And then there was rain………..

 

Now that is the way to walk a horse on the beach!

Now that is the way to walk a horse on the beach!

 

From  January 1st – June 30th we got over 100 inches of rain in the area around Puerto Viejo with the majority of that coming in May and June.  Other parts of the Caribbean had even more. The President declared a state of emergency the last two weeks of June for provinces on the Caribbean side of the country due to flooding and collapsed bridges.  We were very lucky compared to the many people who had to live in shelters or those that were unable to leave their immediate area.  We mostly went on with our daily lives with the exception of a tree falling on our bodega which prompted a roof repair.

Tree on bodega But the damage was slight and was fixed quickly so no harm done.

Puppies in puddles

Puppies in puddles

And the puppies actually had a great time – they found every single puddle in the yard and wrestled for hours!!!  And I spent hours laughing as I watched :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The really big news was that we got our permanent resident status approved in May so we now have no restrictions on our residency.

Success!

Success!

We met our friends Kimberly and Barry at the Immigration Office

Immigration office

Immigration office

in Limon and within an hour we all had our documentation saying we were approved and that we would have our new cedulas within a week!!

While having temporary residency meant that we did not have to leave the country every 90 days to get our passport stamped as tourists do, we did have to prove that we had a stable income from outside Costa Rica.  We also were not able to legally work in Costa Rica if we had wanted or needed to do so. Permanent residency means that we no longer have those restrictions and the length of time between applying for residency is longer.  I had to go every year to refile for temporary residency status while now it will be every three years and after some time it will change to every five years.  So YAHOO!!!

Baby and Mom

Baby and Mom

This spring and summer we have had an unusually large number of mother and baby sloths in our yard.  There were at least five different pairs and they hung around (literally) for several weeks.  I love sitting on the back porch and just watching them.  One baby must have been nearly ready to be on it’s own as it became very brave reaching for tree limbs and swinging on them – all while still having one arm or leg attached to mom :-)

The 4th of July party at The Point was once again a huge success. Popeye and Tiffany, the wonderful owners, provided free hamburgers, hot dogs, and salads for anyone who showed up hungry.  It was just a wonderful day. Many of us had not seen each other for several weeks while we hunkered down during the rains so it was great fun to reacquaint ourselves with each other and chat about life.  The people here are just one more reason we love living here – along with the wildlife, the ocean, the unbelievable scenery, and the amazing laid back vibe :-)

 

4th of July party

Now that’s a bunch of people

Chatting

Chatting

Enjoying the beach

Enjoying the beach

Tassle and puppy

Dogs like to party too :-)

 

More pictures from the last couple of months:

 

Emerald Basilik in our yard

Emerald Basilik in our yard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day at the beach

Day at the beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neat gate

Neat gate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neighbors enjoying the day

Neighbors enjoying the day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom waiting at Immigration

Tom waiting at Immigration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colorful building in Limon

Colorful building in Limon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ani convention

Ani convention

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Louise - she is a character!!

Little Louise – she is a character!!

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

There Are Dolphins in My Ocean!!!

Dolphin

Dolphin

Closeup

Closeup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday I went for a walk on the beach and ran into some friends sitting on a log that had washed up.  I stopped to say hello and they pointed to the ocean and said “Look at all the dolpins!”.  There were several dolphins jumping and diving including at least one baby.  It was such a thrill – in the five years I have lived here this was the first time I saw the dolphins and they were really close to the shore.

Last week was Semana Santa – Holy Week – here in Central America and for Ticos that means it is time to go to the beach!  Between Palm Sunday and Easter, the town is literally filled with people.

Easter pinks

Easter pinks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parked on Beach

Parked on Beach

IMG_1445

 

Driving is not even an option and walking or biking is an adventure.  During a normal week I can take a walk on the beach and will see maybe five people spread out all along the beach.

Fishermen bringing in the boat

Fishermen bringing in the boat

However during Semana Santa, the beaches are packed with families playing in the ocean, camping on the beach, enjoying barbecues, and listening to music.  It is a party all the way from Cahuita to Manzanillo.  Cars began streaming into town on Wednesday morning and did not stop until Friday afternoon.  By Sunday morning – Easter Sunday and the day of the dolphins for me – the beaches in my area were almost back to normal with just a few people hanging out.

Kids Playing on the beach

Kids Playing on the beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opi

Opi

Last Tuesday, four friends and I went to entertain a group of elderly people in a nursing/retirement home not far from Puerto Viejo in a small town called Bambu.  We just showed up with no notice and sang Easter songs and then spent some time talking to the people who came to listen.  It was such an uplifting experience.  There were smiles and laughter all around.  We were lucky enough to see a wonderful man by the name of Opi from Puerto Viejo.  He had been in a terrible accident about a year ago when he was hit by a car while standing by his bicycle.  When we said we would see him next time he said “Not unless you sing to me in Puerto Viejo – I will be home and walking by then!!”.

Pretty groundsThe grounds and the home itself were just beautiful and the staff seemed to really enjoy working there.  In Costa Rica, most people grow old and are cared for by there family but when that is not possible this is a wonderful alternative with a warm and caring environment.


Preparing for Bingo
Audience Introduction

Pretty ladies

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those who are curious, the new puppies are great!  Tom and I are loving watching them grow and honestly spend much of our day laughing as we watch their antics.  They completely entertain themselves wrestling and chasing each other and the other dogs and have won over our hearts – we cannot now imagine life without them.

Growing up

Growing up

 

 

Crashed

Crashed

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

And then there were five……….

 

Herding cats

Herding cats

Dogs that is :-)  On Saturday our veterinarian brought over two puppies that she had nursed for over two months.  They had been left on her doorstep in a box and were terribly ill.  When she found them one of them had no fur at all except for a little patch about the size of a quarter on the top of her head.  I had talked to the vet off and on about perhaps adopting one of them but she really hated to separate them and was hoping that someone would take them together.  Tom and I talked it over and decided to have a weekend ‘play date’ with them to see how it went with the other three dogs.  Of course we knew the minute we decided to have them visit that the play date would be permanent.

Thelma

Thelma

Louise

Louise

We named them Thelma and Louise

At first they did not want to come out of the crate and so they had to be almost dumped out.  However, once out, they began running and playing and chasing Kaya and Sofi for hours!!!  Sofi was not too accommodating and has kept her distance while Kaya has played with them a lot.  But mostly they just play together.

Sleeping

Sleeping

They also sleep together – normally one on top of the other.

We have a large fenced lot so once they are a little bigger they will be able to just roam around all day.  Now we watch them closely so that they don’t get out the fence or under the gate.  Not that they seem interested in that – they like to hang mostly around us and the other dogs.

There are many, many people here with five dogs.  You start with a couple but there are always more needing homes.  People are becoming more knowledgeable about spaying and neutering but it is still not a widely accepted practice.  And there are way too many people who come here thinking they will stay who adopt a couple of dogs and then decide that they don’t want to live here permanently.  Those dogs are often just abandoned and become street dogs.  Sometimes they are adopted and sometimes they are not.  It is really just the luck of the draw.

So we are now adjusting to the increased number in our household as well as all those things that need to be ‘puppy proofed’.  That’s okay – it keeps us young :-)  Pura Vida for sure!!!

On Tom's lap

On Tom’s lap

With Kaya on the deck

With Kaya on the deck

Do I really want to go down these stairs?

Do I really want to go down these stairs?

In the garden with Kaya

In the garden with Kaya

Hanging with Sofi

Hanging with Sofi

With Wiley the BIG boy!

With Wiley the BIG boy!

15 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Welcoming Old Friends and a New Year!!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

The holidays have come and gone but it is not at all quiet here in Puerto Viejo.  This has been the busiest I have seen this little town and the restaurant and hotel owners happily are in agreement.  It has been CRAZY!!

Crazy traffic

Crazy traffic

The beaches have been packed

People everywhere

People everywhere

and the streets in town are barely passable by bicycle or foot even though there has been a lot of rain.  But I am not complaining.  The energy is great and it is fun to talk to some of the people who are experiencing Puerto Viejo for the first time.  Like my friend Dan and his two daughters Kim and Kristina.

Playing with the monkeys

Playing with the monkeys

I worked with Dan at the University of Idaho and he emailed me a couple of months ago saying that he and the girls were going to come to Costa Rica for a week in late December/early January and asked for some suggestions.  I told him of the places we had visited throughout the country and in the end he decided to come here.  He rented the main floor of a house way down the Playa Negra beach and spent time going out and seeing the sights.  For being here only a week they packed a lot in.  They hiked to a beautiful waterfall; learned how chocolate was made from the pods of cacao trees; toured Manzanillo National Park and saw tons of flora, foliage and animals; visited the Jaguar Rescue Center; and managed to get in a few yummy meals as well as a bit of shopping.

Anteater

Anteater at the Jaguar Center

Shopping

Shopping

On Saturday before they left the sun was out and it was gorgeous and they were able to hang out on the beach all day before we headed to Stashu’s Con Fusion for a great meal.

Fun as Stashus

Fun as Stashus

 

 

 

 

 

Tom and I had a wonderful Christmas day – several friends came over for a late afternoon potluck and we all caught up on each other’s lives.  It was very different from other Christmases we have had here and I really enjoyed staying home and just relaxing.  New Years Eve we also stayed in.  The fireworks were just too much for the dogs,  They were petrified so we decided that a night in was best.  And it turned out to be a great decision because there was a torrential downpour later in the evening.  We just got cozy and listened to the rain, thankful that we were not outside.

Basilik

Basilik

 

Naughty Sofi

Naughty Sofi

Sofi gave us a scare last week. She almost killed one of the Basilik lizards that lives in one of the giant trees in our yard.  We had seen the lizard earlier sitting on a bush enjoying the sun. While I was working in my office I heard a bunch of commotion outside my door and went out to check it out.  There was Sofi with the poor lizard in her mouth.  I yelled and she dropped it and it climbed up on one of the screen doors.

Basilik after Sofi tried to eat it

Basilik after Sofi tried to eat it

Up close

Up close

Tom picked it up and we checked it and didn’t find any damage so he put it back in the tree and it scurried up to safety.  We are constantly on watch to try to make sure that the dogs don’t harm the jungle animals but that was definitely a close call.

So that is all the excitement in my life for the last few weeks.  We are going to enjoy the sun for a while today and then kick back and watch the NFL football wild card matches.  Life goes on here in my little corner of the world – Pura Vida!!

A few photos:

Wiley - he is getting old but loves to hang on the deck

Wiley – he is getting old but still loves to hang on the deck

Cool bug

Cool bug at the Rescue Center

Huge waves on Playa Negra

Huge waves on Playa Negra

Woodpecker

Woodpecker

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Puerto Viejo

Another delightful evening :-)

And SHE said......

And SHE said……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday our neighbor and friend Stash

Stash

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.

Lucy!

Lucy!

 

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

Enjoying a laugh

Jimmy Mac at the piano

Music with Jimmy Mac

Leo is 70 today

Also celebrating Leo’s birthday – he is 70!!

Tom and Amaure

Tom and Amaure having a chat

The star of the show

The star of the show!!

Tup and Beate

Good friends Tup and Beate having a chat :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Wonderful Fall wildlife and – oh yea – Thanksgiving!!

Puerto Viejo Barge

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

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.Scarlet Rumped Cacique

 

 

Black Striped Woodcreeper

Black Striped Woodcreeper

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleepy sloth

Sleepy sloth

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

Mom and Baby Climbing

 

 

 

Hang on baby!!

Hang on baby!!

We also had a cherenga (agouti) visit for a while every evening.

Cherenga

Cherenga

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.

 

 

Female green iguanaOn 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.

Pregnant Iguana

Pregnant Iguana

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 :-)

Hungry Iguana

Hungry Iguana

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hanging out

Hanging out

Music

Music

Thanksgiving gathering

Thanksgiving gathering

 

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………

Fire Dancer

Fire Dancer

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few photos from around the yard……..

Pink Orchid Orange Orchid Masked tityra female Male three toed sloth Frog hanging out Black winged dragonfly

5 Comments

Filed under Holidays, Puerto Viejo

Ahhhhh – The Sound of Howler Monkeys in the Morning……..

Morning on the beach

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 Cheeseca

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

Rum and chocolate

IMG_0806 IMG_0811

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:

Good morning (2)

Sofi bringing BIG stick home

IMG_0670

Walking to Puerto Viejo

IMG_0847 IMG_0677 IMG_0572

Neighbor with a new puppy

Neighbor with a new puppy

Bay Wren

Bay Wren

Tri Colored Heron

Tri Colored Heron

2 Comments

Filed under Puerto Viejo