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I had the best of intentions.  I would go to Puerto San Jose, do the charter boat marina, go to Puerto Quetzal for the cruise ships and talk with captains/boat drivers and get the story of being on the waterfront, hooking up those sail fish….alas…the shuttle from Antigua dropped me off at the offramp for San Jose and along came a ‘chicken bus’….hopped aboard, the gringo with suitcase and panama hat, and for 2 quetzals…downtown San Jose!  whoopee…no, less than whoopee…my hotel was a ways further and the tuk-tuks in town are not motorized…they’re pedal powered. ..add 200 lbs of gringo, a suitcase of maybe 30 lbs and the poor bastard had to huff and puff. The hotel, the Posada Quetzal, wasn’t quite what the photos on their web-site offered…a decent pool, good staff but the room I was given was reminiscent of a summer time campsite…thatched roof for a ceiling, bare fluorescent lights and a few bugs..rough wooden floors, no glasses, no ice and no towels: malo…I found a store/tienda across the street that had a dust-covered bottle of Ron Botran Anejo…so old that the cork broke off..half in the bottle, half out..a dip in the pool and a snooze later, I woke up in the early evening. Across the black sand of the football field were the lights of another hotel, right on the beach…Posada de Don Carlos…my kind of place.

I love beach scenes

I love beach scenes

I moved the next morning…my driver w/the 9mm and co-conspirator in nocturnal adventures, arrived about noon. A friend of his called, with an assortment of women to meet…we met, we drank another bottle of old rum(but with a good cork)and retired for a nap before meeting them later at their work place…I assumed, wrongly, that they worked in a club, a bar or such…nope…red lights, nude dancing and propositions of the more personal type…we’d stopped at the store for their last dusty-covered bottle of rum: by this time, the widow in black had seen me buy three bottles in 24 hours….hmm…a serious gringo….off to the club, which opened at 8 pm…no sign, no clue of the action inside…locked gate, admission only by permission…ah, good car, gringo..must be money inside…to be continued..must sleep and rest.

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These items are usually found throughout Mexico and Central America, where the plumbing may be less than desireable and the level of comfort lower than you may be used to.

Have no fear. With a few simple precautions and some minor adjustments you will have that hot shower or the cooler version when the heat and humidity demand a second rinse-off by noon. Note the adjustable slider button on the front of the device: all the way to the left is usually a black dot, with the middle being a blank oval and to the right a half black/half blank circle. These are the temperature settings. Do not adjust these when you are in the shower with the water running. The device uses AC electrical power to power a heating coil in the shower head, kind of like the heating element that you might use to heat a cup of tea at home. Note the wiring, which is usually haphazardly taped together from the external lamp cord that they probably spliced into earlier. Do not touch this!

Turn on the water slowly, allowing the heating element to do its job and warm the water to your desired temperature and then you can enter the shower. Once in, it is safe to increase or decrease the water pressure for changes in temperature. Turning it off is also safe. The key to your shower safety lecture is to remember that you do not want to be fiddling with an electrical circuit while standing in water..yes, it’s probably only 110 volts but save your needs for electrolysis or having your permanent re-done until you’re in the hands of a professional. 

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  We are finally at the end of the Green Season, when daily rains come or nightly rains come or  it just rains all %$^&#! day… All of my leather soled shoes had begun to show various stages/layers of mold: some white and fuzzy, some greenish and multi-swirls of fungi. I had brushed off mold and a few days later it would return…it occured to me that bleach kills mold, but what else?

Alcohol? well..since I was just back from an all morning shopping excursion, ready for a beverage and a blender of margaritas had just been concocted, why not take a giant step for science, a leap of faith for the few and daub the soles of my least favorite loafers with a coating of cheap tequila? So what if my shoes stunk of tequila? So what if people knew? So… yes, tequila appears to have the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for mold remediation. Science marches on!  At ease, disease! There shall not be any fungus among us!

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