Two of my favorite persons since coming to Costa Rica are Francisco, ‘Fran’ and Oscar. These two dudes work as the groundskeepers of Paradise, also known as Las Villas de San Buenas de Osa.
When you visit this place you’ll be struck how lush, green and beautiful the property is here with a well-trimmed yard and great trees. No trash, nor debris. Every morning Monday through Friday, these two arrive around day-break and get to work. Often, I’m up stargazing, admiring the Costa Rican sunrises, and whenever they see me, they always greet me a smiling “Buenos dias.’
Usually I end up brewing some coffee, always more than I need, inviting them inside whatever place I’m staying at for a cup, an offer they always accept.
Frequently when I eat at a restaurant, step into an office, a retail store or even watch network news, I think I can tell whether the co-workers get along. Can’t you?
Fran and Oscar aren’t related, I’ve asked but they might as well be family. Watching them work together is a pleasure because it’s clear they are very good friends who get along exceptionally well. They don’t speak a lot of English and my Spanish isn’t as good as it should be but the two are always talking and laughing, seemingly enjoying their work and they do a great job. The yards are beautiful and they always seem happy and in a good mood.
Fran is the older one and at 58 he’s in better physical shape than most men half his age. He took me and regularly takes other tourists on tours through the mountainside jungle to admire waterfalls, the whole time he’s leading the way cutting a path with a machete like a whip, his loyal dog Tito strutting behind him.
Some American gringo tourists recently nicknamed him the Latin Indiana Jones and it definitely fits right down to the hat he usually wears. Like that character, he is a ruggedly handsome guy, with his silver trimmed mustache like an Old School movie star in his winter years.
Oscar is the younger, probably in his late 30s, early 40s, I’ve never asked. He’s been known to take people on tours as well to see monkey’s that also live and howl nearby. An exceptional nice, friendly guy who also always seems to be smiling and laughing. Months ago, the water pump in the property broke, it has since gotten fixed but there was Oscar dropping off several gallons of bottled water for me. (Water got fixed before I used it all but it showed how much these guys cared.)
Fran is a neighbor and lives nearby with his wife but Oscar lives further away but not too far. Both men have arrived at night and on days off when I’ve needed something fixed or help for something or other.
Another reasons to adore these guys is the fact that both are dog lovers. They always arrive with several dogs in tow who have the time of their lives while their daddies work; running around the property, knocking each other over, playing, eating lunch with their daddies, napping in the shade.
Sometimes if I have my door open, the dogs come and hang out with me while I write. I love them. They each have several dogs but just like whenever you’ve got a smattering of dogs, there’s always a dominant one, both Fran and Oscar have an Alpha Dog.
Fran’s is a funny, silly, warm-hearted little brown boy scamp named Tito and Oscar’s is beautiful brown Labrador-sized older momma-queen dog named Monica. The other dogs, Milo and Kaiser are sweet and nice but definitely live to follow Tito and Monica who get along as well as Fran and Oscar do.
I’ve said this before and I will say it again, the happiest dogs in the world are in Costa RIca and Tito, Monica, Kaiser and Milo are no exception.
Staying at Las Villas de San Buenas de Osa is a community. It’s life, it’s happiness. I consider Fran and Oscar my friends. Their dogs never fail to make me smile. These men work on the property all year long, keeping it beautiful and bring life and community of what could somewhere else be just a job.
I am Ezekiel Tyrus, the gatekeeper of Paradise. Come see me, and while here, meet the guys that keep Paradise so beautiful and full of life.