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All the NFL Playoffs

The Howler

Volume 18, No. 1 Issue No. 196

January 2013 Founded 1996

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


Publisher, editor and production David Mills

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Feria in Tamarindo

Local residents initiate a Farmers’ Market to bring good, fresh product to town, Saturday mornings.

14 Around Town

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

15 Surf Report

The Circuito Olympus Nacional has eight dates in 2013; results of Central America Surfing Games in Guatemala.

20 What’s Developing?

Tamarindo’s Garden Plaza enjoys a grand renovation, with many new stores and a Middle Eastern restaurant.


Surviving Costa Rica


Apocalypse Not!

Frank Sinatra’s granddaughter Cynthia arrives in Tamarindo in her Learjet to film a television segment with columnist Jesse.

Gloating that the world didn’t end December 21, Tom looks at those people in the world living a permanently apocalyptic life.



Discounts For 6 months, paid in advance, one month is deducted. For 12 months, paid in advance, two months are deducted.

Dining Out

On Tamarindo’s main street overlooking the beach is Koi Restaurant, serving sushi and fine Italian cuisine.

9 Parents’ Corner

31 Slice of Life

10 Music Review

32 Doctor’s Orders

11 Theatre Review

36 Sun & Moon

12 August Odysseys

36 Rain Gauge

28 January Forecasts

39 Tide Chart

30 Yoga Cover Caption: El Pescador Restaurant in Tamarindo Cover Photo: Josh Busnelli Cover Design: SweetLeaf Studio (

Well, it looks like we made it through another Apocalypse, and are well-situated to carry on with life until another bunch of loonies gets weird ideas.

We have some excellent talent in our little town of Tamarindo. Each production of the pantomime – in this case Aladdin – brings out some new thespians, some very young, all having fun (as is the audience) and all doing a great job, under the direction of Paul Belanger. Look for more productions in the near future. See “Aladdin” reviewed on page 11. Fuerza Publica (our national police force) warns tourists not to leave anything of value in a car; not to stop for strangers in remote places; avoid contact with people waiting to use an ATM; keep doors and windows secure at home or at your hotel; don’t use or answer a cell phone in a public street; don’t carry large sums of money, or display jewellery; call 9-1-1 if you need assistance. All common sense precautions anywhere, but many tourists leave their common sense at home. With deep regret we announce the passing of Cynthia Charpentier, a long-time contributor to The Howler, after a battle with multiple sclerosis. We offer our condolences to Cynthia’s family and friends. By the time you read this, the hectic holiday weeks are over and we all look forward to a fruitful high season. The Howler wishes you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Koi Beach Restaurant Tamarindo


ince its opening a few years ago, Koi Restaurant was known for its sushi, and only sushi. And it was indoor, above Aqua Disco. Five months ago, Gian Luca Arcieri (known to all as Pit) opened up both the second-floor balcony and the menu, and now serves excellent food in the open air overlooking the ocean and Tamarindo’s main street. Chef Sara Labanna and Keilor now prepare a mix of sushi and Italian seafood, something for everyone’s taste. Sushi offerings are Nigiri and Sashimi in tuna, white fish, white tuna and eel. Rolls are California; spicy tuna; veggy; Philadelphia and spicy salmon. Specialty rolls include shrimp tempura (with avocado); caterpillar (eel, cucumber and avocado); rainbow (tuna, salmon, white tuna and shrimp); and red dragon (shrimp tempura with eel and eel sauce). Koi signature rolls are dynamite (ahi tuna with smelt eggs, crunchy tempura with spicy mayonnaise); pura vida (tuna poki with avocado); tropical (tuna, salmon and avocado); crunchy lite (tuna, salmon, white tuna, avocado in ponzu sauce). Our appetizers were tuna sashimi and caterpillar roll, delicious eel with cucumber and avocado in eel sauce. Other appetizers are tuna poki; fried calamari; three salads; seafood skewers; seafood platter; coconut shrimp. A pasta menu offers macaroni pasta; linguini with tomato sauce; seafood pasta (calamari, shrimp, mushrooms and clams in tomato); gnocchi Bolognese with ragú sauce; ricotta and spinach ravioli. Pastas are home-made in the true Italian style. Main dishes are seasame seared ahi; Mediterranean stuffed sea bass; mahi-mahi; filet mignon; chicken breast; tuna bowl. I had pork tenderloin in a green peppercorn sauce. Wine selection is from South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Italy and France. The food was delicious, freshly made and tasty. But even apart from the food, Koi is a very enjoyable place to just sit, enjoy a cocktail and watch the beach, the sunset and the passage of Tamarindo from your perch above the street, a delightfully European atmosphere. There is live music four nights a week. Koi is open from noon until 11 p.m., closed Sunday; all credit cards accepted; Reservations: 8705-7638; FB: Koi Beach Restaurant.

Parents’ Corner Let the Children Play


umans are born with an innate desire and natural ability to learn, which is best expressed in child-driven play. Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child. Play allows children to use their creativity to connect with the world around them while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive and emotional strength. Play helps children gain confidence and conquer their fears as they explore different ways of interacting with their environment and practice adult roles. Play does not need to be taught and it requires no direction from adults. When play is allowed to be child-driven, children learn important competences that will enable them to cope with life’s demands. Free play promotes the development of scientific thinking as children learn through trial and error, discover relations, classify and organize elements around them. When parents take part in child-driven play they have a unique opportunity to look at the world from the child’s perspective, which will strengthen parent-child communication. “Parents who have the opportunity to glimpse into their children’s world learn to communicate more effectively with their children and are given another setting to offer gentle, nurturing guidance. Less-verbal children may be able to express their views, experiences, and even frustrations through play, allowing their parents an opportunity to gain a fuller understanding of their perspective. Quite simply, play offers parents a wonderful opportunity to engage fully with their children.” (Ginsbourg, 2010). Play is a key element in Preschool and Elementary education. Schools that respect the children’s right to play are ensuring the children’s cognitive, social and emotional development. It has been shown that play helps children adjust to the school setting and improve children’s learning readiness, learning behaviors, and problem-solving skills. It is therefore alarming that many times children’s natural ability to learn is inhibited through age-inappropriate academic structures and demands. Play and unscheduled time that allow for peer interactions are important components of socialemotional learning and should be an integral part of the academic environment. Play is motivated by pleasure; it is instinctive and a vital part of the maturational process. As parents and teachers we only have to make sure that we provide children with appropriate space and time for them to fully benefit from this wonderful gift… “Play is the highest form of research.” Albert Einstein Msc. Mónica Riascos Henríquez Psychopedagogist – Member of ASOLAP – Code 2024

Music Review Patino Quintana

Tony Orez

Daniel Patino Quintana is a singer/songwriter guitarist from San José. He is also an arranger with a good perception of what he is after and how to produce it. I have been listening to an E.P., “La Dulce Vida” and an album, “Camino de Aire” by his band Patino Quintana. The two discs comprise sixteen songs tracking more than an hour of music. It is not possible to label the music with any particular style. The full-length album has a suite sensation to it, with the titles of some of the passages referencing the album title and sounding symphonic, giving it an almost orchestral sound. Indeed, the band includes not only guitars, bass, piano and percussion, but violins and a female vocal chorus as well. And for this album, Daniel has recruited Ivan Rodriguez from Malpais to play additional violin on two of the songs, Camilio Poltronieri to add pedal steel guitar on one passage, Checka D’avila to contribute sax for two songs and flute on another, and a variety of guests on a variety of electronic keyboards and percussionists. The result is a real collage or melting pot of sounds, varying between the orchestral and songs, acoustic and vocal. I have to mention the guitar playing by band member Esteban Urena. It’s always clean and slick and he uses a lot of filters and phasers to enhance the sound. It’s obvious he is plugged into Daniel’s vision and knows how to help get them there. The album opens, appropriately, with the sound of a radio dial surfing through channels, broadcasting a variety of snippets of different sounds until it “lands” on the opening notes of “Tentación de 12 Horas”. The voices are strong, harmonic and the music has some great hooks, as the album takes off, coursing through the ten songs, including three “Camino de aire” segues. I think it is a very accomplished production overall. If I have a complaint, it would be about the cover artwork, blank with oversized, very faint grey block letters. It is easy to not notice the jacket and I don’t think it does the music justice. That might seem crass, but believe me, packaging is a huge part of marketing a CD, which is how you get people to buy your product. The EP, “La Dulce Vita”, on the other hand, has a very bright enhancing cover. The album opens with a nice vocal and acoustic guitar entry, into a straight-forward rock song. Daniel certainly has a talent for creating musical hooks. The total musical ensemble is composed into a very listenable product. Papaya Music thinks so, too. The largest music label in Costa Rica has agreed to distribute the two CDs for Patino Quintana, and that can only help them reach the audience they have obviously worked so hard for and that they deserve. Their CDs are available at the Jaime Peligro Book Store in Playa Tamarindo, where they will gladly sample the music for their customers.

Theatre Review Tony Orez

Community Theatre Blossoms in Tamarindo

I’ve just returned from The Beach Nuts presentation of Aladdin in Tamarindo and I couldn’t help noticing how much fun everyone had: the actors, the musicians and the audience who was recruited to participate. Everybody was engaged and genuinely enjoying themselves and, to me, this equals success in a community theater venture. Aladdin was the seventh presentation by Beach Nuts and the sense of cohesiveness among the ensemble seems to gel more with each offering. This was the first presentation in their new location, Fisch (formerly Voodoo Lounge), an intimate surrounding with very gracious new hosts, who offered reasonably priced tasty grilled snacks between acts. The show opened with the Peanuts players singing “Jingle Bells” with Paul Belanger, director and founder of Beach Nuts. Again, it was endearing, at least partly because of the level of enjoyment by audience and junior actors alike. Liam Soffer as Aladdin and Olivia Goodloe as the princess are two budding new talents in Tamarindo that have demonstrated a comfort level onstage. I look forward to watching them grow. Rebecca Akin and Grace Herman are wizened veterans at the age of eight and nine, respectively. Their natural confidence and talent is infectious and truly remarkable. I thought Olivia Sixsmith as Mufti, the fumbling, stumbling, bumbling constable, was born for the role and cleverly incorporated a recent ankle injury into the character. And Margo Wilson as the magician was deliciously evil, taunting the audience to “boo and hiss” her, with her wicked laugh and retorts like, “That’s all you’ve got? My grandmother sneezes louder than that…” Priceless. My Sleeper Award goes to Victoria Gomez, as Frizoola, the fruit vendor, who never once broke character, a natural professional, who delivered her portrayal consistently and evenly when the action and conversation was occurring on the opposite side of the stage. Anna Peterson as Aladdin’s Melodramatic Mom, Aileen Jimenez as the comedic Grand Wizard and Wyatt Hutton as the Sultan completed the ensemble. Great job, one and all! Once again, posters and programs were done professionally by Dennis Peterson and DJP design. Paola Lascarez, Grettel Solorzano, Andrea Castro and Cinthia Carvajal proved their versatility as the dancers, Fire Maiden, Fire Goddess, Temptresses, Panthers and entertainers with their mesmerizing (can I say sexy?) roles. As always, a portion of the proceeds went to Amigos de la Educacion, a respectable local foundation, founded by Suzye and Barry Lawson who have been working for years to enhance the education level in Guanacaste. And the audience bought into it hook, line and sinker, with a wide collective grin. These plays have come to represent a true sense of community in Tamarindo, a place to rub elbows with your neighbors and a healthy outlet for citizens here of all ages. I thought the transition to Fisch Restaurant went seamlessly and a collective “thank you” is due to Rosie and Denis, the new owners there. The front few rows have always been reserved for our young citizens and the night ended with the kids dancing onstage to the closing number, then the cast serenading us to “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. The true glee on all their faces was unmistakable. A splendid time was had by all, indeed!

August Odysseys

Robert August

My Parents are Murderers


he first occasion was long before I was born. It was the Great Depression, and there was no work to be found anywhere. My uncle was a recent graduate of USC with a business degree, and he couldn’t find a job; he ended up working at a gas station. My dad had heard that there were jobs to be had in Alaska, so he and a friend hitch-hiked to Oregon, then stowed away on a freighter headed for Alaska. They were caught, and had to scrub toilets for the whole trip. But in Alaska the stories were true, and they got jobs at a logging camp; very soon they were sending money back home. My dad also drove a taxi at night and made some extra. They were crazy times for crazy people. Both my dad and his friend swam the Alaska Channel. It was bitterly cold, but they slathered themselves with pig grease and made it across. They both broke the long-standing record. One night my dad picked up a fare, an Eskimo. The Eskimos had big problems with booze, and this guy was totally wasted. During the trip the fare picked a fight with my dad, then he vomited in the cab. My dad pulled over and told him to get out. He punched my dad in the face, so Dad returned the favor, then he leaned over, unfastened the passenger door and pushed the guy out. Unfortunately, the cab was parked on the edge of a cliff, and the passenger plummeted down to oblivion. A couple of days later the body was found. Dad left there pretty rapidly, and never returned to Alaska. Many decades later, now retired, my dad and mom drove all over the South-west in a mobile home. Staying near La Paz, in Baja California, they went into town one day to do some shopping, when a drunken local jumped up to the passenger window, hanging on with his hands and demanding money. Dad kept a small baseball bat in the cab. He yelled at Mom to get the bat and hit the guy on his hands. Well, she did, but he wouldn’t let go. By now he was screaming abuse and threatening them for money, so Mom hit him on the head, and he dropped off just as they rounded a bend. He fell under the back wheels. When Dad got out and took a look he could see that the guy was dead and badly mangled. In Mexico the gringo is always in the wrong, and going to prison for such a deed was automatic, so Dad took off and returned home. Neither ever heard a word of either incident.

Feria in Tamarindo Last month, with the help of family, friends and like-minded community members, two local businesses joined forces to pioneer a new sustainable movement benefiting and giving back to the Tamarindo community each and every week. Eloisa Scarlino of Café Tico and husband-wife team Joseph Simon and Carolina Zeledón of La Bodega watched as their shared vision for a Farmers’ Market became an explosive reality in the plaza outside Jaime Peligro bookstore. “La Bodega and we both had the same idea about bringing a market to Tamarindo,” Scarlino said Saturday, collapsing into a chair after the final vendor packed up long after the market’s technical closing time of noon. “We are friends with Joseph and Carolina so we decided to put our resources together and just go for it.” Go for it they did. Week One of the Tamarindo Farmers’ Market turned out to be a success in every sense of the word, effectively creating a fun entertainment venue for families and a booming business exchange for vendors. Café Tico and La Bodega sold natural jams and marmalades, homemade breads, organic cheeses and more. A variety of other vendors also joined in selling a range of local goodies from gluten-free almond cake to belts and purses made from recycled car parts. “It was like a party - I think everybody loved it,” Scarlino said. “The vendors were also very happy – they sold a lot and everyone wants to come back next week. Some people just came by and asked if they could sell jewelry and we said, ‘Why not?’ That’s the kind of atmosphere we wanted.” The market also featured a group from Mi Tierra selling fresh spinach, radicchio and eggs; the local pineapple truck; local herbs and spices from the Cala Luna farm; Rancho Avellana’s Greek goat cheese and yogurt and the Bio Shop Iriria’s natural beauty products. Vendors from neighboring towns and greater Guanacaste sold locally grown fruits and veggies, organic dairy products and artisan handicrafts to the tune of guitar strings – an unexpected, yet welcome courtesy from an onlooker inspired to play. Although the market undoubtedly boosted business for Café Tico and La Bodega, the owners believe the real success was on a more communal level. “So far, the market has had a very positive acceptance from the local population as well as tourists,” Zeledón said after the market’s second successful Saturday. “People were wanting this type of activity in Tamarindo and we feel it’s creating a strong sense of community that was much needed.” Scarlino echoed Zeledón’s sentiments – “We really needed something for the community. We have a lot of shops for tourists, but I think we really need something for us – the community. Everybody seemed really happy… It was like a party. We’re very excited about the future. Acknowledging the Super 2001, which stands adjacent to Café Tico, Scarlino points out the Tamarindo Farmers’ Market is not designed to compete with any existing business, but only to add another level to the current retail market for the community. ” The Tamarindo Farmers’ Market is every Saturday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. outside Café Tico in the plaza in front of Jaime Peligro and the Dive Shop next to Super 2001.

By Suzanna Lourie


AROUND TOWN Tama’s Little World is a new option for local residents. We offer a variety of home supplies, men and women clothes, jewelry and toys at incredible prices! We are located in Royal Palms Plaza (Villareal). Come and visit us! We are open Monday through Sunday. For more info call 2652-9006 or find us in Facebook. Galeria Pelicano and Nogui’s Restaurant will be presenting “Guanacaste Encantado”, an exhibit of recent paintings by Susan Adams featuring the people, their surroundings and the unique culture found in her adopted province of Guanacaste. The event will be held at 6:30 Wednesday, Jan 9th, upstairs at Nogui’s Restaurant, a Tamarindo landmark and eating tradition located in the Circle in Downtown Tamarindo. Blue River invites you to a day out, or a longer stay, with swimming, mud baths, canopy tours, white water – a short drive from Tamarindo (see ad on page 5). New Openings are: Fisch, for fine dining on the main street of Tamarindo, exVoodoo (ad page 11). Pangas, fish and seafood right on the beach opposite El Tesoro de Tamarindo (ad page 7). Koi sushi and Italian, on the balcony overlooking the street outside Aqua (ad page 17). Sangria, ex-Carolina’s 50 meters west of Super2001, new bar and restaurant (ad page 18). Guanacaste International Academy in Pinilla (article page 17 and ad page 33). Tamarindo Church opens January 13 at Refundores (ex-Bar Coyote, ad page 17).

Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.

Warren Buffett

Surf Report Photos: Fabián Sánchez


lthough it’s getting a later start than usual, there’s still incredible excitement in the surfing community about the Olympus Circuito Nacional 2013, presented by Adrenaline Rush. This year’s national, countrywide surf contest will set up events at eight beaches, which will mean that the points from six of them will count towards the final rankings. The schedule is as follows: December 15 and 16 January 26 and 27 February 23 and 24 March 23 and 24 April 27 and 28 May 25 and 26 June 22 and 23 July 26, 27 and 28

Parrita (4 stars) Puerto Viejo (4 stars) Jaco (4 stars) Dominical (4 stars) Santa Teresa (4 stars) Nosara (4 stars) Esterillos Oeste (4 stars) Playa Hermosa (5 stars)

The current national open champion is Gilbert Brown of Puerto Viejo. Brown, along with the titleholders in Junior: Noe Mar McGonagle (Pavones); Boys: Leonardo Calvo (Jacó); Womens: Nataly Bernold (Jacó); Junior Women: Leilani McGonagle (Pavones); MiniGrommet: Malakai Martinez (Tamarindo); and Longboard: Anthony Flores (Jacó); will defend their crowns at the Copa Off! in Palo Seco de Parrita on December 15 and 16. This date, as well as all the others except the Gran Finals in July, will be four stars. Along with familiar dates in Jacó, Dominical, Santa Teresa, Esterillos and Playa Hermosa, the Circuito Nacional will return this year to Guiones in Playa Nosara and Playa Cocles in Puerto Viejo, venues organizers say are in high demand by competitors and the general public. Once again, Tamarindo is left off the schedule, allegedly due to lack of support from local businesses. “Thankfully, we’ll be able to use all the summer months; we expect that we will get more of the public out to see the contest,” said José Ureña, President of the Federacion de Surf de Costa Rica. “In addition, we have many surfers who have joined the Circuito and are anxiously awaiting this start.” Once again, the seven categories of the Circuito will have limited inscriptions, therefore a set number of competitors. The Open will have 48 slots; the Junior (18 and under), 32; Boys (15 and under) 24; MiniGromments (12 and under) 12; Women’s 12; Junior Womens’ (18 and under) 12; and Longboard 8 slots. There will be a maximum of 144 competitors. Those people interested in following the surf contest and are not able to make it out to the various beaches will be able to see the action on the live broadcast at, thanks to the transmission provided by Wipeout Films. Attendance last year broke all records with a total of 30,000 people hitting the beaches to watch the surfers. 12,000 of those attended the Gran Final, and those visitors were treated to a special concert.

Ellen Zoe Golden ( FYI, the inscriptions for individual dates will cost 15,000 colones with the annual membership a one-time fee of ¢10,000. For more information go to or call 2235-6400. In addition to competitors of the Circuito vying for the chance to become national champion in the various divisions, they will also be shooting for the opportunity to earn places on the various Costa Rica national surf teams that travel to international contests. As a matter of fact, the most recent incarnation of the

Photo: Fabián Sánchez national Costa Rica surf team had a great showing, once again, in the Central American Surf Championships. This year in Playa Darcena de Champerico, Retalhuleu in Guatemala, Costa Rica garnered its seventh win in a row. Of six possible gold medals, the Ticos won four of them: Jair Pérez in Open, Lisbeth Vindas in Women’s, Manuel Mesen in Junior, and Flores in Longboard (all from Jacó). With twelve Costa Ricans making it to the various podiums for medals, in total, Ticos won 12 medals in this year’s Central American Surf Championships. “I honestly never thought of winning, but I wanted to give the most points to my team,” said Pérez. “However, I took advantage of this good time and got through it for my career and because of this I earned a title I did not have. I’ll always remember this.” It was good to see Lisbeth Vindas back in the winners circle with her accomplishment at the Central American Surfing Games in Guatemala. This is her fourth medal in these games since they started back in 2006, winning them in Costa Rica 2006, Guatemala 2007, Nicaragua 2010 and again this year. “Coming to get this title was my goal, and I sincerely worked hard to achieve it. I trained hard for this event and today I’m filled with joy because of all the effort and sacrifice I made to be champion here in Guatemala,” said Vindas. “Without faith in God I would not have succeeded. I want to dedicate my four titles to the people that influence my life, especially my son Yullian, my husband Diego Naranjo and my trainer Donald Vega.” (continued page 26)


Three Days to Get Here!! “Come to Guanacaste´s Gold Coast!”; “Spend your Vacation in Paradise.”; “Visit fiery volcanoes- from black sand beaches and misty rainforests to…” Tourists from all over the world are being lured to the wonders of Costa Rica. Daily commercial and charter flights into San José and Liberia are bringing eager visitors of all ages to come and see the tremendous biodiversity and colorful cultural heritage of this tiny Central American corner of paradise. In just thirty years, the tourist industry has gone from serving a small group of devoted eco-travelers and die-hard surfers to now attracting large tour groups traveling in air-conditioned motor coaches, and families spending their week’s vacation visiting national parks in a new four-wheel-drive Toyota. Travel that once would take days, now takes hours. My first trip to Costa Rica was an adventure few could imagine in 1973. I was here chaperoning a group of 20 high-school students who were here to live with local families and attend classes with 15 Costa Rican students. In an old, old school bus, we explored the four corners of Costa Rica from Santa Rosa National Park in the North to Wilson Gardens near the Panama border, from a slow motor launch to Tortuguero to the spectacular turtle beaches of Nosara. Paved roads were few and in bad condition. Most roads were “washboards” or washed out with danger of falling rocks. Travel was at turtle speed, and flat tires or smoking brakes were the order of the day. It took us almost three hours to go from the Pan-American highway to Monteverde. From Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the ´70s, travel itineraries would include six days of travel to reach the surfing beaches of Guanacaste – minimum. One day to reach Miami to overnight in an airport motel, the second day to catch the one-a-day Lacsa flight to San José, and the third to travel to the beaches of Guanacaste, either by several public buses which stopped in every village imaginable or a rented, very used school bus. For a few brave-hearted there were small planes which landed on grass runways cut from farmer’s fields for crop dusting. Getting from there to here wasn’t always easy. Travelers were met with a variety of frustrations. In the airport in San José, Lacsa was known to sell your reserved tickets if you did not reach the front of the line to check in an hour before your flight, even if you had been in the line for two hours. More than once our groups had to split up or wait for the next flight to Miami because they sold our tickets while we waited in line. Roads were poorly marked or not at all, and often impassable with flooded rivers after the first rains. Travelers to Costa Rica in the ´70s were naturalists, birdwatchers, nature photographers and surfers taking extended vacations. There also were early travelers seeking a place to retire or investors who (continued page 22)

Guanacaste International Academy opens its doors Guanacaste International Academy (GIA) is breaking ground on a visionary project for the local communities. Conveniently located 4.7km from Tamarindo in San José de Pinilla, it will be developed with cutting-edge facilities to be made available to the local youth, bringing high caliber, twenty-first century education and research to the Guanacaste region. GIA, the vision of its director Estefania Pihen, will open in 2013 the doors of its nine-hectare campus, a donation from local family, education supporters and community members Donny and Christi Lalonde, The campus will become Central America’s only educational institution granted with the prestigious building certification LEED, working as the only Carbon Neutral educational facility in Costa Rica. A LEED school reduces the environmental impact of the building, conserves energy and natural resources through efficient consumption strategies. It also has better air quality and is free of moisture and toxic compounds, maximizing the use of sunlight and energy efficiency and reducing the noise levels in the classrooms through appropriate materials and designs. It also reduces burdens on aqueducts, landfills and sewage treatment plants through positive and effective infrastructure and community impact programs. GIA’s new campus goes beyond innovative architecture; it also has an innovative philosophy for education. Starting January 2013, the school will allow Internet resources and digital technology to support an already innovative curriculum. Students utilize digital textbooks with the aid of electronic reading (Kindle) devices allowing students to access thousands of books and magazines, thus putting its student population at the level that current high-standard global education demands Guanacaste International Academy has been offering individualized education for children between the ages of 3 to 18 since 2009. The school was founded on the principles of individualized curriculum and instruction when Ms. Pihen opened her home to a few local families and ten students who wanted a “home” environment for their children while attending school, where family values and human growth were fostered along with a highstandard academic curriculum. Home School Beach Academy (HSBA) was born as more families joined the individualized model of education, which lead to a broader staff, an international accreditation to all its graduating students and new teaching and learning infrastructures in order to accommodate the increased interest in this education concept. In August 2012, the school began a new stage of its evolution, beginning to officially operate as the educational not-for-profit Guanacaste International Academy, now serving 65 students with 10 accredited teachers on staff, all with a broad experience in high-standard academics and individualized teaching approaches. Although the school has tripled in size, the fundamental beliefs with which Ms. Pihen began in 2009 remain; small class sizes, individualized instruction and real-life experiences within a loving, family feeling environment are the basis of learning. The creation of GIA (continued page 24)

CHIA Is it new or has the whole world decided to just remember what The Aztec and Mayans knew for the duration of their era?


f you are looking for something that is a genuine local healthy food, you may want to consider Chia (also known as chan) as your first choice. The Mayans and Aztecs knew that whenever a limited weight could be carried and they wanted to be healthy, strong and required endurance to complete their task, they used Chia extensively. In pre-Columbian times Chia was a main component of Aztec and Mayan diets and served as a basic survival ration for the Aztec warriors. Two tablespoons would sustain an individual for 24 hours. The Aztecs also used Chia medicinally to stimulate saliva flow and to relieve joint pain and sore skin. When soaked in pure mountain water for thirty minutes this magical little seed becomes a super food. When the world was created it was a very pure and balanced planet, until scientists, with the backing of corrupt corporations, started messing with it. We have contaminated our drinking water, polluted our air and genetically modified our food supply to feed our overpopulated needs; or so we thought. Now, the only truly natural plants available are wild harvest plants that we share with nature. Fortunately for us in Central America we have such a vast area that is still “wild harvest” and is expansive enough to feed the local population, as it did the Aztecs and Mayans. Healthy mountain water has been duplicated for sustainable living, so look for “wild harvest” Chia seeds in your local health food store or organic market and join the growing percentage of the population dedicated to staying healthy. If you are seeking to improve your health then stop the consumption of chemical cocktails, remove the foods that obstruct digestion and add the one super food everybody needs: Chia – add it to your diet on a regular basis. Some of the many reasons to consume Chia seeds soaked in pure mountain water: 1. Chia is gluten-free 2. It is super high in dietary fiber, making it great for digestion and healing digestion issues 3. It contains 20% Omega 3 ALA, making it a super food for the brain and heart; Chia has eight times more Omega 3 than salmon! 4. Chia boasts 20% protein 5. The protein is a complete protein with all 8 essential amino acids 6. It is high in antioxidants (it has a four times higher ORAC value than blueberries) 7. Chia contains five times more calcium than milk; seven times more vitamin C than oranges; three times more iron than spinach; twice the potassium content of bananas 8. It is food for healthy skin, hair and nails 9. Chia has a positive impact, balancing blood glucose levels (making it awesome for diabetics) 10. It makes a great egg replacement – just combine with water to form a gel, and add it to recipes that suggest an egg. If good health is your goal think about Chia soaked in healthy mountain water. This article was written by Tom Little, a Canadian expat and a 20year veteran “Chia user.” He can be contacted at: 8432-5345, email:

On Location


ne of the best-known voices in Costa Rica, heard daily from coast to coast, is that of Evan Luck (left, in photo), the afternoon host on Radio Dos at 99.9. I interviewed him at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp in Tamarindo, where he does a weekly radio show.

with Radio Dos

Howler: To start at the beginning, where were you born?

H: So broadcasting was always your career choice? EL: No, I wanted to be an astronaut, so I learned to fly, as this was a prerequisite to the space program. Having accumulated a lot of flying time, I decided that I wanted more from life than years of hard study in the astronaut program, so I dropped out, but continued flying Cessnas as a hobby.

Evan Luck: Chicago.

H: How did you settle in Costa Rica, and when was that?

H: How did you get into broadcasting?

EL: I came on vacation about fifteen years ago, and stayed.

EL: When I was ten I discovered ham radio, and built myself a transmitter/receiver. I took the exams and obtained my license at fifteen. (When I moved to Costa Rica I transferred my licence and changed my call sign to the Costa Rican format. My current “handle” in Costa Rica is T12MYA).

H: How long have you been with Radio Dos?

Then, at twenty-one, I got a job at a radio station in Chicago, not an easy feat considering the competition, then moved to a Los Angeles station.

H: What is the format of the show?

EL: Since 2000. At first I ran the Morning Show, but getting up at four a.m. was not my thing, so I moved to the afternoons six years later.

(continued page 25)

Wh develo


Tamarindo’s G


he Garden Plaza in Tamarindo is alive and well, with a multitude of new stores and boutiques. Garden Plaza opened in 2007 but, like other businesses, suffered from the world-wide recession. Now Shon Kapeta and his wife Mika have embarked on a project to rejuvenate the beautiful shopping plaza, home to Automercado and Scotiabank, with a whole array of new and exciting products. Garden Plaza is an exotic setting of 12,500 square metres, with Balinese architecture featuring large ponds full of colourful koi fish, turtles and iguanas, and home to many birds that sing their hearts out serenading the shoppers. New stores include Bonita, a fashion boutique; Intima for bikinis and sexy lingerie; Multifarm, with cosmetics, Dead Sea products, household goods and gifts for the whole family; Unique, a jewellery design shop; Swell for men’s fashion


hat’s oping?

d Mills


Garden Plaza and accessories; Myali, children’s boutique, clothing, shoes and accessories for ages 2 months to 10 years; Tica sells women’s wear; Foxy is a teenagers’ boutique; Phonei offers phone and computer accessories; Guacamar is a surf store and travel information agency; Nour - beauty spa; there is a coffee shop and a gymnasium will be opening soon. And at the centre of it all is Gazebo, a Middle East restaurant serving delightful meals in the open-air garden setting. “We will make Garden Plaza a destination for all,” says Shon, “with products for residents, visitors and tourists, Ticos and foreigners of all ages, at very affordable prices. The whole family can come here and shop, spend a day, have an exotic meal at local prices. We have a unique concept here and we know people will enjoy it.” A shuttle bus will operate all day between Playa Langosta and the Plaza. Stores will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with Gazebo open until midnight.





Three Days...

(from page 16)

had a vision of what would come. It was not uncommon to meet surfers passing through Guanacaste who were on year-long quests for the perfect wave. Areas along what is now Guanacaste’s Gold Coast, from Tamarindo to Sugar Beach, were inaccessible by road from July to December. Before the sixties, Tamarindo was a small group of wooden “Christmas to Easter cottages” scattered along a dirt road. Travelers had to ford rivers and washed-out roads to reach the pristine turtle beaches. Note: there were still turtles nesting on Tamarindo Beach at that time. Even in the ‘80s there were just a couple of rustic hotels and two telephones that worked, periodically. Reservations were made in San José by telegraph. Electricity was new and not dependable. The sound of generators was common in most rural areas. Nights were void of artificial light after ten, and the stars never so bright. Traveling around Costa Rica in the “olden days” was not for everyone, but the experience of being in a world less-traveled was worth all the inconveniences that now we label once-in-a-lifetime experiences. With the influx of vacation travelers limited by time or desire to take the “rustic way”, the demand for better roads, more and faster transportation options have opened up the less-traveled areas to the growing tourist industry in Guanacaste. From few road signs to too many signs; from two sleepy seasonal hotels to international hotel chains and an explosion of B&Bs; from a couple of charter fishing boats and day tours to an explosion of canopy and specialized tours; the face of tourism in Guanacaste has changed dramatically. Just ten years ago the charter airlines arrived; now, direct flights and an expanding commercial airline service bring thousands of visitors weekly into Liberia. Good or bad? In my opinion, it is some of each. With a growing population and shrinking global village, change will come, sometimes slowly, other times quickly. Just as change has come to our “home towns” all over the world, it has come and will continue to come to Guanacaste. But what really brought on my musing about how long it takes to get from here to there? This was a long introduction to the reality of, even though change has come, you can’t always count on getting here any faster. Those of us who live in Guanacaste also have benefited from the changes in the travel world. Flying out of Liberia is as great as flying into it. My travel time to Michigan has been cut from three days in the ‘70s, to two days in the ‘90s to same-day travel with no five-hour trip to San José or maneuvering the traffic around Juan Santamaria Airport. However, as the “travel gods” must bring us back to reality, modern travel may be at the whims of mother nature or the quirks of modern machinery. The outbound trip that took me from Liberia to Michigan

(continued page 29)

Size Matters! Jim Surfer


ollowing the recent U.S. elections, while reading various articles and post mortems, I found a photo of the former Republican candidate Mitt Romney shaking hands with his presumptive (for 2016) successor as Republican nominee, Marco Rubio, the popular Cuban-American Senator from Florida. I was struck by the fact that, in this photo, Rubio seemed to be talking directly into Romney’s tie. Now for the nonGringos (No-Gos) out there, America likes its presidents big, so a shorty as the front runner for the next goaround is, well, alarming. We all know other countries make do with a few short guys (Sarkozy, Berlusconi, lots of Israeli PMs), but America hasn’t gone with a president under six foot since Jimmie Carter, and we all remember how that turned out. Carter’s like the anti-president nowadays, and for sure we Americans aren’t gettin’ suckered twice. Our presidents since Mr. C have all been over six foot, averaging about 6’1”, or about three inches above the national average, and for decades this rule has been extended to nominees as well. In case you’re thinking: well this is just Old Jim going off again, back a few months before Ryan was selected for Romney’s running mate (odd term), the Yahoo Answers website posed the question “Is Rubio too short for Vice President?” (I gather the answer was “yes”.) So now with Rubio frequently seen as the Republican front runner for president, they’ve upped the ante, so to speak, or double-downed, whatever... Well, by now even the No-Go readership wants to know, how short is this guy? Interesting question. If you ask about Mitt Romney’s height, it comes in at 6’2”, reliably, repeatably, consistently. Same for Obama. But Google the question for Marco Rubio and you get six different answers from the first six sites, and they’re often woefully imprecise as well as astoundingly at variance. One site actually said “between five-footsix and six feet”, which I seized upon for my future personal use. Very happy to be rid of five-foot-six, I will henceforth and forever more be between 5’6” and 6’0”. WikiAnswers put it this way regarding Mr. Rubio: “…between five foot six inches and six foot two inches”. WikiAnswers may have just given up, or grown tired of the question. Although happy on a personal level (above), I’m not sure where this leaves the writer, readership and other interested parties. Just seems odd and begging clarification...

Guanacaste International Academy (from page 17) was guided by the principle of simply not becoming just another private school option in the region, but an institution where academics, human values and true citizenship merge. By making the school a not-for-profit organization and creating many kinds of scholarship options for local children, the school has maintained its focus on education rather than a focus on profits and student number population. The goal of providing quality teaching and learning for the children of the local communities, while fostering global citizenship and environmental stewardship, is the primary mission of the Academy.

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: 5:30-6:30 - Open Meeting Location: Behind Pedro’s Surf Shop Contact: Ellen - 2-653-0897 / Steve - 8377-1529

Throughout its campus, different learning areas will be developed to provide a space where traditional education will merge with hands-on and experimental learning. GIA will develop a state-of-the-art Science Laboratory where scientists from around the globe will work on projects and research conducted in local endangered marine and terrestrial environments, contributing in this way to conservation and generation of quality scientific data worthy of international publication. Students at GIA will be able to become involved in such projects and have a constant exposure to international highly specialized professionals and actively learn from them. The lab will also feature a Biology, Physics and Chemistry learning section for all students. A library, computer lab and state-of-the-art gymnasium, along with a professional soccer field and semi-Olympic swimming pool, will also be part of the school’s new campus. Outdoor learning areas such as secondary dry forests, a butterfly sanctuary, aviary and animal farm will provide GIA students with amazing new learning opportunities within their campus. Visits to such areas will be available to local youth, schools and community members. Organic permaculture gardens will be developed in order to allow the school’s cafeteria to provide students with locally grown fruits and vegetables and offer a truly nutritious, health-conscious and chemical-free menu. After school hours, GIA will open its sport, arts and academic facilities, such as gymnasium, swimming pool, library and computer lab to the local community through several scholarship programs directed to provide students from public schools with access to these much-needed resources. These programs will provide use of the facilities and classes on subjects of interest to all age groups as one of the school’s many efforts to give local youth the necessary tools to succeed academically without the interference of socioeconomic limitations. The school will continue to provide its students with an international accreditation, accepted in Costa Rica and around the world at the elementary, high school and college levels, and will complete its MEP accreditation in order to issue diplomas certified by two different accreditation systems. GIA hopes you will join them this summer as they kick off the ground-breaking of this school development project with a music concert. Stay tuned for further information and for the opening of the school’s butterfly sanctuary and aviary! See GIA’s ad on page 33 of this Howler.

On Location...

(from page 19)

EL: Along with the music I do traffic and weather reports, news items and surf conditions. I also like two-way communication with listeners and encourage them to phone in to the show and I put them on air. I introduced the idea of doing the show on location, and now I do the Friday show from five to seven p.m. from Tamarindo, at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, right on the beach. I invite locals to speak on the show, to publicize an event or promote their businesses. H: When you were looking for a location, why did you choose Witch’s Rock? EL: Well, Witch’s owner Joe Walsh already did the daily surf report on the show, so it was an obvious move. H: I understand from your show that you are an avid surfer. Did you start that in L.A? EL: No, oddly enough, I never had the opportunity there. But here, at Witch’s Rock, there are some good instructors and a lot of support, so I learned here. And the waves are usually pretty good. I have always been into fitness. I run a lot and lift weights, so this helps me with surfing. H: What music do you like to feature? EL: I have an eclectic preference: The Eagles, Rolling Stones, Jimmy Buffett, Red Hot Chili Peppers, ‘80s music, alternative rock. H: And since you are a man about town when in San José, what is your favourite restaurant? EL: Vishnu is my favourite. I always eat healthy food – chicken, fish, no beef or pork, no junk food. H: Thanks, Evan, and keep the good music coming. You can listen to Evan’s show daily on Radio Dos at 99.5 FM, or by internet at

Surf Report (from page 15)

Photo: Fabián Sánchez Central American Surfing Games Guatemala 2012 November 29 to December 2, 2012 Playa Champerico de Retalhuleu, Guatemala Team Rankings:

1. Costa Rica 2. El Salvador 3. Guatemala 4. Panamá

14,318 points 11,756 11,202 860 Medals:

Open 1. Jair Pérez (CR) 2. Noe Mar McGonagle (CR) 3. Porfirio Miranda (Sal) 4. Anthony Fillingim (CR)

Boys 1. Mario Vega (Gua) 2. José Luis Ramos (Sal) 3. Jorge Rivas (Sal) 4. José Antonio García (Gua)

Women’s 1. Lisbeth Vindas (CR) 2. Samanta Alonso (Pan) 3. Evelin Centeno (Sal) 4. Cindy Lone (Gua)

Master 1. José Perla (Sal) 2. Craig Schieber (CR) 3. Randall Chaves (CR) 4. Jaime García (Sal)

Junior 1. Manuel Mesén (CR) 2. Alberto Muñoz (CR) 3. Jean Carlo Mendoza (CR) 4. Josué Rodriguez (CR)

Longboard 1. Anthony Flores (CR) 2. Cristian Santamaría (CR) 3. Wilfredo Urias (Sal) 4. Harvy Gil (Sal)

(Note that the Junior category was won entirely by Ticos.) And finally in Longboard, Anthony Flores, Costa Rica’s national champion won his third medal in this event with success in the Costa Rica in 2009 and El Salvador 2011.

(continued page 37)

Your Stars in January

Aries: 21 March - 20 April

The month begins with what could be some shocking news that could impact your professional life and/or your personal image. The silver lining to that news comes after the 10th. You could be offered an opportunity for a short trip with friends or business associates this month which you would be wise to consider. The 16th, 17th and 18th are your most fortunate days.

Taurus: 21 April - 21 May

Opportunities come in through your connections with the law, universities, and higher consciousness activities. Take the slow and steady approach as you chart your path to your next success. People will appreciate your calm methodology as opposed to just ‘winging’ it. Finances improve by the end of the month. The 19th and 20th offer good vibes for your plans.

Gemini: 22 May - 21 June

With Jupiter in your sign, there is some protection around you right now and more so at the end of the month when it goes into direct motion. Review what was going on at the end of November 2012 for a clue to an area of life that will undergo accelerated change this year. Be ready, willing and able to adapt to an influx of opportunities. Someone will also offer to help you, so say yes and let them. The 21st, 22nd and 23rd are your best days.

Cancer: 22 June - 22 July

Business and personal partnerships are on your plate this month as there are some powerful forces trying to align with you now. If it is at all possible, delay any contracts until after the 30th when Jupiter goes into direct motion. Shocking but serious news could come with the start of the month which might throw you off your game. Just take things slowly and you will find your way. The 24th and 25th give you some power to sway the masses.

Leo: 23 July - 23 August

This month emphasizes some challenges in the health and work arena with the potential for a major overhaul in your habits and goals. Partnerships are testy and you may have to fight a little to be understood. This is not a good time to travel abroad but that condition will improve in the spring. Be careful with your words as your tongue could be scorching to others. Best days for gains are the 26th, 27th, and 28th.

Virgo: 24 August - 22 September

You folks will be getting a boost from planets entering your fifth house of fun this month. Whoopie…you need some fun - and how! Jupiter going direct in your tenth house of career at the end of the month will bring opportunities for advancement to you, so choose wisely. The 6-10th may have you on the go or negotiating something so be cautious with your demands without devaluing talents. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 29th and 30th beckon good times.

by Jeanne Callahan (

Libra: 23 September - 23 October

With Uranus in your seventh house, as it has been for almost two years now, a resolution of this separating aspect is due this year for those in the early part of Libra. Conditions in your home or with your family could be tenuous for the first ten days of the month but with a beneficial resolution after the 10th. Stay out of confrontations at this time as it could get ugly. Days to push for your agenda are the 4th, 5th, and 31st.

Scorpio: 24 October - 22 November

Time to take stock of just who the people are you can count on. Not that you don’t trust anyone, you just need to identify those who are truly reliable instead of those that just say they are. There could be a little deception going on with your siblings or people you work with. Try to figure out the motivation for it before punishing everyone at large. The 6th and 7th are your stellar days.

Sagittarius: 23 November - 21 December

There’s a bit of an upheaval in your second house of financial assets and values now. Don’t get too upset as this will be rectified by the middle of the month when a gift or possible windfall comes in. Start looking at what kind of business you’d like to focus on as Jupiter in your seventh house, going direct at the end of the month, quite possibly means someone/or something is going to look attractive to you. The best times to engage with others are the 8th and 9th.

Capricorn: 22 December - 21 January

You will have extra energy and intensity this month as the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Pluto all converge in your first house for the first three weeks. Everyone else’s needs will just have to wait as you will be commanding and demanding everyone follow your orders. Big business issues appear to be at stake. The 10th and 11th are particularly compelling.

Aquarius: 22 January - 19 February

You have some secrets you’ve been keeping from just about everyone that might be exposed the first part of this month. Actually, you’ll be relieved by the confession or exposure as the consequences aren’t all that bad. Which really just means you’re not that good at keeping secrets… air signs rarely are. The 12th and 13th are positive vibe days for you.

Pisces: 20 February - 20 March

This is a good month for professional advancement for you as you are viewed in a positive light. You’re very busy in the neighborhood too as you can be a positive influence or breath of fresh air for some issue that has stalemated. There’s some intensity in a business association or group of friends that is no longer serving you, so cut ties if anything illegal or unethical starts being promoted as the thing to do. Don’t go there. The 14th and 15th are days of favor for you.

Namasté Visit Jeanne’s site at


Three Days...

(from page 22)

in an outstanding six and a half hours with one stop and a movie, was balanced by a four-day return nightmare, and a test of my traveler patience quotient. Like many of Guanacaste’s permanent foreign residents, trips during the height of the rainy season are a welcome opportunity to visit family and, of course, shop. October in Michigan is a picture postcard with brilliant fall colors, clear blue lakes and cool, crisp mornings. After a two-week trip through Amish country and mega malls, Esteban returned to take care of the farm while I visited a week longer with grandchildren. The trip was wonderful, my suitcases packed to the limit, and I was ready to return to paradise. I even arrived at the airport the required two hours early for international flights. In Grand Rapids airport you only need about fifteen minutes to check in, a couple of minutes extra for security checks and removal of boots and other metal things. I had to wait for the coffee shop to open at 5 a.m. and was at the gate more than an hour early. Early morning fog had already cancelled several flights. At check-in, I had been put on the earlier flight, which was delayed, not cancelled, because the aircraft was at the gate all night. To make a long story shorter, we waited. Finally the sun came up and fog lifted, other planes were taking off, but ours had mechanical problems - little light, or something electrical. Safety first, we waited, and waited. I knew my point of no return was 8 a.m. Next flight to Liberia… three days later. Ok, more time with family and friends. I was missing our tours, but planned on getting home early Saturday. Repack again and leave at 4:45 a.m. This time I got as far as getting on the plane and sitting on the runway. “Mechanical problems,” they announced. As I returned to the ticket counter and claimed my bags, big heavy bags, I pleaded, “get me as far as Atlanta and fly me in tomorrow, please.” I was reminded of my long trips to Costa Rica in the past. I had been telling all my Grand Rapids friends about how easy it is to visit now that we have direct flights. Reality check number 3485. Delta, after a bit of urging, put me up in a nice hotel, gave me a food voucher and credit for future travel. Finally, I was exhausted, but happy, landing in Liberia the next day, shedding my wool coat and breathing in the warm tropical air. Fortunately, this problem is the exception, not the rule, and now happens less often. Now we deal with higher prices. Many new flights offered now, especially in the high season with flights now offered to Panama and south. We love options. As I traveled the forty minutes back to our farm, passing gas stations, the new Do It Center, and the scores of new tourist attractions, I was struck by the changes in infrastructure and services that have come to Guanacaste in just a few short years. The road in front of the ranch is now paved and even maintained and the road to San José is now shorter and less stressful with Highway 27, the toll road through the mountains. Kay Dodge de Peraza and her husband Esteban operate Finca Casagua horse tours. See ad page 32.

Now Begins the Study of Yoga Surya Namaskar

Happy New Year! This month we feature Surya Namaskar, translating from Sanskrit as “Bowing to the Sun”. It is traditionally offered at sunrise as a salutation to the divine, represented by the sun, bringing the life-giving force of the sun into our body to remove the darkness. Remembering this during your practice helps you to do yoga – yoking or linking physical with devotion. This set of movements is often performed at the beginning of a yoga practice as they are so good at warming up the body. At times, Surya Namaskar is even used as the entire practice. These photos show one of many ways to do a surya namaskar. This sequence includes a lunge, and although it is not pictured, also typically includes Caturanga Dandasana, (or four-limbed staff pose in English) after Plank position. May you celebrate the new year with some bows to the sun!

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

Namaste, Mary

A Slice of Life The Sound of Freedom David Mills A sign at the gate of the New River Marine Corps Air Station in Jacksonville, N.C., reads “Pardon our Noise – it’s the Sound of Freedom”, quite appropriate considering the earsplitting exhaust roar of the fighter jets stationed there. The loud noise emitted by jet aircraft is a necessary evil, as most attempts to muffle it have failed (despite the name “Whisperjet” given to some airliners). To most, it is a damned nuisance and a health hazard; to others it is a beautiful sound, comparable to that thunder of several hundred Harley-Davidsons I once witnessed on the main drag in Myrtle Beach, S.C., during the annual convention. To me, just happening to be passing through town, it was a horrendous sound; all the other bystanders stood with beaming grins. One sound that evokes strong emotions among those of a certain generation is the distinctive roar of the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, used during World War II to power the singleengine Spitfire and Hurricane fighters and the Lancaster bomber, which had four. Many years ago a group of aeroplane buffs, the Canadian Warplane Heritage, set out to build a Lancaster to add to their collection. They took a beat-up fuselage which had stood for many years on a static display plinth, tramped through by thousands of tourists in a local resort town, and added engines and other parts scrounged from distant countries. Eleven years later, after superhuman effort in a project determined by experts to be “blatantly impossible”, the aircraft was completed in as-new condition – and it flew! At Mount Hope airport in Hamilton, Ontario, a few hundred people, mostly elderly veterans, watched as the Lancaster roared along the runway on its first flight. A collective cheer rose with it to the sky as it lifted off and headed away. Fifteen minutes later the roar of Merlins approached and the big bird cleared the trees to the east – accompanied by a Spitfire and a Hurricane, which had joined it from Toronto. As the trio did a low flypast, I sneaked a peek at the congregation, a crowd of old men weeping like children. The CWH Lancaster has since flown many sorties and exhibited at air shows in Canada and abroad, and continues to delight, one of only two still flying.

Doctor’s Orders Jeffrey Whitlow, M.D.



his month I’ll conclude the discussion on cocaine which we started in December.

We discussed the fact that cocaine kills heart and brain cells, and I elaborated on the conditions that arise when a person loses a significant amount of their heart cells to this toxin. The effects on the brain can be as dramatic and as devastating. The brain is a highly complex organ that has largely defied our attempts to understand it, as we are not really able to study a live, normally functioning human brain as we would any other organ. However, we do know that the brain, like the heart, is controlled by electricity. The EEG, or electroencephalogram, was developed in Germany in the early 20th Century. This test detects and maps the flows of electricity throughout the brain. When a person suffers from seizures, or epilepsy, the EEG shows a disturbance in the normal electrical pattern in their brain. It is thought that this disturbance is related to a defect or an area of dead cells in the brain, and this defect or dead area is called a seizure “focus”. Cocaine in moderate doses disturbs the normal interactions between the brain cells, and by doing so can disrupt the flow of electricity through the brain enough to mimic a seizure focus. When that occurs the person affected can have a grand mal seizure. Remember also that cocaine is toxic to brain cells at a certain dose that is unique to each individual. If enough cocaine is ingested, the user can kill enough brain cells to create a seizure focus. That person will then have a seizure disorder, or epilepsy. They will not be able to drive, because they are at risk of having a seizure at any time while they are behind the wheel. They will not be able to get health insurance, as epilepsy is considered a high-risk condition by most insurance companies. And they will have to take an anti-seizure medicine for the rest of their lives, as the condition will never improve or resolve itself. To make it even better, all of the anti-seizure medicines have significant side effects at their therapeutic dose.

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.

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

Cocaine has other effects on the brain and other organs as well. Users can suffer from acute and profound paranoia, and can have psychotic episodes. Males can become impotent, and males or females can become hypersexual. If cocaine is “snorted”, or inhaled through the nose, the user can develop nosebleeds and nasal lesions. But the effects caused by the direct toxicity of the drug on heart and brain cells are by far the most profound. The bottom line is that, if cocaine is the “caviar of street drugs” to quote WebMD, then we are laboring under some very serious misconceptions. I’ve eaten my share of caviar, and I don’t ever remember it causing me to have a heart attack or seizures. I really think that if the potential first-time users of this drug clearly understood the risks they were taking, that it would definitely dissuade some of them from making that decision. Next month we will turn this discussion to methampethamine.




You can imagine how excited I was when I recently received a phone call from the producers of that very popular MTV cable travelogue program “Gringos Unchained” asking if my wife and I might be interested in appearing in an upcoming and not yet produced episode. As it was, “Gringos Unchained” is one of Susan’s and my favorite “guilty pleasure” shows, airing not so regularly on wherever the local cable people decide to put MTV that month. The show features different Gringo types living outside the United States with a camera crew following whoever was that episode’s Gringo around for a couple of weeks and featured none other than Frank Sinatra’s granddaughter Cynthia as the show’s host. We had recently seen an episode featuring a cute young couple from California living in Outer Mongolia in a tent made of Yak hides who had moved there to learn Mongolian “throat singing” as well as drink a lot of fermented mare’s milk. It had been quite enjoyable and we wondered what they could do with Playa Tamarindo. Their lawyers and ours exchanged a large number of e-mails nailing down the various details and logistics and we began receiving detailed summaries of filming schedules and agendas involving the incredible amount of planning involved in a operation of this magnitude. We signed numerous documents guaranteeing that the surf would be happening, rain would be kept to a minimum and there would be a limited amount of seismic activity. There was another clause guaranteeing that Ms. Sinatra received enough milk for a bath every day. To some of you this last thing must seem a little exorbitant but we just needed to double the amount of my wife’s daily soak to fulfill our agreement. It was decided that the film crew would show up in early October and film background shots and sidebars for a couple of weeks. Ms. Sinatra would then fly in on her Learjet and do the rest of the program, which included Cynthia Sinatra jamming on ukelele with our band at Witch’s Rock and having her portrait painted by my wife.

Gringos Unchained

Rooms were booked at a very famous Tamarindo beachfront hotel that doesn’t get mentioned in this article because they don’t advertise in The Howler and, as it was October with nothing else to do, my wife and I looked forward to the upcoming filming and what we assumed would be an interesting disruption in our lives. Several weeks before the film crew was to arrive we started receiving a rash of e-mail from the producers saying that the filming crew had been having a somewhat difficult time filming an episode in Pakistan and they would probably be somewhat delayed until a ransom could be put together. There had also been unauthorized seismic activity and their legal department had become very upset. It might take just a little bit longer than previously planned but we were told to just hang in there. Finally we received word the “Gringo Unchained” filming and production crew had gotten out of Pakistan reasonably intact and would be landing at the Managua Airport the next day and would we mind picking them up? There’s nothing we like better than to drive across the border on one day’s notice to pick up a recently-ransomed group of highly trained professionals, so off we went. I’ve always thought the Managua International Airport was an interesting place to visit with its mix of patched-up forty-yearold Soviet Hind Helicopters and old C-47 crash wreckage strewn across the runway. We were a little confused when we finally made it to the terminal and the only people waiting were three twenty-somethings who looked like they hadn’t shaved or bathed in several weeks. That was because they hadn’t! They introduced themselves as the “Executive Logistics and Production Group” and seemed happy to speak with anyone who spoke English. Their equipment was kept in a couple of beat-up surfboard bags which we quickly loaded and headed back to the Costa Rican Border where the guys learned you needed proof that you had a way to leave Costa Rica. Which they hadn’t.

Story by Jesse Bishop (

Fortunately the border officials were in a good mood so they accepted most of the crew’s available cash and one of the cameras as collateral and we were able to make it to Tamarindo where the boys now had to check into the Hostel Botella Negra due to diminished funds. Needless to say the intricate three-week production schedule was in need of some serious paring-down and Cynthia Sinatra would be flying in to the Liberia airport in her jet the following day and the Executive Producer said they planned to film everything in about two days. The great lady arrived the next day and was met at the airport’s private terminal with a rented Rolls Royce limousine that whisked her to her luxury accommodations on the beach. The shortened schedule began with Cynthia Sinatra cancelling the ukulele jam so she could film her two-hour deep tissue massage on the beach, then she visited Susan’s studio for a twenty-minute portrait sitting after which she received a postage stamp-sized painting. We later learned that upon returning to the (oops, almost said it) she found that there was no water service available for the foreseeable future and there were no buckets available to carry milk. The next morning Cynthia Sinatra woke up unwashed and grumpy and also experiencing the initial symptoms of dengue fever and, after consultations with the crew it was decided they had enough filmed and they should probably go on to their next location which hopefully had a hospital specializing in tropical diseases. Late last night about three in the morning I was surfing the internet when I happened across the latest edition of “Gringos Unchained” and there I was having exotic adventures that I don’t really recall having. I suspect someone in the editing department accidently added footage from some country where everyone wears turbans. But it was good wholesome television fun nonetheless.

Apocalypse Not Tom Peifer (

You don’t need a weatherman, to know which way the wind blows. Bob Dylan

Dear Reader: If, in fact, you are reading these words, then the much-ballyhooed, Mayan-Calendar-predicted, internet –hyped end of the world, on the 21st of December, fizzled out like a soaking wet skyrocket on New Year’s Eve. Amidst all the pre-Apocalypse folderol, even NASA decided to inject a bit of cosmic reason into the unfolding drama. A press release declared soberly: “The prediction that the world will end four days before Christmas 2012 – potentially wreaking havoc with gift-buying and travel plans – is a longstanding misconception.” There are apparently no planetary alignments, misalignments, threatening asteroid, meteor or comet trajectories that would give rise to the kind of cosmic mayhem foreseen by soothsayers of various and sundry stripes. Reason alone, of course, never stopped anyone from shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. After all, the fun lies precisely in provoking the stampede. And watching the bodies pile up. As I write, the breaking news is full of images and eyewitness accounts of the latest sicko shooting in a sleepy small town in Connecticut. Early reports indicate that a self-anointed Rambo wannabe took it upon himself to kick-start the apocalypse by suiting up as one of the Four Horsemen, locked and loaded, and rampaging through the local schoolyard. The international outpouring of grief at the senseless tragedy is completely justified. At the same time, somehow it gets way less coverage when the bodies pile up as a result of any number of the slower-moving apocalyptic processes which are inexorably shaping the future of children far from the slaughter in Sandy Hook Elementary School. The fact of the matter is that those who are sucked into the teeth of the slow-motion meat grinder that is world history are seldom even aware of just what is in fact going on. And even less capable of doing much more than ‘duck and cover’ as the bullets ricochet, the shrapnel mauls the unfortunate or the shit hits the proverbial fan. Far easier to focus on some misinterpreted Mayan mumbo-jumbo and fantasize about any number of renditions of the Big Bang theory of an apocalyptic finale than to delve into the complicated orchestration of political and economic

chords which have changed the tune in the lives of millions. Children growing up, for example, stranded in the formerly industrial heartland of the US, places like Detroit, where vast swaths of the once-thriving city resemble, if anything, a postapocalyptic landscape, simply have no idea that they’re in “the middle” of something. They don’t realize that the cold-hearted calculus of the globalized economy has left large swaths of landscape with a look: ‘the world is flattened’ (apologies to Thomas Friedman). As a ten-year-old observes in a novel I’m currently reading about kids living through hard times: “The Beginning of the End can feel a lot like the middle, when you’re living through it.” Some of the more honest economists use the term ‘the new normal’ when talking about, say, the 50% rate of unemployment for young people in Spain. For any number of kids worldwide, ‘normal’ is to grow up in an area where the wand of the global economy has failed to work its magic, and the ‘new normal’ economy revolves around drugs, theft and increasingly sophisticated ‘adaptations’ to resource acquisition within the human ecology of their surroundings. The morality of survival takes precedence over other, perhaps more refined, considerations. And, hey, just what’s so special about the Maya anyway? Let’s concede for a minute that they were smart enough to predict the end of our world. The historical record shows, however, that they lacked the wherewithal to stave off or change course in time to prevent their own demise. All the pyramids, astronomy and advanced cultural amenities in the world won’t save your butt when you overshoot your environmental support system. Current research on the Mayan demise indicates that deforestation and unsustainable agricultural practices produced a fragile ecosystem, so that all it took was a drought to deliver the coup de grace. Dozens of generations of kids then grew up playing in the shadows and living in the rubble of the vanishing architectural legacy left by their forgotten forbears. Accustomed to the ‘new normal’ in the (continued page 36)

Apocalypse Not (from page 35)

wake of one version of apocalypse, life may have well been a much happier affair during the centuries-long interregnum until Spanish horsemen arrived on the scene, chomping at the bit to funnel New World resources into a nascent global economy and impose full spectrum dominance resting squarely on the terror tripod of ‘guns, germs and steel.’

January ( a l l

t i m e s

Two salient facts are worth noting here. ‘Apocalypse’ is an apt description for the massive die-off of the Amerindian population as a result of the European contact, conquest and occupation of the New World. Less widely known, but very interesting, is that the regrowth of tropical lowland forest in the Americas—you know, like when millions of farmers died—absorbed enough CO2 out of the atmosphere to be considered one of the causes of the Little Ice Age from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Although the thermometer went in the other direction from where we are currently headed, the effects on society provide a kind of barometer, or portent, for what happens in societies as the pressure rises due to climate change.

2013 l o c a l )


1st - rise 6:01; set 5:33 15th - rise 6:05; set 5:41 31st - rise 6:06; set 5:47*

* latest sunrise Jan. 26th - 6:06:24 Last quarter: New: 1st quarter: Full:


4th 11th 18th 26th


1.4 1.2


Climate disruption may well be the key to letting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse out of their stables for an extended romp through the fields, forests and cities of the future. Chronicles from Europe during the long-term decline in agricultural production of the Little Ice Age portray a scenario of famines, hypothermia, bread riots and “despotic leaders brutalizing an increasingly dispirited peasantry.” There was even an uptick in witch hunting, no doubt an example of that ingrained human tendency to find a fall guy, a scapegoat on whom to blame the sorry state of whatever affairs are currently out of whack.

9:59 p.m. 1:44 p.m. 5:46 p.m. 10:40 p.m.

RAINFALL - Nov/Dec 2012


Maricle Meteorological Observatory


Villarreal de Santa Cruz

m 0.6

Total rainfall: 1.35 cm (.50 inches)

s 0.4 0.2 0.0 16




Year-to-date 2012: 178.4 cm 2011: 274.0

30 1




Rainfall Nov/Dec 2012: 1.35 cm 2011: 8.2


In all likelihood the Maya were no more adept at predicting the future than we, as a ‘civilization’, were at predicting or preventing the gruesome massacre of schoolchildren in Connecticut. Sadly enough, both stories have a way of capturing and diverting the attention span needed to read the weather, to ascertain ‘which way the wind blows’, to build shelter that withstands the storms to come and to rein in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse before they trample our collective future into the dust. (A side note to the archeologist of the future, digging through the ruins of a printer’s office in what used to be San José, Costa Rica: If you are reading these words, then, in fact, the shit did indeed hit the fan a long time ago and the rest, as we once used to say, is history.)

Tom Peifer is an ecological land use consultant with 18 years experience in Guanacaste. 2658-8018. El Centro Verde is dedicated to researching and promoting sustainable land use, permaculture and environmentally sound development.

Surf Report (from page 26) There’s another Circuito that has been taking place around Costa Rica, and although it’s not put on by the Federación de Surf de Costa Rica, it has been drawing top talent in order to win the cash prizes. The Copa Kölbi del Circuito Open Pro started out on the Caribbean coast with a few dates and then moved West. Carlos Muñoz (Esterillos) won the top prize of $500 at the third date of the Copa Kölbi del Circuito Open Pro which took place November 10 in Playa Hermosa. He battled in a final that included long-absent former Costa Rica national champion Luis Vindas (Jacó), Antony Segura (Esterillos) and Mika Torres (Esterillos). Also noted was a win in the Juniors by Manuel Mesén, who went on to win the Central American championships later in the month.

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.




4F Last Qtr 5S

05:10 11:16 17:38 23:37 05:49 11:53 18:16

8.7 0.2 8.8 0.8 8.5 0.4 8.7


00:18 06:29 12:32 18:56 01:03 07:13 13:15 19:41 01:51 08:03 14:03 20:33

0.9 8.2 0.6 8.7 1.0 7.9 0.8 7.6 1.1 7.7 0.8 7.5





02:47 09:01 14:59 21:31 03:49 10:06 16:03 22:35 04:55 11:14 17:11 23:41 06:01 12:21 18:18

1.2 7.5 1.2 8.5 1.2 7.4 1.3 8.5 1.0 7.6 1.2 8.8 0.6 8.1 0.9

11F New Moon

00:44 07:02 13:22 19:21

9.2 1.0 8.6 0.4





JANUARY TIDE CHART 01:42 07:59 14:18 20:20 02:37 08:51 15:11 21:13 03:29 09:41 16:01 22:05 04:18 10:20 16:49 22:54 05:07 11:15 17:37 23:43

9.6 -0.4 9.2 0.0 9.9 -0.8 9.7 -0.4 10.1 -1.1 10.0 -0.6 10.1 -1.1 10.1 -0.5 9.9 -0.9 10.1 -0.3


05:55 12:01 18:24

9.4 -0.5 9.7



00:31 06:43 12:47 19:12 01:21 17:33 13:34 20:01 02:12 08:26 14:24 20:54 03:08 09:24 15:18 21:50

0.1 8.8 0.1 9.2 0.6 8.2 0.7 8.6 1.2 7.5 1.4 8.1 1.6 7.0 1.9 7.7


18F 1st Qtr 19S





04:09 10:27 16:19 22:50 05:13 11:32 17:23 23:49 06:12 12:31 18:23

1.9 6.7 2.3 7.5 1.9 6.7 2.4 7.5 1.7 6.9 2.3

26S Full Moon

00:43 07:04 13:21 19:15 01:31 07:49 14:06 20:01

7.6 1.4 7.2 1.9 7.9 1.0 7.7 1.5





02:15 08:28 14:46 20:41 02:55 09:05 15:23 21:21 03:33 09:41 15:59 21:59 04:11 10:16 16:35 22:36 04:48 10:51 17:11 23:15

8.3 0.6 8.1 1.1 8.6 0.3 8.5 0.7 8.8 0.0 8.9 0.4 8.5 -0.1 9.1 0.2 8.9 -0.2 9.2 0.1


1F Feb 2S



05:26 11:28 17:49 23:54 06:05 12:07 18:29

8.8 -0.1 8.2 0.2 8.6 0.0 9.1

00:37 06:48 12:49 19:13 01:25 07:37 13:37 20:04 02:19 08:34 14:33 21:04

0.3 8.2 0.3 8.9 0.5 7.9 0.6 8.6 0.8 7.6 1.0 8.4


Howler magazine serving the Gold Coast of Costa Rica