Tag Archives: Copyright © 2015 Mitchell Geller

Tropical Cancer—Rule Number Three

Rated R (Language)

Rule Number Three:
Expect everything to take longer in Costa Rica.

This is easily misunderstood as a bad thing, but smart people evolve a healthy attitude regarding slowing down in life—which serves them well in the end. Don’t plan on accomplishing more than one or two tasks per day and you’ll be fine. When going to Official Offices, eat first, pee, and bring War and Peace.

For example:

I let the car take us down the hill in second gear while marveling at the clarity of the air. There was no mist over Cortes—the small banana town Dole built and abandoned some fifty years ago, leaving only poor field workers in rudimentary dwellings. All was crystal clear, especially since I was wearing my glasses. This is a semi white-knuckled drive even on the best of days. Rain from the night before may have caused landslides, but the national utility company has been efficient about cleaning up. Same with power outages—we’re usually back online within a couple hours. But today is perfect for driving into town. We’re on our way to the local ICE (e-say) office in order to set up our internet.

I parked across the street from the small, brightly painted office, turned to Babe and said, “Good luck.”

“You too.” We are nearly confident and go inside.

Diego is at his desk but busy with another customer. He takes special care not to make eye contact, it seems, as we take a number and sit down. There’s always a small TV somewhere in banks and offices showing Discovery Channel documentaries about wild animals who feed on humans. I settle in to wait as a crocodile tears the arm off a golfer looking for his ball, leaving the rest of him to be devoured by carnivorous ants

.Much later, our number is next and Diego is finished with his customer. He grabs his cell phone and walks out the door. Lunch time. A distinguished looking gentleman takes his place and it’s our turn. He read every word of each document we have, opened his computer, and read something there for ten minutes.

“No puedo.” (He can’t.) “Blabbity-blah con bippity essay eee…..” I could tell it wasn’t going to happen, for some reason. I think we got stuck on the address line. The subsequent ninety minutes was made up of his trying to explain something to us, which we didn’t understand, consulting with his colleagues, reading his computer, reading more of our documents, saying “No puedo” and sighing heavily. Fortunately, I had the bright idea to call our lawyer so he could explain the papers he drew up for us. They spoke for about ninety seconds, after which the gentleman said “Perfecto,” hung up, and went back to his computer.

“Yes!” I said to Babe, exchanging mental high-fives. We had done it by ourselves, sorta. I looked behind me. There were two dozen people waiting where there were three when our number was called. “Wow, it’s getting dark outside,” I noticed. Strange, since it was only a bit after noon. No sooner had I noticed than it started raining. Big, tropical drops, then water balloons until…

Power outage at the utility company! I wanted to say “Are you kidding me?” so I did. Not now, we’re so close! Flashlights were produced and incomprehensible chatter followed. Power returned after five minutes. The rain was so thick I knew running for the car would completely soak me. We had an umbrella but it was in the car, naturally.

Twenty minutes later, he had put the proper chip in our hardware, handed us papers to sign and our PIN numbers, sank back in his chair with a huge sigh of relief and we shook hands good-bye. Mission accomplished. I had to get back up the mountain to tend bar for a private party (since Alonso, the new bartender, had the night off and Twinkletoes couldn’t handle fifty people by himself) and we still had some shopping to do. I ducked my head and ran to the car.

“Nice job, Babe,” I said as she got inside. I had pulled up to the front door so she wouldn’t get too wet. Water dripped off my nose. I blew on a drop and it landed on her forehead. “Oh, sorry.”

She laughed and fist-pumped. “Yes!” Now she would be able to play online poker from the comfort of our own deck. Some people drink. Some smoke pot or meditate. Babe plays Texas Hold ‘Em. She’ll be happier now that she has her internet. I’m happy we don’t have to get a TV.

What followed is best described in Screenplay format:

Our couple drives out of town in the pouring rain.
The sky is dark, the drops fat.

HIM: Wow, the sky is so dark! And the drops so FAT.
HER: Hmm?

The wipers are working furiously and the defroster is at full blast as they make the turn onto their road. For the next seven kilometers they slide in and out of mud and rocks, drive over fallen trees and around landslides in a near-straight-up trek to their property.

HIM: Shit. Fuck. Damn. Hell. Bastard!
HER: Uh….

Their access road is under water but HIM attempts it anyway, immediately getting stuck in approximately 15.88 inches of mud.
Tires spin, going nowhere.

HER: Uh…
HIM: I know.

The rain has let up some. HER gets out of the car and proceeds to walk. HIM gets out and inspects the clay-like mud that’s up to the runner. It’s deep-shit deep, maybe all the way to Australia. HIM shakes his head as if that might create a miracle. It doesn’t.

HIM: Fuck.

HIM’S sandals are thick with sticky mud, causing a gushy sucking sound when he steps away from the vehicle. There is perhaps five pounds of the stuff on each shoe. He sets out for home sounding like a suction cup
on a frosted cake.

Their “luxury camping” site in view, HIM watches HER go inside.

HER (in the distance): SHIT! FUCK! OH-MY-GOD!
HIM: Hmm.

HIM reaches the steps and ducks his head under the tarp strung with string and bunjee cords to get inside. The place is soaked. There’s puddles on the kitchen tables. The inside of the bedroom tent is wet (having left the screened windows uncovered.) Clothes are wet.
A carpet is halfway soaked. The power is off.

HIM: Hmm again.
HER: Look at this place!

(HIM already was.)

HIM: Don’t worry. It’s just stuff.
HER: (Frowns at Him.)
HIM: We’ll upgrade our tarps tomorrow morning.

That’s how a simple ride to ICE turns into a two-day schlepp.

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Tropical Cancer—Happiness

Happiness

“…we are all going direct to Heaven…”

(Written fifteen months into our “luxury camping” experience.)

June, 2012

My mother once told me: “Happiness isn’t necessarily at the end of a hard decision.” She was correct to specify “necessarily…” (She also told me Saint Germaine incarnated as a poodle and peed on George Bush’s foot. You had to separate the wheat from the chaff with Ma.) Moving to Costa Rica was one of those hard decisions. With all our circumstances pointing the way out of the US, it was still difficult to let go of the land of our birth. Even as recently as a few weeks ago I mentioned to Babe while we were driving that we’d have to borrow Winter clothes if we ever want to take a vacation in snow country again. My Hawaiian Babe said, and I quote, “Fuck snow. You’re never seeing that shit again!” 

R-r-r-rip! I nearly swerved into a ditch.

What? Huh? I hadn’t counted on that when we left the States and it came as quite a shock to realize it may be true. No more snow? I grew up with snow! After I calmed down, I thought: Yeah. Who needs snow and frozen feet any more?

It’s been intermittently sunny, clear, warm, thunderous, rainy, windy and chilly the last couple days. After fifteen months, our residency papers still aren’t ready but there’s hope they will be with-in 30 days. With the advent of some unexpected expenses, money is tight again. We don’t go to restaurants any more, or indeed, even go off the mountain except for supplies. Going to the bar is our sole extravagance, where I play pool and drink coffee with whiskey while Babe plays penny-ante online poker. Some of our neighbors do the same, and we all have a good time. We joke and laugh and say stupid or wise things. The music plays and a hundred toads sing in croaky counter-point. News is passed from one person to the next. The cue ball flies off the table…

And sometimes there’s gossip. Did you hear about so-and-so? He was arrested for drinking 100 beers and skinny-dipping in someone’s pool.

So what’s wrong with that? He then drove away in someone else’s car. Upon hindsight, as they hauled him off to jail, he probably thought it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Yesterday I caught three talapias for dinner. Okay one was a suicide (it jumped out of the tank), and some helpful Tico workers showed me how to catch the other two, and how to hang them on a stick for carrying. We grabbed salad vegetables and herbs from the community food table, added a bottle of Malbec and a fresh loaf of sourdough bread Mr. Underdog made for us and Babe put together a delicious dinner.

At the moment I’m sitting next to our fire pit—contemplating whether I should make a fire. The weather is overcast, comfortable and calm. Lowland visibility is clear to the horizon. The view is every shade of green with a spattering of yellow and three ribbons of shimmering rivers emptying into the blue Pacific. Isle de Caño is a sharply defined bump in the ocean. Spanish Caravan plays in the background. Next to me is a cup of coffee and a beer. As the sun descends it floods the landscape with orange highlights. A hill in the distance turns golden, then back to old forest green. A cloud is wrapped in rosy pink swathes of the sunset. A thick, gray mist encroaches from the east as the west explodes with ember-colored thunderheads moving quickly south to north. The sun pushes the greens, grays and soft blues of the ocean along the surface as it sets—smearing the water with currents in pastel colors. I can almost hear it sizzle as it slides off the Terraba river into the ocean. Sheets of dark rain reach the horizon…

Yes, I decide, it’s a good night for a bonfire.

And I know as I sit here, Ma, that you were right. Happiness isn’t necessarily at the end of a hard decision, but sometimes it is.

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Rules of Costa Rica

Rule Number Fourteen: Don’t expect good directions.

The most common phrase of the GPS device we rented was: Go 300 meters and make a U-turn. At one point it asked us to get on the highway where there was no entrance, insisting we make 18 about-faces until we accidentally found the road ourselves (and acted as if it were correct the whole time). For ten bucks a day who needs this abuse? Mostly you’re guided to landmarks—or where a landmark used to be, maybe four generations ago.

The following is a nearly perfect transcription of a conversation Babe had on the phone with a receptionist at a hotel we were trying to find in San Jose (a place with few street signs and fewer house numbers), who had advised us to call for directions when we were nearby.

Babe: “Hola!” (Blah-blah-blah) “…we’re in town. Can you guide us to your front door?”

Reception: “Ah… uh… yes. Is dificil.” Pause.

Longer pause. “What did he say?” Babe asked.

“He said it’s difficult—”

Reception: “You know there are not [sic] tall buildings in Costa Rica?”

Babe looked to me for help. I had been behind the wheel for seven hours and not in the mood for trick questions. I shrugged and kept driving in the hopes of accidentally finding the place, or a descriptive landmark, or a sign saying I was still in Central America.

Babe (into phone): “Ok-a-a-ay…”

Reception: “Yes, so, yes. Do you see any tall buildings near you?”

What, did he think we drove to Manhattan? Ultimately, he suggested we follow a taxi.

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Tropical Cancer—Two National Parks Nearby

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A couple months before moving here, I rubbed my hands together with anticipatory glee and searched google maps to see which National Parks are near Cortes.

Bingo. Marina Bellini. (Wait, that’s champagne and peach schnapps with brunch at the yacht club.)

Parque Nacional Marina Ballena is roughly twenty miles north. Google promises it takes exactly twenty-eight minutes to get there under any conditions. I can live with that. So let’s check out the Official website.

Oh wow. Beautiful cross-fading slideshow of stunning coastline. Whales in the water. There’s no copy on the Home page except the links on top, so I picked one that’s currently inactive.

Oh wow. What does this all mean? It’s en Español, naturally.

ACTIVIDADES DEL PARQUE AQUI
La Costanera Sur
(Dominical – Palmar Norte) 

Never fear! At the top of the page there’s a Translation link. How wondrous is this new tool the Ape has got hold of—the browser? Translation:

PARK WORK HERE
The Costanera Sur
(Sunday – Palmar Norte)

Below are excerpts of the translation, which turned out to be a tour of the southern beaches:

Sunday is the starting point for this route, we can now do so
without shattering the vehicle…

That’s reassuring. Followed by some non-sequiturs, such as:

Upon leaving we left Sunday, forested hills under the Fila called Sunday.

They got this thing about Sunday, apparently. And sentences requiring critical thinking before they make much sense, such as:

Its height and proximity are factors that cause in the winters which streams flow from becoming violent and drag the bridges, as water has
no place to rest during the floods.

I had to rub my temples after reading that. Then, a shocker:

Hovering there, called my attention to a foreign body in the sea.

No one I knew, hopefully.

I took out the binoculars and I was lucky to witness
something that in my life seen two whales…

Whew. Followed by some solid info:

Do not know much about whales but, ask other people… Anyway…

And another non-sequitur:

I had the opportunity to enter, but since the road is very attractive.

Describes an interesting bit of architecture:

It can be seen across the river on the island of Punta Mala,
which in this room has beautiful mangroves…

Must be either a big room or small mangroves—or a room under water, obviously, because “water has no place to rest during the floods.” It wraps up with a bit of local news:

Many people speak the transfer of Cortez to another place, because of the threat of flooding of the terrace. However, it is considered by its
inhabitants as a crazy who are not willing to allow.

Those whacky Cortesians! And finally, it admits:

Here ends this route, which, in the short term, it has become the preferred way of heavy traffic that flows from border to border, to prevent the ascent of Cerro de la Muerte and the entrance to Central Valley.

So after all that, don’t bother to go there because the traffic sucks anyhow. Not exactly what I was googling for, but a fun read nonetheless. Now that I’ve been to the park I can tell you that it is quite beautiful and worth the experience—and the traffic’s not that bad.

The next website I went to was in English and showed some of the fauna in Marino Ballena National Park.

Check out the photo of a bananaquit. How cute is that little guy? Makes me think of corn flakes, for some reason. I haven’t met a critter in Costa Rica yet who isn’t at least slightly lovable, for one reason or another. Simply being utilitarian is enough for me to appreciate an animal who may look like it’s from outer space. It wasn’t their fault (indeed, it was their strength) the black-ctenosaur looks like the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

“Oh yeah? Google insects and snakes in Costa Rica,” Babe asked, as long as I was googling. “If there’s a lot of snakes I’m gonna be freaked—”

“Nah,” I cut her off. “Snakes are cool, for one thing. Besides, one doesn’t have a snake problem, they have a mongoose deficiency.”

“You want a mongoose now? Do they even have mongooses in Costa Rica?”

I confessed to not knowing whether one should say “mongeese” and asked Jeeves: Are there mongoose in Costa Rica?

Yes. The small Indian mongoose is now found in Costa Rica, Hawaii, Fiji, the islands of the Caribbean, and other places around the world.

There you go. Got a problem? Nature provides a solution. On a roll, I asked Jeeves if there were any insects in Costa Rica.

Yes. Costa Rica Insects and Insect Repellents.

No hay problema!

Moving along, now we head approximately twenty miles south to Parque Nacional Corcovado, where we find OMG A GIANT (insert your preferred expletive) SNAKE! Oh (insert favorite deity or prophet), it’s probably got the half-digested remains of Detroit in there!

Some words from the website for
CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK FOR ECO-TOURISM:

…an international attraction for eco-tourists.
…[contains] 4% of the world’s biodiversity…
…paradise for eco-tourism…
…best place to glimpse the diversity of flora and fauna that exists in Costa Rica…
…Biologists estimate that the area contains approximately 10,000 species of insects, at least 2,418 species of plants, 700 species of trees, 140 species of mammals, 367 types of birds, 117 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 40 species of freshwater fish. An estimated 49 species of trees in the area are in danger of extinction, at least 12 of which are endemic to Costa Rica.
…the home of an endemic species of bird and 17 endemic subspecies of birds…
…also contains the most significant populations of large endangered mammals such as jaguars, pumas, ocelots, white-lipped peccaries, and tapirs on the Pacific coast of Central America…
…relatively large populations of endangered birds in Corcovado including scarlet macaws and the great curassow…

Curassow? Isn’t that an orange liqueur from a small Caribbean island? (Whatever it is, don’t let it get near your peccary.)

Corcovado National Park is, in a word, happenin’. One website says there’s approximately 600 species of insects in the park, while the quote above says there’s more like 10,000 (neither site was dated). Excuse me, but in my mind that’s a big-ass discrepancy. Birds are one thing, but bugs are quite another. They may be small, sure, but stack 9400 of them in a black helmet and give it a cape and you’ve got Darth Vadar.

“But I am your father!”

“No-o-o-o!”

Whether I ever make it to Corcovado remains to be seen.

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Tropical Cancer—I’m Blessed

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2013

I walked out the back door carrying a handful of dinner scraps to throw on the mulch pile. It was a humid and warm evening, which always reminds me of the Summer months of my youth. Those were City nights; this is a tropical rainforest—a fact I remember daily. This is the jungle I dreamed of while encased in the cement, incinerator ash, iron bars and subways of NYC. To the south, a powder-blue sky with puffy white clouds are backdrop to pods of tropical mist making their wispy way over the top of nearby hills to the valley below. The mists will soon cover our exposed ledge of property like a soggy blanket.

An evening bird with a mellow voice repeated “Who? Who? Who?”

“It’s me, me, me!” I said aloud. “Como esta, birdie?” I dumped my trash in the dirt and stood transfixed, listening to the myriad sounds coming from all directions while the sun set. A toad sounded like a huge drop of heavy water. Ba-a-a-a-a-loop! There was a see-saw somewhere in the opaque thicket of old growth out there, accompanied by a set of castanets, the squeaky hamster wheel bug, the uh-oh bird, the “tearing paper” bug and the ever present heckling gecko.

A creature giggled. Twice. Three times, then laughed as if it found mushrooms and a pot plant for dinner. “Giggle. Giggle. Giggle. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!” Repeat, until the thing had me giggle-laughing also. We giggle-laughed in harmony.

A car alarm went off, but it wasn’t a car alarm. Bweep! Bweep! Bweep! Please back away from the bug!

“Giggle. Giggle. Giggle. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!”

“Ow!” I did the ant dance, “Putas olmigas!” (Whore ants!) and shuffled away.

“Giggle. Giggle. Giggle. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!”

“Shut up. Stupid bug.”

I do a lot of that.

I also grew a fig, started cantaloupes, and have twenty pineapples growing. Banana, avocado, papaya, pepper, tomato, spinach, plumeria, lime, halyconia, huevos de monos (sweet smelling “monkey eggs” trees), almond, aloe vera, coconut, various herbs… It’s all very cool and kinda bizarre to be called Farmer Meech by some, but that’s not the most unexpected result of moving to Costa Rica. Not at all. Of course I felt excited when we touched the tarmac as immigrants on the Ides of March in 2011, but I’m convinced now I know why. The plain and simple reason is the weather. When I mentioned how it reminded me of my youth, and those hot Summer nights that were so full of anticipation, freedom, optimism, curiosity, and heady mischief, it was a casual reference to what’s become a profound transformation. Sure enough, the association with weather, of all things, has turned this living, thriving, chirping, burping, blooping, dance-the-ants-away playground into my personal fountain of youth. Therein lies my fun-damental love of Costa Rica.

Either that or dementia is setting in early. Whatever, I’ll take it.

Headline encapsulations of other stuff:

I dropped about thirty pounds in thirty months. (Organic diet, lots of walking up and down steep hills, hauling rocks, digging plant holes and water control trenches, running away from ants, some pull-ups and push-ups (!), in a climate where whizzing outdoors breaks a sweat. Also, a Starbucks coffee cake and quad latte would require an overnight trip at a cost of roughly two- to three-hundred American bucks!)

It took 28 months, but I received the blessing of Immigración for Temporary Residency. My cedula was ready for pick-up after I joined the Social Security health plan. I’m card-carrying legal. Very cool news, particularly with regard to health insurance and meds (should I need some). When Babe joined in May, 2013, (residency approved separately, doesn’t matter if you’re married or even if it’s your kid, you’re not necessarily approved at the same time —requiring an extra over-nighter to San Jose) she was charged $48 a month for full coverage (hospital and meds) based on her income (SS). Since I won’t get SS until 2017, it won’t cost me anything for the same coverage. (And when I do collect SS, it’s likely no one here will ask if my income status has changed—which I’ll confess since I don’t want to take advantage of Grandma Costa Rica. She’s been good to me.)

That’s a boatload more than I could get health-wise from the US after forty-plus years of work. I’ve learned that the US totally sucks on tons of levels, but is a mere puppet (like every country) of the money lords, Mafias and malevolent aliens who successfully control the world.

I’m cynical, but happy. No longer does a night out qualify as a special event, but finding half a discarded cinder block makes my day. I will give it a use in the garden or fire pit. Who among us can say a cement block makes them happy? I am blessed.

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Rules of Costa Rica

Rule Number Nine (Swanson’s Rule): Never lend anyone your vehicle.

Rule Number Seventeen: Men, never take a leak outdoors at night while holding a lit torch.

A bug the size of a small mallet knocked a flashlight out of my hand in mid-stream. Confusion ensued. Inches to the wrong side of that light beam, with zipper open, while placidly whizzing over a 20-foot drop-off… I’m just saying there could be lasting trauma. Your life (and that of your progeny) is in your hands!

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On Gratitude

People have been asking me lately what I’m ‘grateful’ for. At my age, I’m grateful my body isn’t in pain and I can take a shit every morning. But by now I’m used to being grateful. I demonstrate each morning that I still want to live simply by getting out of bed. For that, I must be grateful for something—or someone—even if it’s not in my conscious awareness.

For every something to be grateful for there’s an injustice to be pissed about. Idealists and other dreamers expect the best from humanity—which erodes over time and is exacerbated by the cynical decrepitude of getting older in the 21st century. One can only take so much crap before they become jaded. For every idealist, there’s an equally justified pessimist. For every dreamer there is a nightmare. Where there’s light, there’s shadows. It follows that we can be both grateful and pissed at the same time.

If we don’t rail vehemently against man’s inhumanity to man now, in this Age of Aquarius and transition, then we are not doing all we can to change toward an enlightened, humane society. To put ‘civilized’ back into ‘civilization’ a re-birthing needs to take place, and that is something which, unfortunately, comes with labor pains.

With my will to live intact, I’m still not satisfied. I’m in a rush to advance already. While I’m grateful for a rise in global consciousness I’m subliminally frustrated we don’t have free energy online at this point. Indeed, such advances have been thwarted throughout recent history by insanely sociopathic individuals and corporations bent on profit at the expense of the masses and the very life of the the planet we inhabit. This is dangerously insane, of course—not to mention a major inconvenience.

We’re all blessed to be living at this point in Life’s cycle—charged with doctoring the birth of an advanced consciousness and a prolonged period when there are no more social injustices. Questions will become obsolete. The Quest will be fulfilled.

I’m grateful I’m not a pessimist, existentialist or atheist. I believe in the Age of Enlightenment—it’s inevitable. From the dead flower comes a new seed. If fresh, clean water is what it takes to get through the dirt of ignorance into the flowering of a new age, the fertilizer helps it grow faster. Unfortunately, fertilizer can stink. Fortunately, that doesn’t make it any less effective.

I’m grateful global consciousness can be advanced one person at a time. I’m grateful I can advance my own consciousness. I’m grateful Life is a see-saw, it’s fun that way.

Tropical Cancer—It Won’t Cost an Arm or a Leg

It Won’t Cost an Arm or a Leg

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Every Saturday morning at 9:30, 10:00, 10:30  somewhere between 10:30 and 11:00 (ish) there’s a pick-up softball game at the soccer field in Bahia. This is coed, purely recreational, and all are welcome—especially chiropractors. You’ll find expats, travelers, locals, kids and other fool-hardy types in the field and plenty of onlookers in the shelter of a large ficus tree, which serves to block Chuck’s sharply hit foul grounders. (It also serves a somewhat clumsy iguana Adam got to know intimately [not the original Adam] when it fell on his back. Stupid thing crapped on my car, too. But anyway…)

After playing for five years I’ve come to think of my Saturdays as a weekly Labor Day, where family and friends come together to forget about “all that other junk” and concentrate on the truly important things in life: Beer, Mike’s baked goods, and a tropical breeze in the shade with good company.

All equipment is provided (donations accepted). Any age, gender, or trans-gender can participate—even Republicans. In all the years I’ve played so-called “recreational” softball (in “hangover” leagues), I’ve never been with a more socially accepting crowd. In the heat of battle there may be a contested call, but our “Commissioner,” Señor Bicker, is so annoying to argue with that we all just let him have his way. Play ball! Besides, he knows the rules of the game from as far back as 1890—some of which are news to the rest of us. (Who knew that a “pickle” is trumped by committing yourself to advancing more than halfway to home? The “Don” of Uvita softball knew.)

If that doesn’t impress you, the fact that there’s a bathroom on site should.

One of my favorite aspects of this unique gathering of people from many parts of the world is watching the neophytes learn the game. I love that they have an interest in not just the sport, but the ambiance of the event. Plus, they save me from getting picked last… again. (Reminder to self: When telling a beginner they have to tag the runner with the ball, specify that doesn’t mean they should throw the ball at them.) Don’t worry, there’s no barrel-chested pros on the field. Some of us regular players can make a routine play look more like an awkward suicide attempt. If you’ve never played the game, instruction is provided at no cost (abuse is extra). There’s also a short video here: How to Play Baseball.

It doesn’t seem to matter what mood you’re in, or how preoccupied you may be with the neighbor’s stupid rooster, or the bank misplacing your savings, or that you forgot where you parked your quad, softball can quickly take your attention off such inconveniences with a blistering liner to the kneecap. Works every time. When Mitch tried to catch a throw from the outfield with his nose he completely forgot about the dog digging up that medicinal plant.

Okay so maybe it’s not for the faint of heart—but for the young at heart, at least, it’s not to be missed. Compared to surfing, I can pretty much guarantee you won’t get an appendage chewed off. Amazingly, this activity is free. Even more amazingly, the road there is paved. (Turn toward the ocean at the bus station just south of the southern BM market.)

It’s good to bring a chair, and water (not sure what that’s for). Which reminds me, visit Oscar and Irina’s Discount Liquor Wine & Cigars in Uvita (near the gas station) before the game and tell them you’re going to play softball. They have a great selection and you’re going to need the fluids.

If we can’t use the field in Bahia due to an event being held there we move to a field 100 meters (or so) past the farmer’s market in Uvita. If it’s raining, we blow the whole thing off and head either to The Flutterby House (near Bahia field) for a beverage, a snack and some corn hole (will explain later), or Soda Lily’s in Uvita (across the Costanera from the northern BM market and BCR).

Wherever we end up, Saturday’s objective is to have fun and not get hurt (unless the game’s on the line, then go for it. We have chiropractors…).

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