BOB CORBETT'S TRAVEL JOURNAL -- 2005

Costa Rica 11 -- October 9, 2005
Soccer and food on Sunday

By Bob Corbett

Itís just a bit afternoon and Iím utterly exhausted. I bit off more than I could chew today, but not completely on purpose. But, before today, let me back track to yesterday, Sunday.

I live just 1/2 block from the soccer field, and Quepos plays in division three, amateur soccer, but in a national league. They were playing Liberia, a town in northwest Costa Rica. Most of the Tico locals turned out, and the ladies church society were barbequing shish-kabobs and selling beans and rice. It was festive.

But the game was rather poorly played on both sides, and brutally physical, with two players carried off on stretchers and three players sent off with red cards. The local boys prevailed 3-0 and I enjoyed the game.

Iím settling into some routines and Iím happy about them. I was eating too much. At home I seldom eat more than 2 meals and often only one. Here I was eating two big ones, and feeling too full, but so loving the food.

Now Iíve settled down a bit. I am taking my main meal each day at Soda Sanchez, where I quit drinking the tamarind juice just in case... But the food is so tasty and such a large platter for so little money. Yesterday, after the game I had the fish platter again and it was just marvelous. I went to the grocery store and purchased some tuna fish and crackers, and some little chocolate cookies. My plan was to eat my second meal of a can of tuna on crackers in my room.

But when evening came I just wasnít very hungry, so I ate a handful of peanuts and a few cashews, some water and then had a couple small cookies with a bit of rum. Recall I had been up late on Saturday night to 10:30, so last night I was sound asleep by 8 PM and up raring to go at 4 AM.

I started a new book, my fifth. The fourth was a really difficult book. The shortest book I read, only 98 pages, but very difficult. One of the most pessimistic books Iíve ever read. By Czech author Bohumil Hrabal and called TOO LOUD A SILENCE. He writes in the mode of Franz Kafka, and all the way through the book celebrates Albert Camusís writings on suicide. It was filled with symbolism and strange metaphors and I had to read many passages several times to understand them.

But, thatís the sort of book that thrills me most, one that challenges me intellectually to the core and flies in the face of much that I feel about human existence. Makes me think my own world more carefully. I appreciate an author who can do that and I will bite the bullet of difficulty and read more of Hrabal if it gets translated into English.

Now Iím reading a wonderfully interesting book about an anthropologist in Botswana, Africa and this is going to be a marvelous read I think. After this note Iíll find an air-conditioned place to read for a while, today is supposed to be very hot.

Now, back to biting off more than I can chew. I left my place today at 5:30 to get a good start on the beach before the sun was up. The beach is usually overcast in the mornings even when Quepos is sunny. And it was. I walked 3 and a half miles on the beach and just loved it, but since I choose to walk in the surf and softer sand, it is really hard walking, like walking in deep mud. I do that on purpose to get more exercise.

I was back home by 7:15. Iíd played with changing locations, that is from one place locally to another, and even entertained going elsewhere in Costa Rica or down to Panama. But, I realize:

So, Iím going nowhere. But, I want to check out a hotel in the mountains with supposed beautiful sea views. I rode the bus to the top, got off at the stop the guide book said and went off on a side road. The road began to go down toward the beach and I had to make a decision. If I go down I have to come back up and this was going down at a rate that Big Wade does in Dogtown, a very steep hill. But, if I clung tightly to the left side of the road, which soon changed from pavement to mud, I did have shade. I kept going and arrived at the place, already knowing if they were giving me the room FREE I wouldnít want to be this far from civilization. If one had a car this place might be awesome.

I was getting ready to trudge back up, dreading it, and decided, what the hell, I'm this far down, might as well see what else is here. I only went another 100 yards and I came to a gravel/mud road that said Manuel Antonio Beach Road, one mile. One mile to Manuel Antonio or one mile to the beach? Unclear. But, heck with it. And on, and on, and on and on I went until the road ended at the beach, just at the FARTHEST point I walk up the beach each day. So I knew I had a full 1 1/3 miles back to Manuel Antonio, if I walked the beach. I did and I was dragging, so now I have walked over 6 miles before noon.

I did vary my meal schedule today and plan to have two meals out, and just those two meals. Before I had taken that second trip up to Manuel Antonio I had gone to Soda Sanchez to try their breakfast. Oh my goodness it was just marvelous: Gallos pinta con heuvos. Black beans mixed with rice and served with toast and the best scrambled eggs I have ever tasted. A huge portion of all. That was 600 colones, a whopping $1.30. And then I had two cups of cafe con leche, that were the best Iíve yet had. The coffee bill was 500 (250 each) so my total was $2.38 before tip, no taxes added. I was at least stuffed when I went on that second walk.

Now, Iíll go back to the bit fancier Tico restaurant across from the bus station about 4 PM and have their fish dinner which I so loved before and a couple of Cerveza Imperial with that.

Still, a reasonable day.

It might seem to many of you that I should be ďseeingĒ Costa Rica, and even beyond to near-by Panama (south) or Nicaragua (north), but I havenít the slightest interest. I LIKE IT HERE. Iím having fun, many new experiences, reading some great books, loving my food, and enjoying the family Iím staying with who treat me so kindly.

Who knows, things could change in two days and Iíd be off, or they could stay the same and I wouldnít leave until time to come home. I havenít the slightest idea and donít care a wink. Iím just following my heart, and right now it says, ďBob, itís not likely to get much better, why go anywhere.Ē There are still those four new trails to explore, I need to go back to the national rain forest for the waterfall walk, and another mountain to climb to yet another beach inside the park. Yep, plenty of stuff going on.....

Bob Corbett

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