Week Four: Yes Man (Woman? Person?)

Wanted: One friend or family member to come for a visit and take my suitcase back with them.  Bring me half-a-dozen more yoga tank tops from Costco and a pair of cargo shorts as they are the only articles of clothing that won’t melt here.

I know I mentioned before that I was finding some of my clothing impractical.  I was incredibly grossed out the other day when I realized that the clothes I wasn’t wearing were growing mold in the corner of our room!  I gave them to Gina next door to wash and she was like, ‘yes, that happens and black clothes are the worst’.  I think that’s how it translates anyway.  Even my heels which I had brought for meetings were molding.  Everything needed to be washed and put into the hot sun to dry out the bacteria.  I’ve now wrapped all the clothes I’m not wearing all the time (which is everything but about ten items) in plastic bags and tucked them away.  I am seriously considering mailing half our stuff back to BC.  It would be extremely expensive, but probably not as bad as replacing everything when we get back, plus give us more suitcase space to bring home presents!

Anyways, moldy oldies aside, we spent one day this past week hiking up the hill to the reserve.  ‘The hill’ is a trek taking you up to about 300m elevation over the course of about 2.5km.  It’s brutal.  The view from up there is spectacular – unfortunately the pics don’t do it justice.  Along the way are pieces of land with scattered Tico and expat homes.  At the top you come to the entrance to the Guyme reserve.  We met with a young Guyme woman and a girl of about ten on a pony.  They make handcrafts out of some tough fiber – bamboo maybe? – weaving the strands into purses, hats etc and using natural dyes in lovely colours.  I bought a purse from them, as the one I had brought with me is moldy (see above) and at least I know this one will survive this country!  I had been told from a neighbour here that the people on the reserve usually like to have their pictures taken since they have no mirrors and it lets them see themselves.  I asked the girls if they would like me to take their pictures and they nodded.  In the pics, they look miserable, but when I showed them their own faces on the camera afterwards they both lit up.  I wish I could have snapped a picture in that moment.

The Guymes are not really organized into a tribe, they live as individual family groups.  So you can’t just walk up and find people to talk to; you need to befriend someone who is accepted there and have them take you as a guide to meet specific people if you want to really get to know about the culture.  Everything is CR is about who you know; it is literally impossible to get anything done without taking the time to cultivate relationships first.  Because of this, we have decided to extend our stay here until roughly the third week in December.  We’ll keep you posted as to where we are going after that!

I am now the proud owner of a machete.  With a big curvy blade, I feel like a pirate (argh!).  I bought the girlie one; it’s only a 14inch long blade.  Aidan had to one-up me and bought a 16inch (men are so preoccupied with size aren’t they?).  These things go up to 22inches, which actually wouldn’t fit in our luggage with the handle.  You buy them with leather scabbards that are designed to fit on your belt and make them safe to move.  I have realized in buying this however that my entire collections of ‘belts’ consists of: three old men’s ties, a selection of scarves and one that my mother-in-law crocheted for me, none of which is going to hold up this knife.  Oh well.  I have some time before I go hacking my way through any underbrush to come up with a solution.

A couple of our neighbours went tuna fishing the other day and came back with a cooler full.  They deftly cut the fish up, offering some as fresh cold-from-the-ocean sashimi which we all sampled.  I know this would freak some people out, but I’ve kinda developed a Yes Man (like the Jim Carrey movie) attitude about things here.  When people offer us food, invitations, rides whatever, the answer is yes, even if we’re not completely sure what we are getting into.  I’ll have to change this philosophy a bit once we are in big cities full of crack and swindlers again, but in our sweet little village it’s working out well.

I’m realizing that in all the emails I have sent thus far, I have mentioned that we go swimming, but not really anything about the ocean here.  First of all, it’s warm.  Special note for Pablo and Hedi: it’s actually warm, not “jump on in this semi-melted glacier, the water’s fine!” Parksville-trip warm.  The water is about 22-26 C on the average day.  The tide pools where the water is trapped by lava rocks can get to about bathtub temperature and are luxurious to lounge in.  This is, however, a surfing beach and there are some pretty major waves at any given time of day.  After a week or so, you get good at playing the tides and figuring out when the waves will be most forgiving.  We are teaching the kids to swim with them and bodysurf a bit so that they will be ready to go when we go up-country to Dominical for surf camp.  All in all, I think the waves are a good metaphor for life here.  If you try to stand rigidly in one place, you get battered and thrown under and end up with a fair bit of sand in your shorts.  If you relax and just go with it, you get to keep your head above water and live to swim another day.

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