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Originally sent out as a Down South Perspective newsletter in June of 2008...
Thanks to all who have written wishing me well and improved health (the Lyme disease); please forgive my not responding. As I say, my energy level and writing ability are impaired.
Nevertheless, I'll try to update you here about a couple things of note.
Just got back from a quick clandestine tip to Costa Rica. Twofold reasons for my return there: I needed some shots (video) for the film I'm working on; mostly San Jose stuff. The other reason was business-related; I'll explain in a minute.
A part of the film will be visual interpretations of my two memoirs. In the case of cygawa, I felt that the ending, i.e., the last few chapters, were important -- my final two days in San Jose before my ultimate bolt from the country that had been my home for so long.
Those of you who have read the book will likely recall what I'm referring to here: my plan was to film the square block of the Balmoral Hotel (and the El Presidente as well), Chelles Restaurant, and the 4-star whorehouse/casino/hotel, the del Rey.
I did the above (in light rain which makes for good imagery), and then shot the interior of the Balmoral, reliving when I followed Lisa and my bro Kim inside and up to Lisa's room, 322. It was eerie, and I think I captured that.
The del Rey. I spent three nights at the del Rey, figuring to shoot the whores at the bar and then bring a whore to my room, as I did that last night, and shoot that. All of it.
As I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm not into whores, sexually. But there are some beauties in Costa Rica and the three times in my life I've been with whores (counting the incident of the alpha whore who semi-raped me in Panama, which fell in a whore-gray area), I didn't NOT enjoy the experience. I mean I figured I could handle it, right? So what the hell, right? I'd grin and bear it for the sake of the film, right?
First night: Went down to the bar around sundown, had a rum and OJ, scanned the talent. As I say in cygawa regarding the del Rey, ‘whores everywhere, like a hundred whores, some of which whores being quite beautiful, in the morbid sense.' I talked up a stunner but then when she suggested we go up to my room I made up an excuse and left, went upstairs and to sleep.
Just not in the mood, I figured.
The next morning I talked to the del Rey management about shooting a short scene in the bar. A tracking shot of the whores. I'd pick the whores, pay them, I said. I'd use existing lighting, take me about 10 minutes. Quick and easy. As evidence that I wasn't just some whacko (before you say anything, I am not JUST some whacko), I had them google me, my various credits, etc., showed them a copy of cygawa, and Xeroxed the pages wherein I mention their establishment, assuring them that the publicity would be positive. (I was hoping they wouldn't read the pages too closely.)
Nope. No go from the del Rey powers that be. They are trying to ‘keep a low profile,' they said. Okay, I said, figuring I'd shoot some hidden-camera stuff anyway. Fuck em. Plus an undercurrent, a tinge, of the illicit might add some pizzazz…
Next night. Down to the bar again. Approached what I can only describe as a world class beauty. She was very young, maybe nineteen. Being young she was maybe less… used… less hardened… than some of the older ones, I was thinking. But holy shit she was beautiful.
I told her I wanted to film everything and that I'd pay extra, I'd pay double, more than double, I'd pay $200 for an hour. This was okay with her.
I wanted to get a sense of her – a mistake – so we talked for a bit and then the ‘morbid' part of the whore's beauty kicked in.
This is hard to explain, since she didn't say anything particularly fucked up; it was just small talk. Best I can do without going out on a happy horseshit theoretical limb is to say that I suddenly got a bad rush about what I was doing: I was participating, actively, in how and why the world is so fucked up, notwithstanding that in theory my motive in fucking and filming the fucking of this whore was to tell some truth about why the world is so fucked up.
Right: Here we go with the D-Word!
Suddenly I hadda get outa there.
The next day I went to the Pacific Coast.
I returned to San Jose two days later, figuring to give it one more try, but as soon as I walked into the del Rey and saw all the whores and all the North American men who, like me, were there to fuck them (if not to film same) and who amounted to some sort of grand metaphor (which was my pretension, artistically, wasn't it?) I called Taca and made reservations for the next flight out. I hid out in my room that night, pretty much paralyzed. Never touched my camera.
Everything was reminding me of everything…
In cygawa I muse a bit about the nature of literary‘nonfiction,' coming to the erudite conclusion that it's ‘a load of horseshit.' Documentaries being the filmic version of ‘nonfiction,' I suppose I'm dabbling in the same arena, with a similar conclusion reached, apparently. Somehow.
The point being, though: when you see the film, you'll know why there's no whore scene.
Okay. The other reason I went down there.
I met with my lawyer and friend, Juan Francisco Mora, whom I hadn't seen since my bolt. Business-wise, I had to sign some papers relating to land I still own in Costa Rica.
Up until now, no one other than Juan Francisco has known that I've been sitting on a hectaria (2.2 acres) of prime land in Junquillal, near the reef break Playa Negra, Guanacaste, up near Tamarindo. Bought it in 2005 when I knew I was done with Pavones. I wasn't done with Costa Rica.
Now I need money to finish the film so my plan was to sell the land. I'd deal with the legalities of that plus shoot film and video of the property and the surroundings, including the surf, so I could properly present the land on my website and elsewhere.
Problem was, after walking the property and hanging out with the locals, expats and Ticos in the area, and after visits to the nearby surf breaks, I sort of altered my plan.
I'm going to sell half the land, finish the film, then build a house on my lot.
I love Costa Rica. I still want to live there.
So I'm working on a presentation of the land; how I'll divide the hec into two adjoining one acre lots. It's titled, about 700 yards from the ocean (and with a view of it), a great beach break wave right down front, Playa Negra 4 miles away, other breaks too. Forty minutes to Tamarindo (just far enough from that shit hole.)
Looking for a buyer I can get along with, maybe plan our construction together, save money.
So if you're thinking about making The Move, stay tuned. (The acre will cost something in the order of $140k, but let me think about this.)
I'll be in touch.
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