Sept. 25, 2010
The sickly pool
I’ve been sick most of the week. First, it was a low-grade fever for two days. Now it’s a head cold. Couldn’t figure out how I got infected until I talked with Frank, the owner of my unit (his visit is now over and he’s back in Colombia). Frank had a surgical scar on his chest that had become infected after he used the community pool, I became infected after using the pool, when I put my head underwater (something I rarely do anymore since I got an ear infection in the ocean in Sarasota – it’s really a bad idea to dunk your head in an area where lots of people are swimming, even in the ocean). We had a large number of children at the pool last week, and one of them decided to take a dump in the pool.
Thursday was Jack’s 60th birthday. Last year, he hired two Nicaraguan ladies to mark his 59th, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I offered to buy him dinner. Half expected him to show up with one lady on each arm, one for him and one for me. He showed up alone at the Poseidon Hotel restaurant, which offers 2-for-1 dinners on Thursdays. I was sitting at the bar next to an attractive Tica (Jenny) who was chatting with the bartender. His name is Mark, he’s from the Caribbean and spoke pretty good English. Anyway, I didn’t interrupt the conversation as I sipped on a Pilsner waiting for Jack. When he showed up, of course he knew the bartender and the woman next to me. So the three of us (Jenny, Jack and I) had a very nice time having dinner (I sprung for some BBQ ribs for her at half price) and afterwards at the OZ club where Jack and I played pool.
This was the first time I’ve had dinner out in Jaco (if you don’t count KFC) but it wasn’t really like ordering off the menu because we got the 2-for-1. Comes with a shared appetizer – Jack chose a lettuce-wrap thing where you use lettuce as the wrap for chicken and various veggies. Different. Then you choose from a myriad of main dishes. Jack got the filet mignon and I got the BBQ ribs. Couldn’t believe they had ribs, which I’ve been thinking about lately. The main course, a half-rack, came with mashed potatoes, rice and a veggie medley. The ribs were great and we learned the owner smokes them at home.
All this time, we’re having a sometimes three-way conversation (mostly, though, just two-way between Jack and Jenny, with me sitting in the middle at the bar). Jenny is a waitress at Poseidon and was off work. I also bought her a glass of wine. Jack and Jenny have known each other almost as long as he has been in CR, but he has never scored with her, which might make her one of the few women here who can say that. She is 45 years old, pretty, not in bad shape and speaks pretty good English. When we were done eating we invited her to come along to the OZ, so the three of us drove the few blocks. The tables were empty so we ordered some drinks. We were having a nice conversation when she asks Jack to make her ex-boyfriend jealous – he was across the street in another bar (they are all open to the outside and, as a result, you can see who’s inside). He is 30 years old. I asked her if she was a cougar and she immediately smiled and said “Cougar Town,” but she seemed offended by me calling her one. She eventually walked across the street to talk with the ex she wanted nothing to do with, so we brought her purse over to her when we left.
I did talk to Jenny about getting together to help each other learn our respective languages. We’ll see.
When I paid the restaurant bill Thursday (about $70), I pulled out my passport for ID, as I always do when using my debit card. Jack and Jenny both immediately asked why I had my passport. When I explained, they said I needed a copy and to hide the original. I have a copy but it’s a Xerox and very bulky. Apparently, you can have the first page made into a laminated version for ID purposes. It looks like a driver’s license. This will be a priority in the coming week. Update: Just took a walk to get my laminated passport card and a few groceries. I was told about a place further down main street for the passport stuff but I remembered a place right around the corner that might do it, and I was right. I’ve now hidden my real passport and will carry around the laminated copy. Cost for the laminated copy – $3. This shop is also where I plan to bring some of the photos I kept when I left the States to have them blown up for framing.
Friday, Sept. 24, must be a holiday here. Awoke at 8 to the sounds of marching bands. When I made it to the main street on my way to the beach for my morning walk, there were marching bands lined up down main street, drums a-rolling. By the time I returned, they were marching down the road, police cars, fire trucks and sirens leading the way.