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28187The Gendarmes of Costa Rica. Mostly nice guys.

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  • alexandra lancaster
    Feb 1, 2005
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      I didnt say effective guys. In my village, San Isidro de Heredia, until recently my police didnt even have money to put into their vehicle. Their central office is so scuzzy that it looks like the back end of a 7-ll where they store the beer cases and set the roach motels. If they need to write you a phone number, they have to send a kid out for a 2 cent piece of paper. They are handicapped by a severe lack of funds...did you notice that is what I am getting at?
      When I have had to call them for a prowler, however, they have arrived in minutes.
      When I had a drunk in my garden, they arrived in minutes but would not remove him, so gentle is this policing here. We lured him away with promises of better guaro down in the village.
      Now, when I call them, they have a spiffy little mini car and arrive quickly, too. They hint at a need for tiny gifts to help their cause. I give them. The property taxes here are so ridiculously low that these municipal services have no funds, literally. They probably provide their own uniforms.
      They are good natured and attempt to be helpful. I consider all the local guys my friends and we hug and salute on the street.
      One time a neighbor found his water pump! yes, water pump, missing from its hole in the garden. Sometime later we found the pump at the police station. They gave it to us. Another time, you may find the same cops watching soap operas with the television that went missing from your home the month before. This is charmingly and maddenly chaotic. It may not be different in New Jersey but it is more subtle. I have learned a cosmic sense of humour down here.
      Unlike Fred, I love my material things and don't want other people to own them without my permission. Call me possessive. I lock up money in a safe, I allow only my trusted maid Katia into my private quarters so that can be no mistake who pinched my grandma's earrings. I never leave other small valuables lying around the house.
      I had 30 chickens and with the last gardener, I started noticing they were disappearing. By the time I caught on, he had cooked and eaten them all. He blamed it on the zorillos (weasels).
      I called the cops. They are out now, looking for the weasels.
      The weasels are down the street, catching a bus to Ciudad Quesada where they hope to
      pinch something that belongs to Fred.
      This is the moronic, lovely, chaotic life in Costa Rica. It is better than anyplace else I have lived.

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