Last week when I was walking back from the Farmer’s market I ran into a woman I had met at the group who is getting together to sing the Messiah at Christmas. She was carrying a yoga mat and I mentioned that one of my goals when I moved down was to learn yoga. Turns out she is a yoga teacher (as well as just an all around holistic minded person who was a physician in Canada before she moved to PV) and had just formed a group for beginners in our age group. All right!! So Thursday morning at nine I headed over to her house and joined two other yoga newbies. It was a great experience. I used to be incredibly flexible but after years of sitting at a desk and not being too active have lost that flexibility. However, I can see that if I go very slowly and keep at it, I will regain at least some. She is a very patient and gentle person and it will be fun to do this a couple of times a week. Since she also lives in Playa Negra, I can either walk or ride my bike so just one more plus
Yesterday a young man stopped by our gate and started hollering that he had something to sell. Tom and I headed out to see what he had and found that he had all sorts of fruits and vegetables. The picture at the left is one of the things we bought – it is called Rambuton and the pulp inside tastes very much like grapes. The spines on the outside feel like rubber and are very soft. When you cut it open you find a seed that is surrounded by pulp which you eat. It was delicious!!! We also bought a bunch of fresh carrots and cucumbers so we will have a great salad for dinner tonight. A couple of weeks ago I bought some fruit at the farmers market but didn’t know what it was. Today I do – it is called snake fruit because the skin looks like a snake but the inside tastes like a cross between a pineapple and an apply – yummy!! Every week I try to pick up something at the farmer’s market that I haven’t tried and so far I have been delighted with all the new foods I have had.
The papayas in our yard are evidently ready to eat because we had both collared aracaries and chachalacas having dinner on them last night. At one point there were seven aracaries and later there were five chachalacas just hanging out in our yard eating the papaya fruit. The fruit is so high up that we have not been able to figure out how to get it down so it is just as well the birds eat it. We’ll figure out how we can get to it next time they are ready to eat.
Today all the government offices and schools were closed for the “Day of the Races” formerly known as Columbus Day. All of central america celebrates this day and here in Puerto Viejo it was just one more day to kick back and hang out. The beaches were the most crowded I have seen them. A friend and I bicycled all up and down the road visiting people and sight seeing. She has been living here for seven years and knows many people so I was introduced to several new friends The day was an absolutely beautiful one – sun shining in the morning and then a brief rain this afternoon. It wasn’t too hot and I got to see a few things I had not seen before. We visited the only upscale hotel in this area – called the Le Chameleon – and I got to see one of the rooms. It was very nice and the grounds and the beach area that they have is absolutely gorgeous!
I met a woman who has had a blog for a couple of years now that I have followed. Her name is Lisa Valencia and she moved to PV about two years ago and is making a life for herself. She has an audio book that I purchased and she has a guide service that she is putting a lot of work. I have no doubt that her clients are very pleased with the places she takes them and the knowledge that they glean from her.
Other pictures from the day:
Buses taking people back to San Jose
Ticos fishing for dinner from the shore
Morning at the beach
Places to eat
Today I decided to walk to town instead of riding my bike to go to the farmer’s market. Last night we had torrential rains that came down so hard that we had trouble hearing each other speak. I believe that we are at the beginning of the rainy season in the Caribbean – I hear that November is the month that the most rain will fall. At any rate, I walked in thinking that there would be too many opportunities for me to crash into mud puddles and I was right. The walk was wonderful though and I may just continue to walk since I can get there and back before the sun gets too hot and the things you see when you go at a slower pace are just great. I am posting the photographs of what I saw along the road.
Beach morning glories
Horses at the bridge
Dog relaxing on the beach
Road to my house
Even though it is overcast and has been for most of the week – it is still just wonderful………….
Yesterday I went to visit a friend and, after we made some absolutely incredible fresh passion fruit juice, she asked me if I liked to sing. I said yes – twenty years ago I actually was a pretty good singer. She asked if I would join a small group of people who were planning to sing Handel’s Messiah in Limon on December 26th. I said yes since I know the entire thing – bass, tenor, alto, and soprano – by heart. My dad and I used to sing the Messiah, or at least several choruses from it, every Christmas at the First Presbyterian Church in Casper before I left to “further my career”. Those times with dad are some of my fondest memories of him. We would go to the choir room every Thursday and practice and once we even had a quartet with another couple of people that brought the house down These are the times I miss him.
At any rate, Tom decided to come along too (even though he didn’t realize he would have to be a participant as well) and we had a great time. We practiced the “Hallelujah Chorus” and it was such fun! There were twelve of us and there were probably be a couple more before it settles in. There is a Tico tenor who has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. And another tenor who has a beautiful voice as well who has clearly had training. The rest of us just give our very best. Tom actually had a great time once he realized he would actually have to sing. He is singing bass which is a bit out of his range but he has a great voice and, since he played guitar for years, knows how to read music and is a big help to the other basses who don’t.
The director is the most amazing women – incredibly patient and a wonderful musician. She brings her portable piano to the place we practice and speaks all three languages of those of us who are participating – English, Spanish, and German. Since I actually have memorized the entire “Messiah”, I was able to take care of keeping the altos on track so she only had to worry about the other three parts I have to say I admire here immensely – she lives in Bri Bri, works in Cahuita and LImon and comes to work with us in Puerto Viejo in the evening. Quite an amazing person.
In Limon we will be singing in a cathedral with twenty other people from there. This will truly be an experience of a lifetime!!!
Two things – Tom’s birthday and our second month in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica!! Tom is 62 today and I have to say both of us could not be happier that this birthday has arrived He will begin receiving his social security checks on December 15th and that is how we are going to stay in our tropical paradise. We have planned all along on living on what he gets from social security – at least until mine kicks in in five years (if it does – who knows with the way the world is going). Since we own the house outright, it really won’t be too difficult to maintain a lifestyle that we enjoy as long as we don’t overdo it. We will dip into savings for the occasional trip to the US and around the country to see those parts of Costa Rica that we have not yet experienced but other than that, we will be living pura vida on social security income.
I have to admit that the two months really has flown by. We will be heading back to Denver in November for four days for two reasons. First is because our first 90 days in the country will be up and we have to leave – at least until we get our residency paperwork lined up. And secondly – to pick up that paperwork that son Jordan has been diligently mailing all over the place getting requests in and certifications done. By the time we arrive in November, he should have received all of the final paperwork back from the Costa Rican embassy in Washington D.C. which we can then bring back here and submit to the powers that be in San Jose. It will take about a month to get everything translated into Spanish so that we can submit it, but once that is done, all we have to do is wait. There are other housekeeping things we have to do here in Costa Rica but that shouldn’t be too difficult. I know – I sound like the very naïve person I am but my motto is now “don’t worry be happy”. Thank you Bobby McFerrin.
To the right is a photograph of a number of birds on a banana plant. We have watched the most amazing display the last two days as birds eat on these bananas. Woodpeckers, tanagers – five different kinds, Oropendolas – two different kinds, and others that I don’t even know the name of – have been eating on these bananas right outside our gate. Does anyone wonder why I love this place?!?!?!
No mishaps on the way to or from the farmer’s market today. I went in around 7:00 to get the best variety and it was buzzing – lots of people. This is definitely the Saturday morning gathering place. On my way back I stopped at the bank to get money from the ATM and was approached by an old man and his granddaughter who had some things to sell. I bought a bag of corn for about 60 cents. It was cooked and ready to eat. Yummy!
Biking along the ocean, I noticed that the ocean was unbelievable rough compared to the lake like surface we have experienced over the last couple of months. I am not sure what is stirring it up but it is amazing! My understanding is that this is pretty unusual for this time of year. The ocean is coming up so high at high tide that it is nearly to the road. The beach has eroded as well and there is a huge incline that wasn’t there a week ago. It is gorgeous though. I can just go and sit and watch the water and completely lose time.
As I passed over one of the bridges on the way home, I saw a ringed Kingfisher and it was just gorgeous. The picture isn’t that great – it is hard to take a photograph while balancing a bicycle and a bunch of vegetables and a chicken. But it was pretty neat anyway!!
On Saturday I rode my bike to the farmer’s market as I normally do to pick up our weekly ration of whatever looks good. As I wandered through the small vending area there was a lot that looked really good – chicken, pineapple, sapote, lettuce, and cucumbers to name a few. So I bought it all. I chatted with a few people and then went to get on my bike to head back home. Uh oh – way too much stuff for the little bitty basket I have on my bike. I neglected to mention that before getting to the farmers market, I stopped by Old Harbor – a small grocery store in town, and picked up a small bag of dog food.
I thought I would be fine if I just put a few things in the basket, put the dog food on the back of the bike, and carried the b ag with all the rest of the food on my shoulder. As I clumsily took off, I drove directly into two parked cars and almost tipped over. I did a bit of rearranging and took off again, only to find that the handle bars on my bike had gone cockeyed and were at a right angle to the front tire. I promptly went to the ground – along with all the food. A very nice woman came over and helped me back up telling me not to be embarrassed because everyone takes a bike tumble at least once. I fixed the handle bars and took off again, finally on my way. I was going along just great and was riding over the first bridge when the dog food fell off of the back of the bike right in the middle of the road. I hurried across the bridge, dropped the bike and all the food again, and ran back to pick up the dog food. Rearranging for the final time, I took off and finally make it home with myself, the bike, and all the groceries intact. Next Saturday, I will pace myself and will take a smaller bag that fits in the basket of the bike and will buy no more than will fit in the bag.
Here are some pictures of the sapote and some other type of fruit that I don’t know the name of. As you can see, the sapote is a very dull looking gourd-like thing but when you cut it open it has the most beautiful orange fruit that is delicious!!! The funny looking strawberry things have fruit inside that has a texture somewhat like an apple and it tastes somewhat like a cross between an apple and a pineapple – yummy! So – though painful – the trip was well worth it.
We have had an eventful week. We have had some new and unique visitors to the yard – some delightful and some not. Last night a Green Canopy Lizard must have dropped from one of the tops of the trees. The lizard book we have said that it is very rare to actually see one because they stay in the canopy and don’t come down. It hung out on some grass until it got dark and then headed on out – I assume back to the big tree. We also have seen a couple of butterflies and moths that we have not seen before and they were gorgeous. I am trying to find a butterfly book that will help me identify some of these specimens but in the meantime, it is fun to just watch them.
We also have had a couple of creepy visitors – really big centipede and a spider. The centipede headed out on it’s own but we are going to help the spider find a new place to inhabit. The web this spider is spinning is amazing but I haven’t been able to get a good photograph.
Just so you don’t think we only have exotic animals, I took a picture of a squirrel that has been hanging around. We actually don’t see too many squirrels so this is a real treat!
We were the visitors when we went to see Don Candido Morales today who is the medicinal plant doctor for the indigenous Bri Bri tribe who live primarily in the Talamanca mountains. He is known for the successes he has had with a variety of serious diseases and cancers. Don Candido lives just outside of Hone Creek and is about six miles from our house. We had heard of him through friends who run the organization El Puente which helps the children and adults of the Bri Bri tribe with schooling and other critical needs. We contacted Barry at El Puente and he set up an appointment so that Tom could have Don Candido look at his hands. He damaged the nerves several months ago while refinishing cabinets in our house in Moscow. They have been getting progressively worse and are to the point that he is miserable all the time as the palms itch, burn, crack and HURT continually.
He spent about an hour with Tom using acupressure on his hands and feet to determine whether or not there were malfunctioning organs that were at the root of the problem but he determined that, other than the nerve damage, he was in good shape. He did explain that the damage was so bad the it was beginning to move up his arms. He prescribed plants from the jungle that Tom will need to boil and breath in the steam once a day and then soak his hands in the mixture. He also whipped up some ointment with other plants for him to put on his hands. Once the ointment was applied his hands definitely felt better. He will go back to see him on Tuesday and it could take up to a month for them to heal. I will update Tom’s progress – hopefully this will work.