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Monday, January 4, 2016

Besieged by the Yelapa Yogamists and New Year's Eve in Yelapa

Happy New Years and greetings from Yelapa. 

I seem to have got myself into problems here with the local Yoga group.  They’ve put a contract out on me.  It’s unsafe for me to go out here late at night in the off chance that I find myself confronted by a group of  radicalized Yogamists who have been instructed to fold me into a pretzel and leave me for the scorpions behind one of the local eateries.

Is it just one croc.... or are there three?
It all started with the crocodile I mentioned in the last post.  It came to my attention that at one of the recent Yoga On The Beach mornings several of the group reported seeing not one – but three crocodiles swimming by!  I commented on the Friends of Yelapa Facebook page I found the reports somewhat suspect given that they were all a bunch of raving vegetarians  bent into weird positions that starve the brain for oxygen.  I would tend to believe the report if I saw actual pictures.  Some how some of them were offended by that.

 "I don't find it proper to go around bashing what doesn't suit you...I hope you stay the hell away from Yelapa from now on and go vacation in a spot where no one practices Yoga. … It's completely irrelevant to have this guy bash the people that practice yoga. He is poking fun at those that choose to participate in something spiritual and healthy”

The ever popular Yoga on the Beach
I have been tagged as a “Yoga hater” and asked why I chose the Yoga group to “disparage” (had to look that word up).  I responded stating that I did not choose their group lightly – but only after careful thought and consideration did I come to the conclusion that if I was going to pick any group to piss off a yoga group might be the safest.  I figured there was little chance that I might get waylaid by a group of Hells Grannies behind the local vegetarian restaurant here in Yelapa.   Seems I was wrong.

Don’t get me wrong: I highly respect and admire the practitioners of Yoga.  Yoga is one of the world’s great spiritual and ascetic disciplines – along with Tai Chai, Tai Chi, Tai Kwon Do and Simon Says.  I did not realize that it could also harbor fanatic radicalized individuals I’ve labeled “Yogamists” – think of Islamists – only more limber.  Maybe I should send their comments to Charlie Hebdo who have a lot experience dealing with fanatics who believe it’s their way or the highway.  If you wish to weigh in on the debate here’s the link to the page.

Thursday night was New Year’s Eve here in Yelapa, complete with live entertainment and a dazzling three minute firework display accompanied by a “banda band comprised of three tubas and trumpet.

The Tuba is a much maligned instrument in Canada and the US.  When we think of tuba players we think of  “Tubby the Tuba” or the fat kid in the marching band.  In Canada and the US the tuba simply isn’t a cool instrument. 

You don’t hear many conversations like, “Hey we’re having a cookout this weekend.  Think you could bring your tuba?” or “We’re thinking of putting a band together.  We’ve got two guitars, a bass, and a string section, but we’re missing the tuba.  You interested?”

 “Why did the chicken cross the road?”
“To get away from the tuba recital.”

“What do you throw a drowning tuba player?”
“His case.”

But that’s not the case here in Mexico.  In Mexico, the tuba rules - they can’t get enough tuba.  During any live performance (and I’m not making this up) you can hear people screaming “Tuba! Tuba! Tuba!”  - begging for a tuba solo. 

Here in Mexico the tuba players are cool dudes and you don’t want to mess with them – especially if they’re playing narco tunes.

The music is actually known as “Banda” music and is said to have derived from polka music – one of my other favourite types of music.   The think with the tuba, is that the low frequency sound rattles windows and loose dental filings for miles.  There is no way to block it out.  You either have to learn to block it out somehow or embrace it.  On New Year’s Eve Yelapa featured two dueling tuba bands – and the music went on till six in the morning!   When it comes to celebrating New Year’s Eve  little Yelapa can teach the big cities a thing or two.

This week I’m continuing my misadventures in Costa Rica from a few years ago.  That trip culminated with letters to the editor in their national paper calling for my  expulsion from the country and not just a few death threats.  We’ll get there – eventually.  So here’s the second instalment.


San Jose - address unkown
 Well it’s now Wednesday or Mercedes or something like that in Spanish. I have been here four days now and I’m beginning to settle into a routine.   My first day was a bit strenuous.  I was quite worried about getting to school the first day, so my host, Nuri agreed to walk me there – like a six year old going to school for the first day (or any Asian kid under the age of 30 in Vancouver). 

In retrospect even a two year old couldn’t get lost.  You simply walk to the end of the block to the main street, turn right, walk to the corner with the big cell tower.  Turn right again and walk about 8 blocks till you get to the school.   Never the less I wasn’t taking any chances.  As Nuri walked with me, I would stop every fifty paces and carefully map where we’d just been - marking down store names and landmarks.  I continued doing this much to Nuri’s annoyance until she deposited me at the school’s front door and went back home.   
Advanced Spanish Studies

After school, I carefully followed my map home:  down the street to the cell tower; turn left and continue to the stairs in the park where I turn into Nuri’s subdivision.  I should be fifty feet now from home (or mi casa as they say here).  But suddenly I’m hopelessly lost.
Obviously someone has MOVED Nuri’s house!   I retrace my steps and then try different side streets in the subdivision and become even more lost.  Finally after 40 minutes I stop a kid and ask for directions.   Oh did I mention they don’t have street names?   Not even main streets! I am really tempted to change things!   I’m thinking of making some street names (GROBERMAN Street) seems like a nice name for the main drag, and late one night nailing them up and see if I can start something.  

Anyways I digress -  I tell the kid I’m lost and hand him my emergency information Nuri pinned to my shirt, and he calls her and tells her I’m lost and roughly where we are.  In about 5 minutes Nuri comes puffing up the street clucking like an angry hen.  She thanks the kid and takes me by the hand and drags me home. 

You’ll be pleased to know that I’m the best student in the school!   In fact I’m odds on favourite to be the school valedictorian.   This is not due to my brilliance as a student; but the fact I am “Thee” student.   There’s just me.

Tag Team teachers Illse and Daisy
My teacher for the past three days has been Ilse.  Ilse is another widow – they seem to grow a lot of them here in Costa Rica.  I don’t think Ile likes teaching me a lot.  I hear her grinding her teeth a lot when I smile and say my two favourite Spanish words “No Comprendo!”

In our conversations which are 20% Spanish, 30% English and 40% pantomime, Ilse tells me she isn’t impressed with Canadian students – she says we’re all too shy and introverted.   I have a sudden urge to leap up at her and squeeze her left boob twice and say “Honk!  Honk!”   I’ll bet that would change her mind about Canadians.  Instead I smile and nod.

Today Ilse wasn’t there.  I evidently wore her out.  So I had Daisy instead.   Daisy is like her name -  nice and bright - and I get along well with her.   I don’t know if she’s permanent or I’ll get Ilse again when she’s released from the sanitarium.

Breakfast at Nuri's
 At home Nuri is great:  she caters to my every need – well nearly every need.  All I have to do is look up and smile and food and drink magically appear.  There’s a lot of variety: some days we have rice and beans, and the next beans and rice.  Dr. Atkins never visited Costa Rica.   Carbs rule here!!  Did I mention she serves the meals with BEER?  

All meals at Nuri’s are proceeded by prayers:   Nuri covers her bases in about three minutes mentioning all relatives, living and dead and sick friends.  I notice I’m included, but I’m not sure in what context.    She looks up at me and I smile and nod.

With no other students to interact with there isn’t much to do here except drink beer and watch TV.   Wait a minute!   That’s what I do at home.  On the weekend I’ve signed up for a tour of the Volcanos.  If thinks don’t liven up, I might jump in to see what happens.

I’ll report back after that.   Until then 


Senior Jeff

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