Journal, August 11, 1977 PM

Fred {Tracy} and Marlene {Johnsjoy} came July 31 and left August 6. <For a while I thought Sofia and I were going to be responsible for completely ruining their vacation, but as it turned out it wasn’t so bad. Our landlady Lolita had convinced Sofia & her older sister that it would be ideal to take Fred & Marlene to the Nicoya Peninsula, & take Lolita & herself along as a “third couple.”> About the time we found out that the accommodations Lolita had reserved for us in Santa Cruz had bats as well as mosquitoes, noise and communal sanitary facilities, I was figuratively kicking myself in the butt with my boot for not summarily quashing the plan. This was after Lolita, walking on a level street, had fallen on her face, bruising her nose & cutting herself inside her mouth. It was obvious that I was the key person, the one who should have known better.

We did finally arrive at Tamarindo beach & spend one much-needed afternoon & evening living first class (in an $18 per night motel with pool, etc.) on a fantastic, unspoiled beach. Marlene’s face at last ceased to resemble that of an unwilling (but determined to endure) traveler through hell, & brightened to enthusiasm.

On their last night here we went to Chalet Suiza {Swiss} for a very tranquil meal. The food was reasonable considering the quality & the place’s uniqueness, but they nail you for drinks and desserts!

Fred is working hard, enjoying it and talking about spending as many as five more years in El Salvador. He can see the growing dangers of the radicalizing political climate there, but apparently puts them aside and concentrates on work. I hope he doesn’t get shot in the back by either leftists or an increasingly paranoid government - rightist coalition. It worries me more than it apparently worries him. He’s very practical. I hope his is the right approach.

Marlene is an unlikely mate for Fred. She’s strong, yes, and loyal & good, but she’s a musician and music teacher, and likes petty luxuries like taking a dip in the pool at midday & worrying about keeping her tan even. She’ll “rough it” for Fred, but ‘con nada de gusto {without enthusiasm}.’

<Sofia & I are now definitely committed to living within the means afforded by my salary.> Reason: We shot all our extra funds during Fred & Marlene’s visit. <And we have to buy a “Dia de la Madre {Mother’s Day}” gift for Sofia’s mom and there are festivals in La AsunciĆ³n this weekend!>

It’s time to get serious about my Scrooge role, but my heart’s not in it. <Sofia jawbones stricter budgeting, but forgets her own advice when she sees (or thinks of) something she wants or “needs.”> So it goes.

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