Thursday, July 21, 2011

Costa Rica–Day 4–July 21, 2011–Lazy Day on the Beach/By the Pool

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We had a visitor come check out what was for breakfast today. 

Today was a day at home to relax and just hang out.  We had pool time and hunt for sea shells time.  Later in the afternoon it looked like storm clouds were forming but so far nothing is happening other than it is really hot and humid.  I’m not complaining just an observation.  Got tons of sun and was just this side of being burnt.  Yes I’ve been using my sunblock. 

During low tide we took a walk down the beach looking for shells.  Slipped and cut my toe a little but I think I’ll live.  That was about as exciting as it got today. It was very low key and perfect.  The rest of today’s blog will be pictures.

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He’s kind of hard to see… but we had a dinner guest tonight… a little Gecko… way cuter then the Geico Gecko…

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Pura Vida!

Costa Rica–Day 3–July 20, 2011–Picking Up Sierra

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Woke up feeling great today.  How could I not?  Laying there with the slight breeze coming through the window and the ocean sounds coming in the other window.  Hopped in the shower, straightened up the apartment and went over to the main house to see what Danielle, Mom and the boys were up to.

The ladies were sitting on the balcony drinking their coffee enjoying the morning view.  Can’t say I disagree one bit.  Blue sky, pelicans surfing the waves right along with the surfers, butterflies and black birds flitting in the trees.  It’s going to be a great day.  IMG_0888

IMG_0891Had breakfast and after cleaning up – Justin and Otto took the “crab bowl” down to the path.  IMG_0893Instead of composting, you can take left over veggies, fruit and what not down to the bushes and trees between the house and beach and dump them in the bushes – not on the path.  In no time at all, the crabs, hermit crabs, iguanas and I don’t know what else clean it out.  The wonderful fruit we bought yesterday had already reached it expiration date.  While everyone else was showering and getting ready to go pick up Sierra – Justin and I saw a BIG iguana walking across the  path to the beach.  OH! There it is again walking up the log… He’s huge!  You might see it in this picture – it’s black with a gray head and looks like part of the log.  Hope you can find him…IMG_0895We all piled into the car and it was off to pick up Sierra.  Thank God Danielle went because her way to get to Liberia and back is sooooo much better than what we did yesterday.  Not to mention a couple of hours shorter each way.  Big bonus… it was paved more of the way than it was yesterday.  Oh well, Garmin put in the good ‘ol college try.  Along the way, we came across a herd of Brahma cows and their babies.  Just walking along in the road with their shepherd on a bicycle keeping them where he wanted them to go with nothing but a little stick.IMG_0743Look at those big eyes and floppy ears… how could anyone resist thinking they are on the cute side??

Got to the airport and Sierra was on the 3rd flight that had come in at the same time – of course we didn’t know this at first and were starting to get worried that something happened in Houston and she didn’t make this flight.  Yesterday, Rick called just as we were about to walk out the door to get her.  We finally saw her and were trying to get her attention so she knew we were there.  She eventually saw us and it was smiles and hugs all around.

I must mention – because I may have neglected to on Day 1 – getting out of the airport terminal is rather chaotic.  You have porter services, rental car representatives, tour representatives and who knows who else trying to make eye contact with you and herd you off to one direction or the other – you only hope it’s the right direction.  In the middle of all of this are the Policia.  They are playing referee between you and this group of hungry animals who have to stay behind the fence until you engage conversation or other wise acknowledge one.  Once you make it past the feeding frenzy – you’ll be fine… but it can be overwhelming.  They didn’t bother Sierra I think because it was obvious she had her own group waiting.  Time to pack into the car. IMG_0748 Next stop – Liberia.  Lunch and grocery stop.  All of the restaurants seem to be lovely open air places.  No windows, birds/bats flying in and out depending on the time of day.  Typically they are all covered but today’s lunch stop did have some completely open spots around the tree.  I thought it was very beautiful – and where was my camera – in my purse.  Sorry… After lunch was the farmacia, looking for mom’s skin cream.  Successful visit.  Next door – the ice-cream store.  Yum!  Next – the grocery store – Jumbo, pronounced   Joombo.  Everything was for the most part familiar.  Instead of Kool-Aid, they have just as many varieties of Tang!  Made me laugh.  Got everything bagged and out to the car.  Problem… car has a very small “trunk” area when all of the seats are up.  I think we ended up with groceries everywhere in the car. 

Made the much quicker drive home – got the groceries put away… TIME FOR THE POOL!  Got myself dressed and to the pool and everyone had already been in and was out headed to the beach… Okey dokey.  The ocean was perfect – of course.  My dumb move of the day – I forgot to take my sunglasses off.   Yep – you guessed it… the wave took them off for me.  While they were prescription sunglasses – it’s ok.  I’m just glad I didn’t loose my regular glasses – that would have been very bad.

The afternoon’s activities moved back up to the house and the pool.  Figured out the internet and posted my first two blogs of the trip, Sierra let everyone at home know she made it… IMG_0900and we watched the sunset.  Today’s was much clearer and we could see every moment of the way.

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IMG_0918The sun is gone – time to think about dinner.  Tonight we are walking down the beach and having dinner at the Playa Negra resort.  A couple of dogs from half way down the beach decided to tag along and go with us.  The dogs here don’t seem to belong to anyone per se… they just go where ever they feel like hanging out that day.  Dinner was awesome.  Fish again with a veggie stew beans thing and rice. 

Heading back home in complete darkness – thank goodness for Justin’s iPod and Sierra’s phone that were both decent flashlights.  Look what we found… Danielle thinks they are sitting in an avocado… When we walked up to it the entire center whole was full of crabs.  By the time, I got my camera out many had vacated.IMG_0922The hermit crabs apparently come out in force at night… IMG_0924There was a huge pile of them – no telling what they were going crazy for but tide was headed out… so it could be anything.  My camera decided it was too dark and would take that picture.

Hung out by the pool to see if the bats would come out again tonight.  Poor Otto – he tried to stay up to see them but he just couldn’t keep his eyes open.  No sooner did he go to bed and the bats started up again tonight.  Oh and I asked Danielle – They do get fireflies down here and that is what we saw last night.

Shower, blog and bed… Tomorrow is a hang out at the house day.  Looking forward to just hanging out.  Might walk to town (Los Pargos) and see if I can find post cards.

XXOO!

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Pura Vida!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Costa Rica–Day 2–July 19, 2011–Getting to Rick’s house

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This picture is the view we woke up to today.  No city anywhere in sight.  Just trees, birds, and sky.  Really far off… mountains.  Beautiful! 

We took out time this morning but cleared out pretty quick and got on the road by 10:30 and figured we’d get breakfast on the road.  With a regular map that doesn’t have Playa Negra on it and Rick’s map with no road names I’m worried about how this is gonna work.  I couldn’t wrap my head around this… There truly are no road names, just places.  Road signs are apparently a new thing over here – at least since mom was here last.  They were only helpful enough to know we were heading the right way.  I don’t think we saw the same town listed twice.

Cruising down the road – we are using Garmin and he’s telling us to go straight.  Ricks map is saying turn right.  Problem… Adding to the problem is NO STREET NAMES.  Your supposed to turn right at the sign that says Junquillal 160… but don’t go over the bridge or you’ve gone to far………… Ok.  Here’s a bridge… we turn around because we’ve gone to far – but Garmin says keep going straight…  So does Justin… We turn around.

What do we find????? A guy selling fruit out of the back of his truck… Something that looks like a dark skinned cantaloupe and is dark reddish orange inside with something like a mango seed inside.  IMG_0854Avocados as big as bag of Oreos and other avocados that are like over grown crook-neck squash.  We got some of the fruit and an avocado… got more fruit and the oddly shaped avocado free.  You thought I was going to say we found the road huh?  Nope, we kept going and oh there’s the airport again.  There’s Liberia – ok on Rick’s map we are most definitely the wrong direction.  Turning around again… let’s follow Garmin’s directions and see where that takes us.IMG_0716 

Garmin took us on some windy paved roads.  Past a monkey rehabilitation facility that we now need to find again… and by local villages – they are not big enough to be towns.  Neat little blink if you miss them places. 

Stopped for breakfast/lunch I don’t know where but it was called Soda de la Palma – I think… We were the only not local people there.  I think everyone was on their lunch break because it was very busy.  Good food.  Guess there are little places like this all over the place and they are called “Sodas”.  Paved road all gone… Pot holes as big as a car here we go.  Ok patches of pot holes as big as your car…

We reached a big Century 21 building. Biggest building I’ve seen since we left the hotel so it sort of stuck out.  Went a little bit and realized we missed the road and turned around.  Oh there it is, back on the right road.  Turn left instead of right and there is gate.  We made it!! 

Glad to see Danielle and the boys.  The house is more amazing in person.  Pictures just don’t cut it but I’m going to keep including them anyway.  This picture is the front of Rick’s from the ocean side – high tide is coming in. IMG_0874

Danielle showed us around the house and where we are staying so we got our things put away. 

Walked out on the deck and oh my god!  GORGEOUS!  I just don’t know how else to put it.  It is absolutely amazing.  Nothing between us and the horizon except a handful of surfers.  IMG_0861

Didn’t take long for Justin to hit the pool.  I am not far behind…IMG_0870

OOPS!  I’m in the ocean with my camera – silly me.  Headed back to shore and gave it to mom.

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Next up – Sunset and dinner…

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Random people in the bottom of this one…

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While watching the sunset – the bats came out.  This one swooped in for a little visit.  Tiny little buggers!  IMG_0882

And now it’s off to dinner at MacDonald’s.  No not what your thinking… the local Tico who owns the place is named MacDonald. Smile

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Plantain banana fried – flattened – and fried again with guacamole, pico de gallo, and lime juice.  OH MY GOD this was incredible.  Fresh Mahi Mahi grilled for dinner with fresh veggies and mashed potatoes.  Couldn’t read a thing on the menu but just picking something random worked out this time for me.  Had a 10 minute thunder and lightening storm and poof it was done.  Time to go home.

Danielle gave me a test – could I find our way home by myself.  Yes indeedy! 

At the front door we had a frog and a crab waiting to greet us.  Grabbed my dress from the pool area and took it upstairs to dry.  Don’t want a crab to drag it off somewhere.  No clue if that would even happen but I thought I should just pick up after myself anyway. 

Sat by the pool and watched the bats swoop down and pick the bugs out of the pool while Justin was swimming.  These bats were much bigger than the bats we saw earlier in the evening.  They never came near us – scratch that... they never hit us… but got uncomfortably close for Justin’s taste.   Mom and I wound up sort of pushing the bugs from the edge of the pool out to the middle for the bats to pick up.  It’s one way to keep your pool clean.  I can think of many of you that would be freaking out by this… but really… they were completely aware we were there and made every effort to steer clear of us. 

I don’t think they have them this far south but there was something in the trees that made mom and I think about the “fireflies” on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.  No clue what they were but there was definite flickering in the trees down by the water.

Even as I type I can hear the waves, crickets, frogs, and an occasional something that I have no clue what it is.  I see lightening off in the distance over the ocean.  I am so happy… I love it here.  I can totally understand why Rick built here and comes back for his max time every year.  I know I would if I could. 

Tomorrow – Pick up Sierra at the airport.  Something happened and she didn’t make her connection in Houston.  Luckily she has an uncle there to stay with and we pick her up tomorrow.  Then more ocean and pool time!!!

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Pura Vida!

Costa Rica Day 1–July 18, 2011–Getting There

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Though it might be surprising to some, it wasn’t to me.  We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare…  so much so that we even got airport breakfast.  Justin just announced – he was surprised we made it on-time.  Airport food is not as bad as when I was Justin’s age traveling.  Justin got Clam Chowder (we were in San Francisco) and anyone who knows Justin knows he can’t pass up chowder.  6AM and he’s getting Clam Chowder!  Mom and I had bagel sandwiches and it worked out perfectly.  We lollygagged through the rest of the way to our gate (a whole 50 yards) and hardly had to wait to get on the plane.  The flight itself rather uneventful, however, may I recommend that you not sit at the back of the plane by the restrooms on a morning flight.  I don’t think anyone missed getting in their morning coffee.  That’s enough of that. 

Made it to Houston with time to kill… and well Houston is like a whole other planet even in the terminal.  Got on a smaller plane with fewer people and were able to spread out.  Mom and Justin both got a window seat and were happy campers.  I always find it funny when people think Justin is so much older than he is.  Justin got into a conversation with the steward and he thought Justin was the same age as himself.  The flight crew on the Houston flight were pretty awesome and fun.   The clouds we saw were shaped like I’ve never seen.  They were in columns kind of like the mineral formations in a cave.  IMG_0705

We landed and as soon as we got to the plane door we were hit with extreme humidity and heat.  The humidity caught me off guard because the stories I’d always heard is how dry it is here.  But it’s the rainy season and that doesn’t mean it’s colder… just wetter.  The whole airport is open air… no windows on the buildings… no doors that I could see.  Immigration was a breeze.  Customs didn’t like mom’s beef jerky (unopened from Costco).  One fellow was signaling to let us go while the other proceeded to ransack mom’s bag and keep only the beef jerky.  When you leave the airport you are greeted by a 20 porters and then people from the various hotels and rental car companies.  The porters are in a rush to get your bags on their cart and take your belongings to where ever it is you need to go.  In our case, not far as our rental car fellow was right there as well.  Then rental car fellow was a gem… and I’m sorry to say I do not recall his name.  Even advised us to watch out for the pretty little white moths there were flitting all over the place.  Apparently the dust from these moths makes you itchy until you wash with soap and water… mental note – steer clear of the little white moths.

Made it to our hotel for the evening… Mom didn’t want to try and figure out how to get to Rick’s house in the dark so we were staying at the Hilton Garden Inn in Liberia.  Nice place should you ever be in the area.  We even had a good dinner at the hotel… then off to bed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville

Well -- super proud mom here!!  My son, Justin, is the stage manager for this play at his high school.  While most of the plays I've seen in my life have been dinner theater (thanks Dad) - I have also been to some here in Ashland at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  I think this is perhaps the most well done production I've ever seen... and that's not just mom talk.

With over 40 actors and over 1000 costume pieces... 1 main stage holding the orchestra and 3 floating mini-stages... it is one heck of a production to put together and orchestrate -- let alone one for a high school theater group to do.  Even with a more "PG" rated script than the one we are all used to for Chicago - it doesn't loose anything in the editing.

I've seen this play twice and still can't stop talking about it... It is absolutely amazing!  This is the final weekend so if your local and haven't done so already... go see this!  It is well worth the 2.5 hours of your time...