I got invitations to this one twice from two different sources. A widely distributed email and a call from a Tico friend with an invitation. She said our new apartment manager Hans was going and she would pick both of us up. That is when I decided to go. At least I would know two people when I got there.
The day of the party arrives and Anna calls to say that Hans can’t go because his security guard is off that night and he needs to be the security. And she will be late if she makes it at all (she never made it), but “It will be easy to find with a taxi” she says. They all know Calle Alvero (I asked her to spell it) and it is the black gate on the left and something about the end of the road. So, what the heck, it will be another adventure and I’ll just go on my own.
It is a BYOB and a snack, plus we will chip in 3 mil colones each ($6) for the pizza. No problem. I get my 3 liter bottle of Ginger Ale (the only non-alcoholic drink brought) and some pricey banana nut bread from my favorite bakery. I’m ready, so Anna and Hans will just miss eating the most wonderful banana nut bread and mixing ginger ale with whatever!
I call the taxi number saying “Necesito un taxi en Hacienda La Jacaranda, en barrio fatima, al lado de rio cajon.” Then I get the same reply as always, “En cinco minutos. Su nombre por favor?” They always say they will be here in 5 minutes and always want a name, which I guess is in case someone else tries to get my taxi? Strange thing is it actually takes right at 5 minutes every time! Small town!
I’m talking to Hans when the cab arrives and the driver doesn’t want to waste time, so I say a quick adios to Hans. Then I carefully read the address that Anna says every taxi driver in town knows. He gives me this questioning look. So I show it to him in writing on the back of an envelope. “Calle Alvareo” then added “Puerta Negra” for the black gate. He still looks puzzled and I thought that maybe this would be how I get out of going to this party that I had now lost enthusiasm for. Then he says something like, “Oh . . . Calle Vareo.” I asked if near CoopeAtenas (which I had been told)? He responded “Si,” and we are on our way. We turn on a street near the Coope (remember that there are NO STREET SIGNS OR HOUSE NUMBERS!) and the first little house had a black gate but I said “No” and we kept going until we found a big black gate on the left near the end of the road.
We drive in the dirt driveway where there are several houses. I ask the lady at first house if this is Gail’s house? She says “No, go to the end of the road.” (so that is what Anna meant about end of road which is actually the end of their shared driveway) past other houses side-by-side in the same compound. The invitation said 5:00 but to be there before 6 if you want pizza. So I arrive at 5:45 and I’m the first one there! These expats already behave like Ticos! Fortunately Steve was right behind me, coming all the way from Sarchi! We talked and hung a white bed-sheet for Gail’s movie while others start arriving – maybe 20 total.
The first hour we stand around talking with drinks in our hands, sorta getting acquainted. Then she collects money for pizza and asks if meat or vegetarian. It arrives soon from La Finca, my favorite pizza place so far. Enjoyed the meal and table conversations. Everyone there was from Canada, U.S. or somewhere in Europe. One guy bragged about having three passports. Wow! Its all I can do to keep up with one! Another guy explains why his little Canadian-made jeep is by far the best 4WD vehicle to have in Costa Rica. Okay, I’ll make a note of that! Didn’t tell him I hope to never buy a car again. Another guy talked about spiritualism and how he went from a Pentecostal to a meditation guru. The guy from Sarchi says he is now moving to San Isidro del General in the Talamanca Mountains. Now that did interest me. That’s where I photograph the resplendent quetzal. Finally she announces that the movie is starting.
It is an Indie film winner from Argentina in Spanish with English subtitles. But she could not get the
|Gail’s photo from last year’s movie party.|
subtitles to work on her player nor could the 2 computer expert guys (every group has them). It seems she lost the remote for that machine and the guys say you can only go to subtitles with the remote. I watch about 15 minutes in Spanish of some criminal heist movie that I can’t understand. I go whisper to Gail how nice she is to do this, but I have a big day tomorrow and haven’t learned enough Spanish yet to follow the movie. She was fine with me going! Four others had already left! I walked the mile or so home (How would I order a taxi in Spanish to this non-address?) and then I had a nice rest of the evening. Sometimes it is harder to adjust to the expats than the Ticos! 🙂 Our parties at the apartment went better than this as did the expat potluck lunches from the little evangelical church. I’ll keep trying! And I do know several people here now! I also expect to become part of an ARCR birding group in the coming months.
See what an exciting social life I live?