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Let’s Get Back To Costa Rica: Tropical
By John Holtz

“Yes,” the green season or rainy season as the rest of the world might know it is close at hand. I say you’ve got to love it! A tan and green at the same time.

After 4 months of dryness the fields are brown, the hills are brown the dirt is hard and shaving is tough on the skin not to mention water bills second to none. It was a nice break, but let’s get back to Costa Rica: Tropical.

Last night, in my living room, I saw my first abejon (Beetle) of the season who must be a scout for the next 1,000 that will come every night in May followed by tropical rains. By June they will be gone…dead I think.

Having the sliding doors and windows open in the evening is a Costa Rica pleasure. But in May that is another 100 pesos. At times it becomes difficult to even watch television as they flit around the room with nothing terribly important to do except bang into walls head first and die. And, then in the morning….dead, all dead and all over the floor (I realize this is a lot of hyperbole, but you get the picture.)

They make me feel sad because their mission in life is to die in front of my television? It is difficult to watch Dancing With the Stars while seeing these beetles bounce off the screen and walls.

I love the green season that we call “winter” which is actually warmer than the dry season that we call “summer.”

I do not have an explanation for that except maybe, “summer” in “winter” sounds more attractive and brings more tourists to Costa Rica when there is no rain. In London they hear a lot, “I spent the winter in their summer and got a great tan. How was the winter here? You look so, so pale and me you ask? I’m tan, I’m fit, and I’m a sex symbol!”

Being located only 11 degrees or so above the equator the sun will fry your brains out even on a cloudy day. That Brit might be a sex symbol now, but only until the skin cancer kicks in.

The tropical rains of green season can be devastating at times but always they bring amazing fauna, flowers, new trees, wildlife and also they bring rushing rivers to the seas and with that rushing toilet water, plastic bottles, tin cans, old tires and about anything else you can list.

According to government figures, 72%, think of it, 72% of ALL Costa Rica waste water goes straight to the rivers and eventually down to either the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean. (This includes those multi star hotels of which more than one has been shut down for this specific reason.)

The sign inside the bus says “keep it clean,” referring to the interior. We do. We toss the trash out the windows. (Same thing with our cars.) We think like the feline, “If I cannot see it, it does not see me.” (But it smells!)

We have two rivers both called “White” not because of their crystal clear water but because these rivers, when it rains they are well known for carrying downstream household appliances, usually painted white, tossed into them like stoves, refrigerators, toasters and even microwaves.

But there is another side to all this, a powerful side. No matter where you are nothing seems brighter, more lush, and more fresh than the green season of Lady Costa Rica.

A good time to be here.

Lady Costa Rica signed on to the Kyoto Agreement in April 27, 1998 with the lofty goal of being carbon neutral by 2021. That might sound like mumbo – jumbo, but it is not.

The country has so much wildlife and forests that man, trying at his best, has not been able to destroy it although he has made a lot of effort to do so with outrageous condos, big time resorts, potable water contamination, insecticides and illegally cutting trees to build roads into our protected national parks to construct mind, body spirit yoga retreats or eco-camps and even gold mines. Injured and damaged, on her knees, Lady Costa Rica, with her best friend Mother Nature, does fight back by growing things like trees, forests and jungle that collectively invite the wildlife to come live in balance and humans to either adopt that balance or leave.

Make no mistake, Lady Costa Rica is tough. She swears like a sailor, refuses to give in to special interest groups and instead continually fosters the willows, the palms, the multicolor lapa birds, the wind, the fish and the low hanging clouds who act like mammoth body guards protecting us….from us.

Developers might have a sure fire plan to exploit the countryside, but Lady Costa Rica will stop the rape. She has yet to be defeated. Even the Great Recession has managed to put the ecology back into Costa Rica because construction and out-of-control real estate developments have stopped thereby giving the country a rest, a chance to breathe a little and perhaps find her way again.

Certainly we do have home grown issues like too much traffic, smoky diesel engines, roads to nowhere, pot holes the size a small swimming pool, trash in the streets….but those are to be expected in a developing nation or the third world, and those are issues endemic to any place with a 20% poverty rate.

Lady Costa Rica does not want grotesque signs at every turn announcing luxury, hundreds of no down payment condos and time shares on the beach that too frequently get abandoned, decayed, block ocean access or are simply ugly monuments attesting to the power of greed. (Did you know, no matter what is advertised, there is no such thing as a private beach here?)

She wants good taste; she wants all of us to see her beauty as it is, without make-up and not like a celebrity as seen on some “red carpet” television awards show who is be-jeweled, decked out in a super expensive borrowed dress, coming from a tan booth and 6 hours of cosmetics.

Lady Costa Rica wants to be natural, be real but it is hard for her to do it alone so we are called upon to help out.

Sadly, many of our foreign visitors who are enticed here by this eco-friendly, beer friendly, ocean friendly, jungle friendly, mountain friendly and romance friendly Costa Rica tend to also be heavy duty polluters leaving behind a legacy of ugliness that clearly demonstrates a lack of respect for the environment and for those of who us call this country home.

As my Costa Rica cousin, Ana Elena once said to me, “Gringos come to Jaco Beach to do here what they are not allowed to do in the United States.” A harsh commentary, but it does have merit.
And Costa Rica the Lady just sheds one more tear for a sustainable and healthy environment while getting ready for the next struggle.

For a good primer on Costa Rica as well as ecology, pay a day visit to Parque InBio. It is a few miles outside of San Jose and it is entertaining. Park Inbio will prepare you for your trip to the rest of the country. It is an excellent organization and super park at a reasonable price. www.inbioparque.com

One other comment:

If you decide to go to a destination resort that rents parrots and monkeys for you to see and maybe touch, you do not know and have not been to Costa Rica. You have been to a destination resort and nothing else. It caters to your wishes which might be just the thing for your taste. Still, please pick up your own trash okay?

However, when you visit our country, stand up and give us a hand to keep the green season, really green and the dry season (summer) really clean.

A clean and friendly Lady Costa Rica is just good business for all!

John Holtz is the Executive Director of theCenter for the Studies of Modern Management
www.modernmanagement.org and can be reached at:  [email protected].

 







 
 
 
 
 

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