A House, a Puma, a Beach

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I didn’t sleep that well, despite the wine. Too much going on: bright moon, palm shadows and rustlings, waves bashing and OOFing, milky light slipping and sliding over the frisky ocean, bull frogs at it, clucking geckos, whistling beetles, stars shooting everywhere. On the terrace outside my room – thanks, mate – there is a neat deposit of scat. I examine it forensically with a stick. Not my usual morning routine. Whatever has left it there has been eating beetles, which I reckon is a good sign – perhaps it is a pizote, nice, small snouty animals with family values, tails like receivers, and little ears. Unfortunately, further examination reveals whatever left it there has also been eating bones and fur. The puma is odds on favourite again. I decide to wedge something up against the screen so it thinks it’s a solid wall (not sure how smart they are) and to go to bed armed with a spray can of Off.

I walk down the beach, take a swim, pull out the box of tapes, stick it back, and do an inventory of food supplies. There is: 4 Nature Valley chocolate and oat bars, one big bag of Cafe Britt, (Costa Rica’s finest), one big bag of rice, one big bag of spaghetti, 2 tubs of dulce de leech, 7 tins  of tuna, 2 tins of sardines, 6 tins of cuttlefish, 13 individual sachets of tomato sauce with various stuff, 6 jars of tomato and basil sauce, plus honey, jam, mayonnaise, camomile tea, lemongrass tea, soda biscuits, and the potatoes and onions in the tub.  Elsewhere I find a gazillion tins of coke and beer, some whisky and a half bottle of rum. I will survive.

The gas bottle for the fridge is empty, and there’s no hot water. And there’s a rogue puma. Or giant rat. On the other hand, one of the bathrooms is marble, and the other is mighty impressive, if eccentric. The house is built from glowing hardwoods, filled with lofty palms, body-length sofas, quality books, lamps, and is designed for long, convivial dinners and nights of cards. Reckon it would be pretty hard for an artist to carry off even the view from the kitchen sink without it looking cliched or corny. Old notions of luxury don’t really hold up here. Everything’s on a different scale, an Osa scale.

Dinner of soda crackers and tuna with rum and coke . Tomorrow I must ask the hotel for a couple of bags of ice. Dave’s given me his iPod – the ultimate gift. I plug it into the speakers and listen to Buffalo Springfield For What It’s Worth, which we last heard in Las Vegas.


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