Surfing, Misplaced Christmas and a Weird New Year

First, I want to tell you, that two mornings ago, my friend Jeffro and I, did a dawn patrol. We surfed alone, for probably thirty minutes. I have not experienced this here, in years.  It was awesome; the waves, the water, the sky, the coastline and no people to distract my focus. It was glassy, with an offshore wind.

My husband and I, used to surf, Playa Avellanas, by ourselves, quite a bit. I’ll never forget the day, we paddled out, at the river mouth, and I paddled right in to the first wave, of a clean up set. It had to be ten feet. I don’t expect that to ever happen again. I didn’t have time to think. I just went. And there was not one person out there for me to worry about hitting. In recent years, I’ve paddled and backed out of more than one wave; because there were a line of surfers, at the bottom of the wave, looking up at me. For years, we enjoyed surfing with an average of  twelve people in the water, in front of Lola’s, a local restaurant, which used to be Freddie’s. We had many days with two or three other people at the river mouth.

This is Jeffro.

I am so grateful for all of those days, in the water, with few people. Those were the days. And the older I get, the more I know, these are the “good ole days”. That kind of attitude goes a long way when your session is “invaded” by fifty people. That’s what happened two days ago. But I was happy. I got my waves and I got out. It was a great morning.

The next thing I’d like to share is this misplaced Christmas photo. I have more than one camera, and was  disappointed, because I thought I had accidentally deleted this picture. I’m glad I found it!

This is Belen with her first bicycle.

To be a kid again!

This was a good Christmas. It was quiet and simple. There are two children that live here with us, at LaHuerta, Belen and her brother Rafa. She was so excited over this bike. It’s fun to watch them, learning to ride. Rafa had a crash and burn. He has a few strawberries to show for it.

The aftermath of last night’s party, on the hill.

Then, there is the Weird New Year.

In the Christmas~New Years Holiday, it is Costa Rican culture, to vacation, at the beach. They do the same thing, in the Easter holidays. My experience, for the past ten years, has been to step aside, and get out-of-the-way.

Latin American people play music so loud, you wouldn’t believe it. Every bar and discotheque plays music, all night long, at decibals that would astound U.S. police. I know. I was once sited for making noise, with a musical instrument. I had played music at the same noise level, for about a year. But I changed bands, and my neighbors weren’t going to listen to metal. I couldn’t believe they worded my ticket like that. They didn’t even call it music. I was going to put a copy, in my album.

These were the same neighbors that came in my yard, every time my husband swung a hammer. They wanted to know, if we had a permit. If a permit was necessary, it was purchased and posted in plain sight. Like it was supposed to be. Their behavior felt intrusive to me.It felt like, I was living next to a dozen Mrs. Kravitzes, the nosey neighbor, in Bewitched.

Things changed on the island over the years. We could no longer fish, in front of our house. And then we couldn’t fish on the south end, of the island. Fires and camping on the beach had been outlawed, for years. The laws kept changing, and it got to the point, if you did catch a fish, that you had to drive for miles to catch, chances are, you wouldn’t be able to take it home and cook it. It would be too big or too little.

The newcomers, to the island, changed the rental laws, because they didn’t want people in short-term rentals making noise. They really didn’t want the spring vacationers there. It was a coming of age, Georgia tradition, to come to the island for spring vacation.

“These people,”  actually wanted to stop fishing off of the bridges. At this point, I felt as if I could have a heart attack. How could they? Didn’t they realize that fishing off of the bridge was some people’s only recreation. Not to mention, an important source of food. THEY thought it was dangerous. Couldn’t they consider slowing their cars down. I mean, they were in the South, after all. You’re suppose to slow down in the south.

We had already lost so much.

As “they” flew off to all of their many destinations, they never even seemed to consider, the peace, love and serenity that they wanted to rob these fishermen of.

It was a long drawn out fight. In the end, we kept our old bridge, and they built a new one. That was one of the few things that we, as islanders, fisherman, and southerners won.

I could go on and on. Little by little, Southern culture, was squashed. The old charm is gone. People are still arriving and marvelling at the island. They go on tours, guided by people from somewhere else. They’ll never know. Progress sucks!

So~~~~~if you don’t like it leave it.  I did. I couldn’t imagine living there full time. I go there and I enjoy it. And I love my friends and family there, but I’m also glad to leave.

All of this, are reasons why I spend so much time here, in Costa Rica.

The beaches still belong to the people here. I wonder for how long.

I tried to stay out of the fray of debates and discord, over the clash of lifestyles. After what I’ve been through, it doesn’t seem appropriate.

Today, in the afternoon, I ventured out of my house, to see the devastation. It was about two o’clock, in the afternoon. This is what I found.

Flamingo Beach

That’s not to say that there isn’t trash about. I’m sure there is. And I’m sure there has been tons picked up. The morning Jeffro and I surfed at Playa Avellanas, there was loads of trash. And there were also local workers bagging it up, to be hauled off, in preparation, of the expected crowd. This is what they do.

Who knows what will happen in the future? Something weird, to somebody, I’m sure.

Weird is what people call things they don’t understand.

I don’t understand a lot of things here. I really don’t understand people abusing their driving privileges here, to the point, that there are so many deaths and accidents, especially, in the holidays. And it’s weird, that they have so many drownings and never seem to think of posting lifeguards. To me, every holiday is tainted by a sadness, concerning these tragedies.

It’s now eight o’clock here, and in one hour, the music will start-up, from a nearby, third floor rooftop. It will not stop until five, in the morning. For the last three days, it has raged on from ten until two. There will be fire works for sure, and I pray that no buildings or homes burn down this year. A local grocery store, burnt to the ground a few years back, on New Year’s Eve. Things are dry and the wind is blowing.

As all of this Costa Rican culture is going on, I’m just going to sit back in my little casita, and be grateful for these “good ole days”.

Who knows, in the near future, we might have red lights, no cows in the road, fire trucks, policemen, and more paved roads. We might have more licensing and legalities, more law suits, and better pest control.

Come to think of it, we’ll be just like the UNITED STATES.


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