The plants down in the garden have been blooming for while now, but the younger ones near the house have just started and every slight breeze sends their scent through the rooms...soft, heavy and sensual.
I just wish someone would make a perfume of this...it would beat a lot of the commercial big name stuff hands down.
I've always liked wearing perfume and I laid in a stock of my favourites before moving to Costa Rica - luckily, as I've seen none of them here!
(Watch out the next visitor from France...you will have to find room in your luggage not only for anchovies but also for a large bottle of Eau de Nice!)
I tried some newer ones when I was in London, but nothing really appealed except Flowerbomb.....until I saw the price. They should have named it Screaming Habdabs.
One relief here is that men do not go in for the 'knock you down and drag you out' aftershave lotions typical of rural France....by the time you'd gone through the kissing routine at an AGM you would be reeling from sense fatigue...no wonder so much was passed on the nod!
Still, I'll be looking at perfume when Christmas shopping in San Jose as well as in the self described upmarket suburb of Escazu......home to expat business men and ambassadors, with its numerous malls and speciality shops, not to speak of its housing.
Gated communities and tower blocks.....condominiums.
Those lowering blocks always remind me of overpriced Glasgow tenements, while if I wanted to live hugger mugger with communal sports facilities and pool, an open prison would be a better bet.
I just don't see the attraction.
Security, say those who choose this way of living...but who wants to live with guards on the gates?
Still security can be a problem at this time of year.
December is the month of the 'aguinaldo'...the thirteenth month, when employees are paid a sum equivalent to a bonus month's pay.
People have money in their pockets, the shopping areas are crowded and bag snatching is a real worry.
The police in San Jose take it seriously. Tall platforms are erected at intervals in the main shopping streets manned by police keeping an eye out for trouble, while detachments stand on almost every junction.
I know it works, because last year I was walking in the pedestrian area with a friend when her bag was snatched.
The man was off and running before we could react....but the police had spotted him and he was brought to the ground in the next street.
We all went to the police station to sort out the formalities...and we were both shocked by the appearance of the robber.
He was young, his clothes of poor quality but spotlessly clean and he was crying.
Not an experienced thief, either, or he would have thrown the bag away as soon as the pursuit started.
My friend identified her bag, was relieved that the contents were intact, and asked the police what would happen to the young man.
Well, we'll want to see his papers. He says they're at home, so we'll take him there...but I know what it will be. He'll be an illegal immigrant....couldn't find work and desperate for money. He'll end up being taken to the immigration lock up and be sent home. Nicaragua by the look of him.
Poor young devil.
My friend could not afford to have lost the contents of her bag...not so much in money terms but in terms of her papers, bank cards and all the odds and ends that take an age to replace once lost...endless queues and paperwork.....but what a contrast between our lives and his.
Trying to make a better life, help his family at home, setting off - and probably paying the 'fixers' to smuggle him over the frontier - in the hope of finding work, and meeting nothing but disappointment and despair.
Poor young man.
My friend asked if she could refrain from laying charges.
Yes, but it won't do him much good. He won't be charged anyway...just sent back.
Could we give him some money?
You could, but there are some hard cases in that lock up...they'll soon have it off him.
We gave him some anyway...something to enable him to make 'phone calls, buy soap and odds while he was awaiting his return, but nothing could stop his tears.
I wonder where this young man is now....I'm sure his family were delighted to have him back with them, but the basic problem won't have been solved.
People need work to maintain their self respect and poor countries need investment, not aid.
They need to be allowed to develop in their own way, not constrained by the ideologies of the IMF and the World Bank.
And they certainly don't need politically based embargos on their economies.
I have no faith whatsoever in the NGOs...as institutionalised as national governments...but I do have faith in people helping people direct.
So while I'll be looking at perfume I won't be buying.
I'll put the equivalent to a group in San Jose run by Nicaraguans helping illegal immigrants to get their position regularised and finding them work.
I think the money will smell sweeter that way.