And just like that
Man, time flies doesn’t it? It has been 7 1/2 months since we were locked down, and shut out, from the rest of the world. Yet, as I sit here now, it seems like it was yesterday. So much has happened when we were sure it would be nothing at all. For so long, the world has been on TILT; like a pinball machine, rocked a little too hard to the side. It was all still there, right in front of you; the bells, the whistles; the spinning wheels and the cannon; the secret tunnel, the rubber bumpers; just nothing worked and the lights were no longer on.
When Costa Rica first went into quarantine, it was the middle of our Guanacaste Verano, and the end of the North American winter. The hills were flush with yellow flowers, like a canvas painted with a brush, from the Cortez Amarillo trees. Stunning. What should have been a couple of our busiest months, turned into a ghost town, as everyone was sent home and the airports were closed. You could hear crickets, literally. No one was coming back, time didn’t really matter; so I put my Rolex in the safe. Spending time in my pool, working on my tan, days rolled into weeks. I started working my way through my CD collection; from AC/DC to Foreigner; Genesis to Eddie Money: Night Ranger to Twisted Sister; U2 to ZZ Top and every Van Halen album with David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar’s “I can’t drive 55!” My hair was a mess, but I didn’t care.
Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter edition no. 184
Just like that: the 80s were back! (RIP EVH)
On our first food drive, we came across this house, with 6 little baby puppies, practically on the verge of death. The family had no means to feed their kids, let alone their dogs, and there was no hope of survival if we left. They lived in a shack, under a fruit tree, and the pups were skin and bones. We scooped them up in our arms, threw them in the truck, and continued down the dirt road. I kept the scrawniest one and we found homes for the other five.
Just like that; fur child number 11; please welcome Manguita (the little mango).
Costa Rica’s Division One became the first soccer league in the Americas to return to play. As always, Saprissa kept on winning as if nothing ever happened.
I celebrated my 17th anniversary of living in paradise selling a property using ZOOM. How times had changed in such a short period of time. The afternoon showers of our spectacular green season, was also upon us again, and the lush hillsides, came back into view.
And just like that, you realize life is short. A great friend and client, passed away suddenly, from a freak accident. You never know when your number is called, your time is up; the Grim Reaper knocks on your door. It could be anything; car wreck, cancer, heart attack or a fall. Heck, it could be the flu. You just never know. They say the average retirement age is 67 and the life expectancy is 78. What is wrong with this? So you tell me you are going to work for 50 years, so you can enjoy your last 11? Come on people! Figure it out! No one is guaranteed tomorrow; so you have to stop procrastinating, and start living your life now. When are you going to wake up?
Just like that, I turned 55 years old. I am in a great spot, I thought, much better off than most. I am passionate about what I do, and I have a ton of fun. I cannot wait to get up every day and live the dream. I am surrounded by the best group of people; all givers and positive thinkers; optimists and professionals. They are go getters and have the mindset of paying it forward, always.
The town started opening up again, and life slowly started to return to normal. Beaches and National Parks opened; dive and fishing boats went out; bodies started to fill the restaurants; and there was live music once more. Heck, golf carts even started going past my house again. Life is good. We still had a long ways to go, but we were definitely on the right track, but the airports were still closed.
I was driving through Sardinal, heading home one afternoon, and this pack of about 15 dogs went flying by. They were all chasing this one black beauty, and they were excited. They all had their little red rockets out, and were looking for a party; but she had other ideas. She was not up for the doggie gang bang. They finally cornered her and a melee began. I am not sure what came over me. Had I had time to think I might have changed my mind, but I jumped from my truck, and dove right into this hot mess! I was kicking and punching, and they were biting and tearing, but somehow, I got her out. You should have seen the look on the face of this little old lady across the street; thinking “What the hell is this stupid gringo doing? For the Love of God!”
And just like that; dog number 12. Say hi to Molly and her magical eyes.
Thanks to so many people’s marvelous generosity, we continue our food drives. We have fed over 5,000 families with a week’s worth of supplies, and approximately 15 tons of dog and cat food delivered. THANK YOU EVERYONE for your continued support. Watching the community come together to help one another, feeding families, looking after each other, I feel blessed. Especially seeing the madness in the USA. Riots; protests; violence; destruction; total disregard for authority; insanity. There is this focused calm here in Costa Rica. Even though so many people have struggled, I have never seen any anger or serious frustration. Everyone is optimistic, knowing it will be OK. Respect!
Even the street dogs are getting fed. Every week, I drop off huge 66 pound bags of Super Perro to my friends who go out into the neighborhoods and feed these beautiful creatures. Bonnie in her little Fischer Price golf cart with eyelashes: waking up at the crack of dawn; Laura on her bicycle; every day, religiously pedaling through the community. Then there is Fernando, the Pied Piper of the Zaguates and his little wagon. Every morning, dozens of beach dogs, wait patiently by the side of the road, as he fills a bowl for each one. When I dropped off some more grub the other day, he smiled; “Nice haircut Mike, you look good.” Who would notice this? Just like that, the spas and salons are open again. GOD BLESS YOU; Joanne and Natalie, Sandra and Amy, Jessica and Sharinne; all stepping up to help the less fortunate animals of Costa Rica. You ladies are amazing! Helping to find homes for so many strays. When they have exhausted their avenues, I usually get a call.
Say hello to Martin (pronounced Marrr Teeeeeen; you have to go up an octave on the teen); Just like that; Pup number 13. Does he look like Uncle Martin from MY FAVORITE MARTIAN or what?
I got a call from a friend, who is one of the local fishermen here in our town. He makes his living on the sea. He told me he had a present for me, for helping him out. You see his motor broke and he needed money to fix it; no boat; no bread. So of course, I stepped up. He felt compelled to pay me back, and was bringing me over some fish that he had caught. I told him, please give it to a family in need, as I can easily afford to buy my own whenever the urge is there. No, he insisted, that he had to drop it off, it was fresh tuna, perfect for Sashimi Sushi. When I met him, he handed me an entire fish; head, eyes, gills and tail. I thanked him and threw it in the cooler. Now do not get me wrong. I do not want to sound arrogant and I surely do not feel I am better than anyone else. But the last thing I want to do, during this crazy Gong Show is clean a fish. Had he handed me a couple of steaks, I would have probably gone home, pulled out the Soy Sauce and had a nice lunch. But seriously, what I am going to do with an entire pescado? Michael Simons does not clean fish; I just don’t. First off, it stinks. You can never get that smell out of your kitchen for weeks or off your hands for days. Second it is dangerous; I could easily see myself, slicing a finger off and spending the night at the emergency room; no thank you. If I want Mahi Mahi or Ahi Tuna, I will order it in a restaurant with a cold beer and a salad. So I immediately drove to a family I know that is out of work; I bring them care packages regularly. “Wow! Yellowfin! Thanks Mike!”
Just like that: Good deed paid forward.
I had to go to San Jose, to take care of some business, so I got up early and made the 3 hour trek. When I arrived, I was early for my appointment, so I headed over to Denny’s. I mean, if you are going to break your low carb diet, there is nothing better on this planet than their world famous hash browns and mouth watering pancakes. So damn good. Throw in the sourdough toast please.
Is it just me, or does it feel like the Twilight Zone? People with masks on walking down the street, on a beautiful day, with the sun shining and the breezes in their face. You see a girl on a scooter, her face is covered. What about the idiot that is all alone in his car, with one of them on too? You want to scream at these people. “BREATHE THE FRESH AIR MORON!!!!!” Coronavirus is not a bee or a wasp. It will not fly into your mouth and kill you! There is nothing better for you than God’s clean Costa Rican air, Vitamin E and sunshine!!! Take a deep breath! Wake up people!
But this one really takes the COVID cake. I went through a toll booth on my drive to the city. There was a huge sign that read;” Please give exact change to avoid contact with the operator (In Spanish of course).” The amount was 790 colones.
Yes 790 colones.
Nobody has 790 colones just laying around. NOBODY. That is a 500 coin, two 100 bullets, a 50 nugget, a 25 pellet, a 10 piece and the final nickel BB. Can you imagine going through a toll booth in Florida, and the sign said Exact Change Appreciated, and it was $1.48? That is specifically what this was saying. Think about it. Every day, someone has to deliver hundreds of bags of pennies to every toll booth operator in the country. Do you have any idea how much that weighs? And I heard there was a coin shortage. The poor girl working the booth was ready for a zombie invasion; no kidding. She had on her mask AND a plastic face shield. She was wearing long sleeves AND ski gloves, basically; and it is blazing hot. She might as well have been wrapped in aluminum foil; miserable. She has to touch every single dirty, stinking, sweaty claw that sticks itself out the car window, holding a pile of COVID infested coins. And THEN she has to touch them a second time to give them back their 10 cent colon dime, which is the equivalent of 2 fricken cents USD. “Thanks so much, here is your change back sir, safe travels. PURA VIDA” Avoid contact my ass: TWILIGHT ZONE.
They want us to social distance too, remember? Pathetic.
I have washed my hands and sanitized so many times, as every store has a station out front, there is no more skin on my fingers. I can literally see the bones. My new nickname is Skeletor.
Supposedly, this is the most dangerous virus in the world. It is so deadly, that if you touch a door handle, you WILL get it and die in record time. You must stay 6 feet away from everyone else and wear a mask at all times because it is EVERYWHERE. If someone so much as breathes on you, even looks at you the wrong way, you are infected, and everyone in your family is at risk. Buildings are locked down; businesses are closed; public gatherings are illegal; it is only safe if you shop at Wal Mart or order online, as Amazon boxes are unaffected. They urge you to lock yourself in your closet with duct tape around the vents, and never come out until 2021, unless you want to gather with 10,000 of your friends and protest something; then it is SAFE. But heavens for bid you want to sit out in an open air stadium and see a baseball game, NO WAY JOSE. Yet to get a COVID test requires that they shove this 6 inch Q-tip up your nose, twist it around your cranium, curve it back behind your eyeball, roll it around a couple times, possibly causing permanent damage to your brain and your vision, not to mention your mental state of mind, and then pull it out and shove it in a test tube, where they send it off FED-X to some government lab deep underground, where it takes days to get the results, keeping you in total suspense and in fear for your existence!!!! Wasn’t this the premise for the Queensryche album “Operation Mindcrime”? Are you serious? If it is that deadly, I should be able to lick a stamp and it would change colors right there on the spot. Scam alert!!! People, seriously, wake up.
Just like that, Costa Rica got smart. NO MORE COVID TESTS. The Joke is over. The man behind the curtain has been exposed. The airports are open, planes are full and we are ready for business. Come on down baby! Winter is back in North America, freezing cold and snowing, yet the Pura Vida summer is here. Dry season is upon us, the sun is shining, birds chirping, monkeys howling and everyone is flocking back to paradise. Time to get out the Rolex.
Business is going to boom. Everyone is scooping up hard assets again, and who wants to stick around for the Civil War that is going to happen the day after the election? Wouldn’t you rather be here, sitting on a beach, drinking a cold Pilsen, watching the sunset, scarfing down a ceviche, in your Tank Tops and Flip Flops, sun visor and cool shades? It is 90 degrees EVERY SINGLE DAY. Why are you still there? Hello?
Just like that, reality hits you in the face; the sting is so refreshing isn’t it?
For a long time, I was up on this high dive, wanting to make a move, contemplating a leap, so tired of the corporate RAH RAH RAH. But it was a long way down and the water looked cold; and it was probably very deep too. I kept taking steps, bringing me closer and closer, until I was finally at the front of the board, on the edge, looking over at the abyss. I just needed something, someone, to put their finger in the small of my back and give me that final little push; you could have blown on my neck and I was gone; I was teetering for so long. Finally it happened and off I went. THANK GOD. As I plummeted through the air, I pulled both knees up to my chest, and cannonballed into my next adventure with an explosion that was felt in all corners of the region.
And just like that Tres Amigos Realty Group.
I shot up out of the water like a rocket and gulped down that first breath of fresh air; a load of bricks had finally been removed from my shoulders; a sigh of relief; I whipped my hair around, opened my eyes; cracked the biggest smile you have ever seen; pumped my fist into the air and …………
To be continued!
Come on down baby!
See you soon. I am off to the beach for a Chiliguaro and a Mojito. Join me.
I want to thank the Hickey’s, who sponsored an entire food drive, feeding over 120 families and dozens of needy animals. Words do not express our gratitude for your incredible generosity. See the comments from their email.
“Mike, First off, congratulations on all your hard work helping to feed so many people in need. I think I can say that you’re doing ‘God’s work.’ Thanks for your efforts in making all of this happen. We don’t need our business highlighted nor our house, as we no longer rent it. Just say it is from Kathy and Fred Hickey; two part-time residents of Playa Hermosa who are thankful to be part of the community and appreciate the hard working, happy people of Costa Rica in these difficult times and are glad we can be of some help. Hopefully others will follow our example.”
THANK YOU BOTH from the bottom of my heart. Take care, stay safe, and God Bless. See you in a few weeks.
If you or your business, development, resort, foundation, FOR SALE or AIRBNB home, would like to sponsor a day, please contact me directly.
If you would like to make a donation, so we can continue to feed these superb people of Costa Rica, please PAYPAL or ZELLE to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also have your property manager transfer to my Costa Rican bank account. Envelopes of Hundred Dollar Bills are also accepted, but please NO Ten Cent Colon Coins.
NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL.