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Ship's Log: Entry #5 August 6 - 11


Sunday, August 6th I wake up on the couch at Greivin and Giselle’s where I was lucky enough to crash last night ’round midnight. It’s very early, sun is just rising. The guys were up all night, drinking and conversing in the back patio. They are super human drinkers. Of course I awaken with the sun, per usual, yet I don’t really want to let on. It’s just that they are fairly incoherent and …

I hear Giselle insist they shut up. Probably for sake of the neighbours. They decide to go to their father’s house. There’s a flurry of back and forthing and repeating the plan loudly and then off they go happily taking their party with them.

It’s coffee packaged with sugar mixed in. Natch

The day broadens as usual, but in San Jose it’s just not as hot. San Jose is a vacation from perspiration. My niece/goddaughter Jasmin is mine for the morning. We make tortillas together and play with the dogs. Heaven. My other niece Jenny and I ruminate about animals generally, and how crazy people are for not simply loving them. Magically, we can all communicate. I and both my nieces. It’s as if a certain 100 pound rock was lifted from my head. It’s as if I am suddenly able to swim, where before I was simply splashing about gulping water and nearly drowning. Heaven.

However after noon comes and goes I begin to feel abandoned. Natch. I call Harry and they’ll be back in a few hours. Okay, cool. Anyway, the girls are way more fun than those guys at the moment.

The party returns and there’s some disagreements that have come along too. Oh, So Stubborn. All three of them. So between Olympic feats of superhumaness (Mens’ Highdive) there’s something about knowing more then you do about something from high school. I didn’t really follow.

We decide to leave today instead of tomorrow.

On the way out of town there’s a Home Depot type store called EPA. We stop in and purchase the tiles for the kitchen and they are simply lovely.

It’s a peaceful drive home. It’s always a pleasure to go home again. We arrive at midnight and wake up poor Toño but at least he can go home and spend the rest of the night in his own bed.


Monday, August 7th Angel with the large, simple silver cross pendant. That’s the person helping Walberto. He’s a gentle giant. And it’s a pleasure to greet them both in the morning.

Life here means you are always a little bit wet and quite a bit dirty. It’s a special treat to be dry and clean. I cherish it . When there’s a breeze and low humidity, it’s like a Sunday afternoon in the park.

Training the dogs I am not.


Tuesday, August 8th Is it really the 8th already? I woke up tired, so tired. Work on this Ship’s Log. I’m very late with it. It’s terribly wordy. I wonder if I’m losing my editing skills. Well, I guess it isn’t helping that I’m writing almost the whole week at once. Rush rush rush makes for boring stuff.

Walberto starts to lay the ceramic, Angel works to mould and pour the last two shelves. And so we’ll have the basic shelving in place and will be able to keep the same amount of kitchen stuff as before. We’ll be able to operate as before without being put out not yet having the carpenter to finish the job. Harry knows a guy he considers to be a master carpenter and wants him to do the rest of the kitchen. But he lives in Puriscal (3 hours away) and just had a baby. So it’s a question of whether he’s up for staying here for a week while he does his work.

I hear that Telefilm isn’t yet able to commit to Cassandra’s movie. We are still “on hold”. She’s pushing forward anyway. So there’s no clear picture for me whether I’ll be back to Toronto for September or not.

Harry hauls massive boulders over to El Palacio Porcino because the palace is located on an incline and the floor needs to be level and it’s cheaper fill than concrete. The occasional yell lets us all know when he’s hurt himself. Pobrecito.

Decision is taken to buy the crazy expensive little patterned tiles for the surface of the newest shelves. These are visible from outside, so I feel like I can justify it. Barely. Harry makes the excellent argument that it is forever, so it’s worth it.

The damn ants. More shoots eaten.

Then Harry has the most brilliant idea ever. Water. Ants don’t cross water, so we’ll put the bamboo seed beds supported on legs that stand in pots of water. Moats. Awesome! I’m suddenly energized to get to work on this. Energized, but don’t have the materials I need.

Tomorrow.


Wednesday, August 9th Restored the wood on the screen door from the kitchen. Having the sander back is like having a machine to sand the wood, automatically. It’s like a having a machine that saves you from sanding by hand. It is a fabulous thing. I get as far as the varnish and then I’m off to Nicoya to get the grout and containers for the moats.

Walberto continues to lay the tile on the concrete counters.

Harry continued to work on El Palacio Porcino. He mixed and poured concrete. You might think you know what that means, but I’m going to make a wild accusation and say, “you don’t”. Making concrete here involves hauling bags of sand, gravel and dry concrete. Creating a pile of all three. Then making a crater in that pile. Then you add water, bit by bit while mixing it all with a shovel. No concrete mixers here for miles and miles around.

I can’t work on the ant moats today as it’s too late. So I do the next best thing, and move the germinating beds to another place. It seems to take the ants a few days before they discover our new locations.


Thursday, August 10th Walberto finishes the kitchen counters and they are truly beautiful.

Harry and I decide it’s time to take the weekend off and go to the beach.


Friday, August 11th Walberto comes by to help Harry with a few key things he’s been working on, it takes almost all day to do. 1) fix the cement in front of the kitchen door. Now it’s lovely, with a clean curve that’s very pleasant to look at. And 2) the leaky roof is finally repaired. No more streams of water down the wall of the back room. We can leave feeling confident.

I finish the screen door putting on the screen and the trim to hold it in place, but can’t hang it because the guys are working exactly there. So I install some of the screen on the windows of the shed for the watchman (Toño). It’s so hard to work there because the place is a hillbilly mess and so the next hour is spent cleaning up crap scattered everywhere I look.

Made a big big lunch which is eaten late because they work right through. It’s a pleasure to feed Walberto for whom I have the greatest respect.

Off we go to Hojancha.

It’s 20 ams from Copal, up a winding road to the highest point in Guanacaste. They grow coffee here. It’s cool and breezy and everyone looks really different. They look almost European. The houses are lovely, clearly there’s money here. It’s so amazing to me how money sticks to money, and poverty sticks to poverty. Do they breed? Is it something genetic?

Harry finds a really lovely log cabin and we have a glorious sleep.

Dear reader, this is the end of the Ship’s Log this week. I’ll pick up where I left off next week. Thanks for reading.




Originally published August 13, 2012

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