verb (used with object), changed, changing.
- to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone:
- the act or fact of changing; fact of being changed:
Whether the word is used as a noun or a verb, change certainly applies to little Nosara. But is change good or is it bad, is what I ponder. People often discuss the subject of change and point out how relatively quickly this small surf town has grown. There are many new houses, new businesses and additional people, seemingly every day. In the future, will the various reasons that currently draw and attract people to Nosara continue?
Throughout my 16+ years in Nosara there has been a lot of physical change. When I think back to what was here when I arrived and what stands now, it is breathtaking. I began this blog by making a list of the pros/cons of the most obvious changes I’ve seen, and in general, they fell into two categories: Crowds and Convenience. It looks something like this:
Crowds- One thing that is affecting the quality of Nosara life, due to our influx of earthlings is parking. It has been very noticeable the past two high seasons that when cars parallel park on both sides of the slender roads, only one car fits down the middle, two way traffic ceases to exist and bottle-necks emerge. This is especially true on the road in the G Section from the Delicius Del Mundo to the Frog Pad and on the road in J Section that runs from the entrance of the Harmony to the beach access (especially in the beach parking lot). I know it isn’t exactly the 405 in LA or I-95 leaving NYC, but apparently common sense eludes many drivers as their parking decisions literally choke out the fluidity of traffic. Solution: Ride a bike or walk to the beach… I personally couldn’t stomach a parking garage here.
The crowds are also noticeable in the surf. If you read about coming to Costa Rica to surf warm water and with no one else competing for that perfect wave… your source is outdated, very outdated. Face it, the secret is out. At least you’re not wearing a wetsuit whilst waiting for a set wave only to get dropped in on by Justin Bieber and his posse… ‘Party Waves’ were nostalgic back in the 1960’s and apparently the fad is back in vogue. Solution: Surf after 10:00pm and before 5:00am.
The beach area has also been noticeably noisier than in years past. The pioneers of Nosara who were here long before reliable roads and electricity speak of the only noises heard way back when were from Howler Monkeys, waves crashing on the beach and the occasional whinny of a horse. Today you don’t have to listen hard to hear passing quads by day or the ‘boom boom’ of music certain nights of the week. Have I turned into that grouchy old man who hollers at the kids to turn down their darn rap music? Yep… you betcha! Sleep is just too darn valuable and most of the music today stinks (now excuse me while I change the ink in my typewriter). Solution: Now in the downhill half of my 40’s my eyes are going so I’m sure my hearing will soon follow. Pura vida.
Convenience! We have a gas station in town! I know there are some who were against it for environmental reasons; however, I do not miss the kids pouring gas from 5 gallon containers into the car or having to drive to the ‘Bomba’ in Samara to fill up. You can even pay with a credit card! Hellllllooooo 21st Century!!!!
Really everything is much easier today. We now have two banks with ATM machines. Woohoo! We used to have to drive 1.5 hours to Nicoya to get cash and the darn thing would only spit out the equivalence of $300. Try paying your employees every-other week and have enough left over for yourself without having to head back to Nicoya through several rivers and streams that didn’t have bridges. We truly knew the meaning of ‘cash is king’ back then. In retrospect, everything was a pain in the rump, we just didn’t realize it. For instance, before the Tempisque Bridge was built it could take anywhere from 5-7 hours to drive to San Jose. And 5 hours was only if you were extremely lucky and caught the ferry at the right time (which was rare). Many times the ferry had long lines or was even broken down and we had to drive all the way to Liberia and around. Talk about fun… Or, the ‘new’ (2004) airport in Liberia! How about that for super 21st Century convenience! International connections just two hours away!
Besides large infrastructure the little everyday conveniences help the most in my humble opinion. Having good doctors and dentists in town, pharmacies, a fully functional hardware store (it used to be in someone’s house when I first came here…), a large supermarket, organic markets, veterinarians, a Montessori/IB school, and even the luxuries of international foods like Sushi and Thai. If you didn’t know any better, you might think I was describing the luxuries of a swanky neighborhood in Brooklyn, not rustic old Nosara!
And if having things like Netflix wasn’t enough… Last week I had a colossal experience. I ordered something from Amazon.com and one week later it was in Nosara. It was only a three pack of socks (it was a test run…). Up until last week, I would do a year’s worth of clothes shopping (usually in about 15 minutes) on an annual trip to the States at any mall (they’re all the same after all). But, like magic, I pushed a button on my computer and the socks appeared the next week. There is no convenience like Amazon and this could be considered a ‘game changer’. Now, if we could only get the QVC shopping network…
After deliberating for all of 3.5 minutes, my conclusion is this: There is both good and bad in change, it is out of my control so I might as well embrace it and steer it in the best route possible. There are obvious infrastructure changes that the community needs to rally behind like water and trash and everyone needs to pull their own weight for the greater good. While having a larger town and a more robust economy provides more opportunity, we need to remember what drew us here in the first place and make certain that clean beaches and vibrant nature are not dismissed along the way. We have seen it happen in places like Tamarindo and Jaco. We should continue to wave to other cars as we pass and smile to others on the street. I appreciate some of the conveniences city life provides but I do not seek the anonymity of the people I share the road (or beach) with. But most importantly, I’m no longer wearing socks with holes in them. Amen.