If You’ve Been to a Party, You can Foxtrot Oscar

Until this week, our little area had been relatively untouched by the bug…two people who had returned from abroad and that was about it. People took the recommended precautions and all seemed to be going well until a bunch of idiots decided to have a Fathers’ Day party. A well attended Fathers’ Day party. Needless to say, one turned out to be affected with the result that the area is shut down again a week after opening up while the authorities try to trace all the participants.

I suspect that the bug ridden party goer is not exactly flavour of the month locally and his protestations that he thought it was all right to go to a party because he didn’t feel ill just add fuel to the fire.

On the whole, the shut down has not been too bad from a daily life point of view….one could go shopping, attend the farmers’ market, while the prohibition on driving at night has been almost a blessing as has the absence of passing callers trying to sell something you both know that you do not want, an event which starts with the caller honking a horn if in a car, or shouting at the top of his voice if not, both of which start the dogs into sound and action and involve turning off the cooker, finding and putting on my outdoor shoes and trecking down the path to the road. By the time I get there I could guarantee that if you were offering me a free pass to heaven I’d turn it down, so a plastic fir tree car deoderant stands no chance.

I knew that the restrictions had ended when a chap came to the gate selling subscriptions to a cable television service. My argument was that

A. I did not want a television service

and

B. There was no cable provision in this road.

His argument was that as he was working on commission A and B were of no interest to him whatsoever.

The main problem of the restrictions comes with the enforcement of the rules as to which day you can use the car, according to the last digit on the numberplate. We, for example, cannot drive on Thursdays and Saturdays – and, annoyingly, that is every Saturday, while we could drive on Sundays except that there is nowhere to go.

This restriction does not bother one of our neighbours. He rejoices in a car with no numberplates – let alone licence, insurance and all the other administrative inconveniences – but needs a co pilot to manage the Whatsapp which will tell him where the police are currently lurking. He was swearing well last week when he was holed up in the hardware shop’s car park for over two hours while the traffic police set up a road block just down the road. He had contemplated making a run for it but in the end decided it was safer to wait until it rained, at which point the police would be bound to disappear….and did.

He is not alone in his lack of the usual paperwork…wages are low, the costs of keeping a vehicle on the road are high and any number of people depend on old bangers or motorbikes to get to work – particularly important now when jobs are so scarce.

Which is why the Traffic Police – the Transitos – are not flavour of the month either.

While I don’t think they have ever achieved that accolade, their current reputation locally is at its nadir.

First, a little history.

The local official was noted for his habit of haunting the roads round the hospital, ready to pounce on any car or motorbike without the proper plates, insurance sticker or certificate of roadworthyness. He had bumper results which looked good on his record.

Fine, you might say, that’s his job. Well done that man.

Yes, but when you think that people have brought someone ill to be treated, or are visiting someone who has been kept in, the last thing on their minds is making themselves legal before making the trip – even if they could afford to which in many cases they could not. The fines, which are out of all proportion to normal incomes, ensure that those affected cannot easily get back on the road.

So his harvesting round the hospital was not appreciated.

Representations were made, but to no effect. He continued harvesting.

Eventually, someone set fire to his house, which achieved what using the usual channels could not…he was transferred.

Peace reigned…until the arrival of the bug….and with the bug, the Transitos. And with the Transitos – the previously transferred official, on the grounds that he knew the area.

Now, the stated aim is to enforce the vehicle restrictions…no traveling at night unless your work requires it, and having the correct numberplate to travel on any given day. That is fine with almost everyone. The drug dealers have adapted too. Even given the situation the number of home delivery van services is astounding…

However, thse are the Transitos…..not content with roadblocks to check numberplates they are going to town on issuing fines for bad parking, and confiscating the numberplates of cars and motorbikes without all the appropriate documentation. It costs a fortune in money and time to get them back…not to speak of getting all the appropriate paperwork first…

Not surprisingly, this makes for bad feeling. The current government is not popular as its answer to a fiscal deficit that makes a black hole look infinitesimally small is to whop up the taxes and invent new fiscal fines while exempting large companies from the consequences and paying out what are known as luxury pensions to state officials….in some cases to the grandchildren of state officials. So, given the context, a troup of Transitos whopping up the fines in our little town does not go down well…..

Still, people here are nothing if not inventive. The Transitos have noted that, having confiscated a numberplate, they come across it again when doing a control some time later.

Investigation – and probably an informant – revealed that certain lawyers in the town have a very nice business in accepting sworn statements that numberplates have been lost, passing these through the National Registry and thus obtaining replacements before the Transitos’ cumbersome notification system can swing into action.

54 thoughts on “If You’ve Been to a Party, You can Foxtrot Oscar”

  1. Apparently, Melbourne is City of the Month over here.And yes, as restrictions were eased, people gathered in crowds, much hugging and sharing, germs included.
    I hope you and Leo can continue to keep your heads down and your chins up!

    1. Keeping ourselves to ourselves…though he did have to go into the bank last week.
      We’re used to it, given Leo’s illnesses, but I would like to have a mooch round San Jose’s markets again….

  2. Our authorities have the chance to enrich the coffers with a 900tl fine for not wearing a mask or incorrectly wearing one but they are surprisingly reluctant to cash in.

    1. I’m not sure what the fine for not wearung masks in public places is…but for driving on the wrong day it is the equivalent of over 700 U.S. dollars – collected with alacrity!

  3. Perhaps the UK is not such a bad place to live although we ( everyone I know) are heartily sick of the incompetence of our govt. At least whatever graft there is is mega rather than aimed at the little people. Did you see the crowds congregating in pubs today, on the first day of lockdown easing? Madness.

    1. You would think that people had more sense….yes, to sit outside with a drink, fine, but shoulder to shoulder inside is just absurd.
      I have a feeling that whatever government the U.K. had when the virus hit the response would have been the same….things that the state should do have been hived off into private hands, the co ordination is non existent, the experience lacking – and people died in consequence.
      I would hope for a judicial enquiry….but I expect its terms of reference would be fixed in advance to exclude the guilty.
      Mega graft, as you say…but it is still the little people who pay for it with the lack of public services, lack of proper employment and lack of food.

  4. We’ve got a mess going on over here. Our small beautiful town is a little over an hour drive from LA. Sunset Magazine decided to suggest people in LA come here to getaway. Thank you very much for now us small town folk are trying to stay safe. Masks are supposed to be mandatory but good luck on enforcing that. Too bad there are so many schisms dividing critical thinking decent people and airheads. Stay safe you two.

    1. That is just so dreadful. A small community can police itself quite well – or so I thought until this party – but when you get an influx of out of towners that is a recipe for disaster.
      Please take special care of yourselves…and don’t take risks when helping others.

  5. Without a sense of irony, you are lost. You, Helen.But, I’ll be back next time. Love to Louie.

  6. Today I’d give just about anything if police enforced the no fireworks ordinance, let alone the mandate to wear a mask in public places. I’m huddled in a corner with the TV turned up loudly, a bloody loud fan turned turned up as loud as it can go and the radio while two terrified dogs pants, pace and freak out. Calling the non-emergency police department has produced zilch response. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for over 18 years and this is without a doubt the absolute worst it’s ever been. Apparently a full moon and pent-up energy causes normal thinking to go out the window. Please send the Transitos north, they’d have a field day with fine collections. Stay safe.

    1. How dreadful, for you, the dogs, and all the decent people around you. I would happily send you the Transitos – we could all breathe again for a while – who would certainly deal with the problem.
      What is it with the police at this time? Are they frightened to take on anti social people?

      1. It sounded like Beirut in my neighborhood last night, worst it’s ever been in the 18+ years we’ve lived in this neighborhood. I think in the past, a lot of it was just being overwhelmed. When police go out on a fireworks complaint, that’s one less officer to handle serious crime. This year, I’m not sure but suspect they were completely over run with complaints. There have been many anti-police demonstrations in Denver with numerous calls for defunding the department. Could be a bit of a passive/aggressive response to that as well. Whatever it is, countless pets, those suffering from autism and veterans with PTSD had a very bad night so thoughtless cretins could revel in their ‘free-dumb.’ 😬

          1. It’s a really ill-thought out solution. “Defunding” won’t work though I have no problem curtailing the militarization of police departments that has gone on for years. The pandemic plus the killing of George Floyd has ignited a tinder box of crazy. Plus an absence of sanity in the White House has added fuel to years of racial resentment and untold horrific inequity. It’s an absolute convergence to a perfect storm.

          2. The line between police and armed forces seems to have become blurred over the years, but what happens when the police no longer have the consent of sectors of the population?
            I’m certainly not convinced that Biden is the answer! Another womanizer mixed up in unsavoury financial dealings does not signal much needed change to me.

          3. While Joe is not a perfect candidate (is there even such a creature?), he is a far better choice than the current occupant. And some of the stories relating to so called womanizing and financial dealings seem somewhat exaggerated. I’ve followed his political career for a long time and his actual policies seem light years more appropriate for the electorate. He at least has empathy for people, something that has been sorely lacking in these super troubling times.

          4. Another and, IMHO very flawed opinion. His brand of socialism won’t play in the US. It’s too fiscally impractical given the generational and ingrained inclination toward funding a military industrial complex along with giving mega corporations tax benefits not afforded to the middle class.

          5. It is difficult to see from the outside how Sanders could be described as socialist…a social democrat perhaps…but the political vocabularies differ so much between the U.S. and Europe.
            You say generational…do you think that will change as the age demographic changes?

          6. I agree with your characterization of definition but also know the Republican party (who is far more clever on branding than Dems) has effectively painted a fear based brush depicting him as the devil to a country of thoroughly uninformed voters. I will give it to them, they know how to (a) instill fear and (b) manage to brand people/things most successfully. Dems sadly run around with their hair on fire.

          7. He is in the line of the Scandinavian states when it comes to policy, but the media went for the kill…and the media these days, has only one voice.

          8. Ever since Nixon a majority of voters think socialism is the same thing as communism. Though with today’s ‘love’ for all things Putin, you’d think they would be inclined to favor it. I swear we have the dimmest voters.

  7. I’m still puzzled as to how a night time curfew curtails the spread of a virus but no doubt there is some explanation. Fortunately Max is the opposite of Monika’s crew. He is not fazed at all by the fireworks and sleeps through blasts that make me duck and cover.

    1. Night time curfew? You should see CR at night…as soon as the young guys get home, eat what mother has cooked for them, shower and put gel on their hair they are out….never mind that the bars and clubs are shut, their back doors are always open, friends’ families have quintas out in the country well equipped with kitchens, bars, loos…every night is party night!
      Very glad that Max can sleep through it all…ours were roused by a 4.8 earthquake this morning at 3.30 , epicentre 3 kilometres away. I had made Leo a cup of tea and had gone back to bed and to sleep so missed all the noise and movement until awakened by a pack of dogs landing on me.

  8. We were always pretty reclusive anyway – in some respects we’ve hardly noticed the inconveniences of ‘covid-life’. Observing the mob insanity in places like UK/US has been an education (or a joke) – almost on a par with ‘An Evening With Billy Connolly’!

  9. I must say the lockdown has not really affected us that much other than to have cancelled our month-long holiday in June in Itay!! We are only shopping once a fortnight so we do not seem to be spending as much and certainly, we have hardly put fuel into the car at all this year. We both miss the odd meal out, but the garden has kept us busy and apart from milk, eggs and meat were almost self-sufficient re vegetables. No, I do not wat a cow or chickens in our 1/2 acre!! Pretty much all restrictions have now been lifted here, but we are keeping to ourselves until we see if all the demonstrations and parties cause a problem, as you have discovered it only needs one to kick the problem off again. Oh and yes the phone calls selling rubbish have started again, it was sp peaceful!!
    Keep well and stay safe both of you. Diane

    1. The crisis must be going over if the call centres are awake again!
      Can you rearrange your trip to Italy?
      Our main problem was in feeding the dogs. We bought another freezer and stocked up at the start of the disruption and have managed to top up supplies locally since.
      Stay safe…a pity to go down with it now!

  10. Thankfully it cost us nothing to cancel the trip to Italy. With Nigel’s father at 99 years old we never know when we might have to go to the UK so we book accordingly. Fit in the body he could go on for some time but the memory does not exist any more! When it is safe we will look at the trip again. Diane

  11. Fortunately the recent lockdown breaches do not seem to have caused a spike in cases of Coronavirus here, which is just as well as England opens up pubs and restaurants. I am not in a hurry to go anywhere except the hairdresser. And I am off there tomorrow morning!

  12. Goodness, the authorities seem pretty strict down your way. Here in Northern Ireland they’re fairly relaxed, I don’t know of anyone who has been fined or even ticked off. There are no such restrictions on car use either. But then the virus is virtually eradicated here.
    I bet the party-goer who spread the infection is regretting his actions. It was okay because he didn’t feel ill? Clearly the concept of asymptomatic infection had passed him by….

    1. It seems the party goer feels hard done by!
      The traffic police are not people open to discussion, shall we say, but I would have thought it wise, in a period when people are suffering hardship, to have issued a regulation allowing them to give one warning before going into action on lacking paperwork…not possible, of course, the politicians are on holiday!

  13. Not having Facebook I did not know this was here. Tsk!
    How lovely to know the parking attendants are doing their job! I saw one this morning as I walked around, dressed like the Police, anti-knife vest and all! He needs it here. No parking on Sunday either these days. Not helped when the main car park has been removed for a ‘white elephant building.’
    I stand amazed that people sell fir tree car deodorants door to door. Cable TV might be cheaper, if you had cable….
    Train the dogs to answer cold callers, I’m sure this would help.
    Love the pictures. They tell us more about Costa than the police stopping cars do.
    I noticed the Mods were out on the scooters again today. They gather every Sunday and reminisce about kicking Rockers in the 60’s at Southend beach. Mind you there were two Motor bikes also. Few have hair these days unlike me. ‘Age shall not weary them…’
    Having had my haircut on Thursday I am ready for 6 months more lock Down. I see the nation is not ready for this.
    Daily they announce the UK deaths, 148 at the Friday totals. What they mean of course are ‘English’ deaths. Scots and NI had none, Wales 1 only. Lumping them together hides the failure in England under Boris. Open pubs, not counting those which have closed again, will breed a second wave.

    1. I am glad you liked the churches…these are a group of country churches built when colonisation spread out from the San Jose area in the mid to late nineteenth century…once we can move around more than one day a week I would like to take a trip round the group for a better look as none of them are far from us….the roads and bridges being something else however…
      Grand panic has set in. Not content with the vehicle restrictions, the government has asked local councils to put a ban on the sale of booze, thinking that the combination will put a stop to parties. The local North American community has reacted with fury and despait to this news and from what I gather from Danilo the party goers will turn to illicit guaro and something called chicha made from maize. Still, if they can’t drive at least there will be less road accidents…

  14. I think I would like to visit Costa Rica for a while – I appreciate people who can find creative problems round a situation. Actually there are lots of reasons why I’d like to visit Costa Rica right now. I was entranced by those beautiful little churches and was hoping to find out why you had posted their photos. One of the few things I am not utterly fed up with the UK about is that many of their bureaucrats aren’t dishonest jobsworths. The tax people have bent over backwards to help me avoid paying tax when I don’t have to. Perhaps that’s a loophole for DOminic Cummings to clamp down on.In his role of Supreme Ruler of the British Government he constantly needs to find ways of wearing down the population.

    1. I think that in the U.K., as in France and Costa Rica, the bureaucrats on the front line with the piblic are usually very kind and helpful…it is the more elevated ones who are the problem.
      The churches illustrated a post about how things are locally….they have quite a history associated with the colonisation of the country…not by the Spanish, but by people moving out from the capital to develop agriculture in what had been virgin forest in the mid to late nineteenth century. As the liberal state pushed the development, the Catholic Church saw the need to maintain its influence and thus started the evangelisation of the developing areas, thus these little churches, all near where we live, founded along the existing tracks which led to the coast. I must summon up the energy to make a tour of them.
      Costa Ricans are the masters of improvisation!

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