Memoirs of a MasseurTodd Pequeen

Family Matters

I moved to Costa Rica the day after my nephew turned one year old in May of 2000. It seems as though some time has passed. He just came down for a three-week visit, is now a graduate of Florida State University, and will be twenty-three in May. I could not help to compare today’s current state of affairs with what was going on just two decades ago. The obvious and most considerable difference is internet and cell phones—the biggest game changer of my lifetime and maybe of modern humanity. Electricity, airplanes, cars, petroleum, the list goes on, however I do not think anything controls the next generations more than their cell phones. To be born with one almost in your hand is a permanent transformation. The simple life of a surfer even changed the day that one was able to know when the next “swell” or push of the ocean would occur. Before internet we would have to go down to the beach and check for ourselves—it was like a perfect Christmas morning sometimes when the Gods gifted us beautiful flawless waves. Now a days a two-week window can be analyzed, plane tickets bought, and a virtual guarantee of weather and surf reports being spot on. The youth of today certainly know everything—as did I as a twenty-something however the amount of vast information that they can research with the touch of a finger is mind boggling. Seemingly everything the younger generations do should be easier, however I noticed some chinks in his armor. The inability to cut an onion being one of his many home economic skills that were lacking. The ability to hang wet clothing on our clothesline (no dryer for 21 years!) but the lack of patience to use clothes pins and to spread out the clothing to dry more efficiently was curious to me. Lastly, the desire to go walk the streets, meet people, the curiosity over life and travel and excitement for each and every day seemed to be lacking after our surfing was over—perhaps that phone can do those things and I am missing something?

Another symbolic moment was when I gave my nephew the opportunity to choose any place he wanted to go in Costa Rica. Road Trip!!!!! I was super excited when he elected Pavones. For those of you unfamiliar with surfing, Pavones is famous for having the longest and warmest left hand breaking wave in the world. My last time there was well over ten years ago and my wife and I waited anxiously to pick some dates to venture south near the Panamanian boarder. I remember the trip being arduous and lengthy back then, however I was on a bus. The road south leaving Quepos to Dominical was unpaved—dirt and rocks and monster potholes. Now it is the longest paved straightaway in Costa Rica and just this week I reached a high safe velocity going to work in Dominical. We were able to reach our air-conditioned condo unit within eyesight of the main take off peak of the wave within 3 hours—amazing. I used to stay in the cheapest place available as all I needed was a bed and a hose or a shower. Now we were in a three-bedroom, two bath, air-conditioned, high-ceiling condo, with couches and televisions (that were never turned on) and an ocean view. Certainly, the wave has not changed and the town itself was surprisingly much as I had remembered it. The complete opposite of Manuel Antonio, Jaco, or San Jose for that matter. My nephew was in awe while looking at a river and a point break sculpted by the Gods to surf on. The road trip had lots of laughs and errors and fun and some stress of course. Fortunately, he was a collegiate scholarship swimmer and has solid personal habits with a strong level of discipline in some areas of his life. I convinced him the ability to wake before sunrise was the way to go here in Costa Rica. I reinjured my knee on a strange wave, our other road trip friend is coming off of a broken foot which was braced up, and my nephew had a slight shoulder injury to add showing that surfing truly is a young-man’s game. It was awesome just paddling out with this young man at the brink of the start of his adult life. My oh my I realized I am a dinosaur when it comes to the old school way of doing things…

Three weeks came and went and now I am sitting at my computer reflecting on the type of uncle I am. Lord knows I have my issues but to be the tour guide of a country I love so dearly is definitely my forte. I can be biting and crude and verbally playful, but I also remember going everywhere without Waze on my phone and being able to travel to countries without knowing a language for years and years—stress free, no internet. I still prefer to call my order into a restaurant instead of doing it online as well as listening to classic rock and roll when I want to relax. My machete is preferred when I am gardening, and my nephew asked why not buy a gasoline weed wacker? I still wash my cars as a form of movement and my amazing wife and I are fine with not having a maid. I have made it to fifty years old and almost half of those years have been spent in lovely Manuel Antonio and I am blessed. My massage work is my muse, and my other nieces and nephews are sure in for a treat as I learned perhaps as much from my nephew as he did from me by spending three weeks with a young twenty something. I think we all should spend time around people that are not like us, that is one of the best ways to change and to learn and to grow. I want to be shown how to do things faster and better however I do know that a grinding old school mentality has fared me well in a highly respected and desired country such as Costa Rica. There has never been a better time to plan a vacation with our loved ones. We all need this perhaps more than anything having been sequestered for two years. Pura Vida.

Todd can be reached at 8830-7727 or at [email protected]. His website is and he can often be found early mornings at the beach, working in his garden, or browsing his wife’s beautiful photography at