Our days here in Golfito have been quiet. We wake in the morning to sunny hot weather. Then in the afternoon the rains come. Yesterday we went to the dentist. We figured while we are hanging here waiting to check out of the country(officials here aren't available till Tuesday to do our paperwork) we might as well make the most of it. For $50 USD each we got our teeth cleaned. The dentist himself did the cleanings. He gave us the zippiest cleaning we've ever seen - 20 minutes. But that didn't mean he skimped. He had modern equipment including one of those ultrasonic cleaners. He was just super efficient and got 'er done.
He told Melissa she had 5 cavities. Melissa had been told by her dentist back home this would happen someday because she has deep crevices in her molars which would give her cavities eventually. The dentist back home wanted to charge $1500 over what insurance would pay for some type of sealant to prevent the cavities. But Melissa wouldn't pay that out of pocket. And, its a virtual certainty these cavities didn't form since her last appointment with him 6 months ago. Melissa remembers him picking at them after the dental assistant pointed them out. He just decided not to treat them. Bad judgment call because what the Costa Rican dentist found when he filled them all today, was that they were deeper than they looked. Oh fun times with the drill. Total cost to have them all filled? $200 USD. And he did a great job and used modern materials. You can't even see that there are fillings in those teeth because the amalgam he used matched the color perfectly. So why on earth would we ever pay for dental insurance in the US ever again? They don't cover most major procedures, and your co-pay is more than they charge for the whole procedure here in Central America. Why not spend that $1000 per year on a long weekend trip to Mexico and get the work done dirt cheap - but high quality instead? National Geographic study says that Mexico is the best place in the world to get dental work done, and now we believe that about Central America generally. We just picked this particular dentist at random because he happened to be open on Saturday as we walked by and could make appointments for Monday. Yet super high quality. Zippy. Cheap. What's not to love about that?
As Melissa was walking to the dentist she heard a loud noise above her and looked up across the street to see a waterfall of sparks coming down. At first she thought maybe someone had lit off a firework. But closer inspection revealed a giant lizard hanging from the power lines with his claws over the highest wire, and his tail hanging across the lower wire. The current surely killed him as he wasn’t moving at all, but was now just hanging from the wire his claws frozen in place.
In Costa Rica, the import taxes are super high on everything foreign you buy. Because Costa Rica doesn’t manufacture large appliances, TV’s, wine, etc. this means buying these types of goods is particularly expensive. So people in Golfito and other southern parts of Costa Rica took to driving across the border to Panama to go shopping. We’ve heard that there is a street just over the border that is lined with shops to serve the Costa Rican population. Costa Rica realized this meant there were dollars that were leaving their economy. So they created this weird duty-free shopping mall. Foreigners and locals alike can shop there – albeit with some limits. You can only go once a month and spend $1000. And you can’t buy more than 2 cases of beer, plus 2 cases of wine, plus one case of hard liquor. You have to register with your passport and be given papers where the shops each log your purchases – which you then show as you checkout of the mall. So we went today and registered, and will return tomorrow to purchase liquor before leaving for Panama as in the north end of Panama places to provision up are somewhat scarce. Why we can’t register and shop the same day isn’t obvious.
In the evening, we had a pot luck with Wanuskewin and the folks that own the local marina here. While we were sitting around yapping, we discovered that Tim somehow managed to get his hands on the boom from the boat used in the making of "Captain Ron". Captain Ron being the bible for all cruisers. One night in La Paz Mexico the marina manager sent out a hail on the radio because she had planned Captain Ron for movie night but had discovered it was rented out when she arrived at the video store. She wanted to know if anyone had a copy. A fight broke out amongst the cruisers as to who was on a dock closest to the office who had the movie onboard their boat. So for Tim to have a piece of the actual boat used in the movie is super cool. He uses the beam to hold up the roof of his patio area.
After the pot luck we headed back to Apsaras in the dingy. The 2.5HP motor that has been problematic recently managed to sputter and die completely half way back to the boat. Dave got out the oars and started rowing against the strong current as the tide was headed out. He rowed and rowed. Melissa volunteered to help and Dave took one oar and Melissa the other. Not clear whether she actually helped or not. It took a while before we weren't practically going in circles. After 15 minutes of rowing like crazy we finally managed to get back to the boat. The next morning Mike asked why we didn't just holler for help as they would have come and towed us. Dave said that his backup plan was to just let the current push us towards their boat if we couldn't actually make headway to the boat. Guess that's our workout for the day.