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Ship's Log: Entry #6 August 11 - 18

Saturday, August 11th

Our first holiday from the farm, just the two of us, and we woke up in a lovely log cabin in Hojancha, a mountain town about 18 kilometres from Copal. This is a town that’s high enough to produce it’s own coffee. It’s a town where everyone looks more European than Central American. A town that clearly has money.

We watched the Olympics because there was a TV in the room. So yeah, while it’s weird to be inside watching TV on such a beautiful day, we don’t have TV at our house… and it’s the Olympics. We saw the gymnastic dancing competition thing, diving, synchronized swimming.

The only other time we were near a TV was A) when the opening ceremonies were on we were at a restaurant with a TV whose screen didn’t work (TV mimics radio in Guanacaste) and B) when we were at a restaurant on the way home from San Jose, Harry and the dogs waiting outside, and me watching inside while the food is being prepared.

The place has a beautifully magical garden of tropical flowers. Ginger for days. Cool dark spaces full of large leaves and liberally dotted with brilliantly coloured flowers. The flowers look like you could build things with them, the petals are intricately structured and thick as a good succulent should be. It’s always amazing to me when people here readily agree to let u do things, like pick one. Costa Ricans are reflexively generous people.

We took breakfast at a local soda where we met and chatted with a couple of local guys. Bright eyes, quick to laugh and tease. Clearly old friends. Large, large, large men. My age. Banter about themselves, about the place, questions about us. Too many questions, but people are always curious. Not many are as blunt, though. I was wearing a short skirt, for the beach. It would be dubbed a flirty skirt in fashion magazines. But I don’t flirt, not anymore. Don’t want to, don’t need to. However that didn’t really register with the owner, a proudly unmarried man with blue eyes and a rogue’s demeanour. Fun for a while. Then not.

The road to Playa Corazoncito is a long winding one through the cool filtered light of the rain forest. I am thrown back to my first weeks here when all I could do was gaze at all the plants, the flowers, the trees. My brain cataloguing their leaf shapes, branch patterns, colours, positions relative to the sun — trying to absorb the details about how it all works here that might be useful for my own aspirations for a garden.

Everything is so different from Zone Toronto and all of it conjures feelings of adventure, mystery, wonder. While I was looking at plants and gardens, Harry was learning the names of people, their familial connections, and being entertained with their stories of conquest and shame. Tell me, which of us would you invite to your dinner party?

Playa Corazoncito is a place I would recommend to anyone looking for a hidden away beach on the Pacific. And if you go in October, you’ll witness thousands of turtles emerge to cross the sand to their safe haven in the sea.

We met a lovely man there who has single handedly been protecting the turtles for more than 8 years. It is only in the last 3 that the government has begun to provide him with some assistance. Go Costa Rica. Dedicated, and humble, he keeps track of the eggs, watches over them, notes when they’ve been stolen, calls the authorities.

Corazoncito is also full full full of little crabs in a dazzling variety of shells. It took me a long time to figure out why. Why were they there, and why are they so busy? It turns out they like turtle eggs too. A lot.

From Corazoncito we headed to Samara. We took a shortcut across and great, wide, running river. On days like this I love our car.

On the way is the smaller town of Puerto Carrillo, a lovely beach town next to Samara. I caught sight of a sign for Argentinean food a la parrilla and we were inspired to have dinner there, it reminded us of our dear Argentinean friends in Toronto.

El Colibri is one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in Costa Rica. Dinner turned into an evening of laughing and wine with the owners, Fernando and his lovely wife. Elegant, sophisticated, funny. One bottle became two. Dinner became an overnight stay at their charming hotel. It rained. The pool was lit and reflected the raindrops like a fabulous European movie. Heaven. We giggled in the rain like silly kids.

Sunday, August 12th

Hung over, so what?

More Olympics because there was a TV in the room.

Breakfast by the pool. So cool.

Fernando stops by on their way to Nicoya for a mother’s day thing. It’s mother’s day here this week.

The beach at Carrillo is perfect.

Our drive home is perfect.

We stop for tacos and hamburgers, which turn out to be perfect.

Arrive home to the dogs and our lovely house, all of which seems perfect.

Monday, August 13th

Pay the bills

Then my first time swimming in Nicoya’s Olympic sized pool. it’s so beautiful. And surprising. Virtually empty on a bright sunny day, but for a pair of teenagers in one corner kissing. A few others huddle at another end on the bleachers in the shade. 25 meters wide and a 50 meter length – that’s a long swim for someone who hasn’t been in a pool doing laps for, decades is it? I have to rest after each length. But the water is fine, the pool is clean and clear, and I love to look up and see great trees at the edges. Beguiling sparkle on the water’s surface. Again the sensation that I’m in a movie.

I did 500 meters today. In the mid day sun. Met a mom and her two kids, and left without a shower. The guy who took me down to the pool and introduced me to the facility had some sort of palsy. He was incredibly cheerful and told me all sorts of things about the sports centre. Now my Spanish isn’t that accomplished. It was an extra strain to try and follow his garbled speech, but I got the basics and I loved being escorted my first time.

Tuesday, August 14th

Hit with wood mill and score a bunch of cast off wood to finish the chanchera.

Pablo (next door neighbour, 11 years old) brings his uncle around uninvited and it sets off a serious discussion about security and once again the need (or not) for a gun here. The more the stats point to yes, the stronger my resistance. The impression is that he’s casing the house. Suddenly curtains are drawn at night and Harry starts training Willie how to attack.

Thwarted by the no-signal reality of living on a hill in a rural area of a developing country. No posting today.

Wednesday, August 15th

Thwarted by lassitude, I find myself unable to function. Harry says maybe today is the day I’m supposed to rest. Sleep and reading and thinking, mulling really.

I’m not sure such comments are germane to the purpose of a ship’s log, but then again, this ship is stationary and not in real need of any activity record. there would never be a tribunal nor an inquiry if ever things went awry. It’s just the story of everyday.

Thursday, August 16th

new pigs. it’s a day about the pigs.

Friday, August 17th

Created a new garden in front of the house. Started with the path and worked it until dark. Nothing clears the mind more than building something.

Saturday, August 18th.

Finished planting the new garden then off to get the car from Mincho’s.

We need a part, and Mincho can’t finish the job without it. It’s a starter, we need a new starter. Our old one is in pieces. We need all the guys that hang around the shop to push the car so we can jump start it. The plan is, once it’s going, we never turn it off until we get back to Mincho’s.

Our motto for the trip “No battery, no problem”.

It’s embarrassing that, as the driver, I have the damn gear in reverse and the jump fails – twice. It’s doubly embarrassing that the guys can see from their vantage point the wheels turn in reverse before the stall.

I’m like “Come On Karen, you can not BE this woman right now”

We drive to Santa Cruz (1 hour) for the starter. Mariposa followed us down the road, so we took her with us. It was her punishment for leaving the property. She despises the car.

It was so much fun being able to drive the car even though there was no battery hook up or starter. Talk about getting down to the basics of the combustion engine.

Eff that … Freedom. That’s what I’m talking about.

Originally published September 10, 2012

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