October 14, 2008
My car, the new cat and croquet wars
Who says you are never too old to learn something new is right.
Today David and I went to the taller / mechanic shop to visit my car and find out what the problem really is and when I am going to get it back.
Apparently, when Bryan drove my car through a deep puddle - must have been a shallow lake, but anyway, he went to fast and caused a wave to go over the hood and the water went into all the breathing openings of the car and caused a BIG mess.
The mechanics thought it was repaired but after they put the engine back together they found there was still a problem.
My poor car, the engine in a box and nothing under the hood, was inside the taller, covered in dust just waiting to get out. I have been depending on David and his car for the last two months and it is difficult. We may be ready to kill each other soon if I don’t get my own transportation back. The mechanics promised next week. Keep your fingers crossed.
We went to Punta Coral again this weekend, because the next two or maybe three weekends I am busy. I am taking a course and then the following weekend celebrating a friend’s 60th birthday at a spa. I am excited about both.
David and I got up really early to be able to go on the Manta Raya to Tortuga cruise.
Since we cannot leave the Amapola (Davids’ launch) at Punta Coral because of the security problem. We hitched a ride on Manta Raya.
This weekend we went to Bill and Ana. Both wanted to play more croquet and have a nice weekend or relaxation.
After stopping at the Calypso breakfast stop for gallo pinto and eggs and best of all hot coffee mixed with hot chocolate a favorite of mine, we drove the rest of the way to Puntarenas.
The car was packed, this time with the black fans that finally arrived from the states. Because it took so look for the fans to arrive, the owner of the company where we purchased them gave us a lamp at a great discount for the new house. Actually he gave us two lamps and we can choose from a double or a single lamp that hangs on the wall. The lamps are very nice and look almost antique but tropical looking too. The lamps are made of the new high tech materials that will withstand any climate or weather.
I also packed two cat food bowls for the new cat. I was glad to see that he was still there.
One of the women in the kitchen asked me if I had seen the tattoo on the cats ear? I answered no with a surprise look on my face, but we went to look for the cat and she showed me a large number 8 on the inside of one ear. Who would tattoo a cat and why is the cat here with us and not with the person who tattooed the cat’s ear? These were a few of the questions we all asked ourselves. This did solve the problem of what to call the cat however, his name is – what else? – but Eight or in Spanish ¨Ocho¨.
Bill and Ana admired all the new work completed at Casa Calypso and then it was time to board Manta Raya and head for Tortuga Island.
I was glad that the group was small so I could really do an inspection tour on Tortuga Island and not interrupt too much the crew while they are working.
On board was a couple from Key West. They have three boats and a sports fishing business there. The couple, Richie and Marsha, both marveled when I told them how long our crew members have been working for us. They have a big turnover in Key West.
As soon as we got close to Punta Coral, David went to get his swim suit out of the suitcase that was below decks. A few minutes later he motioned – I hate that motion – for me to go to where he was. He was furious because he could not find his swim suit. We do this a lot.
Since I do the laundry and pack most of the suitcase for Punta Coral (it is always the same stuff sheets and towels, swimsuits and sarongs), it is my fault or the maids fault his swim suit was not packed. The reason is I hang up the suit outside and do not put it into the dryer. I packed everything else, but his suit and mine must have still been on the clothes line. Hey, at 5:00am who can think? I think he should check the suitcase at home before he puts it into the car instead of sitting in the car with the motor running waiting for me.
He has always had a swim suit problem. I remember a long time ago David went to Tortuga Island with the architect of our boarding ramp. The designer, Roger, wanted to see what our needs at the beach were to build the ramp correctly. David went to the suitcase and pulled his swim suit out and when he put it on he found a big iron burn mark on one leg or should I say a big hole the shape of an iron. He called me and was furious at the discovery and since it was the only thing he had besides a pair of jeans, he had to wear it. Oh, did I mention there was a big wholesaler on board too. There he was, owner of Calypso Cruises and 85 passengers on board with a swim suit that had the whole front leg burned off by a careless maid. See, having a maid isn’t as good as it sounds.
David was so angry that he opted not to go with us to the beach, but left instead with the luggage and climbed in the panga/dingy and went to Punta Coral.
Manta Raya continued on and Bill, Ana and I went to Tortuga Island.
On the way, we passed a new catamaran. It has just been launched and was out doing sea trials. This new catamaran is very narrow and very ugly. The bow is sloped upwards and plows through the water. It is built by a man who never went to school to learn how to build boats; he just built this steel box.
Of course they want to be us and we will just have to wait and see what they will do to try get our business from the agencies. So far they have told travel agencies that their catamaran burns less that half the amount of fuel that we do. They also boast 7 showers and staterooms, free beer and three boarding ramps, all not true.
The owner has put an ad in the paper to sell this boat he has been building for 10 years. David and I were on board a few years ago and saw the inside. It is constructed on the inside with the same walls you find on trailers and these are riveted to the structure.
The staterooms are no bigger than a bathroom and have no style with short bunk beds.
We are not worried. Let them brag about what they have and when the truth is discovered they will have ¨shot themselves in the foot¨
The day we did an inspection on their boat, two years ago, David and I were told that Brad Pitt was coming here for the inauguration. as well as the President of Costa Rica. He was trying to impress us at that time as he is trying to impress travel agencies now.
Finally our expert Captain pulled Manta Raya up onto the beach and we got off. We were a small group. (September and October are the slowest months of the year)
My work day at the beach was wonderful. I ordered delicious Margaritas for Ana and Richie and myself and Bill had a Piña Colada. We were the testers. All of us were entertained while watching the crew expertly turn our area into a beautiful and elegant dining room, parachutes, white umbrellas and white table cloths and a fresh flower and big green leaf on each table.
Lunch was delicious and everyone ate everything. After lunch I went and sat in one of the new hammocks. Another test. The new hammocks, made by a fisherman out of sardine netting, are strong and comfortable and should last a few years.
While enjoying the hammock and digesting my lunch, I was joined by Perugina, the resident tame wild boar that lives on the island. She lay below me in the sand and I rubbed her ears and belly while she snored contentedly.
In the afternoon we were dropped off at Punta Coral. David had set up the croquet court and also made the bed in the casita/little house and also our bed in the big house. He put away all the groceries and then helped Juan Jose clean up the dust that the carpenter had made while working on the floor upstairs. As soon as we arrived everything was in order Bill and Ana marveled at the new floor upstairs. It is still not finished but once the railings and cabinets and drawers are completed it will be a beautiful suite.
In order to prepare the area upstairs for the new floor, the old plywood had to be removed and all the shelves and doors to the shelves had to be removed before placing the new floor of beautiful, rare, red Cristobol wood that we took out of the new Casa Calypso. (we replaced it with ceramic tile)
Removing the floor of the cabinets the carpenter and workers found a colony of millions maybe even trillions of ants living between the space between the floor and the bottom shelf of the cabinet. These ants are about one inch long with plump bodies and bite hard. They draw blood when they bite - not friendly at all.
The house is maybe 80 years old and who knows how long the ants have lived inside with us. Anyway, after they were removed, unfortunately they had to be sprayed and killed first because they weren’t going to leave without a fight; the workers filled a 5 gallon bucket more than ¾’s full with the dead ants. That is a lot of ants.
It started to sprinkle and we knew we couldn’t play croquet but we were entertained watching two small pangas/dingys make a tent from plastic and finished just as the sky opened up and it began to pour.
The Costa Rican Coast Guard boat pulled up and anchored off shore too. This is the boat that patrols the area looking for drug runners and the thieves that have been stealing boats and motors in the area.
On the floor near one of the small Laurel trees with woven trunks that are planted in cement pots was a scattering of what looked like unroasted coffee beans. I called Juan Jose over to ask if he knew what it was and he said it was the poop of a caterpillar. The caterpillar had to be pretty big to poop what was on the floor.
Ana and I looked through the leaves of the tree to find the beast, and couldn’t locate it. More poop fell to the floor. We kept looking but could not find the pooper. Juan Jose went and got the organic garlic spray and sprayed the tree. The three of us saw movement and then the caterpillar appeared, camouflaged in the tree because he is the same color. Wow! What a monster he was. The total length was as long as my middle finger and as big around. If we didn’t get rid of him, he probably could have devoured the tree in a few days.
Saturday, as soon as we finished coffee, we lathered on the sunscreen and played the first of many croquet tournaments. David and I had played the weekend before and have been reading the rules. Since we have the short version of the rules it was easier to play and the more we play the better we can read the 116 page rule book where every rule has at least four exceptions to it. Very confusing.
Anyway, the croquet wars were on. We played and the boys yelled at each other and we debated over movement or a rule or anything else. Since we had no referee, blood boiled. The workers were thoroughly entertained watching us hit balls all over the green lawn. We have a lot of hazards now too, with palm trees in the middle of the lawn and flowerbeds made of big rocks boarding the sides of the court and lumps and bumps and dips everywhere. It makes the game more exciting and fun to watch. After a while the boys calmed down and we all got serious about the game. We played teams. Me and David against Bill and Ana.
Since David is a golfer, he played well, but always wanted to tell me how to hit the ball and where. I wanted to hit him on the head with the heavy mallet, but then that wouldn’t be good sportsmanship would it? Each game takes about 2 hours to play.
Now that the trees on the grass are grown there is lots of shade to stand in while playing.
Still, the reflection of the rays of the sun bouncing off the ocean can burn your skin and we had to watch and make sure we always have sunscreen on.
My next project is to make sure David and I have white gauze pants and tops to play in as the color white is the official uniform. I will make a few sets to have on hand for guests. We are serious about this game. It is a lot of fun.
By the end of the weekend, I was voted as making the best shot. I hit the ball from one end of the court through a wicket located at the other end and as unbelievable as it looked even to me, the ball sped across the lawn and through the wicket at the other side. The crowd roared.
Another gift from the sea. On Saturday David went to the beach and found another amazing gift; another carving. This time it isn’t varnished and is a little bit weathered from the water, but it is still a carving and a carving of the casona/big house at Punta Coral. Amazing. First, the varnished carving with my name and a dolphin and now a new one with the carving of the house at Punta Coral. This is something out of the Twilight Zone. Don’t forget the new orange cat with the number 8 tattooed on his ear too or the truck that came to Casa calypso with the stone carvings I wanted. What is going on?
We had a lot of rain. Sunday night it rained all night long and filled the mop bucket to overflowing. It was still raining Monday morning and kept us from playing a last game before returning to civilization. David and I are still ahead.
We lost our grapefruit tree. It fell over in the early morning on Monday. Maybe it was all of the rain we have been having. It was full of fruit. I guess it was old. The tree will be missed.
Since there was no tour on Monday, Carlos, our captain came for us in the Amapola. It is good for the boat to run and not just sit. I hid under a towel because it started raining again; but luckily the gulf water was smooth and David could cross in record time – 23 minutes.
I brought a few plants for Casa Calypso and after planting them in the new garden, a short meeting with staff we headed for home.
We stopped for a delicious lunch at a restaurant in Puntarenas we have not been to before, but will return because of the delicious food.
. When we got to the airport, I called the beauty salon and was able to make an appointment for whenever I could get there. It took about a half hour, but since I was the only client, I was in and out in an hour and had all the ¨maintenance¨ I needed taken care of. Since we have been going up and down the hill to Puntarenas it has been difficult to find the time. Now I look better than Palin J I feel pretty – there is nothing like a pedicure.
Bryan is working and has been for two weeks. Tomorrow is his day off and he wants to take a friend and go on the Manta Raya to the beach. He wants to play volleyball with the crew, get some sun and exercise and drink Calypso’s delicious Piña Coladas.
Since I cleaned out his room and placed a big jar or dirt and 27 pieces of charcoal under his bed, Bryan is a changed man. J
It is time to go home and play catch with Happy.
It has not stopped raining since for a week. Houses, not ours, are sliding down hills and mountains. Flooding is everywhere. We had to cancel the tours for Wed, Thurs and now Friday because of the weather.
There is a tropical depression over Honduras and a hurricane over Puerto Rico. The weather report is two more days of the same.
Poor Bryan got up early on Wednesday morning to go to the beach on his first day off in two weeks and we had to cancel the tour. We cancelled at the breakfast stop and our bus returned to San Jose and Bryan got a ride on a public bus and went to Puntarenas anyway.
I took Wednesday off and read a book and played fetch with Happy.
Happy loves it when we throw his tiny fake mouse and he runs, slides across the floor sometimes bumping into furniture or the book case, retrieves the mouse and brings it to one of us and drops it at our feet to be thrown again, just like a Golden Retriever. J
The bummer is that sometimes he wants to play at 4:30am.
I just heard there was an earthquake I Mexico. There is certainly a lot of activity going on lately.
This is the news so far this week. If anything else happens I will write about it next week.
I love and miss you