Monday, December 30, 2013


Yesterday morning there was this noise at 6am - sounded like a screen door slamming shut - thud - loud enough to wake us.  No sign of anything amiss.

About an hour later Lisle noticed a smudge on the tower window - looks like a bird flew into it - - ah yes the noise!  But no bird - - look behind you - in the orchids - - AAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWW - poor thing, dead as a door nail and the ants already cleaning up - latex gloves and a quick toss to the jungle.

Interestingly - no sign of the bird body this morning - something had a meal.


That's what my loving spouse calls me - you just lay about reading or blogging -  - when I could be shopping ? ? ?  You haven't left the house in days!

Well the last couple of days have been very busy!

Saturday we went with Doug and Samira to see their home under construction in Chontales.  This is an enormous Ventana development site further south (20km) in the mountains by Cortes.  4 different areas with a total of about 3,000 lots.  Much further inland than we are, but greater elevation.  Lots and lots of homes under construction or lots being prepared.

Doug and Samira have a wonderful lot, great view and are building a spectacular home!

Two lots away, our friends Bill and Deb are building as well

Both homes will be done around April

After checking out the construction progress we had lunch at Boca Coronado

Sunday we connected with John Dinsmore - manager at El Castillo - he hadn't been to the house (didn't know Fase 9 existed).  He came for a visit and then took us to Cliff's for BBQ - our question "is Cliff's a person or a place?"  apparently both - Villas Leonor at the Ballena Beach Club is a restaurant and beach club run by a guy named Cliff - - great place - great food (ribs were amazing!!) - BBQ on Sunday is very popular - and the beach is great and easily accessible to the bar!

 Today is a day of rest - Lisle has gone shopping with Dean and Michelle for New Years Eve rations!!  "Don't you want to come?"  No thanks honey - have fun!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Once Again - 2013

Christmas morning - bright and sunny - no patter of little feet running to the tree to see what Santa left behind - in fact, no tree - just some pleasant seasonal decorations.  The sound of Christmas music wafting on the air (do GLEE versions count?)

Of course Santa had found us in the jungle - I am sure the reindeer appreciate the warm night weather.

Immediately Mrs. Claus jumped into action making coffee and baking (banana bread - YUM!)

Caffeinated and sustained, we readied for the busy day ahead

At the Beach -everyone is always ready to party - 11am until dark - the umbrellas up, the beer in the cooler and the BBQ started.

A really hot day with a nice breeze - barely a cloud in the sky - home by 2

A dip in the pool and "Nap Time"

Off to dinner at Bruce and Barbs - Les and Jane, Steve and Lynn, Lisle and I and the hosts - a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings - pumpkin pie and homemade candy cane chocolate chip ice cream - champagne, wine and good cheer - - a fabulous evening.

Home at last - a nightcap?  No - Lisle is already headed up to bed - he is diving at 7 am!!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to our fabulous Christmas
Merry Christmas to all - hope your holiday was as great as ours


Well, out of sympathy for kin in Toronto, or karma for our escape of the carnage from the ice - or maybe Santa tried to land on the jungle treetops - anyhow, last night we were sitting after dinner listening to the fireworks in the village - suddenly - - CRACK CRACK CRACK RUMBLE CRASH - - then silence.

I sat waiting for the impact - sounded more like a derailed train that was going to hit the house - nothing.

Of course it is pitch-dark - nothing to see.

This morning - no apparent rubble - some branches seem to be displaced but nothing that warrants the noise.

If a tree falls in the jungle - YES - is makes an ungodly noise.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Glamour Girl

Lisle decided he needed a haircut - after canvassing our friends he decided on this place in Uvita.

Gloria's Spa and Salon

All ready for his glamour treatment - razor cut No.1 on the sides and No.2 on top - squared off on the back.

 And afterwards - a shampoo and head massage!

Deep tissue massage is $40 for an hour

Mani-Pedi anyone?!


For those of you in Toronto, I know this is a bad word, and no this is not another 'ha-ha I'm warm and your not' entry.

ICE (eee-say) is the Instituto Costaricense Electricidad - the national utility company - electricity, internet, telephone - like the old Bell - and no stay here would be complete without a saga about dealing with the unique bureaucracy.

First off the internet service has SUCKED since we arrived - barely 0.5 download (for the non techies - remember when you had a phone modem and it took forever).  Email was timing out and downloading anything close to a Mb took 30 minutes - don't even think about streaming.

Lisle decided we needed a better solution from ICE - so off he went to Uvita to see Ruper (the guy who actually speaks some english).  This was Wednesday.  After a 2 hour wait - New plan for his iPhone4 - postpaid - up to 3Mb (of course that is based on service, topography etc. etc. - so we are likely to still get .5Mb but for more money every month) but to get this a personeria is required (a document certifying the corporation).  You get that at the bank next door - wait - wait - wait --- closing time - come back tomorrow.

Thursday 8 am - speak to Ruper - all ready to go - just need the Personeria - bank doesn't open until 9.  Get the Personeria - back to Ruper - get the new chip with a new phone number - but needs to be activated on the new system in San Jose - that will take 15 hours - he will call when it is active.

Friday - no call - wait - wait - drive to Uvita - Ruper says not active yet - he will call when it is.   Add prepaid minutes to the existing chip to keep it going.

Sunday - OMG - i could walk an email to Canada faster than trying to send it - Sunday is the worst - all the Ticos are off work and on the internet!

Monday - text message from Ruper - it is being processed - switch the chip just in case - no service - back to the prepaid chip.  Not done, just in process

Tuesday - the drive to Uvita - don't need a Personeria so 8 am should be good and there wont be anyone else in line.  Arrive shortly after 8 - no one else there - Lisle explains what is up - yes, I am working on it - the paper is right there in front of him - it will be done shortly - - that's ok, we'll wait - he taps away at the computer for about 15 minutes - will be all set in 15 minutes - turn off your phone and then back on and the chip will be set - already there are 5 other people waiting - - - very clear that if we hadn't gone in and hadn't waited, the paperwork would still be the next thing to do - - after all the other people.
All fixed in only a week!  Now we'll see if it makes any difference in the internet matter!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Segunda Dia Sin Lluevia

Second day without rain!

Beautiful and hot

This morning started with howlers in the distance at 6 am - it was already 24

This afternoon - 36 with the parrots squawking

Now - 27 with the sky orange and pink and clouds on the horizon - toucan calling

Lisle wasn't feeling great today - too much sun yesterday I think - slept most of the morning - then errands and such - - he went to arranging a diving session for December 26 - a late Christmas gift!

I think it is time for a glass of wine!

Change of Season

There are seasons everywhere - outside the tropics there is spring, summer, autumn and winter - in Toronto there is construction and everything else.

In Costa Rica there is the rainy season (Green Season as the Tourist Board calls it) and the dry season (Summer).  We are just entering the dry season that will last mid-December to the end of April.

With the change is a bunch of other changes - most noticeable are the plants.

The giant trees in the jungle behind the house are dropping leaves.  New growth is visible on others.  The Bougainvillea are in full bloom - vibrant red, pink and purple.

The purple hedge at the front of the property is full of tiny white blossoms - it almost looks like snow

The bamboo orchids are in full bloom

Most spectacular is a native tree called Gallinazo.  It has sparse foliage and stands tall in the jungle.  In the open areas, it is a favourite resting spot for the toucans and parrots.  The leaves are sort of like the honey locust we have in Toronto (sort of fern-like).  The whole tree looks very airy.

Well, right now it is in bloom - brilliant yellow flowers - tiny but in groups with whispy tendrils.  They are just amazing - and suddenly the mountainside is dotted with flashes of yellow.

I love it when nature shows off!


OK - so every once is a while, things happen to remind you that you are in the jungle.  Monkeys and birds are pleasant reminders - this one not so much.

Last evening the Lisle noticed the lamp on the front desk was off - the timer was out of sync or something.  So, he unplugged it and discovered.

 Fortunately it was dead - seems to have stuck its head in the grounding socket

 While I would love to be corrected, I am pretty certain it is a coral snake - no idea how it got in, but appeared to be coming out from behind the extension plugs - no idea how long it had been there, but was pretty dried out.

Yes I was wearing work gloves to do this even though it was pretty obviously dead - - No I am not brave!

Lazy Days

Toronto is freezing in the dark - literally!  Devastating ice storm, 250,000 homes without power - all the weekend before Christmas - sounds really Grinchy to me.

So I hate to rub it in but ...

Yesterday (Sunday) was the most glorious day since we arrived.  You could tell the air was different first thing in the morning - the sky was clearer - it was warmer - there was a breeze from the ocean. The first full day of WINTER!! What better thing to do to celebrate the start of winter than a day at the beach.

10 am arrival and there were already 20 friends and neighbours there and more arrived later.  Quite the gathering of bright umbrellas and coolers, colourful clothing  boisterous conversation, beer and nachos

Just another day at the beach
Lisle squinting in the sunlight

 Off for a swim

Karen and the dogs going boogie boarding

 Sorry - one last dig!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Welcome to the Neighborhood!

So, we bought a nice little piece of land in a remote part of Costa Rica!  Peace and Quiet - Nature and Seclusion.

Well, since then, Ojochal has been booming - written up nationally and internationally as the hot destination within Costa Rica - great for foodies - fabulous beaches - even surfing!!

And our little corner of all this - a bit of the mountainside - a dead end road with 6 small lots will soon have 4 homes - and another 3 within shouting distance - - all out of 104 lots in the area.

The newest ones - the ones who were chainsawing at 6:30 Monday morning - 2 tween daughters - seem like nice folks.

Not complaining but our little slice of paradise is just a little less remote.

The house at the end of the road - will be done in April

The other house will level the site for building at the top of the hill in January and likely be done by next Christmas - the family is already living down here - renting in the village 

It Stopped

Raining - that is!

It has been almost continuous since yesterday morning - - doesn't look like it has stopped everywhere, or that it will last!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Well - I just realized it has been a long time since I posted something - actually since we were last in Ojochal - so here we are again in paradise!!

December 15 was a very long travel day - up at 3 am - limo at 3:30 - check in for the flight to Miami - delay due to idiots who don't know to get up early enough to get to the airport to go through customs - delay due to de-icing - - 40 minutes late into Miami leaving 20 minutes to make our connection - run through the terminal - 5 minutes to spare - everyone is standing around listening to the delay announcement - an hour later on our way - land and through customs and baggage easily - newbie at the car rental took way too long - - finally on our way at 3 - stop for coffee, stop for groceries - stop for dinner - in the driveway at 8.  Anxious for a good night sleep.

Costa Rican mornings are filled with the sounds of nature - birds, monkeys - at 6:30 we were awakened by the local motosierra - a chainsaw - with our neighbours clearing their lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing some coffee can't mend.

Spent the day unpacking - getting supplies - setting things up the way we like.

By the end of the day, ready for a swim at sunset and a glass of wine - CHEERS!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What a Spectacular Day

The sun is bright and hot (34C by the outdoor thermometer).  While there are some clouds over the mountain top, they are mostly bright, and the rest of the sky is blue streaked with white wisps.  The ocean is glistening in the sunlight and is still.  There is a breeze from the ocean that cools the intensity of the sun.  I have retreated from the patio sofa as the late afternoon sun has reached it and both the heat and the brightness make a continuation of my reading impossible.  A complete change from the mist, clouds and torrential rains for the past 3 days - a day that - except for the mountain clouds - is more like February than August.  The only such day since our arrival 5 weeks ago.

We are dog-sitting for David and Helene, and Deezle has found a cool, shady, breezy place on the patio tiles to sleep.

 This morning we visited our friend Judy.  She has lived here almost 12 years, having bought property across the valley with her partner (now back in the states due to illness).  She has a wonderful if modest house (much more like a Tico home than ours) on 6 acres of hillside with a stunning view of the ocean and the entire village of Ojochal.  She knows how to live with the locals and get things done - a treat to visit with.  We sipped ice tea and gossiped.

Great view of our house from her front patio!

Reading the new J.K. Rowling's mystery - interesting

An hour in the pool chatting as the sun loses its intensity readying to set.

A cocktail listening to the howlers in the distance



Dinner of chicken breast and potatoes with a good glass of wine.

TV, wine, the sound of the frogs and crickets

A great day.