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kids’ game very popular in Britain when I was young – a century or so ago – was conkers. During those wartime years there was absolutely no discretionary income to buy toys (and no toys to be bought anyway) so we made our own entertainment from next to nothing. The game of conkers goes back hundreds of years, and is well-known in many commonwealth countries which grow the horse-chestnut tree.

Bonkers over Conkers

A conker is the dried fruit of the horse-chestnut tree, not be confused with the sweet chestnut, the delicious nut roasted in a bonfire and eaten while almost red-hot. The horse-chestnut is similar in appearance, but very bitter to the taste. In autumn, the fruits fall to the ground, a prickly green shell enclosing a glossy brown nut. Though hard, it is nowhere near to being a conker, which must be hard as stone. So the nut is baked in the oven or left to dry in the sun, maybe pickled in vinegar. When sufficiently hard, a hole is drilled through it and it is threaded on a bootlace, knotted at one end. The objective of the game is to destroy your opponent’s conker, hanging vertical on its bootlace, by swinging your own at it. Each

plus one for the current game.

player takes turns at swinging until one conker breaks. Before the game, each player must announce his conker’s score. “Mine’s a seven-er” means it has defeated seven conkers in previous bouts. However, the score is accumulated from the defeated nut to the victorious so, if the winner’s conker starts the game as a “seven-er” and beats the opponent’s “four-er” it becomes a “twelve-er” adding the loser’s four points to his seven,

Every year, on the second Sunday in October, the World Conker Championships are held in Northamptonshire, more than 300 contestants from as far as New Zealand competing in a round-robin tournament, through eighth, quarter and semi-finals. Nice to see that some of the old low-tech traditions survive today.

David Mills

The Howler

Volume 15, No. 10 Issue No. 169

October 2010 Founded 1996

TAMARINDO COSTA RICA THE HOWLER Ced. Juridica: 3-101-331333

FEATURES 8 Dining Out

Publisher, editor and production

Newly opened La Bodeguilla brings a breath of Spain to our neighbourhood, with traditional specialties such as paella and sangria.

David Mills Tel: 2-653-0545

9 What’s Developing?

An couple of eco-conscious projects along the Gold Coast make good use of water treatment, and wind and solar power to stay off-grid.

12 Around Town

Openings, closings, parties, music. The Gold Coast has it all, and barhoppin’ David is in the groove.



16 The Value of Living with the Land

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19 The Sky Above and the Mud Below

The abnormally wet winter season is causing havoc with mudslides, but there are successful preventative measures available.

22 Surviving Costa Rica

Back to Virginia for his 40th High School reunion, an aging musician drags his old rock band together to give a nostalgic concert.

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Ads must be submitted on CD or e-mail attachment, JPG or PDF 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.

Concerned about the quality of processed foods in supermarkets, Kay explores natural ways to stay well-provided on her finca.

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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.

14 Fiesta del Año

When 500 caballistas get together to ride to a birthday party at a prominent hacienda, the result is a big blast!

Deadline for November: October 15


13 Surf Report

Costa Rica sends a team of mature surfers to Panama for the World Masters Surfing Championships and they end up 10th out of 21.


Parents’ Corner

21 Doctor’s Orders


CD Review

23 Slice of Life


Book Review

24 Rain, Sun & Moon


Word Puzzle

27 Tide Chart


October Forecasts

Cover Caption: Making the most of a dry spell, an iguana poses for the cover at Howler Headquarters. Cover design and photo: David Mills

Parents’ Corner How to Prevent Violent Behavior


n July 1st a high school student in Heredia marched into his principal’s office and shot the lady at point blank range... according to his classmates, the young man was “upset about the discipline referrals”. The woman did not survive the attack, and passed away on July 11th at Hospital Mexico’s Intensive Care Unit. The tragedy has the whole country in shock; it makes us all deeply sad and confused... how does something like this happen? Aggressive and violent behavior amongst teenagers relates primarily to a high level of frustration, and to the impossibility to deal with in a rational manner. Not obtaining something that you desire may trigger a process of internal anger that will eventually look for its outlet in form of an aggressive reaction (physical or verbal). The target is usually the person that is perceived as the source of frustration; if that person is not available, the anger is directed to any individual or group that can serve as a substitute for the original target. Even though each case of violent behavior needs to be analyzed within its particular context, there are certain general guidelines that are universal and will definitely set up the right foundation for non-violent behavior. Why two people facing the same upsetting situation don’t react to it the same way is often related to the personal level of tolerance to frustration and to the person’s self-esteem. Considering these two aspects there is a lot that you as a parent can do to prevent aggressive and violent behavior in your child. It’s vital that parents set up limits and rules for their children. These limits and rules should aim at teaching children respectful ways of living together, and promote autonomy. They should be clear and age-appropriate, and they should go together with clear and appropriate consequences, that parents will establish (and apply) when these limits and rules are violated. Parents have to be in charge, and parent authority should be based on an open communication and dialogue, and be coherent and consequent (you can’t say no to something one day, and then let it go another day...). Children learn from this relationship the fundamental rules for social interaction: self-respect and respect for others. A child that is never denied anything, who is never made responsible for his actions, whose parents always excuse his inadequate conduct, is denied an important lesson: how to deal with the obstacles of life. This child is most likely to have problems adapting to classroom rules and expectations, socializing appropriately and identifying and communicating his emotional needs. A person who values himself positively and is aware of his capabilities is better prepared to face frustrating situations, by solving a conflict through reason and not impulse. A healthy self-esteem can be nourished through a family environment that emphasizes honest and clear communication, where parents model respect for themselves and others, and where each person’s achievements, no matter how small, are celebrated and recognized. Autonomy is also the key to a positive self-esteem. Parents need to promote in their children, from very early age on, an independent management of their needs and responsibilities, always in accordance with their developmental stage and age, and in a positive way. Overprotection and permissiveness can truncate a child’s independence and autonomy, with the inevitable negative impact on his self-esteem. Let’s educate our children towards autonomy and a positive self-value, and we will be educating for peace. Msc. Mónica Riascos H. Psychologist - Psychopedagogist NOTE: I would like to invite all readers to send in your suggestions about topics related to children and adolescents’ psychology, that you would like me to discuss in this section. I’m at your service! Send your comments, suggestions or questions to:

EE d d ii tt o o rr ’’ s s N N o o tt e e


he Tamarindo Marathon brought an estimated 1,800 athletes to the area, plus a large number of supporters and spectators. Also, it caused a lot of inconvenience and disruption of services and traffic. The evening before, police harassed tourists in town in order to erect crowd control barriers. On the day, for four hours, the road between Tamarindo and Villarreal was blocked to traffic. Tamarindo suffers from one big drawback: it is at the end of a dead-end road, only one way in and out. When the road is blocked, chaos ensues. We have seen buildings burn to the ground because emergency vehicles could not get to the fires due to bad roads, careless parking and heavy traffic. Marathon Day was much worse: a four-hour bumper-to-bumper jam. “The high point was the organization,” gushed Channel 7 in a news report. Many would disagree, including those who walked to work from Villarreal and Huacas. The supporters, of course, use the usual argument – it brings money into town. But most of the money ends up in very few pockets; the average citizen sees very little of it but has to put up with the inconvenience. Even downtown restaurants told me they saw little extra business from the marathon. For years there has been talk of an alternative route into town. For everybody’s convenience this should be pursued as soon as possible and, until it is in place, no more disruptive events should be planned. I hear complaints from new business people who opened their doors during the high season and did very well, then become bitter when the cash flow dries up. You knew there is a low season; if you didn’t you did not do your homework when you planned your business venture. Low season is a fact of life – in any tourist town. Now is the time to rest, to take a vacation, to repair all that broke during the high season, to review your past mistakes and prepare for the new high season. Let’s hope it is a prosperous one.

J.W. Marriott footrace helps local orphanage


ocal athletes from J.W. Marriott Hotel took part in two races, of 10 and 6 kilometers, around the beautiful landscape of Hacienda Pinilla, to raise funds for the Albergue del Patronato Nacional de la Infancía (PANI) of Santa Cruz. The runners were joined by famous Costa Rican athlete Gabriela Traña Trejos (left), holder of long-distance national records at home, in Puerto Rico, Spain and the United States. Proceeds from the race was used to buy toys, school supplies, clothes and shoes for children under the age of 12. On September 9, these were presented to the children at a party organized for PANI by management of J.W. Marriott. “Holding these events allows us to interact with residents of the area, which is important in the operation of our business,” said Francisco Garcia, General Manager of the hotel. “We are looking forward to other activities so we can help more local organizations,” he continued.

I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot. Marilyn Monroe

Dining Out Restaurante La Bodeguilla

David Mills

in Potrero Strange that, in Guanacaste, where the official language is espa単ol, there are so few Spanish restaurants. But, of course, the culture is driven by its residents, not the language, and there are few Spanish residents here in comparison to other nationalities. But one ex-pat from Spain is Javier Alvarez, born in Valencia and lived in Madrid, who has opened Restaurante Bodeguilla in Potrero, serving traditional cuisine. Predominantly seafood, as is much of the cuisine in Spain, Bodeguilla offers several regional favorites. Appetizers include mixed or seafood salad; carpaccio of tuna, sliced incredibly thin and served with extra virgin oil and capers; almejas marineras, clams in white wine in the Cantabrian sailor style; brusquetta; and gazpacho Andaluz, vegetable soup served cold. Fish dishes are dorado with garlic or in white wine sauce, Mediterranean-style; yellowfin tuna with rice and vegetables; dorado in homemade tomato sauce. Meats comprise lomito; chicken in a curry sauce; broiled chicken breast; beef medaillons; and roast pork loin. There are five choices of pasta dish: tomato, bolognesa, amatriciana, mushrooms or seafood; and half-a-dozen pizzas. We sampled a few dishes: gazpacho, creamy and delicious; pulpo a la Gallega, octopus with olive oil on a bed of potato slivers and Galician paprika; tortilla espa単ol, a thick egg-and-potato based omelette with tomato garlic salad; and, of course, the piece de resistance, seafood paella (this comes also as a meat dish, or mixed). Order this when you arrive as it takes about 40 minutes to prepare. Throughout the meal we worked our way through a pitcher of sangria, which comes gratis with the meal (or you may choose a free bottle of wine). Delicious food in a pleasant outdoor location. In Hotel Esmeralda at the T-junction in Old Potrero, where you turn left for Las Brisas. Open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All credit cards accepted; pool table, wi-fi zone. Tel: 2654-5415.

What’s Developing?

Ziggy Ziegler

“Take one look around Tamarindo and you will see clearly the many lessons in doing development the wrong way. At some point in time the builders and developers who come to Costa Rica to pick up the pieces of a failed attempt of those before them will have to stop asking ‘what’s in it for me’, and start looking for ways to give something back to the place they want to call home.” says James Caldwell, the owner and founder of Sustainable Building Specialists, now located in Tamarindo. Sustainable building is a wave of the future and today you can see many places throughout Costa Rica attempting to use this type of development to attract buyers. The new master planned community of Las Catalinas is a great example of this. Located just a few kilometers north of Flamingo, it is the dream of Charles Brewer, CEO and founder of Mindspring, one of the largest internet providers in America. You can get to this new community by car but once you reach it you will be asked to leave your car at the gate because this place is all about walking; there will be no roads, no traffic, no potholes. Don’t laugh; it is possible to have a world without potholes in Costa Rica. So how do you do sustainable building? “It starts with how you use the land,” James says. “From there it’s all about what kind of footprint will you leave? For example, Las Catalinas has over 1,200 acres, yet almost 1,000 of those will be set aside into a nature preserve. In Costa Rica they ask that you leave 20% green area; to leave 80% green area is almost unheard of. They will also be paving the outside roads leading in both directions from their community into the neighboring communities (OK, I know what you’re thinking, ‘If I had dollar for every time I heard that one, I’d be rich.’)” Another great example of building a community and placing as small a footprint as possible is Vista Al Mar, located at 3,000 feet above sea level on the mountain top just above Diria Bosque National Park, which sits between Santa Cruz and the beach of Marbella. “I have lived here long enough to learn many lessons about what happens when developers do not have a forward-thinking vision for the product they sell,” says Greg Rothermel, founder of Frontera Developments. “We aim to be fully off-grid, and will not look outside our own property to bring energy and water and other services in; instead, we will look outside our property to see where we can send the excess of the services we will be creating. All houses will have solar, wind or water as an energy source and we are planning a learning center classroom and a Planetary Observatory as well. One of the main residents will be an eco-tourist camping project that will bring people up to show them how to live sustainably.” Vista Al Mar is one of the many developments looking to Caldwell and Sustainable Building Specialists to help take them off the grid.

“There are several optimistic signs on the horizon that something good is about to happen for the place many want to call home, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.” says Caldwell. “There are so many new sustainable products coming on the market at this time that it’s almost impossible to keep up, from solar, to wind, to the new wave of water treatment systems.” Caldwell’s Company, Sustainable Building Specialists, represents many products from Costa Rica and from around the world, yet they are constantly learning of new products coming on the market. The newly added Helix wind turbines are a great example. “Shaped like the rib cage of a human body, they are made from a soft cloth material and are very pleasing to the eye. The turbine is 100% safe for our winged friends, as bats and birds can fly through unscathed. They make almost no noise and, unlike the blade turbines, they take very small amounts of wind to operate.” Then there is the Jupiter Science Water Ionizer now available here in Tamarindo; this smart water treatment system reads your body needs and adjusts the water naturally to help keep you in the best of health. Another local product now available is the Eloy Waste Water Treatment system, because sewage is a very big problem here and, as Nicolas of Eloy likes to say “Why not take what used to stink your place up and turn it into something that can green your place up in the dry season, turning a bad smell into an opportunity for good growth.” These are a few of the new companies now working here to create a sustainable, greener, healthier world for us all. “There are several optimistic signs on the horizon that something good for Guanacaste might soon be starting. Whether it will take hold and change the way we develop what is here for us to enjoy or not, is all up to you.” says James. James Caldwell Eloy Jupiter Las Catalina Vista Del Mar

CD Review Measuring a Musician’s Success Tony Orez


o become a commercial success, a musician needs to have talent. But in the formula for success, a little luck and timing have to be factored into the equation. Still, there have been many very talented troubadours who have been in the right place at the right time and did not catch the train to fame. Usually, it’s because they overslept or “spaced out” and forgot all about it. And herein lies the key to fame and fortune: good management. Of all the musicians I have met, the successful ones have a dependable manager, usually a spouse or family member, taking them by the hand to catch the plane to Boston for a gig or to the dining table because it is time for lunch. Musicians live in a different dimension than the rest of us and that is one of the reasons we love them: they have a unique perspective and are able to articulate it, through poignant lyrics, blazing guitar riffs and amazing drum flurries that touch our souls. In Costa Rica, Jaime Gamboa is a successful musician. He is one of the founders and the major songwriter of Malpais, one of this country’s most popular groups, with many other talented and successful musicians, including his brother Fidél and pianist Manuel Obregon, one of the founders of Papaya Music, a major music label in Costa Rica. Jaime has also been one of the driving forces behind “Al Píe del Balcón”, an album of Guanacastecan serenades and “Tierra Seca”, an album of “modern folklore” from Guanacaste, performed by members of Malpais, Odilon Juarez, and Jaime’s uncle and mentor, Max Goldemberg. Sr. Gamboa has also written books for young readers, books of poetry and participates in La Orquesta Esporadico. Whew! The word “prolific” comes to mind, but I don’t think that one adjective says enough. Jaime Gamboa’s new venture has the appearance of a new horizon for him, a multi-media project that includes literature, music and the use of the internet. The physical part of this new project, a CD and book of short stories, are packaged together. The album is titled “La Canción de Adán” and features Jaime at times solo, accompanied by Malpais on other occasions or simply brother Fidel and Uncle Max on others. But this is not by any stretch of the imagination a continuation of Malpais or Tierra Seca; to the contrary, I believe it is the continuation of the visions of Jaime, at times with his friends along for the ride. The songs are a collection of “traditional” and original scores, but the entire project takes on the look of an invented character and universe, so I suspect all the songs are actually Jaime’s. The photography and graphic design by Luciano Capelli are impeccable in displaying the overall ethereal mood of the project. Packaging the CD together with the book of short stories was a novel concept and creates a unique collection. Realizing that some of Gamboa’s listening audience may not want a book with their album was good, insightful management, resulting in the release of the CD as a separate entity and should result in more sales. And Jaime listening to his managers and allowing this release indicates that he understands the formula for success.

Book Review Behind Every Good Man Tony Orez


.C. Boyle is a wordsmith. He also possesses an acerbic wit, which can be difficult to convey with the written word, but Boyle has succeeded time and again. His twelfth novel, titled simply “The Women” investigates the last three relationships that famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright had with the opposite sex. And it’s a hoot. To be sure, I will never look at Wright’s professional accomplishments in the same way. The premise for this historical novel is that it is being told twenty years after Wright’s death by a former Japanese student of his. The sequence of the student’s memoir is unique in that it starts with the last woman Wright had loved, from the beginning of their relationship until his death, then moves to the previous woman, whom we’ve caught a glimpse of in the beginning of the novel, and ultimately to the woman prior to her. It has a kind of watermill effect to the story, but there is a reason to Boyle’s madness as well and it certainly makes the storyline memorable. By moving his story backwards in time, in increments, the reader is allowed privy, in advance, to the fates of the various characters. Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility; I chose arrogance”. This quote introduces the novel “The Women” and it is the main character’s personality in a nutshell. Wright obviously felt that rules and social mores were for the more common people – a purely unadulterated egoist, whom Boyle depicts with deliciously repulsive wit and accuracy. I’ve heard a knock on this novel that T.C. Boyle spends little time detailing Wright’s highly notable architectural accomplishments, but that has been done many times by previous biographers and the point of this work seems to be to show the reader Wright’s other, personal life that contrasts sharply with his professional one. And that is where the irony and humor reside. There is tragedy as well and Boyle handles these passages with poetic, sympathetic strokes. Along the way, we are given details that I hadn’t known about the famed designer: his fascination for all things Japanese, for example, and his complete chaotic personal life and ineptitude for finances that kept him forever in debt. I think this trait goes hand-in-hand with Wright’s “philosophy of arrogance” and his determination to live outside conventional standards. T.C. Boyle has humorously investigated the lives of other famous American egoists, such as Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (yes, that Kellogg) in “The Road to Wellville” and Alfred Kinsey (The Kinsey Report) in “The Inner Circle”. With the addition of “The Women” to his arsenal, and its innovative structure, the author is quickly emerging as something of a modern day Mark Twain, and I cannot think of a better time for it. There is a plethora of popular personalities who deserve to be publicly displayed on a literary rotating barbeque.

The “Have a Heart” Charity Golf Tournament has opened its office October 4 in Plaza Tamarindo, Suite A-10, for information and tournament registration for the 2011 tournament on February 14. For information about the tournament call Jennifer Smith at 8928-2241. “Have a Heart” is sponsored by “Amigos de la Educacion,” supporting education in the canton of Santa Cruz. Call 2653-0270 for information. Seasons Restaurant is closed until late October. For details call Shlomy at 2653-2440 or 8368-6983. Newly opened in Huacas is Ana Lissett’s Beauty Salon, opposite CoopeGuanacaste, for the treatment your hair deserves. Also for massages, braids, nails and many more services. They also have a souvenir store next door. Tel: 2653-6314. El Mirador Bar y Restaurante (formerly Vita Bella) is the perfect place to watch the spectacular sunsets and, particularly, the lightning displays. It will be open for, at least, some of October. Above SuperCompro on the 4th floor. Tel: 2653-0147 for details. Sharky’s has a new set of brilliant projectors for its huge screens and has acquired the rights to almost every game in any sport. Just ask Ben for your team’s game and he will accommodate you. Also, you can join the beer drinking contest at the Oktoberfest party September 9; and, of course, there is a big Hallowe’en party the 31st.

Casagua Horses The greatest variety of tours and riding experiences for all ages, featuring spectacular countryside, howler monkeys, colorful small towns and fun-filled fiestas. Cantina Tour - Nature Tour Fiesta & Tope Rental - Old Tempate Trail Tour Located near Portegolpe on the main road, opposite the Monkey Park, just 20 minutes from the beach.

Olga’s Coffee Shop has Ionized Water to restore alkalinity and flush toxins from the body, balancing the body’s pH level. To enjoy this affordable, healthy drinking water and reduce plastic waste in Tamarindo, bring your own bottles (2, 6, or 18 liters) in to Olga’s Coffee Shop for refills. 6:00 AM to 12:00 noon everyday

Photo: The Howler

Phone us at: 2-653-8041 • The best horses on Guanacaste’s Gold Coast!

At various times of the year, the laguna at Restaurant El Pescador receives special visitors!

Surf Report Story: Ellen Zoe Golden


or the first time ever Costa Rica sent a National Selection of surfers older than 35 years of age to participate a World Masters Surfing Championship and the results were outstanding. During July 29 and ending August 5, taking place in the waves of Santa Catalina de Soná, en Veraguas, Panamá, a full seven surfers competed at the Panama International Surfing Association (ISA) World Masters Surfing Championship. The combined team, chosen from the last Circuito Nacional de Surf, included: Masters Category (Older than 35 years of age) Cristian Jimenez and Giancarlo Loria Grand Masters Category (Older than 40) Craig Schieber and Alejandro Monge Kahuna Category (Older than 45) Craig Schieber and Mario Rodríguez Grand Kahuna Category (Older than 50) Oscar Sánchez Women’s Masters (Older than 35) Marta Schieber

the Limonese surfer Craig “Tequila” Schieber (photo) who finished out the competition at #5 in the world after leaving the 3rd position in the final series of repercharge, Kahunas category. In his final heat, the Costa Rican faced Rod Baldwin of Australia, Martin Jeri of Peru and Marc Wright of South Africa. He had 2nd place until the last minutes. He had scored with 6.00 and 7.10 in the first 23 minutes. Neverthless, the Peruvian came with a terrific backside and put up a wave of more than 9.00 points that removed Schieber from 2nd place near the end of the heat. The 1st position went to Baldwin with 16.67, second to Jeri with 15.67 and Schieber at 3rd with 13.10, with Wright earning 12.34. However, this positioning earned him a 5th place in these Master Worldwide Surfing Games, and with that Schieber becomes one of the great individual Ticos of surfing. He equals the record now held by Jason Torres, who earned a 5th place ranking in Portugal’s Worldwide Surfing Games. “The participation in this World Surfing Games was so important for me, just like all the selected athletes, because it informs us what our reality is in these divisions and what we need to do to improve our ranking in the next edition,” said José Ureña, Technical Director of the Costa Rica National Surf Team. This participation by Costa Rica was the debut of a National Selection of Masters in a World Surfing Games. For Costa Rica, the first World Surfing Games with Juniors (under 18 years of age) was in Tahiti in 2004. They finished at #13 out of 23 countries. When Costa Rica sent an Open to a World Surfing Game, they only managed to place at #26.

Photo: Phillippe Demarsan In this first occasion of competing in a World Surfing Games, this Masters team had a goal of going to Panama and placing in the middle of the ranking. They had expected that there would be 16 countries going to the Games, which means they would place at least halfway. In the last day of the Panama ISA World Masters Surfing Championship, that was run in the 6- to 8- foot waves of Santa Catalina, the National Selection of Costa Rica met its expectations which they closed out its debut in these games as #10 out of the 21 National selections who had actually shown up there. Helped along to achieve this goal was the amazing participating of

For these World Surfing Games Masters, for Costa Rica to arrive at #10 means they are already a power team. Coming in at #1 was Australia. The World Surfing Games Champions are the South African Andrew Banks in Masters, Puerto Rican Juan Ashton in Grand Masters, South Africans Rod Balwin, Kris Nutsen and Heather Clark in Kahuna, Grand Kahuna and Women’s, respectively. Speaking of Jason Torres, he’s been on an international juggernaut lately. With his win in El Punto, Guatemala on August 15, on the Asociación Latinamerica de Surfistas Profesionals (ALAS) Latin Pro tour, that makes three contest trophies in one year on that circuit. “It was incredible,” Torres said. “The time only gave me this one wave and I ran with it without know if it was any good or not. I did an aerial and did know how much I needed or if I was 1st or 2nd, and for that reason I killed it. I saw a tip and I stuck a aerial (continued page 17)

La Fiesta


ot everybody can expect 500 guests at his birthday party, especially if most of them are complete strangers. But the winter fiesta at Santa Rosa coincides roughly with the birthday of Martin Vallejos, ex-alcalde of Santa Cruz, and the two events combine to make the party of the year. We don’t even know the exact date, and I’m sure Don Martin has forgotten, as it has been a moveable feast for years, always celebrated on the last Saturday of August. This year a slight variance, as the Ministerio de Salúd, in their supreme wisdom, decided that the fiesta was a dengue hazard that week, but would be OK a week later. Around 9 a.m. on the Saturday caballistas start to congregate in the town square of Santa Rosa, either ridden or trucked in. Dozens of them, then scores, then hundreds. The salon is open for a liquid breakfast, the bombetas are blasting their double explosions in t h e s k y, a n d the horses keep coming. Groups of riders socialize over bottles of whisky and guaro on somebody’s tailgate, as this is the first fiesta since April and there is a lot to discuss. Horses and riders are dressed for the o c c a sion. One muchacho has double speakers strapped to his mount to add to the ruckus; Shakira look-alikes ride around displaying their navel piercings; music blasts from several directions; Master of Ceremonies Miro Contreras explains to the crowd the reason for the cabalgata (just in case you didn’t know) and proclaims the wares of the local businesses who have paid him to do so. Around ten the sound truck moves out, followed by 400 caballistas – working cowboys, a smattering of foreigners - language students soaking up the atmosphere, 80-year-old abuelas, sexy chicas, 3-year-old toddlers, and the accursed quadracycles, noisy and stinking, with coolers of cerveza in their baskets. Quads have their place, but it’s not in a 500-horse parade.

a del Año

David Mills

The procession straggles along the muddy lanes (this is traditionally the wettest weekend of the year), through lush, green forest, fording swollen rivers and across wide rain-sodden meadows. A beer stop at Bar El Cevichito in Linderos, with cars and trucks mired in the confusion outside, then the procession sets out for its destination, Hacienda la Pinta in Cañafistula, where the birthday party is already under way. The B i r t h d a y B o y, with his family and friends, watch the goings-on from the verandah of the Hacienda. Music, food, booze and dancing in the muddy farmyard, until the party degenerates, courtesy of Imperial and Pilsen, into the inevitable mud-wrestling contest, as youths, macho and borracho, roll around in the mud and rub horse and cow manure into each others’ hair. Younger kids swing from a tree and dive or drop into a swimming hole in the little river. Hacienda la Pinta is famous a m o n g the fiesta crowd, as it is the breeding ground for many of the fighting bulls which are a daily feature of all town fiestas. After partying in the farmyard, the riders head out for home, driving a group of these bulls. The 15 or so animals, disappointingly placid, are herded back to the corral in Santa Rosa to await the following day’s fiesta. Arrived back in Santa Rosa, some riders slope off home to sleep it off; others stick around for the evening’s festivities. Without doubt, this is the “fiesta del año”. It’s a blast - and it’s free!

The Value of Living With the Land Kay T Dodge


ecently, I read “Animal, Vegetable, and Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. This insightful, educational and often funny book reinforced a life-long belief that we should eat close to home for not only our personal health, but the health of the planet. Growing up post-depression, my parents grew their own victory garden during WWII, canned the abundant Michigan fruits and vegetables in season, and made weekly visits to the farmer’s market for fresh-from-the-farm eggs, vegetables and homemade baked goods. We ate in season not knowing it was the ecological thing to do, enjoying spring asparagus and strawberries, summer squash and red, ripe tomatoes picked from the vines, and especially enjoyed young corn on the cob and fall apples; we would pick as a family. I have fond memories of not only my Mother canning, but later memories of my own kitchen filled with the aroma of boiling stewed tomatoes, sweet peaches and applesauce. The tops of the glass Ball jars would snap tight as they cooled, sealing in their precious contents for the long Michigan winter. Lined up proudly in the basement shelves reserved for canned goods, they would become the hearty beef soup, spaghetti sauce, goulash, or other dinner favorites throughout the year. Peaches, pears, applesauce and plums would become healthy dinner desserts. Strawberry and raspberry jam would compliment peanut butter on packed lunch sandwiches or on breakfast toast. Green beans, pickles and pickled beets would also be added in season. And my favorite, jars of home-made grape juice with the grapes still floating in the jars would be opened for Sunday dinner. Over the last 20 years or so, we have been accustomed to find strawberries in December and apples in July. Importing fruits and vegetables from all over the world created the supermarket fresh fruit and vegetable section as one of the largest and most varied. But at what cost? Kingsolver explores the impact of the commercialization and importation of the fresh foods we eat. Chemical sprays, genetic alteration of food and the loss of family farms to large conglomerates are just a few of the real costs of eating foods out of season. How far have those peaches come to reach the shelves of Tamarindo’s supermarket, and in what condition are they in? Yes, we live in a global village, but the cost in fuel, product quality and environmental impact to get some of the “food” to the market has become too high. Processed food, preservatives and the addition of high fructose corn syrup in so many of the foods we eat threaten our health and promote diseases such as diabetes and obesity. So what is the solution? Go back to the farm and eat off the land, like the fantastic year described in the Kingsolver book, or more simply make wiser choices in the foods we eat? We all can do something on the continuum. Being a vegetarian or vegan may actually rob valuable vegetable proteins from developing countries, or expose the person

to a wider array of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides used to get those “perfect” vegetables to the shelves. Omnivores, like most of us are, must be aware of the hormones and antibiotics found in some animal products or the horrible, oftentimes inhumane, conditions in which chickens or cattle are raised, in addition to what may be on our fruits and vegetables. The movement to organic and free range beef, chicken and eggs is growing, but still not available to most visitors to the supermarkets. Kingsolver explores the power of the petrochemical industry in concert with the mega agricultural operations and seed producers, to control our food supply for profit not quality. The old saying “we are what we eat” has never been more true. So what can we do? In my humble opinion, which has changed little from when I was teaching Ecology and Human Anatomy, the answer was to eat close to home and try and make it home-made when possible. I never took the drastic steps as the Kingsolver family did in their book, but always have tried to buy locally and make it from scratch. Moving from Michigan where apples, peaches and cherries were abundant, here in Guanacaste, pineapple, mangos, bananas and papaya replaced the more traveled varieties. I have never found a good peach or ear of sweet corn here, and the apples, although improving in quality, are not the same. Blueberries, also abundant in Michigan, are ridiculously expensive here, even if they are frozen. I am not fanatic and will buy an occasional apple or grapes from Chile. The Kingsolver book encouraged me to produce our fresh eggs on the ranch, and our five chickens are enough to meet our needs. I have read in my professional cookbooks about getting only fresh eggs almost impossible in the states outside of the farmer’s markets. Now I know the difference, and enjoy holding the warm, brown eggs recognizing the difference in real fresh ones. We had raised pigs before and the home-grown pork was the best. Last year at Christmas, we killed a bull to give the meat to our workers and to process for ourselves. I just used the last package of prime ground beef (yes, I ground it) for the best, leanest and chemical-free burgers. We will do it again this holiday season. We have limes, mangos, oranges on the ranch, and the last year I have been putting the tops of our pineapples in the ground, producing in June, our first crop of pineapples. Because it takes about a year to produce a pineapple from the cut tops, many don’t have the patience to wait. This ground bromeliad is easy to grow in a pot or the garden, and will produce more after the first pineapple is cut. And how sweet they are ripening on the proverbial vine. We are fortunate we could afford this piece of land when we invested in Costa Rica and are making use of the rich soils, enhanced by our horses and cattle, and enjoy using the bounty produced by the ranch. We are not fanatics, but trying to be smarter and healthier with our choices, understanding the value of living with the land. For more:

Surf Report (from page 13) 360 and thank God it occurred to me. I said that I was going to win and I did it.” Unfortunately, given the ranking system of the ALAS he is only ranked #5 because he hasn’t done enough contests to earn enough points to garner a higher status. He was absent in Peru, Ecuador and El Salvador. Peru’s Sebastian Alarcon is currently #1. Torres has a chance to win the Latin American title if he shows up and places well in the remaining 6 star dates in Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica. One of the things that is taking up Torres’ time is the World Qualifying Series. The first week of September, he was off at San Miguel Pro Zarautz in Spain doing a 6-star contest. He was seeded in the Round 2 of 96 and in his first heat he passed at 2nd place. His 3rd place finish in Round 3 of 48 earned him a 25th place finish and $1,500. This is actually not bad for a new start on the WQS and I’m sure he will improve as he goes along. According to Ureña, who is the President of the Federación de Surf de Costa Rica: “Torres is putting more effort into the international contests. He’s at the right age to do it. He’s trying to get out of the box and compete out of Costa Rica. That’s the main problem with most of our surfers, that they only stay here in Costa Rica. What Jason is doing is amazing.” Torres is going to go to do a couple of more international contests, then meet the newly selected National Costa Rica Surf Team when they head to Peru for the 2010 Billabong ISA World Surfing Games in October 19 through 27. Beforehand, the Federación de Surf will get off the next Triple Crown contest in September and then the last one in October. The Central American Surf Champioship will take place in Nicaragua in November, where Costa Rica will try for a record 5th trophy. The Circuito Nacional de Surf, the country’s national surf tournament, is set to start this year in December, and the Federación is in the process of going after the event’s sponsors. Ureña explained that there would likely only be 5 dates this year to make way for the large number of international contests Costa Rica National Surf Teams would be required to attend. This would include a Junior World Surfing Games, the World Surfing Games, the Master World Surfing Games, the Pan American Games and the Central American Surfing Championship. The Circuito Nacional de Surf, along with the Triple Crown keep the country in surf contests year round. This is why Costa Rican surfers are at such a high level internationally.

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.

Alcoholics Anonymous Schedule of Meetings


Tuesdays: 5:30 - 6:30 pm (open) Fridays: 5:30 - 6:30 pm (open)

Location: Hitching Post Plaza Unit 2, Brasilito Contact: Don H. at 2-654-4902


Saturday: 10:30-11:30 - Open General Meeting Monday: 5:30 Open Meeting Thursday: 6:30-7:30 - Open Meeting Location: Behind Restaurant La Caracola Contact: Ellen - 2-653-0897

Backstage People


any people working for CEPIA are well known to the public, but what about the invisible activists?

Some people and businesses deserve recognition for their backstage work: driving around for free with children, with materials and with food for the children, sharing their knowledge, passion and skills to children, offering their professional services to address important issues. We are talking about: Tamarindo Shuttle, Transporte Rigo Rojas Jennifer, Taylor and Glenn Smith, Pedro Martinez, Jon Skaggs y Brianna del Castillo, Muriel Cuny, Debbie Marcos, Mary Byerly, Carolina Ruiz, Cecilia Leiva, Sebastian Tonelli, Grettel Solórzano, Ashley Javogue, Isabelle Furet Pignon, Glenda y Bob Carter, Gitanjal, y Ignacio Lopez docente de la escuela de Matapalo, Restaurant Nibbana, Hotel Capitán Suizo, Catalinas Development, Fundación Florida. Also Hotel Bahía del Sol and Hotel Flamingo Beach Resort. These 2 hotels are the first businesses that have started to implement the fundraising project “$1 per guest”, to raise funds for the children. CEPIA is looking for more hotels and businesses with social responsibility that want to participate in this initiative! Join us! Do not hesitate to take part in this community project, volunteering for an hour or more per week! A real chance to create better life opportunities for all the children and teenagers in this area! Contact Sandrine at or 2653-8533. Cepia’s Public Library is open every Saturday from 2 pm till 5 pm, offering hundreds of books in English and Spanish, for parents, teachers, teenagers and children. Perfect idea for long rainy season weekends!

I never try to dance better than anyone else; I just try to dance better than myself. Mikhail Baryshnikov

The Sky Above and the Mud Below

Tom Peifer

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain - James Taylor


s so often this time of year, there is good news and bad news. On the positive side, the memories of the infernal heat of last dry season are washed away repeatedly with every drop of rain that falls. It’s been a great year to get plantings established. The bad news? Costa Rica, the country that embarked on the much-ballyhooed ‘Peace with Nature’ campaign, appears to be in strategic retreat in the battle with the fierce rains. Notwithstanding the PR impact of Peace with Nature, as a physicist pointed out a while ago, “reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.” This rainy season, nature is strutting its stuff big time. The facts speak for themselves.

help out, it looks more likely that local communities are going to have to prepare to fend for themselves when the going gets tough.

Just for starters, Guanacaste found itself completely cut off from the rest of the country for a few days. Landslides are now more abundant than fruit stands on the two main routes up to the central valley. A newly opened highway in San José had to be shut down for three months just because somebody didn’t tell the engineers that 60% slopes need, you know, like some kind of stabilization when bombarded on a regular basis by tropical downpours. Daily scenes on national TV feature barrios inundated by small streams gone berserk with raging volumes of runoff. Somebody, somewhere along the line to the development of the Gran Area Metropolitana, forgot the simple maxim that roofs and pavement don’t absorb rainfall. They shed water into streams. A stream channel only goes along with the program up to a point. After that, it’s look out below and head for the hills, with the kids in tow.

Across the board you are hard-pressed to find one politician who grasps the complexity of the challenges—economy, climate, energy, water, food, etc—and fewer who are articulating a way forward out of the mess.

As things go, even death does not guarantee immunity from persecution by the angry waters and lackadaisical approach to planning. Fifteen permanent residents of the municipal cemetery of Desamparados, rather than resting in eternal peace, recently found themselves irreverently tossed out into the street. The perimeter wall of the hallowed ground was undercut by a nearby trench. Timing is everything. In the dry season the project might well have proceeded without a hitch. But somebody overlooked the fact that nature runs the show. The project ‘engineers’ apparently failed to take into account both the law of gravity and load-bearing capacity of the super-saturated soil. At any rate, the whole shebang turned into a macabre version of a Slip ‘n Slide, with the stiffs bodysurfing the wave of sediment out onto the sidewalk. A wake-up call sounds from not-so-far-away Guatemala where the rash of rainy season ‘problemitas’ has left them without any money to tend to new emergencies, all caused by the relentless flooding and landslides. Not unlike the situation in Pakistan, submerged masses across the globe increasingly are finding themselves faced with the proverbial choice of sink-or-swim—on their own. No rock concerts, photo-op visits by ex-presidents, fleets of ships offshore and helicopter drops of MRE’s tailored to the local culinary customs. No sir, between the global economic downturn, the out-of-control climate and the onset of ‘disaster fatigue’ in the countries that can afford to

Allow me to go parenthetical here and bring in some outside help. My perspective on the general cluelessness of those in ‘control’ extends far beyond the shores of Costa Rica. A writer I respect summed things up in these words: The most striking feature of the current scene is the absence of a coherent vision of our multiple related predicaments and how they add up to a valid picture of reality.

Meanwhile, the man on the street is left to his own devices to figure things out. As it turns out, they aren’t always so stupid. Almost 70% of Americans in a recent survey admitted that the economy is going to get worse in spite of the positive spin from the talking heads on TV. Sometimes you just have to thank God for the apparent wisdom of the common man. A case in point: Jostling on the early bus in a stand-up-squeeze by the front door, I greeted an old friend Julio as he maneuvered his solid frame in between my backpack and the handrail. We exchanged greetings, a handshake and a couple of comments about the weather, all in about 15 seconds. I asked if his house had been flooded yet. Nada, came the reply. Well you’re more lucky than about half of the rest of the human race, I responded. Yeah, he replied, and the other half is going up in flames. Voila, a guy with a third grade education, a lifetime in the campo and a bit of TV news comes up with a condensed summary of the global climatic situation—with no help from a teleprompter. Later, at the bank, another campesino from San José de la Montaña demonstrated a reasonable grasp of cause and effect—something that seems to elude the bulk of our elected leaders. He patiently explained that the numerous springs in the hills around his town seem to have dried up as the original forest cover has been changed to teak plantations. The whole area appears to be drying out. The high temperatures during last ‘summer’ were particularly harsh. When I referred to the climatic extremes—floods in Pakistan and fires in Russia—taking place in other parts of the world, he waxed ironic. The way Guanacaste is going, we’ll have Pakistan in the rainy season and Russia ‘en verano.’ It will be like traveling the world without having to buy plane tickets. (continued page 24

by Jeanne Callahan

October F Forecasts orecasts October

Aries: 21 March - 20 April


Your ruling planet, Mars, is strong and powerful in the sign of Scorpio this month, enabling you to make progress in your endeavors. There is a strong emphasis on improving relationships with Venus, also, passionate Scorpio and Saturn in the sign of Libra. You can make your point effectively now--leave the flamethrower out of it! Venus retrograde on the 8th could bring a former lover into the picture.’s not as rosy as it seems. Best days are the 21st and 22nd.

Taurus: 21 April - 21 May

Visit Jeanne’s site at

Libra: 23 September - 23 October

With Saturn firmly established in Libra, the times are demanding that you take responsibility for your choices and take steps to reorganize your finances, your home life and your relationships. No shame or blame here so don’t try to hide anything or make excuses for the way things are. A beneficial solution will present itself if you are straight with yourself and others. Learn to live peacefully with uncertainty for the next eight weeks. As my accountant likes to say, “your creditors can’t eat you!” Best days to negotiate are the 7th and 8th.

You are plodding along in kind of a steady dutiful way but longing wistfully for some passionate connection. Is anybody out there? Keep sending your wishes forth but be careful if anyone from your past comes in after the 8th when your ruling planet, Venus, goes retrograde. Ok, you can make out a little but connections are more likely to last if you wait till late November. Positive days are the 23rd and 24th.

Scorpio: 24 October - 22 November

now and the stars are aligning to support your search. With Mars and Venus in water sign Scorpio in your solar fifth house of love, you can generate some interest and action the last part of the year. However, Venus going retrograde on the 8th gives you six weeks to formulate your action plan---nothing serious will transpire until after Nov 18th. You have excellent lunar aspects on the 1st, 28th and 29th.

Capricorn: 22 December - 21 January

This month has a bit of a social overtone so you should plan to do some entertaining in your home. Possibly a gathering of friends you haven’t seen for a long time or a family reunion is in order. The vibe is good for re-connecting with people you care about. Still some concern about finances with situations concerning taxes, your estate and insurance coverage that need to be resolved. Stay informed. Things go your way on the 3rd, 30th and 31st.

Aquarius: 22 January - 19 February

You should be feeling less beleaguered now that Mercury is direct and Saturn is well out of your sign—not to return for 29 year! Whew...glad that is over. So the aftermath of that transit is that you are free to create a new and less tedious reality that the previous thirty years. So what will it be? Vibes are good for love, connection with siblings and community activism. Good days to contemplate your fate and get your way are the 5th and 6th.

This could be a stressful time regarding your finances as some resources you’ve been counting on have dried up. Attend to matters involving taxes, insurance and estate planning this month. You have some protection around you so listen your trusted advisors or friends who’ve been there in the past for you. Vow to learn from your mistakes and formulate a new plan for the territory ahead. Days that are beneficial for you are the 18th and 19th.

With Mars and Venus both transiting your sign, your passions are alive and aroused. Hopefully the object of your affection is experiencing the same feelings as you are. Be careful as when Venus retrogrades on the 8th, you make have to retreat as some secrets are revealed that make you uncomfortable. Don’t commit to anything until the end of November, that is, if you still feel the same way at that time. Days to enjoy the Gemini: 22 May - 21 June th th Life is full of action and you have the opportunity to rectify sexy vibe are the 9 and 10 . some old situations at the beginning of the month. Clear Sagittarius: 23 November - 21 December communication is a strength for you if you don’t scatter your This month has you feeling less social than usual and you energies in too many opposing directions. Have a goal in will be more inclined to invite others into your home to visit mind before you take action or risk it just being meaningless rather that be out and about. You are likely to be needing a motion—think gerbil on a wheel and you’ll know what things bit more rest as you’ve had to take on more responsibility in your work these last two weeks. More work is on the way to avoid. Best days for progress are the 25th and 26th. so take care of your health now too. The 11th and 12th bring Cancer: 22 June - 22 July Your longing for partnership and security is a priority right some new opportunity to your door.

Leo: 23 July - 23 August

Virgo: 24 August - 22 September

Responsibilities are feeling heavy right now with lots of work duties along with a strong desire to begin something new. Take a breather on that one as the vibe supports you getting more information before you increase your empire. Capricorn is an empire builder but timing will be better next year for beginning something. Best days to gain support are the 13th and 14th. The vibe this month is about your professional life, money and health. If tempted to get involved romantically with someone you work with, use caution as it won’t last if you start it between Oct 8th and Nov 18th. Use that time to ask questions and become friends. You’ll know after that if there is any kind of future for you. Good days to be out in the public are the 15th and 16th.

Pisces: 20 February - 20 March


Doctor’s Orders Jeffrey Whitlow, M.D.


n my last column, we started to talk about natural foods. We defined them, and then we discussed the effect that cooking these foods has on the ability of the body to digest them. In this column we will talk more about how cooking affects these foods and what can be done to counteract those effects. To properly understand this discussion though, I will have to teach you readers more about our digestion. Most people think we chew up and swallow the food, and then it drops into the stomach. The stomach churns up the food with the stomach acid, which breaks it down for further digestive work in the small intestine, where most of the nutrients are absorbed. Then the remainder goes to the large intestine, which reabsorbs the leftover digestive juices and excess water, which leads to a trip to the bathroom eventually. In fact though, our digestion is much more complex than that. Our stomach, rather than being one vessel, is actually divided into four parts. The upper portion is dedicated to pre-digestion. In other words, if we consumed natural raw foods that contained an uncompromised life essence, the foods would spend a considerable amount of time in that portion of the stomach digesting themselves. This is crucial, as the only proteins available in the body for digestion, after we use up the limited amounts contained in the salivary glands, stomach, intestines, and liver, have to come from our white blood cells. As you should know, our white cells have an essential function in our immune system, protecting us from disease and intruders. Imagine a police officer with a gun but no bullets. That is a direct analogy to a white cell with no protein. Think back to our discussion of autoimmune disorders. It is easy to see now that you can directly link the malfunction of the immune system with the disarming of the white cells that occurs when we consume unnatural foods and/or natural foods that have been cooked. So it is crucial that we recognize these facts and eat only raw natural foods, or use an appropriate dietary supplement to supply the proteins we need to adequately digest cooked food. These supplements are marketed under a variety of names and are available at most health food stores or high-end grocery stores, such as Whole Foods Market. Each person’s diet and basic body chemistry is different, so the supplement that works well for me probably won’t work for my girlfriend. Finding the right supplement is a trial and error process. How do you know if you are using the right one? If you take the right supplement with your meals, then you will no longer get gas or heartburn. If the supplement is not the right one, you will have excessive gas and possibly diarrhea! When I learned to combine the use of these supplements with dietary modification, I could finally cure my patients of diseases that we had treated unsuccessfully for years with steroids and/or patent medicines with unproven efficacy and unknown short and long-term side effects. In my next column, we will talk more about the specific effects that particular foods have on particular body systems and functions.


C hapter LXXVII



t all started last January when I received an e-mail from Jon Chase, one of the members of my old band from high school, proposing that we get The Incredible Fog back together and play the upcoming (in August) 40th Reunion of the Class of 1970 back in the good ol’ USA. I was a little apprehensive at first. The last time we got together (for the 20th reunion) was the weekend that Iraq invaded Kuwait, thus opening a can of worms that is still with us today. Maybe it was just a coincidence but you never can tell. My initial reticence produced another e-mail stating that since I had been a “band leader” my participation was somewhat mandatory. Being the “leader” of a rock and roll band, then as now, is something of an oxymoron; can you really be the leader if no one does what you say? So casting my fate to the wind and my pearls before swine I signed on.

Return of the Incredible Fog

Stones, eventually undergo. Most Foggies went on to higher education and real jobs while yours truly, fatally bitten by the by the rock and roll bug, continued on to where you find me today. The reunion plan was to get together and rehearse for two or three days at the designated reunion headquarters of another Foggie stalwart, Jim, who had donated his home in Great Falls, Virginia. The next few months produced a flurry of proposed song lists as well as a good deal of reinforcement as several members hadn’t played in quite a while. Nonetheless we ended up with just about

A little history of the band. The Incredible Fog, AD 1967-71 were a Northern Virginia, (AKA Washington DC suburbs) psychedelic rock band playing the music of that era, heavy on the Jefferson Airplane, Beatles, Doors, Stones etc... the same stuff I’m playing today. There were a couple of versions during its lifetime, first with my sister Miriam until she graduated and left for college, and with Elaine, a classically trained keyboardist. In addition to playing a lot of sock hops, Sadie Hawkins Dances and local community centers, we also recorded a single, “When the Sun’s Gone Down”, for ABC records. Four members of the band, as well as our extensive soundman-roadie crew, were all members of the Class of 1970 and our senior year “Carpy” moved into the keyboard slot and Brad, an older guy by a year, came in on vocals. The Fog continued to do a lot of local gigs, and the summer after we graduated we drove down south in Bill’s (the soundman) VW Bus and recorded an album and another single in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, (right next to Nashville). The band hung in there for about another year but eventually succumbed to the inevitable breakups that all bands, other than the Rolling

everybody and the 2010 Incredible Fog proceeded to reform. That week Susan and I flew in from Costa Rica, as did Jamie the Bass Player, now an architect, from Seattle and, eventually, Brad the singer, in from the California desert. Carpy drove in from Denver, my sister from Atlanta and Jon from Boston. Jon Chase had stayed in the music business over the years and was bringing down a muchneeded PA system for the rehearsals. It was nice to run into someone his (my) age who still had a ponytail and “the look” even though he is now teaching music at the prestigious Berkeley School of Music. The band was rounded out with Bob, the rhythm guitarist, and Elaine, who both still lived in the DC area. We began serious practicing on Wednesday, going down different song lists to find out what worked. To our mutual delight, things went smoothly from the beginning and protestations of rustiness were exaggerated. The game plan was to put together a 15-song list, about an

Story by Jesse Bishop hour’s worth. My sister and Elaine were the designated chick singers so the Airplane’s “Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit” were obligatory, as well as an updated version of the aforementioned “When the Sun’s Gone Down” with new vocal arrangements to accommodate old voices. We covered a couple of Doors songs and then put the soundman Bill to work on Creedence’s “Born on the Bayou” and “Satisfaction” by the Stones. Although things were going well we were still waiting for Brad, the singer and front man, to show. Brad had expressed doubts about his vocal chords during the preceding e-mail flurries, but when he finally made it Friday afternoon he showed up ready to sing and in full voice. Although the actual performance was Saturday night we previewed the band at the party, held Friday night at HQ, to an enthusiastic crowd of fifty-eight-year-olds. We did one more practice the following afternoon and then it was off to the official reunion at the old Grange Association Building (1928), now a public park. Another local band “The Mellonheads” had been booked to play the event and provide the equipment for our show. I had wondered where they got that name until I saw the foreheads of several members. The Incredible Fog took the stage for the first time since 1990, starting with a spirited “Louie Louie”. Carpy was to start the whole thing off with that famous lick “da dadada dada dadada dada”, you know. John Carpenter is extremely involved in performing intricate symphonic electronic compositions that involve his gigantic computer (the same one used to create Disney’s “Wall-E”), but right before going onstage he forgot how it went, despite, or perhaps due to, a ten-dollar bet with the drummer that he’d mess it up. Said drummer came to his assistance and lost his own bet and the band played on to an enthusiastic crowd of friends, loved ones, classmates and former girlfriends. It was a lot of fun and we decided afterward to not wait another twenty years before another reunion as it would kinda strange with a bunch of seventy-eight-year-olds playing “Hang On Sloopy”, although not impossible!

A Slice of Life History & Heroism

David Mills


o many wage slaves, the daily commute has to be the biggest ordeal of the day, whether by subway, car or train. But occasionally, a song on a Costa Rican radio station will take me back to a time when I actually looked forward to my trip to work and back. I lived in Wallasey, a large town on the north-east corner of the Wirral peninsula in England, and worked 5 miles away in Liverpool. But those five miles comprised the River Mersey, with a short walk at each end, and I took the ferry boat each way. On the 40-minute trip from New Brighton to Liverpool pier head, presided over by the great steel Liver Birds which are reputed to flap their wings when passed by a woman of untarnished virtue, we dodged ocean liners, cruisers, trawlers, destroyers, tugs, the occasional aircraft carrier, an everchanging and fascinating panorama of vessels. The boats that normally plied that route were the Royal Iris and Royal Daffodil II. Simple ferry boats, but what a history! Nicknamed the “floating flatirons” from their shape, these boats had inherited the names from their predecessors. Walking around the deck I would sometimes pause to read the commemorative plaque riveted to a bulkhead. In 1918 the earlier “Daffodil” and “Iris” had been commandeered by the Royal Navy for a raid on Zeebrugge in Belgium. Both ships were badly damaged; personnel losses were almost 200. After a hero’s welcome home, both ships were repaired and returned to ferry service – but with new names. King George V commanded that the appendage “Royal” be added to their names. In 1940, history repeated itself! The ferries again went to war. The entire British army had been driven into the sea by the German Wehrmacht, and was being bombed and strafed into extinction on the beaches at Dunkirk. There was no way out. Prime Minister Winston Churchill broadcast a desperate plea to all small boat owners “Let’s go and get them!!” In the next few weeks, eight hundred small civilian-owned boats, from 15foot sailing dinghies to trawlers, luxury motor yachts and coalers crossed and recrossed the English Channel and, under severe fire from coastal batteries and dive-bombers, returned 338,000 half-dead troops to England. Both Royal Daffodil and Royal Iris did sterling service, making several trips back and forth. Seventy thousand “Tommies” died in the bloody surf. On one trip, a bomber put a high explosive bomb onto the Royal Daffodil. Miraculously, it penetrated two decks and exited the starboard hull at the waterline before exploding in the sea. The captain moved all personnel and equipment to the port side, patched the hole with mattresses and they rode back with a heavy list to keep the hole above the water. Back to peacetime. When not shuttling commuters to work, the two boats ran evening and weekend cruises and dances along the Cheshire coast, entertained by the wide choice of rock groups available at that time – Gerry and the Pacemakers, Beatles, Freddy and the Dreamers, Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas... The popularity of these trips was due to the practice of opening the bar the moment they cast off, whether during legal drinking hours or not. The “cruise boats” were, of course, dubbed “booze boats”. So, can you guess which song, a favourite on RadioDos, takes me back over 50 years?

The Sky Above... (from page 19) Travelers disembarking in Juan Santamaria airport from bargain flights during the “green season” are more likely to be greeted by earth tone colors—along the roads, in the streams and rivers and, depending on their shopping tastes, in the parking lots and stores of malls. Absent some creative marketing of mud pies as part of the plan to increase national exports, the Central Valley looks set to be wallowing in a seasonal mud bath for some time to come.


12 10

c m s

In a letter to La Nación, one daring soul went so far as to suggest that the highway engineers employ vegetation along the road cuts, instead of the ‘hard fix’ of steel mesh and concrete. Admittedly, no amount of known terrestrial vegetation is going to keep the multi-ton boulders glued onto the near vertical road cuts of the new route to Puerto Caldera. At the same time, you can already see slopes where the reinforced concrete revetment has blown out, quite possibly due to the pressure of underground seepage trapped behind the impervious covering. And that’s not the only issue.

RAINFALL - August/September Maricle Meteorological Observatory La Garita

8 6

Covering up with concrete even the modest slopes of the recently opened—and promptly closed--7 Km. peripheral route, will only

Total rainfall: 63.9 cm (25.1 inches)

4 2 0 16



31 1






Year-to-date 2009: 121.6 cm 2010: 248.5

Rainfall August/Sept 2009: 22.2 cm 2010: 63.9

increase both the volume and velocity of flows in the already hemorrhaging waterways of the Central Valley. The guy who wrote to La Nación was right on the money about planting slopes to hold them in place. And there is perhaps no better area in the country to see dozens of successful examples than right here in our own neck of the woods.

October ( a l l

t i m e s

2010 l o c a l )


1st - rise 5:32; set 5:34 15th - rise 5:32; set 5:26 31st - rise 5:34; set 5:19

New: 1st quarter: Full: Last quarter:

Moon 7th 14th 22nd 30th

12:44 p.m. 3:27 p.m. 7:36 p.m. 6:46 a.m.

Almost 15 years ago Lito Fernandez, of Hotel Playa Negra, shored up a collapsing stream bank with a live-set planting of horizontal bamboo bundles, staked in place and covered by mesh. The bank is still there and a dense thicket of bamboo provides a stunning tropical backdrop to the seaside pool. Seven years ago, the developers of Tierra Pacifica in Junquillal embarked on a zero-erosion policy for the cut and fill slopes of their project. They employed vetiver grass, a deep-rooted, drought-resistant, non-invasive species that anchors the soil in place and encourages runoff to slow down, spread out and sink into the ground. Just what (continued page 25

The Sky Above... (from page 24) the doctor ordered to help keep our streams cleaner and avoid the problemitas that currently plague the country’s capital. Smart landowners, developers and landscapers have used similar techniques up and down the Gold Coast from Ostional to Playa Hermosa. If you take the time to drive through Donny Lalonde’s project, Lagartillo Hills, you’ll see entire swaths of landscape that have been meticulously planned and planted to make sure that the soil stays put and that the folks downstream don’t foot the bill when the heavens let loose. The bottom line is that solutions to problems in the real world tend to be very site-specific. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach that stands up to both the test of time and the challenges of nature. The elegance of engineering with living plants has received much more attention in other tropical countries, but local engineers seem to have been weaned off mother’s milk directly onto a steady diet of steel and concrete. It’s a pity. They could learn a lot by taking a long look at some of the pioneering work along the roads and waterways of the Gold Coast. Tom Peifer is an ecological land use consultant with 16 years experience in Guanacaste. Phone: 2658-8018. El Centro Verde is dedicated to sustainable land use, agriculture and development.

Business Consulting on the Gold Coast

the community.

A touch of efficiency and professionalism has arrived on the Gold coast. Four businesspeople from the area – Monica and Aloys Riascos, Sildelau Salcedo and Carlos Fernandez – have opened GEPSA, and agency to provide personnel placement services, training, evaluation, legal advice and consulting services to

Gepsa maintains a database of, currently, 120 people. When matching an applicant to a position, they will recruit, select, contract and administer the person. Available skills range from professional to hotel service to domestic to gardening. Gepsa’s aim is to bring a higher level of labor services to the area. Their office is at Local 2-15 in Paseo del Mar Commercial Center in Huacas. For contact information, see ad on page 7.






01:23 07:46 14:03 20:27 02:27 08:53 15:08 21:38 03:41 10:07 16:18 22:48 04:55 11:17 17:25 23:51 06:01 12:19 18:24

1.8 7.7 1.5 7.1 1.9 7.4 1.6 7.3 1.9 7.5 1.5 7.7 1.5 7.8 1.1 8.4 0.8 8.3 0.5


7T New Moon 8F



00:47 06:59 13:14 19:18 01:38 07:51 14:05 20:07 02:27 08:40 14:54 20:55 03:14 09:27 15:41 21:42 04:00 10:13 16:28 22:28

9.1 0.1 8.9 -0.1 9.8 -0.5 9.4 -0.5 10.3 -1.0 10.7 -0.8 10.6 -1.2 9.8 -0.8 10.6 -1.1 10.7 -0.5




14T 1st Qtr 15F

OCTOBER TIDE CHART 04:46 11:00 17:16 23:16 05:34 11:48 18:06 00:05 06:24 12:37 18:59 00:58 07:18 13:32 19:58 01:58 08:18 14:32 21:03

10.2 16S -0.8 9.3 -0.1 9.7 17S -0.3 8.8

0.6 18M 8.9 0.4 8.2 1.3 19T 8.2 1.0 7.6 1.9 20W 7.5 1.6 7.3


03:06 09:25 15:38 22:09 04:19 10:33 16:44 23:11 05:24 11:34 17:41

2.3 7.1 1.9 7.2 2.4 6.9 2.0 7.3 2.2 7.0 1.9

00:03 06:17 12:26 18:28 00:47 07:01 13:10 19:09

7.6 24S 1.8 7.3 1.7 8.0 25M 1.4 7.6 1.4

22F Full Moon 23S

01:27 07:39 13:50 19:46 02:03 08:15 14:28 20:22 02:38 08:51 15:04 20:57 03:13 09:26 15:40 21:32 03:49 10:01 16:17 22:09

Word puzzle All words from the list below can be found in the word block on the right. Answers may be forward, backward, upwards, downwards and diagonal. acropolis advantage battle bravado cinematic entitled errant exodus exquisite ďŹ rebird eeting hardheaded healthy little overgrown

parsimonious parthenon perimeter pseudonym psychological psychosomatic sacramento secondary sparse temporary teutonic therapy torrent trite tumultuous

9.6 26T 0.1 8.8 0.2 9.5 27W 0.3 8.4 0.5 9.2 0.6 8.0 0.9 8.8 1.0 7.5 1.4 8.3 1.3 7.3



30S Last Qtr


04:26 10:39 16:55 22:48 05:05 11:18 17:36 23:30 05:47 12:01 18:21

9.1 0.1 8.3 0.9 8.9 0.3 8.1 1.1 8.6 0.6 8.0

00:18 06:35 12:49 19:12 01:13 07:31 13:34 20:11

1.3 3W 8.2 0.9 7.8 1.5 4T 7.8 1.1 7.8

1M Nov 2T

02:16 08:36 14:45 21:17 03:26 09:46 15:51 22:23 04:36 10:54 16:57 23:25 05:41 11:57 17:57

1.6 7.6 1.3 7.9 1.5 7.6 1.3 8.2 1.2 7.8 1.0 8.7 0.7 8.2 0.7

00:22 06:39 12:54 18:53

9.3 0.2 8.6 0.3


Howler magazine serving the Gold Coast of Costa Rica