Into the Ears of Cleaning Ladies~


Our lawyer’s assistant, Eugenio, came yesterday to meet with a new topographer who came to measure the land and our boundaries… again. I swear to the real estate gods this property will be worn out before we ever get this case settled. Our lawyer is in Florida for the weekend talking to someone about another client and HER problems.

Eugenio arrived at about 9 AM. The topographer finally arrived at 2:30PM. To say we had some time to kill would be an understatement. The whole notion of time and whether you can kill it, waste it, bide it, or anything else was covered in a previous post. Suffice it to say that we had time and used it.

We started with café con leche, as that is what every good Costa Rican wife offers a guest, and proceeded on with small talk. Coincidentally our cleaning lady, Marta, was here that day and I think she put about four years of wear and tear on the front porch, cleaning it, so she could overhear the conversation.

One thing about Costa Ricans, they are not shy about talking in front of anyone, and those whose business it isn’t are not shy about listening. I have come to understand, in the twenty years of living here, that things are accomplished by the word in the street. Never tell anyone directly what you think, tell your neighbor or a friend who you know will tell someone who will tell someone who will tell the person you wanted to say something to. They don’t like confrontation.

I was aware that Marta was loitering about on the front porch, but it was when Eugenio told us about the Tortugas of Ostinal that she became blatantly apparent.

I asked Eugenio what kind of turtles they were as I had seen an article in the paper that showed thousands upon thousands of them on the beaches. It is that time of year.

No lo recuerdo,” he said.

“I know they aren’t the same ones we have on this side of the country,” I said in my best Spanish, which isn’t very good but I get by.

Eugenio started in to answer, “No. Yo no se exactamente, pero yo lo pienso

LORA!” interrupted Marta from outside, but not out of earshot.

That wasn’t the only thing she got to hear during our six-hour conversation. She now knows as much and probably more–Spanish being her native language– about our current legal case, the Supreme Court decisions relating to the land issues here, and politics in general.

The topographer came after lunch, walked to boundaries and agreed to meet with Paola on Sunday and come back Monday, which will probably be Wednesday or Thursday or Friday.