Gettin’ Ziggy With It!

I had read that the best surfing in the area was down at Manzanillo, and, while neither of us had any interest whatsoever in hanging ten with the locals, we thought it might be fun to run down there and check it out. So, after we left the rescue center we called a cab for the roughly ten mile trip. What we found was a little less than exciting.

Here is the parking lot:


There is one main bar in town which plays reggae so loud even Bob himself can probably hear it, tho he’s been dead for many years.


There is a grocery around the corner from the bar and then this is the residential area:


Down the street is the local church:


That’s it, folks. You’ve just seen Manzanillo. Except across from the bar there was this little soda. We stopped for lunch.


The food was great! Clearly this was the best place in town.


We ran into a Canadian couple here and mentioned how surprised we were to find essentially nothing here. They said to wait till Saturday. Ziggy Marley was coming to the area to play a concert. Day after tomorrow they said, there will be thousands of people here. Well, that was also the day we were leaving so all we could say was, “Good luck to them all!”

Having been disappointed by Manzanillo, the next day we decided to rent some bikes at the lodge and ride into Puerto Viejo. It was still steaming hot, but the town was only about a mile from the lodge. So, off we went.

Puerto Viejo is a boomin’ little town and quite colorful.



Sanitation was not quite up to the standards of other Costa Rican towns we visited, but we have seen far worse elsewhere.


This is a combined youth hostel and restaurant.


The town is literally right on the beach.



We decided to settle in for some ocean-front dining. What better choice than the Krazy Lobster?


We were served by a young local man who was quite the conversationalist. We were chatting away when I brought up the subject of the big concert tomorrow, which we later learned was actually going to be in Puerto Viejo. But, when I mentioned it, he got all serious. “Are you going?” he asked, somewhat alarmed. I said no, we were leaving tomorrow, but had heard about it. He said, good. You don’t want to go down there. There’s going to be lots of gang fights. That’s how it is with these concerts, he said. Back when Ziggy played reggae, no problem. But when he changed to roots and funk, that brought in a whole different crowd. Now all they want to do is fight. But, he said, maybe they will keep the fights out on the edges. Then it will be OK to be near the stage. I said by the time the concert starts we won’t even be near the town. But, I thanked him for the advice, even though I was more than skeptical that somebody like Ziggy would come down here without tight security.

So, anyway, after lunch we went on a shopping spree and bought our usual post cards. I do love the colors down here, though.


There was even a nice little mall with air conditioning!


And, lots of sodas and coffee shops. This sign spoke the truth about Costa Rican coffee.


Down the road a piece we ran into a coconut man, selling a fresh drink. For a 500 colonie piece you were one whack from the machete and straw away from paradise!




We headed back to the lodge for dinner and looking out over the front desk we observed about twenty people with dreadlocks who, we guessed, were either part of Ziggy’s entourage or some of his fans.

Later in the evening we observed a woman about our age pushing a stroller with a very restless young toddler inside. The woman was doing her best to keep him happy, but with little success. We also observed two young ladies, always with fruity drinks in their hands, who would stop an talk to the older lady from time to time and then flit off somewhere. It didn’t take long to conclude that one of these young ladies was the toddler’s mother. The old lady was either paid help, in which case a poor investment, or, a close relative.

As the evening wore on both the toddler and old lady became increasingly unhappy. At last, one of the girls came back and took over. We went back to our cabin, though, and did not see the conclusion. Sweet Dianne, as you might guess, kept a running commentary throughout.

The next morning I came down early for breakfast. I could not help but observe the guy next to me was feeding his young son and was every bit the opposite of the “parent” we had seen the night before. I was afraid he’d be gone by the time Dianne arrived, so I discretely took a picture. By then the child’s mother had arrived, but the dad kept right on with his son:


Dianne came down and we had a pleasant breakfast, but it was time to get ready for our long trip to Tortuguero. Soon the bags were packed and we were sitting in the lobby waiting for our ride. It was pouring rain.

As we were sitting there we noticed some camera flashes. Somebody passing through asked if we wanted our pictures taken with Ziggy Marley! We stood up, looked around, and sure enough there he was. Unfortunately, by the time we made it up there the photo session had ended. He saw us, though, and came back just for us. A waiter took my camera and ouila! I wished him well with the weather. He smiled and gave us one of those signs with palms together like they do in India. A very nice guy! Also, it was obvious he was the person I had photographed earlier.


Soon our ride arrived and when he climbed in the driver said, OK, I’m taking you to Limon and then you have a three hour boat ride to Tortuguero!

I was like, Wait! What?

I pulled out my ever-present Anywhere Costa Rica itinerary. It said something about a boat captain, but it sounded like it was near Tortuguero, AND “exact logistics vary from day to day.  Surprise, surprise!

On the way out of town the driver stopped by Ziggy’s venue. It looked a little damp:


It was clear that the only gang fights on this day would be with mud pies.


On the way out we passed a couple of go-getters arriving early for good seats.


Later, we were unable to find any evidence on Ziggys Facebook page or his web site or any other site, that the concert was ever held.


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