This morning we sat in the outdoor living room and listened to parrots, toucan, montezuma oropendolas, and a cacophony of other sounds for about two hours. It was amazing! There was also a sloth in a tree in the middle of it all and she was just hanging out eating while all the birds were flying all around her. The parrots just arrived yesterday and they are beautiful. Mostly green but with red around the eyes and some blue feathers on the tail. It looks like there are some little avocados that are ripe in some trees around us and they are here to eat them. They were chasing the toucan and the toucan were chasing the oropendolas. The tanagers, who show up every single morning, did not show up today. I don’t blame them – too much competition :-)
I also was greeted by two dogs in the neighborhood when I went out to look at the birds. One of these little guys barked all night but both are so cute I guess I’ll forgive them.
So – after a start to the day like this, I can’t wait to figure out what else is in store for us today!!!
And then the internet went down. To state the obvious – it is amazing how reliant I have become on the internet. My computer has been acting up a lot recently and, while I backed up a few things, I didn’t back up all of my photographs that I have taken down here. However, the good news is that we had purchased 16GB drives for the cameras and had not yet downloaded most of the photographs so many were salvaged. I just bought this computer in May but the hard drive just died. It is still on warranty but I’ll have to figure out how I can have the warranty honored down here. I’ll get to work on that ……..
The weather has just been stunning lately. Not too hot and it cools way down in the evening. We have spent the last two evenings sitting in the outdoor living room listening to the IPOD shuffle songs and pinching ourselves. We still can’t believe we are living here. It seems like every day we see at least one new bird and one new species of butterfly just flying around the yard. It turns out that September through November or so is the migratory season for several bird species and so we are benefitting from that. I saw what was either a kite or a hawk two days ago and it was just gorgeous. There also seem to be new types of tanagers hanging around and a couple of new hummingbirds. We also have a toad that likes hanging out in the plants in the living area every night – must be good hunting.
There is a hurricane that is going to hit (or has hit) Nicaragua and Honduras today but we have had no effect of it yet except that the ocean is more rough. That is actually nice since it has been so calm we couldn’t hear it – now we can 🙂 . It looks like we might get a bit of rain tomorrow but it doesn’t look to be too bad. The pacific side of the country is having one of the worst rainy seasons it has ever experienced – roads washing out and flooding. Two years ago in November we had a rain that fell for five days straight and the bridge into town washed out. But it was quickly repaired and there was no lasting damage. At this point even a flooded bridge would not dampen my enthusiasm 🙂
The last couple of days have been just terrific. Over the last three days there have been two sloths who have visited a tree just a few meters from the house. At first one would come and leave and then the other would come and then leave. Two days ago they both were in the same tree – very unusual behavior for sloths who are quite solitary. I about died laughing when the male would reach out to touch the female and she would smack his hand away. Eventually she left the tree and went to another. I have to say that I watch these things obsessively. Much like a sloth :-) The picture here is not real clear since I photographing while it was almost dark but you can see the two of them if you look real hard.
Snorkeling at Playa Punta Uva
Yesterday was independence day in Costa Rica and we went snorkeling to celebrate. This was my first time ever and I had a BLAST!!! Even though we did not have fins so could not go too far out on the reef, I was able to figure out how to breath and spent up to five minutes at a time just looking at the reef and the fish. I was not out far enough to see the schools of fish but I saw so many beautifully colored specimens – all quite small except one. Now I absolutely cannot wait to get fins and go out further. I have attached a you tube video to show a quick preview of what I experienced. Obviously not the stunning video you see on TV but for me WAY COOL!! By the way, this was done with a tiny little camera made by Fuji that take both still and video images underwater. AND it cost just a little over $100. Amazing technology these days.
You don’t!!! Unless you have some reason to mark the day. On Saturday mornings there is a farmer’s market so it isn’t too hard to know what day is Saturday. And on Sunday, the Tico’s bring their families to Playa Negra (our beach) and play all day long. Other than that, I am not sure how to tell what day it is and I am not really too concerned about it.
There are other things that happen that mark the days. On Saturday, the gardener came and made our yard beautiful! I am amazed at what they can do with their machetes. We have a rather large lot and in three hours it was all cleaned up and raked and shrubs all groomed. He gave us advice on what we needed to do with some of the plants and then said he would see us in a month. Of course I could not understand most of what he said (I can’t wait to start Spanish school) but Tom was able to converse quite well with him. He wanted a picture of Kaya and Wiley to take home so Tom took a photograph and printed it off while he was here. He smiled from ear to ear when he got that.
On Sunday we drove to Sixaola which is the town on the Panamanian border where most people from Puerto Viejo go when they have to leave the country every ninety days. The drive there was beautiful. The towns are much different than PV as they are inland and almost everyone works on the banana plantations that line that part of the country. The road wasn’t too bad except for a couple of spots and those were horrendous. We decided that when we head to Panama, we will hire a taxi to take us to the border and then will take the bus to Bocas del Toro – islands off the coast of Panama that everyone says are THE place to go.
When we got back to PV, we walked to a small bar/restaurant called Jeffrey’s just a few minutes away for lunch. The lunch was excellent and Jeffrey was there and was glad to meet us since we will be neighbors. He was curious about us and our family and told us that he had two grown children, both in college in Bri Bri. He has been here thirty three of his forty three years and is Jamaican. It was great fun and we have decided we have found our neighborhood get away.
Tomorrow is Independence Day in Costa Rica – they are marking the 189th year. It is supposed to be one of the major holidays in the country and it just so happens to fall on my birthday. We are looking forward to the festivities 🙂 .
The past four weeks have been amazing. It was just six weeks ago that we both quit our jobs and began the journey that brought us here. We spent two weeks in Wyoming and Colorado visiting family and then arrived here on August 13th, 2010. We keep pinching ourselves because it truly is difficult to believe that this is now our life.
We get up in the morning between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. and quickly check email and on line newspapers. Tom takes the dogs to the beach every morning for their morning walk. If it looks like it is going to be a sunny day, then I do some wash and hang it on the outdoor clothes line. We then take our coffee to the outdoor living room and listen to the b irds and, more often than not, I photograph new birds that show up in the trees in our yard. Sometime between 8:00 and 9:00 Tom fixes something for breakfast and I read or study Spanish (although I should study more than read, I am not yet there). Sometimes I ride my bike into town and then further on down the road as far as I feel like going. In the afternoon we sometimes take the car to do errands but more often take a nap or relax in the hammocks. Tom – sometimes with me, sometimes not – takes the dogs back to the beach for an early evening walk and then he comes back, turns on music and we sit and have a beer or glass of wine before dinner. Sometimes we just talk until we go to bed, other times we watch a movie. We go to bed between 9 and 10 and then start all over the next day. At some point, we will begin volunteering but right now we are just enjoying our lives.
While we have been here the last four weeks we have seen monkeys, birds, frogs, lizards, spiders (although not nearly as many as I had thought we would), centipedes, amazing flowers, trees and vegetation. We have said hello and goodbye to the great friends who helped us move and we have made new friends with neighbors and reacquainted with friends from before. We have walked in the ocean, gone to the farmers market, visited and learned about the native plants at the botanical garden, and have visited a wildlife refuge. We have had furniture made and installed to finish out the new house, have purchased all the items we need (bikes, hoses, microwave, toaster, dishes, pillows) and have now settled in for the long term. I am living the life I want…………..
When we first arrived in PV we bought bicycles. The last few days I have taken long bike rides from our place in Play Negra out towards Manzanillo. I try to go in the fairly early morning so that it isn’t too hot. However, I am finding that since I am riding so near the ocean, the breezes off the ocean as well as the natural breeze from the ride keep it very nice. Today I rode a long way trying to find a bakery that I had heard about in Playa Chiquita. It was well worth the ride – the breads were outstanding!!! Along the way, I saw a woman snorkeling with her dog. It was hysterical!!! The woman would dive down and so would the dog. The dog would surface first and paddle around waiting for it’s owner to come up. Once she did, they would both dive down again. It was great. Two days ago, I watched the fishing boats coming in with their load for the day. These bike rides are really helping me start to know my new corner of the world.
Tomorrow we will talk to a person at a Spanish school that both Tom and I are going to attend beginning the first of October. He really doesn’t need it so much – he can converse with almost anyone – but I am such a novice! I am struggling with the language and he is so far ahead of me that it is frustrating for him to try to talk at my level. He went to high school in Brazil so was fluent in Portuguese which has helpe d somewhat. However, he is just more focused than I am. I just want to hang out in the garden and watch the birds and the butterflies and listen to the ocean 🙂
This morning we rode our bikes into town and did some shopping. First to the farmer’s market where we got some tomatoes, avocados, and cilantro. Then on to a store in town to pick up a garbage can and then to another in Cocles to check out spices and bread. It was a good long ride and a beautiful morning. On the way back we saw a huge blue heron standing in a river very near our house. It was gorgeous!!! The first heron I have seen in our new town.
September is the month that we are required to get our yearly vehicle inspection so Tom took the Toyota to Limon yesterday to get that done. They are very strict about the condition of the car you drive here. Interesting since the roads themselves are so terrible :-) At any rate, we passed with flying colors but Tom said that there were several in line who did not and they were given long lists of things that they had to get done within two months.
We started out this morning sitting on the port listening to the chorus of birds that starts up around 5:00 a.m. everyday. This is how we always start our day and I honestly can’t get enough of it. It seems that each day we see another bird that we have not seen before – and we don’t even have to get up out of our chairs – they just come to us!!
In our yard!! Today Tom came in and told me that we had fruit on the papaya tree in our yard. I didn’t even know we had a papaya tree :-) Anyway, I went out and got a picture of the young fruit and will write about it when we actually pick it and eat it. I thought it would be much longer before we could actually have fruit from our garden. We are planning to plan a coconut tree or two later this week – they are growing all over the land around us so we are just going to transplant a couple.
The toucan in the picture above was just hanging out in a tree right next to the house yesterday and Tom got a great shot of it. It is weird how sometimes they are just all over and other times they are no where to be found.
Today I got my hair cut so I guess we really are settling in. Two days ago the vet and now a haircut. Feels just like home :-) The person who cut my hair is from Savanna, Georgia. She has been here ten years with her husband who is from Italy. They met when she was teaching at a university in Italy. He was working in African doing aid work at the time so they didn’t get to see each other much for two years. When he got back he asked her if she would move to Costa Rica and off they went. At the time she didn’t even know where it was. They have a six year old daughter and another due in November. He was trained as a veterinarian in Italy but here he is in construction – builds houses and buildings. She didn’t like it much the first couple of years but now she says she cannot imagine living anywhere else. That is the mantra that I keep hearing from most people who have been here for a while. Pura vida!!!!