San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arenal Report

Frank Goodell is finally back at his Jaime Peligro bookstore at Casadelagua, across the highway from the lake, near Río Piedras. Frank has been through a heck of an ordeal after a slip and fall at home that smashed his jaw. He now has two metal plates plus many screws in his jaw, and the discomfort continues. Following his return, he has acquired quite a large new supply of mystery or spy paperbacks from the extensive collection of Jim Terrack, who has sold his beautiful home in Tronadora and is moving to Arizona with wife Sonia and daughters. The authors include Cussler, Koontz, Brown, King, Ludlow and others who generally crowd the New York Times bestseller lists. 

Casadelagua’s second-floor deck is a very pleasant place to sit with a book and specialty coffee, occasionally lifting your eyes to the lake, perhaps, because of reading Stephen King, expecting to see a crocodile. It’s also the location of fine artist Juan Carlos “Juanca” Ruiz’s art gallery and Juanca’s mother Mery’s restaurant. Juanca’s little sister, Joyce, who just graduated from university with a degree in business, has opened a souvenir shop in the first level, where she spends a lot of time on her laptop planning her marketing strategies for the various businesses. Frank’s is still, it seems, the only bookstore around the lake. Juan Carlos is the artist who did the murals on various walls and bus stops in Río Piedras. You can find some of his work for sale in Gingerbread Restaurant as well as various art galleries elsewhere in the country. 

–Alex Murray

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