Wednesday, June 6, 2007

¡Pura Vida!

It's been awhile, again, since I've blogged. Lately, the curve balls have been coming fast and hard. The internet is down again, so I'm typing this offline. ¡Pura vida!

The other day I went out with my boss to meet with the owner of a 33 hectare finca (farm) who wanted to sell it. He sent me directions and, based on them, I thought I knew the general area in which the finca resided. One of his reference points was "... from the main entrance of the Ellerstina Polo Club, proceed 1.4 kms. to a school on the right." I'm familiar with the Polo Club. So we showed up at the entrance and proceeded to the school. The school didn't exist. It then dawned on me that there were two entrances to the Polo Club. Could the secondary entrance be the main entrance in the mind of the owner? Of course it could be! We doubled back to connect to the dirt road that lead to the secondary "main" entrance. We were now late for the appointment. ¡Pura vida!

I dialed the owner on my cell phone to confirm my "entrance" theory and tell him we would be late (not a big deal in Costa Rica). But there was no cellular service in our area. Then my boss tells me that he forgot to put gas in his SUV in the morning and that we were very low on fuel. Could we make it to the finca? I doubted it. We tried. We were on fumes when he remembered his propane tank. We switched to what little propane was left in the tank and doubled back to Comunidad to get gas. I finally got a cell signal and connected with the owner to explain. But the signal in his area was weak and we were cut off over and again. After several cut-offs and broken-up conversations, I was finally able to communicate our situation. He offered to drive out to meet us at the Do-It Center - not far from where we gassed up, but about 25 kms. from where the owner was - and lead us back to the finca.

We drove back and finally arrived at the finca. He gave us a tour. It was unremarkable. No views anywhere. But it did have some teca (teak) planted that would be worth some money in, say, 8 - 10 years. I decided to open list the property anyway. He signed a contract and explained about the many resorts that were going up on all sides of his finca. He showed us a road on the map that would eventually be part of the "Ruta Sol" (Sun Route) - the costal highway that will run along the Pacific in some century. The road in one direction terminated at the Carretera Interamericana (Interamerican Highway - Rt. 1). We shook hands, hopped in the truck and started out of the finca.

At the turn out of the finca, my boss and I decided to "explore" the future Ruta Sol. We would hit the Interamericana and run some errands in Liberia on our way back to Coco. Great idea! Not! After 45 minutes of driving cattle trails, we ended up dead ended at a river that was too deep to cross, but breathtakingly beautiful. I tried to get a GPS reading. The batteries were too low on power to run long enough to acquire a sattlite. Nothing left to do but turn around and head back. ¡Pura vida!

On the way back we encountered a souvenir ranch. The lightbulbs went on over both of our heads and my boss swerved the caked-with-mud Toyota into the parking area. BEERS!!! It didn't look good for a few minutes as the place was under renovation and nothing appeared to be open. After making a little noise, we were able to find someone who could help us. She said they had beers. But she didn't know the price! So she had to call someone who did. They tried to gouge us for the gringo price. My Spanish flowed effortlessly and I made a couple of jokes that were overheard on the other end of the line while she was on the phone. The price came down. I reached into my pocket to pay. She had no change. We ended up paying more than the gringo price. ¡Pura vida!

But at least now we had beers!!! and began to joke about the day's events. We found another bar on the way back, bought 4 more beers at a great price (though they were a little tepid) and blasted back to Coco. All in a real estate agent's day's work. Pura vida!

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