And SHE said……
On Wednesday our neighbor and friend Stash
who owns Stashu’s Con Fusion (a GREAT restaurant here) held his bi-annual potluck for customers, friends and anyone else who wanted to join in. It is always such fun and we have a chance to meet up with people we know well and also get to meet new friends. Stash, his son, and his Mom, Lucy, just returned from a trip to Guyana, Trinidad and Brazil where they met up with relatives they hadn’t seen in years and years. Although I did not know it, Lucy is a celebrity in Guyana and when people found out that she was coming for a visit it was big news. During this visit she was honored as the first female pilot in Guyana – she had articles in the newspaper written about her and was invited to meet with the President. All in all it sounded like a superb trip.
The party was a great success with great food and great company. Here are just a few photos (Click to enlarge and then hit the back arrow to go back to the page):
Enjoying a laugh
Music with Jimmy Mac
Also celebrating Leo’s birthday – he is 70!!
Tom and Amaure having a chat
The star of the show!!
Good friends Tup and Beate having a chat :-)
Puerto Viejo Barge
October and November seem to be the best months for wildlife to come and visit us in and around the yard. The fall bird migration from North America begins in early October and so we see lots of birds that are only here for a short time.
Bronze tailed Plumeteer
The trees all around us are full of berries and yummy things to eat so even the birds that are here all year around tend to hang out more nearby.
Black Striped Woodcreeper
Although it is my understanding that sloths mate and have babies all year long, we tend to see babies in our trees in the fall. This fall we had three different babies with their moms hanging out for two to three weeks each. The latest mother seemed very young and her baby was constantly clinging to whatever it could grab to stay on board. I really enjoyed sitting on the deck and watching these two for the time they were here.
Mom and Baby Climbing
Hang on baby!!
We also had a cherenga (agouti) visit for a while every evening.
We had a fruit tree that was dropping fruit and this cherenga loved it!! Once or twice it brought its little cherengas with it but more often left them in the lot on the other side of the fence. Which was good because when I could not get Sofi and Kaya in the house in time, they would go out and give chase. Needless to say the cherengas were in and out quickly.
On Friday we noticed a green female iguana sitting high up in one of the cacao trees next to our yard. On close inspection, it is clear that she is pregnant.
Iguanas lay their eggs about 45 days after conception and it looks to me like she must be getting close to that. She sat there all day just looking around and occasionally climbing down a bit to eat some leaves. Here’s hoping for a new batch of healthy baby iguanas :-)
We headed down to The Point for their annual Thanksgiving feast on Thursday and it was once again a great time! About sixty people showed up -North Americans and Ticos alike – and we all visited and caught up on each others lives. There was music and some singing and at the end of the evening a fire dancer performed. Another U.S. holiday celebrated in grand style here in Puerto Viejo………
A few photos from around the yard……..
Morning on the beach
The last few days we have heard howler monkeys close by again. For several months we have only heard them way off in the distance. While I have to say that it is wonderful to know they are still near, it does mean that our days start much earlier than they used to. After the blue whale, the howler monkey is the loudest animal on earth and I believe it every morning at 4:00 a.m. :-)
Daily life in Puerto Viejo has been going on as normal. We have met some new people and have had some fun times. A woman from Canada named Alicia came to town to scout out potential places to live when she and her husband retire in a few years. We spent a couple of wonderful evenings with her – one was my birthday where I had this amazing passion fruit cheesecake at Stashu’s for dessert.
Passion Fruit Cheesecake
At the end of October the annual Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival was held. There was a bit of a glitch that occurred because the proper permit had not been obtained to hold such a large event and the primary venue was shut down. However the workshops and other special events went on and we were lucky enough to get tickets to the ‘Chocolate Pairing’. Our friend Kimberly was in town so she, and our neighbors Ron and Don accompanied us to Chile Rojo where we got to sample pairings of delicious types of chocolate with different types of alcohol. Not only did we taste wine and chocolate but beer, rum, and scotch as well. Who would have thought that those combinations could be so yummy!!!
Rum and chocolate
I have been spending a lot more time lately taking walks on the beach and into town. For a while I was working too much and was spending too much time at home. It has been so great to get back out again and really experience my wonderful chosen home :-)
I have recently created a new blog just for birds called (surprise) Costa Rica Bird Lover (www.costaricabirdlover.com ). While it is still a work in progress, I have added about 80 birds to the collection. So if you want to take a look, feel free :-)
Here are a few pictures from the last couple of months:
Sofi bringing BIG stick home
Walking to Puerto Viejo
Neighbor with a new puppy
Tri Colored Heron
Fish in clear water
For the second year in a row it is looking like the September snorkeling season may be a bust. Normally in September and October the ocean is like a lake and the snorkeling is spectacular. We take every possible opportunity to go and play with the fish during these months. However, the sea has been too rough except for a very few days and I am missing my favorite activity! Hopefully things will calm down over the next couple of weeks and we will be able to resume our passion for watching fish underwater :-)
However, we have been able to keep ourselves occupied with no problem. For the fourth year in a row we met to pick our fantasy football teams at the local watering hole “The Point” and once again it lived up to our expectations of a fun filled evening. Our commissioners kept things moving along so all ten teams ended up with a full roster in just three hours – a record!! We won our first contest last week so will see how it goes today. Last year we came in third and ended up winning $100. We hope to finish in the money again this year but the competition is tough so we will see.
The President of Costa Rica came to town for the annual Southern Caribbean Cultural Festival that celebrates the Jamaican heritage of so many of the people here. He went out fishing with some of the local fisherman and it looked like he enjoyed himself. Here he is climbing off the boat after his excursion. Interesting how little security there is – where are all those guys in black suits and sunglasses???
The annual chocolate festival is coming up in a few weeks and it is shaping up to be even bigger than last year. There has been a concentrated effort over the last many years to bring back the art of chocolate making in the area and to support the small scale cacao farmer. So this festival was started to bring attention to the many uses of the cacao bean – from medicinal to the delicious concoctions that can be made. People can participate in tasting events, learning activities like how the chocolate is actually made, as well as non chocolate based fun like dancing and just hanging out with friends. It should be a great time!!
Beautiful sunrise taken by my friend Ro last week
Other than that we are still enjoying life – walks on the beach, bicycling into town and hanging out on the back deck watching the world go by. Life is good :-)
It it hard to believe that we have been living in Puerto Viejo for four years. On Wednesday, August 13th we celebrated our arrival in 2010. It is strange to me how time has gone so fast and so slow at the same time. Life here is so laid back and calm – no one is in a rush. For some who move down here, that is frustrating but for some reason I fell right into the lifestyle The lack of stress is what is most wonderful – I can see why this little country is often #1 on the polls for the “Happiest country in the world”.
Since I last wrote we have had a few major things happening but by far the most exciting was that Costa Rica made it to the final eight in the World Cup. Everyone was NUTS!!! Everything in the country stopped when Costa Rica was playing and the President even gave time off to all of the workers. There is just something about being in the middle of a crowd of people yelling and singing “Ole, Ole, Ticos, Ticos” that make life feel very good. Puerto Viejo had its own celebrity, Dave Myrie, who was a bench player who ended up playing in the second to the last game. There was a huge parade for him and then a welcome home party at Hot Rocks, one of the main bars in town. He was so generous with his time giving photographs and posing with the fans.
We also went to the annual 4th of July party at The Point and met up with most of our friends, neighbors and dogs in our little corner of PV. The Point always has a free barbeque for the neighborhood and there is always a band and fireworks at the end of the day. It was just a great time!
Last but not least we have filed for permanent residency!!! After you have lived here for three years you can apply and so we drove to Limon last week and got all the paperwork filed and paid the $100 per person. Hopefully in three to six months, the application will be approved. There will definitely be another celebration when it is
A few pictures…….
Iguana way up in a tree
Sofi with treasures from the beach
Neat looking grasshopper
Our first Passion Flower!
After a drought the rain came
Tom and crew coming back from the daily walk to the beach – these are happy puppies!!!
It has been quite a while since I wrote – about two months. The main topic of conversation around here during that time was the terrible drought that had been going on since July. Water wells were drying up and those places that were serviced by the city water had to ration – most areas could only use water two hours every other day. We were lucky because our well is quite deep and we continued to be able to have water every day, although we did conserve. This is one of the huge trees near our yard that shows the effect of the lack of rain. Rain forests don’t do too well without water. The good news is that we finally started getting rain a couple of weeks ago and last night we had over five inches. Everyone is breathing a big sigh of relief.
For us the most important topic of conversation has been Kaya’s knee surgery. She has been limping for several months off and on and a few weeks ago when Tom took her to the beach she did something to it and could no longer put any weight on her back leg at all. Our vet here recommended a specialist in San Jose to repair what turned out to be a torn ACL. Things went okay until a couple of days after she got back. The stitches came out and the wound was gaping. We called our vets here in town on the Saturday before Easter and they came over and fixed her right up. It actually was pretty hysterical. They put her on the table in our outdoor living room, gave her an anesthetic to put her to sleep and then completely redid all the stitches and cleaned it up. Tom got to hold the flashlight so was a surgical assistant It will be several weeks before she is able to get back to running around but she is already so much better – she doesn’t even mind Wiley laying his head on her. And I have to add that the entire cost was 1/10th of what it was when we had the same surgery done on our Alaskan Malamute when we were living in Idaho. Pretty interesting. I absolutely love these veterinarians here!! Excellent care for a very reasonable price.
We did have a couple of sets of visitors in March which was nice. We haven’t had many at all this year so it was good to see friends and family from the states. Clive and Lori, our friends from DC came at the beginning of the month for their third visit and my cousin Rich and girlfriend Candace came at the end of the month for his second visit. It was such fun to see all of them even though I had to work and we didn’t get to spend as much time with them as in the past. Still fun to catch up and spend time together.
We have had lots of wildlife visitors too – right in our yard the last couple of weeks. Two snakes, both harmless but really long – a green vine snake that wanted to go into the bedroom and hang out with Wiley, and a bird eating snake that was huge!!
An iguana hiding from Sofi and Kaya in the wheel well of our car
A brown wood turtle – that was completely unexpected!! We have no idea how it got here……
A green honeycreeper – we have seen them but have never gotten a good picture until now
A praying mantis that thought maybe it would like a sip of Tom’s beer
And last but not least a sloth who has been living in a tree in our backyard who evidently just had a baby – you just never knows what you will see in this place
That’s it for now. Till next time……….
Last week a friend came to visit for a few days. Tom and I met Kimberly Beck Hovland, who writes the blog 10 Degrees Above, in Cahuita a few months ago. Casey Bahr – A Dull Roar – and his family were visiting Kimberly and her husband Barry on their 22 acre farm a couple of hours away and they came to Cahuita to hike and hang out. We drove up and met up with all of them for lunch at a restaurant in Cahuita and had a terrific time. I told Kimberly that she would be welcome to visit any time so she took us up on the offer to have a short vacation from her working life at the farm. As you can see from the picture we weren’t the only two happy to see her – Kaya was in love
The first day Kimberly was here she was talking about how she makes tea every morning by collecting lemon grass, guanabana (graviola/soursop) leaves, hibiscus leaves, and mint from the farm. As it turned out, we had everything in our garden except the mint so she showed me how she made the tea by throwing everything in a pot to boil and then letting it steep for a while. The first batch was a little bit weak so the next batch I made sure to have more of the lemon grass and less water. I also added ginger, which we don’t grow, and turmeric (which we do) roots and a bit of lime and it is delicious!! I am not one for sweet drinks but for those who are (namely Tom), I add some of the raw honey I have in the cupboard. Just one more benefit of living in this great spot!
Last weekend we went to see Luis Angel Castro who is a singer/songwriter in Costa Rica. My Spanish teacher will often have me listen to his songs and try to understand them and by doing so, I have become a huge fan. He was playing at one of our favorite restaurants – Stashu’s Confusion – which is small and intimate. We got to meet him and ended up buying a couple of CD’s. His music was even better live Evidently he is moving back to this area from the city and so I am hoping that we will get to see many more of his performances. Here is one of my favorites:
Puerto Viejo by Luis Angel Castro
Finally – a couple of weeks ago our friend Marvin and his wife dropped by to show us their new baby. She is adorable and has the fattest little baby cheeks ever!!
So that is it for now from my little corner of the world. I hope that friends and family in the states are surviving the brutal winter up north………………