Monday, September 14, 2009

Baghdad to the US to Costa Rica and back...

Greetings and Que Pasa!!!
El Intrepid Reporter here, blogging again. Many moons have passed, and the Editor and Poindexter In Charge has taken a bit of a break, so I decided that tonight, as I’m in rare form, should take advantage of the situation, and Blog as far as things are, have been, and possibly might be. The wild whackness and weirdness that continually inhabit and infiltrate my life are yet again in full effect.

This time, the Reporter of Infinite Fame, Fortune and World Weariness is hitting you from Esparza, Costa Rica. I’m in town for Lil Country’s impending nuptials, which take place in 3 days as the clock states. I’m here in Central America as the “Best Man” as spurious a title as it may be, but, nonetheless, after a First Class flight (literally I’m saying… screw flying with the common folk anymore… bigger seats… better food… free booze… how the hell can I argue with that?) I’m ensconced in the bar that I have a 1/3rd ownership in, and am attempting to turn the ledger sheet red if I’m capable. Lord Knows I’ve been a ‘good boy’ lately, despite the inherent weirdness in Baghdad. More on that in a few. Point being, I’m melting Brain Cells by the friggin barrel load, and I also managed to become “walking wounded” within the first 4 hours in country.

OK: Hmmmn where to start: Well, lets go with Baghdad. Last time I blogged was many weeks ago… almost a month and a half truthfully. Unfortunately, if nothing is happening, and I’m bored, and there ain’t shytte to write about, I’ll go the easy route and say to hell with it. Not like I’m getting fucking paid for this anyways right? Well, all that changed 2 days before I was due to rotate home on R&R. (Not the pay thing… the local sit-rep) This, as the long term followers of my writings (pre-blog) know that this is a familiar situation. Every. Single. Time. It gets fucking old. Every time I’m going on R&R, no matter what time of year, the fucking Haj decide that “this time” is the “perfect time” to start lobbing rounds / actively trying to kill us infidels. It started early one morning with a world class explosion. World Class means, in the IR book, strong enough to rouse me from a dead vodka-induced coma. The explosion made international news. The “Dirty Haj” took advantage of the whole goat rope that the change of “US Troops to Iraqi Troops” and nuked a whole fucking neighborhood. Like 79 people KIA’d but probably more, as the counting of the bodies with a bomb THAT big is usually, at the morgue, a situation of “How many Left Arms do you have? We need a body count of casualties.” Sort of gruesomeness that I’m happier to avoid. I mean how the fuck do you get an accurate count when an ENTIRE neighborhood gets vaporized? It brings back memories and thoughts of Dresden and Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No one will ever know exactly how many died, and the way theses dudes hit the block, same principle can be applied.
So yeah, here I am, crashed out, dead to the world in a magnificent Harem Inspired dream (tell me I haven’t been in Iraq too fucking long eh?) and I get jolted right out of the fucking bunk. As in physically thrown out of the fucking rack. Talk about a “Hey what the fuck?” moment…

SO yeah, I “got the fuck outta Dodge” ASAP, and got home. Home… what a wonderful place… as long as the Household Six isn’t in full on rage at the Spawn for misbehavior… Yeah… the kids are at that tender age when they think backtalking, smart mouthing and generally being little assholes is in ‘vogue.’ Seems this’s a regular thing these days when I’m gone, but I’m hoping to crush this little rebellion like a 40 pound maul on a cockroach: decisively and brutally. Gotta keep the Six happy don’t ya know? But after momentarily threatening grievous bodily injury and/or crippling them they seemed to behave, up until I split for LC’s wedding here in Costa. I wasn’t out of the country 12 hours and they were acting the goat, being all jacked and racked. Difference is the Lil Basterds forgot I’m only on a 4 day bounce shot, with a return that promises to be a real Smackdown when I get there.

So: here I am in Paradise. Not a bad place actually, Costa Rica is laid back, chill, humid and covered with more Greenery than Florida. Real life rainforests, giant assed lizards that are reminiscent of the Iguanas I had to deal with in Guantanamo Bay, and currently, one hell of a Thunder Boomer Storm that’s knocked out the power, so’s I’ll have to be posting this later. The Casa Of the Red Neck as the crib is called, is a botanical garden spot after the past 5 years in fucking Iraq. Avocado trees, lemon trees, lime trees (who knew?) banana trees and even coconuts are growing right in the yard. When Lil Country offers you fresh produce at his table, you can be damned sure it was picked right out of the tree. Another aspect of being here is the beer. Damned good beer. Imperial Silver being my current brewskie of choice. It’s the National Beer of Costa Rica and comes in Silver or just straight Imperial. To be honest, I got me a hunch that the guy who started the brewery > might < have been one of the “Sieg Heil” escapees from old Dubbya Dubbya Dos. The beer is a first rate Bavarian, and the symbol for it is a what appears to be a modified Austrian/Hapsburg Royal Eagle. I’m not casting ANY aspersions, but it does seem awfully convenient that the beer here is a german style brew with what appears to be an Imperial German Eagle (slightly stylistically modified of course) but man? I wanna ask the founder: “Where were you in ’42 Mien Herr?”

(Lil Country notes: The 3 main beers of Costa Rica were originated by German Ex Pats)

So anyways, as far as the local brew-ha, I’m in like Flint. Good stuff, and Lil has stocked the cooler with approximately 10,000 bottles in 2 giant coffin sized coolers. I’d say that should take me through the weekend, and if not, well, Imperial delivers much like the milk man. Leave a case of empties (24 in a hard plastic case) out on the front porch, and the Beer Man comes by and drops off a fresh case. Good thing they don’t have that in the States as I’d be trying to break records for “single largest empty/reload in history” But, OK: as we go: Tonight was a good party… Lil Country’s Grandma, Great Aunt, Father and a couple of other relations thrown in for the mix. I spent most of my night regaling them with stories of Lil and Me and Middle (yep even Middle Country made a showing) back in the day and the sort of trouble we used to get in. It was all in good fun, and I’m sure I horrified that nice ole lady, but she was laughing her ass off all night, as were we all, so it wasn’t that bad… The only negative was I took a tumble. Yep… the Old I.R. of poor co-ordination and even worse balance was in full effect. And this BEFORE I began boozing in earnest. I was sober, but missed a small step on the back bar. Head over ass over teakettle. Damned near destroyed my right knee, and gave myself killer road rash on the left knee, as well as breaking the knuckle on my right hand. I really know how to party these days… I swear, any more tumbling, and I’m going to start using a walker when I’m boozing. So anyways, this all was before the night began… I ass ended myself, and mutilated myself pretty well, and as I lay there, bleeding, Middle Country races over to check the concrete. “Whew… damn Big, I wasn’t sure you wouldn’t’ve done gone and shattered that!!!”

Gee… Thanks a lot asshole.

On retrospect, it was a funny comment, and yeah, I did shake the house when I hit, but damned man… kick a brother when he’s down… that’s cold. The bonus in all this self flagellation was that Lil’s wife to be was worried when the old right kneecap swelled to about 5 times the norm, and so she called in a doctor. Yep. Full on house call. I was impressed that they even do that shit, but within 40 minutes, a nice dude (Jerry I think his name was) in full surgical scrubs and a bag right out of the movies shows and proceeds to check me over. A few prods, couple of pinches, a few of me screaming “OOOOWWW!!! That hurts man!!!” and out he whips Mr. Magic Morphine Needle.
Yay! Nothing sez “Good Times Ahead” than getting a ½ a grain of Morphine or one of the many mix-it-up derivatives. A quick stick and pull, and all of a sudden, I could have been physically on fucking fire, and I wouldn’t have given a shit. Knee? What knee? Pass me the beer. All I wanted was to be propped up at the bar with a beer within reach. This also was the EXACT diagnosis that Jerry or whatever the hell his name is/was/is going to be was that I should stay in a chair, knee elevated and beer to “help with the pain.”

MY kind of doctor let me tell you.

Also: The cost of this little adventure? Lets round it out… one housecall, complete with medication and a script. Any guesses? Try around $6 yes SIX United States Dollars. Yep. To hell with socialized medicine or whatever that lame assed President or whatever have to say… gimme them Costa Docs any day of the week. In the US I’d expect at least a grand to start… just to get a fucking sawbones to the house would have to offer like my first born, and indentured servitude to the insurance company for the next 500 years, and oh yeah, my soul probably on top of it. In Costa? I mean talk about a killer time. The funniest part was since my future sister-in-law is friends with Jerry, he decided to help prop me up in a barstool and we then spent the next few hours drinking our asses off. I mean not only does he do housecalls, he stuck around to keep me company while I got shitfaced. Now THAT is service!

So that rounds out the first night, or at least my part in it. It’s all sort of hazy at that point, as the Morphine kicked in, as well as the beer and ‘other’ recreational materials that are legal there, and the only other aspect of the night was the “Night of the Mariachis” which, I think personally sounds like a Mexican horror show complete with a Guitar wielding Mass Murderer in a cheesy suite covered with Spangles. Well, I guess it’s a Costa Tradition that the groom to be serenades the bride to be from the front door, and seeing that Lil Country can’t sing anything but “Margaritaville” (and that’s NOT the song you want to woo a broad with) so he hired a roving band-o-mariachis to do the singing for him. Yeah… and unfortunately, these guys weren’t the ‘cool’ mariachis from “El Mariachi” or “Desperado” (think gun toting guitar cases and such…. Only I could think that’d be the ‘cool mariachis’) Try the “Cheesy Mister Mustashio’d Mariachi Man” with bad pelvic thrusts and even cheesier shirts. I know it’s a tradition, but DAMN. Bad porno style mustache, and playing a guitar and singing in Spanish loud enuff to wake the fucking dead. I mean he was loud enough to bellow out and wake my ass from a narco-induced beer haze to the point where I gimped out and caught him on video. I’m glad I did, or I might have written off the entire episode to the drugs and booze.

OK: So I passed out… the video I shot at the time of myself shows a sweat soaked IR sitting in the midst of loud trumpets and even louder partying, which that I can tell, was a smashing success, and judging from the incomprehensible mumbling and rambling such of a “Fear and Loathing in Costa Rica” type that it’s obvious we had a great time. The next day, well… it wasn’t bad, but it was challenging to say the least to rise from the dead and roll. The wedding practice was fun too… I got to see another culture and how they throw down for a party… this makes now a German Wedding (back when I was stationed there) an Egyptian wedding (back on vaykay in Luxor) and now a Costa Rican wedding/Central American wedding. Out of them all, to include the standard American wedding, the Costa Wedding tops out on the top for radically good times.

They did the traditional High Catholic Mass for the wedding itself. OK… I’m catching heat from the pencilnecked editor on my timeline… Now, mind you… the scattershot approach I’m having to writing this down is primarily as I’m somewhere in the “simian” category for brain power right now… Fucking Neanderthal man has more brains available to him than I do… that critical fluid that envelops the brain to keep it safe from impact and shock? Mine’s been replaced with 100 proof and beer. Lots and lots of beer. I’m not exactly on the razor’s edge right now… unless said razor was dragged behind a car down a gravel road for a bit…. That’s more my speed at this point… so where was I?

Oh yes… well the wedding itself… It was held in a small church at the top of a big assed mountain. Which leads me to yet another tangent: Everything in Costa Rica is either on a mountain, going up a mountain, or right at the seashore. Finding level ground here is a fucking jo0b in itself. EVERYTHING is on a hillside, going up or down is about what you do. You want level? Go to the beach. Of course that’s as soon as you get down the fucking mountain. Mountains covered in rainforest mind you… pretty as hell, but thank goodness there’s roads cause I sure as hell wouldn’t want to do it the ‘old fashioned’ way with machete and breaking brush. How they ever settled half of these places is a miracle in itself. So anyways… oh yeah… Church… Mountain…wedding… ah yeah as we last left our hero and his doomed bro: Well one good thing was the Church was Saint Michael’s. As in the patron Saint of Paratroopers. Lil Country took this as an AWESOME portent for the marriage and for the future, seeing that the last two went down in hurtling flames and such. The front had a etched picture of St Mikey crushing the living shit out of a demon or something, and looking pretty mellow while performing said act of divine retribution. The etching was pretty vivid… I didn’t get a picture of it as since I had to be best man, I thought it’d be in poor taste humping and schlepping a big assed camera all over, and that seeing I had to escort the Maid of Honor (a chick I call “Camel-toe”for reasons I’ll explain in a bit) I thought leaving the Kodak moments to others was the proper thing to do. So yeah, it was a threateningly almost rainy day…. The sun started out nicely, but the cloud cover rolled in as the ceremony started. I wasn’t too concerned, but the Bride Lindsey would have been heartbroken had the skies opened up. Thankfully we got a break, and the rain held off until the reception.

The ceremony, well I won’t bore you with particulars, as needless to say it was a High Holy affair with the priest either confirming or admonishing the congregation (tough to say as my Spanish ain’t so good) but his tone carried conviction, and they had all the whistles and bells in all the right places, even if the language wasn’t what I cottoned onto for a Catholic mass. The ritual cannibalism (“this’s my body, eat me” or words to that effect) went off without a hitch and there wasn’t any sign of lightning bolts at either Me, Middle or Lil C, so I guess all was well in the world and God was cool with what was going down. Leastways I didn’t by some miracle burst into flames when crossing the threshold of the church, and didn’t get burned by holding the cross, so all’s well that ended well.

Like I said, thankfully the rain held off until the reception… which was a gas. It was held in the roller rink of the town in Esparza. It was the biggest open space that could be found in the AO for the party, and man, it was friggin PACKED. Must have been at least 400 plus packed in there, and did I mention the heat? Ah… seems I overlooked that little note.

This gets it’s own paragraph. Does the word “Equator” mean anything to you? How about “ Under the magnifying glass?” Not as in being looked at closely, but as in “Scorching the hell out of you hot” and humid? Yeah… I mentioned rainforests earlier. Jungle… wet jungle. Wet hot assed soaking in your own juices hot. Not Iraq hot which is scorching and dry, but this’s Viet Nam hot… Jungle Hot… Tarzan stuff…. I went through an average of 3 shirts a day… soaked in perspiration… gross I know but such is life at the equator… Thank GOD John’s house was fully equipped with washer and dryer or I woulda been out of clothes after 2 days. I mean there’s sweating and then “looking like you fell into the fucking pool fully dressed” sweating… either way a definite exchange of environments.

Enough for now… I’m too hungover and burned to continue… More later... I remain, the Intrepid Reporter.