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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Croquet – Yelapa Rules and A glitzy Star Wars Opening in Yelapa

Greetings again from Yelapa JANUARY 12, 2016

It’s been an exciting week here in Yelapa: A shipwreck and a glitzy opening of the new Star Wars movie.  Yes, Star Wars has come to Yelapa – just seven minutes after the first screening in China:  not only an opening, but an outdoor screening at the Oasis Entertainment Complex where you can not only watch a major Hollywood blockbuster, but listen to Mexican jazz and play croquet all at the same time.

Oasis Entertainment Complex
Outdoor movies at the Oasis aren’t a rarity; but a screening of a major Hollywood Blockbuster just a week or so after it’s opening is noteworthy.  The Oasis has spared no expense for this screening.  They’ve hung the big king-size bed sheet, and dragged out the big nine inch bookcase speakers to give the audience a true monophonic audio experience.

Michele and I have opted to miss the star studded opening here in Yelapa even though it meant missing  some of Yelapa celebrities march down the red burlap carpet.  We were worried about The "Yogamists" picketing the event, but they’ve been busy with their latest campaign to ban noisy fireworks here in Yelapa – like the spectacular three minute  New Year’s Symphony of Fire claiming the noise  upsets the local animals (as in their  dogs and cats).  Of course they’ve not mentioned a word about the local animals that are loaded with bags of concrete and marched to and from the local construction sites sand five times a day.  They are planning a crowdfunding website to provide earplugs for the dogs and diapers for the burros.

This weekend’s beginning of the NFL playoffs is being overshadowed by the beginning of the Croquet season here in Yelapa.  It may be NFL in the states, NHL in Canada and the World’s Cup in Europe, but in Yelapa everything stops when croquet season begins here.   The whole thing ends in February with a huge quadruple knockout tournament  where teams of expats compete for the Yelapa Cup while amused locals bet pesos on their favourite teams. 

Michele and I dropped by the Oasis earlier in the week to scout some of the local teams.  There was a lot of action on the croquet pitch and we were treated to some spirited banter between the teams.

“Who’s turn is it?”
“I don’t know.  Who went last?”
“Is that a green ball or a blue one?”
“That’s my foot!”

Well you get the idea.   I’ve edited a “highlight reel” of the exciting action.  Make sure you’re seated when you’re watching it. 

"Before" shot of Canadian Yacht
The other big news is the “shipwreck.”  Earlier this week an expensive Yacht flying the  Canadian flag showed up in the harbour.  For a couple of days the boat zipped in and out of the harbour then suddenly disappeared.  The next day we heard it had run up on the rocks around the corner from the Yelapa landmark romantically known as “Shit Rock” (because of all the colourful bird droppings).  Rumours are the owner had one too many Molsons when he put it on the rocks.   Before it could be salvaged the boat was smashed to bits by the heavy surf.    For the next week bits and pieces have been littering the local beach. 

No sign of “Tick-Tock the Yelapa Croc” or “Bobby the Boa” for the past week, Michele spotted an Iguana the size of a small pickup truck in the tree above our patio. He’s a “second generation herbivore” (definition: an animal that eats the animals that eat leafs (as in Toronto Maple Leafs).

More from Yelapa next week.  Below you’ll see another excerpt from my trip to Costa Rica a few years ago that culminated in my fleeing the country with a price on my head.  


the Arenal Volcano  - Is it paper mache?
Well after a week of school (being taught by the dynamic tag team duo of Ilse and Daisy) I opted for a much needed weekend getaway.   One of the premier places to visit in Costa Rica is the Arenal Volcano, so I signed up for an overnight tour.  The drive is part of the Pan American Highway that runs from Alaska to the tip of Peru.  In theory you CAN travel the entire length of this highway, you might want to think twice before doing parts of it.  You might want to consider safer alternatives like taking a leisurely cruise off Somalia in a luxury yacht flying a dollar sign for a flag.  The Somalian pirates send their trainees to Central America for lessons in piracy.   No problem on the Costa Rica section though - the highway is safe except for the massive amount of trucks moving up and down the highway.

As we approach the volcano we are told it is very dangerous and that we should not go anywhere close to it. We are only to observe it from a safe distance.  Evidently people have been killed by “invisible” gas flows from the mountain.  If the clouds stay off the volcano in the evening we will   be driven somewhere where we can see the red magma – not visible in the daytime.

Local attraction at the Hot Springs
In the meantime are driven to a huge hot springs resort where we while the afternoon away being alternatively boiled and chilled.  The complex has twenty different pools - each a different design and temperature.  Several of them even have waterslides and wet bars.   After being boiled to the consistency of a well done egg I sidled up to one of the bars to order a beer.  When I was quoted a price of seven US dollars for one I apologized and said there must be some mistake.   I simply asked to buy a beer, not the entire bar.

The Arenal Vacancy viewing spot
That evening we went to a restaurant for dinner and to wait for it to be dark enough to observe the volcano.  While we were having coffee I noticed an employee uncoiling a huge extension cord and heading off in the direction of Volcano.   It was at that moment I realized the Arenal volcano was actually a fake – made of paper mache and would not survive close scrutiny – which is why they would not let us get closer to it.  The Arenal Volcano was, in fact, the world’s largest grade three science project.
When our guide decides it is dark enough we travel to a vantage sight and stand around and take pictures of each other taking pictures of each other.   After twenty minutes of seeing nothing we return to the café for coffee and dessert.  It is at that moment I notice I had accidentally kicked out the extension cord from the outlet which is why we didn’t see anything at the Volcano.   



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