Saturday, May 24, 2008

La Lluvia!

Spanish for "the rain". The green season finally arrived a few days ago in Playa Hermosa with a nice, slow soaking rain that gave my plants a much needed boost. Idiot that I am, I decided to try to root crotones along the fence line of my only neighbor to create a hedge of colors as a privacy screen. I decided to do this during the rainless summer here - not a good decision.

A little history: My neighbor rents his house out to some guys who work in the restaurant at Villas del Sueño. They're gay. But that's not what sucks, if that's what you were thinking that I was thinking. What sucks it that they're cochinos, or "pigs"! I have to be the only guy in the world with gay neighbors who aren't neat-freaks. In Chicago, it was always the gay community who took over shithole neighborhoods, planted flowers, opened chic restaurants and bars, and fixed up buildings, thus transitioning once-ghetto neighborhoods into urban oases. And they drove the values of my real estate investments through the roof.

Not these queers. These guys have a burn pile that takes up most of their back yard as their dogs raid unburned garbage and spread it all over the place. Ticos still burn their garbage, even though there are trash barrels 200 meters away on the main road. It's a cultural thing. Ticos also have never figured out that glass, aluminum, steel and ceramic tile do not burn. Hence, most of the burn piles you see around here turn out to be trash mounds of non-combustibles after a few burns.

Last time these guys had a really big burn they used so much gasoline to start it that they scorched my cacti and set my fence posts on fire. Which brings me back to the rain... Now that the rain has come, I don't have to spend an hour-and-a-half every morning with the hose and watering can motoring around the house and surrounding jungle to keep things alive. I've used native plants that don't require much water (it does not rain here in our summer for 5 months straight). But they need a year to get established. After that, no maintenenance.

Stupid me decided to plant during the 5 months without a drop of rain. Duh!! Now it's raining each day, or every other day, for an hour, though a cloud just missed us a minute ago. The jungle floor is coming alive with resurrection fern. My flor de itabos are leafing out. The crotones are happy. My poinsettias are beginning to leaf out after a season of being devoured by the garobos (iguanas). It turns out that poinsettia leaves are like garobo twinkies and are absulutely irresistible to them. But now that other food sources are leafing out, they'll start laying off.

I also planted a cactus garden in the aggregate pile next to our house that was used for the concrete mix that was used to build our house. My poor wife gave up trying to grow flowers there. I decided to start collecting cacti and other succulents (along with all of the other plants I collect when I'm visiting properties of real estate clients or am out walking in the jungle behind my house), like Spanish bayonet and aloe vera, and began planting them. The garden really looks cool. It's amazing how many different varieties of cacti there are here, and how fast they grow.

With the rain comes the "low season", or "green season", depending on whether or not you're a pessimist or optimist. Business in real estate has been slow as a result of the trickle-down from the US economy woes and the fact that we're heading into the "low season" anyway. So you work twice as hard for half as much, if anything. I should qualify the bad news for sellers by saying that the luxury market ($800k and above) continues to soar. Lots of sales out on Peninsula Papagayo out near The Four Seasons as those folks tend to have lots of money no matter what's going on with the economy, or how much gasoline or food costs. But the other markets are slow and prices are starting to adjust as gringos with balloon payments, or payment adjustments, due on adjustable rate mortgages they took out to buy property here are facing a tough payment reality and are liquidating their assets here in CR. IT'S A BUYER'S MARKET!! COME ON DOWN!!

Laila is crawling now and is the "doll" of Playa Hermosa. Literally, everyone calls her "muñequita", or "little doll". The kid's adorable and freakishly intelligent. It scares me sometimes. Carla is terrified. I mean, don't get me wrong: it's great to have a healthy, beautiful and intelligent child. But I still remember the head-games I played with my parents, and I fear my talents for these games will pale in comparison to my daughter's abilities to manipulate me like a string puppet. Yikes!!

The dogs, Garcia and Madona, continue to be inseparable, unless it means a ride on my motorcycle, in which case Garcia pounds Madona into the ground to deny her access to the bike. I've solved the problem by putting Garcia on the bike first, straddling the gas tank, tail in my crotch and paws over the faring. Then Madona goes on top of him, straddled over his back. They love it! Gets a lot of looks from oncoming traffic. These dogs love riding motorcycles! But their drool blowing in my face can be problematic at times for me.

Yesterday the turbo on my Mahindra pickup went again. It was replaced 7 months ago (see ¡Pura Mierda!). I'm done with this French and Indian J/V piece of shit. It's the French engine that's always the problem anyway. Am planning on buying a Toyota Prado in August and will either keep this one for Carla to toodle around in locally (first, we'll have to get her a driver's license) or sell it and take a vacation. I'm beyond getting angry or depressed anymore.

¡Pura vida!

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