Are a thousand words worth a picture?

(To read El Gringo Feo’s Costa Rica Diary from the beginning, start here.)

Thursday, September 6

A scene from yesterday’s beach combing.

These posts have become a torrent of words, partially because uploading images puts nasty dents in my Kolbi phone account balance, but also because my humble iPhone SE leaves a lot to be desired as a camera. When I do find a wireless network, the data trickles more than it streams.

So we’re left with words, Thousands of them. And the occasional photo, like the one above.  I know this stands in opposition to everything the Internet has devolved to. Lo siento, amigos.

At the farmers market yesterday I stocked up on asparagus, green beans, papaya, mangos, bananas and onions. I looked at the homemade peanut butter one woman was selling, but 7,000 colones for a big jar struck me as batshit. That’s about $14 bucks, more than I spent on everything else combined. So instead I stopped at el supermercado later to pick up a few cans of tuna (packed with jalapeños) for those times I need a quick jolt of protein. I haven’t eaten meat (with the exception of seafood) since leaving the States. Not missing it much, especially when I can grab a lunch like the one I had yesterday for about 10 bucks.

There’s a soda, or small hole-in-the-wall restaurant, right next-door to PurVita. It’s called El Nueva Jungla and is run by a 40s-ish man and a younger woman whom I believe is his daughter. I had a generous helping of Ceviche de Pez and followed up with Arroz con Mariscos, which included a small side salad and fries. The rice and seafood was swimming with clams, mussels, white fish and crab. All for $4 bucks less than that jar of peanut butter would have cost. While I ate, the owner switched on the TV news out of San José, where they were paying tribute to Javier Rojas González, a radio sports journalist who recently died at 79. I was proud to be able to follow along, vaguely, as they discussed his life and career in Spanish. Working men arrived at the soda one by one, ordering lunch to go. While I ate extravagantly, you can get a solid meal there for about 4 or 5 bucks. I was impressed, once again, with Tico ingenuity. The takeout meals included drinks poured into plastic bags, presumably to be consumed via straw at their destination. It made it a lot easier to tote four or five drinks than it would have with styrofoam cups. Probably cheaper, too.

I bracketed my trip to the soda with a pair of visits to the beach. I normally walk along the highway to the Wednesday farmers market and then return via the beach since there’s an unguarded entrance near the market and I can slip in without paying the $6/day fee. Not this time. A polite but firm guard collected my fee, which I paid in colones. So I figured If I’m going to pay, I’m getting my fill of saltwater and sand. I spent time watching the waves in the morning during my hike home, sitting beside a backpack bristling with fruits and veggies and a giant bag of bananas. I returned after my lunch at the soda for more. I saw a pair of osprey shriek overhead while a fisherman worked the surf, tossing a treble hook out, yanking the line back in quick, short bursts to snag schooling fish in the churning water. It’s the best 6 bucks I spent yesterday. Any day, for that matter.

I spent a few hours in the evening banging my head off a Spanish book. Then the rains came, not as violently this time, but persistently, lasting well past midnight. I closed the night listening to a 2014 George Clinton interview on the New York Public Radio podcast. Damn, that’s one funky guy. He discussed some of the details of the recording of Maggot Brain and how the Parliaments morphed from a Motown-focused outfit to the mashup of Funk and psychedelia they ultimately became. “We were too black for white people, and too white for black people,” he said. But somewhere in there, they found an audience, a yin-yang of fans who defied categories and got funked up.