Just Another Night At The Bar

I lost power at home at 4pm yesterday (it was still out when I left home at noon today), rendering both my internets and my kitchen worthless. So I fired up the Lesbo Rider and made my way down the hill to Bulevar, a college-type bar in Heredia, for some people watching, chicken fingers and suds. Once again, the local didn’t dissappoint.

The sun was setting and the drones where scurrying back to their nests. I especially enjoyed watching the women. Other than leering offensively as the lone gringo peering out at the sidewalk, I watched these women propelled briskly onward, stairing straight ahead, clutching their purses tightly under their arms. Every one the same. You can see it: these women are afraid. They don’t amble, they don’t stroll. She’s trying to get from A to B as quickly as possible without being fucked with. This, in the heart of a city that isn’t even considered that dangerous (although I could show you five spots within a few blocks where people have been killed recently).

I was contemplating this when the horns started honking. Hundreds of them. A taxi driver swooped into position, blocking the cross street like a police car setting up a parade route. And a parade it was. A steady stream of red taxis trundled past, honking like the Ticos just won the World Cup, in a pace known locally as tortuguismo, or “turtleism,” which consists of moving as slowly as possible without actually stopping. These taxistas drank beer, hooted and whistled at the frightened women, running lights and basically having a good time protesting whatever it was that irked them; there was no way to tell what the cause was. Not a single police officer or traffic cop was around.

Then, once the blockade moved on to new urban mayhem, the normal pace of life returned. The speeding. The noise. I came to realize that there is no pleasant sidewalk cafe experience in Costa Rica. The locals won’t allow it. Motorcycles, cars, buses, delivery trucks overloaded with bananas or furniture or coffee pickers, they all barrel down past Bulevar as if the bar were an observation deck on the Autobahn. And because many of the vehicles are in poor condition, and many others have either removed their mufflers or installed glass packs, the decible level is like drinking beer inside the turbine of a 747, vibrating the streets with tremdous levels of sonic pollution.

Once, I drove the Lesbo Rider around for a couple of weeks with a hole in the muffler. The resulting rumble was deafening. I sounded like I was tooling around in a Formula One race car, until you looked and saw a dented, fat Subaru slowly rolling past, it’s pasty driver grinning at pedestrians. I should have painted flame and fake bullet holes on it.

In this condition, I gave a guy I just met at a party back to town. I was actually a bit chagrined when I fired up the LR and our heartbeats all changed with my RPM, but my new passenger nodded his head and said, “Dude, this car sounds sweet.”

So I’ll just continue sipping my Imperial, staring out the glassless front of Bulevar and seeing how life unfolds.

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One Response to “Just Another Night At The Bar”

  1. lelandcedar Says:

    i’m having one of those “I hate San José with all the vomit I can muster” days. Thanks for so accurately sketching my angst. I need a beer, and a Bulevar.

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