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  • karenleehall

Ships Log: Entry #2 - July 15-21

Sunday July 15th Is it possible that I like dogs so much because they can be your friends without you having to talk to them? Or is it just that they are so damn happy?

I spent quality time on the internet today. Likely it is hard for my readers to fathom how rare it is to have quality time online, but for me it’s a rare treasure. Found Rosetta Stone is available online! So we’ll be going to solve the lack-of-Spanish problem finally. Thanks Mom. Just need to wait until we have a secure internet connection. ICE!!!!!!!! (Pronounced EE-say, it is the acronym of the national telecommunications company in Costa Rica. )

The heat is pretty oppressive, yet strangely, I don’t think it’s as bad as I hear it has been in Toronto. The world is a very weird place.

Monday, July 16th Worked on photos in the archive. Particularly of Harry. I think perhaps he must be my muse. Are there employment opportunities for muses, or is it always unpaid work? The sun is bright, bright, bright. Bright. I call Harry from time to time to see where he is. Intimate tones of voice. Quiet voices across unknown distances communicating ordinary things yet so deeply satisfying. Laundry Then, in the afternoon, a homecoming. Harry returns and he’s blessedly alone. Homecomings cohabit the same emotional space as “all is forgiven”. They are lit with the spontaneous joy of love. Shower Dinner And the sweetest guitar playing I’ve ever heard from Harry. The dogs gather on the porch and the whole family is lulled by the strains of music. I believe I may have seen faeries flying past in the starlight.

Tuesday July 17th We started the day planning the what to do next together over coffee (ahhh contentment). So, there’s the car which needs to be readied for the emissions test. There’s the road which needs repairs against more strong rain (and subsequent further erosion) and frankly to make it passable for something other than our miltary-like 4×4 vehicle. There’s the kitchen which has a collapsing counter and our plan to make it lovely and functional and finally for the first time in my life, I’ll have a kitchen I designed how I want it to be. But we can’t start the kitchen until the road is repaired, because we can’t get the materials up to the kitchen. We can’t fix the road until the municipality gives us the letter showing they are giving us some the of the material. And we’ll need to use the car to carry everything, so it’s the car first. (It’s always the car first).

Wednesday, July 18th Butterflies are everywhere this time of year it seems. Note to self: keep planting flowers.

Thursday, July 19th Woke up and decided I wanted to stay home while Harry deals with the car and the emissions test.

We go to the bank in Nicoya to arrange to get my bank card back, so I don’t need to go all the way to San Jose to do it there.

Met Gladys and Elcira who are decorating the town park for the celebrations starting Friday. Guanacaste chose to annex itself to Costa Rica (over Nicauragua – good choice) back in — I think the 1920’s, but I’ll confirm that later. This is the annexation celebration. It will go on for a week. They are true lovers of holidays here.

Harry left for San Jose

Planted watermelon seeds, Hon Tsai Tai, Arugula, and Freckles Speckled Trout lettuce.

Walberto comes by and we discuss our plans for the kitchen reno. He’ll do part of it, he’ll fix the counter with the sink and he can start next week on Thursday. I’m incredibly excited.

I watch “Elizabeth The Golden Age” the second marvellous Elizabeth movie. What’s Clive Owen done lately? Did he get all used up by Hollywood? Is it just that he’s no longer flavour of the moment? Did he take up carpentry because he’s wealthy enough not to work?

Mariposa has started to bark at night. It’s annoying. I have to get her and put her on her leash. It seems to do the trick, which I find disconcerting somehow. I think she misses Harry.

Willy sweetly stays nearby. I love that. But tonight I find him lolling around beside the house and right beside him, next to his snout, is one of those massive horse-piss spiders. I let out a yelp and pull him away. I grab the shovel and swing and miss the thing. I scream like a little girl. I can’t imagine what the neighbours must think, they who laugh when a snake comes into their house. I do kill it, finally. The thing is the size of my fist. Black and furry. Blech.

Friday, July 20th 6:30 bus to Nicoya

Met Doña Jenarina (pronounced HEN-a-REE-na) on the bus and sat next to her. It’s always awesome to see her, and it’s always a struggle to make conversation. Rosetta Stone I need you. Doña Consuelo is also on the bus, she’s going to Nicoya on our business, to get the letter confirming we will have the culverts for the road work. Good luck Doña Consuelo!

I watched the Parade, took some pics, loved the dresses, ate ice cream at 9 in the morning.

Chat with Harry on the phone. Luckily he called, because my phone ran out of money (everything here is pre-paid) and I couldn’t remember the number to recharge it, so I asked him to please text me the phone number of the phone. He sends a text with instructions I can’t fathom, but not the number of the phone. So, it goes unpaid. When I got home I entered the damn phone number into the phone so that doesn’t happen again.

Coffee with Doña Jenarina. She introduces me to her favourite bakery where the coffee is made from an automatic espresso machine and it simply divine. I buy a special bread for my visitor tomorrow. Jenarina is one of my most favourite people here.

She pre-pays her bus trip back in case she runs out of money in town, she jokes. She also informs me there’s a place to pay your bills in Copal where we live. We don’t need to go to Nicoya every month to pay the bills. Astounding. Laundry Nap Laundry Atonement (the film) Mariposa is inconsolably barking at night since Harry left. It’s driving me mad.

Saturday, July 21st Today I was visited by a man on a horse. While I was expecting him in the afternoon, he came in the morning and caught me in my jammies which are rather like house wear, so perhaps he didn’t notice.

Don Boniface is 90+ years old, he has lived here all his life and like so many people in Guanacaste, he’s as healthy as you or I.

Elegant in the old way – his shirt is freshly pressed, his pants are that old man style I find so cool. His white cotton hat manipulated to the shape of a cowboy hat shades a face with nut brown, relatively smooth skin and bluish eyes. And a ready smile, like everyone here, makes me right at home.

He asks after Harry. I lie and say he was held up in San Jose with car trouble, even though before he left, Harry and I both realized he wasn’t going to make it back for Don Boniface’s visit.

We talk about Guanacaste and he, of course, says how much things have changed. People don’t go visiting anymore. He was born here, and he asks me about all the places I’ve been. How do I like San Jose? Not as much as Rome, or London, or Paris of New York. I ask about a story I heard that Guanacaste used to be a desert, no trees. Yes, before he was born. When he was young, land here was cheap because it is so very hot here.

He used to own a large large piece of land, which has been divided up amongst all his children. We first met the family when we approached them for some of their magnificent bamboo.

Don Boniface goes everywhere on his horse. He’s a slight man, a tiny bit shorter than I. And he sits perfectly straight on his horse. Before he leaves he tells me how enchanted he was to meet me, and there are many hugs and kisses. I noticed him immediately when we first came here because he looks so wonderful on that horse.

Today, I can’t get online and I realize I must also be behind in paying for the internet data stick. I’d pay it in Copal, but I don’t have the cash. Tomorrow I’ll go to Nicoya. Get the cash, pay the phone and the internet.

More laundry

But most exciting, I started reading “1Q84” by Haruki Murakami. I am entranced. “Things are not as they appear”. Hooked. I owe this deep debt of gratitude to my friends who introduced me to this writer. Nothing is quite the same after reading him. There is a heaven on earth and it is found within brilliant literature.

Walberto came by unexpectedly to deliver the message that the culverts have been approved. He will also be doing the work installing them and thus directing the water to it doesn’t damage the road and I guess Doña Consuelo, when she couldn’t reach me, contacted him to let him know. This is great news. I wish i could call Harry and tell him. I was assuming I could sort it all our tomorrow, but I learn from Walberto there’s no bus service on Sundays. Okay then, Monday.

Mariposa started again on her endless round of barking once it became dark. It is like a Chinese water torture. I had to put her on her leash next to the house. Of course it completely breaks my heart and I can’t leave her on it for long. Shortly after she’s freed, she starts barking. Only this evening I take the time to call her on it as soon as she starts and it works briefly. The interruptions seem to have the desired effect and she only chirps occasionally. I can’t help but wonder if it’s about the attention.


Originally published July 23, 2012

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