A letter from the tropics...
Well, my, hasn't it been "a week" down here; quite a week.
(After I'd written this the Giants went ahead and won the World Series, we got a day and a half of sunshine and it has now been raining for 22 hours straight. Two major segments of the Costanera Highway that runs up and down the coast have fallen away and it is closed again today (or was earlier this afternoon). It has been a "rainy season" to beat all.)
Yes, there is, of course, that amazing Giants thing. I fire up my laptop and go to mlb.com where they have a program called "AT BAT" whereby one receives a computer generated image of a baseball field and a computer generated image of a batter, either left handed or right, in the appropriate uniform. The pitches appear on the screen as blue or red swooshes (for strikes and balls, silly) with their approximate location, speed and type of pitch listed along with them.
It's kind of hard to follow anything if there happens to be any action. For example if there is contact the little box on the screen says either "ball hit (out)", or "ball hit (not out)", or in some cases, "ball hit (not out/run(s))".
Now the good news is that when there is not a major storm, all of these images are accompanied by one's choice of audio feeds; it is available from the home radio station of either team. Naturally, I choose the broadcast from KNBR (no, no more KSFO with it's jingle sung in wonderfully sonorous tones), and get the Giants regular announcers, Bay Area, (kipe). I also get the glorious crowd noise. and , or, as they are known affectionately in the
The bad news is when the weather is bad it cuts off the audio connection, which leads us to the second part of what has made this "a week". We have been getting supremely intense rainstorms which are washing away the mountains and the roads and causing the rivers to swell up over their banks to flood out farm and family.
From until we got 30 inches of rain in 36 hours. And the rain is so loud that it is impossible to hear music, the audio broadcast of the game (when it does come through) or someone talking to you on the telephone. The front yard here at Uli's is a swamp and , the laundry room (attached to the house but a couple of inches lower than the threshold of the front door) was three inches deep in water.
The small bridge that crosses one of the many rivers about five miles north of Uvita finally gave up the ghost and became one with the river yesterday morning, shutting down the highway for the rest of the day and until around 8 this morning. It has since been fortified with stone from underneath and one lane is open, but another good rain will wipe it out again. 15 kilometers south of us, just above Ojochal, where I used to live, the dirt has been mostly washed out from under a portion of the highway and all that remains of the outside half of either lane is a thin layer of asphalt.
I suppose I don't need to point out (but still will) that the road remains open, because this is Panama, and this is their major artery. I am presuming that shortly one of them will crack off the remaining parts of unsupported road top and the truck will tumble off the road. That should be fun., but one can only hope people are approaching it with some degree of trepidation. There is a huge amount of semi-truck traffic between the Northern part of the country and
Thursday I drove over the mountain to the Feria and although I left in a time of no rain, by the time I got to Dominical I had passed through four spots where the water was over the tires. If I hadn't cracked off one of my remaining original crowns and teeth, and had a dentist appointment in San Isidro I would have turned around and gone back home. But coming back home was when the real adventure began. The drive back down the mountain was treacherous, but as I came around a bend in the road, almost back to the coast, traffic was backed up in front of me. "Oh shit", I thought, "this just can't be good".
I got out of the car in the driving rain and walked up about 15 cars to have a look. Sure enough a huge portion of the hillside had slid and covered both lanes of the road just 1 kilometer out of Dominical. And it was a huge slide. There was no way it was going to be moved anytime soon and no way anyone was getting through for a while. I ran back to the car, turned around before the oncoming traffic got too thick and covered both lanes, and headed back over the mountain to San Isidro once again.
I gassed up in San Isidro and then, trusting my instincts and what I'd seen, I headed south down the to take the really long way home. It is 48 K south to Buenos Aires and then another 50 K northeast to Palmar Norte. The road winds along a river and passes by all the Del Monte holdings. Lots of pineapples. Palmar Norte is at the bottom tip of the Costanera, the highway that runs from Dominical through Uvita and Ojochal. It is another 40 K from Palmar Norte to Uvita. The entire time I was making the drive I was wondering if I had been too impetuous; whether perhaps I should have waited.
As I was pulling into the La Cusinga driveway after just over two and a half hours on the road I got a phone call from the La Cusinga office wondering where I was and if I was okay. It seems that I had made the right choice (and gotten out just in time); the road was shut from Dominical to San Isidro and there were slides in several places. The road wasn't cleared until sometime after dark and the people who had elected to stay and wait it out had sat in their cars in a driving rainstorm for nearly seven hours. It is a glamorous life here...
Last night, because of the bridge closure just to the north of us, we inherited a small wedding party. They had booked a ceremony and dinner at Costa Paraiso, just down from Dominical, for their tiny (13 people) wedding and couldn't get to it. We were happy to take them and their business, so I had an unexpected 13 for dinner last night. Where the Lord closes a door he opens a window or something like that.
On a different and much happier subject, Kathy arrives in Costa Rica late the night of the 10th and after she spends some time with her good friends Terry and John, I will drive up to Jaco (accent "o") the 13th to fetch her and bring her back here. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!
So there you have it, all the news that fits. The skies are darkening over and I'm kind of glad that the bad roads have kept guests from the Lodge today and that I get to stay home and "watch" the Giants on the computer.
peace, love and serenity