Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Tasty Place

Certainly Ojochal is remote - especially in a Canadian context - but I like to think that it is the perfect mix of cosmopolitan living off the beaten track.

A good example - A Taste of Ojochal!!

9 Chefs and an 8 course meal - believe me this will be a spectacular evening as we have eaten at almost all of the participating restaurants - too bad we will miss out!

A great example of how much this little village in the middle of nowhere has to offer.

Leader of the Pack

4 weeks today we will be back in Ojochal - so of course, the packing conversation has begun!

Given the prices and availability of seats, we ended up buying business class tickets - so we get an even BIGGER luggage allowance (4 cases at 70 pounds each - not sure that is actually a good thing).  What to pack, what to pack???

Actually clothes and toiletries for both of us will fit into one suitcase at no more than 50 pounds - so the question is, what to do with the remaining 3 cases and 230 pounds (and that is before carry-on)?

There is the bottle of rum from Cuba, the seashells from Veradero (the best thing about the beach there) and a set of bongo drums I bought from a street vendor, Various kitchen gadgets that have been accumulated in the past 4 months - did you know there is such a thing as an avocado slicer?  The walking sticks I bought for Lisle's birthday will fit in.  Some computer stuff as well (hubs and wireless bits).  Then there is art work - we have some interesting pieces that are packed away that would really do well in the house - native american from British Columbia - folk art from New Orleans - paintings fashioned after 1940's movie posters - Mexican folk art.

Every time we go, a little bit more goes with us and stays - an interesting transition!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pool Blues

Since the summer we have been working to resolve problems with the pool finish.

It seems that your typical painted pool has very little longevity in the tropics - not sure why that is - we re not the only ones with an issue, pool finishes are a common topic of discussion.  

As we were faced with the need to apply the 3rd new finish in a year, we decided paint was not the way to go.  That leaves tile!  Ok, so lets pick a colour - - well there is blue, blue and blue!  At least that what is readily available - your typical public pool turquoise, or a dark blue.  Not impressed!

So we began the search for other tiles in the colour we wanted that we could afford and that we available in Costa Rica.  With the help of Christian we found Ezarri tiles  Of course they are in Spain and ship as needed to Costa Rica - after much back and forth, we determined they had the tile we wanted in the country in sufficient quanity so they didn't need to order it specially.

Once that fell into place, the rest has been amazingly simple - payment, delivery, installation - - Christian and Robert have been fantastic.  While we have yet to see the final product the reviews from the neighbours have been very positive.

Hopefully a permanent solution to this - we'll see when we arrive Dec 23!!

Pics of the tile and the work in progress

Sunday, August 26, 2012

BTW ...

When Keith and Karen, Jan and Sonya came to see me off on Saturday, they surveyed the damage from my fall off the wall!

Conclusion - Yes, I am stupid!

But they spotted my glasses sitting in the broken ginger!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Catching Up

So I am home safe and sound.

The drive to San Jose was uneventful until I got near the hotel and found they had closed the highway from the airport to the city and all traffic was being diverted right to where I was headed!  An hour later and several detours (thank God for GPS!) I managed my way into the hotel the back way.

Checked-in, I threw myself on the bed and took a deep breath of cold air conditioned air - yuk!  I looked around and suddenly felt very closed in - I need to be outside!  so I went for a walk, and to get a beer at the hotel bar by the pool.

Soon it started to rain - lightly, then heavy, then torrential, then lightning.  I watched the bolt come down just past the hotel, in the golf course - the flash and crack were simultaneous - the ground shook - that was close!!

They have renovated the common areas of the Doubletree Cariari - much more modern - clean lines and taupe.

Good beer, good dinner,  fell asleep before I could drink the wine I had brought with me - breakfast to fill me and off to the airport.  Upgraded to Business Class, I settled into the VIP lounge with little pastries and coffee  - nice place - white pleather seats, contemporary, looking over the runway - better than the one in San Salvador - Lisle called it the Tacky Tacky Tiki Lounge!

Home is very strange - no sounds except for machines - buzzing of the lights, wooshing of the air conditioning, hum of the fans, screech of tires and the rumble of the streetcars!

Work - well that never changes - right back to where we left off!!

18 months!!!!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Evidence Is Clear

I'm stupid

Not sure that patch of ginger will survive, but it will grow in quickly enough.  I forgot how much fun it was trying to stand up amongst the pineapple plants!!

No sign of the glasses!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stop The Bickering

They are coming - and there are a bunch of them! 


I lost track at 30 - a flock of parakeets - over the hill from the south, circled over the pool and into the tree behind the house where they sqawked and yelped and flapped and were joined by more every few minutes - for about 30 minutes before they left - always in pairs and yapping at each other like bickering spouses!

It's All About Balance

And apparently I don't have any!
There is nothing I like more than the sky at sunset - the gathering clouds, the brightness and the dark - and never the same.  These are from tonight - 30 minutes ago.

I snapped the last photo from the end of the pool deck - balanced on the 4 inch wide wall that goes along the stairs to the pool room - no sooner did the shutter go, and so did my balance - wobble, wobble - oh god I am not staying here! Backwards off the wall down 5 ft into the ginger plant and rolled down the hill over the cuneta and through the Mani - all the time thinking only - please don't let there be snakes!

My toe is a bit scrapped, the camera is fine, my reading glasses are somewhere in the vegetation, and the Ginger plant is much worse for the wear (they are resilient so we will see what tomorrow and some rain does). 

Called it a day for photography, and now am sitting watching the most spectacular vermillion and grey with bits of pink in the growing darkness!


 No, these aren't my photos, but the storm last night was filled with images just like this - multiple  bolts over the ocean - bolts that came from a central point and spread horizontally across the sky - blinding white flashes followed by ear splitting cracks as something nearby was hit - 45 minutes of wonder!!

Cloudy With Chance of ...

Seems that everywhere, the conversation is about the weather!

In Toronto it is about the heat, humidity, cold, wind chill, rain - everyone is on about it, usually in a constant state of complaint.  Understandably, since navigating the asphalt and concrete, the subway and streetcar in anything but the nicest of cool breezy sunny days can be hell!

So here, the topic is the same, but the conversation is very different.

There is talk about the storm last night, marveling at the lightning show and the sound of the thunder.  There is discussion of the gathering clouds over the ocean and whether it is going to be a stormy night or a rainy day tomorrow.  There is talk about the warmth of the rain and the smell of ozone following a tropical downpour.

Those of us in Phase 9 discuss if the rain is too heavy to get back across the river - if the rain is coming from the mountain we can be in trouble - unless it is just REALLY heavy and then is doesn't matter where it is coming from.

We talk about the colour of the sky and the clouds as they gather around the mountains.

We talk about the hue of the ocean and the clarity of the horizon

We talk about the micro-climates - how it can rain in Ojochal but not in Uvita - how it rains on that side of the ridge but not this - how we can watch the storm sweep up the valley and into the valley beyond the ridge to the north, and when it is done you can see the ribbon waterfall.

So right now, it is gently raining - wouldn't know except for the ripples in the pool.  The sky above is grey and the horizon is clear - maybe a colourful sunset through the rain like the other night - check these out!!

Season of the Snake

OK, they must be playing with me know!

Yesterday I was driving out to visit Dwight and Wendy about 3:30.  Going down the hill just before the turn up to Bruce and Barbs  -  what is that branch on the road - - OH! not a branch, it is moving right across the road in front of me - 3 feet long, the size of my wrist - brown sort of diamond pattern on the back - definitely a Fer de Lance (we at least I have convinced myself of that)  only good thing - it was headed away from the house!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


So, sitting doing some work - it wasn't exactly a quiet morning since the garden crew was present.  Suddenly the one worker appears up the steps to the pump room whistling loudly for the other who is weed whacking.  The machine stops - the guy comes flying past, grabs the shovel, leaps over the hedge and down the back slope.

Knowing something is happening, I slip into shoe and go down the road where they are chopping up a snake with the shovel - Serpent malo?  I ask - si si si is the response - -pequeno pero malo.  It was curled up under the Mani the guy was trimming along the edge of the cuneta.  It was about a foot long and thin (about half the size of your baby finger)  obvious triangular head and brown markings all down the back and a pale underside - - Fer de Lance?  would appear so - they dug a hole and buried it before I could go back and get the camera - not that a chopped up snake is good viewing material!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What's With The ...

Frogs - This morning the Poison Dart Frog is sitting in the living room next to the sofa!

Birds - Yesterday I was reading and there was this metal sound - someone hitting the railing with a stick - looked around the corner and one of the yellow breasted birds was dancing on the railing!

Geckos - Did you know that they make a noise sort of like a clucking chicken!  and they poop everywhere and it looks like black caulking - I've been cleaning it up for weeks thinking is was leftover mess from construction.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I Love the Night Life - Part 2

So this night life is not so great - OMG the frogs are having orgies in the pool every night!!!!

It is great to listen to them - brraaad, quack, tink - part of the nightly jungle chorus.  But lately the sounds have been far to clear and far to close.  And in the morning - frog eggs in the pool - hundreds of them - masses of little black dots floating in clumps - you skim for what seems like hours and there is always MORE!

So in an effort to reduce the amount of sex in the pool, I hear them, grab the skimmer and chase the suckers around the pool!  Caught they get the free ride to the jungle!  Maybe they will get the point and play someplace else!

Not sure it is working though.  Last night we went to sit for dinner and as I walked past the couch on the patio I noticed something - a second take and there in the middle of the seat is a frog - looking like he has settled in for the night!  A nudge with the newspaper (the Tico Times is good for something!) and he hopped off into the darkness.  An hour later, sitting watching TV and there is movement on the patio - a giant toad sitting under the dining table - he hopped about for a while, checked out the front patio and left. About an hour after that there is this solid noise of something hitting the house - go out front and there is this enormous rhino beetle on his back by the front door - flipped him into the garden and watched him run for cover.
(photos of all but the camera was messed up).

Finally this morning - a new visitor - I believe a poison dart frog!!
A few other creatures captured over the past week or so ...
 snake (no es malo)

 baby iguana in the bushes
 your friendly neighborhood giant grasshopper
 a big green leaf eating bug

I Love the Night Life

So this past week has been a buzz of activity.

We joined Dwight and Wendy for dinner at Citrus on Wednesday.  They were having a special 'Thai Street Food' night.  Not sure if the menu was street food, but it certainly was Thai, and it was great.  Spring Rolls, Cucumber Salad or Thai Soup for starters - Pad Thai, Fried Rice, Green Curry Chicken or Yellow Curry Seafood for entree.  Two thumbs up all around  the place was packed and they were turning away anyone without a reservation.  Actually the best meal I have eaten there - we had given up hope, so maybe another chance is in the cards!

Thursday Dwight and Wendy came to our home for dinner - preceded by a 'let's try to fix the computers session' which unfortunately met with little success. Dinner was casual and the conversation continued well into the night.

Friday afternoon, the 2 Jim's invited us for cocktails at El Castillo.  This is a villa built on top of the cliff overlooking the ocean.  It has been rented out as a single space until recently when it was opened as a boutique hotel - 5 rooms - stunning view - great pool - fabulous house.  In opening the hotel, they also opened a bar and restaurant - AZUL.

Scott and Russell (from the US - Oklahoma/Texas) ran Azul at another hotel near Dominical and relocated here when they had the chance to open the hotel. Scott's brother, John and his partner, Hunter were visiting - 8 of us drinking wine and vodka soda while the rain poured down outside - I commented that this was the largest number of gay men in one place at one time we had encountered in Ojochal - the response from Russell 'there are more gay men here than were at OSA PRIDE last week!".  Needless to say we had a fabulous time renewing old friendships and starting new ones.

Never slowed, the 2 Jim's followed us to Nanny's where we joined Jan and Sonya, Dwight and Wendy and many others for cerveza - can't miss the Friday Night beer session!!

Sunday Lisle and I hit the beach - Lisle had yet to make it there as the weather has been very seasonal - afternoon rain is certain.  The two of us sat on Tortuga, sipping beer and eating nuts, chatting, watching the birds and the crabs - a dip in the ocean and then home before the rain.  

Lisle decided he didn't want to cook, so we headed to AZUL for dinner - a quick call and dinner for 2 at 6:30 was set.  Well the party was in full swing when we arrived - John and Hunter were there, with John's daughter Taylor and her friend Estrella - Lucy's son and friends were on the patio, and other guest were seated about the lobby/living room - hugs and kisses from all, and martinis arrived - followed by a second.  John and Hunter asked us to join them at their table, so there were 7 of us (the 7th was Mary a never married late 50's woman from Ireland, who now lives in the Georgian Republic - like in used to be Russia - and owns a piece of land in Hatillo - while she was not a party-er, she was interesting and fit right it).  

Dinner was yummy!  Deep-fried Calamari, seafood soup and Chicken Parmesan on fettuccine.  And the best part - 1 course $15, 2 courses $20, 3 courses $25!!  A definite addition to the favourites list!!!!

As dinner finished we moved to the living room and Scott and Russell joined the conversation - apparently we were the only ones left.  The conversation and laughter continued as we finished our wine and then said good-night (hugs and kisses of course).  2 martinis, 3 large glasses of red wine, and it was midnight!  Quite the evening.

Needless to say, Monday was a quiet day!

Sunday, July 29, 2012



I almost forgot - we went to Exotica for dinner on Wednesday.

I don't know how Lucy does it, but 10+ years in there is always a warm and friendly welcome and never a bad meal.

Fish Carpaccio, Ceviche, Cesar Salad, Steak, Duck, Fish, and the Famous Chicken Exotica!

Saved room for the Devils Fork for dessert (moist dense chocolate cake with just a hint of hot chile!!  YUM!!

Highly rated in Frommers, Fodor and Trip Advisor

Can't wait to go again!!!!!!!!

Creature Feature

So some creatures are more attractive than others - like to Toucan who was hanging out in the tree by the pool.  Not the smaller Chestnut Mandible - a real Fruit Loops Toucan Sam!

And those that are not attractive, are interesting in their own way.  An odd, sort of translucent spider

and a beetle I call Thunder Thighs for obvious reasons

While there are the usual caterpillars, cockroaches and centipedes, this time there are these little millipede bugs everywhere - one the patio, on the floor, on the carpet, on the walls, in the pool - you know the ones, you touch them and the curl up - they are everywhere!!  They are about the size of a pencil lead and maybe an inch long - blackish.  Then there is the one - perhaps she is the queen!

Found her crawling across the kitchen floor - touched her with the broom and she curled into a perfect little ball. Swept her towards the patio door.  She rolled right out the door, bounced twice and landed in the pool!  Not what I had intended but I guess it put her with her many loyal subjects at the bottom of the pool.

And then there are the dogs.  While the neighbours and friends have many (Coffee, Mia, Juanita ...) there are others round and about.  Was sitting the other day reading - lost in my book - when I had the feeling I was being watched and saw a movement in my peripheral vision - OMG a dog was sitting there on the patio - not that it was threatening - a little chihuahua - but my heart jump to my throat - what was a dog doing sitting there, no one is around!!  Realized is was Lucky (Omar's Dog staying at Bruce and Barbs).  Then there is the Devil Dog - this black and brown mutt who lives in the house by the river - not that he is nasty, but appears suddenly from the dark as you are driving in late at night (well 7pm when it is dark) - scared Claudio have to death last week.  And then last night, we are watching TV and there is a shadow movement on the patio - Pizote?  No, a white shaggy dog (looked like a poodle-cross) out by the pool. A shout and it dashed through the hedge and into the bush towards the gate house.  So now we have the White Phantom to join Devil Dog!!