The rains are definitely ebbing and we are only seeing sporadic days with some rain. We still get a day or two where it is cloudy and rainy, but we can go days without rain again. I’m glad the “many days of rain” are behind us, but not looking forward to losing all of this greenery and turning into the “golden season” soon. But, as the rains subside, the people come. It’s odd to refer to the impending season as “summer”. All of my life, summer has been June, July and August. But here, we are just about to come into our summer. Seems extremely weird to me as Christmas draws near, that we are also approaching summer. Costa Rica only has 2 seasons….summer and winter. But the winter season is associated with the rains. From December through April, there is no rain. Guanacaste turns into what they call the “golden” state or province. All the greenery will turn gold or brown. Then the rains return in late April or May and we have lush greenery again.
As we are so close to the equator (Costa Rica lies between 8 and 11 degrees north of the equator), we have about 12 hours of sunlight year round. I cannot seem to sleep past 5:30am…regardless. On the other hand, we sit around the house waiting to see if it’s time for bed right after dinner! Lord have mercy, if we are home in the evening, we all start watching the clock and debating whether to turn in or not. It is PITCH by 5:30pm here….your mind tries to tell you it’s 11pm around 7pm…WTH. We also watch very little TV here. Before the US went back to Standard Time, it was even harder to stay awake in the evenings if we watched TV. We would watch a “9pm” TV show at 7pm. When it was over….well…so were we. We watch a number of videos and Netflix, but not too much TV.
Around 3:30pm every day, the howler monkeys begin their “mating” calls. You can hear them first thing in the morning until about 9-10am, then they are rather silent until around 3:30-4:00pm in the afternoon and howl until dark. Only the males make that Jurassic Park-like sound. Around the same time each day, DOZENS of parrots fly up our hill and have multiple conversations with each other. They are a chatty bunch and apparently have much to say to each other. They come in droves, make a raucous for about 30-45 minutes, and then fly away….every single day.
As mentioned earlier, the number of tourists are increasing in town. What looked somewhat like a ghost town before is now building momentum. Restaurants and beaches are busier. The surfing crowd has really picked up and many of that crowd stay in the local hostels. There are about 16 hostels in the Tamarindo area. These aren’t typically the people interested in sport fishing, but it is nice to see the variety of visitors. Although a hotel snob myself, and too high-maintenance for a hostel, they are quite popular…especially for the young people…and some are as cheap as $10/night during parts of the year.
Speaking of snobs….. So I spent 18 years + as a banker. A commercial/small business lender. When I started my career as a lender, it was definitely a MAN’s job at the time. As a young woman (obviously many moons ago), I had to be resolutely professional, knowledgeable, and rather unflappable in order to be given ANY kind of credibility in the financial world. In the early years, many of the male business owners didn’t take me seriously and wouldn’t deal with me because I was a woman. Some would listen to my “pitch” and then tell me my accent was cute and that they would prefer to deal with someone else…you get the picture. Besides nixing the deep accent, I had to practice and master what I call the “appropriate” handshake. You know, the one that is firm; not too brief and not too long; just enough grip to show you’re not weak…but also not pretending to be The Hulk. People talk about how other people shake hands! If it’s too long and very hammered…you know the person is going to be annoying and drone on and on about whatever. If a man shakes your hand too long, with the creepy grip and silly grin…ugh. A handshake that is too firm of a grip and breaks your fingers, comes from the insanely competitive person or the one who’s trying to prove to you that they are REALLY macho. The limp and/or damp handshake (which are both gross) is just…gross. Funny how a handshake leaves one Hell of an impression. Back to my point….so…I’ve been very conscientious about the handshake because that IS the way you greet people….or it was.
Costa Rica is a different place in that regard. IF you get a handshake, it’s the quick shake/followed-by-a-fist-bump kind of handshake. But as a woman…you almost never get those. I saw my attorney the other day on the beach..(remember the one who I was pissed at when we closed on the business and then followed-up with a meeting to tell him I thought it was all handled unprofessionally?)…yes that one. He walks by and I say “Hello” (after all, he does resemble Antonio Banderas)..and he smiles (surprise) and walks up to me. So I FIRMLY and IMMEDIATELY put out my hand to shake his…as he is leaning in to kiss my cheek. YEP. That’s what they do here. EVERYONE. They kiss your right cheek (more of an air kiss). Every time you greet a familiar male..that’s how they greet you….and I keep forgetting. By the time it registers to me what’s going on, they are pulling back and looking at me “air kissing” nothing….
Have you ever seen a grasshopper as big as your hand? Welcome to Costa Rica. If you have small hands…you don’t get it. Imagine a hand the size of Yao Ming (retired 7’6″ basketball player from China). Yep. That’s the size of the grasshoppers who have the audacity to hang on our screens at night and scare the bejeesus out of me when I take the dog out at night. It’s fun (not really) to go to a cookout and watch the women (me included) scream, duck and flail arms around trying to avoid them. They are HUGE and red-winged….and DUMB. Fly into our windows all of the time. We’ve had a hard time with the translation of grasshopper to the Ticos here. They seem to call them “langostas”…which is “lobster”? But apparently also locust? So my family and I just refer t them as lobsters. Problem solved.
Remember the humidity I speak of every week? Well….it continues. I know it will diminish greatly when the dry season arrives. One last thing (Hell, probably won’t be the last) about this humidity is how my butt sticks to everything. All the chairs…all the car seats…all the toilet seats… yep. BANG. As soon as you stand up… If it’s a lightweight seat…it drops up and down and bounces like applause. If it’s a leather or vinyl seat….it sounds like someone let out gas every time you move or stand up. If it’s a heavy seat….sounds like a bomb. The things you notice…..