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Labor Day in Costa Rica

  The past few weeks here in paradise, have been eventful! We took the family to Termales del Bosque: http://www.termalesdelbosque.com/english/ and had an amazing time at the quiet and little known, hot springs in the jungle. We took our regular vacation to San Carlos, Nicaragua, and were able to share this unique adventure with our son, who was utterly “blown away” by the experience! You can find out more about this trip by checking out my earlier post in June. We went into San Jose and had lunch at Tin Jo,(fantastic Asian fare) then made our way to the nearby import store to purchase fresh tofu, a new Mah jong set, and I bought myself a birthday present…a lighted and framed picture of a waterfall…

Costa Rica = Paradise

I awoke to thunder this morning…or was it something else? This area is not far, as the bat flies, to Volcan Poas. My friends who live higher up in the hills than I say they can hear it rumble often. I’ve learned about the significance of the full moon on our volcan friends here, and I thought perhaps I was what hearing our towering neighbor. I took our little Costa Rican “Frens Poll,” as they are often referred to in ads for puppies, and we went out and sat in the big leather rocker on the porch. Mind you, it’s 3:30 in the morning, so the lightening was illuminating the entire sky, with the clouds to magnify it. The bats were swooping all around, and…

Romeria – Cancelled!

This annual walk by the faithful from all over Costa Rica to Cartago, has been cancelled for the first time in history, due to health concerns. Perhaps as many as 2 million persons make the trek, mostly from the Central Valley. However, others come from distant places in Costa Rica and even other Latin nations. The pilgrimage is unique in that so many people walk long distances and frequently sleep outdoors. The gathering in the plaza of the basilica includes many who press forward to touch the gold case in which the representation of the Virgin is carried. The Romeria has been an annual event for the last 227 years, as faithful Catholics visit La Negrita to ask for a miracle or pay her back…

Peaceful Easy Feeling

We went to Gringo Bingo today, it was a fund raiser for the local Conversation Cafe. This is a generous group of English speakers that meet in the local municipal building, every Saturday afternoon, to sit down with ticos wanting to learn English, or improve their skills. Refreshments are provided, which is why they held the fundraiser. We had a ball, it was well organized and entertaining! Just about every gringo I’ve met, gratefully gives back, in their own way, to the people of our adopted home. From installing libraries in public schools, chatting it up at the conversation cafe, coaching soccer, or doing all they can to lend a hand. My friend visiting the states, is anxious to come “home.” We forget the level…

Last week…

  …we lost our internet service, and just got it back yesterday, after the repair truck somehow ended up sideways on our steep driveway, and had to wait hours for two tow trucks to extricate, and drag him back up the hill. But I digress, in my almost 50 years, I have never experienced downpours, lightning, and thunder like I have in Costa Rica! The rain comes down with a vengeance, the lightning is always too close for comfort, and the thunder rattles your innards like a roller coaster. Our friends warned us to unplug everything when a storm starts, including the phone line, but I figured the odds of lightning hitting our house and utilities was so remote… Then I heard stories of lightning…

“You’re gonna make it after all…”

A close friend of our older son needed some help the other day. Her flight to San Jose was delayed, which made catching a bus to La Fortuna impossible. My husband picked “Rochelle” up at the airport and brought her home with him. The kids and I were thrilled to see her in the morning, and she and I visited after they left for school. Rochelle is very bright, and is graduating early from UC Davis this December. She spent a semester here in CR last year, and has now returned for the summer to teach, in Spanish, to middle school students in Puntarenas. She came down early to visit with her former host family and tune up her Spanish skills. It was so refreshing…

Carnival In Costa Rica!

Carnival in Costa Rica clip de la pelicula Carnival in Costa Rica filmada en costa rica entre 1945 y 1946. and this… A Costa Rican girl dreams of her “typical” Costa Rican wedding to the American fellow she has fallen for. While watching her crazed performance, her groom is torn between checking her into the nearest hospital and hightailing it to the airport! Just another day in paradise…

Nice to Meat You!

While sitting outside my little neighborhood market, I witnessed an unusual site. A delivery truck pulled up and the driver came around, opened the back, and hopped in. He disappeared in the dark of the back of the truck, then appeared again donning a hooded sweatshirt, zipped up to his chin, holding an entire half of a cow on his back, by it’s foot above his head. He jumped down and marched the carcass into the store, which is also a carniceria. He came back out and grabbed another, then returned and removed his sweatshirt, hung it in the back, swept out the, meat bits(?) and gave a perfunctory wipe of his hands on his pants and drove away. We have bought our meat here…

The Idiot’s Guide to a CR-Nicaragua Journey

*Since I wrote this in 2009, there is a large new immigration office in San Carlos, and other points of interest, etc. may have also changed, or may no longer be available. I’ve been MIA from this blog for a few weeks, as my mom came for a visit. Her first weekend here coincided with our tri-monthly vacation to Nicaragua. I’ve described our first trip up to San Carlos, Nicaragua in a prior post, but I have had lots of folks asking for details, because they want to experience this fun adventure for themselves. I am going to go into detail with directions, names and landmarks, which is necessary here in the “Land of No Addresses or Known Highway Numbers.” Contact Phillippe Tisseaux, the owner…

Sapos, Snakes and Things that Gnaw in the Night

I recently heard about the danger of toads (sapos) to dogs here. We lived through a whole rainy season up on a ten acre farm, without a sapo incident, but since we moved here our new friends have shared their personal experiences with us, and it’s frightening! If a dog takes a sapo in their mouth, or just licks it, a hallucinogenic substance on their skin is dog poison. The dog will quickly go into convulsions, lose muscle control, and will die in short order without getting help. The dog needs to be given egg whites with milk to counteract the poison and save their life. I understand that there is something that you can get a the local pharmacies also, but knowing we have…