Violence and lawbreaking bring some excitement.

Two days ago my best Tico buddy here in Turrialba got into a fight. He speaks English and runs a successful restaurant/bar here that I frequent. I had just left . A drunk guy was barred from getting into the discotheque that is below Gus’s bar because the drunk refused to pay the cover charge and when the female security guard told him to leave he made sexual licking expressions with his tongue at her . The drunk then wanted to come drink in Gus’s bar but Gus politely told him he could not be served because he made trouble downstairs. He then became irate and started threatening people. Edgar, an older regular patron who is a friend of mine, started calling the police. The drunk came over to him and punched him in the face while he was on the phone with the police.The blow landed on Edgar’s hand which was holding the phone to his ear. Edgar’s phone was broken and his hand and jaw are now sore . Gus at this point evicted the drunk who challenged him to fight once outside in the hallway. Gus punched him in the face, and kicked him gently a few times until his wife screamed for him to stop. The drunk immediately started complaining that he had been attacked by the HULK. When Gus told me this I said you do kind of look like the Incredible Hulk and he confessed that 3 years ago he dressed up as the Hulk for Halloween. So the police come and the drunk gives them a hard time, refusing to get off the ground so they punch him also just for good measure. Now the drunk is screaming police brutality. The ambulance arrives and he tells the attendants that he is a victim of police brutality. They tell him BULLSHIT and take him away without any charges filed. Now Gus has a messed up pinky finger that won’t straighten out.

Then after Gus tells me these things we go on an adventure . About ten of us hire a van to take us to Panama where we were to cross the border for a short shopping trip for liquor and clothes in a duty free place. Gus will save alot of money buying liquor for the restaurant this way. I said will I need my passport? and Gus assures me that I won’t. I said what about the policia ? and he said they are friendly and that he just might have to pat one on the back and joke with him and hand him a $20 bill if their is any trouble. We drive 2.5 hours and get to a place where there is a narrow river between Costa Rica and Panama . I said I hope we are not going to get our backs wet crossing this river. Gus said no there will be a man with a boat. So we get there unload and pay $2 each and a little man puts us in a boat and we cross the river into Panama. On the other side is a duty free store where I buy a hundred bucks worth of clothes which were not particularly cheap and some Baileys liquor for $16.The girl cashiers were flirtatious and thought it was funny that I wouldn’t buy spandex pants.

Waiting outside I see a soldier drive up in a military paddy wagon.Someone goes over and places a bag in his vehicle. Gus finishes shopping and is drinking a beer in front of the store with me (see picture with military paddy wagon in background) There is open burning of trash but otherwise very beautiful surroundings.I have a woman friend I have been dating and brought along and she buys some perfume.We start to leave and I want to take a picture of the little wooden ladder we use to get back in the boat but suddenly we are told …"hurry up the police are on their way." Somehow they have advanced notice of this. "What? the police are coming?" I say? "didn’t they get their bribes?" The soldier ignored us, doesn’t the army outrank the police? Why would they mess with us ? I never really get an answer but we rush across the river and quickly drive off with our goodies and everyone takes their stuff out of their bags and throws the empty bags and receipts out the window. We then spend 4 hrs in Puerto Viejo beach town (which is pleasantly stuck in the 70’s) where I am moving to next Sunday and I scout out a room to rent for a month for $250 starting next week while I work on the house near the beach I will be buying.

Martin
pictures are 1. Gus drinking beer,2.the river to cross, 3.the stuff I bought, and a 4. pic of puerto viejo

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