I wish I was told in the weeks leading to the trip; in the hours in the plane, in the few scant minutes that I had to settle down in the beaches of Costa Rica before starting to talk to the locals.
La Cantina Pavones is one of the great surfing hotspots in Costa Rica. Peru was not that far geographically, but seemed so far away as the ebb and fall of waves and surfboards entranced my eyes.
“Who used to own this place?”, I asked innocently. The people muttered around me, some sniggering, but no one provided answers. I decided to drop it and went for the waves.
I was unusually lucky to catch the waves at their best and highest, spending the entire afternoon in the water. It was not until four or five that I decided I was done. As I made my way back to land, I found a small assembly of locals waiting for me.
“They say, you ask around about Danny? What business is it of yours? Are you a journalist?” They even had their own interpreter with them.
“ I was just asking who owned this place. I do not know anyone named Danny, is Danny the owner of the resort?”
“First you tell us what business it is to you.” I could not tell if the interpreter was a European who had gotten heavily tanned by his stay, or someone with white and Latino parents. His tattered clothes made him seem quite at home, but the contrast between his dark skin and wide eyes was startling, even disconcerting.
The one thing you don’t do in La Cantina is to ask around about Danny Fowlie. The story of his deportation from Costa Rica and his aborted attempts to come back and reclaim Pavones, a popular mix of truth and folk tales online, was still a touchy subject among the locals.
Thankfully, the police themselves came to break up the pachanga, but not without a little haranguing themselves. Aside from this tense little episode, I enjoyed my stay in Pavones, which is a nice change of pace, all things considered. Pura vida.
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