Sunset Puma

In the sitting area of my apartment here in Tamarindo, I have a TV, but after a week the screen remains dark. I’ve seen TV in a couple of places when I’ve ventured out. One time was at the motorcycle rental outfit on Sunday morning, where they were watching Italian League soccer en vivo. The game, according to the graphics in the picture, was between MIL and ATL. The employee who was most intent on the game could only tell me that MIL was Milano. As I follow soccer about as closely as crewel, I was unable to fill in the blank behind ATL.

The other occasion for TV was my breakfast last Friday at the Coral Reef, a grandiosely named little soda with about six tables and a huge sign out front promising Comida Típica e Internationale, which suggests the choice of beans and rice or truffles and soufflés. The first table I was shown was too dirty, so I was moved to another. Of course I passed the international fare and had the typical scrambled eggs with beans and rice. Their set was showing CNN en Español, and the reporters were talking about the economic crisis in Greece. It helped me to feel pretty much up-to-date. If only Senators Chris Dodd and Bob Corker, hanging around longer during last week’s five-nation tour of Central America, had dropped in for  breakfast with me, I could have received an exclusive briefing.

In the past two years here, I’ve played music on Yahoo! Radio, but that’s been turned over to CBS Radio and now I’m unable to pick up the feed. This morning I was inclined to tune in to Detroit’s WWJ. It’s salutary to hear the report about traffic on the Big Five and tie-ups in the Mixing Bowl and then reflect on the utter irrelevance of this news—even more so than most days when I’m merely working from home in Ann Arbor.

So I have a few CDs. So far I’ve listened to two: “Highway to Hell” and “Back in Black.” Aside from the fact that she could never have abided AC/DC—at least there was no report of “Let There Be Rock” among her effects when she passed in the 1990s—and particularly because the voltage boys from Down Under glory in their descent into Hell—I almost feel like my grandmother: “Sakes, perhaps I’ll listen to the Victrola again tonight.” Mostly, I just enjoy hearing the dogs and monkeys and birds, the Super Compro announcement that blared from a truck the other day, and the roaring of ATVs and motorcycles and cars and trucks. It seems the vehicles make more than their share of racket at odd hours during the night. I’ve received no monkey news today, but they’d congregated in a grove about 150 yards away last evening, and when I saw them on my return from an invigorating sunset session of body-surfing, they duly extended greetings to my readers.

I’d given Susan a little update on a couple of people we know here. This morning I bought coffee from the tiny Italian cafeteria next door and recognized the star tattoos on the shoulders of the woman who got it for me: Silvia, the Italian who’s married to a Tico. Last year she owned the Laundromat we went to near Hotel Chocolate. She said the location was too far up the hill from the beach, and she had to close. Much money was lost. Now she’s an employee in this little place, which ain’t air-conditioned and is pretty dusty besides, being right on this Y-intersection with Portofino, among others. But as I told her, at least she has a job. I thought there was something familiar about her when I went in there yesterday. She had a little stereo set playing, and the opening chords of “Roxanne” were just starting. I mentioned that I’d seen The Police live in 2008.

“So did I.”

“Really, where?”

“Venezia,” she said.

There’s a Canal Zone much closer than that, but I doubt she could have caught that kind of Sting there.

And Saturday as I was going down to the beach I passed Carminia Moncada’s old shop, where she sold her handmade jewelry in addition to having some phones for international calls and a couple of computers for the Internet. The shop, repainted white after her garish, jabbering Rasta paint job, now offers women’s swimming suits, but it’s hard to imagine many sell. The girl in the shop said Carminia lives in San José and works for a fashion designer. At least I think that’s what she said. Something to do with the fashion industry, anyway.

Either I had a faulty recollection of how much money I’d brought along, or things weren’t adding up. I had to cash my last $200 in traveler’s checks. At first, after I’d got set up last week, I thought I wouldn’t need this dough. Well, after going through receipts, it looks as though everything does add up.

After the bank this morning, I went to Super Compro (those noisy ads work!) and bought enough provender to through the next week, faulting only such things like bananas and eggs. I even bought a half-kilo of hamburger and three sliced ham steaks because I’m tired of tuna and sardines with my beans and rice. (Last night I did include a lettuce salad with carrot slices and a bit of avocado.) Some shrimp remain in the freezer. My primary concern is that there should be enough money for renting a motorcycle on the weekend, and it appears that won’t be a problem. Besides the checks I tendered today, I have $55 USD to cover the departure tax ($26), which can be prepaid at the bank, and the airport shuttle ($18).

Just back from my sundown visit to the beach, and who’d I see at Le Beach Club? It was the La Puma herself, K—-, and lover boy A—, squeezing together into one of those hanging basket chairs, drinks in hand. I’ve been telling a couple of my e-mail correspondents about this couple, who are my apartment neighbors. When I flopped into a chaise lounge at the pool on Saturday afternoon, K—- paddled up in her black one-piece and started chatting with the newbie. She divulged that she lives in Asheville and Charleston and is in the home-care biz with her mom. She said “we” had been in Nicaragua for a couple of weeks before coming to Tamarindo.

She said she's from Denver (he's from Toronto), and just last week she was riding a snowboard.

Then A— came out, and I realized he wasn’t her son. He’s tall and slender, platinum on top and hairless in the middle. I guess he’s twenty-six and she’s forty-eight or fifty. Seeing the report I was reading on batteries for electric cars, she put in that A— is an electrical engineer. Something else had already led her to designate him a Canadian. Neither should count against him.

This evening, as long as I had the advantage of excellent lighting due to another rock ’em-sock ’em sunset, I walked right up to their cozy chair, which dangled from the limb of a tree.

“Hello, Ronald,” K—- said.

I told them I thought they must have decamped because I hadn’t noticed them today.

“Oh, we just stayed inside and were on the Internet.”

“Right,” I thought. “You just stayed inside and played filthy degrading sex games.”

K—- has that ex-cheerleader, ex-Kappa-president look, but despite an arresting bosom (even in her black one-piece) and nice legs, I don’t find her remarkable. A— is tall and slender and is in fact balding, so that he combs his platinum hair forward and lets it sweep across the high forehead. He didn’t seem completely comfortable with my interloping, but I’m certain it delighted her. I’ll strive to get a picture of them—sniping it paparazzi-style, if necessary. And I want more of their story. Let’s see what Marisel, the maid, has to say.

I’m also interested to hear Marisel’s take on the Colombian woman who comes into the office from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. (When I peeked in yesterday and asked her favorite auto carrerista colombiano, she said, “Juan Pablo.”) Last week the air conditioner malfunctioned, and I gabbed with the repairman José, a Nicaraguan, about the gorgeous babe in the front office. He said she’s really rich. I don’t know if that means spiritually, temporally, or physically.

I bought a half-kilo of “premium” ground beef today and am going to treat myself to meat and potatoes tonight. I’ve had enough gallos pintos for a while. Trying to remember the “gallo,” which as the reader probably knows is “rooster,” I consulted my dictionary and found a couple of gems:

Matar a uno el gallo en la mano: This one’s a little bit too loquacious for me to translate literally, although it looks like: Kill somebody with a rooster in hand. But it means: Floor somebody with an argument, shut somebody up.

En menos que canto un gallo: Literally, in less than a rooster crows (or sings): Colloquially, In an instant.


After the beach I stopped at Super Compro and bought some beer. There’s a cute senorita cashier who, alas,must have gone through a windshield. Her face, especially around the left eye and upper lip, along with that side of her neck, is a crazy quilt. Still, not an unattractive girl. When I got back to the apartment and put on my readers, I saw that she’d charged me for a bag of ice, and it was 1290 colones ($2.25). So I trudged back through the dusty street and demanded a refund. I’m so glad for the ability to express myself in these situations.

“Me exculpa!” she said.

Of course, dear one! You’re exculpated!  

As Edward Abbey wrote, “A beautiful woman can do no wrong.”

2 thoughts on “Sunset Puma

  1. Sneezemom writes:

    Ah ha!!!! Confirmed cougar! It’s really becoming a big deal…shows on TV, movies, etc. There are several types…..striped cougar who is basically renting a guy for a trip (men have done it for years!), the spotted cougar, who thinks they are in love but she’s actually just in heat, and the camouflaged cougar who didn’t want to travel alone so, again, rented an escort for the trips.) These guys are often gay but if paid well enough will cross the line, so to speak.

    A hairless blond comb-over light on personality? She probably got him cheap. There are more guys than I care to imagine who make a decent living escorting single older women around the world and pretending to be their lovers. They are notorious on cruise ships, which is where I learned a bunch about this stuff from a bartender one night while M. was in the casino. The men escort the ‘ladies’ to dinner, dance in the ballroom, and when the lady is tucked in, he heads to the crew quarters where most of them are gay.

    This guy said the going rate was cost of the trip, all food and drink, plus, in some instances, $1000 per day. So we’ve decided what you are, sir, now all we need to haggle about is the price.

    This stuff has always been done, only recently has it gone public, so to speak, with Courtney Cox and the like. The types of cougars are my way of categorizing. None of these are endangered species, in fact they are multiplying at an alarming rate.

  2. According to my twenty-something children, the term “puma” refers to a woman in her 20s or 30s dating younger men, sort of a “cougar in training.” “Cougar” refers to a woman over 40, and Wikipedia notes the use of “Artic Fox” in the UK for a post-menopausal woman who pursues significacntly younger men (menopause being analogous to the barren artic region). Men, long practitioners of the same, are called “Bobcats” or “Manthers,” (or dirty old men). It’s fascinating that there is so much scrutiny and labeling of the older female/younger man relationship of late. Mrs. Robinson, anyone?

    Popular culture has noted the presence of the gigolo for a long time. “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” comes immediately to mind. Whether these travelers were a legitimate couple or a financial arrangement (which most marriages are anyway) doesn’t really matter. More interesting is our fascination with labeling such a relationship as though it is any of our business or affects our lives in any significant way. I suppose it’s the influence of the papparrazi culture and the incessant need to know every detail of everyone’s life.

    I can’t imagine wanting anything to do with a much younger man, but I can’t judge another for their sexual preference, either.

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