Sunday, January 8, 2017

North American Consumptive Behaviour

People in big cities across North America think nothing about zipping to the store for whatever they need.  Shopping is a pastime.

Here, shopping is about the necessities - unless you go to San Jose.  We made such a pilgrimage this week.  48 hours of shopping, eating, driving, spending.

We went with specifics in mind - outdoor dining furniture, outdoor clothes dryer, water filter cartridges, sodastream, pendant lights for the kitchen, BBQ accessories, pressure sprayer, gas can, extension cords . . . . EPA, Walmart, PriceSmart, Cemaco

And there was also the mule list - the "oh, you're going to San Jose - can you get me a ..." list.  Never a bother to help the neighbours as they have helped you before and will again.

2 nights at a hotel (Studio Hotel in Santa Ana) and 2 nice meals (Lo Spago and the Studio Cafe, Bar and Grill) with the days filled with shopping.  All in all a productive but exhausting excursion.

Items of note - 

We wanted outdoor dining table and chairs for the gazebo.  A friend said to check out CR Patio.  It was near the hotel, and WAZE said to turn into this dirt drive off the highway (yes, the toll highway has all sorts of little drives and lanes on and off - we aren't talking offramps - a drive with potholes and ruts that you need to move through while trying to get your vehicle off the road where everyone else is going 100km).  Just off the road was a metal gate and guard.  We told the guard we were going to CR Patio.  He raised the gate and pointed around the side.  There was a giant transport truck parked and unloading patio furniture into a lot - no way in.  The guard motioned around the other side - the whole place was a equestrian center - or was at some point - paddocks, walking rings, jumping equipment, but no sign of horses or activity.  Another guard came out ahead and walked us through a set of gates and pointed down the stairs.  This place was obviously a clubhouse as some point, with what looked like a restaurant sitting on the second floor overlooking the action and the abandoned swimming pool down below.  Down the steps, a guy stopped unloading the truck and came over.  He took us into the "showroom" - clearly this place was not meant for public access, dusty and cluttered.  He showed us stuff - all intended for large spaces - all high end Castelle furniture for what seemed like a steal.  We didn't buy anything, but it was well worth the experience.

We wanted a SodaStream (beverage carbonation system).  Until recently they were not available in Costa Rica, but I found a place online and had connected with a representative.  With rough directions we tried to find the place without success.  A phone call the next day got us better directions, so off we went.  The company was in Pavas - one of the San Jose suburbs, near the National Stadium.  We drove around and finally found the landmark - the Pizza Hut corporate office - it was supposed to be in front of this - no obvious sign of Pura Vida Co2.  Another call - there is a drive and a chain next to the Koehler showroom - tell the guard you want Bodega 12.  Ok - a whole warehouse complex - no obvious signs for any of the businesses - we ask one of the many people coming and going - #12 is pointed out - a half-full warehouse - plywood and such - an office on one side - oh yes, this is the place - turns out SodaStream is a side business for a custom melamine cutting company (state of the art computerized cuts for homes condos and resorts).  A cup of coffee - conversation with the owner - a tour of the plant - we leave with our SodaStream.

Just 2 adventures in our retail therapy!  Not just another trip to the mall.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Yes, We Have No Bananas

That has been our problem.

20+ fruit trees on the property but no fruit.

6 banana trees, 3 mango trees, 2 water apples, a starfruit, several papaya (they are pretty small we grew them from seeds), citrus in large number (I hesitate to say what type as here anything citrus seems to be a "Limon"), cinnamon and 6 avocado trees.  All without any fruit and most have been planted for 5 years.  Lisle is "very disappointed".

Well, our fruitlessness has come to an end.  Yes, we have BANANAS!!!

No they are not yet ready to eat, and lord knows that any number of creatures may devour them before we get a taste, but they are there and they are growing.

Standby for the tasting!!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!

As we settle in for a quiet Christmas eve, Lisle and I want to wish all our family and friends a very Merry Christmas!  Hopefully you are spending this evening and tomorrow in the warmth of love and friendship.


Friday, November 25, 2016

The Weather is on OTTO-Pilot

That means RAIN.

We have been here a week and rain is the constant.  The humidity is at 95+% and we are in a cloud.

Hurricane Otto came and went.  With exception of two communities in the north part of the country, there was little damage.  The winds never materialized and the rain, while persistent, was no worse that typical rainy season.  With all the rain, the ground is soaked and a tree came down in the jungle in the middle of the night - always an unsettling noise to be awoken by.

We had hoped that with the move of the system off into the Pacific we might get a break, but no - early morning was clearer, but by mid morning back to the rain.

Oh well the sun will return soon enough - at least it isn't snow!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Back At It!

Just arrived in Ojochal -really miss this place when we are not here.

We ventured to Italy for a month to celebrate our 30th anniversary - so much fun - great food - great wine - great people - great adventures.
 Pisa
 Lucca
 Porto Venere
 Cinque Terre
 Positano
 Rome
 Rome
 Rome
Venice

Florence, Chianti, Modena, San Marino, San Giminagno as well - 4 weeks eating our way across the country.

So today was settling in - always a chore to set things up and feel like home again. - but it was a great treat and the howlers came to visit - about 3 pm - a male howling in the trees out back - about 30 minutes and then he went quiet and it started to rain - didn't  see others - maybe they will hang about for a bit - really makes you feel like you're home.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Only in Canada EH! Pity!

The past few days I have been struck by the things that are so Costa Rican - I am sure many of them exist elsewhere in the world, but they are 'unique' to our experience here.



 Lunch watching the water crash on the rocks

 Offroading in the jungle

 Sunset over the Pacific Ocean

 Beets the size of softballs

 The weekly market


 Watching a rainstorm over the Pacific Ocean

Watching a 7' Iguana climb the fence while you are sipping your wine


Having morning coffee with your pet hummingbird and pet lizard (did you know hummingbirds chirp?  this one does a lot - we call him squeaky)

 Tropical floral arrangements from your own garden

Interesting birds who just stop by - this is an Oropendula

Monday, July 18, 2016

Seinfeld

Sort of feels like this is a story about nothing - just our life as is unfolds.

10 days here have been filled with the bank, ICE for changes to the cell service, some legal stuff with the property taxes, and getting the Riteve (mechanical certification) on the RHINO.  Then there was the sorting of the media files, hooking up the AV stuff ok and such.

Then there is the catching up with friends - Jan and Sonya came by, as did Keith and Karen.  We went to Dean and Michelle's for a glass of wine, and Sebastian invited us for fish dinner (trying to keep his sanity as he is with Mila while Liz and Nolan are in Toronto).

Yesterday we went for a quad ride with Dean and Michelle - this is my first.  Yes I have driven the RHINO around the village, but this was up into the mountain to Pejibaye (a little town in the middle of the mountains).  A beautiful day (the first without rain) but the road was little more than a track, and there are many folks living up there - Ticos on farms and in little clusters of homes, and ex-pats with gated compounds.  Huge tracts of mud and ruts - steep and rocky and slippery.  It was great fun.

You drive a bit - stop and see the vista or a waterfall or interesting vegetation then drive some more.

Pejibaye is a real town - a soccer field, school, many businesses and restaurants, a supermercado etc.  We ate at the pizzeria - great pizza, thin crispy crust and fresh toppings - very yummy.

Then back - over two ridges and through valleys.  Celebrated a great day with beer at Nani's.

They often do this in large groups (16 or so)  Just the 4 of us was nice for a first time.

Good thing we did that yesterday - it was raining heavy before sunrise, and hasn't stopped all day - dropped in intensity this afternoon, but still like sitting in a cloud.  Is just clearing a bit - a hint of orange on the horizon as the sun sets.

The waterfall at Pavon - there is an egg shaped rock sitting in the middle of the crevice - the tree camp down recently in front of everything - great swimming hole!

 You can see our homes on the left side of the photo - just above the one tree that is sticking up

 great waterfall

 Lisle explaining something

Don't I look butch with my Quad!