Pura Vida: The Costa Rican Chronicles of the Maltese Foulcan
April 4, 2012, 11:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Having just barely gotten over one of the worst flus in recent memory, I gingerly walk to the airport check-in counter for my first visit to Costa Rica. Having dreamt of this trip for decades (my sister was born there – miss you Jen xo), my three pronged approach is to:

1.  Take in “The Rich Coast”

2.  Knock out a little business

3.   <drum roll> … Festival Imperial 

However, “I’m afraid that in my weakened condition, I could take a nasty spill down the stairs and subject myself to further school absences.”

But even with the handful of concerns swirling around in my throbbing head (ex. relapse, fainting, brain-boiling fever…etc.) I push forward as this could be the last year of existence if the Mayans have their way.

I mean check out the line-up….LMFAO!  I bet their stage performance is life altering. Who wouldn’t risk near death to hear “I’m Sexy and You Know It” live? ….duh!  Hopefully RedFoo brings the Party Rock Crew.  Oh snap! Looks like he does! Feets don’t fail me now.  

One of my preoccupations up to now was deciding when I was going to have my first inebrient.  Since I have been on the mend, I am trying to time this just right so that it doesn’t negatively affect my organism.   I skip the obligatory beverage one has on the plane to initiate a vacation and decide that my body will tell ME when the moment is right.  Too bad I’m def.  AND, deaf … so I don’t end up listening.  I land in Alajuela, get my event tickets, check in to the “hotel” in San Jose and look for dinner.  My brain takes over and barely questions “one beer can’t hurt…right? Right (?) Right!” Side note: Imperial is in the top 3 beers I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying. So there is a little will power at play.  Just look at her in all her glory…..

So with the headache back for a visit, the “fajita platter” (a bowl of chicken strips with red bell peppers and a side of greasy, stale tortilla chips) getting used to my stomach and my pocket 3,500 CRCs lighter I think it best to call it a night.  Or so I thought.  Taking the long way back to Gaudy’s Backpack Inn, I come across an outdoor, all-ages event and decide to take advantage and check what it has to offer.  I find a lot of local culture packed into a medium sized park.  There was music, arts, crafts, a Costa Rican menorah, street food and a gentleman selling beer out of his suitcase ……… nahhhh, I shouldn’t.  I don’t.  Tomorrow is a big day.  Besides the temperature has dropped to around 60 degrees with high winds and I’m jacketless.  The bedbugs back at my room are also probably hungry (poor lil guys) and it’s past their bedtime.  I should get going.


Captain’s Log:  DAY 1

10 a.m call time … I take the TUASA bus to the festival grounds.  It’s like a Greyhound bus except without working AC.  And it has more stained seats.  No bathrooms, older equipment  and a low-down scent.  But the good things is that it only stalls out going up the hills.

Pearly gates at Autódromo La Guácima – Alajuela, Costa Rica

Reconnaissance mission to behold the indigenous flora and fauna…


Straight Hunger Games-style.  One way in ……. no way out … <insert sinister laugh>


GOGOL BORDELLO – They set the bar high for energy and crowd participation.  After seeing their set, the names fits perfectly… A gentleman’s club where you get a decent lap dance by a mid-forties Ukrainian gypsy with a greasy five o’ clock shadow to an 1850’s Yiddish/punk/dub ditty for 60 Rubles … Я полюбил тебя с первого взгляда …


Check out the mountains in the background

MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA – Yup, you guessed it … They’re from Athens …. Georgia … USA.  Pretty good alt-rock though.



And the #1 gig goes to … BONOBO … even though it was ‘only’ a DJ set, he defined the party with an incredible sunset session.  Started in the daytime and ended at night.  Amazing music.  Flawless mixes.  He even premired a few new tracks.  Bonobo has crept into the upper echelons of DJ/Producers.  Past recipients of this award have gone to:  Prefuse, RJD2, Shadow … very well done you funky British simian.  Side note:  Saying his latest LP, Black Sands, is DOPE is an understatement.  Go get it!


#1 live performance goes to …  THE FLAMING LIPS … I have heard OF the band for over 10 years but never gave them a chance.  The preconceived notion I had of who they were was some pre-hipster, kooky, nonsensical, cloud sounding fluff.  And even if that may be true … they made all of it up with a live show that is hard to beat.  The theatrics were well thought out.  The visuals were impressive.  All the colors they had chosen fit perfectly with the stage and scene.  The interaction with the crowd was unparalled and the music was lush and pretty beautiful.  The 20 fans dressed up as different characters they brought on stage to just dance around through out their set added to the infectious party vibe that left a great impression on the crowd for the rest of the night.  They just earned 1 more fan.  UPDATE:  I have literally not been able to take “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” out of the CD player.  I keep meaning to.  But I can’t.  I know, I know…”You still use a CD player?”  Yes!  It’s an incredible piece of technology.

The following video is 5 mins long or so but you have to watch it in it’s entirety.  Now this is how every show should start …


Closing act … 1/2 of MAJOR LAZER (Diplo) and his little crew … Dip is really at the top of his game right now.  His tweets can be a little corny but his music and skill level are top notch.  He had the whole place JUMPING.  If I was a promoter at Webster Hall, I would have Diplo do a party every Friday night for the rest of my life.  He runs an indie label, promotes lesser known music genres, stays relevant and visible, bangs out multi-platinum hits, globetrotts most of the year, rubs elbows with the elite and just plain handles his business.  And for that…I hate this SOB.

Sick mash = Day-O vs. Pon de Floor

The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne in the cut checking out Diplo's set

I couldn’t think of a better ending to Day 1.

So as evidenced by this post…I didn’t die (yay!).  I am hoping that my overall high level of enjoyment strengthened my immune system for tomorrow. Although I doubt it.  There were some points where my body gave out on me.  I missed Cypress Hill because I had hit the wall.  I was completely incapable of moving closer to the stage, so I sat waaaayyy back and just listened.  They sounded great.  Better than Rock the Bells NYC last year.  But. I. Couldn’t. Get. Up….

My doctor told me to stay in bed all week…but instead, I showed up at the concert at 11a and got back on the bus at 11:30p heading to San Jose.  I GUARANTEE I cannot pull another 12 hour shift like this tomorrow.  It would be considered self flagellation.

If tomorrow is anything like today, I want my headstone to read … “Spent all available resources to create memories not to be forgotten” … huh….that’s actually pretty nice….



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