(To read El Gringo Feo’s Costa Rica Diary from the beginning, start here.)
Monday, September 17
I had a little fling on Saturday with a girl named Misha. Total babe.
She’s a rescue dog who belongs to Gian, a friend of mine who kindly agreed to drop off some of the incredible bread his partner, Sara, makes. They’re both Italian and know their way around a kitchen. I usually walk to the farmers market on Saturdays, largely to get some of that bread, but with the ankle still swollen and gimpy I decided to beg Gian to drop some off for me.
As a bonus, he brought Misha with him. She’s a high energy rescue pitbull who is insanely sweet. As Gian apologized for her frenetic jumping around, I stepped forward to get a face full of dog. What a great way to boost my spirits. I love watching dogs play on the beach, but they’re usually attached to their Tico humans so I can’t do much canoodling with them.
Misha ricocheted around the porch while Gian and I talked, chasing her favorite toy, a coconut. Each time I’d throw it for her, it would bounce hollowly across the patio with a series of clunks until Misha would chase it down and bring it back for more.
I felt a little guilty about playing with Misha while poor Sunny is sitting at home. But not too guilty. Lara texted me a photo of Sunny chewing on one of her favorite treats on Sunday and says she’s doing really well. Of course, Sydney the Cockatoo from Hell is being a royal pain. When I was there, I took care of the dog and Lara took care of the parrot, but with me in the jungle Lara is pulling double duty, and Sydney is completely ticked off that he has to share her affection with a lowly canine.
Foot update: Things are about the same. It’s still swollen and sore, but I continue to take solace in the fact that it’s not getting worse. I’m doing a good job of staying off it, but my impatience is mounting. Today marks one week since I sprained it and while I’d like to see the swelling down, everything I’ve read suggests it can take several weeks before there’s real improvement. I have a reliable taxi and Gian has offered to drive me around if need be, so I’m feeling pretty good about things. I do hate these sunny mornings though, knowing I could be down at the beach frolicking with the Tico puppies. We seem to be moving into the teeth of the rainy season. Mornings generally are nice, but around 3 clouds move in and it rains anywhere from a few hours to all night. The sound of the rain pinging off the metal roof of the Treehouse is soothing so no complaints there.
I’m closing in on the end of Middlemarch and I’m completely smitten. There are times when I want George Eliot to just cut to the chase and move the plot along, but her writing is so engaging and, at times, downright snarky, that I’m willing to indulge her. It really is a masterpiece of interwoven plots and character development. Initially, I was worried about how I was going to keep track of all the characters, but she breathes them so full of life that they rise up off the page and take a seat beside you. I switched over to my U.S. phone number on Sunday so I could call home, which also comes with a half-gigabyte of data. I sucked that down quickly downloading more reading material, including Bleak House by Dickens, Aristotle’s Poetics, the complete works of William Shakespeare and Turgenev’s Father and Sons. I’ve been heavily mining Project Gutenberg for items in the public domain, and I found several pretty cool bargains on Amazon’s Kindle store (i.e. 50 Masterpieces You Have to Read Before You Die, including works by Conrad, Dante, Austen, Dostoyevski, Melville … the list goes on. Not bad for 49 cents.)
I’ve also been listening to a lot of music. Saturday night was blues night, starting with East-West and The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw by Butterfield Blues Band and then Rory Gallagher’s first album with Taste. Last night I cruised through a playlist packed with music by Ike Reilly, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Bap Kennedy, John Prine and Gillian Welch. And oh, yeah, there might have been four or five versions of “Sweet Jane” in there, too. I’m nothing if not consistent. The Cowboy Junkies version is sublime, but I also love the live version from Cold Beans & Bacon and, of course, the Velvet Underground’s original.
And finally, I have been working on The Book. I bogged down in chapter 3 over details, especially a scene where the protagonist uncovers a stash of letters from the 1890s that will launch a parallel, epistolary plot line. It dawned on me I know little/nothing about what those letters would look like — the type of paper, the ink, the envelopes. So I’m doing some research along those lines.