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The Little House on the Hill

Hell hath no highways

San Isidro Feria. Photo by Author

It’s Thursday in San Isidro De El General, which means it’s feria (farmers’ market) day! Displaying the wildest variety of everything edible, this vast and colorful feria is a weekly gathering place for local expats. One end of the market, where essential oils, CBD potions, nuts and grains are sold, is called “Gringo Corner,” crowded with English-speaking foreigners—USA, Canada, Australia, Great Britain—exchanging gossip, news, and politics from their home countries.

There’s a cafe upstairs too, where one can sip a delicious café con leche for about 75¢. Costa Rican coffee is the best in the world, thus sayeth a recovering Starbucks addict.

I drop everything to go to the feria. It’s my personal weekly pura vida reset button.

In other news:

Yesterday my friend Roberta—whose house and pets I had been tending for two weeks—came back from her trip to the States, and I moved back to my rented house on the hill. Oh, that dreaded rocky road! Those ruts! That ravine! Those mid-road humps that claw and gouge my undercarriage! And god forbid there’s another vehicle coming down while I’m going up. One of us will have to BACK DOWN the hill to the very bottom! Aiiiieee!!!

You will look back at it and realize you didn’t have any alternative. The Little House on the Hill will be your first horror genre. People in the audience are yelling at the screen: “Don’t go back to the house!” But there she goes. The maniacal killer isn’t a man or a beast, it is geography herself, her black heart beating like a sump pump. — Shadowgnosis

Tomorrow will be the last time I ever have to descend that hill of horror. I’m a big girl. I can do this. One. Last. Time.

My landlord laughed at me when I told him why I had to move to a place on more level ground. “She’s just a woman,” I heard him thinking. “I’ll simply mansplain how to negotiate those mountain roads and she’ll be fine.” As he’s mansplaining, I’m having my own thoughts: “It’s a good thing he never asked me to sign a lease.”

Masculine Electronics Gear in my rental house, photo by author

My landlord is a middle-aged bachelor who works out, wears muscle shirts, has a beautiful young Philippine girlfriend, and is a cryptocurrency trader. He’s a former millionaire, he says, right up to the time his ex-wife took everything—bank accounts, properties, and businesses.

His house is as testosterone-infused as he is—hard, reflective surfaces piled high with massive black electronic devices, a flat-screen TV suspended just above. I have no idea what that black penis-shaped thing is on the far left. The beds are hard, the furniture is hard, the one exception being his cushy “daddy chair” recliner with beer mug holders built in. The dining table is black wrought iron with a glass top. The floor has a mirror polish.

I’m not saying any of these observations are bad things. Just sayin’… I’ve seen a lot of homes and apartments in my travels, but never have I visited a single-woman’s home that displayed massive black stereo gear as the primary focal point of her decor. Have you? Just curious.

What’s next?

Tomorrow (and every Friday) is the day the girls get together at Restaurante Bazooka’s—“As American as Apple Pie”—for a game of Hand ’n’ Foot, a fast-paced, five-deck card game related to canasta. Aside from the delicious food served there, our waiter, Andres, is also drool-worthy—covered in tats, gleaming white teeth, shirt sleeves bursting at the seams with bulging muscles.

Speaking of clawing and gouging my undercarriage, I may be older, but I still have my dirty-girl imagination.

But even better, after the game and lunch, and probably a margarita, I’ll be moving into a lovely cabina on the Quebradas River on my friend Roberta’s beautiful property, with as much dog love as a body can stand. And I’ll be happy there until my own house is ready, probably mid- to late-October.

The road less traveled…

In closing, here are a couple of shots of the road from hell.

Don’t look down! Sharp left turn to avoid the ravine. By terrified author.
Driving on the center hump to avoid falling into the river. By fully puckered author.

It’s so much scarier than this, but to get a better photograph I’d probably go over the edge. And I know you would miss me too much.



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Adelia Ritchie

Adelia Ritchie

Science lover, contributing editor at, co-editor of The Open Kimono. Send us your edgiest stuff!