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Published: June 13th 2005
Chico--the handy man
Chico does everything and anything--what we're not quite sure!
I have focused a good deal on the landscape of the Angel Valley B&B area including the amazing vistas, the animals and so on, but have neglected until this point, to focus on an equally interesting landscape: the people that live here. Now, I am not referring to the ex-pats. While they are interesting in their own right and I may describe them in a later entry, what I have found most interesting as well as entertaining, are the people that have surrounded us since we have moved here. If you read the book “Under the Tuscan Sun,” (or worse, have seen the movie), you know what I mean. I will describe a few of the “characters” in our rapidly developing Costa Rica story but I will not change their names “to protect the innocent,” or they would not be real. They are real. I am just getting to know them so some of them will be described in more or less detail, depending on what I have learned about them.
What a view from our front door!
So here goes:
Pilar is our cleaning woman, previously retained by Jose. Why change when you don’t know any better right? Plus for $5/day, she’s a good deal! Pilar comes three days a week though the first week we had her here all week to do a good heavy cleaning (apparently, not every understands what a “heavy cleaning” is as we described it to some residents). She speaks very little English, and we speak very little Spanish, so we are making due. Beth is managing her quite well and while it takes a few tries (sometimes more) to get her to understand what Beth wants, she eventually gets the hang of it. I simply just point at things para limpiar (“to clean”). At least she knows I do indeed want my laundry done! She is a nice woman all and all. To me she looks kind of like a sexy-ish cleaning woman. She mops and dusts and washes and all of that, but still looks like she could turn a few heads in the local bar even after leaving here. If I could understand her fully I’m sure I’ll like her a lot. I think she was
Angel Valley B&B
Needs some paint but we'll get there!
surprised when Beth offered her breakfast and coffee. I guess Jose didn’t do that! LOL!
Sidebar: My right foot had been hurting all day today and I surmised it was being new to walking on tile floors all day and night. They are just hard on your feet, particularly coming from soft hardwood floors and carpets. Well, after I took a shower and examined myself more closely, I discovered some kind of tick-type creature had latched itself to the underside of one of my toes and was having a good ole Dracula move kind of snack. I removed it. Lets just hope I don’t get Lyme Disease. Update: It seems okay. I think I’ll live.
Chico, with a traditional hat, machete and “laborers’” type of clothing, is pure Costa Rica (okay, maybe Nicaraguan, I’m not quite sure!). He just seems to be here a lot, sort of like Murphy Brown’s painter. I’m not even sure yet if we are supposed to pay him for what he does or if the community does (I have a picture of him I’ll add soon--when I can crop ME out). For a guy barely 5’5”, he is the fastest walker
Happy guests just lounging after a TERIFFIC breakfast cooking by Beth!
I’ve ever seen! He cuts the grass, does something with his wheel barrel on the long driveway but I’m not sure what, takes trash to the local dump (I think) and a variety of other things. I guess he is our handy man. He’s always smiling and friendly even when he is laboring hard. I like that about him. I’d love to know his life story as I’m sure it is interesting but that’ll take a few years of Spanish lessons!
Picolina, Pico, or Picoletta:
I’m not sure what his real name is but everyone calls him “Picolina” for the most part. He’s one of our local taxi drivers. He has been sheparding me and Beth back and forth between the B&B and town (and to other towns too!) to buy groceries, and get a membership in the local “Sam’s Club—called “PriceSmart” here. The other day he took Beth to look at some furniture and she came back with a nice lamp—our first purchase in Costa Rica. He’s a fun-loving guy for sure, always smiling, always willing to help—for a price of course. He’s about 29 I think, already divorced and definitely loves the ladies. When he was
Gringo & Amigo
Come ride our terrific horses!
taking me to town one day, I swear he waved to 50 people—and we weren’t even in San Ramon yet! On the edge of San Ramon, he stuck his hand out the window and blew a kiss to this older quite attractive woman. I look at him and smiled and he said, “That’s my mama.” Very sweet. We’ll continue to use him on occasion but as we learn more about living here, we’ve also learned he’s not the cheapest taxi driver—but nonetheless he is loads of fun.
Jose, who sold us his B&B business, while not a native, is a Cuban-American ex-attorney who has lived here for a long time. To me, he is what I believe is the stereotypical Latin. Suave, engaging, smart, puts one at ease immediately, typical cigarette-hanging-out-of-his-mouth while doing a variety of tasks big and small, just like in the movies, and has learned to live the good life, while making a few colones. He is the “master of the universe” in this area and throughout Costa Rica in fact. I’ve learned that everyone knows him—boy, being bilingual is sure a benefit—and he’s got some business of some ilk with everyone, even me. I’m glad he is here as I would not have bought this place without his insight and the fact there is a nice ex-pat community mixed in with the locals.
The people here have been terrific overall. They are friendly, engaging, and don’t appear to hold any grudges against (supposedly) “rich Americans.” I think I’ll stay a while.
More soon—so keep checking back!
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