Thursday, January 3, 2013


There are those days when you just wonder about the world around you - maybe it really is the end of days!

Yesterday about 2:00 Lisle turned on the TV - he wanted to look at the inventory of stuff on the media player - nothing happened - - "Dan, how do you turn this on!!"  Apparently you don't - what was working just fine less than 24 hours earlier now doesn't turn on - not manually, not with the remote - the little red light just sits there saying "I have power and you can't use me".  So, James has scanned and emailed the purchase receipt from Toronto and Sheila is following up on warranty.

At about 6:30 - just dark enough so you can't see anything - CRACK - CRACK - CRASH.  Lisle, who was at the desk, asked if something on the stove boiled over - I said NO - a tree came down outside!  Went to the spare room and got the giant flashlight - the one with the 6" lens that plugs in - it doesn't seem to turn on either!  So out back with the little EverReady light - sure enough, branches on the ground by the pool house but no apparent damage.

Finish dinner, curl up on the couch to watch TV on the laptop - some of us will let nothing get in the way - CRACK - CRACK - CRASH - and the lights go out - everywhere!  Lisle and I look at each other - of course we can see each other because the TV is still playing on the laptop with its battery - ANOTHER TREE?!  The lights come back on and with the little flashlight I venture back to the yard and sure enough more tree debris.  Photos from the morning after - - 

We manage to make it through the night without further drama.

This morning I come down, and go to open the patio door. UMM - frogs aren't supposed to be stuck squeezing between the screen and glass door - especially not 8' off the ground!

Maybe 2013 is going to be a year of absurd things! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Beach

Whenever it is a holiday, the Costa Ricans take to the beach - the national parks are flooded with families - pickup trucks with furniture and giant BBQ in the back - sometimes for a day, sometimes for a weekend - the beach is the place to be.

In July, there was a holiday, and we went to the local beach, a secluded place where we are usually the only ones around.  Oddly there were several cars parked,  There were 30 people there with chairs and bbq, music - all set for a full day and night of celebration.

So, we Gringos take our lead from the Ticos - holiday celebrations on the beach!

Christmas day saw about 25 of us - not just the regulars, but those only visiting - knew that Playa Tortuga was the place to be.  Arrived at 10:30 am and set up the umbrella and chairs - play in the surf, walk in the sand - beer, peanuts, shrimp and blue cheese dip, chicarrones all appear from coolers - thunder and lightning dot the distance and grow closer - - 2:00 pm better call it a day as the clouds are closer (clearly raining over the mountains - right where we are headed to) and dinner is about 2 hours away (Bruce and Barb are playing host to 6 of us).  Pack up and drive up the narrow path - maybe 100 m along, the sky opens and a full tropical storm presents itself - the wipers barely keep the windshield clear as we crawl home.  An hour later the sky is clear and a beautiful evening is offered as a backdrop to a wonderful Turkey dinner with all the fixings.

New Year's Eve is a relatively quiet gathering at our place - only 10, pot luck - lots of great food and great friends - bubbly at midnight.  Some before photos - as no one was paying enough attention to take pix while we were partying.

Plans are for New Year's Day offers the same community beach party.  While last night was late for Ojochal standards (we are usually in bed by 9:30) we are still up at 8:00 relatively bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (well at least not suffering too badly).  By 10 the house is back in order and leftovers consumed for breakfast.  The first call comes - think we are skipping the beach - then the next ....  Actually I am relieved as I think all had enough partying and a day by the pool is quite acceptable.

So the day have been some sun, some cloud, an hour in the pool, some internet, some reading, and now a heavy downpour just as the sun has set.  Time for more leftovers!!


Guess another year is coming to an end.  Sun is shining, Mountains are shrouded in cloud.  Drops in the pool say its actually raining.  Maybe a rainbow to wrap up 2012!

Ojochal is largely unchanged.  The butcher has a new sign - Fabrizio's pizza is busier than ever.  Phase 9 had 1 house completed this year - 2 planned for next year - still only 3 occupied full time.  But the place seems busy - lots of renters and part-timers here for the holidays.  For the first time, you actually see and hear people regularly (good and bad, the seclusion is attractive).

The house is the same - ever welcoming - home as soon as we arrive.  Paint has faded from the sun - a broken wine glass in the cupboard (no glass bits just a fragment missing from the bowl).  Mold on the back stairs and in the window tracks - nothing a little oxyclean didn't fix.

The vegetation is astounding.  The bamboo orchids are full and lush - they make a great screen from the neighbours.  The torch ginger is over 8 ft tall.  The palm trees at the driveway are at least 2 ft taller than in August.  The tropical plants on the back hill in various stages of flower - the new pink one is very pretty.

The pool is spectacular with the new tile - need to tell everyone to do this from the beginning and save the time, trouble, and money fussing with paint.

Christian has been busy refreshing things, and the new paint on the patio walls and shower is wonderful - hopefully this will work and not bubble, peel or come off with the concrete.

No monkeys, but the songbirds create a symphony each morning and the parrots and falcons a cacophony at dusk.  Few frogs at night - just something rustling in the jungle!

And of course there are the bugs.  Always something strange and creepy, and then the giant moths (the size of a bread plate) that sneak in at dusk if you don't close the screen door soon enough.

So life continues - latin jazz on the iPod, a blue sky, Lisle cooking for tonight's party - check the link if you need any confirmation that this is the best place to be - or this one - Toronto winter!

To friends, family, followers and anyone who may stumble across my ramblings - Goodbye to 2012, and a happy and prosperous new year 2013 - I would wish that in Spanish, but I don't know how to type the n with a ~ over it - and absent that i'd be wishing everyone a new anus - not quite the same sentiment!!