The other day we drove to San Isidro de General, which is a about a 50 minute drive from where we live. San Isidro is the closest “big” town; it has a McDonald’s and a shoe store on every corner. Not sure what’s up with all the shoe stores, but I do know the Costa Rica women like their very high heeled shoes. There were high heels with short shorts, which is quite a sight to see or maybe not 🙂 The Catholic Church is the local landmark as in most towns in CR and this one has a public parking lot, which is convenient.
We came into town to pick up some parts for our Toyota Hilux and to visit one of the Ferretería (hardware store). The hardware stores here aren’t anything like the ones in the U.S. You can’t just browse around…you go up to a counter and ask for what you want to buy. If you don’t know exactly what you need, then you are escorted by an employee to find what you need. Eddie wanted to buy some lumber to make some shelves for the closet. I decided to wait in the car. Eddie was gone for a long time, which wasn’t a surprise. The people watching wasn’t the best on this street, so out of extreme boredom, I started reading the little phone book for the Southern Zone of CR. I discovered that it’s much more than a phone book!
In between the ads, there are little tidbits of advice – some practical and some very funny ones. Here are a few of my favorites:
- You’ve Adapted to Life Here When: You were never considered a “morning person,” but the sun shining and the birds chirping wake you up quite consistently. You stop assuming water and electricity are available every day. Instead, when you wake up, you check to see if either or both are working. You learn to keep an extra bottle of water (or five) handy. Butterflies are a part of your bedroom decor. Not the plastic ones or fabric kind; the flying, fluttering kind. When you see a few ants floating in your tea, you don’t dump the tea; you spoon the ants out and keep drinking.
- Getting Rid of Fire Ants: Simply pour 2 cups of CLUB SODA directly in the center of a fire ant mound. The carbon dioxide in the water is heavier than air, and displaces oxygen which suffocates the queen and the other ants. The whole colony will be dead within about two days. Each mound must be treated individually and a one liter bottle of club soda will kill 2 to 3 mounds.
- You’ve Adapted to Life Here When: When you wake up to an unknown insect crawling on your arm, you don’t shriek: you brush it off and go back to sleep. You stop buying all your fruit from the store and start pulling it from the trees. you stop expecting people to show up “on time” and you switch your eternal clock to Tico Time. If you really need someone to meet you at a specific time, you tell them a time earlier than your actual meeting time. You have more bug bites than freckles. You always have rice ready.
- Sunburn Remedies: Living in the tropics means much more exposure to very harsh sun conditions. Many people tend to forget that Costa Rica is only 9 degrees from the equator and the sun’s rays are that much more direct here, even on those cloudy days. Some easy remedies: 1) The old favorite is vinegar – pour some vinegar into a bowl, then use a cloth to spread over the affected area. You will then smell like a salad for the rest of the day, though. 2) Egg whites- separate the white from the yolk of some eggs. Place into a bowl, then use a cotton ball to spread over the affected areas. 3) Black tea – place a few bags of standard black tea into a mug of cold water. Let stand until the water is dark, then use a cotton ball to spread over the affected area. This remedy is the most effective, cheapest and easiest to find.
- You’ve Adapted to Life Here When: You take your rain jacket or an umbrella everywhere, even when the sun is shining. You stop cursing the rain and are actually grateful for it. It is, after all, the reason much of Costa Rica is such a gorgeous green. You schedule outdoor activities from some time between 6 AM and 1 PM. Instead of squashing the creepy crawlies you find in your house, you either let them be, chase them outside or capture and release them. Advanced move: You lean in for a closer look to see what new creatures you are sharing hour home with. Your decision about what to wear involves this rule: If there are no visible stains on an article of clothing and you don’t cringe when smelling it, it’s clean.
Yesterday late afternoon, we decided to take a walk on the beach and we saw a gorgeous sunset! Enjoy.