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Casa Ventana Jungle elegance! Balinese estate set on 4.29 acres with breathtaking valley and distant ocean views. Four years in the planning and attention to countless details are reected in a home of uncommon quality. Designed by renowned Costa Rican Architect Abraham Valenzuela, Ventana is perhaps best described as a residential nature preserve offering unspoiled views and proximity to Tamarindo and neighboring beaches! Tony DiMaggio Owner / Broker 2653-1561 / 8815-1200 tony@eltesoroproperties.com

Details upon request! Offered at $2,500,000


Editorís Note Banco Nacional introduces a new system to add new recipients to your “favourites” list for on-line banking – a device which fits in the usb port of a computer. Costs ¢3,000 and is good for 5 additions. Unfortunately, the bank forgot lay in stocks of the “tokens”. They don’t have any, even in Santa Cruz! So now you just cannot add new accounts to your list. Parking! This is a major problem in Tamarindo, where multistore plazas are built with one-tenth the required parking spaces. We hope for a busy high season, but that always means jams and gridlock. We would like to think that people share their spaces when not in use, but some stores, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., place large obstacles in their parking spots at night. And why, when a person dons a reflective chaleco, does he often turn into a Parking Nazi? One jewellery sidewalk vendor gets very aggressive if you park in front of his illegal stand, even though it is on the opposite side of the sidewalk. And why do some people park laterally, taking three parking spaces, when they could nose in and take one? Just a little thought and consideration can make a difference. World-class city? In the past few weeks Tamarindo has seen live theatre (pantomime Cinderella), live boxing at Voodoo Lounge, a new movie theatre. We are growing up! A restaurant in Brasilito is trying to attract customers with dozens of garish, ugly signs along the roadsides. Well, I vote with my feet. Anyone who maltreats Costa Rica’s beautiful scenery this way doesn’t deserve my business. And if this is what Australia looks like, I don’t think I ever want to go there.

Flamingo Equestrian Center Riding School - Boarding Facility Lighted Indoor Arena - Jump Course Year-round Customized Horse Camps and Clinics flamingohorses@gmail.com www.costaricahorses.com 8-828-6879


The Howler Since 1996

January 2010

FEATURES 8 Dining Out

A short trip out of Tamarindo brings us to Playa Negra where we dine on excellent food at Deveena.

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 surfing calendar for 2009-2010 has been compiled, and a range of tournaments is scheduled over both coasts.

16 Spanish Inquisition 2009 Summoned to his bank to update some personal information, our columnist is subjected to a modern version of the Inquisition.

17 Swinging in the Wind

An accident ‘way back in 1956 released a few bees and changed forever the bee population of the Americas.

22 What’s Developing? The fast-developing “suburbs” of Flamingo are home to the small Caribbean-style shopping plaza Eldorado.

33 A Many-splendored Thing

Many extranjero men hitch up with Ticas, and vice-versa. Our columnist examines aspects of this cross-cultural coupling.

34 Surviving Costa Rica

After losing his passport, Jesse reluctantly visits the U.S. Embassy, and finds it not the experience he had been dreading.

Cover Caption: January is dream time. The wind, tides, light and swell all come together for some of the most perfect surfing waves anywhere. Here Carlos Velarde from Cafe Playa Negra lives the dream. Cover design and photo: John Lyman Photos www.johnlymanphotos.com

DEPARTMENTS 9

Student Voices

10

CD Review

11

Book Review

12 Yoga 23 Slice of Life 27 Puzzle 29 Tide Chart 32 January Forecasts 36 Sun & Moon 36 Rain Gauge


The Howler Founded in 1996 Vol. 15, No. 1 - January 2010 Issue No. 160 Editorial Office: Casa Equinox, Playa Tamarindo Guanacaste, Costa Rica Ced. Juridica: 3-101-331333 Publisher, editor and production David Mills dmills@racsa.co.cr www.howlermag.com Tel/fax: 2-653-0545 Contributors: TONY OREZ TOM PEIFER JOHN LYMAN ELLEN ZOE GOLDEN KIDS OF COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL CYNTHIA CHARPENTIER JEANNE CALLAHAN JESSE BISHOP NINA WEBER KAY DODGE

Deadline for February: January 15

Howler advertising

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

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

kaydodge@racsa.co.cr www.tamarindo.com/casagua The best horses on Guanacaste’s Gold Coast!

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

www.tamarindobeach.net www.tamarindohomepage.com


David Mills

Dining Out

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wice a month I drive the “circular” route from Tamarindo to 27 Abril, down the fine paved road to Paraiso and Junquillal, then back via Negra and Avellanas, bringing happiness and Howlers to those deprived communities. Sometimes the beach road is sublime; sometimes it is ridiculous. On this dining trip it had just been graded and was superb, taking just 25 minutes Tamarindo to Negra.

Villa Deevena Restaurant was opened a year ago by owners Tasia and Patrick Jamon (also the chef). Breakfast is served, and lunch and dinner by reservation. Patrick has a spectacular resumé, having cooked for many famous people including presidents Carter, Clinton, Bush Sr. and Reagan (ask to see his scrapbook). The food is super-fresh, much being provided by local farmers and fishermen. The setting, the restaurant sharing a pretty poolside with six cabinas, is delightful, and the open kitchen adds to the experience. The place is a favourite with locals, but several people had that evening driven there from Tamarindo. Appetizers cover a wide range of fascinating topics – tuna sashimi; mozzarella, roma tomato and basil salad; warm spinach and brie in puff pastry; beet and goat cheese tower. We chose a whopping portion of succulent popcorn shrimp in honey Dijon sauce, and lobster bisque and were both delighted. There are four pasta dishes, all exotic-sounding, and main dishes including Mongolian-style chicken; seabass filet with lemon grass; roast pork loin; lobster thermidor; mahi-mahi with capers and lemon; seared tuna; N.Y. steak with horseradish sauce; filet mignon with Roquefort; and rack of lamb with spicy Italian sausage. We dined on amberjack with herbes de Provence, a delicious melt-in-the-mouth filet of fish, and 7-hour smoked pork with spinach and Dijon mustard, whose aroma and taste immediately took me back to the mountains of North Carolina. Both meals were delicious. A comprehensive wine list includes quality offerings from France, Argentina, Chile and Italy. All things included – ambience, service, food, presentation, wine, etc., this was a wonderful evening out, and very well-worth the drive. Deevena is open 7 days during high season, closed Monday in the low. Hours are 7-10 a.m. for breakfast; 11:30-2 lunch; and 6:30 on for dinner. All credit cards accepted except Amex. Reservations: 2-653-2328, villadeveena@yahoo.com; www.villadeveena.com. Facebook: vegypsygirl@hotmail. Located about 500 meters from Negra on the road to Paraiso.


S T U D E N T V O I C E S • C D S G

William Shakespeare in modern works

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illiam Shakespeare is considered the greatest writer of the English language. He was already popular in his lifetime but became even more popular after his death. The reason he is still so famous is because his words inspired so many people around the world. In fact, people still read Shakespeare’s poems and perform his plays; they also take his ideas to create other novels, songs or plays. A song that was not written a long time ago but is based on “Romeo and Juliet” is “Love Story” by Taylor Swift. It is used today to show the story of Romeo and Juliet because it’s the story of the two lovers who have to get through conflicts to live happily together. And at the end they get married. This song shows how people still use Shakespeare’s writing in songs or in other ways. Another important song that is based on the same play is called “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits. This song is based on Shakespeare’s play because it also talks about the young lovers and how they miss each other when they’re not together. It expresses the intense love that Romeo and Juliet felt for each other in different words than Shakespeare wrote them. These types of song inspire many people because they relate to Romeo and Juliet and also sometimes it relates to their lives. The play and movie “West Side Story” is also “Romeo and Juliet” written in different words but with the same meaning. The two lovers face all sorts of conflicts before they are actually happy. The Montagues and the Capulets in “Romeo and Juliet” are the Jets and Sharks in “West Side Story”. Each character in “West Side Story” is named differently for a character in “Romeo and Juliet”. It is written to inspire people and to make a different story out of Shakespeare’s writing. It is a well-known story around the world. William Shakespeare is the most quoted writer in the English language because of his inspirational words such as poems and plays. His words have been translated into every major living language around the world. Shakespeare wrote tragedies, histories, comedies and romances that have been turned into many different songs, books, poems and plays.

Lilly Pandis Grade 9 Country Day School


CD Review A Journey of Peace, Love, Waves and Song Tony Orez

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ost of the residents of Playa Tamarindo know Brian Dale: he’s a musician who lives in Grand Bend, in his native Canada, for about half the year and here at the beach in Costa Rica for the rest of the time. That has been Brian’s “pattern” for several years. And most Tamarindeños have had the pleasure of seeing and hearing Brian perform his original songs as well as a great collection of cover songs in one or more of the many venues that offer live music here. As a rule, Sr. Dale performs solo, accompanying himself on one of his two acoustic guitars and the occasional harmonica riff. Since I have known him, he’s talked about fulfilling his longtime dream of recording an album of his own work. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if Brian’s personality and delivery onstage could be translated to disc. Brian found a way to remedy that. He recently released his first album, “peace/love/waves/song”, accompanied by no less than nine other musicians, and Brian is the first to acknowledge that his songs are well-served “with a little help from his friends”. I think proper tribute should be regaled to Rob McKercher for his pristine work on “the board”, recording, engineering and mixing the entire project. The major contributors (besides Brian) on the album are percussionist Deryk Goodwin, whom Dale thanks for giving his songs direction, and lead guitarist Andy Mcguire, whom Brian thanks for “giving these songs wings”. Rounding out the studio band are Marcel Gelinas with some very nice keyboard work, and with bass guitar duties shared between Jaime Wallace and John Goodwin. The songs are “lushed-up” with the help of four backing vocalists, three of them female, adding a new dimension to the harmonics. The transformation of Brian’s songs is incredible, a true collaboration, giving new depth to the original versions. Kicking off the album set is “all that (and a bag of chips)”, a song I immediately recognized as impeccably one of Brian Dale’s. Of the eleven songs on the disc, most are tunes I’ve heard before, but the new, full arrangements make it seem like I am hearing them for the first time. I think the songs “Missing You” and “Sometimes” are both good examples of how the accompaniment on this album have enriched the material. I’ve heard Brian perform both these tunes live and the new arrangements and rich vocal harmonies attest to the new birth of these songs. There are also some new songs being premiered on the album. One standout on the disc is “The Ferris Wheel”, a song about Brian’s maternal grandfather, Art Ferris, who Brian calls “the most inspiring man I have ever known”. Brian has a voice that lends itself to the sentiments of the subject matter of his songs, a little reminiscent of Arlo Guthrie. Mr. Dale dedicates the album to his father, another indication of his true passion for his pursuit of peace, love, waves and song.


Book Review Naked Dining Tony Orez

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oseph Heller became famous with his first novel, “Catch 22”. Riding on those coat tails, he published “Something Happened”, in which, lamented the critics and his fans, nothing happens. Mei Ng is a young Asian author from New York. In her first novel, “Eating Chinese Food Naked”, she is apparently cutting straight to the chase with Heller’s formula: rather than publishing something memorable the first time out the gate, she has opted to placate her readers with monotony. I honestly can’t think of a good reason for this novel to be published. Maybe I’m getting old or becoming a literary snob and this is “slacker chic” or something, but I cringe at the thought of a tree being felled and milled for this work to be set into print. The protagonist is Ruby, an unmotivated Chinese-American college grad with a degree in journalism who can’t find a job, so works for a temp agency instead of applying her degree. Gee, this couldn’t be autobiographical, could it? She moves back to New York City, into her parents’ home above the Laundromat they own and operate. Maybe it’s just me, but this seems a little cliché. The family heritage of both parents, dating back several generations into China, plays a contributing factor. But Mei Ng is no East Coast Amy Tan, make no mistake about that. Ruby is unmotivated, indecisive and boring. To be sure, the writing represents this, but mundane people and situations have been handled in the past in a much better fashion; the two Sinclair Lewis classics, “Main Street” and “Babbitt” come to mind. In fairness, there are some nice similes and wordplay, but not enough to carry the novel, in my opinion. One inconsistency in particular in the writing annoyed me, something called the “writer’s point of view”. The story is told from what is referred to as omniscient, that is, a person outside the action and detached from it, relaying the story to the reader. Most of the time, the storyteller follows Ruby, tells us what she is doing and thinking. At very sporadic jumps, however, we are told what her sister Lily thinks about or her mother, Bell, is thinking. I found it very disjointed. I also did not like it that, after reading about ninety percent of the book, in which plans continually are made and scrapped and inaction and indecisiveness prevail, the author explains in a brief paragraph but in full detail, that Ruby will make a specific decision a year after the end of the novel, that will change her life drastically and for the better. What a copout! The most interesting thing about the book, in fact, is the title and predictably, no one eats Chinese food naked in the novel. If this novel had been a rough draft, or better yet a prequel or introduction into the next year in Ruby’s life, when things apparently will happen, then I could see a reason for it. Sadly, as it stands by itself, “Eating Chinese Food Naked” only made me hungry for something with substance a half hour after I had finished reading it.


on the Beach By Nina Weber Certified Yoga Instructor

YOGA AT CASA AZUL in Tamarindo Beachfront provides a combination of Dynamic * Challenging * Inspiring * Encouraging and Relaxing Yoga * Small groups and individual adjustments *Most important.: Yoga is fun !!!

Couples, Parent and Children, Friends and Siblings PartnerYoga Partner yoga poses build a high level of trust. It can be a fun exercise to do with children, or a special moment shared between lovers.

For more information email me at nina@tamarindoyoga.com. www.tamarindoyoga.com

How to practice a Lifted Cobra

It’s not about perfection. “It’s a process of working it out - there is no perfect pose. It’s about how you connect, cooperate, support each other and figure out the pose based on what works for the two of you.”

Partner 1 lies on his or her back, bends knees and lifts feet off the floor. Partner 2 stands in front of Partner 1, and places Partner 1’s feet on his or her hips. Partner 2 leans forward onto Partner 1’s feet. Partner 1 bends knees toward his or her chest to better hold Partner 2’s weight, and touches palms with Partner 2. With feet aligned over the hips, Partner 1 straightens his or her legs and arms and lifts Partner 2 off the ground. Partners 1 and 2 press their hands together. With arms and legs straightened, Partner 2 arches back slightly to come into full Lifted Cobra. Hold if you can for 10-30 seconds. This pose requires trust, overcoming the obstacle of being afraid to fall, or that your friend won’t hold you up. It also boosts the excitement of friendship by adding a playful, physical element to your relationship.

For sure you are going to have a lot of fun!!!

Have fun !!!

The Benefits of working through a yoga sequence with someone else. It’s non-competitive fitness in which two or more people can engage. It builds intimacy and a high level of trust. A deeper level of trust develops between two persons who explore the spiritual nuances of the craft together. Partners can assist one another with more challenging asanas. It’s a fun activity to share with children.


David Mills

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he new 2010 Tamarindo Tide Tables can now be downloaded for your iPod at http://tamarindotides.com/

Tamarindo Recycles announces ten collection points in town: The Minae building at the estuary; Parque de la Independencia; beach parking lot opposite Aqua discoteque; Tamarindo Circle; beach access road near Alfaro bus station and El Pescador; cul-de-sac by Hotel Cala Luna; outside Hotel Mono Loco; beach access between Crystal Sands and Cala Luna; Langosta Beach access between RPM office and Barcelo; Surf Club Sports Bar. Around P.Negra and Pinilla there are signs of another distemper outbreak. Dog owners should get booster shots for their pets. La Barra has changed owners and is renamed La Luna; Rancho Coyote has reopened at Refundores with good meals and live music at weekends; Las Olas Supermarket has opened on the ground floor of Aqua Disco; El Padrino Pizzeria and Restaurant is open on the corner 50 metres east of Supercompro in Tamarindo. Destination Adventures has a new website www.destinationadventures.net and is doing special prices for all locals in Tamarindo in January 2010. Contact them at 2-653-3842 or 2-653-2862. The Banana Kings are now hosting a Sunday 6 p.m. Jam Session at the Crazy Monkey Bar at the Best Western Vista Villas in Tamarindo. It’s acoustic and electric, and the beer prices will delight you. Xplore Costa Rica Tours announces the opening of its new office in Plaza Esmeralda, just north of Subway. La Paz School will be holding its annual fundraiser on January 23 at Flamingo Marina Resort. Look out for time and details later. Minister of Tourism Allen Flores attended the opening, by General Manager Mauricio Estrada, of the new Beach Club in Hacienda Pinilla.


Surf Report Story: Ellen Zoe Golden

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he trajectory of Costa Rica as a world surfing power—at least in the amateur circles—had been growing in stature even before last August when the Billabong International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games Costa Rica 2009 made their way to Playa Hermosa. Then, that event broke attendance records for the World Surfing Games, drawing approximately 50,000 people over the course of the week. Not only that, the waves were perfect for the contest which drew top-tiered surf talent from around the world. Of course, those of us who live in Costa Rica knew that the waves were going to be there. We also knew that our own Costa Rica National Surf Team would hold its own, placing at #7 in the rankings when all was said and done. The impact of those games was even greater on the homefront to surfers who aspire to intern a ti o n a l competitive status, according to José Ureña, President of the Federación de Surf de Costa Photo: Fabián Sánchez Rica (FSC). And that’s why the success of the World Surfing Games in Costa Rica is directly responsible for the fact that this year there will be professional surf contests pretty much year-round in this country. Starting December 19 in Jacó Beach, Ureña announced the 10th Annual Circuito Nacional DayStar 2009-2010, presented by LimeCoral. This date is the first of seven weekends, which take place at different beaches around Costa Rica—including a return to the Caribbean after many years away from that vibrant coast. Last year, the contest lasted five months, and hit six beaches. However, for 2009-2010, the Circuito will stretch six months and visit seven beaches. In February, the contest adds the exciting beach of Cocles for its third event. Cocles is an exposed beach and reef break with very consistent waves. Also new to the schedule is the second date at beach break Esterillos, home to the current Costa Rican Open, Junior and Boys Champion Carlos Muñoz (photo). Ratings-wise, the first six dates of the Circuito Nacional will be 4-star contests, leaving the Gran Final DayStar in La Curva Playa to wrap up the tournament with 5 stars. Ureña believes that by doing this, the Circuito will offer more opportunities and challenges for more skilled surfers to vie for the potential new championship. Of the total of seven dates, the best four of those will be counted in the total points by competitors towards rankings for the championship crown. This way, for this new season, the possibilities of a great final showing ends up being thrilling for the athletes—and the spectators—and offers more possibilities of dynamic outcomes in Playa Hermosa. Another influence of having the top surfing contest—the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games Costa Rica 2009—play out in your own back(continued page 26)


Guaitil Tours Visit Guaitil town and workshop where traditional Costa Rican pottery is made by hand in the Chorotega Indian Style One-hour horse ride to natural waterfall, crystal river, mountain views • • • From 2-8 persons includes fruit, water and drinks Daily 8:30 to 12:30 T.T.R. Lajas del Pacifico

José M. Vallejos Tel: 8-888-8668

Spanish Inquisition 2009 David Mills

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he trouble started when I received a letter from my bank telling me that, under a new law passed by the government, I was required to update the documentation pertaining to my account at the bank, which I had held for ten or so years. The program is called “Conozca su cliente en fisica y en persona”, but my cynical mind sees it as a thin disguise for a program by which Costa Rica can provide my financial information to any government abroad. “As you know it is in our mutual interest and convenience to keep your information up-to-date so we can serve you better”. So starts the letter, and this raised my suspicions because I have seldom found anyone in a Costa Rican bank who was interested in serving me better. If they were, life would be so much easier. The letter specified certain documents I needed to take to the bank “within three days...or we will be obliged to take measures leading to the closing of your account...under article 613 and 616 of the Code of Commerce...”. This is a communication from a commercial enterprise to a long-time customer in good standing, but in Costa Rica the term “valued customer” does apparently not exist. However, the bank did thank me, in advance, for my anticipated understanding and friendly cooperation. I was also a little apprehensive because the letter, mailed on June 16th and received in Villarreal on the same day, was delivered to my house six days later. Already my deadline had expired and my account may already have been closed and my money frozen. The required documents were Proof of Identity (cedula or passport); utility bill or similar proof of domicile; proof of the sources of my revenue; and my signature on a form “Know your customer” with which they would furnish me. I took a book along for the inevitable waiting period and entered the bank. Surprise! Surprise!! The bank was empty; at least the recession has some benefits. I approached the teller, showed her the letter and passed the documents through the slot. She ticked off the documents on the letter and told me they were in order. Good, I’ll be out of here in a few minutes. Wrong! Welcome to the Second Spanish Inquisition. During the following hour and twenty minutes I was interrogated about every aspect of my life – civil status, financial situation, family details, employment, etc. When part of the documentation was inadequate, the teller phoned my accountant and had her fax some more papers. Partway through the interrogation an attempt to inject some levity into the situation met with a stony glare. I felt like a guilty prisoner under police investigation, not a valued client of a national bank which had handled many thousands of my dollars over the past few years.


Swinging in the wind

The true story of one mean queen by Kay T. Dodge Ph.D

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igh on a branch of the large Cenicero tree towering over the sables at Finca Casagua hung a frightening black mass, swinging precariously in the wind. Surrounding the black mass were hundreds, no, thousands, of small black bees creating a frightening buzzing sound. Our workers, looking up with fear, very slowly removed the agitated horses from the stable. The floating black mass, which appeared solid, was the size of a grown man seeming to cling to the branch by slim fingers. Looking closer, but from a respectful distance, it was obvious that the mass was not solid, but amazingly formed from bodies of tens of thousands of Killer Bees. Warnings were issued to keep quiet and move slowly. My husband explained that the bees had left the hive looking for an appropriate place to establish their new home. He added that, although dangerous, they are less aggressive when in transit than when defending their hive or queen. They hung on the branch for hours swaying with hundreds of noisy bees circling the mass. We hoped that the branch would not break from their weight. Before nightfall, they disappeared, moving on to find a permanent home. Close encounter one. Beware! The children’s stories of brightly colored yellow and black honey bees leisurely buzzing around the honey pot with anthropomorphic smiles on their face are soon to be no more. There has been an invasion of a foreign bee species, so prolific, so aggressive; it is difficult to believe they came from one very mean queen. In 1956, a highly recognized Brazilian scientist brought the smaller African bees from Tanzania to the Americas to breed a “better” tropical honey bee. Dr. Warwick Estevam Kerr, seeking to improve the honey industry in Brazil, put in place safeguards to prevent the escape of the African cousin during his research project. A special entry into the hive prevented the queens from leaving. However, a simple act of a visiting scientist, who removed the shield over the door, let out the very aggressive queen and twenty-six of her daughters. This simple act would change the docile Italian honey bee found throughout the Americas...forever. The queen and her daughters began crossing with the Brazilian honey bees. These hybridized bees became the famous Africanized Honey Bees, better known as Killer Bees. The description is not an overstatement, for since their release in 1956, the Africanized bees have spread throughout South America, then on to Central America by the ’80s, Mexico by 1986 and to Texas by 1990. With an advance of 200 miles a year, they now are spreading throughout the southern states of the United States. The killer bees’ invasion north seems only to be limited by the long cold winters of the northern states. In their wake, the hybridized bees have eliminated the European honey bee and killed over 1000 people. (continued page 24)


WHAT ARE WE DOING COSTA RICA? Cynthia Osborne Charpentier

Power and Water Outages

The reason for this topic? It’s everywhere! Tamarindo, Brasilito, Potrero, Huacas... What CoopeGuanacaste and Acueductos y Alcantarillados have to say? I interview a few people to know what they think about it. “If the service is bad service, it is not justifiable that the electricity is too expensive. But if the cuts are necessary, they will tell us. Never fail”. (Mariana, San Jose). “What do you think about water and electricity coming and going all the time? Don’t you get tired of that? “No”. “Why not? “Because is part of the deal when you live here. The water goes off, the electricity goes off. You just have to make sure you have water in containers in your house”. “Why did your friend call you and tell you information about the cuts, and you tell me and not CoopeGuanacaste ? “Well, the guy who works for the Water Board sends everybody Emails, send me Email about when the power is going to be off, and then you won’t have water”. “You mean if I don’t have Email, I can’t cook rice for my kids?” “That’s why you always have to be prepared with water”. “So, in case of no electricity, will you cook with candles? “I have my gas stove, my barbecue, candles, and if there’s no television, I just take a nap” - Norman. Interesting opinions about supermarket and restaurant owners. They will have problems with credit cards. Also the machines deteriorate, freezers, food... “Bad. All the refrigerators get hot. All the products get bad. And now, who is going to pay me for the products?” - Jovanny Moreno, Super Wendy. “They are bad! They should advise us, at least 3 days before, to get prepared. We don’t want the electricity off because we lose the meat and everything, the food for every day. And at the supermarkets they lose everything. And who pays for that? The Government? That’s it”. - Juan Carlos. “On one occasion they had many cuts on electricity and the refrigerator blew up, and we have to complain. They send an inspector from ASEP, but they said: ‘No, those machines are old’” - Roger. “They cut our electricity because they want to, it’s not because they have to make improvements” - Ceci. (continued page 19)


WHAT ARE WE DOING COSTA RICA? (from page 18) “What can I do? A little one cannot do anything against the bigger ones”. “Why little ones? If we all are citizens and pay?” “If you go to ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad), nobody listens to you, can not do anything against’ ICE” - E. To me, personally, the situation worries me. What will happen if you are cooking, or working with machines for the grass, or working at the office (or your house) with computers, and suddenly: no electricity!. Or, taking a shower and boom! No water. Nice, ah! “What do you think about these cuts in water and electricity?” “It’s Costa Rica” - S. from United States.. “Terrible, that’s the worse that they can do, because they are always charging the same” - Monica. “It is an irresponsibility from the Municipality, because, what if there is a person sick with oxygen and die? And the water too, it is a resource that we need to live. The situation is dangerous for people who are sick”. Mauricio Mata. I think that we need respect from the companies. We need more information and advice, not only from our Water Board neighbor in Internet the same day. We pay! “Sometimes, for AyA, we have to cut a “pipa” to drink, because there was no water there in Cartago. Electricity too, sometimes they tell us, sometimes they don’t. You have to pay anyways” - Mario. So complain to who? Nobody wants to be in charge... This lady working at an office recently, knows the situation, but again she is the hero who tells us. She doesn’t know what is happening, but she lives here and she knows about the problems. “Talk to Don, is the answer”. “What kind of problems? When the power goes off, the computers and batteries are all dead (lighting) - Susan. “Very bad, water is indispensable. At least, they should tell us to get ready. And about electricity, it’s worse for business because the products deteriorates and business, people have clients and they have to give a good service, and without electricity and water they can not take care of customers” - Berny, Agencias Teoduro. “Where do you live?” “Zarcero”. “And in Zarcero do you have electricity and water problems like here?” “No cuts, nothing” - Luis Rodriguez. (continued page 37)


Haciend

Adventure tou

T

he road from Liberia heads steadily upward through a blasted landscape of a fine talc-like material which, from its use in making building bricks, gave Liberia its name “La Ciudad Blanca” (The White City). “Fin del Mundo,” said my companion as we headed up the mountain moonscape towards Rincón de la Vieja. But soon the talc gives way to wide open fields and thick forests as we continue upwards, enjoying the freshening air on the slopes of the volcano, until we arrive at Hacienda La Guachipelin, an amazing oasis set in the middle of the forests and surrounded by rivers, hot mud springs and waterfalls. Guachipelin is a self-contained adventure resort with a deluxe hotel and restaurant, and tours that will give the visitor more fun and excitement than he or she dreamed possible. Zipline, volcanic mud pools, canyoning, tubing, horseriding, waterfalls and spa, rappelling, bird-watching, bullfights, marimba music and traditional dance, all in one hotel. The hotel has 50 rooms, pool and bar, and restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. We lunched there, an excellent buffet with soups, salad, meat course and desserts, and food and service were excellent. Outside of the hotel paths lead off in all directions to the various tours and attractions: a Canopy Tour, which flies over canyons and rushing rivers – Negro and Colorado – for the thrill of a lifetime. Canyoning tours swing the visitors through a waterfall or


da Guachipelín

PIP AS

!

urs at Rincon de la Vieja

All the activities can be reached on foot or horseback, or by bus from the hotel. To the east, the road leads past the Ranger Station into Rincón de la Vieja National Park. It is not necessary to be a guest at the hotel to enjoy the tours. A One-day Adventure Pass for visitors offers eight activities in eight hours, plus lunch. Hacienda Guachipelin is reached by road in 40 minutes from Liberia. Head north (towards Nicaragua) 8 kilometers and turn right at the sign. Follow the road 15 kilometers to the hacienda. For more information, call 2-2565693, 2-6668075, 2-6653215 or e-mail to info@guachipelin.com. Web site is www.guachipelin. com or www.guanacastetours.com.

P I P

! S A PIP Fresh Coconut Juice

! AS

After a hectic day of canopies, tubes, horseback riding and waterfalls, relax and be pampered at Simbiosis Spa. Slather on hot volcanic mud, then wash it off in a natural hot spring fed by volcanic streams. Enjoy a massage followed by a sauna, then cool off in the pool.

! S A PIP

allow them to climb and rappelle a vertical rock face 50 feet high, poised over a river gorge. Still in the canyons, tubing guests get soaked by the torrents as they float in a rubber innertube, bouncing off rocks and dropping into whirlpools. A deep pool at the foot of a cataract is a perfect cooling-off spot for some secluded swimming.


What’s developing?

F

David Mills lamingo has been built up for several years, with very little space for development within the town itself. Recently, however, expansion has been taking place outside the town.

Banco Nacional has a brand-new branch at the Potrero junction, and a new plaza to the east features Banco de Costa Rica, which has moved from the North Ridge. Just next to Banco Nacional is Eldorado Commercial Center, set to open this month. Eldorado is a 14-unit shopping plaza in Caribbean style, reminiscent of the boutiquey plazas found in many small U.S. towns. Eldorado’s first phase comprises three commercial units on the ground floor and one on the second floor. Second phase will have four duplex units (on ground and second floors), two units on the ground floor suitable for two food outlets or one large restaurant, and three units on the second floor. The duplex second floors can be additional commercial space or small apartments. Eldorado is 200 meters from the ocean, next door to Banco Nacional and a few yards from Banco de Costa Rica. The proposed Flamingo Marina is a short walk away. Eldorado’s developer is Phaestos S.A., the architect is Stephane Semo and the engineer Yenner Barrantez, of Carre Deco S.A. For information, contact Chrystelle Sánchez at ReMax Gold Coast Realty, Tel: 2-654-4919, 8-344-6050 or e-mail to crystou@gmail.com


A Slice of Life Vroom! Vroom!

L

unchtime at an downtown outdoor patio, and the place was doing good business. Around the corner came a Ferrari Dino 246-GT in Italian Racing Red, top down, and roared down the side street at high revs, to pull up abruptly at the kerb outside the patio. In case he didn’t yet have our attention, he revved the powerful engine a few times, then, waving heartily, shouted “Hellooooo, Peter,” to one of the tables. Peter stood up and called back “Hellooooo, George,” in a false and exaggerated English accent. Jumping over the side of the sexmobile, George, all five-foot-four of him, strolled into the patio and joined Peter’s table, where they conversed in loud voices, enjoying the attention. Eventually, the excitement died down and people went back to their lunches. Shortly, a traffic warden walked down the street, eyes like saucers as he saw the red sports car parked on the double yellow line. Somebody, it certainly wasn’t me, called to George to warn him, but George watched unconcerned as the warden wrote out a ticket and stuck it in the accustomed place. How cool! After half-an-hour or so, George walked out to the car. Pulling the ticket from the wiper, he tore it into little pieces, which he scattered on the street, then called out his farewell: “Bye, Peter, see you soon.” “OK, George, Ta-ta.” We waited for the “Vroom! Vroom!” of the engine, glad to be rid of the obnoxious little brat. Zuzz! Zuzz! Zuzzuzzuzzuzzuzz!, and the patio erupted into giggles, quiet at first but getting louder as the engine failed to start, until the whole place was in hysterics. Peter and his friends were red-faced, as their few minutes of being center of attraction gave way to acute embarrassment. After a couple of minutes, the engine stuttered to life, hesitantly at first but finally catching on all six. George, head down in humiliation, pulled slowly away from the kerb, and left a few workers with a fine story to tell when they returned to the office. Do you have a short anecdote, weird or funny, to share with the readers? Please e-mail to dmills@racsa.co.cr

D I S T R I B U T O O F P R O D U C T F O R H O T E L S R E S T A U R A N T

R S & S

TEL: (506) 2680-0139 FAX: (506) 2680-0679 E-mail: INFO@KION.CO.CR WWW.KION.CO.CR GUANACASTE

Missing Person in Tamarindo David Dixon appeals to readers for any assistance in locating his missing brother, Michael, or any information about him. Michael was last seen on Sunday, October 18, after leaving his cabina at Villas Macondo in Tamarindo. An extensive search by family, friends, police, dogs and investigators failed to reveal any clues to his whereabouts or activities at the time of his disappearance, and his family is desperate to know something. They have ruled out a swimming accident, and do not believe he would willingly disappear. They believe that he is the victim of a crime. If any reader has information regarding this disappearance, or anyone who saw him on or about October 18, they can call (+507) 836 5065 or (+44) 7541 161 093 or visit the “Help find Michael” Facebook site with over 2500 members. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=36812959#/group.php?gid=165326214690&ref=mf Michael’s description: Height: 1.70 m; Weight: 65 Kg; Age: 33; Build: Slender; Hair: Black short and balding; Sideburns, Eye colour: Light brown; Shoe size: 7 US.


Swinging...

(from page 17)

The problem is not that the bee’s sting is more potent, but that the smaller bees are very easily agitated and much more aggressive than their European cousins. They are relentless when excited, becoming so aggressive that thousands will chase the cause of the disturbance, animal or human, repeatedly stinging their victim. They have been known to chase their enemy for a quarter-mile and even wait circling above if a person takes refuge under water. According to Dr George Johnson, an American graduate student working in Costa Rica, was killed with over 10,000 bee stings. The killer bees react 10 times faster to disturbances.

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Tavern available for

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Having learned more about the killer bees and hearing horror stories from locals, I had my second encounter with the bees, and it was a bit closer. A group not quite as large as the one we encountered above the stable tried to find a new home behind the wood cabinet on our porch. Mattheus, a local wood worker, had built a large storage unit out of Cenicero and attached it to the wall. One day, we heard the bees and saw a few buzzing around the porch. When my housekeeper and I carefully opened the closet doors we found the bees packed inside and around the outsides of the wooden unit. We watched from inside the house through the screened window as the numbers grew. Help, I certainly didn’t want a hive attached to my house. To kill or not to kill! My husband came to the rescue and called the “bee man” from Cartegena. He was a professional beekeeper with hives throughout the area. Some locals burn the hives or smoke them out, but that was not an option in my closet. The bee man arrived with a box, gloves, and a simple net over his head. He began slowly scooping up the bees. They circled him, but didn’t sting. He explained they were just looking for a new home. Taking away most of the bees, including the queen, the others soon left, too. But there are more stories. My husband was taking a horseback tour of a family through the hills in El Llano. As he crossed the river, a horse and rider came toward them. The old vaquero was yelling that bees had taken up residence on the trail ahead and had stung both horse and rider scores of times before they escaped. Esteban cut the fence and took a roundabout way, skirting the danger and showing his respect and intelligence when confronted with killer bees. Clearly, we need bees, to pollinate flowers and fruiting trees, particularly in the Guanacaste dry summer season and for the many crops that rely on bee pollination, but it is obvious that what once was a docile species has now evolved into aggressive, dangerous insect, due to the careless hand of man. It is interesting that one particularly mean queen and her offspring changed our relationship with bees forever. We must be informed and aware of the dangers and, clearly, someone must update Pooh Bear and the honey pot for the 21st century readers, at least where there are no long winter snows.


THE RIDE OF YOUR LIFE!!! CANOPY, HORSEBACK RIDING AND ATV www.CanopyPuraAventura.com info@CanopyPuraAventura.com Tel: 2-658-0781 / 8-883-5703 / 8-873-7236


Surf Report (from page 15) is that it has influenced a new generation of surfers to want to compete. Therefore, this year’s Circuito Nacional DayStar 2009-2010 is expected to have a greater number of surfers inscribe in all categories. It is well known that the Circuito is the “farm team” for the Costa Rica National Surf Team, meaning that the rankings and performances accomplished during the Circuito significantly influence the selection of the team members. Ureña has often stated that that is the reason for the increased level of competition on the Circuito. The Federación de Surf de Costa Rica has strategically programmed the Gran Finals of the Circuito Nacional DayStar 2009-2010 in the month of June, on the 24th, 25th and 26th to coincide with the vacation period of schools. According to Ureña, it was very important when scheduling this year’s Circuito not to interfere with any school schedule of the competitors. Secondarily, when planning the Circuito this year, they didn’t want to allow too much time to pass between individual contests. This was indeed achieved. In the shorter season last year 2008-2009, 1,500 surfers inscribed for the contest. For this season, the Federación de Surf expects approximately 2,000 surfers. Ever expanding to accommodate the large number of registrants, the Circuito will feature 15 categories this year. The newest division will be the new Female (Under 15 years). Ureña believes that the key to the success of Costa Rica at the international level has been the building up of the youngsters. “This year, the categories with less than 15 years will be very strong in both male and female, and that’s why greater possible things will occur from the surfers. With the new category, we will affirm the younger levels, while always aiming for continuing growth in the international representations,” commented Ureña. This year, new sponsors have come aboard to offer their support to the Circuito Nacional, which is primarily sponsored by the chain of DayStar Hotels and presented by the mark of LimeCoral clothes. Also sponsored individual dates of the Circuito Nacional are Mango, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, Quiksilver, Britt Iced and DayStar in Jacó, Tamarindo, Santa Teresa, Nosara and Playa Hermosa, respectively. The Circuito National DayStar 2009-2010 is sponsored by: DayStar Properties, LimeCoral Apparel Company, Red Bull, Radio 911, Quiksilver, Britt Iced, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, Tiendas Mango, Tablas Banzaii, Tablas Carton, Odessa Clothing, Ibarquero Design and Revista Surfos Meanwhile, what is up with Carlos Muñoz, the trifecta Costa Rica national Champion of Open, Junior and Boys? He’s hearing the call of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) and the ISA, and the Association of Latinamerica Surfing (ALAS), and made plans to up his level in all of those leagues. “When the dates don’t hit the Circuito, I will be there,” exclaimed 16year-old Muñoz. And what and whom does he face when he is here in the Circuito? Even with veterans like Gilbert Brown (Puerto Viejo), Diego Naranjo (continued page 28)


Word puzzle

Oceans, rivers, lakes, seas All words from the list below can be found in the word block on the right. Answers may be forward, backward, upwards, downwards and diagonal. adriatic andaman aralskoye arctic atlantic baltic bering black caribbean columbia danube eastchina erie ganges gulfofmexico

hudsonbay huron indian irrawaddy mackenzie mediterranean michigan north okhotsk ontario paciďŹ c red southchina superior yellow

David Mills


Surf Report (from page 26) (Jacó), or Luis Vindas (Jacó) to challenge him, Muñoz feels that the level of the surfers with less than 18 years “comes strongest.” The Esterillos surfer promises surprises in the Open category, with the seasoned pros to fight, but also up-and-comers such as Anthony Segura (Jacó), among others, demanding attention. He also faces a powerful group of contenders in the Juniors division including Maykol Torres (Esterillos), Jordan Hernandez (Limón), and Anthony Fillingim (Malpais). For the second year in a row, the Federación de Surf de Costa Rica is running the Circuito Metropolitano, a surf contest for residents of non-coastal areas. This tournament will be concurrent with three dates of the Circuito, although I’m not sure how exactly they will do it. More details to come on this one. The Gran Finals of the Metropolitano will coincide with the Circuito Nacional DayStar 2009-2010 Gran Finals in Playa Hermosa.

Enquire about special rates for residents

Still to be scheduled, after the completion of both the Circuito and the Metropolitano, is the return of the Triple Crown of Winter. This will begin in July and run in three contests with cash prizes. Taking into consideration the Triple Crown of Winter, Costa Rica will have 13 surfing competition dates from December to September. As I mentioned, the Costa Rica National Surf Teams will be culled from the rankings of the Circuito and subsequently the Triple Crown. Ureña reports that these teams will travel to international tournaments outside Costa Rica during this year as well. There are so many more details to be revealed. It’s going to be an exciting year. Stay tuned.

Circuito Nacional de Surf - Daystar 2009-2010

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Web Site: www.fincaarwen.com Email: finca.arwen@gmail.com TEL: 8885.8706

December 19-20, 2009

Playa Jacó

Copa Mango

January 9-10, 2010

Playa Esterillos

February 20-21, 2010

Limón – Cocles

March 13-14, 2010

Tamarindo

Torneo Witch’s Rock

April 10-11, 2010

Santa Teresa

Copa Quicksilver

May 22-23, 2010

Nosara

Torneo Britt Iced

June 25-26, 2010

La Curva, Playa Hermosa

Gran Final Daystar Circuito Metropolitano 1st date: Beach to be confirmed March 27, 2010 2nd date: Beach to be confirmed

May 1, 2010

3rd date: La Curva, Playa Hermosa,

June 26, 2010

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


“30”

W

henever I drop a bunch of magazines into a bar the reaction is predictable. Within minutes everyone has a Howler and is avidly reading – all the guys are reading the surf column, the Ticas and kids are doing the word puzzle, the Ticos read the soccer page, and all the women are devouring the horoscopes. Jeanne Callahan lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and has provided the horoscope column since a visit here about 12 years ago, and I pay her handsomely for it. Despite the fact that she uses the stars to forecast people’s futures, she has never once seen my deadline coming up and always submits her column a few days late. I reciprocate by sending her cheque a few months late. Over the years, I have received many comments on the feature, and they are mostly on the ball. It seems that she is very accurate in her predictions. As an amateur astronomer I have little belief in the occult – although my grandmother was a professional psychic and I could write a book about her predictions and successes – but I have to agree that my personal profile fits exactly that of a Capricorn, for good or for bad. But, apart from proofing, editing and formatting Jeanne’s column, I don’t actually read it.

1F

2S

3S

4M

5T

02:36 08:52 03:11 09:10 03:27 09:40 03:59 10:02 04:17 10:28 04:48 10:53 05:06 11:16 05:38 11:44 05:57 12:04 06:27

9.6 -0.5 9.2 0.0 9.9 -0.8 9.7 -0.3 10.0 -1.0 10.0 -0.5 9.9 -1.0 10.1 -0.4 9.6 -0.7 10.0

6W

7T Last Qtr 8F

9S

10S

12:36 06:49 12:54 07:19 01:31 07:43 01:46 08:14 02:29 08:42 02:42 09:13 03:32 09:46 03:44 10:15 04:38 10:55 04:50 11:19

-0.2 9.2 -0.3 9.6 0.2 8.6 0.3 9.2 0.7 8.0 0.9 8.7 1.1 7.5 1.5 8.3 1.4 7.2 1.9 8.1

11M

12T

13W

14T

15F New Moon

So, this month my interest was sparked when a few readers complained about their horoscope. “David,” said one, “according to your magazine, I am going to die this month.” “Sorry about that,” I replied, “we will miss you. Reaching for a Howler, I asked “What is your sign?” “Capricorn,” he answered, and my blood ran cold. There it was: “It’s a good time to review your insurance coverage, your will and matters that involve end-of-life issues and let your family know your wishes. The 17th and 18th are times to tell others how much you care.” Today, as of writing, it’s the 18th, so I could pop off anytime after tomorrow. Well, with my age and lifestyle, dying tomorrow would not be a huge surprise, so Jeanne may be on the ball again. Maybe by the time you read this, I’ll be sitting on a cloud playing a harp. How boring. With a bit of luck it’ll be the other place with all the booze and loose women. So, just in case, I’ll end this with a big “30”. See you all soon.

JANUARY TIDE CHART 05:45 12:02 05:57

1.4 16S 7.1 Full 2.0 Moon

12:20 06:46 01:02 06:58 01:14 07:38 01:54 07:51 02:03 08:23 02:39 08:36 02:46 09:02 03:19 09:16

8.0 1.3 7.3 1.9 8.1 1.1 7.6 1.8 8.3 0.8 7.9 1.5 8.4 0.5 8.2 1.2

17S

18M

19T

20W

03:26 09:38 03:56 09:54 04:04 10:12 04:32 10:31 04:40 10:46 05:06 11:06 05:16 11:19 05:41 11:43 05:52 11:53 06:15

8.6 0.4 8.5 1.0 8.6 0.3 8.7 0.9 8.6 0.3 8.7 0.8 8.4 0.4 8.7 0.9 8.2 0.6 8.6

21T

22F

23S 1st Qtr 24S

25M

12:20 06:29 12:27 06:51 12:59 07:08 01:04 07:30 01:42 07:51 01:46 08:15 02:31 08:43 02:36 09:09 03:29 09:46 03:37 10:12

1.0 7.8 0.9 8.4 1.2 7.5 1.2 8.2 1.4 7.1 1.5 8.0 1.6 6.8 1.8 7.8 1.7 6.7 1.9 7.8

26T

27W

28T

29F

30S Full Moon

04:35 10:56 04:47 11:20 05:42 12:05 05:58 12:26 06:45 01:06 07:04 01:26 07:41 02:02 08:03 02:21 08:33 02:53 08:57

1.6 6.8 1.9 7.9 1.3 7.2 1.5

31S

1M Feb 2010

8.3 2T 0.7 7.9 0.9 8.9 3W 0.1 8.7 0.3 9.4 4T -0.6 9.5 -0.4

03:12 09:22 03:42 09:47 04:01 10:09 04:29 10:36 04:49 10:56 05:16 11:25 05:37 11:42 06:04

9.8 -1.1 10.1 -0.8 10.1 -1.3 10.4 -1.0 10.1 -1.3 10.5 -1.0 9.8 -1.1 10.2

12:14 06:26 12:29 06:52

-0.6 9.2 -0.5 9.7


Spanish Inquisition... (from page 16) Throughout this ordeal, sheets of paper spewed out of the printer until the total arrived at around 30 pages, some in small 7- or 8point type. Most of them had a little “x” at the bottom where I must sign, which I did – 18 times! How many trees has this bank killed at 30 pages per customer? Whatever happened to the “paperless society”? I asked the teller if all customers had to go though this ridiculous charade. No, not all, but a lot. When I suggested that the whole process was a huge waste of time for me and for the bank, she gave me a look that said “Why are these Gringos so preoccupied with time?” Easy for her; she was getting paid to give me the third degree. In “the old country” we have the saying “The customer is always right.” But then again, over there the legal system operates under the concept that you are “Innocent until proven guilty.” Here, under the Napoleonic Code, the opposite is true: “You are guilty until you prove yourself innocent.” Must be a connection there somewhere; must ask my friendly shrink. Eventually I was allowed to leave, without attention from the rubber truncheons but with a severe case of writer’s cramp, and the “Know your Customer” interview was over. Well, I guess it was for them a success, because they now know a lot more about me than I do. The program “Conozca a su cliente” was imposed upon the banks by the Superintendent of Financial Entities (SUGEF) upon threat of a one percent fine on the bank’s assets, a fine described by the Costa Rican Banking Association as disproportionate and irrational. For instance, such a fine would have cost Banco Nacional five million dollars. This is not a “Gringo-bashing” program. When “La Nación” newspaper solicited stories from readers who had undergone similar treament, it received a torrent of complaints from Costa Ricans. Notwithstanding this harsh government edict, no customer deserves to be treated like a criminal by the entity which makes its living safeguarding the customer’s business. I shall be doing far less business with this bank in the future due to their attitude. It needs to train its employees and letter writers in better customer relations. Compare their heavy-handed process with other banks. At Banco Nacional, I went in to cash a cheque. The teller looked at my passport and said “This is a new passport; we have to update your file.” He took it away, photocopied it, then gave it back. That was all it took. I received a phone call from BAC San José, to the effect that they were updating my file. He asked a dozen questions, thanked me and told me my file was now correct. I have heard from many others who received similar treatment at the same bank. One couple, just arrived from New Jersey to handle business with their property here, found their account frozen and were furious to be told: “You should have come in and given us your information,” though no notification had been received. They immediately withdrew all their money and closed the account. Maybe that is why the branch is so quiet when I go in. Only the management knows how many customers they have lost.


by Jeanne Callahan

October FF orecasts January orecasts

Aries: 21 March - 20 April

28

Your ruling planet, Mars, is in retrograde motion creating a rather stalled and confusing condition within you. Your motivation for action and your usual certainty is missing so you must take an inward journey to find new parts that want to express. Chop wood, carry water would be a good mantra for you for the next three months. Be careful not to direct your frustration at others. Most positive days this month are the 20th and 21st.

Visit Jeanne’s site at CelestialAdvisor.com

Libra: 23 September - 23 October

Taurus: 21 April - 21 May

Saturn is going to retrograde in your sign on the 13th causing you to feel like you are really tired or start you obsessing about aging. This can be a great time to gain power for your wisdom and experience if you look at it in the right way. Get in touch with people from your past who can and will help you make new connections and sell your experience. The end of the month starts to have solid forward motion and the energies on the 6th and 7th can get the ball rolling.

Gemini: 22 May - 21 June

With Mars in retrograde motion you are feeling pretty cranky and frustrated—in fact you’re like a volcano about to explode as life is not participating with your plan now nor is it likely to until early June. You need to be content with a slower unfolding now. Don’t waste your life’s energy with frustration and anger, do something physical to direct it--maybe a home improvement project is in order now. The 8th and 9th things can go your way.

The month begins rather slowly for you in terms of action in the world, however the end of the month is the time to brainstorm and network with your friends, business associates and clients from the past about how to promote your considerable skills and talents. A new spin is exactly what you need and what the world needs to know about you. Don’t get lazy and give up. Your best days are the 23rd and 24th.

Scorpio: 24 October - 22 November

With Mercury in retrograde until the 15th you aren’t motivated to manifest much of anything. So lay low and wait until you can be seen and heard after the 15th. Be aware that you need to watch your words carefully during this month as the possibility that you will be misquoted or misunderstood is very high. Be patient as things will manifest slowly this spring - very slowly. Your best days are the 25th and 26th.

Sagittarius: 23 November - 21 December

You will have to deal with issues involving insurance, taxes, wills, legacies and other people’s money this month. Be aware that you will not have all the correct information until the end of the month so delay major decisions until that time. It’s a time to be careful not to overload your mind with details that just make you fearful. Remember to balance this with time out to enjoy the comforts of family, friends and good food. The 27th and 28th are days to take a break from responsibilities.

This month will have your ruling planet, Saturn, going retrograde the day before the eclipse in your sign on the 14th. With so much energy going on in Capricorn you may feel overwhelmed by the demands placed on you now. Be careful with your words as this is a volatile month in which you could greatly aggravate others, and they you. Be diplomatic and careful as there is also some danger around you. The 13th and 14th are times to be cautiously optimistic.

Cancer: 22 June - 22 July

Leo: 23 July - 23 August

Mars is in retrograde motion in your sign until early March creating a climate that wants to review all the actions from mid-October 2009. You’re not the type of being that likes going backward so find ways to release your frustrations that don’t involve dramatic hissy fits and histrionics directed at others. This is a time to do a little inner work so pull back from center stage and look at the big picture. Sharing the spotlight is a good thing for you now. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 29th and full moon on the 30th all hold good vibes for you.

Virgo: 24 August - 22 September

This month has a slow start for you as your ruling planet, Mercury, is retrograde causing some confusion about your message and direction. Use the first two weeks to pack up, store, give away or pitch out all your old business records, unnecessary files and boxes of junk that are contributing clutter. You know you think better when your space is orderly and spare. Next month flows much better. The 4th, 5th and 31st are good for you.

The vibes for your sign are going to improve considerably after the 20th when your ruling planet, Jupiter, enters the sign of Pisces. You are ready to put yourself out there on a larger scale. Hold in mind that you are providing a service that helps people in some way and you will experience great success. Travel is also favored this year. Accept all offers and invitations. The 10th, 11th and 12th are positive times.

Capricorn: 22 December - 21 January

Aquarius: 22 January - 19 February

This month has more behind-the-scenes action for you. You retreat a bit from the world’s activities to ponder what you want in your life in the future. All that is good as you are looking for a worthy cause to direct your energies into. You may encounter people or projects from your past after the 13th that play some part in your future. Use the positive lunar vibes of the 15th and 16th to get your message out to the world.

Pisces: 20 February - 20 March

Expansive and benefic Jupiter enters your sign on the 20th bringing lots of opportunities and experiences your way. Be aware that you usually give too much without getting much in return; work on your boundaries so you don’t become a doormat. You could also get very psychic and sensitive the first six months so keep a journal of your dreams or impressions to refer to later for accuracy. This is a positive time so make the most of it. The 18th and 19th are particularly good. Namasté


A Many-splendored Thing Looking for love in the lower latitudes

D

Tom Peifer

Only love can break a heart, and only love can mend it again. Neil Young

ry season residents are returning to our area and settling into their winter nesting grounds like so many migratory avian species. It is always nice to see familiar faces and take note of the number of couples who seem to be thriving and happy, well into their golden years. Such a contrast with so many of the year-round expats, many of whom are single, often weary, battle-scarred survivors of a series of ‘encounters’ that bring to mind the Tina Turner song, “What’s love got to do with it?” After my own share of adventures and misadventures in the complex ‘ups and downs’ of cross-cultural coupling and de-coupling, I can vouch for Tina’s skeptical take on the topic. Like many aspects of life in the seasonally dry tropics the handholding and eye contact over piña coladas at sunset is sometimes just the surface layer, the photo op seen by the public. The heart of the matter may well be subject to the same turbulent mood swings as the local weather. In fact, the complexity of climate modeling helped give rise to what is known as ‘chaos theory.’ Throw in a human element and you can expect any attempt to model or predict outcomes will be even messier. Take for starters that cultural norms in Guanacaste were never a simply a country cousin transplant of the textbook Catholicism centered in the original capital, Cartago. This was a frontier province, days of strenuous travel from the capital, populated by imported slaves, residual indigenous groups and gutsy individuals who hacked homesteads out of the jungle. Social strictures regarding sex and marriage were relatively relaxed. An hour or two of listening closely to the bawdiness of the ‘bombas’ (local rhyming couplets) tossed around during a marimba concert provides ample confirmation that Guanacaste was—and is—a lively place indeed. Everyday conversation and the local vernacular are full of references to sex, extramarital adventures and cheating, ‘underage’ partners, etc. I even saw a real estate blog which alludes to the non-material “attractions” of the area as an extra incentive to lure clients. OK, so drop into this heady local social ferment a stream of foreigners with lighter skin, deeper pockets and plenty of time on their hands. (Granted, the topic of what white people do in the tropics has been chronicled by some literary heavyweights. Conrad, in the Heart of Darkness; George Orwell, Burma Days and a great French film called Coup de Torchon are a few standouts that come to mind.) As my neighbor Jack said “the vices which meet with more opprobrium at home tend to flourish here.” Minimalist translation: Sex, drugs (or alcohol) and party. Warnings on the legal age required for “partying” greet foreign tourists as part of a high visibility campaign to counteract the growing national reputation for being a “sex-with-children” tourist destination. A couple of high-profile offenders are now rotting in prison in spite of serious doubts about the fairness of the trials. The fact is the country needed a quick scapegoat or two. But the beat goes on. And degenerate gringos didn’t write the original score.

Plenty of kids in my town get their first taste at an age when I was only dreaming of having pubic hair. As poor women worldwide know, when times are tough there’s only one ‘asset’ left as a bargaining chip. Some girls earn a bit of spending money ‘here and there’, doing ‘this and that.’ Sooner or later, ‘here and there’ has a lighter complexion and what started out as a survival tactic develops into a full-fledged business plan. I know young women who have deftly exploited the local market of nearly-geezer, gringo horn-dogs and parlayed their attributes and aptitudes into housefuls of appliances, cars, even a house in one case. Family members often get into the act, urging—to not say pimping out—their daughters to cultivate relationships that hold out the promise of paying dividends in the future. (Allow me to state categorically: I refrain from imposing judgment on people and cultural adaptations that grew out of much harsher conditions than the relative affluence of Postwar Europe and the US. “Desperate times (sometimes) call for desperate measures.”) The challenge for older guys who start a relationship with a younger woman around here is to differentiate between the gold diggers and the hearts of gold. The best candidates are often the single moms who have been knocked up, sometimes beat up and put out to pasture to care for the kids on their own. Sure these women are looking for material support and security for their offspring. But many enjoy a relationship that features more than having the food on the table, the clothes washed and pressed and a quick “adios” as the breadwinner heads back out to the cantina. It is doubtful that the expression “quality time” translates easily into regional Spanish. And, believe me, a bouquet of flowers—often the first such gift in a woman’s life—conveys a universal message with no translation required. Now really, it would not be fair to focus narrowly on the stereotypical “viejo verde”, or, ‘dirty old man’ with his young hardbody girlfriend. Let’s give equal time to the other side of the equation: Foreign woman seeks local male talent for mutually beneficial relationship. First, an adamant disclaimer: My mother, after separating from my dad, remarried a guy 16 years her junior. She was subjected to all kinds of unpleasantness and pressure due to narrowminded preconceptions of a society where divorce lawyers are busier than ever. It would appear that people prefer to see an unhappy same-age couple rather that a couple with a doubledigit age difference who really gets along. I have no problems as long as there is mutual consent. That said, new and interesting grist for the local gossip mill is always welcome! In my neck of the woods, a series of North American women with bona fide ‘liberated’ credentials hooked up with a South American guy with looks that earned him the local nickname ‘Tarzan.’ Tarzan’s amorous escapades in the local gringa jungle (continued page 36


Surviving

C hapter LXXXVIII

O

COSTA RICA

Shapes of Things to Come

n my most recent road trip to the capital city I couldn’t help but notice that everything is pretty brown in what should normally be a very luscious green countryside, the effects of our recent “non” rainy season. The locals have already started the roadside burning process usually employed in the drier months of March and April. This does not bode well for water consumers, also known as “gardeners”. I can see my wife leading a group of well-heeled garden types to protest AyA water restrictions sure to come. She’s been spoiling to protest something and has begun to mutter things like “... when they pry the hose out of my stiff dead fingers”. An alarming scenario that could be a harbinger of the future, as this month’s column’s title infers.

cause sniggers in any decent bad-tempered American airport. I got a standard bad passport photo and proceeded to the “US Citizens Only” section.

“Shapes of Things to Come” recently hit me right between the eyes when I realized that due to advanced years not only was I no longer very attractive but have apparently become stupid to boot. This epiphany dawned on me after I lost my passport.

My initial response was to possibly provide a little sympathy and solace to the guy who was not having a good day. However, he was starting to go a little overboard and was doing his best to piss off anybody in an official position. Not a guy I wanted in my corner. He was able to imply that the “you guys” in the “you guys are totally incompetent” applied to both Costa Ricans and American Embassy employees.

“How could you lose such an important personal document?” the reader probably asks, quite possibly throwing in phrases like “dumbass” and “idiot”. I have no idea. If nothing else I have tried to be as careful in keeping track of the thing as only a middle-aged anal-retentive uptight North American alpha male can be. One minute it was there and the next....... It was gone. This triggered the most recent San José trip and allowed me to get re-acquainted with the “Embassy of the United States of America”, always a potentially intimidating event. If you’re following certain online Costa Rican news venues you’ve probably read about how terribly American citizens are treated, most being reduced to tears after hours of endless windows and bureaucrats. I left at four in the morning so I could make the time envelope allowed for passport business. I made it to the imposing fortresslike building in Pavas, passing through some pretty laid-back security that would

Sure enough the guy in front of me was giving the guy behind the window all kinds of grief. He had apparently been to a wellknown local bank doing ATM stuff when the machine took his card back after he failed to retrieve it in time. When he finally got the card back $400 was missing from his account. Sound familiar? The same thing happened to a good friend here for much more than $400 and all she got from the bank was the good ‘ol Costa Rican expression “our fault, your problem”.

Sadly, even the immense power of The United States of America has no sway over Costa Rican banking and the fellow eventually was let into the embassy itself as his voice became ever dimmer. Next it was my turn. I was out of there in about forty minutes with no problems. The people behind the windows were efficient and pretty friendly and I even got to return in ten days to pick it up. I bet you were hoping for a different outcome! “Shape of Things to Come” was also one of the early black-and-white Science Fiction movies (1936), a British production starring Raymond Massey and based on H. G. Wells’ novel of the same name. It was considered very visionary for its time, predicting a world organization that would send its fleet of “aeroplanes” to different hotspots around the planet where very fit Nordic types would then jump out of the “aeroplanes” and make things right. The

Story by Jesse Bishop

movie probably had a special effects budget of about twenty dollars, which was enough at least to impress me when I first saw it. What really gets me is the year I probably saw it is closer to 1936 than the one we currently find ourselves in. “Shapes of Things to Come” was also one of one of the greatest (in my humble opinion) rock songs ever, if only for its guitar solo in the middle. The song was put out by “The Yardbirds” and the solo was by Jeff Beck. The Yardbirds were originally a fanatically dedicated blues band (much like Fleetwood Mac) obsessively playing that obscure Black American music style as only a bunch of English music beatniks can. They started off with a guitarist named Eric Clapton and played a lot of the British blues venues making no money at all. They eventually fell into the clutches of the evil music industry, forcing them to record commercial songs. Their first hit was “For Your Love” which featured a harpsichord. This was not the blues and Clapton left, never be heard of again. He was replaced by Jeff Beck and the band produced some of the first “psychedelic” songs played on popular radio. Beck was one of the first guitarists to use feedback and distortion, with the solo in ‘Shapes’ being one of his best. A few years later another player named Jimmy Page joined the band (ever heard of him?) For a while, two of the greatest guitar players in the world were in the same band. Jeff Beck left in the band’s waning years and, after the other band members left, Jimmy Page started a new group originally called “The New Yardbirds” but which later changed its name after “Who” drummer Pete Moon claimed the new band would go over like a “Led Zeppelin”. Keith Relf, the band’s vocalist and harmonica player, died in 1976 in a freak accident while playing his electric guitar in the bathtub, while several surviving members re-united as “Box of Frogs” in the eighties.


Raft Up 2009 A hot, sunny day, boat ride to a deserted beach, barbecued hamburgers, cool drinks, volleyball, live music, horseshoes and a few hundred happy people partying for nine

hours – that is Raft Up 2009. Organizer Jeff Herrman estimates attendance at this year’s big beach party at 350, with 25 boats, sail and pow- er, ferrying them to Playa Zapotillal (AKA Playa Las Minas).

Remodelling & Home Repairs Carpentry • Block Walls Stonework • Ceramic Tile Drywall • Concrete

Proceeds of $7,919 go towards beach clean-up, Tamarindo Lifeguards, Kids’ Park, Surfrider Foundation and Tamarindo Nautical Association.

Any Work Undertaken Free estimates Rex Barnes - Tel: 2-653-1432

Alcoholics Anonymous Schedule of Meetings

Flamingo

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

Tamarindo

Share your Raft-up photos at http://raftup.tamarindohomepage. com/ (note: no www. in URL)

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


A Many-splendored Thing (from page 33)

only served to validate the observation of a feminist friend of mine decades ago: “After a while we get tired of the type of ‘sensitive’ men who have adapted in keeping with our professed political posture. There comes a time when we want a bit less complacency and a bit more oomph in our omelet.” My suspicion is that the female friends of Tarzan were less interested in his brain than in his other frontal ‘lobe.’ Anyway, survival doesn’t select for IQ. It rewards adaptation and the ability to prosper (and reproduce) in a new ‘niche.’ Like any successful organism, Tarzan had the right traits to exploit a certain socio-cultural niche. While tickling the fancy of erstwhile feminists, he was feasting off the fat of the land. In another blow to notions of ‘sisterhood and solidarity’, it is hardly uncommon for foreign women to enjoy the company of local men, all the while knowing that the wives are safely ensconced at home bound by their domestic duties. At times, however, the sense of safety has proven to be as illusory and fleeting as the hormonal rush of great sex. The prerogative of lighter skin and the status of a foreign passport form a flimsy defense against the righteous indignation that drives a hardened campesina to employ fists and fingernails or to pick up a knife and confront a perceived threat to her family. I’ve seen both tactics employed in my time here and never once envied the individuals on the receiving end. The truth of the matter is that here, as everywhere, you can find examples of amorous liaisons which run the gamut from ‘pay for play,’ more subtle arrangements which include some ongoing economic support, and longer-term relationships which really seem to work, even if no one can understand why. Face it. Guanacaste is a great place to share with a special someone. From the sensual breezes and intense light of the full moon in our summer to the lock down, stay in and cuddle up strategy of riding out the fierce ‘temporal’ storms of October, it’s no surprise that people keep trying to hook up with a compatible companion.

January ( a l l

t i m e s

2010 l o c a l )

Sun

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:

Moon

7th 15th 24th 30th

4:39 a.m. 1:11 a.m. 4:53 a.m. 12:18 a.m.

Romantic love has been portrayed, analyzed, dissected, and commented upon by poets, philosophers and playwrights for millennia. More recently evolutionary psychologists have joined the fray with reports of which hormones cause which feelings and what strategy confers the highest rate of survival to the offspring. The bottom line: Tina Turner was probably right, love has precious little “to do with it”—“it” in this case being the continuance of the human species. You may not be lucky enough to get the right mix of chemistry, compatibility and communication to ‘live happily ever after.’ But, with a bit of perseverance, “if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.” (Thanks Mick.) Tom Peifer is an ecological land use consultant with 16 years experience in Guanacaste. Phone: 2658-8018. peifer@racsa. co.cr El Centro Verde is dedicated to sustainable land use, agriculture and development. Web site: http://www.elcentroverde.org/


WHAT ARE WE DOING COSTA RICA? (from page 19) “Where are you from?” “Nicoya”. “How are the cuts there in the electricity and water in Nicoya?” “Almost never. But they damage houses, with equipment and other things and nobody wants to be responsible” - Diego, Indimo S.A. “Are you coming in that truck from Cartago? And tell me what do you think about cuts in electricity and water, do they tell you or not? “What can I tell you... One car goes around and lets us know. Because without water and electricity we are not going to be OK, those are the most important things that we need, and in Cartago it’s the same” - Jonathan, Cartago. “You sir, from ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad), What do you think when there are cuts” “Nicoya, and no cuts”. “Why do you cut us here so much in Potrero? “I don’t know, it’s different in Nicoya”. -And ICE has something to do with CoopeGuanacaste? “No, because CoopeGuanacaste distributes the energy and they decide to cut here or there, the cuts are from CoopeGuanacaste” - Roger Castillo. “What do you think about cuts in water and electricity almost everyday, that affects you? Where are you from? “Santa Cruz, and that doesn’t affect us. We don’t have that kind of problem. But I think it’s good for people although they don’t like it. I am telling you because I know about electricity and how can they work to improve for better” - William Gurrama, Jeiner Rodriguez, Santa Cruz. What happens here is that they are doing repairs to improve the distribution lines, so they have to cut to work. Life in the community without cutting the power? After listening to all these people, What’s the point? You tell me: What will you do? What I will do? What are they going to do? You have water from the ocean, you can cook an egg from the sun, and you don’t have to pay. Think about it! Have fun!


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Howler magazine serving the Gold Coast of Costa Rica

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