Wednesday, June 26, 2013

That is not the image of Costa Rica I had

"Your ride is here" said Sebastian.

But, the vehicle was no taxi and the driver was not Luis either.

"Oh, that is Luis' son."  He must have read my expressions.  Damn, can't ever hide my feelings, I guess.

From our chats, I knew about Luis' family.  Gabriela was his wife, Emily their daughter, and Fabrizzio the son.  I even knew that the son was a student at the technological university in Cartago.  We traded such information despite our respective language issues.

"You must be Fabrizzio" I said as I opened the vehicle door.  He extended his right arm and a wide grin.

He was a cautious driver for the twenty-two year old he was.  Yes, I knew from Luis that the son was that old.  The daughter is older--I shall not divulge her age, true to the traditions!

"You speak English?"

He vigorously shook his head in the negative.

We reached the organic coffee farm and a bunch of barking dogs greeted me as Luis left.  There were six by my count.

I introduced myself to the American woman working the roaster.  "I am Linda.  We are expecting two more groups. We will begin the tour after they reach here."

At the roasting area of this organic farm

So, I engaged her in small talk.

A friend was recently pretty impressed with my small talk with strangers and wrote in an email "you are gregariously social and anti-social at the same time. Curious."  I don't  find that a contradiction at all--small talk is very different from serious friendship.  I imagine a solid, double-yellow line separating the two.

I asked Linda about the dogs.  "They were all stray. Abandoned. We take them in.  There are more than these six here."  Apparently people abandon the females of the dogs and puppies because they then tend to have litter.  They don't spay or neuter their pets either.

"If you thought that is crazy" Linda continued.  "Every once in a while people set out poison for dogs and all of a sudden you have forty or sixty dead dogs in a neighborhood."

WTF!  In Costa Rica?

One of those dogs, during the tour of the farm, staying away from the warm  sun

Later, I was chatting with Linda's husband about this.  "It doesn't match with the image of Costa Rica I have" I told him.

"Oh, there are plenty that you will find that don't fit with your image of Costa Rica" he said.  "For instance, did you know that San Jose doesn't have a sewage system, and that they dump stuff in the river?  They don't say that in the tourist brochures, do they?"

He seemed like he could list more.  But, he did not.  "I have no complaints.  I have had a good life here for thirty years now."

There is no perfect paradise on earth.  Even the best places have their own warts, big and small.  Yet we love them, as the Bard put it:
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red ;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

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