Out…

Hallo from Pookaverse. Time for a quick update.

Pookaverse arrived in Panama City this afternoon and are currently staying here at the Toscana Inn Hotel. A mercifully uneventful flight from Costa Rica. Business Class. Yes I know. But there was no other way. All the other seats were sold out. In August 2012?!?. How does that work?!? We don’t know.

The Little Yellow House near San Ramon replaces the concrete bus shelter in Gdansk where teenagers skin-up

The Little Yellow House near San Ramon replaces that concrete bus shelter in Gdansk where teenagers go to ‘skin-up’

It has been an interesting couple of days. On Saturday we said goodbye to Greta and Gavi. And Loki (Lucky) and Luna (Moon). It proved quite difficult after four weeks spent in their universe. And a large universe it has proven to be. Filled with friends and family – a Tico characteristic. And topped up with plenty of hard work in Greta’s case. A seamstress and entrepreneur (Empesario) all wrapped up in one.

The fine art of varnishing an internal door is today's lesson. Who new that a perfect finish could be achieved so easily...well Hilberto knows how anyway

The fine art of varnishing an internal door is today’s lesson. Who new that a perfect finish could be achieved so easily…well Hilberto knows how anyway

As well as being an excellent cook. Our last meal. American pancakes better than Pookaverse has ever tasted. With melon and those little bananas that the Tico’s prefer. Remember?

They send us all the big tasteless ones. Like the nightly ritual demanded by Greta to tell her English jokes translated into Spanish. Jokes. Possibly the crack-cocaine of misunderstanding. THe way to display the gulf that can exist between taste and culture. However it seems that “Death or Mau-Mau” in Spanish is greeted just as heartily as it is in English.

The final pile of 'Satan's tagnuts' are removed from the front of the house...much to Tonkey's delight

The final pile of back-wrenching stones aka ‘Satan’s tagnuts’ are removed from the front of the house…much to Tonkey’s delight

As is “…and then the man said to the clown “Fuck you, you red-nosed bastard”. And of course not to forget “A man goes into a pet shop and says “I’d like to buy a wasp please”.

And 'Britney-Gaga' is no more...dumped into a stinking ditch of waste water, heat, filth and Mosquitos...(sigh)

And ‘Britney-Gaga’ is no more…dumped into a stinking ditch of waste water, heat, filth and Mosquitos…(sigh)

Except that in the Spanish translation,  the wasp was exchanged for a fly as there aren’t are wasps in Costa Rica. Well. Save for the species that hunts down, paralyses and via the process of seeding its young eviscerates its prey over a period of 6 weeks. The red-knee Tarantula.

The previous day it was farewell to Hilberto and Sonia and a demanding 4 weeks working to get them moved in to their new house. They never did make it on the previous Wednesday. Whether it be optimism of simply the forgotten notion of ‘Tico time’ or ‘Tico-timing’ all four of us volunteering will never know.  No more cries of  “Cafe, Cafe”  literally half an hour after we have picked up tools. Then it is down tools and into their nearby rented house that looked increasingly shabby as we painted, varnished and buffed their new home to a fine lustre.

Tony  (Hilberto's dog) will never be patted by Rohan again or throw his neck at breaking speed against his chain...

Tony (Hilberto’s dog) will never be patted by Rohan again or throw his neck at breaking speed against his chain…

That excellent Costa Rican coffee. Made and serverd piping hot by Costa Ricans with the occasional baffling Tico version of ‘cake’ thrown in. You may not taste any better. You may disagree. There is latitude. Just not much of it. But to disavow Sonia’s home made banana pancakes served hot from the frying pan – immaculate in their conception – is culinary blasphemy.

No more “Me no Yankee, Yankee No!” Or the impenetrable, colloquial Spanish spoken by Hilberto that so frequently turned into a setup for one of his jokes.  Or the bliss of sitting down on a hard wooden stool under a hot-tin roof that no self-respecting feline would brush with their undercarriage after a morning’s ‘barrowing’. With the sun, sweat and filth. The dirt that is everywhere.  No concrete. Just dirt streets and dirt pavements. With no where for the failing winter rains to run to.

Loki (Lucky) with his ball...don't let that fluffy cuteness take you in...that ball is life and death...

Loki (Lucky) Greta’s dog with his ball…don’t let that fluffy cuteness take you in…that ball is life and death…yours

The washing machines turning petulantly in the almost daily struggle of Hilberto and his neighbours to have clean clothes. And be separate. From the dirt. And the sweat. And the filth.

So we have left that all behind us now. Mission accomplished. And fell into a strange enclave that exists less than 3 driving minutes from Alajuela Airport (Juan Santamaria Intl Airport). There lies Gringo paradise. Holiday Inn, Hampton suites, Car Rental, a Dennys amd most prominent of all. A casino. With wall-to-wall Gringo’s. Costa Rican bouncers at the door and Costa Riocan barman. Well. Behind the bar. This is the land of the expanding waist-band. Stone-cold immaculate.

The final night with from left to right, Greta, Forrest, Alison, Fabriellla who is a friend of Greta's daughter Gavi on the extreme right

The final night with from left to right, Greta, Forrest, Alison, Fabriellla who is a friend of Greta’s daughter Gavi on the extreme right

A familiar sight and smell when Pookaverse toured the States last century. A fabrication convincingly conveyed.  But still a fabrication. One of those moments when you could have been anywhere. In the middle of nowhere. With cable and peculiar bagels and cream cheese for breakfast. Not the soul food that has powered hearts, minds and muscles for the past 4 weeks. Strangely impotent.

Pookaverse’s salve? Watching ‘The Gauntlet’ with Clint Eastwood and nearly-wife Sondra Locke. With Spanish subtitles. Marvelling when Clint encounters a tirade of gunshots and responds with “Poderanse” or something that approximates to that sound. “Fuck me”. The hooms have decided to keep the Spanish going for as long as possible. Even after the ‘feel-good’ glow that we from time to time like to disparage on those who dare to take holiday and slink back into work over what seems an unnatural and unhealthy absence.

So it was with little ceremony that we departed Costa Rica this morning. To find ourselves in Panama City. And tomorrow. Pookaverse is off to the Miraflores Locks on only the bloody Panama Canal. Pictures to follow.

The thirteen palms of San Ramon that Pookaverse hooms saw each night on their walk home from work...small things, small things.....

The thirteen palms of San Ramon that Pookaverse hooms saw each night on their walk home from work…small things, small things…..

To close an itinerary. As between days and digging, the following plan has emerged for the final month of the trip:

Panama City 04-07 February

Cuba 07-20 February. 3 nights in Havana and 11 days in the ‘all inclusive’ Gringo Enclave of Valadero

New York 20 February to the 02 March. Staying for 9 days in a rented apartment in the Bedford-Stuvyesant district of Brooklyn, New York including a trip to the Prudential Centre in Newark to watch the home game of the New Jersey Devils as they take on the Winnipeg Jets. Even$115 million dollar ‘Kovey‘ may be playing for the Devils on that day. At least one thing is guaranteed. There will be fighting.

If we can get back in of course. Back in and around to full circle. Pookaverse will, of course, let you know what happens next.

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5 Responses to “Out…”

  1. Thompson Says:

    The house looks great. Well done. You’ll have to tell me the one about the wasp when you get back.

  2. Terri and Andrew Says:

    Really pleased you have had such a good time in Costa Rica, it sounds like it will be the high point of all your travels. have a good time on the rest of your travels, just watched a programme on Cuba, seems like it will be really interesting. All our love. Andrewand Terri

  3. jose Says:

    Well done with the yellow house it looks really fab, loved the photos
    of Tony and Loki, they both look very cute, I bet Greta and family will miss you both. Enjoy Panama, safe flight to Cuba, xx .

  4. martin Says:

    Hi Gringos

    Enjoy Cuba, I went 7 years ago and Havana was great, cigar factory & revolutionary museum were good, old city was lovely and shows how urban decay should be done. Enjoy the Mojitos!

    p.s. did you tell them the big jake joke?

  5. martin Says:

    p.s. tell me you didn’t tell them the purple arm joke …

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