Archive | January, 2011

2 Rights Make 1 Wrong

29 Jan

I’ve finally come to the realization that I can’t control how others behave towards me. I can only control how I behave to others.

Peace.

Alajuela (for Lisa K.)

29 Jan

They stood out on the hostel

balcony

staring out at the sea of lights

in the hills of Alajuela

and neighboring San Jose.

Their paths intersecting

at their trip’s end.

Both he and she

wore tired looks

ready to give up on the day

to start over tomorrow.

He uncorked his bottle of vodka

and spiked his orange juice

in between the jokes and light,

silly conversation.

He  kept reminding himself

to avoid the urge to hold on too long

wanting more than the

moment could offer–

to become guilty of squeezing too much

out of the present.

Though there was something endearing about her

fatigue.

She wore it well.

A subtle gracefulness

in the bags under her eyes and

a comfort in being close to her

which slightly hovered

throughout their day together.

At his age

it was inexcusable

to get caught up

in the idealised and romantic notions

he carried throughout his youth.

He knew he was far better off

drinking his screwdriver

and enjoying the waning

moments of his vacation.

To simply be

in the here and now

and just have a good time

for however long it lasted.

~Edward Austin Robertson~

Day 3 “This Arm’s on Fire”

29 Jan

Had a Pipa today. Something incredible to partake of. Cutting a coconut from a tree and lopping it in half with a machete. I always thought they were brown and fuzzy but apparently that’s only when they are older.

So refreshing to drink from, then you can scoop the white stuff from it and that shit is bomb too. I could become very addicted to these things. So fucking good.

Paul’s ranch hand, Efren is an amazing man. Today I helped him build an electrical fence. He lopped a branch off a tall tree and made it into a post.The man is quite handy with the machete. He als0 made a scythe with his machete and cut through some weeds. Watching him wield that fucker gave my fantasy of bedding his wife Vivian dissolve.

It could easily be my head he lops off with the machete (or worse).

We had an interesting working relationship. He spoke NO English. MySpanish was bad. I could speak it but understanding it was difficult, so he’d have to use his hands a lot when barking out instructions ,otherwise I’d grin and nod like an idiot (or grab a rubber hose when all he wanted was saddle for the ponies). Somehow we were making it work.

Wading through the mud and shit inside the horse pasture I considered buying a machete for myself and one for my maniac roommate. They were only 4 bucks. Then I considered what a drag it’d be going back through customs with them. Seemed like more trouble than it’d be worth.

At this point the mosquitoes are having their way with me. Was not prepared for the veracity of them. My arms are covered in bites and I’m waking up every half hour to scratch them like crazy. Between the bites and Paul’s crazy black dog howling at 4:30 in the morning, I’m not getting any sleep.

And to boot I woke up this morning to hear him yelling “Shut the fuck up” to the goddamn thing. Away from all the stuff in Tulsa, I’m able to get a little perspective about my life there. Women, work and my living situation. a world away from here for sure.

Not sure how much more I can take though and I don’t know how much more I’m gonna learn from being here. No crops to look after just animals.

Paradise is not perfect. The brochures for Costa Rica should read : “Costa Rica, paradise but with mosquitoes.”

I’m thinking I may need to leave in the next couple of days.

Costa Rica Retroactive Diary Day 2 “True Grit”

28 Jan

Went horseback riding for the first time. The feeling of power was incredible. Felt like my penis grew another 4 inches. Invoked feelings of being on the wild west like Eastwood and Jeff Bridges (Saw True Grit twice the week it came out). My masculinity was off the charts.

The funny thing about this town is that you’ll see just as many people riding horses for transportation as you’ll see cars. Actually better to ride a horse as the Costa Rican roads are beyond any horror you’d see in tax paying Oklahoma. If you don’t own a 4X4 vehicle in this country you’re screwed.  I also saw how a woman can really enjoy horse back riding. Seems like it could be really stimulating hee hee.

Spent most of the morning feeding (and milking) the cattle and horses and goats. Learned how to wash,groom and saddle the horses without getting kicked in the head.

Also went and netted some Tilapia from the pond and Paul’s chef Vivian cooked us all grilled Tilapia using only salt, lime juice and olive oil as seasoning. I was the bomb. For dessert, homemade ice cream. Something I hadn’t had since I was a young boy staying at my Granny’s for the summer. I almost cried after the first spoonful (weighs a ton).

Spent the even listening to the owner of the farm, Paul, talk about his sexual exploits in Africa–while on business there with the World Bank. Strange dude. Could not understand why he was telling me how he smuggled ganja into the states nor his fetish for 20 year old African women (the darker the better he says).

After two hours of this and seeing the biggest cockroach I’ve ever seen in my life (it flew onto the porch fluttered its papery wings and then flew away), I decided to try and sleep a little. But not before bathing myself in Deep Woods Off . Still it didn’t help much and I got eaten alive anyway.

This Canadian couple that were staying at the farm on a bed and breakfast deal decided they couldn’t sleep there one more night because the insects were so bad.

The husband and I went for beer and cigarettes and found a place with cabinas only 6km from the farm. With the bad roads (they were not driving a 4×4 vehicle) and the insects, old Andy decided he was gonna stay put. I put my Spanish to use and  brokered him a deal on the cabinas alongside a taxi to pick up his wife (and a ride home for me).

Paul wasn’t happy bout this and in between bragging about his sexual conquests in Africa he explained to me why the couple’s abrupt departure left him feeling sore.

Everyone was out to get poor Paul. His farm staff wasn’t worth a damn. The townspeople were against him. His ex-wives and girlfriends had him figured wrong. No one understood him. At least that was the way he’d tell it.

With just the two of us alone on the property, being on the farm took on a weird vibe, one similar to “The Shining”. Old Paul was exhibiting some paranoid behavior. And the weirdness was only just beginning.

I thought about rubbing one out before I went to sleep. But Paul’s room was right next to mine. He’d surely hear the mattress squeaking from behind the thin walls.

So I decided just to close my eyes and breathe deeply and ignore the hissing of mosquito wings in my ears.

Costa Rica Retroactive Diary: Day One

27 Jan

My rooming quarters on the Finca Rio Perla.

Made it into the country without losing my hide. I could stay here at the farm the whole time. It’d be the safe bet. The cheapest bet but I don’t know if it’d be the best bet. Really good hospitality here in Siquirres. People seem nice.

Much nicer than San Jose with its hustle and bustle  and petty thieves (cab drivers included).  Everyone is trying to scam you the minute you get off the plane. Guys who say they are cabbies driving minivans and red cars without meters.

Even using a phone is stressful. Took me fifteen minutes to figure out that payphones don’t work you gotta use a calling card. I finally got on my bus and not a moment too soon. San Jose (C.R.), Houston, and Los Angeles are offically my 3 least favorite cities to be trapped in.

I split a cab to San Jose, got a bus there at the Coca Cola terminal and then took a bus to Siquirres. A small community 2 hours east of San Jose. Its just like you’d imagine it. Colorful, old buildings and houses, a soccer field in the middle of town. People riding motorcycles, dirt bikes and bicycles. This guy Dennis (the farm owner’s courier) picked me up and took me to get a goat from this guy Coco, who also has a fried chicken joint with his wife and kids.

Dennis treated me to some chicken and coca cola and immediately I was thrust into their culture with my weak Spanish. My knowledge of their language may have been good enough to pass high school and university–but  it was not good enough to have a deep conversation. I wasn’t going to be able to talk about Heidegger or Spinoza with some university chicks.

I’d be lucky if I’d be able to follow directions from native speakers and pick up some farming lessons (later I’d find the ranch hands spoke no English at all–the driver Dennis spoke very little).

A really nice compound here. From the sounds of things this guy is on the verge of starting a compound. Innaresting fella for sure. University of Maryland grad. Very much into himself or the myth of himself.

Beautiful country. Especially the area I’m in. Rain Forest. beautiful Farm, over 200 acres of land. Even owns the waterfalls on this property. How absurd is that? He has a beautiful cook with lively eyes named Vivian and he himself looks kinda like former MLB pitcher John Smoltz.

There is a guy here from North Carolina who went to school with Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse. Damn I’m getting old. I was in high school when those guys played there.

From everything I’m hearing Patagonia is pretty nice country. Will definitely have to get down there some time in the future.  A hummingbird

just flew into my cabina as I wrote the last line.

I think I’ll only stay a week and then see more of Costa Rica. Perhaps another town like Siquirres. Beautiful. Simple. Beautiful people, living simply, friendly, This is the perfect introduction here. Not too overwhelming. The skeeters are as bad as they say though (possibly worse).

After just one day here, feel a bit closer to my friends who grew up on farms or went and worked on them. Its a really sweet experience to have.

Eve of Departure

23 Jan

I came down here thinking that this would be the trip that would quench my thirst for traveling.

2 weeks on the road is usually my magic number. I was pretty much exhausted after my birthday and was just holding on til the end of the week. Excited about my return home to sleep in my own sleeping bag.

I was not expecting to have as much fun as I did in the little beach town of Montezuma. Yet it was beautiful and the ocean was incredible and I got to party like I was back in undergrad. As with any trip I´m on, sometimes it takes more than sheer craftiness to get by. This usually involves meeting the right people along the way and I most certainly did. The luck factor reared its pretty little head at always the right times.

The night before leaving Montezuma to go catch a bus to San Jose and a cab to Alajuela, I went for drinks with a derelict from Minnesota and these 3 Finnish gals. I had just ordered a happy hour sex on the beach when I ran into this table full of girls I had met the day before at Santa Teresa beach.

¨Texas!!!!¨ one of them cried out.

¨Team Portland. what are you doing here?¨

Long story short they had some luggage stolen and thought it may be nice to have a little muscle (and Spanish expertise) along for their ride back to San Jose.

So I only had to pay for the ferry, and the young ladies got me to my hostel in Alajuela with little incident and lots of laughs.  I´d gotten so carried away with my adventures that I forgot to put away money for the exit visa and one of the lovely young Portlanders lent me the money to get out of the country. Que Linda eh?

So now I am at this swanky 15 dollar hostel with great mattresses and great view of downtown (my the city lights up at night). Five minutes away from the airport with a free shuttle. My degenerate alkie buddy from Minnesota has the same Frontier flight to Denver and will meet me here in Alajeula today. Until his arrival and subsequent desent into debauchery, I will be watching the NFL Championship games today in the beanbag and tv lounge.

Sometime soon I´m gonna have to look into Panama. That may be my next visit down here in Latin America. 4 times cheaper than Costa Rica…..buy me a cheap bottle of  Nicaraugan RUm and party it up Van Halen style.

Ciao.

Mick