In my last entry, I left you at Barragona beach, enjoying life and the paradise that I found myself in.
Over dinner one evening I was talking with one of my new work mates about his home country, Costa Rica. He informed me that it is the safest and most developed in Central America as many of the other countries, such as Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua are ravaged by gang warfare, chiefly around the drugs trade. Costa Rica on the other hand is relatively gang free. I have to say that in the two weeks I have been in the country, I have never once felt unsafe. When I asked why that was, he explained that the country had abolished its army in 1948 and instead, focused the funding on education. This has resulted in a very skilled and motivated workforce and has seen huge multinationals such as P&G, HP, Intel and Oracle set up in the country?. With an educated population and good career prospects there is not the pull of gangs for desperate kids and so it hasn’t faced the problems of the rest of the region.
They found it very hard to understand that the United Kingdom, with its overseas dependencies such as Gibraltar and The Falklands, couldn’t go without an army but the idea is an interesting one. How much more developed would the world be without conflict I wonder? Or, maybe the question should be, how much less developed would it be?
Our host was keen to show us a hidden beach at Samara and, after driving over a bridge that he told us had crocodiles under it, we found the dirt path down to a beach, It didn’t look too hidden to me, but then we had to follow him around the corner of the bay on the volcanic rocks. Unfortunately the tide was already in, and coming in even further and fast, but it looked amazing. We were told that when the tide was out, the volcanic rocks became a natural swimming pool above the sea, but a very calm and tranquil one with an infinity pool feel about it. It was stunningly beautiful as it was, but we only had a few minutes to enjoy it for risk of being cut off by the tide. On the way back, literally my last step before being back safe on the beach, I lost my footing and ripped a hole in the bottom of my foot on the sharp rocks.
I didn’t cry, I’m a bit tough like that, but was a bit worried that the scent of my blood would bring sharks to the bay so I made a quick exit back to the car. On the drive back to the main beach in Samara, my driver did something that was typical of the Costa Rican way of life. He stopped his car in the middle of the main street, wound down his window and started chatting with his friend that was working in one of the bars. He was holding up traffic but having a good old chat then a guy in the car behind peeped his horn at him. The look of shock on his face was priceless. He looked at me and said with shock and surprise “This guy must be from out of town, what the hell does he want me to do?” I didn’t have the heart to respond “move out of the way?” it just didn’t seem like the right thing to do!
The main beach, unsurprisingly, was beautiful and I ate nachos and supped a cool beer while watching the sun gently slide below the horizon. The surf board gangs were slowly giving up and walking home; each of them looking like underwear models and putting me to shame with their bronzed and toned bodies. I bet they can’t handle a spreadsheet like me though, so think about that and cry yourself to sleep boys! The whole place was relaxed with the whiff of magic smoke in the air adding to that relaxation. It really didn’t need it.
The only problem, if you can call it that, was sleeping out
in the open air. I was going to say that the local mosquitos really enjoyed eating me, particularly around my joints, but I prefer to think of it as one very satisfied mosquito that couldn’t get enough of me.
One evening, our host had paid some of the local lads to arrange a fire on the beach for us. It was made of three tree trunks, maybe 6 feet in length, arranged into, what looked like, a funeral pyre. The area Inside the three trunks was filled will smaller logs and branches and, the most flammable item in the world, dried palm leaves. As a special treat the lads has also put a few coconuts in there too, just for devilment. Once they heated up they exploded like hand grenades. All good fun. Someone had brought down a bluetooth speaker and there were mystical tunes being played and a lot of mystic dancing going on around the fire. Not by me though.
I just stood and watched and wished I had some marshmallows.