Soaking Beans

Sunrise surfer

Yesterday, my first full day in Tamarindo, was mostly cloudy, and this kept the temperature around 88 degrees. I got all settled in my apartment and made arrangements to stay here the entire two weeks. The plan had been to move to Hotel C. on Friday. I went up there and told the manager my decision. Thanking me for letting him know, he said he didn’t blame me, considering the savings I’m realizing. He seemed rather ill at ease, and it had nothing to do with me. His story was that he’d fled Philadelphia in December after a big fight with his family. He also mentioned owing money to a lot of people. I wondered if he’d been in trouble with drugs.

Just before going up there, I’d had a nap. Of course, as soon as I was first dozing off, a truck came up the road and then back down it, blaring the announcement for a concert. This is a fairly typical way of getting out your message in Costa Rica. Two years ago I missed the one for the electricity shut-off because of some construction work. Finding the apartment suddenly without power, I had no recourse but to go to the beach.

Another errand found me returning to Super 2001 because it had struck me that if I’m going to make my own gallos pintos (the black beans and rice), I’ll probably need something besides the beans and the rice, which I had purchased on Tuesday. A very nice girl who was stocking shelves told me to soak the beans for two hours and then to cook them two more hours with garlic. She also recommended adding cilantro and onion and sweet pepper and some “English sauce.” I picked up everything that’s needed, according to her formula. So the beans have been soaking and I’ll get everything going this afternoon. I should ride the free shuttle out to the big, modern supermarket outside town where there’s a better selection of groceries. I’d like to buy some frozen shrimp and include it in the gallos pintos. On the other hand, when I’ve been in the bigger supermarkets before, I’ve wondered why the hell anybody needs to choose from among dozens of kinds of white rice and dozens more of black beans. Meanwhile, one of my correspondents asked why I’d bother in the first place instead of buying canned beans. I guess it’s my quest for authenticity.

The Queen of the Mangroves

The maid is here again, this time Marisel’s sister, Diana. She tells me that she’s 21 years old and studies criminology at a private college in Santa Cruz, which is about 40 miles away. (It’s the largest city on the Nicoya peninsula.) She attends classes on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and does her homework during the weekday evenings. Diana today and Marisel yesterday have both asked if my wife and I have children. I told Diana that we had some, but we ate them. And they were delicious! This produced a nervous laugh. She wasn’t certain I knew what I’d just said. I also told her it is currently minus six degrees Celsius in Ann Arbor.

“Hot or cold?” she asked.

“Cold,” I assured her.

Diana is the first person I’ve met who even claims to know where Michigan is, so I’m very impressed.

I’m still reading “Wyxie Wonderland” for my DBusiness story. Dick Osgood was a superbly lively writer and his account of the early years of radio in Detroit is fascinating. Now I’m getting to work.

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