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The Howler

Volume 17, No. 5 Issue No. 188

May 2012 Founded 1996

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

Publisher, editor and production David Mills Tel: 2-653-0545 Howler • Mono Congo



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Dining Out

Ttiki Restaurant is open inside Hotel Tamarindo and serves excellent lunch and dinner with French flair.




Price $

Four Girls, Four Birthdays and a Beach

Four friends from Ontario, Canada, visit Tamarindo and send us their very happy opinons of our little town.


Around Town


Surf Report


What’s Developing

Openings, closings, parties, music. The Gold Coast has it all, and bar-hoppin’ David is in the groove. Two promising young Costa Ricans, Noe Mar McGonagle, 15, and his twelve-year-old sister Leilani are interviewed. A small group of villas on the mountain above Tamarindo are the start of a bigger project, including a hotel and beach club.


Surviving Costa Rica

With a Milestone Birthday imminent, our columnist waxes philosophical about aging and other controversial issues.


Changes in the Air

The earthy aroma of the first rains bring back memories of earlier transitions both in the US and Costa Rica.

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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.


24 May Forecasts

11 Book Review

25 Parents’ Corner

12 August Odysseys

28 Sun & Moon

20 Yoga

31 Tide Chart

22 Doctor’s Orders

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Cover Caption: Nature’s Beauty - Cañafistula in bloom near Liberia. Cover Photo: David Mills Cover Design: David Mills

Why do I need a Water Softener? Almost all the water in nature is hard water. Hard water is water that is contaminated with dissolved minerals – like calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, lead and limestone – that can have a negative impact on you, your household and your pocketbook. Depending on where you live, contaminants from sewage, industrial waste and agricultural run-off can also seep into your water supply. Hard water produces scale. If there are stains and build-ups on your sinks and bathtubs…if you have to use large amounts of soap to clean dishes or wash your hair…or if your water smells or tastes odd, you probably have hard water. If left untreated, the minerals in hard water will cause yellow stains on plumbing fixtures and be deposited as scale, eventually clogging plumbing and shortening the life of appliances like washing machines, water heaters and dishwashers. Scale deposits not only cut down on the efficiency of these appliances, they cost you money, increasing both energy and maintenance bills. Water softeners eliminate the effects of hard water. They “soften” the water by removing the calcium and magnesium found there, extending the useful life of water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers, coffeemakers, humidifiers and household plumbing systems by as much as 30 percent.


aster, or rather Semana Santa, beloved by some, loathed by others, came and went with the usual crowds, noise and traffic. An inflatable Alpina bottled water booth on the beach claimed “we are moving to take care of the planet” while it bombarded the town with ear-shattering rock all day.

So now, here we are in the rainy season – no, it’s summer – no, it’s raining again…After one night of rain on April 4, the sun returned until the 17th. Normally, once the rains start they continue. A radio weather forecaster once told me that if he said “Tomorrow’s weather, same as today” he’d be wrong twice a year. We usually expect the first rains in Guanacaste around mid-May. As of writing – April 19, it looks as if winter is here, overcast with thundershowers, lovely! After a few years of hiatus in development in Tamarindo it is refreshing to see the reappearance of our feature “What’s Developing.” Construction has begun on Las Mareas, a six-unit project at El Tesoro de Tamarindo. See our feature on page 18. If any other developer has news for us, please let us know. Tourists complain to me about the prices in Tamarindo restaurants, and especially the fact that the sales tax of 13% and service of 10% are often not included in the price shown for a dish. Sometimes the tax information is shown in tiny print at the bottom of the page, but an increase from ¢7,500 to ¢9,225 can be an unpleasant surprise. Many establishments just don’t understand why they should keep a reserve of change. One restaurant frequently has to send a waiter to the supermercado or the taxi rank to change a bill while a customer is waiting for change. Also, when I pay a bill in colones, I want my change in colones, not dollars, and certainly not a mix of both currencies. And if I pay in dollars, the server should ask what currency I prefer.


No Smoking! - by Law

ere on Costa Rica’s Gold Coast we have one huge health benefit, so free and available that people hardly ever think of it. Fresh, clean air, a big plus considering that many serious diseases are caused by polluted air such as is common in cities. In comparison to San José, even Liberia and Santa Cruz, our beach towns enjoy air uncontaminated by industrial pollutants. There is no significant industry within hundreds of kilometers, and what little emission comes from vehicles is quickly swept away by winds. So it amazes me to see such a large proportion of smokers here, insisting on polluting their own lungs instead of taking advantage of this free health bonus. Now their little “sin” is threatened by the new anti-smoking law, which has finally caught up to Costa Rica, many years after such laws were set in place elsewhere. The law, published April 10, 2012, forbids smoking in public places, transportation, automated teller booths and places of work, which are defined by any place where people are paid to work.

David Mills

Unfortunately, the law turns employees into policemen. A waiter asking a customer in a restaurant to stop smoking will not improve his/her tips. Hopefully customers will respect that the waiter is only representing his boss, who can be heavily fined for allowing smoking on the premises, and will find somewhere else to smoke. The purpose of the law is not to protect the customer, but the employee. The customer can go somewhere else; the employee cannot. At present, application of the law, only a month old, is as hazy as second-hand smoke. Some establishments are strongly enforcing the law, others ignoring it or enforcing it selectively. Some restaurants forbid smoking under a roof, permitting it beyond the roof line. Also, the law’s actual implementation date is ambiguous, the government having announced a three-month period for establishments to obtain the necessary signs. At least in Costa Rica we don’t have the bizarre situation as in colder climes where groups of heavily-clad employees huddle together outside their office building in minus-degree temperatures to grab a swift puff.


otel Pasatiempo in Tamarindo has had a long and successful history, operated by Ron Stewart since around 1992 until he moved to Panama. It sat empty for a few years, and has now been totally renovated by its new owners Sean Davis and Helen Jany. The restaurant is operated by Vincent and Chantal Laronde, from the Basque country on the French border with Spain. Vincent started in the restaurant business at sixteen, worked as a waiter then pastrycook and bought his own restaurant in Biarritz at 26. At Ttiki he serves an international cuisine with French overtones using all Costa Rican ingredients. Dinner started with complimentary snacks of shrimp, avocado, delicious spicy goat cheese and pineapple on toast fingers. Appetizers include guacamole with tortilla chips; Mexican nachos; avocado cocktail Florida – steamed shrimp and mango with cocktail sauce; mussels a la plancha; chicken wings. My selection was Calamari Romano with sauce tartare, soft, tender morsels of squid in batter, beautifully presented. A wide selection of salads offers: exotic, with red lettuce, tomatoes, sweet corn, shrimp, pineapple, red onions, cucumber, curry dressing; chicken Caesar; cabri – lettuce, tomatoes, hot cabri cheese, red onions, croutons with balsamic vinaigrette; supermodel vegetarian; and my companion’s choice – Ttiki salad: red lettuce, tomato, avocado, red onions, cucumber and generous cubes of sesame seared tuna, delicious and a meal in itself. The fish menu comprises mahi-mahi; mussels Normandy in white wine sauce; whole red snapper; and roasted lobster. My companion again ordered tuna, grilled and served with mango chutney. The meat menu consists of Ttiki burger; pork tenderloin with French mustard sauce; barbecued ribs; beef tenderloin with homemade peppercorn sauce (Vincent will not accept an order for this dish well done!). I chose a delicious steak tartare, ground meat topped with a raw egg. Desserts are profiterole; Ile flottante; macaron lime; white wife; pineapple melba; Irish coffee mousse. We shared a chocolate mousse, light and frothy. Ttiki is inside Hotel Pasatiempo in Tamarindo, open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., closed Wednesday. All credit cards accepted. Reservations 2653-0096 or 4478. E-mail:; web:

Four Girls, Four Birthdays and a Beach


t was my fiftieth birthday and big plans for the milestone date had started six months earlier. I invited my girlfriends to join me. I signed out every travel guide to Costa Rica from the library and read them cover to cover. I researched the internet for hotel and package prices, amenities, proximity to the beach and local restaurants, tours and surf lessons. Learning to surf was number one on my bucket list, followed by watching leatherback turtles nest on the beach and zip-lining through the forest. When it came to within a month of the travel date and time to book, we were down to three girls. Irene and I have travelled together several times over our sixteen years of friendship. We usually pick last minute all-inclusive vacations, neither of us being fussy on destination and both just needing our early winter sun and fun time. Five years earlier for her fiftieth, we had looked into Costa Rica but found it far beyond our price range and chose a great deal on an

extravagant all-inclusive in Jamaica. This year was my choice and I decided that we missed out on her birthday, so Costa Rica it was. I discovered that travel to Costa Rica and zip-lining were on Irene’s bucket list. Donna and I had travelled once to Mexico but she had done lots of travelling overseas to Thailand and Laos. Linda, a coworker of Donna, decided to join us a week before our departure date…and then there were four. Irene is an avid shopper and also can spend hours sitting on the beach. I am not much of a shopper and tend to get bored after a few hours on the beach and look for volleyball or sports for amusement. Having four of us travelling together was a perfect mix. Someone was always game to join one of us in whatever activity we chose. And each of us girls had birthdays within the month. The quaint surfing village of Tamarindo was the final choice based on location and surfing. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the choice. Having a breakfast-only plan at the Tamarindo Diriá sent us out to the village for dinner every night to sample the local cuisine. The first night, seated beachside at a table after leaving (continued page 23)

CD Review The Gentle Swing of Rialengo

Tony Orez


he first time I listened to “Musica Profana”, the new CD by Rialengo, I found myself being impressed time and again by the vocal and instrumental harmonies and the seamless, gentle flow of the melodies. The music is a mesh of Cumbia, from Colombia, and Swing Criolla, which itself is a marriage of Peruvian Criolla and American swing music, all blended in a Costa Rican Latin stew. Francisco Murrillo, the singer and songwriter of the band, has a perfect voice to portray this flowing music. Francisco was born in Rialengo, a neighborhood in Guapiles, on the road to Limón, on the Caribbean shore of Costa Rica. The ten-song disc reaches out still further musically, embracing influences from such diverse styles as reggae, electronica, straight-forward rock and even rap, all the while not losing its Swing Criolla backbone. And the music simply floats along, a very Caribbean sensation, indeed. The opening “Intro” sets the mood right away, followed by “Cumbia” with the vocal harmonies of Bernardo Quesada and Karla Gutierrez. The use of female accompaniment on vocals is a very nice vehicle for this style of music, the harmonics blending beautifully with Francisco’s voice. Guitarist Carlos Delgado shows his expertise throughout the disc, especially on the reggae-influenced “Andar el Camino” and the rocky “La Malacrianza”. Carlos has been a part of the Costa Rican music scene for more than two decades, bringing an impressive resumé with him, having played and recorded with too many names to list here, so I will only mention Manuel Obregon, Ray Tico, Perrozompopo, The Escats, Jazz Garbo and Bernardo Quesada, who co-produced the album with the band and sings back-up on many of the songs. Quesada recently released “Donde Te Espera Mi Nombre” with Rumba Jam, another swing Criolla CD, but of a more metropolitan sound, with more brass and horns. I would consider the two albums more complimentary than competitive. But back to Rialengo and its diverse, smooth groove. I like the accompaniment of Hector Murillo on accordion on the song “Fin del Mundo” and the suave clarinet playing by Checko Davila on “Musica Profana” to lend to the sound of the American Swing era. I also think the exemplary keyboard work by Nelson Alvarez helps give this harmonic music a rich, full texture throughout the album. And guest appearances by Guadalupe Urbina, Yaco and Perrozompopo add to the disc’s diversity, as well as giving a nod of approval from these seasoned veterans. The fact that Papaya Music, one of the premiere labels in Central America, has decided to distribute this project also speaks a lot about its potential. Swing Criolla is definitely undergoing a revival, potentially putting the musical genre and its accompanying dance style on the international map. When it does, Rialengo and the aforementioned Rumba Jam will be there to take their bows, and then, who knows, possibly go on a world tour together. Until then, their CDs are available at the Jaime Peligro book stores in Playa Tamarindo, Quepos and Nuevo Arenal, where they will gladly sample the music for their customers.

Book Review



Laughter is Contagious in the new Pachanga Kids Book


magine a land where none of the citizens speaks but rather communicates in colors instead. Every tint has a meaning and every hue has its own connotation. People quietly express themselves with these colors and by gestures and, of course, by their actions. The place is called the Silent Country and there is no place more beautiful. The Costa Rican publishing house Pachanga Kids recently unveiled its newest book, simultaneously in Spanish and English, titled “La Risa Contagiosa”, or “Infectious Laughter”. The story begins as described above, with wonderful illustrations by the Venezuelan artist Maria Elena Valdéz throughout the book and they play a major role in depicting the sequence of events. The story itself is the creation of Jaime Gamboa, a founding member of the popular Costa Rican band Malpais. As with all Pachanga Kids books, the storyline is not only entertaining for the young readers; it conveys a nice message for them (and their parents too) to think about after they have finished the book. Along the way, Gamboa has sprinkled the story with enough innuendos and asides to keep the adults’ interest, too. At certain times in the story, Fidel has used Costa Rica as a model for his beautiful country in transition. Pachanga Kids launched its line of books for young readers in 2007 with “El Mar Azucarado – Sea, Sweet Sea”. It is a hardback book, printed in Spanish and English, side by side on the same page, with a CD containing the theme song in both languages as well as an instrumental version. The book was quickly embraced by the public and two subsequent books with CDs followed: “El Coyote y la Luciérnaga (The Coyote and the Firefly)” and “The Mono Paparazzi”. In 2010, Pachanga Kids’ matron, Yazmin Ross unveiled three activity/coloring books based on these successful storybooks and they, too, have been very popular. But back to 2012 and the “Infectious Laughter”. Always looking for new approaches, Pachanga Kids has released this new book in a softback edition in Spanish and English separately. In either language, the story remains memorable. When the people of Silent Country run out of tint and dyes, when the well literally runs dry, they have to find new ways to express themselves. A colorless world does not work for them, so they need to find a solution outside the parameters of their known world. After all, what good is a black & white rainbow? I’m happy to report that the citizens do indeed find a workable solution and a wonderful lesson is imparted as well. Once again the people at Pachanga Kids are to be commended for their innovative approach and their pursuit of art and education. Their messages tend toward teaching children to collaborate and have fun doing it. The new book is the first joint venture between Pachanga and Grupo Amanuense, a Guatemalan publisher that specializes in cultural and educational material for people of all ages and walks of life; and so Pachanga Kids has built a bridge with their neighbor. Both versions of “La Risa Contagiosa” are available at the Jaime Peligro book stores in Playa Tamarindo, Quepos, and Nuevo Arenal.

August Odysseys

Robert August

Whose Blood is That?


ust a few years ago I was in Florida to attend the Grand Opening of a new surf shop, a family-owned upscale outlet in a nice community. They had prepared a big barbecue in the car park, some local celebrities had been invited, delicious food was everywhere, and a radio station had sent a DJ and a mobile transmitter with a 230-foot radio mast to broadcast the event. The mast was designed to bolt to a wheel of the truck, but for convenience they had just propped it against a large tree. I stood on the platform talking about surfing events in my life, then opened the question-and-answer period. People were asking questions about my surfing, ‘Endless Summer’, Africa and so on. Suddenly I heard a horrible ‘crack!’ which I thought was lightning, one of the famous Florida thunderstorms, until I noticed that everyone was staring at me, not in admiration as I had hoped, but in horror. What had happened? What had I said that had so shocked them? I looked around, then down, and saw a huge pool of blood on the floor around me. “Whose blood is that?” I wondered, then I felt liquid running down my face. “My God! It’s mine!!” I thought, and promptly passed out. I came around in a hospital bed, where a young doctor explained that I had a severe head wound due to the radio mast having crashed down onto the top of my head. My skull was badly broken, and he had fixed it together with staples. “This is my lucky day,” said the doctor. “How do you figure that?” I mumbled, still semi-conscious. “Well, I am a keen surfer. I was hoping to come to the opening of the surf shop, but I got a call to come in to work. I have a poster in my car; will you sign it if I bring it in?” I signed the poster and the doctor was a happy man. The mountain had come to Mahomet! I suffered from vertigo for three months and couldn’t drive, but have recovered completely except for the loss of a few IQ points. I still have a hole in my skull, which I allow people to feel in return for payment of 500 colones. After all, I am a professional. A few weeks later I returned to the surf shop and saw that the bloodstain was still there, and kids had stuck yellow crimestyle markers around it with a big yellow arrow pointing to it. A sign on the arrow said: “Robert August’s Blood”.

Robert August Surf and Turf


he 13th Annual Robert August Surf and Turf raised muchneeded funding for CEPIA, Guanacaste’s own private nonprofit organization which provides critical services to 1,000 children, teenagers and their families every year throughout the area. Once again, Robert graciously hosted and generously supported this uniquely Guanacaste event, which raised over $13,800 for CEPIA. Participants came from Europe, the States, Canada, Costa Rica and as far away as Australia, to play, Tico style, in this one-of-a-kind event. Off to a great start at the registration party at El Vaquero, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, with live music. The event moved on the next day to the Surf contest at Playa Avellana, generously hosted by Lola’s. Competitors found great surf after a delicious breakfast from Lola’s. Saturday morning found participants of the Turf at the world famous Hacienda Pinilla golf course. Competitors played 18 holes and stayed off the heat and thirst with food and drink supplied by Automercado, Cecile La Panadera del Pueblo, Super Massai, Super Wendy and Super 2001. Saturday night, participants were able to relax and dine at the elegant Diria Hotel. A stunning sunset, complete with green halo, was a timely beginning to the final awards ceremony Sunday, on beautiful Playa Tamarindo at El Vaquero. Awards were presented to 1st Place: Rick Fail, Andrew Fail, Robert Twine and Royce Mittchel; 2nd Place: Rob Goodell, Mike Clifford, Conejo, Jerry; 3rd Place: Percy Laurens, Gary Pittman, Cairo, Phil; Longest Drive: Sam August; Closest to the Pin: Mark Noel by Robert August. The event was supported by Gold sponsors: Clarke-Hook, Taylor Made, Special Ed’s Surf & Turf Team, Chamberlain Construction, The Business Bank, Bankers Insurance, Cyron & Miller, Boneyard Surf n Skate Shop, Blue Water Properties, Saban Brands, Horizon Pacific, Paul Frank Surf/Skate One, Hacienda Pinilla, Rick Fail, Siplast, Panama Jack’s, Lola’s, Real Watersports/Waterma’s Weekend, Sanuk, Waxy Wax, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp and Body Glove. The Silent Auction proved a worthy fund thanks to local businesses too numerous to mention. With an annual budget of $120,000, the funds raised at the Robert August Surf and Turf are vital to the support CEPIA’s outreach efforts. If you would like to get involved you may contact Laetitia Deweer, President at (506) 2653 85 33 or 83018282.

AROUND TOWN Bistro Langosta is now serving Sunday Brunch from 9 to 2. Fixed menu includes coffee or tea, fruit juice, fruit plate, toast, omelette and mimosa. On Langosta Beach road, right at the Y-junction past Capitán Suizo. Tel: 2653-4749/8546-4511. Even in Paradise one needs a vacation. Coconut Restaurant in Tamarindo and Coconut Beach Club in Potrero are closed for much of May. Call 2653-0086 or 2654-4300 for details. Jay’s Private Chef Services will supply all types of meals for your private event in your home. Check More good music around Tamarindo – Roberto Viquiz plays his classical/pop guitar around town. And Grupo Beifo Brasil has Cecile singing Brazilian songs and Bossa Nova with Fabio Wagner, guitar and Carlos Mesen on drums. Santa Cruz is coming closer! The Municipality has opened an office in the heart of Tamarindo, on the third floor of Sea Tower (above SuperCompro). The office will provide all the services available in Santa Cruz, without the drive. A series of seminars by local experts is being held at The Village. Seminars are May 2, Study Skills; May 5, Estate Planning; May 9, Feeling Healthy; May 11, Lifestyle & Health; May 16, Educating Towards Autonomy; May 18, Healthy Communication with Children; May 19, Personal Protection Training; May 23, Menopause & Post-Menopause; May 26, Don’t Be a Victim; May 30, Emergency Procedures. Cost is $15 per person. Further details from Pam, tel: 8355-9993 or Also at The Village: an Organic Farmer’s Market, every Tuesday from 2 to 6. Flea Market May 26 from 9 to 1. Doña Lee urgently needs donations of prizes for Bingo Night, second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Donate a bottle of wine, dinner or lunch for two, gift voucher, T-shirt, whatever. This enterprise raises funds for community needs. Call Lee at 2653-0127 or drop in at Doña Lee’s in Tamarindo. Ttiki Restaurant (at Hotel Pasatiempo) is serving fine lunches and dinners. See “Dining Out” and ad on page 8. Fine boxed Cuban cigars delivered to your hotel room! Call Elioth at 8806-5789. See ad page 18. Forget those heavy bottles of water from the supermarket. Solución de Agua purifies and softens water straight from your tap, for pennies, and reduces maintenance costs. See ad page 17. Rancho Coyote is open under new management halfway between Tamarindo and Villarreal. Beers are ¢900 all day, and karaoke every Wednesday. See ad page 29. Computer Doctor is open next door to Bar Coyote. Erick will solve your computer problems. See ad page 18.

Surf Report Ellen Zoe Golden


f you look at the new team selected for the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Junior Surfing Championship in Playa Venao, Panama, from April 14 to 22, you may not see the familiar names of Carlos Muñoz, Anthony Filligim, Anthony Segura or Nataly Bernold. That’s because all those surfers have all surpassed the age limit to compete internationally as Juniors.

Since we are going to be hearing a lot more from these kids, I asked them a few questions so we could get to know them.

However, if you have been following the Circuito Nacional de Surf the past few years, you will have come to know the young men who have been earning their places on the podium in the Junior and Boys categories. Therefore it should not come as too much of a surprise to see the new team. They are:

EZG: What about surfing keeps you doing it? NMM: I just love doing it and keep having fun.

Junior Under 18 Jason Mora (Santa Teresa) Elijah Guy (Santa Teresa) Thomas King (Tamarindo) Bruno Carvalho (Jacó) Sub: Alberto Muñoz (Esterillos)

Women Under 18 Emily Gussoni (Jacó) Leilani McGonagle (Pavones) Arisha Grioti (Santa Teresa) Tamara Futch (Jacó)

Boys Under 16 Noe Mar McGonagle (Pavones) Leonardo Calvo (Canyon) Kevin Montiel (Nosara) Manuel Mesen (Jacó) Two of these kids are really making a break for it. They are 15-year-old Noe Mar McGonagle (photo) and his 12-year-old sister Leilani. As a matter of fact, at the Circuito’s second date, the Torneo Off! In Palo Seco, Noe Mar won the Junior trophy. And, in the season opener, the youngster ended up coming in second place in the Open division. That is astonishing considering the category included winner Diego Naranjo, Muñoz, and Ramón Taliani. Noe has already won the Quiksilver King of the Groms in Costa Rica last year, which took him to Mexico, where he earned the trophy there of Quiksilver King of the Groms Latin America. With that title, he was all set to compete in the King of the Groms in France, but recovery from an ankle injury hindered his performance. Already he has won this year’s Quiksilver King of the Groms, and is on his way to Mexico again. In Palo Seco his sister blew everyone away with her surfing, by beating Lisbeth Vindas and Nataly Bernold and all the rest, to earn the crown in the Women’s category (as well as the Junior Women’s). There hasn’t been this much talent in one family since Luis and Lisbeth Vindas, who currently hold the 2011 national championships in Open and Women’s. Leilani and Noe Mar come from a surfing family, where mom and dad hit the water, and according to Leilani, even their dog is known to get on a board. They were both put on longboards by their father at the tender age of 1½, and when they were old enough to get their own boards, they went right in the water at Pavones, where they live.

Ellen Zoe Golden: Why did you decide to start surfing? Noe Mar McGonagle: My parents introduced me to it; we always surfed together as a family.

EZG: Who is your surf hero in Costa Rica? NMM: Luis Vindas. EZG: Who are your surf heroes in the world? NMM: Taj Burrow, Josh Kerr EZG: What category were you in when you started the Circuito? NMM: Mini-Grommets. EZG: Did you always win? NMM: No, not always. EZG: What do you think it is about your style of surfing or your attitude that allows you to win? NMM: I just try my best to stay positive and confident, but humble. The talent is very high in Costa Rica and everyone is surfing so well. In any event, you have to work hard to win. EZG: What is the highest trophy you have won in the Circuito? NMM: In the Circuito, my highest national title is in Boys (Under 16); my highest individual win is in Juniors (Under 18). I have never won Open, but got second in Hermosa last month. EZG: How did you win the King of the Groms twice? NMM: Just working hard on my surfing and having good luck. EZG: What was it like competing for the Latin America King of Groms in Mexico? NMM: Mazatlan was a super-hard competition and it took a lot of determination to win. I had a lot of fun and made some good friends from all around Latin America. EZG: I understand you broke your ankle before France last year, but that you did some physical therapy after it healed. How was the competition in France after that? NMM: I broke my ankle doing an air eight weeks before the event. I had to have surgery and a metal plate with screws put in. I did a lot of work and physical therapy and still got to go to France, but I was only surfing at maybe 25%, so I wasn’t able to put on my best performance. The level in that event is super high and it definitely takes a lot to win. It was still a great experience and I am grateful for the opportunity to go to France and compete with the world’s best Groms. (continued page 18

Wh develo



igh above Tamarindo with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the famous sunsets is the development Las Mareas, a six-unit cluster of residential homes built into the hillside of El Tesoro de Tamarindo. The villas are perfectly designed as family dwellings or for rental investment.

Actual view

Each unit is on three levels, the lowest (garage) level set into the hillside to give the units a low profile. Also on the garage level is a lockable bodega. The garage level is 48 square meters in area (517 sq. ft.). The second level, of 100 square meters (1072 sq. ft.) comprises the kitchen, equipped with fine quality Bosch appliances; living and dining rooms opening onto an outdoor covered deck; and third bedroom and bathroom. The top floor contains the master bedroom with its own covered deck and bathroom; and the second bedroom with bath. Floor area is 93 square meters (1,000 sq. ft.). The development is under construction inside the gated and guarded community El Tesoro de Tamarindo at an elevation of around 100 meters (300 feet) above sea level. Views are spectacular and include Playa Tamarindo, Playa Grande and RĂ­o Tamarindo, which flows through expansive mangroves to empty into the Pacific between these two beaches. El Tesoro, located on the main road at the entrance to Tamarindo, is the project of a Canadian consortium, which has developed the property with 25 building areas, of which Las Mareas is the first to start construction. All utilities are in place, and underground; roads are all paved and the property is landscaped throughout. Las Mareas has five lots (approximately half) at El Tesoro, and will develop a total of about 60 residences of various designs.

hat’s oping?

d Mills

w from villas

Two other elements make up Las Mareas. At street level of El Tesoro is a hotel, and across the street is the Beach Club and Pangas Restaurant. The hotel is a 55-room hotel with approximately 7,000 sq. ft. convention or event space. It will include a pool, bar and restaurant, spa and gym. Las Mareas hopes to begin to build the hotel sometime in early 2013.

Pangas Beach Club is open to the public and will offer surf storage, restaurant, casual beach seating and healthy great food, bar, showers and comfortable lounge accommodation. It will be available for events such as business meetings and weddings. All three elements are under ownership of Las Mareas, which offers a profit-sharing plan for the benefit of villa owners. At the owner’s choice, villas may be used as an extension of the hotel; the hotel management will arrange rentals for the units. Guests at the villas will have an account at the Beach Club, and ten percent of this tab will be fed back to the villa owner in credit. “We are offering a unique concept for Tamarindo,” says Las Mareas owner Bruce McKillican, “unlike any of the older developments. We believe it will make ownership at Las Mareas very attractive for investors. We believe we have created a product that captures the best of the Tamarindo lifestyle and is respectable as an investment.” For further details of this attractive development call Bruce at 2653-1561 or 8832-5773 or visit

Surf Report (from page 15) EZG: Do you realize how amazing it is that you are winning things like King of the Groms, getting in the Open Finals in the Circuito, winning the Juniors at 15? NMM: I am really happy with those results, but I know I still have a lot to improve on if I want to continue to win harder events. EZG: What is it like surfing against veterans and beating them? NMM: It is not an easy thing, but I always learn a lot from them and it pushes me to surf my best. EZG: I understand you won the Central American Games Junior category two years in a row. What was it like to compete with surfers from other countries whom you don’t know? NMM: It is a super cool event to compete in because it is a team competition and I want to win for Costa Rica and our team above all things. All the Central American countries have good teams and it is fun to get together and surf against each other. EZG: Is there anything else you would like to tell me that I have missed? NMM: I would like to thank my sponsors Quiksilver, Etnies, Xtrak, for their support. Ellen Zoe Golden: You had a big win in Palo Seco beating all the older women for the trophy. How did it feel to beat all the veterans of surfing? Leilani McGonagle (photo): It felt good to make that final. It was definitely a big shocker for a lot of people including myself! Just surfing against the older girls is a big honor so beating then is even a bigger honor. EZG: Do you realize how important that win is since you are only 12 years old? LM: This win is definitely a huge one for me. I think that we’re going to see a lot of young wins, not just mine, but the other young girls too, because they are all getting better and better every day.

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

EZG: Why did you start surfing? LM: I was born into a surfing family so I kind of just saw it as a part of my life, definitely the fun part! EZG: Is your brother Noe Mar an influence? LM: Yes, my brother is definitely a huge influence, he is always pushing me to get better and better because I hope to one day to be on the World Tour with him. I still need a lot of work! EZG: Do your parents influence you in the water and in your regular life? LM: My parents are both great surfers. They are my coaches and teachers so they have a great amount of influence on me in all ways. (continued page 29)



nd the Wo u o

A woman in New Zealand, Natasha Harris, died of a coke overdose.Doctors say her heart attack was brought on by excessive consumption of Coca-cola, which she drank at the rate of about 10 litres a day. A Helena, Mo, was arrested for animal cruelty after he gave his dog a glass of vodka. The dog measured an alcohol level of .35, a fraction under the level which may be fatal to humans. On March 22, the law against smoking in public places was effected In Costa Rica, but businesses have three months to place the warning notices in their establishments. A fine of ¢36,000 ($72) will be imposed on anyone who violates the law, and a tax of ¢20 will be applied to every cigarette. The proceeds of the law will be applied to health issues and cancer treatment. The biggest book ever in print, Encyclopedia Brittanica, at 62-million words in 32 volumes, is going on-line only after 244 years of printing. Heidi Hankins, a 4-year-old girl from Winchester, U.K., has joined Mensa, the association for people of high intelligence, with an IQ of 159, one point below Albert Einstein. The minimum IQ for acceptance is 148; the adult average score is 100. A indian boy, Saroo Brierly, lost from home and family since he took a wrong train when he was five in 1986, used Google Earth to find his home town where he was reunited with his mother. The very archaic soccer organizing body FIFA has given in to pressure from players and referees and will implement a high-tech system to eliminate unfair goal-line decisions such as the one that kicked England out of the World Cup in 2010. A nesting swan knocked Anthony Hensley out of his kayak and kept attacking him until he drowned in a Chicago pond. An on-line petition was signed by 40,000 people demanding that Spanish king Juan Carlos, president of the World Wildlife Fund, resign after he went on an elephant-hunting safari in Botswana. Seems that The Girl from Ipanema is not tall and tanned and young and lovely any more. Half of Brazil’s population is overweight, and 15.8 percent are obese.

Now Begins the Study of Yoga Yoga with Children There is no better way to bring joy into my heart than when I get to do yoga with a bunch of children. The sense of adventure and play that comes about, the laughter that rings out loudly and spontaneously, helps me to remember how much fun this practice can be! I get the chance to do this weekly with the delightful kindergarten class in our local pueblo. There are many benefits for children who do yoga. In each class, they practice breathing deeply, helping them learn to calm down. In the number of studies that have been done in the last ten years or so, the consistent findings are that yoga can help physically through improved coordination, balance, digestion, flexibility, and strength/toning of muscles. Beyond the physical, yoga has been found to help children concentrate, be able to bring themselves to a calm state, and reduce feelings of helplessness and aggression. For children with conditions such as eating disorders, yoga was found to help them form a greater connection with their bodies. For children with developmental disabilities, the physical and emotional benefits help in school, home, and in building relationships with others. So there are many reasons to do yoga with your children. As kids can have a shorter attention span than adults (notice I said “can”, as there are some adults with remarkably short attention spans), I keep my classes with them short and focused on fun. Teaching children poses that are animal-based is a sure hit. Here in Costa Rica we can imitate things these kids see every day – cat, dog, cow, monkey, crocodile, turtle, fish, birds, and then there are poses from nature like tree and half-moon. Add in some story-telling between poses, and you have a ready-made children’s yoga session. We also end each class with a short rest in “corpse” pose, which is a great way to become calm and relaxed. Here are suggestions for doing yoga with your children: 1. Keep sessions short – usually starting with 10 - 15 minutes and gradually increasing the time as they get more interested. Spend perhaps one minute or so on each pose. 2. Have a plan or theme of what you will do that can be built upon in subsequent sessions. Teach with a fairly consistent structure (warm-up & breathing, more physical practice, cool-down & rest). 3. Demonstrate along with saying what to do – the visual picture of a pose on a card or a book is good; doing the poses along with them, even better. 4. Be encouraging and playful! Go with the flow to “create” classes together. Thanks to sisters Grace and Lila for being such great models this month. Namaste!

Mary Byerly is one of the owners and the yoga teacher at Panacea. An oasis of tranquility and health 10 minutes from Tamarindo. Discover Paradise and Bring a Peace Home • 2653-8515

Doctor’s Orders Jeffrey Whitlow, M.D.


n the last two columns we talked about how to make healthy food choices at home. For the next two months we will talk about making healthy choices when dining out.

Obviously, fast food is a no-no. McDonald’s, for example, is not a good choice for a variety of reasons. Most of the items on the menu are sandwiches. I think I have written enough in this column about the detriments of white flour. McDonald’s has developed some wrap sandwiches that they are touting as a healthier option but they’re not, since bread is bread whether it is sliced, a bun, or a wrap. All of the rest of the items on the menu, except for the salads, like the chicken strips and nuggets, the McRib, and the fries, are artificial frozen lifeless foods. I am even suspicious of the salads, as I tried one once, and the veggies were tasteless. And I don’t mean to single out McDonald’s, as all of the fast food chains have the same issues. I can’t even recommend Subway as a healthy option since white or wheat flour is the major component of most of their menu offerings. In the QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) and fast casual segments, you want to choose items that don’t contain flour, sugar, or artificial ingredients. Mexican restaurants in this segment, such as Chipotle for example, are good choices. You can choose pork, chicken, or beef, then top the meat with the various toppings like the sauces, salsas, sour cream, veggies, and cheeses, and skip the tortilla. Asian restaurants in this segment, like Pei Wei or Panda Express, are poor choices since most of their menu items are breaded and/or loaded with sugar. Pizza is a poor choice because it is made with flour. Wing spots like Buffalo Wild Wings, and sports bars like Beef O’Bradys, are generally poor choices because the vast majority of the ingredients used to make their menu offerings are frozen, lifeless products. For instance the “Boneless Wings” at Buffalo Wild Wings are lifeless chunks of frozen chicken scrap covered with deadly white flour. The soups at these restaurants are lifeless, frozen concoctions full of artificial ingredients like modified food starch, maltodextrin, and artificial flavoring agents like autolyzed yeast extract, mono and diglycerides, and/or MSG.

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It is much easier to find healthy choices at full service and fine dining restaurants, but the downside is that these restaurants are more expensive, in general. In this segment, most of the appetizers should be avoided, as they are either frozen pre-packaged products, or they contain bread or are breaded. I’m talking about menu items like egg rolls, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, potato skins, “boneless wings”, and the like. Seafood cocktails are good choices, if the restaurant is not using a prepared cocktail sauce that is loaded with sugar. The other seafood appetizers, like smoked salmon, ahi tuna tartare, crab fingers, and the like, are excellent choices. If you’re eating Italian, the antipasto is a good choice. Bruschetta is also a good choice, but ask the waiter to bring you cucumber slices with the bruschetta instead of the usual toast points. Mexican and Tex-Mex appetizers are usually served with or on corn chips, which makes them a poor choice, as corn meal behaves like flour in our system. Next month, we will finish discussing healthy choices at full service and fine dining restaurants.

Four Girls...

(from page 9)

snow and cold twelve hours earlier, was a dream. The mahi-mahi was succulent and the sound of the ocean relaxing. Each night the restaurant selection seemed to get better. We discovered the popular Happy Hour at Nibbana and frequented the bar, where we ran into the local magazine publisher and shared Canadian stories. The clubs provided live Latin music to appease our dancing feet. I learned to surf the very first day thanks to a local former champion surfer, Delbert. He was very patient and instructive and I rode a wave all the way to the beach on my third run. The other girls joined in on the surf lessons, much to my surprise. Everyone was a natural due to our varied athletic activities from home. A local tour took us on ATVs along the beach and through the jungle to the Congo Trail for a very exhilarating zip-lining day. I have a long-standing fear of heights and the first zipline was quite scary. Not for just me, but all of us. After a few lines, the fear was replaced by awe and wonder, and all of us girls were hanging upside-down and doing “superman” on the line. There were so many tours to do and amazing sights to see, I think we will return soon. Travelling to Costa Rica with three other girls was the best vacation experience ever. Muchas gracias, Tamarindo, for making my fiftieth birthday an unforgettable experience. It is truly “Pura Vida”!

Rebecca Atkinson

David --


Just before leaving for Managua, I picked up the latest issue of The Howler and greatly appreciated your stand on the need for a lot more fire-fighting equipment and fire prevention in the area. For the past two years, and in Babe Hopkins’ case, perhaps longer, Babe and I have been underscoring this in our respective columns in The Tico Times. Though separated by a big hill our areas have a great deal in common and I’ve wondered if some equipment, particularly air support could not serve both areas while ferrying tourists when putting out fires is not the focus. I’ve also suggest herds of Rent-a-Goats to clear large areas of dry brush. These are used commonly in Northern California and I saw them used in Villa Real as well. Babe has a lead on some fairly inexpensive buckets for water drops as well and I’m wondering if community fundraisers wouldn’t help as well. Water should not be a problem here on the coast thanks to the ocean. But though my primary purpose in contacting you is to thank you for the information and for bringing the need for this to the attention of a larger audience, perhaps a larger dialogue can be enjoined to actually accomplish some solutions. Kent Carthey Playa del Coco

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

Gemini: 22 May - 21 June

Sagittarius: 23 November - 21 December

Cancer: 22 June - 22 July

Capricorn: 22 December - 21 January

Leo: 23 July - 23 August

Aquarius: 22 January - 19 February

Virgo: 24 August - 22 September

Pisces: 20 February - 20 March

You begin the month with ample energy and drive to achieve your goals and desires. Broadcast your accomplishments in new ways and don’t be shy as you are particularly effective now. After the 15th, you will refine your approach so don’t be discouraged if at first you aren’t 100% satisfied with the results. The end of the month brings in the seeds of long-term success. Your lucky days are the 15th, 16th and 17th. With Jupiter in your sign you will find people are looking to help you or offering you opportunities. Take the ones that bring you the most benefit personally. Now is the time to be a little selfish and get your needs met first, goodness knows you give plenty to others all the time. Venus in Gemini will help you connect with others in a mutually beneficial way, while having fun doing it! The 18th, 19th and new moon on the 20th are your stellar days. ­

Venus is in your sign for the next three months, giving you a lot of sparkle, charisma, and shine. She goes into her retrograde phase on May 15th at close to 24 degrees so you may find yourself reconnecting with people from your past until the end of June. Just be a little careful if they come on too strong or promise too much—it could fizzle out at the end of July. Enjoy the glamorous glow-- especially on the 21st and 22nd. This is an excellent month to step out and make public appearances or promote yourself. Your sense of confidence is strong and your communication style is precise and effective now. With Venus in your twelfth house there will be a tendency to be reclusive or re-visit the past in some way. Introspection is beneficial at this time, but don’t overdo it as you need more social exposure. Best days are the 23rd, 24th and 25th. This is a great time to start something new in your career or revise your public image. Jupiter is gracing the top of your chart so you are up for being noticed and recognized. This only happens once every twelve years, so make the best of it. Uranus is starting to transit your ninth house of beliefs so you might find yourself changing your views on concepts you’ve aligned with to date. The 26th and 27th are your best days. With Mars in your sign, now moving in direct motion after the three-month retrograde phase, you can finally manifest effective actions. You are walking away from something familiar but no longer fruitful. Jupiter in your ninth house of beliefs will help you have faith that it will all work out for the best. Just go with that support while you look for your next spot in the grand cosmic scheme of things. The 1st, 28th and 29th are days to connect with others.

Uranus in your seventh house of partnerships is still shaking things up in that area of life, both professionally and personally. This is generally considered a separating or liberating aspect, which may be necessary, but is not always easy and can leave one feeling quite agitated and unsettled. That said, Venus in Gemini is in your ninth house bringing in new ideas for expanding your vision about what is happening. Days to accept social invitations are the 3rd, 4th, 30th and 31st. With Jupiter in Taurus in your seventh house of partnership, many Scorpios may be considering a joint venture of some kind, be it marriage or professional partnership. This is considered a stable and favorable aspect in which to do it so--go for it! With Saturn in your twelfth house you may find yourself a bit reclusive or fatigued. Use part of this time to undertake some kind of introspective study or retreat. Lunar aspects favor you on the full moon on the 5th. With Mars in Virgo at the top of your chart, you are about to get very busy in your professional life. At the same time Neptune is at the bottom of your chart, creating some confusion in your home. You could decide to move with this kind of situation going on as you are not satisfied with the status quo. Venus will go retrograde in your seventh house of partnerships so don’t be surprised if old flames start to contact you after the 15th. The 7th and 8th are your lucky days With Pluto now retrograde in your sign, you are going to backtrack on something that you thought was carved in stone. It could also be that you part company with some organization that no longer represents who you really are. At this time, it would be wise to confront the controlling part of your personality or risk losing friends over it. With Jupiter in your fifth house of fun, you need to take some time off to just enjoy life. Best days for that are the 9th and 10th. Life takes on a lighter tone for you as Venus in Gemini will be in your fifth house of fun for the next three months. At the same time, the Sun and Jupiter enter your fourth house of home, so participating in some kind of improvement project would have long-term beneficial consequences. Saturn retrograde in your ninth house will provide you with opportunities to solidify your core beliefs, so notice what is working. The 11th and 12th are good days to connect with people. With Mars in your seventh house of partnership, you may experience some conflict in your personal or professional partnerships. This is a good time to iron out the details of the conflicts and get clear about what you want to accomplish. Think of it as a good time to hone your negotiating skills, so get over your stage fright about asking for what you want! With Venus in your fourth house, it’s time to have a social event at home with a diverse crowd of people. The 13th or 14th are good days for that!


Parents’ Corner Can We Learn Happiness?


hat is happiness? According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, it’s “a state of wellbeing or contentment”; if we look at our fast-living, emotion-craving society, however, the general concept of happiness resembles more a state of euphoria, an emotion of hyperbolic proportions. “I want to be happy” is often expressed in a tone of desperation, almost if terrified of not being able to make this desire come true. It’s frequently tied to the “whens” and “ifs”: “when I graduate”, “when I have more money”, “when I don’t have to work anymore” or “if I had a better job”, “if I were thinner”, “If I were better at sports”. These expressions place happiness outside our control and in direct correlation to external, often material factors…And our children watch, listen…and learn. In a social environment that focuses on productivity, success and material wealth, our children learn that to be happy, you have to do and you have to have: do whatever it takes to produce (grades, friends, pleasure, admiration, envy, etc.), and have all the things that keep you entertained. We can look at happiness as a skill that can be learned, if we grant it its proper human proportions. First, we have to “clear” the concept of happiness from media-fabricated and imposed preconditions; i.e.: popularity, beauty, sex-appeal, wealth, success, power, extreme experiences, etc. Also, contrary to the popular saying, you don’t have to condemn yourself to a life of ignorance to achieve bliss –as a matter of fact, awareness and knowledge lead to happiness. Since life is dynamic by nature, we can’t expect happiness to come always in the same form. “For ever after” can be a bit too long for even the best situation to keep its charm. As happiness requires the ability to grow and adapt to changes, you will experience happiness in many different ways throughout your life. Further on, a happy person is never bored, because she is always busy (which is not the same than being entertained, or working, or studying); happiness requires also the quite business of contemplation and dreaming. We have to learn how to stop and really take life in; and we have to allow ourselves to dream, as big and crazy as we want, as dreaming is as important to mental health as it is coping with reality. A happy person is also a free person, who takes full responsibility for her life, who is not afraid of saying no…even when this means that she has to walk alone for a while. Considering all this, we can then say that happiness consists of moments of balance, when you are at peace with yourself and with the world around you. You can have many moments of happiness in your lifetime, even in one day, if you cultivate this skill constantly… and by doing so, you will teach your children the most important lesson of all: you can be happy. “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” Buddah Msc. Mónica Riascos Henríquez Psychopedagogist – Member of ASOLAP – Code 2024


C hapter LX



Lessons Learned and Conventional Wisdom Story by Jesse Bishop

t is my literary duty to inform the sixteen or seventeen loyal readers of this column that, as of this issue, I will now be much more serious in my selection of subject matter.

a less-than-moral persuasion and implied that there were “rent-a-dates” (his phrase) obtainable, though not freely available. His team then went on to defeat the Dallas Cowboys, to my extreme dismay.

People Are Who They Are. This explains a lot to me. It is hard to philosophically dispute this one and is calculated to be 99.97% correct. But we all know someone who falls into that tiny remaining .03%.

This probably has something to do with my soon-to-be sixth decade of existence, or three score years for you Lincoln types, and it seems like the right time to start seriously writing deep philosophical stuff instead of pointing out, once again, how bad the road to Langosta is and how hot and dusty it seems to be. I feel the need to share some of the lessons of life I’ve managed to pick up while surviving sixty years as well as observations on the meaning of life and the survival of man struggling with an existential universe that defies defining. You know heavy stuff like that.

I brought my wife with me to Tamarindo in the waning years of the previous millennium, hard times when there was no cable TV and the trip from Villareal to Tamarindo was over an hour. Times were tough but my plucky little wife persevered and became, not only a champion surfer, but also Costa Rica’s first foreign-born UN Ambassador as well as having her own internationally acclaimed cooking show on CNN.

The Existence of Beer is Proof That a Higher Deity Loves You. ‘Nuff said!

The first point is: nobody seems particularly interested in listening to what I personally feel is some pretty uplifting and enlightening information. This mostly seems to apply to people more or less twenty years younger than I. If I had the memory capabilities of a much-younger man I’m sure I’d remember that, at that age, I always sought out and took the sage advice of an obviously enlightened older type.

Lesson Learned: You can’t train a drummer.

Most of the surviving memories of myself at that age seem to involve things that my editor, always concerned with family values, would never print. I do count myself lucky to have a number of octogenarian-ish friends who always seem to be telling me “I told you so”… but what do they know. Conventional Wisdom: If you live in Costa Rica it’s better to be married. I recently had to deal with an obnoxious New York Jets fan who couldn’t believe it when I told him I lived here and was married. I suspect that (as with most New York sports enthusiasts) he was of

Summing it up: Yes, it is better to be married in Costa Rica, especially if you plan on remaining that way.

Some of you may be thinking: “what? This again about drummers? Give it a break”. If you’re thinking this you’re probably a drummer too, or married to one. My first public performance was myself and a drummer performing for our Boy Scout Troop. His name was Keith Miller and I remember his haircut most of all, a real spiky flat top. Over the next forty eight years I’ve worked with hundreds of them and they all insist on doing it their way and not mine. Conventional Wisdoms we can all agree upon. I hope. The World Is Not Flat. I was surprised when a certain party in the United States has put a “The World is not Round” amendment in its 2012 platform to please some of its more conservative members, and I was pleased to find that in the latest CNN-NewYorkTimes poll sixty seven percent of the American Public were “sure or reasonably sure” that the world is round and intends to stay that way. We’ll find out come November.

Conventional Wisdoms that Suck If Dogs Could Talk They Wouldn’t Approve. I have lived in close company with a dog for more than eight years and have noticed that his least favorite time of the day is when the news is on the television, fixing me with that “can’t you humans get anything right” look to the continuous updating of body counts and Dow plunges. Things pick up after the NBC Evening News as the dog gets to go for a walk and everything is good again. Getting Old Is Not As Much Fun as It Appears. I know American television makes getting old look like fun. It mostly has to do with Betty White, but that’s another story. The old guys in the Viagra and Cialis commercial all look about thirty and I even saw a commercial yesterday with famous retired NFL players wearing men’s diapers. I kid you not! I keep hearing that sixty is the new forty, which is sorta okay. Of course that means that thirty is now the new ten, which starts to get a little weird. It should be noted also that just because you may be turning sixty doesn’t mean you are required to be a grownup, which I understand is an optional choice. I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s commentary with a new emphasis on knowledge and maturity and I invite you to return for next month’s “Intermediate Quantum Physics Applications for Dummies”

Changes in the Air Tom Peifer “When our first parents were driven out of Paradise, Adam is believed to have remarked to Eve: “My dear, we live in an age of transition.” Dean of St. Paul’s, London.


or some individuals our earliest memories are aromas rather than images. Walking home from first grade, in the 100-degree heat of Tucson, Arizona mid-June, I can still remember the earthy odors wafting my way with the big drops of the first chubascos of the summer rains. Now, in the wake of the first few showers of what we all hope will be a generous but not punishing invierno, the topic of transition is the recurrent theme in most conversations. “This is the golden part of the rainy season,” remarked a fellow grower with whom I’ve worked for almost twenty years. “ The smells, the colors at sunset, even the trees seem to be smiling with their new leaves all shiny with droplets.” God only knows that the difference is remarkable. I may have handled walks in 100-degree heat as a kid, but the 96 degrees in my upstairs office-cum-lookout causes a curdling of the grey matter akin to a “this is your brain on drugs” type of video. The relative comfort of an 80-degree mid-day maximum will eliminate one of my favorite excuses for tardy submissions to any number of prominent local publications. The four years of childhood spent in the upper Sonoran desert of Arizona were an aberration, a kind of exile from the temperate, Mediterranean weather of coastal Southern California. As second generation-ers, my sister and I were conceived and raised, cooled in summer and warmed in winter by the vast thermal stability of the nearby Pacific. East Coast transplants often complained about the boring weather. Absent the colors of fall, the snows at Christmas and the buds and blossoms of spring, my ancestral home lacked the dramatic transitions of more seasonal climates—such as the changes surrounding us now. Little did I know, dodging the giant drops of the early rains in the Arizona desert, that the seasonal monsoons were simply the northernmost extension of the climate where I would one day grow old. Anyone who watches the charts, or who has been looking out towards the south for a month or so, has seen the steady northward migration of the seasonal pattern that follows the mainland, enters the Gulf of California, and delivers the last of its life-giving annual gifts to the drought-weary southwestern US. Like the Chorotegas of Guanacaste, the Pima and Papagayo of Arizona waited for the summer rains to plant their corn and other crops. Some aspects of the transition are instantly obvious. Janel, another amiga who pushes a stroller down the dirt road as she takes her oldest child to kindergarten, is grateful for the dampening of the dust that settles on her offspring for six months during their

twice-daily stroll. Soon we’ll see—and feel—the resurgence of any number of insects whose life cycle is adapted to spare them the trauma of the blistering dry heat. An argument could of course be made that the real action is at the microscopic level. The renowned ecologist Daniel Janzen, whose life work in the wet-dry tropics of Guanacaste is a matter of record, compares the effect of the dry season here to the effect of snow and freezing in northern latitudes. In soils at least, the majority of biological activity simply ceases. Fungi go into resting states, last season’s spores get dispersed by the wind. Lots of aquatic and amphibious creatures go deep into the mud, curl up under rocks or form protective layers and slow down their metabolisms, like bears in a cave. “Water,” noted Da Vinci, “is the motive force of all life.” So just when the natural world “greens up” with the onset of the rainy season, the tourism dollars that are motive force of most economic life around here, dry up. Business activity goes into its own stage of seasonal hibernation. Transitions, from an evolutionary perspective, can be seen as a “bottleneck” where “many are called but few are chosen.” Some don’t make it through the choke point. Every year there are businesses that simply don’t survive the lean times when the resource rivers run dry. Here in Guanacaste, the local real estate market is like a tiny eddy drifting a bit isolated from the credit inflows that sustained massive real estate bubbles in the main stream of the world economy. These days, the money that is conjured into existence is directed to keeping banks alive, not juicing the credit worthiness of aging boomers to enable investments in dream homes in Guanacaste. To stick with the hydro-analogies, the isolated eddy starts losing strength. Over time, the local economy might well turn into a ‘billabong’, an aboriginal word for an oxbow lake that used to be part of a river, but has become cut off from the main stream by changes in the channel. When that happens, the biology changes completely. Transition pulled the proverbial plug on Da Vinci’s motive force. For a detailed analysis of just what can happen in an isolated pond, I’ll gladly defer to the expertise of Dr. Tom Crisman, from the University of South Florida, who is studying the aquatic systems in our valley out of a base at the venerable Hacienda La Norma. (continued page 28)

Changes... (from page 27)

Dr. Crisman could provide an informed opinion as to whether the ‘die-off’ phenomenon that I’ve witnessed in isolated water holes is a reasonable analogy for the ongoing transition in the local real estate market. Hacienda La Norma, encompassing some 1,200 acres from the rivers to the ridges of our valley, is smartly positioned to make it through the bottleneck of transition that is putting the pressure of natural selection on all forms of local economic activity. Thanks to the vision of the new owner, Sam Patterson, the decision was made to not simply cut the land up into chunks, put in some roads and sell to the next victim of Pura Vida short-term myopia. Sam is working to preserve and enhance the forest cover and biological diversity of the farm while incubating a veritable educational center for research and learning in the wet-dry tropics. Dr. Crisman is already on board to help the local Blue Flag Committee do a study of streams to prioritize restoration efforts in our valley. As business models go, efforts at La Norma promise to leave much more than a stream of empty lots, empty promises or empty beer bottles in their wake. For someone who woke up to the aroma of tropical rainfall a half century ago in the Sonora Desert, the transition to our rainy season here is Guanacaste is full of positive feelings. Having just read that our area is transitioning to a drier rainy season over the next couple of decades, the joy of the moment is underlain by a palpable sense of unease about the future. Efforts by folks like the group at Hacienda La Norma provide this observer with a sense of encouragement that we’ll make it through the coming bottleneck… “The interval between the decay of the old and the formation and the establishment of the new, constitutes a period of transition which must always necessarily be one of uncertainty, confusion and error.” (John C. Calhoun) ….and that we’ll come out smelling like a rose after the first rains of the new year.

M a y ( a l l

t i m e s

2 0 1 2 l o c a l )


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, permaculture and development.

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


5th Full: 9:35 p.m.* 12th Last quarter: 3:47 p.m. 20th New: 5:47 p.m. 28th 1st quarter: 2:16 p.m. * Largest full moon of 2012

The man of wisdom is never of two minds; the man of benevolence never worries; the man of courage is never afraid. Confucius

Surf Report (from page 18)

EZG: What do you think of the veterans like Lisbeth Vindas and Nataly Bernold? LM: I think Nataly and Betty (Lisbeth) are definitely great surfers with a lot more experience than most of us girls. They are very nice and supportive as well. In Palo Seco Betty told me before the final that I was going to win! They push all of us young girls to work hard to improve and surf as well as they do. EZG: Just last year you won the national championship for Grommets and Mini-Grommets. What is the biggest trophy you have won in the Circuito? LM: My biggest win in the Circuito was the open women win. EZG: Have you gone to any contests in other countries? LM: Yes, last year I went to Peru with the Junior team (World Junior Surfing Games) and Panama with the Open team (World Surfing Games). I’ve also done some NSSA and WSA in California. EZG: How did you do? LM: In Panama, I got 15th overall and in California I had a few wins in the amateur contests. EZG: Who are your sponsors? LM: Roxy, Carton Surfboards,, Xtrak Results for Torneo Off! in Palo Seco, Feb. 25-6, 2012 Open 1. Jefferson Tascón (Herradura) 2. Gilbert Brown (Puerto Viejo) 3. Anthony Fillingim (Santa Teresa) 4. Elijah Guy (Santa Teresa)

Junior Femenino 1. Leilani McGonagle (Pavones) 2. Maia Velarde (Playa Negra) 3. Emily Gussoni (Jacó) 4. Selena Moberly (Nosara)

Open Femenino 1. Leilani McGonagle (Pavones) 2. Nataly Bernold (Limón) 3. Eve Johnstone (EE.UU) 4. Jill Kepich (EE.UU)

Minigrommet (Sub 12) 1. Dean Vandewalle (Santa Teresa) 2. Malakai Martínez (Playa Negra) 3. Aldo Chirinos (Playa Negra) 4. Tiago Carrique (Playa Negra)

Junior 1. Noe Mar McGonagle (Pavones) 2. Anthony Fillingim (Santa Teresa) 3. Elijah Guy (Santa Teresa) 4. Josué Rodriguez (Santa Teresa)

Longboard 1. Anthony Flores (Jacó) 2. Paco Pería (Francia) 3. Cristian Santamaría (Nosara) 4. Adolfo Gómez (Sámara)

Boys (sub 15) 1. Manuel Mesén (Jacó) 2. León Glatzer (Pavones) 3. Noe Mar McGonagle (Pavones) 4. Kevin Montiel (Nosara)

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.





5S Full Moon

03:43 10:15 16:24 22:43 04:43 11:13 17:26 23:43 05:42 12:08 18:23

1.4 7.6 1.4 7.3 1.2 8.1 0.9 7.7 0.8 8.7 0.3


00:39 06:38 13:01 19:16 01:32 07:30 13:52 20:07

8.2 0.3 9.3 -0.3 8.7 -0.1 9.9 -0.8





02:23 08:22 14:42 20:57 03:13 09:13 15:32 21:47 04:04 10:05 16:22 22:37 04:55 10:56 17:14 23:28 05:48 11:50 18:07

9.2 -0.5 10.3 -1.2 9.6 -0.7 10.4 -1.4 9.7 -0.7 10.3 -1.3 9.7 -0.5 10.0 -1.0 9.4 -0.1 9.4


12S Last Qtr 13S




00:20 06:43 12:47 19:04 01:15 07:41 13:47 20:04 02:14 08:42 14:52 21:07 03:15 09:45 15:59 22:12 04:18 10:46 17:04 23:15

-0.5 9.1 0.4 8.8 0.1 8.7 0.9 8.2 0.6 8.3 1.3 7.7 1.1 8.1 1.5 7.4 1.4 8.0 1.5 7.3


05:17 11:41 18:01

1.6 8.0 1.4



00:11 06:10 12:31 18:51 01:01 06:57 13:15 19:34 01:45 07:40 13:56 20:13 02:27 08:19 14:35 20:50

7.3 1.6 8.2 1.2 7.5 1.5 8.3 0.9 7.7 1.4 8.5 0.7 7.9 1.3 8.6 0.5




20S New Moon




03:06 08:58 15:13 21:27 03:44 09:36 15:51 22:03 04:22 10:14 16:29 22:40 05:00 10:53 17:07 23:18 05:40 11:34 17:47 23:57

8.0 1.2 8.7 0.3 8.2 1.1 8.7 0.3 8.2 1.1 8.7 0.3 8.2 1.2 8.5 0.5 8.2 1.3 8.3 0.6


06:20 12:17 18:30

8.1 1.4 8.0



00:38 07:03 13:03 19:16 01:22 07:50 13:54 20:08 02:12 08:41 14:51 21:05 03:06 09:37 15:51 22:07

0.9 8.0 1.5 7.8 1.0 8.0 1.5 7.6 1.2 8.1 1.4 7.5 1.2 8.3 1.3 7.5

1F June

28M 1st Qtr 29T




4M Full Moon

04:05 10:36 16:52 23:09 05:06 11:35 17:53

1.2 8.6 0.9 7.8 1.0 9.0 0.5

00:10 06:06 12:32 18:50 01:08 07:05 13:28 19:46 02:03 08:01 14:22 20:39

8.6 0.3 9.8 -0.5 8.6 0.3 9.8 -0.5 9.1 0.0 10.1 -0.8


Howler magazine serving the Gold Coast of Costa Rica