Tag Archives: Costa Rica

Montezuma Beach

16 Dec

Built a huge bonfire
“A & M” style
Washed up logs from the shore
and coconut shreds
sparks arising like fireflies
weaving in and out of the smoke

In our natural state
diving headfirst
beneath the waves
away from the ever increasing
distant shore
where the voices
of our party
became inaudible
the only sound that mattered
was the constant crash
of incoming crests of foam.

Couldn’t be further away
from those other realities
the frigid snowfall in the midwest
or my stuffy upbringing back home

Montezuma Beach
naked with the sharks
where ever they were

Quietly back to the sand
looking for her top
that was carried away with the tides

my clothes safely tucked
away beneath a palm tree
unmolested by the water,
I laughed in
sympathy as I put on my shorts.

~Edward Austin Robertson

Day 6: Costa Rica Retroactive Diary

12 Mar

My how I love me some Yankee women. They really are quite nice to talk to. Of all the American women, I find myself in more stimulating conversations with women from the Northeast.

This young lady I met the night before was no different. Intelligent and cute. Certainly would’ve “fallen in love” with her a couple of years ago when I was more susceptible to that sort of thing.

She left early that morning and we had a great chat over coffee. She slept in the bunk above me but I didn’t know this until I woke up early to stretch and watch the sun rise.

But man I was happy I wasn’t the same guy I used to be. The old me would’ve hiked into town with her, and possibly further. Chasing some 22 year old tail at my age seemed a bit pathetic. It was excuseable to do something like that in my 20’s–possibly even endearing–but there was no guarantee of anything if I dropped my itenerary to get on her schedule (maybe some kissing but that’s only worth it if you’re a fifteen year old boy on the make).

I was starting to get real comfortable in my new environment. There was plenty of hiking, a springs nearby, and a few swimming holes throughout this damn mountain.

I felt quite happy. Leaving the farm and coming here was the best decision I could’ve possibly made.  cuaght myself thinking about tasks to start on when I got back to the states. There were a few writing projects that needed to get underway if I want to feel productive. I’d already started sketches for my next two books of poems.**************************************

Went down to town later that day and ate at this place called the Rocadorro. The owner was this long haired bronze Tico man and his daughter worked in the kitchen. I drank a Heineken and waited for the hamburger I ordered.

I watched his beautiful daughter handle my meat (no pun intended) and watched as she threw the patty onto the grill. I kept watching and waiting to (no avail) for her to wash her hands.  She  touched my buns (again no pun)

lettuce, tomato and pickles. Then she threw soem french fries into the grease. When she headed towards the sink, I thought surely now, would come the time for her to wash her hands. But I was wrong again. She threw something into a trash bag, lifted it up and then started to dress my sandwich.

I wasn’t sure what the food safety rules were here in Costa Rica, but even in primitive Oklahoma, the rule of thumb was to wash your hands as often as you touch anything containg germs.

I got a sickening feeling in my stomach as she brought the burger over to where I was sitting. I went through the conversation in my head about what I’d have to say. Then I thought about how I was going to have to translate that sentence and explain how I couldn’t possibly eat the burger.

It seemed embarrassing, but I’d also had food poisoning before and I knew that spending my vacation doubled over in tears and vomit was not an option either.

So I just paid for the burger and asked for a napkin so I could take it to go. I figured the fries would be fine (which they were but they tasted terrible) and I laid the burger out in the dirt street for any ole mangy mutt to devour.

Later I’d tell the owner of the hostel about this experience and he knew exactly who the gal was. “Yeah, Nancy.” He sighed. ” She’s studying to become a nurse.

How convenient, I thought. After giving people food bourne illness, she could go and treat you for them–(after of course, washing and sanitizing her hands).

Played soccer with this group of kids from Western Kentucky University and my 12 year old bunk mate. The ball we were gonna play with got flattened in the first two minutes of playing and we were running out of daylight. The fog was creeping down onto the soccer field. Just as we were getting ready to just call it a night and head back up the trails, this little 7 year old boy (he was barely 4 ft) says “Yo La Tengo” and produces a ball. The kid came out of nowhere. It was like out of a commercial for the Church of Christ for Latter Day Saints (the Mormons).

It was one of  the highlights of the trip and I really worked up a good sweat. The 7 year old ended up being a ringer. He was obviously the best ball handler on the field and I was happy he was on my team. He was running circles around everybody, doing tricks I’d only seen on the FIFA video game. I was certain that Diego Maradona had captured his body as a spiritual vessel to enable him to continue playing soccer.

It was fun. It was a lot of fun. I was smiling and tired and happy. The fog was in full effect as I walked back up the hill with the family from New England. It had been at least a full week since my last orgasm but I couldn’t have been happier to be alive.

I was glad I listened to that voice. It has never steered me wrong. I could tell it was going to get easier to listen to it the older I became.

Day 4 Costa Rica Retroactive Diary Pt. I

3 Feb

The old man has really lost it. The first part of the afternoon was spent planting trees (50 of them) and grasping a machete, keeping my eye out for the King snake and the Fer De Lance.

I was hot and sweaty and itchy (these arms are on fire). Yet I enjoyed getting my hands dirty and getting to know the ranch hand, Efren. Innaresting guy. Had lots of girlfriends. Figured he must be a pretty charming guy to have pulled such a lovely woman like Vivian. We had a good time and decided to meet up for Boleta (Billiards where the 15 and 2 are in the side pockets) at 2 o’ clock.

In the mean time old Paul decide he wanted his fence painted. Not just any fence–the fence to his Tilapia pond. This wasn’t how I saw myself working on a farm. Painting fences like Tom Sawyer (or Nigger Jim?) for some smug jerk off from Maryland.

(I could hear my cousin’s voice in my head saying ” You dumbass why the fuck you wanna work on a farm anyway, slavery days are over.”)

“This will protect my fence from the rain.” He said.

What’s protecting the fish from the poison? I thought. Had to chase away the ducks to keep them from sticking their nosy beaks into the goods. I saw BP and Exxon spills all over again with every catastrophic stroke of paint.

“O que Bueno. Muy Increible.” The old fucker was doting over the job I was doing and neglecting to see the black paint dripping into the pond and creating oil puddles.

I finished the job as best as I could without feeling guilty–thinking about the tilapia lunch I’d had two days earlier.

Slept the night before with the knife under my pillow. Pauls’ steps around the house had become heavier and heavier. The skin under his eyes were starting to sag and once again–like the morning rooster, I awoke to him screaming “Shut the fuck up.” to the dog on the chain (that he said wasn’t even his).

Something else weird had happened the night before. Having only a couple of clothes to work in, I threw my clothes and sneakers into the washer machine and took a nap. Before I nodded off I heard some rattling, which gave me reassurance that my “Chucks” would be washed.

When I woke up to take the load out the washer, I noticed a note written in red marker across both the washer and dryer:

“Do not touch the machines without permission.”

Then again in Spanish:

“No toque las máquinas sin permiso.”

I scratched my head and wondered why Paul didn’t just tell me not to use the washer. He’d clearly seen me go into the back laundry room. Shaking my head I pinned up my wet clothes and wondered about the hot springs in Costa Rica.

I went into the kitchen to grab a drink and that was locked too with a posting of rules on the door.  None of the written rules were ever told me on the website or on the exchange of emails before I came. Even when I arrived I wasn’t sure what he expected. Now he was pulling this passive aggressive shit. Why couldn’t he have just come to my door and told me not to use the washer?

I thought about all this while we ate lunch in awkward silence. Paul sat next to me and he asked what I had planned for the day. I mentioned that I might take a walk into town (more like flee)and he said he might want to accompany me. I figured this might be the best time to tell him I was probably going to take off that evening. I couldn’t imagine spending one more night in my cabin.

I realized that it was close to 2 o’clock and I was to meet Efren at the stables to play Boleta. He and the Nicaraguan stablekeeper, Miguel were there already racking them up.

We played a few games and I was clearly the worst, but I was rather enjoying their company. I didn’t mind that they were making fun of my terrible billiards skills either. I just kept looking out at the beautiful countryside and taking things in. It was finally settling in that I was in Central America, on a farm, playing pool and talking in Spanish with a Tico and a Nicaraguan.

Time flew by and we kept playing game after game and I was cool. The rhythm of being on a farm was taking hold. I was getting used to the pace. Get up, get out and work, eat lunch and then work more until there is no more work. Eat dinner. Chill. It was quite a relaxing method of living. I could get used to it.

My thoughts were interrupted by yelling down the road. It was obviously a gringo and Paul was the only gringo in town. We thought he was going to come in and catch us playing (Efren said Paul would get angry and wonder why we were not working on something) but he kept on walking. So we kept on playing.

Finally Efren’s son Manuel came and told us that Paul was looking for me. I suddenly remembered that I told Paul I’d grab his work boots for him since he’d left them at the stable earlier in the week.

I went and got them for him and headed back up to the main house. It was locked. I went around back where the bathroom was and grabbed a stick and broke the lock. Then I took a shit. For a second I considered leaving an upper decker. I thought better of it though. good thing for everyone that 23 year old Robert wasn’t out on the farm. He definitely would’ve done it. Besides, it would have been Vivian’s mess to clean up.

After I was done, I went back outside, relocked the back door. And climbed up the gate to where my room was (I’m trying to explain the dimensions as best as I can–so bear with me this isn’t a Dickens novel).

I then went to my room and packed my clothes and decided I was going to wait on the front porch for old Paul to return. I was going to get my partial refund for what was supposed to be a week’s stay (most farms in Costa Rica you have to PAY to volunteer).

As I brewed over what my next step was (hot springs in San Gerardo maybe?) it started raining and I slowly had a sense of time, place and situation. How the fuck did things get so crazy for me?

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.