Wednesday, August 22, 2007

La lluvia

Pronounced (YU-vee-ah). Spanish for "the rain". It's sunny today, but it's been raining alot lately. We're feeling some of the effects of hurricand Dean, which is spinning/drawing more precipitation our way. The landscaping I've planted around the house (plants I collect from various lacales) is taking off. My orchids are loving the humidity, as are the various molds growing on the roof eaves of La Casa Jungla. I'll wait until the dry season to repaint with anti-hongo paint...

Heavy and steady rains transform everything here. Temperatures are cooler at night - I have to actually pull the sheet over me now in bed - and the landscape is an indescribable verdant green. It's a green only found in nature and one is constantly aware of it's presence as one moves through it. The color green changes as the light changes throughout the day. The grass on the side of the road is nearly 8 ft. high. The rivers and creeks are swollen. The beaches are cafe-colored from runoff - runoff that brings alot of trash with it that ends up washing up on the beach. It's a shame, but until someone makes trash worth money here - especially plastic - this will continue.

We're coming off of the Mother's Day holiday in Costa Rica - the biggest behind Xmas, New Year's and Easter (Semana Santa). The actual 'day' was last Wednesday, but the national holiday (we have 13 official holidays here) was celebrated this Monday. So what ended up happening is that everyone took an 8 day holiday. Interesting to note that Mother's Day is a national holiday, but Father's Day isn't. I asked one of my tico buddies, "Why?", and he replied with a grin, "Well, everyone in Costa Rica knows their mommy, but knowing daddy is significantly less common."

My truck is in S. Jose at the Mahindra agency being "worked on". The German in Sardinal couldn't fix it so he sent it on a grua to the mother ship last Friday. It's still leaking oil, even from the muffler. I am dreading the news of what this will cost to fix. In the mean time, I'm driving a '96 Hyundai Galloper that my partner has leant me. It has ants inside, but the new diesel engine purrs like a kitten...

Laila Davina continues to grow in spurts and amaze us with her daily changes. They do grow up fast! She's shopping in Liberia today with mommy and grandpa, fighting off some of that cabin fever. Life is good. ¡Pura vida!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

¡Pura Mierda!

(Pure shit!) Carla and I had our first wedding anniversary on Sunday, 5 August. When you live in "paradise", it's kinda hard to find a reason to leave home. Not to mention the fact that Laila was simultaneously celebrating her 4th week of existence in this mortal world, and portability of an infant weighs in heavily on any travel plans.

Carla suggested we get out of Playa Hermosa for awhile and head down to Tamarindo to do some shopping and have a nice dinner. Great idea! So we packed a couple of bags (both of them for Laila), fed the dogs, loaded the stroller and car seat into the pickup and motored down the road to Tamarindo. The roads there have recently been paved and the trip down was smooth as a wet banana leaf. We had a wonderful day!

But that smooth, wet banana leaf was pulled harshly from beneath the tires of the pickup on the way back to Hermosa. I noticed white smoke coming from my tailpipe in my side-view mirror. We were driving through a steady downpour at night. We were approaching Filadelfia. Curious.... Hmmmm.... Then.... No power or acceleration.... yet the diesel engine was redlining! I pulled over to the side of the road and killed the engine. The engine didn't die!!!! It was revving high and black smoke was pouring out of the exhaust pipe engulfing the truck in noxious gas. I thought the truck was on fire! Carla and baby exited under a flimsy umbrella in the downpour a safe distance from the percieved inferno.

I popped the hood to take a look. Oil everywhere, engine and fan cranking! I had no idea how to stop the motor! A guy on a bicycle appeared from nowhere. He said I was experiencing and inversion and that I had to yank the fuel line. NO WAY!! So he loosened up the pumping mechanism on the fuel pump that allows you to pump air from the fuel line. His methodology was reverse - he was allowing air into the fuel line. Praise Shiva!! The engine finally died!!

By this time the police had arrived. They were as clueless as I was. The guy on the bike filled them in. I checked the oil level. NONE!! The cops offered to head down the road to get a gallon of oil for me to see if the car could be restarted. I gave them 10,000 colones and they came back with a gallon of oil and a receipt for 10,000 colones (the change was pocketed). I didn't care. They can barely afford their own gasoline.

I poured a gallon of oil into the engine where it promptly exited below the truck onto the roadside gravel on which we were stationed. ¡Pura mierda! Carla called my father-in-law. I called a flat bed. The flatbed arrived shortly before my father-in-law did. My family moved safely to his car - ¡Gracias, por dicha! (thank goodness!)

We decided to head back to Coco and drop the truck off in front of my office to deal with it the following day. I rode with the flatbed crew. The rest of the family followed. We unloaded the truck in front of my office. I paid the men, and we all headed across the street to Pollo Parillero for some fried chicken an a laugh. The night ended quite calmly after all of the calamity. We all made it home safely and had a good night's sleep. I would meet my father-in-law at the office in the morning and we'd hook a rope up to the tow loop and he'd tow me to the taller - tico tow truck.

The next day, I arrived at the office at the agreed upon time. No suegro (father-in-law). I tried to open the office door. It was bolted shut. I didn't have the key. My secretary arrived. She didn't have the key either. I called my partner to confirm whether or not he had bolted the door. He had. The doorknob that was supposed to be replaced last week was in his car in San Jose, which was at the taller for repairs. He had bolted the second lock as a precaution. Great idea! But only when everyone else has the key to the lock!!!!!!

The two cups of coffee I had before I left for the office hit me like they usually do - no other laxative even comes close! The urge hit me like the shits hit Jeff Daniels in "Dumb And Dumber". But I couldn't get into the office! I started looking for a trash bag and a bush. I've never pinched up my butt cheeks so hard in my life! I was sweating, but not from the increasing heat that was pounding on me as the morning sun took on attitude. Still no suegro...

My wife calls. Suegro is at the house instead of the office. I tell her to tell him that I'm at the office and he needs to drive there. My partner shows up with the keys. I sprint to the bathroom and deliver the payload - from the door to the crapper in a single, flowing and unbroken motion. Ahhhh.....

Suegro arrives. We talk. We decide to check out a few talleres before towing the car. We end up settling on a German in Sardinal. But he's full. We'll have to wait 'til tomorrow.

Today we towed the truck to the German's shop. The rope broke when suegro dowshifted on an incline and bolted forward. We tied it back up, made it up the hill and arrived at the German's taller where the pickup rests peacefully right now.

More to come, I'm sure.... ¡Pura mierda!