Gunfire and a Business Opportunity

What do those two things have in common? Well, other than being in the title, nothing really. Let’s start with gunfire and things that sound like gunfire. ‘Tis the season here, as ’tis throughout Christendom. The Ticos love this time of year for reasons both sacred and profane. The sacred is self-evident. The profane would include a little thing called the ‘aguinaldo.’ To those not familiar with Costa Rica, it’s part of the labor law here that remunerates (how’s that for a 5 dollar word?) employees with a month’s extra pay about three weeks before Christmas, just in time to buy presents and other items to celebrate the holiday.

Another thing you’ll see and hear this time of year are gunpowder powered expressions of yuletide enthusiasm, specifically, lots of fireworks and gunfire. Joy to the world… ka-BOOM! Now, before you get too worried, most of the gunfire is FRIENDLY fire. What better way to celebrate Christmas than opening fire on the heavens above with your pistol, or better yet, setting off a quarter (or half if you have it) stick of dynamite? Well, come to think of it, there are always the bullfights in Zapote. I like it because the bulls win occasionally. Sure, people are risking their lives for no apparent reason, but hey, ’tis the season to be jolly, and getting gored by a bull is pretty darn jolly. For spectators, at least.

To change the subject entirely… I run into gringos all the time who are looking for some business to open and actually make enough profit to live in this paradise on Earth. Well I have an idea, nothing earth-shaking, but I think it might work. I’ll just come out with it: a decent English language (used) book store. Now I can just hear some of you saying “Wait! We already have that!” If that was you, then I direct your attention to the following word in that last sentence: decent.

In the six or so years I have lived here I have had the occasion to visit and patronize the nearest thing we have to the aforesaid, in the incarnation of Mora Books, which can currently be found about a block north of the northwest corner of Parque Morazan, on Calle 5. If you have been there, you probably need read no further. If you haven’t, you might be thinking ‘great, a place to find something to read in English!’ Well, if that’s you, I’d advise you to curb your enthusiasm, lower your expectations, and so forth.

If you are the least bit claustrophobic, you will be better off giving it a miss. Their ideal customer would be someone the size of a skinny 9 year old who is collecting old editions of Lonely Planet Costa Rica and who feels his life is incomplete until he has 10 copies of every 5 year old best-seller, who finds nothing more enjoyable than wading through stacks of books two and three deep in front of each other, who thrills to find romance novels in the science fiction section, who expects to find dog training books filed under ‘classics.’ If you enjoy moving a stack of comic books the size of a Honda Civic in order to get to the ‘R’ through ‘Z’ section of mysteries, then boy howdy, are YOU in luck!

The owner is a decent guy who apparently doesn’t worry that he might possibly make more money by paying a little attention to his shop. I know that he usually leaves the shop in the hands of one of his long time employees whose job description apparently doesn’t include trying to impose the slightest semblance of order on bookshop chaos. Well, for Costa Rican wages, what can you expect? Not much, apparently.

Pardon me for this self serving rant. I would just like to have a place to find stuff to read that wasn’t such a pain in the tracero to navigate. Your move, gringo-looking-for-a-business.

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  1. A. They do the same thing up here in Granada — often sounds like the Sandinistas and the Contras are at it again. Goes on all night. Ho, Ho, F***ing Ho.

    B. Think "Kindle"

  2. Hmmmmmmmmmm…………dynamite and firearms……………who's got the Tequila and chips?

  3. Try Good light books in Alajuela. It is exactly what you are looking for I believe. Then go around the corner to Jalapenos for a wonderful Tex Mex lunch. Norman owns and runs both places!