Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Costa Rica: relaxation

Sorry about the lack of daily posting, but our daily routine was getting pretty mundane and boring but oh so relaxing. Jeremy and I are taking every advantage of no schedule and no responsibilities. Our days have consisted of a morning adventure and then back home for lunch, sunbathing, reading or napping. Pretty exiting huh.... We have enjoyed every minute. Settling in and just enjoying time with each other was exactly what we needed. 

Our trip has included a few adventures and new friendships as well. A man in Alaabama, David, replied to the add that we posted on Craigslist. He and Jeremy shot emails back and forth about a man here by the name of Walter. Walter and David met here in Potrero about a year back and after meeting Walter and his family David decided to help Walter out and equip him with the gear to be able to guide small fishing trips from kayaks. David sent us the directions to Walters house and after getting just a little bit lost we found him, and set up a fishing trip. We went out in the kayaks a couple days later early in the morning and while fishing he asked what we were doing later on that afternoon. Obviously we have no plans and so he asked if we wanted to go spear fishing with him later that day. We of course took him up on his offer and Jeremy had a great time. I sat on the beach and perfected my tan, while Jermy tried his luck under water. Every day since then we have had a daily adventure with Walter. Jeremy even taught him to tie flies at his home.

Walter has a wife, two daughters, and his brother in law, who live with him in this one bedroom home. His home and his belongings are quite humble but his love for hs family, friends, life,Costa Rica, and of course fishing are extremely apparent. I am honored to have met such a man and have been reminded of what really counts in this life. He told us that he has no worries, he may not have many physical belongings but he is very rich in the things that matter, his family and his friends, and his faith in God' s provisions for him and his family. I am thankful for this new friendship, God's reminders, and this entire trip.

until next time....Pura Vida!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Costa Rica: day 5..... Llano de Cortes, monkeys, lizards, and a cattle drive!

Our day began with, yep you guessed it, coffee on the balcony, and a whole lot of nothing tranquil relaxation. We were both a little pink from the pool so we figured a day with less sun would be wise. There is a Costa Rica travel guide here in our condo and I saw that there was a waterfall about an hours drive from our condo that does not cost to see. ***Just about everything to see and do here costs $, something free is a rare find from what I can tell. We hopped in the car and sett off for the falls.

Our SWEET ride.  Thanks Jeremy for driving me all over Costa Rica! You are too sweet, I know you hate driving but you do it ya!

One thing we have found is that since everything costs here, the tourists just expect to pay for all sorts of services. There are security guards in many parking lots here, they are supposed to make sure your car does not get broken into. When you park and leave it is pretty standard to tip them. I am all for tipping when it is neccesary but we have found that random people will "act" like security guards or say that you are parking in a national park and therefore it costs to park there. Not so...just little scammers! We turned into the "free" waterfall road and a woman standing at the bus stop with her daughter waved us down and tried to charge us to drive down the road. HA..good thing I had my travel guide with me, pointed and said. "no dinero", she then smiled and walked away. When we got into the parking lot a guy walked up to the car, stood there and waited for us to get out, and then tried to charge us. He was a little mor official though, he actually had a small receipt book with him so it looked more legit. I said the same thing to him and he smiled and walked away. Twice in ten minutes!!! Pepperds 2/ Scammers 0   When the book says it's free, it's free gosh darn it!!!!

After all that was taken care of, we hiked down this little trail down to the falls. They were so big and wide. It was an awesome little find.

Llano de Cortes

I figured this would be a great time to do a little foolin with my camera and all of it's settings. I wandered around and took pictures changed the settings and took more pictures. I love this one of Jeremy sitting in the sun admiring the falls. He is just so stinking handsome!

While exploring I came across these guys.....

When I started to see creatures, Jeremy took interest and the camera and started snapping away. He kept telling me to stand here and there....

After a while we were both silently thinking that we had seen all that we had come to see and that maybe we should make our way back up to the car, and then we saw these.....up above the waterfall in the trees.

Lots of them, it was like they were migrating through, there were probably at least 50+, one right after another hopping from tree to tree.

This guy was a bit of a showoff, he stopped, looked over the edge at all of us tourists, and then proceded to give us a show. He kept jumping tree to tree closer and closer to all of us. The rest of the monkeys stayed up top, but he came down and around...the long way!
He's getting closer!

This one is blurry (they are fast little guys) but it shows you just how close he came. No editing done.

After all the exitement a local guy saw how many pictures we were taking and offered to take one of the both of us. Definately a downfall of vacationing just the two of us, only one person at a time in the shot! I am absolutely in love with this picture though! It came out great!!!! Thanks local guy......

After he took a few pictures for us he told us that the monkey would come around and be in the trees on the trail back up too the parking lot or up above by the parking lot. We decided to go on a monkey hunt!

Headed back up the trail.... on the lookout for monkeys!

Going bananas for MONKEYS!!!

WHen we got all the way back up the trail and into the parking lot without seeing any more monkeys a little girl pointed us in the direction of this trail....

Where are the monkeys?

 We never found them, but we did end up at the top of the falls. It was pretty spectacular from this vantage point too.

We called off the monkey hunt and headed home. The drive home was nice, long conversations, beautiful
sunsets and CATTLE in the middle of the road!!!

On our way home we stopped in Flamingo for a "Happy Hour" drink and an appetizer ceviche. After the long day we decided to make one more stop in Brasilito for dinner. Il Forno was the restaurant choice tonight and we were more than pleased! It was actually reasonable prices, (everything here has been as expensive or more than home) cheaper than home, good food, nice people, and great atmosphere.  We will definately be going back. While waiting for our food, the couple at the next table interrupted our conversation and said that they had a personal bet going whether or not we were newlyweds! HA!!!  I am so thankful that after 11 yaears of marriage and three kids we love each other enough to be mistaken for newlyweds!!! Love ya babe! Finished off the night at home.

Jeremy posted an ad on Craigslist asking for fishing info and he has been corresponding with several boats, and local fisherman, we shall see what happens! Here's hoping! Where there's a will there is a way!

Miss you all

until next time....Pura Vida!

Costa Rica: Day 4.... the pool

Another slow day, we haven't gotten much sun yet and so we decided to stick close to home and try out the pool. We needed to run into town and ask the rental company a few questions first. On our way home we explored the local area a bit and may have found a spot that Jeremy can fish. A couple beaches north from here, Playa Potrero. ( the same beach we ate dinner at while watching the fish operation and sunset) There is a large group of rocks connecting two beaches, Playa Potrero and Play Penca. We hiked around the rocks for a while and actually did see a few fish in the water. I was dying of thirst so we made our way back to the car and then home to the pool. It was crazy HOT! We were both dripping sweat and hopping  in and out of the pool every 10-15 minutes. We braved it out though and stayed out long enough to get the first hint of color...brown and red.  :(  The AC was sounding pretty good by about 3:30 so we headed back to our quiet sanctuary. Just like last night it was pretty laid back. I made some pico de gallo for appetizer's and then Jermy cooked me ahi, what a guy! I ADORE him.....
Life is looking pretty darn good these days!

until next time....Pura Vida!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Costa Rica: Day 3..... Brasilito

We decided to quit stressing about what Costa Rica doesn't have, (nice people, cheap prices, surf fishing)sorry where as I.... Oh yeah Sunday. It was GREAT! We woke up and just baskd in the tranquility of our surroundings. It took a little bit but we have adjusted our attitudes and are thankful for the opportunity to take a vacation together in the first place. We are very much taking advantage and enjoying our time alone with NO distractions and I mean no distractions. A family did move into the complex today, but they will only be here until Wednesday. The morning was very chill which included two pots of coffee, emails from kiddos (love you guys!) all from the balcony in our bedroom which just happens to have a gorgeous view. It doesn't get more relaxed than that. We then decided to make it a beach day.  You can kinda see it in the picture but off to the left of the island is a grouping of rocks. When the tide is really low it looks as if they may form little tide pools. I suggested we should go check them we did. By the time we got there the tide had come in enough to ruin the pools. Oh well...we spread out our towels, got settled, and laid down to soak up some sun. About a minute later a huge gust of wind came up and absolutely covered us in sand....ok time to fnd another beach!!!! It was a nice walk back down the beach, I picked up a few shells and some sea glass! All was great until I almost stepped on inches away. FREAKED ME US OUT!!

After standing there and looking like total tourists while taking pictures of a water snake we made our way back to the car. We just started driving and found ourselves about 15 km away at Playa Grande. It was a nice beach and a local and wanabe tourist surfer hangout. Surfers definately have their own look and attitude about them. The movies (Point Break) pretty much capture it perfectly. We layed there and watched the surfers for a while. There were actually some pretty good ones. Surfing must be a total body workout because the ones who were good were RIPPED, men and women.

Local surfer

Soaking up the sun....

It is incredibly hot here for two Alaskans and so we seek AC quite early. We stopped for a snack at Outback Jacks...a Costa Rican restaurant owned by an Australian catered towards Americans, weird I know. We made it home and it was lovely,  poured a glass of wine, watched the sunset, munched on ahi, and chatted the night away......

until next time.....Pura Vida!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Costa Rica: day 2...Flamingo

Day 2 of this Costa Rican adventure was just about as laid back as the first. We got up a little earlier enjoyed a full pot of coffee, wactched a few birds, sent off some emails, and then mosied into town to try to find this "nice grocery store". We did end up finding a nicer store which happened to be not to far from the ones we were at the previous day. We quickly realized that this was no mexican grocery store. All of the brands sitting on the shelves were exactly the same ones staring back at us when we wander the aisles in Wasilla. Costa Rica imports all of their groceries from what it looks like the US and Mexico. Even the pineapple was imported! We stocked up on some groceries and got some gas.(not many gas stations around here and by the looks of these little backroads, if you ran out you would be SCREWED) When we got home we unloaded all of the groceries and just relaxed on the front porch for a while. It is so nice out there! At about 3:30 we decided to check out Flamingo, we wandered the beach for a while, and then stopped to check out some fishing charters. Just like the groceries, they are CRAZY expensive. Jeremy is currently checking out Craigslist here in Costa Rica and threatening to buy a small panga instead!!!! When we left there we wandered down another long dirt road and found ourselves on another beach, a black sands beach. At the very end of the beach they were unloading and weighing literally boatloads of dorado. We were there for about two hours watching the sunset and eating dinner at this small beach restaurant. They unloaded the WHOLE time. Fishing must be good! When we left the beach the sun had set and so it was pretty dark. Things look alot different in the dark and we got lost! Not too bad, only a 20 minute detour. When we arrived back at our quiet litlle sanctuary when just relaxed and enjoyed each other's company for the rest of the evening. A couple pics from the day....

A stroll on Flamingo beach.

Jeremy watching the fish operation at sunset.

until next time...Pura Vida!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Costa Rica: day 1...Tamarindo

After we slept in and enjoyed the view and our morning coffee, (I did have the forsight to bring coffee with me, and the guy at the Happy Snapper restaurant sent me home with milk and sugar free of charge so I could start my vacation out right) we attempted to find the grocery store to stock up on a few items. This quest took us to the town of Tamarindo where we took a stroll on the beach and walked around town for a bit before settling into the sand to watch the surfers. Jeremy thinks that we may need to take lessons, I on the other hand am all for adventure but am not to keen on the idea of unexpectedly falling off a board in the middle of a wave and having water shoot up my nose and who knows what else. I will be perfectly content to sit on the beach and take pictures for you all to see....we'll see if he talks me into it. Tamarindo beach was a bit busy but not to terribly crowded. We then went to two grocery stores and struck out. I had seen photos of a grocery store on the internet before we came which looked quite nice, the ones that we ended up finding were a bit of a mom and pop type variety. I was not pleased and Jeremy was tired of chasing down unwilted veggies. We ended up buying cereal and microwave popcorn to get us through the night and next morning with the intent of finding the nice grocery store the next morning. The photo is a self portrait on Tamarindo beach.
until next time...Pura Vida!
Pura Vida is what the ticos say around here meaning "good life" or "full life"

Costa Rica: the condo

The condo we are staying in is quite nice with a gorgeous view. It is amazingly well stocked, it een has a docking station for our ipod...SWEET! The one thig it lacks is OTHER TENANTS! We are literally the only people in the entire complex. WEIRD and a little creepy. There may be one othe occupant but we have yet to see them...only their car. It is a red jeep if you wanted to know. We had to rent a three bedroom, two and a half bath condo. It is huge and really clean and cozy. A quiet little sanctuary if you will.
entering the front door

The kitchen...fully stocked with everthing you need, including a dishwasher and microwave!

The Master bathroom, jacuzzi tub with a view!

The Master bedroom...balcony with an even better view than downstairs.

The view from the living room balcony...great place for morning coffee and devotions!

The living room...with cable TV, real couches, WIFI, and a docking station!

until next time....Pura Vida!

Costa Rica: getting there

We made it! After 20 hours of traveling, the car rental guy saying, "um we have a problem with your reservation, there is no more cars", driving in a foreign country at 11:00 pm in the dark, thinking we were lost, a few minor arguments, (we weren't actually lost just sleep deprived and a long stretch of road without any signs) getting to the "Happy Snapper" only to find out that the woman who is going to take us to the condo is not there, WE FINALLY MADE IT!!!

All of our travels, connections, and flights went relatively smooth. No complaints. Did you know that if you are traveling on two seperate airlines, they can still check your bags all the way through to your final destination!!! VERY COOL! I almost kissed the lady behind the counter when she told me that AND accepted my bag at 52 lbs. Dumb airline rules. I really need to brush upon those rules, Jeremy was none to impressed when I set my bag into the plasitic tub, took off my shoes, set them in the tub, walked through security, alarm free I might add, and then it dawned on me! The 3 ounce luggage was a bit on the haevy side so I took out the heaviest items...logical right? Wrong, when it happens to be four bottles of suncreen and you put them in your carry on!!! I almost kissed that same lady again when I was escorted by security out of "the safe zone" (something is wrong with the world when you are not allowed to carry your own sunsceen) and asked her if she had a box that I could put these items in. She not only got me a box, taped it up, checked it all the way to Costa Rica AGAIN, and did not charge me a dime!!! How awesome is she?!? Alaska Airlnes lady...YOU ROCK! Anywhoo...we made it almost flawlessly and may I add that the Houston airport is HUGE and very confusing.

until next time Pura Vida....