JP’s 50th Birthday (Day 5 – 1/12/14)

I’ll be honest. When I first met JP I thought he was full of shit. We were on a group tour of the land surrounding his hotel. He was pontificating with the conviction of a zealot on everything sustainable – the value of harvesting your own land versus processed foods or that fluoride used to be used as a drug to calm the mentally ill so you should have your own well. He wasn’t exactly lying or wrong (most of the time) – he was just misleading; telling half the story to provoke your emotions. Like that statistic that says the sun produces more energy in an hour than humanity consumes in a year. Which makes people wonder “Well, why aren’t we doing that?” Well, because there are several technical hurdles preventing that – not just a conspiracy of oil, gas and coal industries. But I digress. The point is that I am skeptical of those who parade their opinions as facts. It makes the rest of us look bad.

But, take away the soapbox and overlook a little strange personal history and he’s actually kind of interesting. He bought the hotel with the idea that wind surfing would be huge on the lake, though that business never materialized. The cows just down the hill produce milk that George makes into cheese which is served in chunks at breakfast. The pig waste is collected and stored in anaerobic bags to produce methane for heating water and fuel for the grill. He figured out how to pump “the best” groundwater from across the lake onto his property for the hotel. He built the house he and his girlfriend live in: undulating walls, curved doors that swing out around the focal point, a shower made of frosted blocks that open up to a gorgeous view of the lake, recycled and reused materials galore. The hotel itself he helped renovate thoroughly. He started “Costa Rica’s first microbrewery” where tastes can be found at the hotel’s bar. He made a skate park down the road. And I guess most importantly, he helped a couple university students that had stumbled upon his hotel found the GREEN program I was on. 

Friends and family flew in from across the world; locals crowded into the atrium to dance to the live music; everyone sampled craft brews at the bar; JP’s Italian son in law sang a song from an opera; our GREEN group presented JP with the signed Costa Rica banner around his neck in the picture; and lots and lots of toasts and speeches ensued.

Happy 50th, JP

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