PRESIDENTS AND PINK BEARDS
It's election time once again in Costa Rica. For those of you curious about how it works down here, I'll give you the basics: It happens every four years, there are usually a couple of rounds, and every now and then it gets kind of interesting.
True to form, this year's first round fell on the same day as the Super
Bowl. The local alcalde in Santa Cruz declared that no alcohol would be sold in his cantón ( jurisdiction) during voting hours, and his plans to enforce this decree caused great alarm among the area's gringo-oriented sports and beverage establishments. This resulted in a large number of people not having access to alcohol for several daylight hours, although I'm happy to report they survived the ordeal and were able to commence imbibing in time for the 6 p.m. kickoff.
The first election round saw 10 or so political parties going at it, including several that failed to clear even 1 percent of the votes. These “ultra-fringe” parties included The People's Progressive Nudist Party (PPNP), The National Angry Woman's Coalition (NAWC) and the Extranjeros Who Can't Vote Party (EWCVP), of which I'm proud to say I received 23 write-in votes.
Election candidates who win at least 40 percent of the vote get to be president, which did not happen this time. Therefore, the two with the most votes are going at it again on April 1 … that's right, April Fool's Day.
Both candidates have the same last name, Alvarado. Fabricio Alvarado Muñoz received 24.91 percent of the vote and Carlos Alvarado Quesada got 21.66 percent. Neither nominee represents one of the two parties that have dominated Costa Rican elections for the last 50 years. It'd be like a U.S. presidential election without a Democrat or Republican contender. What a refreshing idea!
Front-runner Don Fabricio, who is well known as a Christian singer and his opponent Don Carlos, a former minister, are both very critical of recent rulings by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights endorsing same-sex marriages. This may not bode well for my wife and I, who have been involved in a Gay marriage for over 20 years! (Yes, my last name is Gay… really.)
Of course, you readers of the postelection future already know how this years' election turned out. Please don't spoil it for me.
So here I am in my lower mid-60s playing bass in a band with a bunch of 30-year-olds, including our very
attractive singer with almost no hair on her head.
How am I supposed to deal with this stuff ?
The band in question is PinkyGuaro. Pink is obviously a theme, so we hit upon the idea of spraying my now very white beard with pink hair color, if I could find any. It took going to Cologne, Germany, to find some in a weird little shop that sold hair coloring products. Stephanie, the singer, soon became adept at spraying my beard before every gig, and it's safe to say I now make quite a statement while playing. I'm not sure though if people in the audience, who always seem to enjoying the show, “get” the pink beard thing.
I'll be standing outside a club after the show is over and any number of people will comment on the beard, most apparently assuming I'm some weird old guy that likes to have a pink beard, and ask questions like “Is it permanent?” or “Can I touch it?”
I usually counter with “Do you know why I have a pink beard?” and go into an explanation about the name of the band. Apparently, although fans like the PinkyGuaro band, they don't really pay attention to its name.
So I guess I'll continue to be Costa Rica's oldest pink-bearded bass player and hope the PinkyGuaro name will eventually become a household word.