I JUST BOUGHT MY BOLT HOLE IN BEAUTIFUL COSTA RICA
By Brad Butler
A Bolt Hole? What?s that? You may ask me. Well as a retired British naval aviator I would tell you that it was that truly wonderful safe haven to which you could divert in your aircraft when things started to get difficult as you were attempting to land back on that small aircraft carrier on a black night in the middle of the inhospitable Norwegian Sea. Those were the days!
Sounds almost like the start of a new novel to me; and that may well be the case ? later. Meanwhile I must tell you about my other bolt hole ? my pretty little 12.5 acre lot on the side of the hill in peaceful San Carlos. At the highest point is a 2 acre plateau that just begs for the construction of a nice brick and tile house with huge panoramic windows to capitalize on the views of the river in the valley below and the volcano in the distance. This is my other bolt hole; a place of tranquility where life is unhurried and man is shielded from the exigencies of first world country living. A place where you can consider writing your memoirs or better still, where you can stroll down to the end of the quiet country lane to sit and have an evening beer by the clear bubbling stream with your Costa Rican neighbours.
Idyllic? ? Yes. Fact ? Yes! With effect from 11am this morning I became that proud owner and now all I have to do is decide what beer I?m going to drink when I get there on there on the 28th of this month; decisions, decisions!
So how did this happen? Well I am glad that I have already ?padded? this tale out because this bit is going to be really short! In simple terms, we, my lovely wife Jean and I took a few days off from our busy horse breeding ranch here in beautiful Florida, jumped a quick two hour flight from Fort Lauderdale to San Jose and there we met up with Roy Quiros and Brad Butler, the owners of Emerald Forest Properties. These two charming gentlemen spent a considerable amount of time with us on that Saturday and showed us a broad range of properties in a variety of areas in the Central Valley. From pristine 50 acre ranches to gorgeous architect designed mansions we were more than impressed with their catalog and indeed their enthusiasm throughout the day.
We were so excited that we left our cellphone and my very best Serengeti aviator sunglasses in their Volvo. By the time we realised this they had already returned from some considerable miles at the end of a very long day and returned the cell phone to the hotel desk. The sunglasses they were unaware of at that time and fortuitously it was the loss of those prized sunspecs that was to trigger this purchase. Trigger because Jean and I had decided that I had lost them on the two acre plateau and we returned there later that day to conduct a search.
The Costa Rican family in the little house on the hill above us watched with interest as we skirted to and fro in the long grass looking forlornly for the prize. Alas, discovery was not to be and as we returned to our vehicle the watching farmer and two of his children came down to see if they could help; obviously they knew we were looking for something and in our quaint pidgin Spanish we described them and they offered to do a search for us later that day. We promised to return the following morning (Sunday).
When we returned that next morning we were greeted by the farmer, Enrique with his youngest son Jesus and his seven year old daughter Francesca who was studying English at school! They had not found the sunglasses but they really wanted us to meet his wife and the other two children and then to go down the lane to meet his brother , Enrique and his family. Everyone was in their ?Sunday best? and the children were remarkably polite and well-mannered; Jesus insisted on holding my hand throughout and seemed to be fascinated by my strange accent ?a real Gringo?
They showed us their property, the tilapia pond, the neat little restaurant with tango music playing ? I was ready to dance as I embraced the atmosphere of happiness and contentment. I didn?t know what time the bar opened so I hesitated to buy them a drink in case I might be breaking some religious code of ethics; so I owe them one! Roll on the 28th when I can celebrate with my new neighbours. Which reminds me that I have still to tell you how easy it was to but the property!
Well actually, we told Roy and Brad the next day that we had decided that nothing fitted our demanding modus operandi with our golden horse breeding, high level competition dressage, competition carriage driving and Jean?s progression through the ranks of equestrian judges. They were very magnanimous in their response considering the amount of time they had given us on effectively ?their day off?! I guess they were wondering why we had even bothered flying down there in the first place? Now that?s down to me. On our previous vacation visit I had developed a liking for the country and it?s commitment to conservation and also its people ? happy, smiling and receptive. It was then that I began to harbour the desire to read English stories to them in school and to go along to assist with their soccer training; well I may not be as fit as I used to be but I can still do a spot of dribbling!
So having returned to Florida without commitment, I got on with the job of fencing the new pastures and driving arena. Jobs which take up very little brain power and leave my mind free to contemplate the cost of the ill-conceived invasion, the crippling national debt of $9 Trillion which everybody studiously ignores, the balance of trade deficit, the collapsing property market, the struggling economy of which 90% is service industry, the crippling credit card debt and the failing US dollar. I was actively thinking of switching my few dollars into gold when Brad e mailed me to say my beloved and sorely-missed Serengetis had been found in their Volvo at routine service time.
I had also been thinking about that two acre plateau and the two farmer brothers and their cute families and so I e mailed Brad to make an offer on the land. Well I was totally dismayed to hear that it was already under offer. Oh woe is me!! He who hesitates is lost! And all those other wailings! Okay, so back to gold ? but you can?t build on gold, or dig it, or grow pineapples and mangoes on it, or invite your friends over to share it!
And then the great news ? it was back on the market! Yeah! Get a contract on it. Pay the deposit and close in ten days ? Done, signed, sealed and now I finally have my own precious little bolt hole in that wonderful country.
Thanks Roy, Thanks Brad, Thanks Roger the Attorney and thank you God for my glasses and the property and my new neighbours
Who cares if they shout ?Bolter. Bolter!? I?m on a wave-off anyway!