Archive for January, 2009


When I got home last night, the earthquake was all over the news. It was pretty strong, 6.1 on the Richter scale. Big landslides up in the mountains at Vara Blanca, at the epicenter near Poás Volcano. There is an eco-lodge up there, called Paz Waterfall. 200 tourists staying there can’t get out due to landslides. We felt little aftershocks (called “replicas” in Spanish) all night, even this morning.  Ily says this is unusual. TV news this morning reports 18 people dead, a bunch more are missing. Our building got some damage on the fourth floor, ceiling tiles falling out. No broken windows here, but in San José there were some. At our apartment, there was no damage, but Ily said there was a small crack somewhere in Gina’s part. Things fell off Gina’s shelves as well.

There was news about other earthquakes in the region as well. Los Angeles had one last night, and Nicaragua had one a few hours before the one here in Costa Rica. Of all the news I looked at this morning, only the Monterey Herald reported the Costa Rica quake.

Ileana is always saying we need to be ready for earthquakes. She was in a huge one when she was a kid, when she went rollerskating on Easter Saturday when her grandmother told her not to. Every time we see a few cockroaches, in the house or in the street, she mentions that they might be leaving the building in advance of an earthquake.

We actually had a small quake the day before the large one yesterday, and the next morning as I walked to the bus stop, I saw about ten dead cockroaches in front of one bar. But I also could smell the distinct scent of insecticide.

When we woke up and looked out the window that morning, the clouds were lit in a beautiful way by the rising sun. Ily said this was a bad sign, that when the clouds look like rocks, it means there will be an earthquake. In Spanish, “Nubes empedrado, tarde temblado,” or something like that. In this case it was true!

At lunchtime yesterday, I ate in the company lunchroom, since I had the good food Ily had made. Some of my old teammates came over and sat with me. At one point, Ronny had a deja vu and knew what I was going to say next. The other guys said he was weird, Hindu, Indian, psychic, etc. I said he would probably get along well with Ily, since she is psychic. They laughed and I told them about the night we were coming home from Limón on the bus. Just before the tunnel, Ily pointed out into the dark and said people get lost there all the time. The next morning, there was a news story that someone had been lost out there, only 500 meters from the road.


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We just had a real earthquake, my first one here. It was really shaking. We are having little aftershocks now. But nothing was broken, and my computer is still on, internet still working. Can’t get through to Ily on the phone. Pilar just came in and said she saw a couple of people out in the parking lot crying. A lot of people left the building after the first shaking. Whoa it’s doing it again!

Now they are asking us to leave the building.

2:52 pm
We get to go home early since the building is still shaking a little every once in a while. I hope Ily is okay, and our apartment still standing. Haven’t been able to get through on the phone.

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Ily talked to the transit police the morning before last. They said they would be back at 5am the next morning to stop the illegal bus activity. Now there is early-morning peace and quiet again on our street. Ily said the policeman said he didn’t know how the bus company could afford to pay the fines. I guess they make a lot of money in the pirate business. It looked like they just moved to another illegal corner up the block from us.

At lunch two days ago, the news was playing on the big tv in the food plaza at the mall. One story caught my attention, being about something other than lurid car wrecks, murder and government corruption. To wit, it was announced that sleeping is good for your heart, as well as helping to reverse diabetes and hypertension. Let’s hear it for sleep!

When I got home last night, Ily had made a bunch of yummy food during her long day at home. She is a teacher, on summer break now (this part of the year is called summer here, since it is not raining). She made a pastel de palmito (hearts of palm pie), chicken soup with carrots, and some orange juice enhanced with cilantro de coyote (cilantro with more flavor, said to be relaxing), carrots, beets, celery, parsley, and ginger. You whip it all up in the blender and strain it. I brought some of the pastel and soup to work for lunch today.

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Pirate Buses on our street

The yellow Busetas Heredianas are still up to their piratical tricks, taking advantage of the minor chaos produced by moving all the bus stops, to park outside our apartment at 5am, calling out to passersby “San Jose por la pista!” over and over as would-be  sleepers drift in and out of consciousness. Now the university is back in session and the UCR bus is using this stop again. Our narrow street is choked with noisy buses, and even noisier bus shills.

Yesterday as I left for work a little before 8, the transit police were there on two motorcycles, apparently letting the bus drivers know that what they were doing was illegal. This morning the police were there at 6:30.

Busetas Heredianas is one of the biggest bus companies and I guess they think they can do whatever they want. I hope they get the message and move downtown to where all the other buses had to go. Maybe the UCR buses will go too. Ily says they were left out of the move because they are the only company without a government deal.

In other news, Christmas music was still being played in the mall at lunchtime yesterday.

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