The Pacific Coast
Nosara Travel Blog› entry 5 of 29 › view all entries
January 21st, 1997 – by: jsbuck1
We managed to find our way to Ruth and Ed's lovely villa in Nosara just about by sunset, but after the famous "green flash." Apparently we turned off the main road a bit late so we had an extended version of the "road" -- that is dirt, rocks and ruts- to Nosara. It was a surreal drive, again with few signs to reassure us that we were going the right way. After about 15 minutes on this "road," we came to what looked like a wide and deep stream across the road. A bicyclist rode through it, and it looked too deep to me for our Toyota Tercel. (4-wheel drives are prohibitive to rent.) I asked the bicyclist if he thought our car could make it, and I thought he said, "No.
At one point, we rounded a corner to encounter four horses, one with rider galloping towards us. I just stopped the car and they galloped around us, two on each side without slowing. The handsome caballero flashed us one of those great smiles. Later, we came upon two riders with a Brahma bull roped between their two horses. The bull was stopped with one rider in front and one behind.
Although we missed the green flash, we were in time for a couple of Ed's martinis that went down mighty easily.
The house is fantastic. It is on a hill about four hundred feet above the ocean. We can see a couple of miles of beach as it curves out to a rocky point to the South of us and on the North disappears behind the intervening hills as it goes up toward the village of Nosara. The breeze is gentle and cooling.
We have been entranced by the monos (howler monkeys) swinging in the trees. Ruth and I keep wishing we had tails because the tail is such a useful, articulate appendage for those monkeys! I am starting to fantasize about getting a costume/set designer to design a harness cum tail for my next bit of choreography...swinging from a tail sounds like more fun than standing on my head. Those monkeys have such manual dexterity, and their tails seem to telescope and stretch on command. Watching these beasts affirms my belief in evolution (not Stephen's though; he's a skeptic.) But instead of swinging from trees, Ruth and I go to a pool with a bunch of old ladies and do "agua aerobics" 3 times a week from 8 til 9 a.m.! It's not bad, though a bit boring. It's O.K. to be the "youngest" one at 51!!
The beach is stunning, broad and curved, great waves for surfing with a boogie board, warm water...(it's been in the 80's and low 90's here, but usually with a nice breeze-sorry, New Englanders: Adam Emailed us that it was 15 below in Vermont last weekend where they skiied!) Snorkeling in the tide pools is irresistible; I can see now why Martha likes to dive so much. We saw a school of vertically black and white striped fish with a blue ventral fin, a big yellow guy, a family of silver ones and one of those prehistoric-looking camouflaged "dogfish" types, about 18" long, hovering near the reef, perfectly disguised.
Those of you who have the pleasure of knowing the Ruth and Ed will understand that we rarely have a free moment here! Their social life is immense. We've had drinks and dinner with numerous gringo cronies as well as visiting the bar in "downtown" Nosara, that consists of a dusty soccer field, a small airstrip-the only paved one on this coast- A "super mercado" which redefines the word "super", a few bars, (the gringos start drinking early here...ourselves excepted) a "store" or two which sell a bit of everything, but mostly nothing you would want to buy! Everything happens pretty much "afuera"-outside- stores, restaurants, houses are often just covered by lean-tos of thatch or dried palm leaves. There is some poverty here, but if you have to be poor, this is the place to do it...you don't have to worry about heat or much about shelter. We all drove Cecilia, the young woman who cleans for Ruth and Ed, home one day. She lives in a veritable shack with her three children; apparently her husband is a not-so-nice guy who has disappeared. She's a lovely person who tolerates my Spanish very well. She said that some gringos have been here five to eight years and don't speak a word of Spanish, so she appreciated my efforts. Again, we are struck by the wealth they have here, that is the wealth of Nature and spirit...Living in a shack doesn't seem so bad, if most of the time you are living outdoors. It may get a little tough during the long, rainy season, though. Many roads become impassable then.
We are finishing up our first week in Nosara with a boca party here at our Casa. We are serving sashime that we have just caught ourselves on today's excitement, a six hour fishing trip. We went in a 16 foot open boat that Tom had built and we had to launch it through the surf which is quite a bit of fun. We trolled with lures and caught some mackerel and a reef bass. We also got two other fish that we used as bait to go after some rooster fish. They run about forty pounds. We did not catch any but I caught a ten pound grouper and Dawn fought with something for a long time until it became caught in the reef and got itself free. The view from the ocean is quite wonderful. Most of the coast is uninhabited. Tom our fishing guide has already sold this boat and will turn it over to the new owner when he goes back to California to build some houses.
Well, there is trouble in Paradise...just like everywhere else. Sunday, when most of the gringos - including us - were at parties and the fiesta was in town, four houses were broken into, including our's. Together we lost a couple of hundred dollars. Stephen and I had just been talking about feeling uneasy with the high contrast between gringo life here in Nosara which seems very wealthy, compared to Tico life which is economically still poor in small towns like this. I believe that it was probably "out-of-towners" that came in with the fiesta, but who knows. Well, as my friend Stan used to say, "Material loss is spiritual gain."
Anyhow, the fiesta was a hoot. The Costa Rican form of "bullfighting" consists of riding bucking bulls with friends from the audience jumping into the ring with red flags to excite the bulls. The riders don't hold on with their hands but do a wild flapping motion with the arms to try to stay on the bull. If they stay on long enough, they jump off the bull and run like hell to avoid the animal's vengeance. The beautiful part is the roping that the caballeros do to lasso the bull afterwards and get him to go back to the pen. They ride the horses at full speed and rope the bulls behind their backs
We had been here about 10 days before we were bitten by the bug...that is the surfing bug. Yes indeed, we've taken Deirdre's advice to be brave and wild, so I've started learning to surf...at 51! The beach here is a Mecca for surfers. Of course, the day we started, the waves were unusually large. I did great on day one, according to "Mouse," the old-time famous surfer here, but today, Stephen and I are both wrecked. It takes a lot of upper body strength to push up and bring both feet under you to stand up on the board. Too bad I'm not in shape as I was for doing "Memorial Day," when my upper body was really strong. We're just surfing in the whitewater now to learn, but you really have to fight those waves to get out far enough to ride in. When you get that wave and manage to get up on your feet and ride it in, it feels great....but I get worn out so fast. Every muscle aches, which I don't mind -- makes me feel like a dancer again -- but after an hour or so, I feel like I no longer have the strength to make it happen...another reminder of my chronological (not emotional) age! Anyhow, we both like a challenge. . and to learn new things, but we also like to be successful! I am not sure I have the time or stamina to really get to the point where I can do it well enough to go "afuera" which means outside in surfer lingo, way past the breakers, to wait for the big one."
There are folks here, from the states and from Europe, who kind of change their lives so they can spend 3 to 6 months here to surf every day. I have always loved the physical challenge of dancing, but for me making dances has "meaning" as well. I put myself though that physical agony to connect with other human beings, to get some idea or feeling across the footlights, to hear from the audience that they have thought about something new, or felt something familiar, or seen something beautiful. This surfing thing is an individual sport that for me, connects me with nature and all her power, taps some of my deepest fears (my writing group will understand), is very demanding and can be exhilarating...but I don't think it's something I could dedicate my life to. Also, surfing is a very male thing. There are 2 or 3 women here (Europeans) who do it, and about a hundred guys. So there's that thing about proving that my gender can do it, too!
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