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Saturday, 26 February 2011

The dirty holes, drinking dens and generally seedy underbelly of Jaco, Costa Rica

Well, wise people would say not to write a post when still drunk from the night before, but hey what the hell do they know...

I'll start the tale of little Jaco, by telling you about the nightlife here- Jaco is Costa Ricas surfing and party town-  What a weird and surreal place. After ten days we're still trying to work out the scene here.

There are about 6 bars in town. Im afraid none of them anything special (there is definately a market for a normal laid back surfer/backpacker bar here that plays rock or somthing, not stupidly loud techno music (the Ticos have no culture or conversation so prefer these kind of places )  )

Starting at the north end of town, the famous  'Beatle Bar' is i beleive a 100%  hooker hangout - check my previous blogpost, on Jaco - i havent been there this trip but im guessing its not much different from before. Probably a great spot if your a hulking old moutachiod Texan whoremonger (of these there are plenty here, telling their poor wives they are on a 'sport fishing' trip)

A 'sports fisher' , yesterday, probably somewhere in Thailand

100 metres down the road, The Monkey bar is a bit of the same with some normal people too. I had a surreal moment there the other night after the Loft (which offered FREE drinks on Tuesday, FREE!!! I dont understand it but we sure did take advantage of it) where as i was propping up the bar and struggling to open my mouth, one old woman came in with two beautiful teenage girls and introduced them as her neices. The girls i remember danced around and smiled at me for a bit, and then realised i had no idea what was going on, so after one song the whole troupe upped and left in a big white car. My mate didnt remember this incident (he was more drunk that me even) but i assure you it did happen and if anyone can explain this kind of phenomenon then let me know as with hindsight id have probably married both of those girls that night.
Pimps hand going in to stop us taking a photo of a 'gas cooker' at Ladies night in Hermosa Beach last wednesday. (And no i didnt, in case your wondering!)

...Anyway moving down the main street, south, the bars range in a similar but less hookerish manner along the street with Plankton (which is hooker free but is pretty rubbish) , The loft, and Vibe, being all a kind of normal but with a weird mix of nasty hookers and pimps, surfers, backpackers, and drunk old american perverts, who it looks like get fleeced for their money every time they leave their condo. Also there is a smattering of Ticos (local people) most of them are pretty cool but, like with Russian girls, there seems to be a massive grey area between which girls are on the game and which ones arent. In fact, some of my freinds despite dating these girls repeatedly still dont know. My american (female) freind says its the high heels is the giveaway, and of course some of them are pretty obvious, but the regular girls from what i understand also like to get in on the act if they think there is some money to be made. My experience has only been with the (quite active) local volunteer force, but i guess it may be a case of just asking (or just trying to kiss the girls you love), though the answers can be confusing, ie.

1. 'no, you are ugly and no amount of money will make me sleep with you'
2. 'no, what the hell are you trying here? im a nice girl, and i actually liked you until you just tried to kiss me, but now no way, never'
3. 'yes, because i fancy you and im easy/on holiday/drunk'
4. 'yes, but i dont really like you so give me some money and lets go home'
5. 'yes, for money because im a hooker'

so as you can see, its a real grey area. The safest thing to do, dear gentlemen is to stick to the backpacker chicks, at least they speak english and are actually quite nice. Or just play Poker instead (Coral and Morgans Cove have it most nights)

Ok more about the actual town later...

Monday, 14 February 2011


Thankyou, Drug users of the world for helping build this beautiful city of Panama
Hell here i am in this crazy hot heat with the whole city dancing to some beat or other. If you ever feel down, tired and like a zombie, then Latin America sure has the vibe to get you feeling moving again. The place is so ALIVE, with chicas shaking their (enormous) booties, taxi drivers peeping their horns and Cariba cariba blaring out of every possible window and car, there isnt a thing to beat these guys for living the party.
Your not a real man unless you pack a piece in Latin America
For some reason, Panama City is often seen as nothing more than a quite boring starting base for the more interesting neighbours like Costa Rica and Columbia. While this is indeed true, and its also true Panama doesnt have the dangerous 'edge' that say, Venzuela and Guatamala has (its still pretty sketchy in the slums at night i can tell you) Panama has quite a few things going for it and id say worth a stay before you move onto the 'real' places surrounding....heres my list for what its worth...
1.       The beautiful Colonial Old Town
2.       A biggish national park just on the edge of the city centre
3.       Pretty amazing drug baron built skyscrapers
4.       The Causeway
5.       The Panama Canal
6.       Loads of Casinos
7.       Offshore Banking/no tax
8.       Cheap beer
9.       Cheap hookers and cocaine
On the Accomodation front -
Crazy Architecture of Panama City
There are quite a few hostels in different parts of the city. La Luna is the most popular and is in the Old Town. However it does tend to be full of twats who don’t leave the ‘relic’ bar there, and speak no Spanish at all. Thing a Latin American version of Khao Sin Road, Bangkok. So if you are a tool, and have no intention of getting into the local vibe,  go there.  The Old town is a bit sketchy at night, maybe thats why people don’t leave there. The other decent option is La Jungla  Hostel in the city centre. You can get a room for about $30 and a dorm for less than half that (all the hostels seem about that price) And they pick you up at the airport for $28. It’s in a much safer area (Calle Argentina, Downtown) right next to the Veneto and Fiesta Casinos, and lots of big hotels. moving more upscale, you'll get a decent hotel room around here/Calle Espana which is the main drag for $50 off season, just walk around and haggle.
1.       The Old town is worth a wander round during the day. I even almost bought an apartment once, it’s a real estate agents dream, with beautiful crumbling Colonial mansions being refurbished everywhere, but nasty looking slums just a hundred yards away. It's a bit of a Gringo incomers place from what i can see – remember that girl from school called Jemima? Yes she just set up a delightful little gallery there. Its THAT kind of place, you know what i mean? You might as well be in Notting Hill half the time. The local rich guys all live in the skyscrapers across the bay – remember Latin Americans really don’t have any culture or love for Old/Beautiful things, hence the tragic lack of decent fine art in South/Central America. Anyway, don’t walk around here at night, unless you are a tool then I don’t care.
More Random Products of Lax Money Laundering Rules
2.      Parque National Metropolitano. There are a few trails around here – I plan to run there tomorrow (i almost died today running in this sauna along the waterfront) as i’m guessing it’s in the shade more. As you can see from the site, it has loads of nature related things. Its walking distance from the Hostel La Jungla and all the other main dontown areas, so worth an afternoon methinks, even if it’s just to see the Iguanas and monkeys. (There are much better opps. In every other part of Central America of course but this is handy if you aren’t going to Manuel Antonio or somewhere nice like that)
3         (and 7) Drugs and Banking - I’td be cynical of me to say that drug money laundered through the very successful offshore banking sector here in Panama is responsible for the hundreds of skyscrapers built here in the last few years (and yes you can buy them with a suitcase of cash if you like) But I can’t help but think that something doesn’t quite add up here.
4         The Causeway - I don’t know why this isn’t on more tourist guides (thanks God) Well if you want to go for a walk, rollerblade, run etc. Then this causeway connects 4 little islands on the edge of the city (not that far away) at the entrance to the Panama canal. Its lined with great restaurants so if you are in a couply mood, then go there and watch the sunset, its quite beautiful and intend to do that tomorrow if i get lucky tonight with a beautiful girl (highly unlikely, i haven’t seen one since i left Estonia !)
5        Panama Canal - heres a  great museum on the canal which i found surprisingly interesting – it tells you how they made it (i really didn’t know how canals worked until that day) and of course how many thousands and thousands died. They played a blinder, as they built it during the great depression so loads of guys from random places like Chicago ended up going to work on it as virtual slaves. In theory thats why there is a big expat community here but to be honest i haven’t met any of them, even at poker last night, except i do see gangs of pasty looking sex touristy types cruising around.
6         Casinos - Ok, Las Vegas is aint,but if you want loud, chaotic carribean style Casinos this is the place. The poker room last night was pretty sedate but the Blackjack tables were crazy. Be aware that the pretty girl next to you who is playing with small change and smiling at you is more than likely to be a hooker.
7         Offshore Banking -Well, even Citi Bank and HSBC are here so it must be legit.
8         Actually i’m not drinking at the moment so i wouldn’t know but by the look of how drunk everyone was last night, it must have been cheap.
Running in the Sauna - Rock and Roll !
9         Cheap Drugs and Hookers - Actually i just threw that in to get peoples attention but its probably true. The casino was choc  full of either hookers or just very friendly ladies last night, and even this morning at the cafe there were quite nasty looking girls approaching  a group of old (embarrassingly) Scottish guys who were drinking beer at 10am Sunday morning. Welcome to the future Alan ;o) As for the drugs, well its not my scene but ill more than likely end up hanging out with some freaks who are into something like that, over the week.
Free Wifi Spots are all round the city....unlike UK
What about food though? Well i must admit i’m not so big on empendas (cheap little pies) beans and rice. My lasagne for lunch today was raw. But there are a lot of Chinese restaurants around so when i find a good place to eat ill add it in here ! (feel free to comment with any recommendations)
ps - tonight ill go to a steakhouse recomended by a guy at poker, so ill fill this part in after i've eaten a few days!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Late Night Philosophy no 136 - Is Eastern Europe an Ugly Mans Paradise ?

Im always amazed how a certain demographic blip can change the whole psychology in a nation, or even a whole region.

I read this article on how the severe lack of eligible men in Latvia and suddenly it all made sense.

Look around you (if you happen to be in Eastern Europe) and you see a big difference on how the women and men look here. Why are the men mostly ugly and the women mostly pretty? Why are there so many more women than men, especially educated women? Why do women have longer hair? (ok ok thats not really part of it)

Well, lets look at this from a logical masculine perspective (since im eating a macho dinner of meat and bread, mainly because i cant cook for toffee)

1. The Baltic region has among the highest women to men ratios in the world (117F-100M in Latvia according to CIA website and 113F-100M in Estonia)
2. To make things worse, there is a severe shortage of sober men wth jobs who do not sleep in their leather jackets
3. Therefor ugly women dont stand a chance in the gene pull unless they 'put out'  and arent too choosy.
4. Most women therefor try to compete for the limited supply of normalish men, (i.e. guys who own a toothbrush, or at least have some semblance of a 'personality')
5. The (many) stunningly beautiful intelligent and interesting women do get a good man, but then leave with him to 'the west' because the local 'spuds' call her a slut for having some self esteem.
6. The remainder have low self esteem, and will even tolerate charmless drunk farmers, just to get some attention, sex, and to hang in there in the gene pool. In fact im reliably informed that often a girl (who would be deemed 'hot' in UK) would only go for 'losers' because they would be scared that if they got a decent guy they would disappoint him and he'd break their heart. Kinda figures.
7. The tragic part is though, as any trip to Nimeta bar will tell you, is that the sad facts of this scenario have already leaked out to the Waiters of Italy, the Car Mechanics of Essex, and the drunk wife beaters of Australia and USA, who, themselves desperate to remain in the gene pool, flock over in budget flights and pretend to the poor hapless beautiful young Baltic ladies of  'Club Hollywood' in Tallinn, that they are for some reason worthy of them (which, as any outside observer can see, they are certainly not)

So if this anomoly of demographics means that the Baltics is a losers paradise, where does that leave the successful, shiny, handsome, mr normal guy with good genes, good job, good health?  If genetically men need to mate with as many women as possible, then the alpha male, here in the Baltics, surely has finally been toppled, as the women it would seem (and can be confirmed by a trip to Levist Valjas bar at 6am) would rather breed with the 'safe bet' of a loser.

If the vast majority of girls here prefer a man with pain, a man with issues, a man with bald head and missing teeth, over a man with a steady income, then the good looking charming rich funny intelligent sophisticated urbane man in the baltics...well,then his choices are severely limited to that 1% of girls with both beauty and confidence, and hes basically in the same position he'd be in back home (so if he can pick and choose back home no problem, then no real reason to come to Eastern Europe then, apart from of course the lovely Church Architecture)

But for that he may as well be back in Stockholm or Edinburgh. At least the beautiful girls there will have a father and mother, and not run off with jobless drunks whenever they hit 30 ;o)