. The extended family exited out of their vehicle – a stretch Ford Escape or possibly stretch Daihatsu pickup truck; hard to tell – with its wonderfully crafted racing lines and stripes running the length of the automobile. These weren’t the Clampetts there for the little girl. They were the Pitts and Jolies.
After a bit of drama, the family (with the little girl now) all get back into this monstrosity that looks like it was built in the garage of a nephew who is really into tuners but very low on both funds and skills.
The camera outside pans across the body of the vehicle as the lead female inside reaches for the hand of her man in the seat across from her.
His mind is in other places, reflecting on some personal affairs. He snaps to the present, looks in her eyes, and grabs her hand with warmth.
And right now is a perfect time to end the scene as the vehicle begins to pull off. But instead? Instead the carhorn blows. And it plays something that sounds pretty much like “La Cucaracha.” Only not “La Cucaracha.”
And THEN to commercial.
Wait, what? ¿Que?
4) The civility of people here impresses me so. It’s somewhat sad that it does, but living in South Beach (a hub for self-centered people) for so long has made me appreciate and enjoy even more the courtesy in people when it’s displayed. Riding the bus, I watch young men and old men alike stand up to offer their seat to a woman with a child. Or children move to share a seat with someone else so that a mother and her children can sit together. Civility rules. As it always should.
5) I’m fascinated by the different surfing styles of the locals. As I watch them more and more, I begin to identify their unique style. It’s interesting to witness. One guy will cut through a wave with such technical precision. Another seems to float across the waves. The stance. The cutback. The dive, the fall, the slip into the ocean at the end of the ride. It’s great fun to watch AND to photograph.
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