Although downtown San Jose is not recognized as a rich cultural and architectural city, nor for its historical past, I still enjoyed the capital of the country mainly for the large amount of friends that I met during my years as a bar owner in downtown. Honestly at that time the majority of social life for the residents was in the suburbs of Escazu, San Pedro and Rhormoser rather than downtown San Jose which was more frequented by tourists. The bar “El Cuartel de la Boca del Monte” was the PLACE in San Jose especially on Wednesdays where everybody from show business frequented this place. Another bar that I also loved outside San Jose was San Antonio de Belen where I had a group of friends who really took life in a “Pura Vida” way. I had a very nice time with this group of buddies located in a lovely little Costa Rican town!!
A few months after the opening of my bar in San Jose I met my first wife. We were living in Escazu where we saw the first constructions of the McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Burger King ect … it was the beginning of the development of Fast Food chains also accompanied by new American Malls with international shops that were beginning to grow all around San Jose
Since I was still not legally married my condition with immigration was only as a tourist and I had to leave the country every three months. At that time one could travel for three nights to San Andres, Colombia, hotel included for under $ 400. So instead of driving eight hours back and forth to Nicaragua I took a 45-minute flight. I was on an Colombian island with 5 colors of Ocean, where beaches are white as flour and where you could buy all kinds of products at reduced prices as San Andres is a duty free island! Another very cool thing about San Andres was that I could literally walk to the hotel from the airport without the need to take a taxi! During one of my trips to Colombia we had smoked salmon on the plane. At that time “Latino” was not really familiar with this type of specialty and many travelers would rather chose the second option, grilled chicken so It was my lucky day. I have never eaten so much smoked salmon in my life! Each time I return to San Andres my bags were full of electronics, French perfume, liquor, etc …
After three years of living with my first wife we got married at the church of Atenas a Costa Rican typical village just 40 minutes from San Jose. There were 150 guests, however, except for a dozen of my friends none of my family member was present. That is what happens when you stay far away from your relatives but fortunately the ceremony and the celebration was a total success until the electrical failure where the majority of people left and only the close family of the bride and the true friends stayed and we partied until early next day!! Pura Vida!!!!
I was still living in Escazu when I heard the best news of my life; I was going to become a father. Jourdan was born in July 1993, in good health and I was really pleased to have a son in my 30s because I had enjoyed plenty of my single life and it was time to calm down a bit!!
One day I received the visit of a Quebecer who wanted to buy my bar offering me to rent for three months until his partner would send the money for the purchase! I had nothing to lose, I already had the bar for 4 years and frankly I wanted to undertake other activities, so I accepted the offer, and left my condominium in Escazu. We went for three months to Esterillo located 20 minutes from Jaco which was at the time the most popular beach in Costa Rica especially known for its nightlife. I think it was the first time in my life that I spent three months doing nothing except go to the beach with my son and my friends, fishing, take beers all day and constantly eating food! One afternoon at the counter of the single beach bar of Esterillo I saw on TV several fire trucks in front of a business in San Jose when I suddenly realized that the fire was in my bar!!I immediately felt the pressure rise in my veins thinking I was going to lose my business that was still not sold!! However when I spoke to the tenant (from a public phone because there was no cell in that time) he reassured me that he had called the fire department on time and only the back of the bar had burned allegedly by an angry employee, luckily the damage was superficial.
After my adventures at the beach of Esterillo I returned to San Jose to collect the money from my bar. I remember dancing in the streets of San Jose with the check in my hands ready to do new things; it was 1994!
The first thing I did after selling my business was to buy a house in Atenas, where most of the Tico family of my son lived. I was very lucky with the purchase of the house in a nice neighborhood with the best climate in the world. Atenas has several food specialties like stuffed grapefruit, Jocotes, and the famous “Chicharones” (pork chop) served at Yayo, the most famous bar there, known by every Costa Rican!
Shortly thereafter, I received my permanent residency, and the start of my next adventure began.
To be continued…