This is the email I get from Mat Becker right before I fly down to meet him and his wife Becky for a week in Costa Rica :
OK I hope you get this.
Bring clove cig. for Becky Dejarum (?) Couple more Copenhegans and when you land
you must now go to Golfito it is a town to the north.
We sent Becky and Shawn north but the roads are so bad we can´t get back to you in San Jose. We are at the air port in Golfito waiting for you. AS SOON AS YOU LAND GET YOUR BAGS AND TELL SOMEONE YOU NEED A FLIGHT TO GOLFITO ON TRAVELAIR OR SANSA. THIS IS NOT A JOKE YOU WILL SEE WHEN YOU GET HERE. IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO CALL ANYONE SO IF YOU NEED TO MAKE ANY CALLS MAKE THEM NOW.OH YES BRING SUN BLOCK. THE PRICES SWING ALL OVER THE PLACE. WHEN YOU LAND GET ON A PLANE. BRING COPENHEGAN SUN BLOCK
AND CLOVE CIG. FLY (ONE WAY TICKET$55-85.00) TO GOLFITO. WE ARE AT THE HOTEL SIERRA TEL:775-0666 or 775-0336 in room 202. No phone but they have an alligator. Get ready to go back in time about fifty years. MAT (I hope you get this) ps hope you get this
His wife being there is the only reason I'm not sure we will soon wind up playing jug and washboard in the San Jose All-Prison Band and now I realize I forgot her cigarettes. The flight to Golfito was fucked, a 12-seater single prop landing on a dirt runway like I was a Colombian drug-runner. No airport, just some guy with one arm missing at the shoulder with an orange cone. Hotel is right off to the side, alligator and all.
Golfito is not, as Becker said, to the north. It's south, down near Panama. But it doesn't matter cuz we're leaving immediately. Mat is a bit of a paranoid and is sure "something fucked up" is going on wherever he is. And of course something fucked up is going on in Golfito so we check out, load up the rental and drink warm Pilsen beer as we tool up the windy jungle roads to Dominical, a little surfer hang out two hours north.
Mat is a bit of a paranoid and is sure "something fucked up" is happening wherever he is. And of course something fucked up is going on in Golfito so we to check out, load up the rental and drink more warm Pilsen as we tool up the windy jungle roads to Dominical, a little surfer hang out two hours north.
We get a room with a double and single bed for 45 bucks right on the dirt road that parallels the beach and I can barely manage to stay awake for the sunset. Between the travel and the beer I'm out by 6, half-hanging off the hammock outside the room. I wake up later that night about 10:30 to find the town is shut down. Completely. Not even a Coke machine. And I'm wide awake. I eat some cookies Becker had left on the nightstand (possibly for Santa, knowing Becker) and then break the first rule of travel by drinking the water. No mind. The way I drink beer, firm stool is something I've grown accustomed to living without.
buenos huervos - spent 10,000 colones on pogo stick tour of kilamanjaro before thinking to look at a globe - waited two hours for him to come back with my change - still waiting -
current exchange rate; 2 dollar american-style breakfast equal to 4 days violent intestinal disorder -
local fashion for ladies is heft and they are wearing it spillingly! -
balls constantly clung to inner thigh - unsure if cause is humidity or if they're just plain scared -
must go bring jesus to locals as well as small pox
puente mal en estade,
In the morning we head North again to Quepos to the Tulemar Bungalows, octagonal bungalows overlooking the coast where monkeys regularly come right up out of the jungle that surrounds the pool/bar area. No monkeys came when I was there. They knew better. I been in this jungle without a woman for far too long.
Tonite we pace ourselves and are shitfaced by 7 instead of 6, hanging around the hotel bar watching the sunset and fucking with some tourists before heading into town. Town isn't much but a couple dozen bars but they had some slip-shod carnival going on - a pick-up-and-go type of thing that you'd see in any shithole Burlington, Iowa town in middle America. Becker and I cruised thru - opting to not take any chances with the "El Whirlo De Tilto" - and see a guy taking tickets at the door of this sheet metal ramshackled arena. I look in and see some kinda rodeo shit so we pay about 3 bucks and head in.
The place has about 6 rows of benches in a wide circle around the arena and looks like its built for cock-fights or Russian Roulette matches. About 6 feet down to the floor is this bullfighting/rodeo event where a guy rides the bull out of the gate until he gets thrown and then a couple of low rent matadors fuck with it like crazy.
Thing is, there's about a dozen other people in the ring just running like hell from the bull and we realize that they are just people from the crowd. One of them is some American frat-boy shit-stick who waits for the bull to get lassoed up before taunting it and kicking dirt at it. No wonder people hate us. I ask the guy behind me if anyone can go in the ring and he says yes but I can't tell if he's fucking with me. Sarcasm is the last thing to transcend the language barrier.
We say "fuck it" and head back down the stairs and under the stands and sneak out thru the fence into the ring where we wait for the next bull. The fence is three wooden slats that people in the ring have been climbing up for safety when the bull comes at em but I'm not much of a climber and I'm drunk so I spot where there's enough room to go under if need be.
The first bull comes out and I jump to run and immediately slip in the gravel, eating shit and taking lots of skin off my hands and knees. The people are laughing with me, not at me, I'm sure of it. When the bull comes my way I dive under the fence, losing more skin and realizing I need a better plan. I find a place where there is a 2 foot vertical gap in the fence where I can slip thru if need be and set up camp.
When the bull finally does come my way, I just stand my ground and eyeball it. I'm drunk and think I'm Doctor Dolittle as this thing stops completely and stares me down from 5 feet away. For a moment he is peaceful and can obviously see that I am not like the others, that I mean him no harm. I'm sure of it.
Then it starts to get riled up again as I see red banners being shook at him over my shoulder right in front of my face. Some little cunt of a gold-toothed man was behind me, jammed into my escape route waving fucking red at the bull. I knock him out of the way as the thing comes at me and wish I knew at least one Spanish vulgarity.
He does it again on the next bull and I tell him very slowly "I will punch you in the face very hard." I know he doesn't speak English but the cop behind him does and gives me the appropriate stink-eye and we decide to leave.
We spend the next few days on the beach in Jaco, drinking beer and taking it easy. Took a zip-line tour of the rainforest, racing over a cable on a pulley from tree-house to tree house a hundred feet over the jungle floor. Becker was laid up for a day thereafter riding a Bogey board head-wise into the ocean floor. Took hair right off his head. Found out real quick that you can get pain-killers easy with no prescription. We all slept well from there on in.
Arroz con Chorizo Chino!
After a wonderful morning of breakfast at Bob's Big Boy and souvenir shopping at Big K and Ross Dress For Less, we realize we are not in Costa Rica but Costa Mesa / Continued south after strong words with travel agent /
Newsflash! Becker goes head and neckwise into ocean floor in a 6 foot wave / concern for his wellbeing usurped by knowledge of readily available muscle relaxers with no prescription / not the panacea we had hoped as local diet requires some muscles, ie sphincter, to remain ever vigilant/
Today's exchange rate: One American picture is worth 38,160 Costa Rican words /
Locals drink Coke from old style glass bottles / impossible to figure out which one is God /
Upcoming presidential election all the talk / Have declared ourselves Perez men through and through and will have words with any who say otherwise / Lack of a Perez on the ballot is of no concern to us /
Coming Soon ... Paralyzing blood vomits.
Missing you very much
Douglas Gene Stanhope
We head back toward the city on the highway of death. The major highway that runs thru the country is a windy two lane that's more like a 1 /12/ lane that they somehow turn into a three lane. It's like Laurel Canyon, only here the guy in the flatbed pig-hauler ahead of you isn't losing his cell phone reception to his agent. The only reason there aren't more deaths is that it's rare you see a car in good enough condition to achieve the power to kill.
Becky is so frazzled by the three hour drive that we take the first easy hotel we see in the city - The Airport Hampton Inn - which we'd seen signs for 100 times during the drive up, like big American herpes dotted across the otherwise clear beautiful ass of Costa Rica. In times of frustration it's natural to move toward something familiar. We should have just stopped for a beer. The Hampton Inn sucked all the flavor straight out of the last 5 days and sanitized it for our protection. We plopped down 100 bucks for a room and I was immediately back on the road in Omaha, Dayton, Charlotte or a million other places watching CNN and getting mad at the world.
We had to get in city mode and that would first require beer. Then we got a shuttle to the mall and finally found Becky's clove cigarettes so everyone was happy. Our hotel shuttle driver, Geraldo, recommends the Blue Marlin at the Del Rey Hotel in San Jose for a good time. It says Hotel Casino on the sign but this is a whorehouse first and foremost. Wall to wall. Whores. And some really good looking ones. I'd heard about the hookers down here from many people but just the term "Costa Rican Whore" conjures images of bedraggled street-walkers with wiggly teeth and eye-rotting syphillis. Not the case at all. I been to whorehouses in Nevada and this place was in a different league all together. I decided this is where I have to stay on the next night, my last night before leaving. Fuck that Hampton Inn.
We played roulette, drank beer and watched whores for a few hours til Geraldo came back, just in time before we may have put Becky on the market. There's a tittie bar across from the Hampton so we pop in for a nightcap. Empty, dingy and dark with barely a half-dozen folks in there - we're immediately set upon by two Filipino girls who want drinks real bad. Must not have drank in days these girls. Of course their drink cost ten bucks a piece but I'd just won 50,000 colones (150 bucks sounds like so much less) in roulette so why not play the game. Becky whipped out the camera and I was surprised that they let us take pictures at all til I realized that ten bucks could buy a lot in this country, maybe even their freedom. Lap dances here are done fully clothed, the only place they get naked is on stage which is conveniently the darkest spot in the bar. As much as they talked about their babies, I'm sure that's a good thing.
Becky and Mat still had a week left here and we parted ways in the morning - them North to the rain forests and me just into the city to whore country. But not before we noticed the many signs in the Hampton Inn saying "100 % Satisfaction Guarantee!" And we weren't satisfied. I had been told that they had Internet service when I checked in but it was down all night. Therefore I was only 95 % satisfied and told them so. The girl was dumbstruck and bickered before getting her supervisor who did the same but finally caved in and gave me my money back. He was really pissed. Fuck him. This hotel is for the guy who kicked dirt on a tied-up bull and I hope you both die from lymphoma.
Una Via Adelante!
Have sent the Beckers on their way and am now in the city - was stuck behind two steers pulling heavy farm equpiment on road yesterday, last night had one of them for dinner. It was like eating Jack Lalane -
Today's exchange rate = 34 colones for your thoughts
They call this a third world country but I can't see how it even made the top ten
100 whores downstairs in Hotel Del Ray Casino - for 50 American I make them wear your headshot like mask and speak words of love and devotion - your Spanish is excellent -
Back Wednesday at 4 unless locals draw up petiton campaign for me to stay -
Room spinning now from muchas horas on roulette wheel - 7 is considered the devil's number and I am believed a witch
douglas stanhope perez
The last day was perfect. Saw a midget waiter in the Hotel Del Rey lobby and knew it was a good omen. Walked around the city, ate on sidewalk cafes reading the New York Times from the day before like I was some kinda man of the world. Nothing can make bad music good like love, death and foriegn countries. I cried like a cunt after my Dad died listening to "Leader of the Band" by Dan Fogelberg, possibly the worst song ever wriiten and now I'm jumping around at the black jack table to "I Love Rock and Roll" by Joan Jett. Played more roulette, watched more whores. I like whores, I'm comfortable around whores. But it's difficult to drink a beer at the place in peace cuz it's always the skaggiest whores who have to hard sell and won't leave you alone. The good ones don't have to bug you, you would go to them. So to sit and drink a beer by yourself was to invite the most desperate and ugly of the pack to plead with you in bad English. I'd tell them I was just leaving. Then they would see me still there later and give me shitty looks. I asked the bartender for a polite way to turn them down.
"Just tell em "Otra dias", he says, "other days".
My flight left early the next morning. Coming thru customs at LAX was like walking from out of a blow job and into a AA meeting. Stink-eyed and finger fucked ever which way. Where were you? What towns? Who'd you go with? Who'd you see? Where are they now? Questions that are none of their fucking business. Free fucking country my ass. If you wanna know if I have drugs - search my fucking bag and shut the fuck up, you fucking low-life wart on a chicken's dick.. I pray to your dirty Jesus that all of your family members die in a fiery snowmobile wreck and the youngest ones live without legs.
"What's your occupation?" he asks finally.
"I'm a stand up comic. I make fun of you." I answer and am sent to the line to have my bag, full with the sweet stinking remnants of moldy, sand-filled, dirty Costa Rican vacation clothes picked thru like a Dollar Store shit.