Return from Sugar Beach, ecological footprint, masturbation…day 21-22

Abstract image combining aspects of birds with aspects of human faces, representing ecological footprints

Ecological Footprint

I’m back with Jose and Mirta.  Yesterday morning was spent rehashing the trip with Alisia#1. Beto, who usually goes to bed around 7 p.m., stayed up until we returned around 9 p.m. on Friday night and even sat with us for an hour while we ate and Alisia#1 told him about our trip.  I think he’s a bit jealous.  Saturday morning Alisia#1 had a bowl of fruit set out with honey and whole wheat toast and my silverware wrapped in a napkin just like at the hotel—how cute is that.

Carmen went by bus to Heredia on Saturday to pick up Alisia#2 and Andrea, Alberto, Monica, Gilary and Estefan and then meet up with Edwin and Leda.  They all will take a bus to William#2’s home.  I’d like to see the looks on my family’s faces if I suggested 2-hour bus trips one-way to visit anyone.

I hung out with Alisia#1, Patricia, Beto and William#3 while I waited for Jose and Mirta.  Talked to William for half an hour with entire family in the room…no one has an extension in a bedroom.  There is only one phone, it is in the living room and it is not cordless. I speak in code, M for mother, D for dad, little bro for younger brother, etc.  Even though no one speaks English, most of them know the words for mother, father, brother.  Told him Carmen, Edwin and I want to seek out the half-brother none have met right in front of his folks.

Have I mentioned the CR habit of talking about how gordo (fat) or flaco (thin) everyone is?  They have no problem calling a person gordo right to their face.  When I eat something fattening, Beto holds his arms out wide and puffs out his cheeks and calls me gordita!  Poor Alisia#2 used to be flacita and is no longer so.  Everyone talks about it all the time and she just nods her head—I’d line them up and smack them!

Things to remember:

  • Carmen told me that when she was young and had a novio (boyfriend) at the house, at 6:30 p.m. Beto (her dad) would tell the boy it was late and time for him to leave. Good grief! No one even arrived to pick us up by 6:30 pm. I thought that folks in Latin countries stayed up late. Apparently not in all families.

Recetas

By Mirta

  • Ceviche – fresh fish cut very small, lots of raw onion sliced thin, cilantro, lemon and [different recipe] can include platanos and red pepper.  Also add pink potato-like veggie that is cooked first with sugar, not peeled.
  • Platanos: – chop very small and sauté with sweet red peppers, cilantro and potatoes.
    • 2 potatoes
    • 5 platanos, boil platanos first in water for 20-30 minutes

By Carmen

  • Chayote – boil whole in water for 1-2 hours, cut in half, scrape out inside and smash with grated cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla, add raisins.  Put back in skins, top with fine bread crumbs and bake 5-10 minutes.
  • Try same thing only use onions, cheese and chicken with chayote.

William’s mom has started folding napkins around our silverware at every meal. She is making a huge effort to make the food as pretty as it was at the hotel.  She was really enchanted with the kitchen. 

Carmen told me that her father was quite the looker in his younger days (as was Alisia#1) and the women were always after him.  Carmen tried to blame it 1) all on the women; and, drum roll, 2) on some myth that men don’t like to masturbate.  Bullshit.  1) Women have to tell men NO all the time; men can do the same thing. 2) Men love to masturbate whether they’re having sex or not and if they don’t like to masturbate, then oh well, lazybones. 

I think I actually conveyed these thoughts to her.  I don’t know the word for masturbate in Spanish and I don’t think Carmen does either. Or more likely she just doesn’t like to use it so we used rude hand gestures instead.  Can only imagine what her mom thought as I glanced up and saw her looking out the window at us as we moved our hands up and down in the age-old (well at least my age-old) sign for masturbation.  It’s kind of unbelievable that women would think men are so weak they can’t be blamed for not resisting a come-hither, yet we let them run the world. 

Told David not to kill anything unless it was necessary.  He was stung by a bee in the pool because he picked it up and decided to crush it in his hand.  Good for the bee to get in one last sting.  I told him he deserved it and that all life was important.  He thinks I’m insane and I overheard him telling Patricia and Alisia#1 about my saving a cricket and a spider, but now they are all very careful not to kill anything in front of me.

I was horrified when Alisia#1 reached over me to throw her trash out the window of the bus. I almost dove out the window after it.  However, after she saw me put my trash in my purse she started to do the same.  Heard them talking about me when I took all their popsicle wrappers and sticks and put them in the garbage can at the bus stop rather than flinging them over my shoulder.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  They may throw the occasional popsicle stick out the window, however, they use very few throw-away products.  I probably produce more garbage in a week than their whole family in a month.  Same with energy.  Dishes are washed in cold water that is collected in rain barrels and strained.  Dish soap is a semi-solid hunk that is used sparingly.  Paper towels are not used at all.  No electricity is used for drying clothes.  Lights are turned off when not in a room ALWAYS.  Hot water in the shower is really just slightly warm.  There’s only one car among all the people in his family I have met…Patricia owns it. Beverages are made from fresh fruit on a daily basis. Everything that can be re-used IS re-used.  Things that break are fixed.  Beto has been working on an iron for a couple of weeks. The ecological footprint of this family is practically invisible. Mine on the other hand…well mine is improving.

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Mouse, Karaoke and Tight Clothes…day 8

cartoon rat

Self portrait as a mouse

Today I wrote a database for the Plastics Factory, a very simple one, but at least it will track orders and payments.  I hope I can find enough Spanish to teach them to use it.  I enjoyed having a day to think about otras cosas than Spanish. 

It’s raining cats and dogs, well dogs anyway.  No cat would dare to rain anywhere near this place.  Mirta has a phobia about cats and all the poodles have been trained to chase any cats away.  I still haven’t figured out exactly how many poodles they have, but it’s a lot.  There are two 3-week old poodles in this house and five 2-week old poodles in Jose’s daughter’s house.  We contact her by shouting through the kitchen window. 

Tomorrow I go to the Atlantic Coast with Margo and Madonna.  Jose thinks it’s dangerous because people are poor and there isn’t any work there.  He also said that gringas like it there because they can get drugs and sleep with black people.  There are plenty of black people in the U.S., why travel so far? that’s what I want to know.  I’m pretty sure Americans like it because of the music and diversity—at least that’s why I’d like it.  The drug part might be correct, but again I have to wonder: why travel so far for something readily available in the U.S.?

Later that night: I was drawing, but had to stop to record this.  I was unhappy about the enormous roach that was here last night, but now a mouse has just run across the floor– not that I haven’t had them in every place I’ve ever lived. I thought at first it was a REALLY big insect, but no, I now have a regular zoo in here.  It must have been all the rain.  I’m trying to keep a good attitude about these things, after all, at one time I was considering a career as a naturalist. I do wish nature would hang out in someone else’s room, though.

Went to a Karaoke bar/restaurant with Jose, Mirta and Stephie.  I had two coconut drinks and so much food it’s getting ridiculous.  Tonight it was a huge platter of fried chicken, fried pork, fried fish, fried cheese and fried unidentified vegetables, along with ceviche with bananas and lots of orange lemons.  I thought they were green oranges, but they are lemons with green peels and orange insides, whatever happened to lemon yellow?  Both Jose and Mirta sang songs.  I didn’t have the nerve.  We really had a blast, though.  Jose knows everyone.  I’m so lucky to know these people. 

Mirta made ceviche for lunch today and it was out of sight (ha! I have dichos tambien…William’s family, especially his father, Beto, is teaching me many Costa Rican sayings. Twanis, Mahi [can’t find it in the dictionary, so unsure on spelling] translates to cool, Dude.).  Mirta is Peruvian so all of her cooking is Peruvian and WOW can she cook.  The mouse is making noises in the corner.  Maybe she has a family and is nursing, it sounds just like the two puppies nursing.  I don’t have the nerve to pull back the curtain to look.  I remember thinking I could catch a mouse with my hands in college and pulled open a kitchen drawer to grab it. I was so startled when I saw it actually in the drawer that I ran in place and screamed—which I almost did just now as it ran out from behind the curtain again, darted across the room, saw me jump and ran back behind the curtain.  I’m going to brush my teeth and give it a chance to settle into my bed.

Well, I’m back from the bathroom and I can still hear it behind the curtain.  Am going to sleep with my socks on—I don’t know exactly how this will protect me, but I feel more secure with them on. 

Observación 1:  Costa Rican women are much sexier than I am.  Their clothes are much tighter and lower cut.  I look like a 50-year old woman in a 14-year old boy’s clothes.  Well, actually I am a 50 year old woman.  Still, I don’t think I shall change my style soon as I didn’t have to suck in my stomach all evening (thank God, considering what I ate) like all the other women.

Observación 2:  Americans are so much more wasteful than Ticos.  More on this later.  Forgot to mention that Jose came home with a new second hand car, a Range Rover or something like that—big anyway.  It broke down on the way to the Karaoke place.  He called one of his sons on his cell phone, who came and towed us back with a Suzuki Sidekick about 1/3 the size of the Rover.  Even though the Sidekick was smoking when we got back, we hopped in and continued with our evening.  No one was bent out of shape about this.  I want to own this attitude.  Maybe I could bottle it and sell it to gringo commuters in the US of A.