St. Patrick’s Day 2013
Taking some friend’s advice and going to cut back on the blogging so here’s what I got…
We arrived yesterday after a fairly long drive from SJO Airport. Settled into the house, unpacked and took a swim in the pool.
Life is easy when you have Oscar putting out your chairs and your umbrella. I see lots of Charlie and Oscar and Surf School in our future. Oh yes!
Day one in CR — going to be a great 5 weeks!
Tuesday, March 19
Happy birthday Rick!
What a great day. We homeschooled in the morning and then went to the park after lunch. Walked through Manuel Antonio Park and found a great beach.
Funny story. Walking into the park earlier, one of the men outside told us that there was no fresh water inside the park and it was a long walk on a hot day so we walked on (I, a little parched already) …long story, long….
Charlie felt quite proud of himself when we walked past one of the fountains and I asked a guard if the water was “drinkable” from the fountains and he said “yes,” so we all filled up our water bottles. We thought, “Ha, what does that guy know? He just wanted us to buy his bottled water.” Well, after a long, hot walk up and around Cathedral Pass, we went back to the fountains for a REFILL and, are you kidding me? A Capuchin and his friend playing in the fountain. Cute? Yes, until one decided to stick his finger up the fountain and then proceed to lick it. They were seriously not kidding when they said that there was no clean water in the park. We are on the lookout now for “monkey fever”. Kidding. Honestly, it is really gross when you think about it.
Elsa and her Capuchin!
She was so thrilled to see one up close that she eventually chased this poor one onto the beach where he then ended up getting a rock thrown at him after he rifled through some tourist’s backpack. 🙂
We found it!
Charlie cracked it open
On our way home from the beach, we decided to stop at Babylos – a place the House Manager told us had good pizza and nice pools. When we arrived, we were surprised by all the Capuchins swinging in the trees, grabbing fruit and “hooting”. It was more wildlife than we saw in the park. It was a great place – one that we are excited to take all of our guests back to in the next few weeks. We met a really nice family from Minneapolis and had dinner with them and their two girls.
Henry and Elsa were not shy asking if they would join us for dinner, share their meal and then whether we could all get together tomorrow and then again, the next day… I am certain they think we are some kind of really weird family .
End of story, kids table and adult table. Quite unexpected but terrific!!
@ Babylos Resort
Wednesday, March 21
Heading to the beach in Manuel Antonio this afternoon. Learning the ropes as far as the currency, where to shop, what to buy, etc.
Spanish tutoring is great. We hired a man named Jorge. He comes three times a week and works with the kids for an hour and us for an hour. It’s great that the kids actually look forward to his visits as opposed to fussing about them.
Jorge y los ninos en la terraza
Busy day at the beach for the lifeguards. Seems there was a serious riptide so the guards were running back and forth, saving gringos left and right. Lesson learned…brown swirling water – do not go near. 🙂
Jose’s Snowcone stand
Here’s a girl who knows exactly what she wants.
Here’s another girl who knows exactly what she wants! 🙂
Selling coconuts on the beach. This is not the easiest way to make a living – hauling a wheelbarrow back and forth down the beach all day hoping someone will buy a coconut for 1,000 colones.
Friday, March 22
Gracias a dios es viernes!
Met with Jorge and pretty much hung out at home all day. Henry and I had our first UNO tournament. Had a great day. Decided to try a local place for dinner — Salsipuedes. The atmosphere was terrific – dogs, cat and toucans – overlooking the Pacific at sunset.
It seems there is an entire group of toucans that eat the fruit in the trees outside the restaurant. Unfortunately, I had my little camera so the photo is not great but better than nothing. Elsa was pretty excited by seeing Toucan Sam!
Two dogs running around also added to CR ambience. I guess the local health department overlooks such things. 🙂 The kids and I thought it was a terrific place.
Sabrina, Kevin, Charlotte and Frannie arrive today. We are looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and having a super time.
Saturday, March 23
Kevin, Bean, Frannie and Charlotte arrived about 6pm after a fairly long day of travel.
Started Saturday with a trip to the local farmer’s market in Quepos. It was amazing – unbelievable colors, smells and so many fruits we have never seen. Got some fresh tuna, scallions, tomatoes, avocados and made a great tuna tartare. Bruni also showed me how she makes her typical CR and Nicaraguan black beans and rice. Elsa and I also made a tres leche cake — turned out great. She has decided that this is what she wants her birthday in CR.
Sunday, March 24
The cousins arrived! Our first full day in CR.
Went to breakfast at Salsipuedes. Came back made lunch, packed a cooler and off we went to the beach. What a great day!
Charlotte on the boogie!
The waves were unbelievable! There were at least some 8 foot swells. Get up, get knocked down again. It’s tiring.
Next time, we are surfboarding for sure.
lunes de marzo de 25
Our day started early. Kevin said he woken by the local rooster. 🙂 That’s quite an alarm clock.
We have school this am, Jorge class and then we are off to the sunset cruise!
We were picked up by the van about 1:30 and boarded the boat a little after 2.
We sailed out by the park and snorkeled around a buit. We saw tons of clown fish though the water was a little murky. Swam back to the boat, rode the water “tsunmai” and jumped of the top of the boat.
After everyone enjoyed their water sports, we chased after a large pod of spotted dolphins (indigenous to CR) that were playing and jumping way out of the water. We also saw the brown boobies — not from anyone on the boat but a fairly large sea bird.
Brown Booby: Large, gull-like seabird, mostly dark brown with white underwing coverts, belly, and vent. Blue-gray bill. Yellow legs and feet. Plunge dives from 30-50 feet. Feeds on parrot fish, flatfish, mullets, halfbeaks and other fish. Alternates strong rapid wing beats with glides.
Right before sunset, they served a great buffet of grilled fish kabobs, pasta salad and fruit. It was great.
Today, Kevin and Charlie are going diving and Beanie and I are taking the kids into Quepos to the market and out to lunch.
Tuesday, March 26
Great day relaxing at home. Charlie and Kevin took a two tank dive and Bean and I stayed with the kids. Then, Bean and I had a chance to relax at the Raindrop Spa. We had a “couples” massage and a mini facial. It was awesome.
Wednesday, March 27
While light snow was falling in Atlanta, Bean, Kevin, the girls and I were venturing into Quepos to the market.
After the market, we caught a Turismo bus to the Best Western for lunch before the Mangrove Safari. It was a little odd and seemed out of place to be having lunch at the Best Western in downtown Quepos. Not the best meal we’ve had but at least there was a great view.
After lunch, we headed to the pick-up point for the tour. Boarded our boat, saw tons of birds, a rainbow Viper and then went down a small river into the mangroves and came upon a family of playful Capuchins.
Took the kids to a neat place for dinner called Barba Roja — the food was excellent but man was it ever hot! It was pretty crowded and all the tables are outside but we got seated in an area with no ceiling fans. Terrific food and live music too so not much to complain about.
Heading into Manuel Antonio today. More details later. Thanks for reading.
Thursday, March 28
Homeschool light and then off to the park.
It was a super busy day at the park because of Semana Santa (Holy week) and lots of tourists and locals.
We hiked and saw a sloth hanging in the tree. Below is not a sloth but rather a Capuchin which are te equivalent of our squirrels. Pretty much everywhere.
We found a great place to snorkel and let the kids swim for a bit before we hiked Cathedral Trail again. Fran and Charlotte did great with it.
The kids were thoroughly wiped out after the hike in the woods and all the swimming.
Went back to the house and the kids swam again. I think Hen and Elsa may sprout gills by mid-April.
This day ended on a very high note – figuratively and literally. To get to the restaurant, a golf cart takes up a very steep, windy road to the top of the resort where the restaurant is located. The view from the top is so worth it!
We had our house maid, Bruni babysit the kids for the night and we went to this great restaurant called Luna. It is located inside the Gaia Resort – the top rated one in the area. It looked amazing!
My meal was unbelievable, the drinks were great, the sunset beautiful and the company, the best part.
I am definitely recommending this place for our other guests. 5 star!
Friday, March 29
Beanie and Kevin’s last day with us. The boys left at 7 am to go offshore fishing. They caught 5 Snook , 1 Catfish, 2 Amberjack (tossed them back because they’re not good for eating). They gave one fish to the boat captain, one to the first mate and one to Bruni and we still have several kilos left over.
Bean and I stayed home with kids had a visit from Jorge. Mi cabeza duele, aka my head hurts.
Afterwards, we packed up and took the kids to Arenas del Mar. A great private resort with pool, restaurant etc.
What an excellent place to hang out for the day. We “beached” it and then swam for a while in their pool. Right on schedule, about 5:00, the Capuchins descend on the pool area.
Headed home and made some Snook two different ways — one on the grill with butter and garlic and one pan sautéed with coconut and plantain crust.
Bean, Kev and the girls headed out about 7 am today. We had such a great time with them and really appreciate them making the effort to come our way. We made a ton of great memories.
Tomorrow is Easter so the kids are anxious to see what the “Spanish Easter Bunny” will deliver.
Easter Sunday (March 31), 2013
What a different Easter! We started our day with a slimmed down version of Easter basket and egg hunt.
After the grand egg hunt, we headed to the Rainmaker Conservation Project. We heard about this place from a guy Charlie and Kevin met who helped them out with booking their fishing charter the other day.
This tour begins with a river walk along the Rio Seco’s edge. Hand rails and easy to follow footpaths along with observation platforms allow you to observe waterfalls and capture, with photographs, the rich biodiversity this unique site has to offer.
Before we began our tour, the owner’s son Nick told us about two snake sightings on the trail that morning that were marked with orange caution flags. He cautioned us to stay four feet back from the Eyelash Pit Viper. Four feet? How about forty? The one we saw first was a baby and then we did not find the other one so it wasn’t too scary.
The Eyelash Palm Pit Viper is arguably one of the most beautiful snakes in the world. This venomous snake derives its name from the modified scales that protrude above each of its eyes like huge eyelashes. Names for this snake include: Eyelash Viper, Eyelash Pit Viper, Eyelash Mountain Viper, Schlegel’s Viper, Schlegel’s Palm Viper, Schlegel’s Pit Viper, Eyelash Palm Pit Viper, and Horned Palm Viper. They are a slender arboreal snake normally found in shrubs or low-lying branches along waterways. A smaller species of snake, adult females are between 24 and 36 inches long with males being smaller and between 18 and 24 inches long. Because they are one of the smaller arboreal snakes, they make great displays in exhibits and wonderful additions to any vivarium. The Eyelash Viper ranges from as far south as Peru through Western Venezuela, Columbia, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, and as far North as Southern Mexico.
We traveled across several suspension bridges that were at least a hundred feet up in the canopy. It was really neat to have this different perspective.
Dany, Goose and Lizzie arrive this am and then we all head out to the Arenal area tomorrow for two days.
Thanks for reading.