Dec 26 Thursday
The holiday is over, (day being the operative word here). Yesterday was divine. Yet we jump out of bed stoked with the kind of excitement that every kid knows on Christmas because today, the day after Christmas, we take the final steps guaranteed to secure our electric reconnection scheduled for tomorrow. I’m keen to get back to this century so we can pump water and, you know, keep the animals alive.
Here’s a recap: we got the new service inspection done (new? even though there had been service here for 40 years? = money-grab), which revealed the discovery we needed to cut down a tree. To cut down the tree, we needed to temporarily disconnect our neighbours’ electric service because their lines are all up in those branches. (And as I write this, relive it really, I ask myself (again), “how come the neighbours could have their lines in the tree, but not us? ” and I arrive at the same conclusion — those inspectors were full of shit and we’re paying for some kind of petty bureaucrat’s bad day or something.) The tree is on someone’s property, and so we also need to buy it before we cut it.
At this point, we haven’t yet found our guy to cut down the tree but with no other option, we are going on faith that things will work out. Faith is the Costa Rican failsafe in most operations. We have spoken to the electrician and provisionally arranged for him to disconnect the neighbour’s lines once the tree is down.
So off we go to resume the de rigour wait at Coopeguancaste. We get our number at the door and take our seat only note the only person “working” is the very same woman I’d observed being spectacularly atrocious 2 days earlier. Harry suggests we leave for an early lunch and hope we get someone better/smarter when we return.
Yeah, no. We got that very woman. So we tell her our story, the animals, the promises, the inspection. She says fine, it will happen sometime before Jan 7th.
Another week? No, that’s not going to work at all. We explain our story, again. More slowly – with more detail. The animals, the electric water pump that isn’t pumping water to the tank, the promises. She relents and calls someone who tells her “sometime before the 7th.”
So we go right over her head and talked to her boss. He arranges it for tomorrow. I may have just lost a potential member of my future book club but I bet she wouldn’t have made the meetings anyway, so….who gives a shit?
Dec 27 Friday
Today’s To Do List:
– 4am: rise. make coffee, tortillas with avocado and tomato over the fire.
– 5:30 am: Organize peons before dawn. Pick up Greivin, Junior shows up. Goes to get Javier. Wendell joins. Suddenly we have 4 men and me at the milpa. Good.
– All morning: Harvest a hectare of corn. More on that later (my next post – check it out.)
– ASAP: Find Toño and Cut tree
-Any time after 9am: Supposed to get electric reinstalled
-6:15 am: Harry leaves us at the milpa (corn field) to find Toño. He’s still fishing, but Marcus will call us Coopeguana comes. Harry and I go together and find Toño. I go wait for Coope, Harry goes back to the milpa with the guys. Coope comes, we call Harry, he comes back to the house with Toño to cut the tree. We need oil for the chainsaw. I drop Harry at the milpa and I go to the main road and buy oil, return to Toño drop off the oil. Harry didn’t leave Toño the gas can, so I go back to Harry to find out where it is. It was in the back of the truck all along. But since I’m back at the milpa we load up the truck with corn. Pay the guys. Return to Toño who has cut the tree, somehow, without the gas. Anyway. Get the corn up the hill to the house, unload it all over the place.
-3:15pm We go to Geranio’s and have a much needed pizza and beer. Harry drives us home, and I get to ride in the cargo bed. Probably the funnest 20 minutes I’ve had in a long time.
-5:00 pm: Drop off Toño at home.
-5:20 pm: Flip the switch. Pump water. Feed animals, Clean dishes. Go to bed.
Dec 28 Saturday
Now we’ve finally gotten the electricity resolved, it’s time to get the washing machine exchanged. Off to Nicoya. Willie takes his usual place in the cargo bed. Driving by Don Melvin’s and his little yappy dog goes off again sending into Willie into a rage and suddenly — ! — Willie has launched out of the back, flying into a motorcycle parked on the road.
He’s in shock, we’re in shock, the folks who witness it are certainly startled. You can see the bone in Willie’s skull. He’s still alert, though. So that’s good. Meet Jenarina along the way, she assures us he will be fine. This greatly quells our fears and makes us both feel better. Jenarina always knows about these things.
The business of the washing machine exchange takes for-ever. While Willie has seen the vet and there are no broken bones, we misread the exchange timeline cues and miss lunch having only an absurdly decadent whipped cream ice-coffee confection to get us through the inanely brutal heat that is Nicoya. Why are there no trees in this town? Why don’t people think “trees” first and foremost to break up the searing midday sun? In fact, the great old Guanacaste tree that was in the main plaza in front of the church was removed, to make room for searingly hot bricks. Why?!?!?? The lucky few (who get there first) are all in retreat in the shade, what little there is, and the rest of us just bake. It’s another of the great mysteries of Guanacaste.
So four hours later and we have the new washing machine which, because that model was on sale, provided us with a credit we happily spent on a new cappuccino machine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So all hail the weird business practices of La Curaçao, in the end.
Getting home is hell because of road work and critically low blood sugar.
Oh, and I may not have mentioned yet we are in the middle of a major tick infestation. A veritable plague of them has descended on our poor dogs. Today, like every day since I’ve been back, we spent an hour clearing them of these thoroughly disgusting things.
Dec 29 Sunday
Dec 30 Mon
Called ICE about our suddenly poor internet service. The kind call centre attendant took my case and assured me someone would be out to see about the problem tomorrow.
Originally published March 4, 2014