Page 1

editor’s note


s we move into the low season of 2009, never having had a high season, we wonder what is ahead for our beach towns. Certainly, business is down drastically, as it is world wide, but here the effect is more visible. The legacy of the development boom of a few years ago is evident – stores closing daily, long-time residents moving away, brand-new shopping plazas with no tenants, highrise buildings unfinished and abandoned or finished but empty, all along the coast. To many, the knowledge that the “robber barons” with no emotional connection to Costa Rica, who came here to rape and pillage four years ago have lost their investments is small but welcome consolation. When the Howler published its “Tamarindo – Boom or Bust” issue in October 2004, we predicted a similar scenario, but we saw it as selfinflicted, not the result of a world-wide meltdown. Some “analysts” say we have passed the nadir of the recession – let’s hope they are right. Whether or not, it will be interesting when the world reestablishes itself to see how, if and when Tamarindo and the Gold Coast will come back to life. In the meantime, we must hang tough and survive. If we can put business out of our minds, it is nice to have empty beaches, clear roads without the traffic gridlock of two years back. It seems that Tamarindo has reacquired the “pioneer” atmosphere that was so refreshing. For sure, the recession has sorted the wheat from the chaff. Interestingly, when the artist added a few imaginary buildings to Tamarindo’s landscape (below), none was higher than 3 storeys. For someone portraying a pessimistic forecast, he was quite optimistic. According to the World Bank Institute, Costa Rica has the highest rating in Central America for combating insecurity, and is in position 47 among 209 countries world wide. Guatemala is the worst of Central America, with a standing of 156 in the world. The remaining Central American countries are ranked at Panama (104), El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras. Ratings are based on various factors including effective agencies, availability of police and detectives, the role of judges and investigators and the existing laws.

May 2009

The Howler Since 1996


8 Dining Out

Moved to its new location by force majeure, Kahiki is still serving the same delicious meals with Chef Steve.

9 Colorful Stories to Music and Dance

Guanacaste has a rich tradition of folk dances and music. Kay Dodge interprets some of their origins and meanings

13 What’s Developing?

Alongside a brand-new highway, Pura Aventura offers canopy Tours, horseback riding and a look at the country style of life.

14 Around Town Openings, closings, parties, music. The Gold Coast has it all, and bar-hoppin’ David is in the groove.

15 Surf Report

Full report on the International Surfing Association World Junior Surfing Games in Salinas, Ecuador.

16 Tamarindo - Heaven on Earth?

After four family trips to Costa Rica, our writer chooses Tamarindo as the closest thing to his idea of paradise.

25 Just One of Those Days

Our columnist waxes philosophical after a visit by Murphy disrupts the simple job of lining a well.

26 Surviving Costa Rica

A bar owner is surprised and disappointed to find out that the hired rock and roll band actually plays loud music.

Cover Caption: A blue Guanacaste moon photographed through the coastal mist. Cover design and photo: John Lyman




CD Review


Book Review

12 Yoga 19 Puzzle 20 Slice of Life 21 Tide Chart 24 May Forecasts 28 Sun & Moon

The Howler

Party Animals

Founded in 1996 Vol. 14, No. 5 - May 2009 Issue No. 152

Chad Gaston, his wife Devon and sister Lindsey have been partying it up recently at Aqua Disco. Any excuse for a party! A surf ‘n’ sushi board for Lindsey’s birthday. Guess which one.

Editorial Office: Casa Equinox, Playa Tamarindo Guanacaste, Costa Rica Ced. Juridica: 3-101-331333

Chad’s birthday.

Publisher, editor and production David Mills • Tel/fax: 2-653-0545 Contributors: KAY DODGE TOM PEIFER JOHN LYMAN ELLEN ZOE GOLDEN JEANNE CALLAHAN JESSE BISHOP NINA WEBER TONY OREZ

Aqua’s first anniversary

G a l l e r y

Deadline for June: May 15

Howler advertising

Advertise in the Howler and improve your business. The Howler now offers a wide range of advertising sizes and formats to suit all needs. Please contact: David Mills - 2-653-0545 - Advertising rates (color)

Brian Dale at Cocodrilo

Banana Kings at Mama’s Deli Opening of Amata Terra Restaurant


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Tope at Lorena Fire fun at Sharky’s

Destruc tive Driving

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x x x x x x x x x x

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Discounts: For 6 months, paid in advance, one month is deducted. For 12 months paid in advance, two months are deducted. Ads must be submitted on CD or e-mail attachment, JPG format at 266 dpi, at the appropriate size (above). All comments, articles and advertising in this publication are the opinion of their authors, and do not reflect the opinion of Howler Management.

Creative Parking

David Mills

Dining Out Kahiki Restaurant Tamarindo



ecently, Pachanga has tended to confuse. For years, it was the domain of Schlomy Koren, who moved to Seasons, and chef Andrea Segnini, from Sukkha, took over for a very short time, and then the restaurant closed. Following the fire which destroyed Iguana Surf, Kahiki moved to Pachanga and is now serving the good food for which Kahiki was known before the blaze, under ownership of Dave MacDaniel. Chef Steve Blanco, who served fine foods in New York restaurants, moved to Tamarindo eight years ago and presided over Las Olas, Lazy Wave and Mar y Sol in Flamingo before moving to Kahiki. The restaurant is small, leisurely and comfortable, a good peoplewatching place. 2-653-8762 / 2-653-6282 / 8-354-1041

For starters, there is a choice of chicken skewers, firecracker shrimp, fish fingers in a tropical dipping sauce, shrimp roll with pineapple sauce. There is chicken soup with Asian vegetables and a Caesar and a house salad. We chose the Aloha Tuna Tower, and the Mediterranean Platter, hummus with chips, olives and falafel, plus an arugula salad. All dishes were delicious and plentiful. For burger fans, there is the classic woody burger and a Honolulu Mahi Mahi fish burger. My dining companion, though vegetarian, found plenty to interest her among the entrees: the mahi mahi turns up again in two entrees – with a tropical glaze or with puttanesca sauce; a vegetarian lasagna; two tuna dishes – blackened or Asian style; whole roasted red snapper; and Hawaiian coconut shrimp with mango sauce. I could be a vegetarian if I didn’t like meat so much, and chose the pork tenderloin, medaillons of juicy pink meat on a bed of potato puree and spinach. Other choices were chicken breast with couscous and spinach, chicken penne in a green walnut pesto, filet mignon marinated in chipotle and surf ‘n’ turf. Desserts are vanilla ice cream, triple chocolate brownie with ice cream, and a heavily loaded Rousie Brown after-dinner drink. Kahiki is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 10. All major credit cards are accepted. Tel: 8826-0758. Opposite Pasatiempo in Hotel Mamiri. This location also serves breakfast and lunch under the name Jimmy’s.

Colorful Stories in Music and Dance


ith a flash of yards of colored skirts, the marimba players strike the first high notes of the familiar folkloric melody of Punto Guanacasteco, the national dance of Costa Rica. Whether in the Melico Salazar Theater in San José or at one of the scores of fiestas civicas held all over Costa Rica, typical folkloric dances have become a colorful symbol of Costa Rica’s cultural heritage. Professional dance groups and local school groups don the traditional garb of Costa Rica’s past. Roots of these festive dances lie in coffee plantations in the mountains, Guanacaste’s famous ranching culture mixed with a bit of indigenous folk dance and music and romantic Spanish melodies. Sometimes humorous, sometimes romantic, the energetic dance pieces always tell a unique story of Costa Rican cultural past. According to Cinda Chase in the Costa Rican American Forums, “Like many Costa Rican folk dances, the Costa Rican national dance, the punto guanacasteco, comes from the province of Guanacaste. Couples wear traditional costumes and follow a melody played with a marimba (a type of wooden xylophone) and several guitars. This dance, like other popular dances, portrays the courting traditions of the past. The male dancer always follows his female partner and the latter, while smiling, pretends to get away from him. The male dancer periodically stops the music by shouting “¡Bomba!” so that he may recite humorous praises, called bombas, to his lady. A tradicional bomba goes as follows: “Dicen que no me quieres / porque no tengo bigote / mañana me lo pondré / con plumas de zopilote.” (They say that you don’t love me / because I don’t have a mustache / tomorrow I shall put one on / made out of buzzard feathers.)” Each January, during the fiestas in Santa Cruz, known as the Folkloric City, scores of marimba groups line the streets to play the many familiar songs and scores of dancers perform the “cultural stories” to the strains of the marimbas. In schools, on civic holidays, children of all ages don the costumes and sandals – the girls in home-sewn skirts made from tiers of colorful fabric, white-lace-trimmed off-the-shoulder

Kay Dodge de Peraza

blouses, braids and flowers in their hair; the boys, in white pants, shirts, red cummerbunds and scarves, wear the traditional cotton hats. S a r a h Wr i g h t , a writer and researcher, in her description of Guanacaste Day which celebrates the Annexation of Guanacaste to Costa Rica, explores the anatomy of the folkloric dances: “The most popular bailes típicos (typical dances) that occur throughout this celebration,” she notes, “include the Cabillito nicoyano (Little Horse from Nicoya ); El torito (The Little Bull); and the national step dance, the Punto guanacasteco (Guanacaste dance step). In the Cabillito nicoyano the barefoot dancers are dressed in campesino style: the man wears white work pants, a long-sleeved white shirt, a campesino hat, a red cummerbund, and a red bandanna. The woman wears a white, offthe-shoulder blouse accented with lace, and a flowing, tiered skirt of bright colors. The dance is between the character of a male cattle rancher and the woman he is trying to impress. The man in the dance is the cattle rancher and the woman is a colt that needs to be captured. The music mimics the sound of horses’ hooves. The man follows the woman around in a circle attempting to lasso the colt with his bandanna. The dance ends with an intensifying chase as she twirls toward him, and is finally caught. The El Torito is a dance between a man and a woman where the man is the bull and the woman is the bullfighter.. The man is portrayed as a sort of spirited rogue, attempting to kiss her; while she showcases a graceful femininity oblivious to the danger the bull presents, and eventually dominates him. The Punto Guanacasteco (Guanacaste dance step) contains three steps and involves, from time to time, all dancers pausing in mid-dance and a male dancer shouting out a witty, sometimes racy, rhymed verse that comments on some aspect of the interaction depicted in the dance scene).” (Helmuth 2000) Costa Ricans are very proud of their history and culture, and there is an effort by government and cultural organizations to promote the cultural heritage of Costa Rica through music and dance. For example, in April a group of Rotary International members from California, Florida and San José visited schools with the Amigos para la Educacíon to donate library and scholastic books to area schools. At the La Garita elementary school, the donors were treated to the traditional music and dances by the school’s two dance groups. The marimba, also recently donated to the school, will be used to teach young people to learn the instrument and continue the musical heritage.

CD Review Mangoré Tony Orez


n my Merriam Webster’s collegiate dictionary, “dedication” is defined as “the act of committing to a goal or way of life.” I find both options of this definition as an appropriate description for the musical career of Manuel Obregon. He is one of the three founders of Papaya Music, Costa Rica’s preeminent music label. A classically trained pianist, Obregon is the musician among the three partners. But I think he should also be referred to as a music historian or musicologist as well and this is where the “commitment to a goal and a way of life” comes into play. The accomplishments that Papaya Music has amassed in just seven short years speak for themselves. The company has done no less than an amazing job of preserving Central America’s diverse musical past while, at the same time, opening the doors of exposure for a new generation of talented and budding musicians from this area. As a result, Papaya Music has literally become the standard for other music labels to emulate. In 1999, prior to embarking on this lifelong venture of passion, Manuel Obregon recorded an album entitled “Mangoré”. Recorded in Germany and mastered in New Orleans, the disc is a compilation of scores written by the revered Paraguayan guitarist Augustin Mangoré (1885 – 1944). A child prodigy, Mangoré began performing in public at the age of thirteen and writing original compositions by the time he was nineteen. His main musical influences were classical, religious and the indigenous Guarani, of which he was a descendent. During the latter half of his career, in fact, Mangoré insisted on performing only in Guarani costumes. The list of his admirers includes Maestro Andres Segovia, for whom Mangoré performed a private concert, and John Williams, who has proclaimed Augustin as “the purest guitarist ever”. And, of course, Manuel Obregon. Obregon transcribed the songs for his CD, written specifically for the guitar, so that he could give his renditions of them on piano. In that sense, it is similar to “Piano Malango”, Obregon’s most recent CD, which is a collection of songs that represent a history of Costa Rica through its songwriters. A key part of both these discs is Manuel Obregon giving his interpretation, his twist, to the original scores. Nearly a century has passed since Augustin Mangoré created his own, personal style of music that was a poetic fusion of his influences. On this nearly one-hour disc, Manuel Obregon has successfully channeled his interpretations, his unique variations on the theme, to create a new sound on the piano, different than Mangoré’s original works. Included in the arrangements are the classic masterpiece “La Catedral”, the folkloric “Danza Paraguaya” and the challenging “Gran Tremelo”, where Obregon plays an unbridled interpretation. A project of this magnitude could not be propelled without passion and dedication. Merriam Webster would be proud. Unfortunately, “Mangoré” has been out of print for several years. A recently unearthed limited amount of copies are available at Jaime Peligro in Playa Tamarindo, where they will gladly sample the music for their customers.

Book Review Señora Honeycomb Tony Orez


ood as an aphrodisiac is not exactly new subject matter in literature. On the contrary, it’s been a concurrent theme for many new fiction and travel journals. Bunny Buitrago’s recent novel Senora Honeycomb certainly falls into this category. But what sets this book’s main character apart from any other I’ve read in this genre is that Teadora Vencejos is one part Aphrodite, one part Cinderella and one part Julia Child, with a little Sleeping Beauty thrown in for good measure. Like the authoress, Teadora is a Colombiana, but when the novel opens, she is working in Madrid, crafting culinary cuisine designed to pique erotic curiosity. And she is a master (mistress?) at it, as her boss Dr. Amiel is always willing to point out as he works on alongside her on their bawdy confectionary creations. Teadora, as it turns out, is a living, breathing fertility icon, albeit a very naïve one. Unbeknown to her, there is no creature, animal or vegetable, who can resist her charms, with the possible exception of her philandering husband, Don Galaor Ucros, the laughable villain in this work of fiction. OK, the book is basically an adult fairy tale. But it’s a fun little romp of literature, well-written and not without its redeeming qualities or evil godmothers. Senora Honeycomb is Bunny Buitrago’s fourth novel and her first to be translated to English from her native Spanish. I think Margaret Peden is to be commended for her translation and in preserving the wistfulness, the wordplay and especially the humor of the original text. It’s hard enough to write good comedy in one’s native language, let alone to have it successfully transcribed to another. Teadora’s small Caribbean hometown in Colombia is full of colorful characters and, as in any small community, gossip is, of course, the central nervous system of communication in Real de Marquez. Every citizen seems to have a whimsical nickname (my favorite was “The Turk”, who in fact was Arab. This lengthy moniker follows him throughout the novel like a string of tin cans tied to his leg). And when Teadora returns to her hometown incognito, she is allowed to view the village’s dynamics as an outsider, but with a complete knowledge of the histories of these people which, in turn, gives her a new perspective on the scenario and inter-relationships of the citizenry. There are enough subplots and minor characters to keep the reader’s interest, without the storyline becoming too congested or convoluted. Even the fairytale ending works in this novel because Fanny’s colorful writing leads the reader comfortably into it. The book closes with a glossary: “Colombian Kitchen and Garden According to Fanny”, a useful tool for local references (that are conveniently italicized) in the novel and an interesting read on its own, including some regional recipes. I’ve heard that Fanny Buitrago has recently started to write children’s fairy tales as well. After reading Senora Honeycomb, it is easy to see how she could make this transition. Fanny Buitrago has a knack for keeping her reader enthralled in suspended reality.

Enquire about special rates for residents

By Nina Weber Certified Yoga Instructor

on the Beach Woman in motion Transformation in life * Find inner peace Get it together * Celebrate your self

YOGA works for everyone, old and young, man and woman. Yoga provides many benefits - to balance emotions and to balance the body fluids. Indra Devi, author of many books, and known as “the first lady of yoga” writes: “You will be able to enjoy better sleep, a happier disposition, a clearer and calmer mind. You will learn how to build up your health and protect yourself against colds, fevers, constipation, headaches, fatigue, and other troubles. You will know what to do in order to remain youthful, vital and alert, regardless of your calendarage; how to lose or gain weight; how to get rid of premature wrinkles, and keep a smooth skin and clear complexion.” It is time to take responsibility for how we want to live the rest of our lives and let’s honor who we are. A rejuvenating, relaxing, energizing, revitalizing “fountain of youth” called YOGA can help to balance our energies as we move through new stages of our lives. These unpleasant symptoms of hot flushes, sweats, depression, nervousness, loss of self-esteem and sudden mood changes often accompany the decreasing levels of estrogen in our bodies. Yoga will help balance the fluids of the body. It calms the nervous system, reduces stress and the aggravation of hot flashes. Yoga is a weight-bearing exercise, strengthening our bones and preventing osteoporosis. The practice of asanas

YOGA AT CASA AZUL in Tamarindo Beachfront provides a combination of Dynamic * Challenging * Inspiring * Encouraging and Relaxing Yoga * Small groups and individual adjustments *Most important.: Yoga is fun !!! For more information email me at (yoga poses) also massages the reproductive organs, relieves pelvic congestion and headaches, boosts the immune system, reduces fatigue, and smoothes out mood swings. The deep breathing that goes hand in hand with asana (yoga poses) oxygenates the blood, cleansing the organs and the respiratory system, nourishing the nervous system. Overall, it helps you to get a clear mind. Take it slow and practice yoga regularly. Even if you only have enough time to do just a few postures a day, you’ll still notice an overall increase in your health, flexibility, vitality and attitude toward life. Stretch as far as you can - but don’t force it. Do what you can to maintain comfort. Always have fun! Many people truly believe that this is the key to enjoying a good and full life. Feel the power of yoga with this simple pose: Stand or sit up straight with your feet hip width apart. In the spirit of celebration, inhale deeply, lift your heart, and raise your arms out to your sides, palms facing upward. Then raise them all the way and up overhead, palms facing each other. As you lift, imagine pulling energy up through your feet, through your body, and let it flow out your fingertips. Inhaling, feel your ribs expand and separate as you lengthen your waist. Let your face shine upward. Maintain the lift as you breathe--extend your fingertips up and your shoulders down. Lifting and expanding, take 3-5 full breaths. On the exhale, consciously lower your arms. Can you feel it? Energy! Power!

What’s developing?

David Mills

Pura Aventura Rio Seco


inally, it is finished, and the new road between Veintesiete de Abril and Paraiso is a beauty, paved, painted and smooth as a billiard table, with a wide cycle path. And, of course, businesses will spring up along its path, hoping to attract some

their own plantation in the mountains towards San José. The café boasts the largest coffee machine in Costa Rica. Also on the property is a working farm with riding horses, cattle for milk, cheese and beef. Children can be brought in to stay awhile and learn the country ways – not a bad idea considering the reviving back-to-nature grow-your-own movement. Water is available via springs from the aquifer; despite the village’s name Río Seco, the river (real name Nandamojo) frequently overflows its banks in winter. In addition to the domesticated animals on the finca, Hacienda Norma is home to many wild species – howler monkey, puma, anteater, iguana... There are also two waterfalls in the hills, one being year-round and varying in size depending on the season.

of the tourists who zip by en route to the beaches. Hacienda Norma is a vast expanse of land stretching from the road to the distant mountains and encompassing 600 hectares (1,500 acres). Part pasture, part forest, mountain and river valley, it will be an outdoor entertainment complex. Already in operation is Pura Aventura, with horseriding and canopy tours; soon to come will be rappelling in the hills, rock climbing, river tubing, adventure trails and camping in tree houses. The most conspicuous feature of Hacienda Norma is the all-teak café on a mound at the side of the highway overlooking the property. This new café was built, by owner Sam Patterson of Tampa, Florida, from the remains of a 150-year-old farm (photo), using much of the original planking. Manager Roland Floyd tells us that this is the philosophy for the rest of the property – to use whatever is already available in the forest and bring in as little as possible. Tables are made from huge slabs of Guanacaste wood. The café sells fruit drinks from the hacienda’s trees, milk and fresh-made cheese from the finca and coffee from

The Canopy Tour, arranged around a welcome center in the hills, comprises eleven runs over a length of two kilometers, the longest run being 500 meters and the highest 130 meters. It is suitable for all ages; the day I visited the Canopy Tour had people between 2 and 70 years old. Prices at the center are set to encourage ticos as well as gringos. Pura Aventura at Hacienda Norma is located two kilometers east of Rio Seco, between 27 Abril and Paraiso. For information, call Roland Floyd at 2-653-0262 or Travis Patterson – 8-873-7236, or e-mail

A ro T o u w n n d

by David Mills

In these dismal days of businesses closing, it is refreshing to see a few opening. In Potrero, we attended the new Hotel Mediterraneus with its Amata Terra Restaurant, and Shack’s Bar near Perla’s. And in Tamarindo, Dave and Doug have taken over the back bar at Voodoo and will run it as a local sports bar, a commodity much needed in town – big screens, pool, foosball, and a friendly bar. Their success depends on you, the customer; support local businesses.

Even in Paradise one needs vacation. El Coconut will be closed from the 18th of May till the 15th of June. Do not miss the 20% birthday discount on Saturday the 20th of June! Died and gone to heaven? No, not yet. I’m at Ben and Katie’s new sports bar Sharky’s watching Stanley Cup Hockey playoffs on a 10-foot screen. Finally, hockey in Tamarindo! Sharky’s (next door to Pacific Park) has a range of sports events on the 30-foot screen. Saturdays, ladies drink free from 9-11. Videos will screen all the ‘80s classics. Pura Vida Health operates an organic market on the beach at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, every Saturday, and will host a community Beach Fair on the first Saturday of every month. See the article elsewhere in this magazine for exciting details of this fun event Cocodrilo Restaurant introduces its new “economic crisis” menu: an appetizer, main course and dessert for $20, and reductions on regular menu prices. Kahiki and Jimmy’s Restaurants have arisen again, now at Pachanga, after the fire at Iguana Surf. Jim and Susanne run Jimmy’s for breakfast and lunch, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m; Dave McDaniel is operating Kahiki, with the same hours (closed Mondays) and serving the same great meals from chef Steve Blanco. Nightly specials are: Tuesday - 2x1 caiparinha; Wed - free beer with a burger; Thur - 2x1 mojitos; Fri - 50% off all appetizers; Sat - Ladies Night 2x1 drinks; Sun - live music (see Review, page 8). Surfside Properties and Coldwell Banker Beach Properties have joined forces, and will work out of the Coldwell Banker offices in Brasilito. Contact Laurie Meier 2-654-5567 or 8-865-1143 for details. Got any old clothes to get rid of? Blankets, linens or anything that can be useful to others in a disaster situation? Brandon McCullers has put his Pacific Coast Storage at your disposal. Call 8-305-1919 for details, or drop stuff at Stella’s Boutique (opposite Lazy Wave) where Lesley will pass it on. Also wanted, sealable storage containers (e.g. ice cream buckets).

Located inside Ursula’s Restaurant (old Stella) 150 meters east of Pasatiempo.

Surf Report Story: Ellen Zoe Golden


nder the leadership of José Ureña, who serves as both President of the Federacion de Surf de Costa Rica and coach of all the National Costa Rican Surf Teams, the national selections continue to improve every time they go to an international event. That was just the case when the Costa Rica National Junior Surf Team completed seven days of competition on April 4 at the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Junior Surfing Games Ecuador 2009 in Salinas.

Depositing the sand into the mixture with the other countries’ was the responsibility of Costa Rica’s team members Bernold and Muñoz.

Having set out to beat their #12 ranking, earned last year at the ISA World Junior Surfing Games France 2008, they ended up with their last remaining soldier battling it down to the horn to push them into tenth. That was Carlos Muñoz of Esterillos (photo), who also made history at this event as the Latino who went the furthest in these heats, going all the way to Round 8 of repercharge and finishing ranked #9 in the games under-16.

The first representatives of the Costa Rica Team entered the water March 29 at Playa La FAE. The outstanding surfer of the day was Muñoz, who competed in both categories within 5 minutes of each other.

In addition, Muñoz earned #21 in the Under-18, the second-best Hispanic after the Chilean Guillermo Satt, who obtained #19 out of 99 competitors who ran La FAE during the week.

“As surfers, we are explorers of the world who have invested more than half of our time looking for waves on the planet, and for nobody is it a secret that there are incredible waves bursting in Ecuador, and that makes this appointment very special,” declared ISA POresident Fernando Aguerre during the inauguration.

Muñoz entered the Under-16, and promptly ran a few good waves. He left before the end of the heat and ran the 400 meters up the beach to the other podium and changed his lycra to enter the Under-18. It boded well for the youngster as he pulled a first place win in the

Muñoz—known as Cali to his friends—appeared in tears when leaving the water, because he wanted to go further. It was this heat, when he faced South Africans Mikey February and David Brand. February and Brand gave the Tico a run for his money during the 20 minutes of heat: whenever Muñoz pulled ahead, one of the other came right back, relegating him to 3rd place at the end. “My surfing is the reason I did not finish satisfied, but I feel content that Costa Rica ultimately ended up strong in this World Junior Surfing Games and managed to improve from the last time. There is no doubt that my country is one of the best in the world,” expressed Muñoz. Just how did Costa Rica arrive at this place with only one surfer and a Top 10 spot? Let’s rewind and run it down. The Costa Rican National Junior Surf Team included: Under 18: Danny Bishko/Esterillos, Maykol Torres/Esterillos, Ariel Agüero/Quepos and Carlos Muñoz/Esterillos. Under 16: Carlos Muñoz/Esterillos, Anthony Fillingam/Malpais, Jordan Hernandez/Limon and Noe Mar McGonagle/Pavones. Girls Under 18: Nataly Bernold/Jaco, Anatasia Bissinger/Limon, Elisa Bonomelli/Jaco. Already there were high expectations for Costa Rica’s champion surfers Muñoz and Bernold, both of whom have accumulated previous World Junior Game experience three other times, and yet are aged only 15 and 16, respectively. The first official day of events for the Ticos had them joining the other 264 surfers from 27 countries in the traditional Parade of Nations through the crowded streets of Salinas. The team carried with them the sands of Playa Jaco to contribute to the Sands of the World Ceremony, which is part of the activities that officially open the World Junior Surfing Games at the conclusion of the march.

Carlos Noel Under-16 and a second place in the Under-18 besting surfers from Australia, United Kingdom, France and Canada. For their part, Bishko (under-18), Hernandez and young McGonagle (under-16) all placed second in their respective heats and passed to the next round. The 12-year-old promise McGonagle has set a national Tico record of participation for being the youngest participant at the World Junior Surfing Games, and his advancement sets the stage right. Luck was not with Torres that first day; it seemed he was assured passage in his Under-18 heat before being beaten by the Canadian Janek Peladeau, leaving Torres for the repercharge rounds. The resident of Malpais, Fillingam could not bring his best level of surfing and he fell to third place behind Australian Creed McTaggert and Englishman Tom Good. He, too, saw the rest of the competition from the repercharge rounds. (continued page 18)

Tamarindo Heaven on Earth?


or many years now my wife and I and our daughter Danielle have travelled all over Canada, the US, the Caribbean Islands and Europe, and the one place that tops our list of favorite places is Costa Rica. We recently spent a week in Tamarindo, our third time there, and our fourth time in Costa Rica. It was 2006 when we last saw that dusty little town, with its spectacular beaches, great restaurants and friendly people. The first thing we asked ourselves on our first day was: “why did we wait so long to return?” We had forgotten about how much we loved this place, and vowed never to let that happen again. There is something special about Costa Rica. Especially Tamarindo, where the magic and ambiance that prevails the whole country seems magnified. I can’t say it in so many words, and my wife, the most eagle-eyed travel critic, is sensitive to travel experiences, and would spot any problem areas in a heartbeat. She is Tamarindo’s biggest fan. If we had to define and quantify the Tamarindo experience

with words, we’d have to talk about the uncrowded beaches. The friendly atmosphere. The mood, attitude and relaxed way of life that seems to live within the locals and tourists alike. The first thing we did when we arrived at Tamarindo was to stock up our fridge. We were staying on the beach at Casa Cook and planned on cooking one meal a day, the other meal at a local restaurant. The local restaurants such as Pedro’s and Nogui’s were my personal favorites. Breakfast was always the same: fresh fruit and fresh Costa Rican coffee. Waking up early every morning was pure bliss. The sun, the wind, the monkeys, the walkers and joggers heading down the beach all add to the early morning euphoria. It doesn’t get any better. After fruit and coffee, a run down the beach for some early morning exercise starts the day off right. Nothing like jogging

Robert Provencher

barefoot on the beach, with the rising sun streaking across the vast ocean bottom revealed by the low tide. We always felt safe when in Costa Rica, even at night in pitch dark, walking this same beach under the stars back to our cabin. This was always an amazing experience punctuated by the sounds of the surf and the occasional shooting star in the night sky. Pure poetry. Sometimes I like to sit back and people watch. Whether in the airport waiting for my plane or in the heart of Tamarindo at night, watching the locals carry on was of particular interest to me. They smiled a lot, and laughed. I had little idea of what they were talking about, but it sounded interesting, given the bantering and laughing. “These are happy people,” I always thought to myself. Generous, caring and open. I hoped that those who visited Costa Rica or moved here would be impressed and positively affected by their unpretentious ways. You often hear the expression “pura vida” which, as I understand it, means pure living. I believe it goes deeper than

that. The ecological wonders, the magnificient scenery and the geography, which are all part of what makes Costa Rica special, are only a part of the picture. The best part that is expressed in ‘pure living’ goes much deeper and extends to the unseen. It’s part of that ambiance, the soulful and gentle ways of the people who make up this country. One needs to experience it to know it. My hope is that this way of life that defines who this country is remains immune to outside, and possibly destructive, forces and remains the way I appreciate it: peaceful, quiet, uncommercialized, affordable, and safe. I know of no other place that offers all these things rolled into one. After meeting many other tourists, and expats and locals, it seems they all feel the same way as I do: that this place is like no other. To me, it’s heaven on earth.

Surf Report

(from page 15)

In the second day of competition March 30, the Boys Under-18 and the Girls Under-18 competed and put their skills on display. In the former category, Bishko and Muñoz were victorious in their two heats, against surfers of Chile, the United States, Tahiti and Argentina. In the main Round 2, Bishko came in second behind Chile’s Guillermo Satt, who is considered one of the best Hispanic surfers of the World Surfing Games. Bishko, surfing with force and fluidity, managed to connect each of the sections of the last two waves he took, making them his best ones, for a combination of 12.64 points. Next it was Muñoz’s turn where he faced another Latino, the Argentinean Martin Carricart, Chase Wilson from the United States and the Tahitian Arimoana David. In the last three minutes of the heat, Muñoz jumped from fourth to second, taking advantage of his last wave and surpassing Carricart and Wilson to make it to Round 3 of the Under-18. Unfortunately, in his debut at the Games, Agüero ran a very good Under18 heat, but did not reach a high enough score against Martin Vazquez of Mexico and P V Laborde to pass. He headed to repercharge, along with Torres. It was also the first day of the Girls Under-18, but no one managed to advance in the main event. All went to repercharge rounds. As Elisa Bonomelli, Anastasia Bissinger, and Nataly Bernold opposed the surfers of Australia and the United Kingdom, they placed third in their respective heats. In the case of Bernold, currently ranked #6 Women in the world, the result is obviously a disappointment due to the fact that she is a great favorite and plays an important role for the Costa Rica National Surf Team. Just as he aced the Open, Junior and Boys categories in the last date of the Circuito Nacional de Surf when he won trophies in all those categories, Muñoz dominated all the heats in which he participated. First he whipped Dean Bowen of Australia, leaving him in 3rd place, with Muñoz surfing to second behind Brazil’s Thiago Guimaraes. Then, in the Under-16, he surpassed Ricardo Luke of Puerto Rico, Cristoban de Col of Peru, and Damien Norman of New Zealand to take 1st place.

Casagua Horses

The crowd on Playa La FAE dedicated their applause to Muñoz once he left the water, with the win in the Under-16. He now had the distinc(continued page 23

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A Slice of Life Dead Shot


t was a pretty afternoon in late summer, and the regulars were congregated on the back patio of the Madison Avenue pub. Old Archie had the chair, and was telling stories of his days as a Spitfire pilot during the Battle of Britain in Southern England. We listened attentively to his lies as he relived the dogfights, his hands doing duty as Spitfires and Messerschmidts, his “tat-a-tat-a-tat” simulating the sound of the guns, so that we could almost smell the cannon exhaust as he fired burst after burst into the Hun. Suddenly, Archie’s head snapped back and his eyes rolled upward, then closed, and we saw with disbelief the purplishred spot that had appeared in the centre of his forehead. Shocked, we gasped, unable to grasp what had just happened, and a couple of us actually stopped drinking. Slowly, he opened his eyes. “Bastard,” he cursed, wiping his face with a napkin. Understanding dawned. Some passing bird had dropped one right on Archie’s head. The local mulberry trees were in full fruit, and birdshit was bright purple.

Do you have a story to tell? This page is available for your “Slice of Life” - any short incident of your life which readers may find interesting or amusing. E-mail to to submit your story.





01:07 07:32 13:36 19:56 02:08 08:37 14:45 21:04 03:14 09:45 15:57 22:14 04:21 10:50 17:07 23:21 05:25 11:50 18:09

0.2 8.2 0.9 8.1 0.6 8.1 1.2 7.7 0.9 8.1 1.2 7.6 1.0 8.2 1.1 7.6 1.0 8.5 0.8



8F Full Moon 9S


00:21 06:22 12:44 19:03 01:14 07:13 13:32 19:50 02:02 08:00 14:17 20:34 02:46 08:42 14:58 21:14 03:28 09:23 15:38 21:53

7.8 0.9 8.8 0.5 8.0 0.7 9.0 0.2 8.2 0.6 9.1 0.0 8.2 0.6 9.1 0.0 8.4 0.7 9.0 0.0







04:09 10:03 16:18 22:31 04:50 10:43 16:57 23:10 05:31 11:24 17:38 23:50 06:14 12:07 18:21

8.3 0.8 8.8 0.1 8.2 1.1 8.5 0.4 8.0 1.3 8.2 0.7 7.7 1.6 7.8

00:32 06:58 12:53 19:07

1.0 20W 7.5 1.9 7.4

17S Last Qtr 18M


01:16 07:46 13:43 19:58 02:04 08:36 14:38 20:53 02:55 09:29 15:36 21:51 03:49 10:21 16:33 22:49 04:42 11:13 17:28 23:43

1.4 7.3 2.1 7.1 1.7 7.3 2.2 6.8 1.8 2.3 7.1 6.8 1.9 7.5 1.9 6.9 1.8 7.9 1.5 7.2


05:35 12:02 18:19


00:34 06:26 12:50 19:08 01:23 07:16 13:38 19:55 02:11 08:05 14:25 20:43 02:59 08:55 15:14 21:30


24S New Moon 25M

1.6 26T 8.3 1.0 7.5 1.2 8.8 0.5 7.8 0.8 9.2 0.0 8.4 0.5 9.6 -0.4 8.8 0.2 9.8 -0.6




30S 1st Qtr


03:48 09:45 16:03 22:19 04:38 10:37 16:54 23:09 05:30 11:32 17:48

9.1 0.0 9.9 -0.7 9.2 0.0 9.7 -0.6 9.3 0.2 9.4

00:01 06:24 12:28 18:44 00:55 07:21 13:28 19:43

-0.4 3W 9.2 0.4 9.0 0.0 4T 9.0 0.7 8.5

1M June 2T

01:52 08:20 14:32 20:46 02:51 09:21 15:37 21:51 03:53 10:22 16:42 22:54 04:54 11:21 17:43 22:55 05:52 12:16 18:38

0.4 8.9 0.9 8.1 0.8 8.7 1.1 7.8 1.1 8.6 1.2 7.6 1.3 8.6 1.1 7.6 1.4 8.6 1.0

What Can You Do

for the children of this community?


any people have not the time to volunteer during the week because their work and family commitments. But anyone can add a little stone to this community we are building up every day by living here. What you can bring in: • Food (rice, beans, veggies, fruit, eggs, pasta, chickpeas, corn, tuna in can, etc.) • Child and adult clothes and shoes in good condition • School and art supplies (paint, paper, pencils, wood, folders, glue...) • English and Spanish reading books for children and dictionaries • Umbrella and boots for the rainy season • Sport equipment, clothes and shoes • Baby clothes and accessories • Zinc plates for roofs and furniture (contact us before bringing in) • Suitcases and bags All these items are very useful for many children and adults from poor backgrounds in our area. So please, if you have any of these goods, do not hesitate to bring them to our centre in Huacas from Monday to Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (300 m from the intersection of Huacas towards Brasilito, behind Restaurant Guaymi). Please do not bring used toys, we have enough of them. CEPIA suffered heavily from the economical crisis, but thanks to the financial support of some businesses the organization could fight against the current and keep helping the children and teenagers at social risk in our area. Although CEPIA had to bring down the number of its activities and programs, the organization keeps working as hard as possible with current resources to improve the wellbeing of many children and teenagers. CEPIA deeply thanks the following businesses for their year 2009 donation towards the young people of this community: Finca Shambalah, Cala Luna, Paradisus Playa Conchal, Country Day School, Corner Stone Communications, Super Massai, Ferretería Buenaventura, Sugar Beach Hotel, Farmacia El Cruce, Casa Puros Dieces. Visit:; e-mail; or call 26538533/26538365

Surf Report

(from page 18)

of being one of the 24 best surfers in the youngest division of the event. In his 20 minutes of competition, he began the heat with a wave of 7.5 points, finally managing to get to first place after a bullfight that resulted in a wave score of 7.8. In addition to what Muñoz was able to accomplish, the Limonese Hernandez also passed his heat, coming in second place in the Under-16 behind Hawaii’s Matthew Costa Jr. Hernandez joins the 24 best surfers to advance, demonstrating an excellent premiere on the international stage. And finally, Torres returned to the water in the Under-18 repercharge and responded accordingly with his best surfing level, passing with first place to the next round. Twelve-year-old McGonagle lost his Under-16, and fell to repercharge in spite of a valiant effort when he faced surfers from New Zealand, Hawaii and the United States. Two unique surfers of the Costa Rica National Junior Surf Team—Muñoz and Hernandez—both performed well enough on April 1 to become 2 of the 12 best Under-16 surfers in the tournament. On the 4th day of the competition, Muñoz and Hernandez advanced in the morning during heats that pitted them against surfers from Brazil, Morocco and Australia. First, the Ticos called on Hernandez to enter in conditions of above 3 meters of swell that pulled into Salinas that day, and the surfer from the town of Salsa Brava ran a great, long wave, then carved up another giving him two waves and a sum of 15.50. With 2nd place assured, Hernandez even left the water for want of 2 minutes, applauded by the crowd with victory in his hands. In addition to the advancement today by Hernandez and Muñoz, Fillingam competed in the Under-16 repercharge and came in 1st place. This was accomplished without much agitation against surfers of Jamaica, Italy and Puerto Rico. Torres said goodbye to the competition in Under-18. He could not dominate the waves in his repercharge, and had to be satisfied with a ranking of #33 in the overall Games. He will add 240 points to the Costa Rica National Junior Surf Team points. Agüero also fell out of the Games in his Under-18 heat, and ranked #49, adding 200 points to the national selection. The following day was one of understated emotion for the Costa Rica Team when four more of the nine athletes competing for their country fell out of the contest. The most unexpected loss came from Bernold, who had first advanced from 2nd place in her repercharge heat, only to finish 3rd in the next round. Bernold dominated her heat for the first 191⁄2 minutes, staying in 2nd place the whole time with two high-scoring waves. Only as the final seconds ticked down did New Zealand’s Alexis Poulter score a wave high enough to jump over her to advance. Bonomelli, Bissinger, McGonagle, and Bishko completed the list of Ticos who fell out of the Games for good. Nevertheless, the National Selection of Costa Rica still had high hopes riding on two surfers who were still competing in the main event of the Under-16 category—Muñoz and Hernandez. Muñoz, however, competed in the Under-18 division trying to put something together in the main (continued page 28)

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October Forecasts May Forecasts

by Jeanne Callahan

Visit Jeanne’s site at

Aries: 21 March - 20 April

Libra: 23 September - 23 October

Taurus: 21 April - 21 May

Scorpio: 24 October - 22 November

This is a good month to initiate new plans of action—particularly in partnership with someone else. Your ruling planet, Mars, is in Aries all month with Venus lagging slightly behind. What this means is that you lead the way. You will inappropriately interfere with your long term goals if you ignore that paradigm shift. Aries is independent loner energy but that won’t work in the old ways as well now—include others in the plan. Best days are 20th and 21st. With the Sun now in your sign you see the light at the end of the tunnel and feel better about the future. The energy picks up speed with your ruling planet, Venus, now in direct motion and in Aries. Look around and see who’s on the same page as you and seek to combine forces to conquer the task at hand. Jupiter and Neptune in your tenth house of profession give you the faith to move forward and accomplish your goals. Best time to set plans in motion are the 22nd and 23rd.

Gemini: 22 May - 21 June

Your ruling planet, Mercury, will be doing its retrograde dance this month beginning on the 6th moving back into Taurus before going direct on the 31st. Taking a step back to review the events of the last two months will give you the proper perspective for the changes you need to make in June. As usual, don’t sign/don’t buy is the dictum for a Mercury retrogression. You have the support of Mars and Venus in your house of gains from profession so lock them in early in the month. The new moon on the 24th and the 25th are days to network for new business.

Cancer: 22 June - 22 July

While you don’t like confrontation (no Libra does), particularly about relationships, this month is not the time to shy away from discussing problems with your mate. The situation has been deteriorating rapidly during the recent Venus retrograde and now that your ruling planet is direct you have to face the music. This could get a little heated as Mars is traveling close to Venus and can bring some fire to the mix as hurt and anger surfaces. The 5th and 6th are your best days for centering. This month has a primarily dual cosmic vibe for you of creative hard work with some conflict inherent in working out problems and a deep appreciation for your home. It might also be time to do a little fix-up in the home to make it even more suited to your needs. It’s OK to do some of the planning now but don’t start until June when Mercury is direct in Taurus. Cooperation and compromise will work much better now than competition. The 7th and the full moon on the 8th are your stellar days.

Sagittarius: 23 November - 21 December

You will have some pleasant and exciting support from the Mars/ Venus conjunction in fellow fire sign Aries. This charismatic pair activates your fifth house of fun, pleasure, romance, creativity... in other words you get to have some of the good stuff of life. Take advantage of it at the beginning of the month as the last part may bring some work and responsibility to your professional life. Some minor health problem may arise but, like I said, it’s minor. Let the 10th and 11th offer you some fun adventure

Capricorn: 22 December - 21 January

While the Sun in Taurus is a cozy match for your own nurturing feminine vibe, some of the other energies happening now are just not too comfortable for you as your personal security is not as certain as you’d like it to be. Do your best to be calm amidst all the changes in your professional life as what you are moving away from is a positive. The 26th and 27th are best utilized by taking some time off and getting away near a body of water.

Your ruling planet, Saturn, goes direct in Virgo, a fellow earth sign on the 17th. This energy will free you up from a stagnating condition if you use the energy to move forward. There is the support of Jupiter in your second house of income along with Neptune and this combination creates a condition that fosters great faith in the future by believing in your worth and your ability to manifest your desires. The 12th and 13th are your most productive and centered days.

There are still many challenges you are working through this month and you should experience some breakthrough in finances after the 17th when Saturn goes direct. The stalemated situation shifts and you know where you stand. If something ends, so be it....move on. There is support for you coming from foreigners, someplace distant or those involved with higher education. The 1st, 2nd, 28th and 29th are days to make your case for a new position.

The cosmic vibe you will primarily experience this month is the Jupiter/Neptune/Chiron conjunction in your sign indicating a spiritual understanding is unfolding for you. Take the opportunity to quiet your mind and go within to identify and source what’s holding you back. You can receive quantum insights about your own nature as well as the larger nature of the universe. Don’t underestimate the power this can deliver to your life and those close to you. The 15th and 16th are your most receptive days

Leo: 23 July - 23 August

Virgo: 24 August - 22 September

Your ruling planet, Mercury, goes retrograde on the 6th through the 31st giving you a break in the action—a time to step back and review your options for the future. Don’t let others pressure you to proceed too quickly now. Using your energy with caution is the best course of action—besides, you are really tired. Waiting until June to begin anything new would be advised now. You can make progress with improving your health this month. Best days for rejuvenation are the 3rd, 4th, 30th and 31st.

Aquarius: 22 January - 19 February

Pisces: 20 February - 20 March

This month’s vibe could be described as mystical and inspired as you have the Jupiter/Neptune/Chiron conjunction happening in your twelfth house of dreams, seclusion and the unconscious. This is a time of going within to uncover and heal your hidden fears. Don’t avoid the journey by escaping into some additive behavior. Face it and move forward. The Mercury retrograde may slow the process down but that may be the best way for you to assimilate the lessons. Your best days are the 17th and 18th.



Just One of Those Days

Tom Peifer

When something can go wrong, it will. Murphy’s Law


ow I know how investors feel. You watch it going down, down, down. A feeling of complete impotency. You’re suddenly at the mercy of forces beyond your control. It all happens so fast. Later comes the comprehension, the “what if we had only...” Then you pick up the pieces and move on. Fortunately no one was hurt. For me, it was not the stock market that went into free fall today. It was the 500 lb. concrete culvert pipe that we were gently lowering into a newly dug well. The end of the dry season is the traditional time to dig—or deepen—wells in Guanacaste. The ground water is at its lowest point in the year. Rain doesn’t mess up the edges of the hole. The ropes don’t get all wet and slippery. You’re not flailing around in the mud. And the bonus for the guy in the hole is the refreshing coolness of artesian groundwater springs after a week of sweating through layers of increasingly rocky subsoil. When he hit water, “Papi” came up caked in mud, but elated. Eager to have a backup well close to my kitchen, I had joined forces with some of the true notables of my town. “Papi”, noted equally for his prowess in the cantinas and the dangerous work of well digging, was more than willing to work through Easter week. An occasional advance kept him lubricated enough to make it to work but not so much that he constituted a danger to himself. He brought an interesting selection of hung-over help; some of who lasted only long enough to earn a shot or two to take the edge off the morning’s shakes. All things considered, the actual digging proceeded apace. Anyone who can tunnel straight down ten feet in two days definitely makes it in my book. Reversing the sequence of geological time they went through black soil then red, and then began to unearth the familiar “lastre” that is so common on our roads. Equipped with a digging bar and short handled shovel, the going got tougher but the tough kept going until “Papi” was practically up to his waist in water and it was time to seal the sides of the well. This practice helps to keep the shaft from caving in and ensures that the water entering the shaft comes from the bottom up, hence aiding to filter out sediment and impurities. Back in the day, this was done with handset stone, now, the preferred method is pre-cast culverts, like the ones used for channeling streams under roads. Smart people use a backhoe to lower them securely down the well shaft. We went for another approach. “We’re doing it Estilo indio—Indian style,” Papi announced proudly. You may have marveled at the rope work in the vil-

lage fiestas. Complicated knots and deft turns manage the friction on wood that keeps the bulls in, the gates shut and give the riders a chance for their moment in the limelight. That’s more or less how we were ‘planning’ to proceed. Forty meters of brand new 3⁄4 inch rope that would have easily brought a hefty Brahma bull to its knees was deployed around the culvert, over a stout teak pole and wrapped around a couple of laurel trees, to slowly feed out as we lowered the thing into the hole. We were ready. As a firm believer that the laws of physics indeed do apply in our universe, I humbly admit that at times it seems that the law of Murphy trumps those of Newton. Looking back, it is easy to analyze what went awry. However, the rifle-shot report as the rope snapped and the culvert disappeared found the crew scrambling for cover and the boss considering Plan B. With all due respect to the Indians, I informed Papi that I didn’t fancy any more dead ones around my place. The crew was happy to consider alternatives that would keep them alive until payday. We had the talent and broke out the tools. Predrilled holes to hang the beasties without wobbling, a hand winch to lift them into place and the best of Papi’s rope and wood techniques. Like dressing for a wedding. Something old, something new, etc. Total piece of cake. Respecting the laws of physics, we made short work of the remaining tons of pre-formed concrete and high-fived around the newly completed well. Murphy, meanwhile, was up to his old tricks out by the highway. If you haven’t seen the new highway from 27 de Abril to Paraiso, be prepared for a shock. It’s not just the reflectors at night that brings back memories of landing at Heathrow. In front of my house the roadbed has ‘risen’ at least four feet. During the re-grading of the entry, simultaneous with the physics experiments in the well, the backhoe broke the water line—twice. At times like this there is a very important rule to remember. You are forbidden to let the following pass through your consciousness, “Oh, God. What else can possibly go wrong?” Don’t let your mind go there! In stark contrast to my nonkarmic, non-crystal worshipping, non-cosmic based, (continued page 27)


C hapter XXXIX


Here’s what happened. The band pulled into the parking lot of that night’s engagement in a pretty good mood. We’d rehearsed that week and had several new old songs added to the repertoire, and we showed up early enough so we could have plenty of time to do a thorough setup. This was our second gig here; the first one wasn’t exactly our finest performance and we were later accused of being responsible for all the missing ash trays and salt shakers, a crime we didn’t commit. I was a little surprised at being asked back, but a gig is a gig! The load-in and setup went smoothly with the bar staff keeping the band well lubricated, people started to show up, including a morale-boosting visit by The Band Wives. Things continued to look good. The manager showed up and Euro-kissed everybody in sight, happy to have us back and keeping a close eye on the table condiments. All that was left to do was get onstage and start the show. All bands have rituals they go through before a gig. I ritualistically prepare and put on the same headband I’ve been wearing for seventeen years, while the rhythm section (bass and drums) have their own practice of quick-smoking an entire pack of cigarettes. This band is powered by nicotine. The band takes the stage to an appreciative reception by the audience, mostly locals who’ve come out to have some fun and listen to (in my own humble opinion) some pretty good rock and roll. There was also a smattering of, shall we say, older types probably not quite as enthusiastic. We start off with “Good Lovin”, from the Young Rascals, usually pretty safe for a beginner. The band is playing pretty good and we end the song to an animated response from the crowd. We thought. Suddenly the manager rushes up to the stage with two individuals that she identifies as the owners. The woman is close to tears and her husband is about to have an aneurism. In no uncertain terms did they let the band know it was playing much too loud and was running off all their customers,

Guanacaste Rock ‘n’ Roll Rashomon

although not the ones enthusiastically applauding. The Band Wives, later in a written affidavit, said the band had never sounded better. Far be it from me to cause trouble so I instructed the band to turn down and we would do a “mellow” song to calm things down. We went into Otis Redding’s “Dock of the Bay”, what I thought was a guaranteed “calmer downer”. The crown dug it and once again showed their appreciation. Nevertheless back they came. It was even louder than the first time! The owners are beginning to froth a little at the mouth. Okay, we’ll turn it down some more. Now the boys in the rhythm section, although all hopped up on nicotine, also happen to be extremely sensitive artists. To get here the bass player had driven over some of Costa Rica’s worst roads to make it in from far-off Pinilla. He looked close to tears at the prospect of playing quieter while the drummer, who actually just lived right down the road, had come armed to the teeth. We played a less-than-very-loud version of Del Shannon’s “Little Runaway”, and I still thought we were sounding pretty good. You guessed it, now the owners’ eyeballs were almost popping out of their skulls and dire threats were uttered if we didn’t turn down. Now even yours truly was getting a little miffed. I turned everything down that I could possibly reach, we launched into a really lame version of “Who’ll Stop the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival”, after which the owners came back complaining that our lower volume sound was even worse. We stopped playing. The owner came onstage and informed us that in real life he was a famous Rock and Roll sound mixer and he was willing to adjust the sound himself if we would just let him play with all our knobs. Instead the band huddled together and took a vote. We’d rather leave than put up with this (insert expletive). Which we did.

(apologies to Akira Kurosawa) Story by Jesse Bishop

Or maybe it happened this way. You know the restaurant-bar business is pretty tough in this part of the province. It had always been our dream of quitting our jobs in the paper products industry and moving somewhere exotic and buying a place, so we were pleased at how easy it was to buy our business from the previous owners. We have had to provide live entertainment as a means of attracting customers, bringing us in contact with some of the lower life forms around. I was surprised that my manager had rehired this band for another performance after the missing condiment situation, but for some reason she’s been having trouble finding bands to play here. Good riddance if you ask me. I was gonna keep a close eye on these guys. When the band first started playing the volume caused the whole building to start shaking. Several of my older customers said their dentures were hurting due to the mid-range rumble that seemed to be the band’s trademark sound. People were walking out by the droves and the only people who seemed to be enjoying themselves are the riff-raff that we just can’t seem to get rid of. Finally they finished their first song and we were able to approach the stage and ask them nicely to please turn down. Instead they all turned their amps on “eleven”. I’m also wondering, since they obviously haven’t learned anything new in forty years, why they don’t play hipper music, like maybe Barry Manilow or The Carpenters. This band just wasn’t willing to co-operate. They continued to play louder and louder until we finally convinced them to stop and consider the alternatives. I even offered to adjust their sound for them as I used to do the audio visual chores for my church group. The old guy in the headband just sneered and said if he couldn’t play as loud as he wanted he’d just pack up his toys and leave. I really didn’t like that guy’s attitude! So they packed up and left. Although I didn’t have to pay them, always a plus, I nonetheless lost thousands of dollars that night as our plentiful supply of toilet paper and napkins mysteriously went missing!

Just One of Those Days (from page 25

vibration centered, aural rainbow view of the universe, I never mess with Murphy. With me it is axiomatic that if you give the mental space to the Murph, he’ll obligingly complicate your life, make your best-laid plans go the way of my infamous culvert and otherwise intrude on your pura vida lifestyle. In that sense, today was my lucky day. I managed greater control of the inner workings than the physical world and avoided that fateful third strike. The scary experiences will probably mutate over time into a palette of colorful anecdotes. Evolution has apparently selected for optimism. A more positive ‘spin’ on past events helps us get up, wash off the mud and face the new day with hope that things will get better. In the future, I’ll be pulling buckets of clean water out of my new well for a long, long time. Worldwide, millions of individuals have seen their personal futures disappear with the geometric rate of acceleration that sucked my culvert into the void. Politicians are doing everything possible to keep hope alive and bending the rules of economics to accomplish the task. I’ll stick with trying to understand and apply the laws of physics. All the while maintaining a profound respect for the law of Murphy.

Tom Peifer is an ecological land use consultant with 13 years experience in Guanacaste. Phone: 2658-8018. El Centro Verde is dedicated to sustainable land use, agriculture and development Web site:

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Surf Report

(from page 23)

but fell to 4th place and finished the tournament in repercharge. Although he was not surfing in the main event, Fillingam continued to demonstrate his elevated skills as one of the best Under-16 surfers at the Games and scoring for Costa Rica. His work in repercharge gave valuable points to the Tico Team. Six days into the Games, competing in both the Under-18 and Under16 categories, Muñoz realized his #1 priority was to pour everything into into an Under-16 division win. In Round 4 of the main event, Muñoz advanced as the 1st place leader of his heat into the semifinals.The surfer from Esterillos is assured at least a 9th place finish in the ranking in this division, surpassing the Hispanic 10th place mark obtained by the Chilean Manuel Selman in the World Junior Surfing Games Tahiti 2004. For his part, Muñoz has dominated this division as few competitors in any of the countries have done in Ecuador, the Tico leading in the last four Rounds with 1st place wins. Muñoz entered the quarterfinals with his countryman Hernandez. They opposed Brazil’s Mateus Navarro and Caio Ibelli for a series that gambled high in 20 minutes at Podium 2. Muñoz reached his high combination of 15.17 before 15 minutes, then yielded waves to Hernandez, who did not find two high scoring waves and ended in repercharge. There, Hernandez fell to last place and out of the Games. In his Under 18 repercharge Heat today, Muñoz could not advance and was out in Round 6. Also, Fillingam left the competition with a 3rd place finish in his Under 16 repercharge Heat. With that, the only Tico left in the World Junior Surfing Games was Muñoz. On the final day, he ended up ranked #9 in the World as the aged Under-16 surfer. Not bad.

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M a y ( a l l

t i m e s

2 0 0 9 l o c a l )



1st 8th 24th 30th

“Luck was not on our side during the last two days of this event, but we were able to accomplish the reason why we came here, which is to put Costa Rica among the best 10 countries in the world. I feel very proud of my team,” expressed Ureña, Technical Director of the national selection and President of the Federacion de Surf de Costa Rica. Costa Rica has, in fact, continued its improved trajectory in the rankings with their participation in the ISA World Junior Surfing Games Ecuador 2009. The Ticos were 22nd in 2005 in California, 14 in Portugal 2007, 12 in France 2008 and finally, 10 in Ecuador 2009. On the other hand, it was the highest country in the table with an incomplete team, as they were short one girl.

1st - rise 5:25; set 5:55 15th - rise 5:22; set 5:58 31st - rise 5:21; set 6:02

1st quarter: Full: Last quarter: New:

In a dramatic come from behind victory, Team Australia was crowned the 2009 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Champions for the gold medal. 2005 ISA World Junior Champions, Hawaii, received the team silver medal, Brazil bronze and USA copper. France placed 5th overall, South Africa 6th, New Zealand 7th, Tahiti, Peru and Costa Rica came in 8th, 9th and 10th, respectively.

2:44 p.m. 10:01 p.m. 6:11 a.m. 9:22 p.m.

That’s all I’ve got. Looking forward to hearing what you think. Keep those emails coming at Send your comments, information, errors or praise, because I can’t do this column without you, the real surfers.

An Amazing Adventure by Laura Moshammer Country Day School Guanacaste


went to La Carolina Lodge with our teacher Ms. Allie, Camille Segonne, Delaney Thompson, Ela Mazon, Laicia Bouali, Simone Augustine, Wyatt Hutton, Dane Torres, Leo Arevalo, Nicola Sassi, and Jack Lavey. Also Simone and Ela’s dads came and so did Delaney’s mom. Before the trip I was feeling very excited. When I got there I looked around and thought “what a beautiful place to stay.” The field area was full of trees. They were tall, small, thin and thick. All of the trees were surrounded with flowers in every color. Not to mention all the shrubs and bushes! We also saw lots of animals. When I finally got to see the girls’ cabin, which was up a hill. I noticed how nice and cool it was. My favorite thing about the cabin was that you could hear the river rush by. The most beautiful thing was Rio Celeste. Just as they say, it was a stunning color of light blue! The one unexpected thing was milking cows. It was kind

of weird. I would l have never thought I would have milked a cow in my life. During the whole trip the most memorable part was all of us sitting together at one big table eating and drinking. Now everyone must be thinking “dinner time?” I’ll tell you why. All of us were all together laughing and having a great time. On top of that everyone used their manners to say “could you pass this” or “please pass that”. Maybe this gives you a better idea of why I said that dinnertime was the best. Some of the most interesting things I experiences were hiking to Rio Celeste, milking cows, and catching and holding piglets. The most fun thing was playing hide and go seek in the dark. The reason is that it was easier for the hiders than the seekers. Some things I learned were how to milk cows, how to hold piglets without getting bitten, and how to measure champion trees. All in all I had a great time with my friends and the parents, all thanks to our fifth grade teacher, Ms. Allie!

Pura Vida Health Organic Market

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remember when the organic produce movement started up in the hippie days of the ‘60s. With the very best of intent, people coaxed vegetables from the ground using organic and non-chemical fertilizers, and the results were pathetic – stunted broccoli, twisted skinny carrots with no eating value, small unripe tomatoes and peppers – and at high prices. Now, from what I have seen at the Pura Vida Health market in Tamarindo, it seems that the organic movement has come of age. The produce looks exactly as it should, quite the equal to the stuff in the supermarkets. The market is held on the beach at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp. Produce includes all the usual vegetables, plus prepared foods such as chilero sauce, stuffed breads, cookies and muffins, goat cheese, yogurt and milk, fruit jams, coffee and freshly-squeezed juices. All produce is certified organic. Non-food items include soap and skincare products, essential oils, jewellery, biodegradable paper products – even bacteria to help your septic tank work its mysteries. The PVH Market is held every Saturday. There are plans to take it to other beach communities for monthly markets. On the first Saturday of each month starting May 2, PVH will present a Beach Fair, inviting the organic vendors and interested people from the community to set up booths for a Big Party – arts, crafts, talent, music, clothes, jewellery, anything at all. So come along and support your community, have fun, buy good stuff. Call for details: 8-829-0240 or 8-398-8705 or e-mail

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General interest magazine of the Gold Coast in Costa Rica