Saturday, September 30, 2006


Montezuma is a tiny place close to the tip of the Nicoya Penninsula. The tip itself is a reserve: Cabo Blanco, there are other reserves both private and public to the east of Montezuma. The town itself is tight against the gulf with cliffs behind - it will be difficult to develop it further.
At some point in the last 20 years European and North American hippies flocked to the town: they have since bought up or opened many of the hotels, restaurants, bars and shops, creating a strange business population of dreadlocked and tripped out bronzed but bleary eyed individuals with odd Spanish accents. There is a younger generation of tattooed and dreadlocked entrepreneurs selling jewelry and suchlike on tables along the two streets.
There is surf - not the pounding surf of the Pacific: the waves break too close to the shore for any real surf tourism, but enough to keep most people out of the water and enough for a few local ticos to practise their moves on.
The place has a laid back and easy atmosphere - four days there was enough to recognise a lot of the locals and for them to know at least the dog by name. The three town drunks are very obvious and seem harmless enough being basically out of it by 11am and sleeping on the street each night. The street dogs are friendly and happy to escort anyone to the beach.
I love it. The two room schoolhouse sits on the beach, there's no glass in the windows. Most everyone has screens for windows with wooden shutters. That's what I want. It's hot and incredibly humid, one sweats all the time, moving or not, and it's quite enough to sit in the shade with a banana smoothie and watch nothing in particular.
I made some friends and spent much of my time sitting on the beach or at the waterfall in the shade of trees listening to street Spanish and eating coconuts. It was beautiful.
I went back a couple of weekends later and fell very easily into more of the same. There's a farmers' market on Saturdays where the local hippies gather to buy organic veggies and home made goats cheese. Their kids run around in oversized clothes with messy hair and little dogs. Can you imagine?
The beaches close to town are clean, but the ones facing east are strewn with plastic trash which looks like it came either off ships or from the tourist towns across the gulf. The trash is 'clean' but awful: plastic bottles, flip-flops, pieces of foam board, horrendous. I'm sure there are grants available to clean the mess and I'm sure there are foundations in the US and Europe who would support clean beaches, after all the beaches form part of the reserves.
How about I begin a non-profit in Montezuma cleaning the beaches and open up a big recycling project there to deal with the trash? I could live in a tiny place with screen windows and wooden shutters with bananas, mangoes and coconuts outside my window and get woken by howler monkeys at dawn. Would that be enough? God yes.