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Yellow sky, pink clouds

Yellow sky, pink clouds - Heredia, Costa Rica

A reader commented that this is an awesome photo, and I guess it is, for a dinky 640×480 phone picture. What was really awesome was being at the hair salon near Palacio de Deportes waiting for Ily’s six hour hair appointment to end, and seeing this amazing light out in the street. I bolted out the door and the whole street was filled with radiant pink-orange luminescence as the sun went down over Alajuela to the west. In the east was this perfect wash of glowing pastel yellow. I’d never seen anything like it in my whole life.

The best place to see the sky is a block from our apartment at Parque Embarazada, Pregnant Park (not its “official” name, just what everyone calls it). Ily says it used to be very romantic, with lots of trees and little private spaces, hence the name. Lots of girls used to get pregnant there, or so goes the story. Then the city cut down the trees and it’s not so romantic anymore. But still, there are kids kissing on the benches. There is a good view to the south and west. We sat and watched lightning flash over the mountains above Escazú for awhile not too long ago.

Parque Embarazada, Heredia, Costa Rica

Parque Embarazada, Heredia, Costa Rica

Parque Embarazada, Heredia, Costa Rica

Parque Embarazada, Heredia, Costa Rica

Parque Embarazada, Heredia, Costa Rica

Parque Embarazada, Heredia, Costa Rica

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Aftershocks

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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Earthquake

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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This weekend Ily and I went to the town of La Fortuna to visit the hotsprings at the base of Arenal Volcano. We stayed at a place called Los Lagos Hotel. They had a swimming pool and some hotspring pools. It was a nice trip, nice to get out of the city for a couple of days.

The weather was cool and foggy most of the time, but on Saturday morning we could see the volcano. Everyone said that was unusual for this time of year. The night before, we had got a momentary glimpse of fire and sparks shooting out of the cone, accompanied by an ominous rumble.

We saw an armadillo one day, and I found a large insect drowning in a fountain. It was very pale green, about three and a half inches long, with huge curved pincers coming out of its head. Ily said it was a Machaca bug, and if it bites a woman, the Indians say she has to have sex immediately to counteract the poison. Not surprisingly, this insect is also associated with fertility.

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This morning started out clear and sunny, then got cloudy. Right now it is kind of half overcast, a bright gray day. The power went off briefly this morning, making everyone on my floor groan in one voice. It’s weird, even though the power to all our computers went off, the air-conditioning kept up its annoying loud drone throughout the episode. Makes me wonder about the company’s electrical priorities.

Last night we watched part of the vice-presidential debate. It got boring after about half an hour, and we ended up watching a horror movie called Wind Chill. Ily liked it for what she considered a realistic potrayal of dead people who can’t rest and need to call attention to themselves (a cry for help) by creating creepy scenes for stranded travelers in the middle of the night.

I suppose this realism could recommend it, but it still didn’t make it a good movie in my opinion.

I got a letter from my Dad yesterday too, written from the convalescent hospital. He mentioned that it was the same place where his mom died, way back in 1980. That was quite a year, an election year. My mom died that same year too. I hope Dad’s surgery works to keep him pain-free and happy.

Yesterday when I left work it wasn’t raining for a change. I went to meet Ily and her co-worker Karen at the Trigo Miel cafe downtown. Just before I got there, I stepped in dogshit, one hazard of having so many dogs wandering loose around the city. Ily says stepping in poop is good luck, and insisted that I buy a lottery ticket today. Fortunately it was pretty dry and came off easily. After the cafe, we walked up to Parque Embarazada where I wiped my shoe on the grass as another dog watched from the bench where he was sitting with his people.

This is how the sky looked when I got back to work from lunch Sept. 9

This is how the sky looked when I got back to work from lunch Sept. 9

The park’s name is not really Parque Embarazada (Pregnant Park), people just called it that because everyone went there to make out. Ily says it used to be really nice, with a lot of lush trees and bushes, and a nice stone railing all around the perimeter, but most of the trees were cut down to reduce the romantic atmosphere, however, lots of people still seem to go there to make out. Actually, you see couples everywhere close together with a romantic feeling, in doorways, parks, or at the bus stop, especially at night. It’s that legendary Latin American romance.

There is a mini mall next to McDonald’s with a sign out front listing all the rules. One rule is “No Escenas Amarosas,” No Amorous Scenes. The same warning is on a sign in the lobby of the free government clinic, where people start lining up at 4am to see a doctor.

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