Oct. 6, 2010
Rain, rain go away
I think I’ve mentioned more than a few times that it’s been raining almost every day, sometimes to excess. I’ve heard that the rain has been more prevalent this year than in the past, and that October is the wettest month of the year. Well, it was confirmed this past week that we are getting a lot of rain – and it has become a problem. In fact, the president has declared a state of emergency because so many roads have been closed nationwide, including the two cross-country, east-west highways. Seems that the construction technique here of building roads on the sides of mountains, without cutting away the abutting mountains to prevent landslides, is now becoming a problem. Across the country, you literally have 100-foot walls of rock and dirt alongside the roads at 70-80 degree vertical angles. Roads are being washed out everywhere. A Bailey bridge (developed in WWII to cross German rivers after the Germans destroyed the originals as they retreated) is even being used to temporarily open up one of the highways. So now we can’t get to San Jose, trucks can’t get here or there to carry stuff like food, and commerce is going to be pretty much at a standstill. Not to mention Jack and I cancelled our trip Saturday to San Jose. The new highway is closed, due to heavy flooding and landslides.
Mini road trip
Not to be deterred, Jack suggested a mini trip just north of Jaco to a small inlet and beach where we could fish. So we got a sandwich at Subway ($5 for a 6-incher), some beer and ice at a local store, and headed to this out-of-the-way place. Unfortunately, in my haste to get ready to go, I forgot my camera, so word descriptions will have to do.
We traveled about 20 minutes north of Jaco before finally taking a dirt side road. The potholes were numerous and deep. After about two miles, we came to another narrow dirt road that led almost to the water. A short walk down the path opened up to this beautiful secluded inlet, with calm waters and boats at anchor, including a 50-foot sailboat that I’ll get back to later. The half-moon inlet is flanked on both side my volcanic rock points. We ate our sandwiches, drank a beer and it was time for the bait meister to try his thing. A guy throwing a cast net and catching fish must be somewhat of a curiosity here because I immediately netted some medium-sized mullet and drew a small crowd. Those would make good cut bait, but I wanted something to use live. Shortly, I netted some large skip jack and my crowd regathered. These were not good for bait but the Ticos took then to eat.
We tried fishing in the surf but no bites, so we grabbed the cooler and other stuff and trekked to the southern rock point where we saw two guys fishing. This beach has lots of dead coral pieces strewn everywhere, in addition to all the rocks. The walk to the point was over a floor of rock, with a sheer rock wall along one side. In some of the rock, you could see seashells embedded, as they were when the rock was lava and gathered up the shells as it entered the ocean. The rock wall looked like a jigsaw puzzle, with fissures everywhere. There was even a small waterfall. When we got out to the point I asked the two Ticos if they had caught anything and got a return grunt of no. We tried fishing here for awhile but had no luck.
There is a resort at this inlet that you have to take a secure road to get into, not the dirt road we took. On the way back, we tried a brick road that winded through the jungle on the way, we thought, to the resort. We figured the worst they could do was turn us back. The road went all the way to the front gate but the guy wouldn’t allow us to go through. So we had to go all the way back and then negotiate the dirt road and all its holes.
About that sailboat: We met the owner, who happened to be American. Quite a bragger, but interesting. Retired from the Marines, fire department and police force, he receives four pensions (one to pay off my ex-wife, he said). He and his friend travel by boat from country to country, and backpack Europe half the year. The boat is fully computerized and self-contained, producing its own power and fresh water. He bragged about how many girlfriends he has around the world, 90 I think he said. Turns out he’s a hound dog like Jack, which may be the reason Jack didn’t like him much, and his friend is more like me when it comes to women, whatever that is.
On that path leading to the ocean, I noticed at my feet these lines of bright green-lime leaves walking across in single file. Little pieces of leaves moving across the ground. Underneath were leaf-cutter ants.
The trick, really, at this time of year, is to get your chores done by 3 p.m. before the rains hit. I was able to fit in the bike ride and the walk back to the grocery store without a problem, however. In fact, I was watching TV at 5 pm and realized the sun was shining through my window, Hadn’t seen it that late for awhile. No rain. Immediately got changed and went to the beach down near the Tabacon where Jack says he often walks Rio at the end of the day. He was there with another guy, Tom, and we went to a beachfront bar to have a beer. A guy named Sam showed up and kind of ruined it with his bigoted conversation. My tongue was bleeding but the sunset was nice and a rare occurrence this time of year.
Monday night I came home to find my next door neighbor playing cards outside with three other guys. He’s a Colombian, about 60, who comes and goes in his SUV and has a regular “girl.” Anyway, about 2:30 am, I decided that loud music and loud conversation was not appropriate. Went outside to plead my case and received a disinterested response. Made me livid and a fight almost ensued. The music was toned down but not the loud conversation. Finally, at 5:30, I got up and ddi my morning walk, not having any sleep the entire night. At dawn, there was still two of them playing cards when I left for the walk. I made sure they knew what I thought of them.
Wednesday, James came by and I asked if there had been any other complaints. He said no and I told him what happened. This is right at the same time he was telling me how much the screen door for the back would cost, and me telling him I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay based on what was happening in the complex. Later, as I was leaving for the store, he was at the gate talking to the head of security. Seems others did complain and the guests were going to be barred and the renter maybe fined. And they now plan an hourly patrol by the security guy at the front gate to see if people are complying with the no noise after 10 pm rule. Sometimes it pays to complain. I ordered the screen door.