Thursday, December 20, 2012

A vacation home and new business

By Hobo Hudson

As many of you know, I was married Dec. 2, 2012, to the beautiful Lily, and during the course of our honeymoon, we stayed at a lodge in a tropical paradise in an unnamed Central American country. Although a hooman owned the lodge, the Oasis, most of the staff were dogs who did a great job of taking care of us.

The morning after a deep sea fishing trip, I moaned and groaned when I tried to get out of bed.

“What’s the matter, Hobo?” Lily asked, looking at me from across the bed with her big brown eyes.

“I can barely move my forelegs,” I said. “They’re stiff from hauling in all the fish.”

Lily rolled over next to me, and gently massaging my sore legs, she gazed through the window at a mountain to the west of our lodge.

“Hey, I know how to make you feel better,” she suddenly yapped. “There, look, I can see a trail leading up the mountain. We could climb to the top for a picnic. The hike will limber you up, and we will have a spectacular view from the mountaintop while indulging in an outdoor feast.”

I liked Lily’s idea. As quickly as my legs allowed, I tracked down the lodge’s cook and told him to pack a large picnic lunch for us. With a basket full of goodies, we set out along the trail, following a raging river and soon trotting along the side of a plantation of young mango trees. Covered with baby mangos, the sweet-smelling trees guided our way until we came to the river base at a large waterfall. We stopped for a second, looked up the mountain and then looked at each other. A steep rocky trail awaited us. Without uttering a word, we took each other’s paw and scrambled up the mountain side. Huffing and puffing, we finally reached the top and, out of breath from the exertion, collapsed on the patch of grass in front of us.

After a few minutes, we were able to pant again and sit up. What a marvelous level landscape spread out in front of us: a lush area of about 20 acres with an abundance of beautiful trees and a boiling spring, the source of the waterfall and raging river we had followed. We jumped to our feet, ready to explore the mountain top.

Strolling through the vegetation, we soon found a spot for our picnic under an avocado tree with a panoramic view of both the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Golfo de Nicoya to the east. Lily and I spread the blanket the cook had provided and arranged the picnic goodies, dragging out of the basket a bottle of cool wine, a number of sandwiches, and cheese for dessert. The last thing Lily pulled out was a large bunch of bananas, and at its sight, Lily and I shook our heads simultaneously. We both are not fond of fruit. Nevertheless, Lily left the bananas on the blanket just in case.

Sitting close together on the blanket, we munched on the sandwiches, fed each other bites of cheese and lapped the wine, toasting to another magnificent day of our honeymoon. Suddenly, a shrill shout coming from behind us made us drop our sandwiches and spill some wine. Before we could turn around, a small monkey holding an avocado in his paw leaped from behind us onto the middle of the blanket.

Without introducing himself, he said, “Pardon me, but could I possibly trade this luscious avocado for one of your bananas?”

“Sure,” I replied, licking up the spilled wine and scraping together my sandwich. “But why don’t you pick your own banana?” I asked.

The monkey squatted in front of us and told us about the struggles in his life. There are no bananas in the part of the country where he lives because the ground is too dry during the dry season. Even the raging river is reduced to a trickle, and there is barely enough water to keep the animal population healthy.

I counted our bananas. We had eight and, not wanting to possibly offend the monkey by giving them to him for free, I offered to trade all eight bananas for eight avocados, thinking the cook at our lodge might like to use them for a salad. The monkey promptly climbed up the avocado tree and tossed us seven more avocados, then raced down and, grabbing the bananas, scampered away.

The same evening, Lily and I were having a drink with Enrique, the owner of the lodge, and I asked him about what we had heard from the monkey. Enrique confirmed the arid condition of the land during the dry season and told us that was why he had only planted mangos since they love a combination of wet and dry seasons.

Woefully shaking his head, Enrique said, “I’ve got a great crop of mangos growing but no way to pick them. Humans can’t afford the ferry passage to come over here to work, and my dog employees can’t climb the trees. I’d give all that land to anyone who would take it just to get out of the taxes. Of course, it would be nice if there were a way I could get a little benefit out of the deal.”

A few days later, when we had arrived home, I began to mull over our conversation with Enrique, and now, I have come up with a mutually advantageous solution. Before I let my attorney, Ms. Foley Monster, draw up a contract, though, I will have to make another trip, of course together with Lily, to Enrique’s lodge to confirm my following ideas:

The key to the whole problem is water. There is too much available during the rainy season and most of it flows into the gulf and goes to waste, while during the dry season, there isn’t enough water to support agriculture.

I seem to remember, from the walk along the trail, a very large depression of possibly 50 acres very near the river. If I were to wait until the next dry season, I could bury a large diameter pipe about half way down the river bank and run it over to the depression. During rainy season, the river would cover the pipe, and water would fill the depression, and closing a simple gate valve would prevent the water from draining when the river level falls. This would provide ample water for me to irrigate a large area. Part of the land could be used to grow bananas for the local monkeys in exchange for their labor in picking the fruit, and the rest could be used to grow fruits, such as papayas and pineapples, for export.

I could also build a large home for Lily and me on top of the mountain and invite all our friends to visit. Since it would be nearly dark by the time they reach Enrique’s Oasis, most of them would eat dinner at his restaurant, spend the night at his lodge and walk on to our home the next morning, thus increasing the Oasis’ revenue. Enrique might also offer rickshaw rides to the base of the mountain for a small fee. The rickshaws could also be used to haul free fruit to the Oasis for their kitchen, reducing their food costs. Yep, this sounds like a win-win deal for me and Enrique.

Now, I first have to convince Lily to live somewhere close to the lodge for part of the year and also hire engineers to confirm my ideas. Next, I will have to discuss my proposal with the monkeys to see if they are willing to work for me. Then, I can present the proposal to Enrique and see if we can make a deal.


About Hobo

This was Hobo Hudson, my doggy brother, a little terrier mix with black fur. He became famous after his first attempt at writing stories, which was an article published in the newsletter of our local animal shelter, the same shelter in which I ended up years later before Hobo and his parents adopted me. Hobo’s fame quickly spread as he made a name for himself as a business dog and an adventurer. To keep his memory alive, my doggy sister, my three kitty siblings and I, Wylie Hudson, are continuing his blog. Our mom is the blog’s editor.

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