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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Don't Rain on Our Fiesta!

The thunder has been growling down from the sky for the last two hours, like some huge angry lion, with occasional hazy lightening flashes through dark clouds, followed by more rumbling until it’s virtually a continual sound, rising and falling with the distance. The rain continues to come down in a steady hum through the leaves. It’s a very “tropical” afternoon.

The normally placid Concho River
My mom relayed to me in great excitement this morning on the phone that in West Texas they had finally had a gully-washer of a storm, with the Concho River carrying dead trees, blue trash cans, Styrofoam cups and coolers and all manner of stuff downstream, as it rose along the banks that run by the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center where she works. Total rainfall? According to the newspaper, about 1½ inches. Wowsa. Here in Costa Rica, I think we get more than that every afternoon lately. The rainy season seems to have moved in past veranillo, or little summer, when the weather dries up for a couple of weeks in July just in time for the kids’ summer break from school. Now we’re heading into the serious stuff that comes in September and October.

But the daily downpours don’t stop a fiesta, and since yesterday was Mother’s Day here in Costa Rica there were fiestas aplenty. I made my way to two of them, one Tico and one Gringo.

A few days ago my Tica housekeeper Cidia called and tried to communicate something to me about a fiesta for “Dia de Madre,” or Mother’s Day. I got that much. But the rest was … well, Spanish. Bad enough in person; impossible on the phone. So we finally agreed she’d have someone call back in English. When he did, I found that Cidia had paid for a ticket for me to come to a Mother’s Day dinner-dance at the community center behind the soccer field here in Barrio Los Angeles. When I learned that our friend Jeannette was coming as well, she and I made a plan to go together in her car in case of rain.

And of course, it was raining so off we went last evening, slogging our way through wet grass to the entrance of a long open hall with a stage at one end and a kitchen at the other, decorated in merry abandon with hundreds of red and white balloons, red hearts along the walls and red flowers on the tables. Loud music from the Latin band onstage was spilling out the windows as we parked and since Cidia’s table was in the front near the speakers, Jeannette and I suffered seriously numbed eardrums by the time we left.

But the only way to deal with loud music is to get up and dance. And dance we did. The entire crowd was women; the men were in the kitchen cooking, then serving us drinks and food. But the audience of women just ganged up on the dance floor and shook some booty, so to speak. It was a kick! One of the most enthusiastic dancers was a well-dressed grandmother who happily posed for my camera.

Cidia, in center, kickin' it!
Cidia's dancing shoes
Cidia, 2nd from right, and friends
Jeannette and the dancing grandma
After dinner of chicken, rice and salad, there was an apparently funny skit performed by four men, two dressed up as a mother and a daughter. I say “apparently” because Jeannette and I couldn’t follow the Spanish but the crowd would explode in laughter now and then. Finally, when the “daughter” turns up “pregnant” with her boyfriend, the “parents” go crazy but eventually forgive and all ended happily. The performers got a huge round of applause. When Jeannette and I finally left, Cidia and her friends gave me the carnation centerpiece, which now graces my coffee table. I’m honored that Cidia invited me. Hopefully, next year I’ll understand more Spanish!

Today was a fried chicken luncheon at Kay’s Gringo Postre, the gathering place for the Gringo community here in Atenas. With Layne in Oregon, it was just me in the taxi but once I got to Kay’s, there were lots of friends already seated and our buddy Marc was helping serve the food. After saying Hello to proprietors Kay and Tom, I found a seat by our friends Jackie and Neil, lately of Bend, Oregon. Although relative newcomers in town, the two have easily fit right in here in Atenas. We chatted about how they are enjoying life here and about other places to live in Costa Rica, all while being served a nice green salad, then a big plate of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and a biscuit; iced cake for dessert. Buena comida! Good food! 

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