Wednesday, June 14, 2006

On to Jaco or is that Playa Nosara?

A night away from home and no fiesta leads to me getting up at 6:30AM. I decide to drive around Arenal and go to breakfast at The World Famous Toad Hall Gallery and Restaurant. Now even though this is say about 30Km it takes alittle over an hour to get there. This is due to a road that is somewhat paved and a stop at a scenic lookout with the most linda vista or in English beautiful view. Toad Hall opens at 8AM and are on the back side of the lake between in a small village of Union before you get to the town Of Arenal. Now I get there at about 8Am but they are not open for those of you here in Costa Rica you know all about Tico Time and yes they must be on it and I am on an early roll so there is no stopping me and I continue on to Arenal and stop at a little German Bakery for breakfast. I have a delicious cinnamon roll, juice, and cappuccino. I also get a baguette for my journey to Jaco. On the way to Jaco I stop in the town of Canas to fill up the tank so I look at the map an realise I am only a couple of hours away from Playa Nosara a beach where i recently contact a woman that is leasing or conidering leasing her B&B.
Jaco to the way side here comes Nosara. Nosara is out on the Nicoya Peninsula and I really don't know that much about it but hey let me check it out and drop in on this place. Well I head down to Playa Semara which is on the main road and a place where many rich Ticos have beach homes including the current president Oscar Arias. I figure I will chec it out before I head over the 30+Km north to Nosara. We it really didn't impress me much but it is the green season now and things are slow. Off to Nosara it is. About eight Km up the road I hit a small river with no bridge over it. I think Miguel will make it in Low 4WD but I am in the middle of the jungle no people or cars around and I decide to head back instead. Chicken shit. Oh well let me check out Semara better and I look at some places to stay but nothing impresses me. So I pick up my Lonely Planet guide and read about Playa Carillo. Carillo here I come. Now those of you who know Costa Rica knoe the Ticos are not big on signs so sometimes it is hard to tell where some towns end and where others begin and after a couple side road excursions I finally hit Playa Carillo which is one of the few beaches that does not allow camping. This ban had brought about some protest because the Ticos felt that this was away to only allow the rich to enjoy the white sands of Carillo. Carillo is a very nice beach so now a search for a place to stay brings me to signs for El Sueno Tropical, which I believe is “the tropical dream” but hey don't quote me on that. As I said it is Green Season and places are empty. Besides the weather being good in the states I have know idea why Green Season is slow. Today was spectacular and this place including breakfast and taxes, 13.9%, is only $60. It is in the middle of the jungle, 2 minutes from the beach, air conditioned, modern, nice bar, and pool. Oh I think beer prices are high 900 colones a beer. My beer of choice is Imperial which kicks any domestic American beers ass but at the high prices 900 colones= approx. $1.75 and that includes a 10% tip. Third world my ass I love it here. So on night in Carillo and tomorrow back to Santa Ana. Well I think it's Santa Ana. Escazu is east of my house, Santa Ana to the west. The restaurant 50 meters east of me lists its address as Santa Ana, so I am definitely in Santa Ana. My friend Petros an international banker from Greece who is developing town homes 1Km west of me has an address of Escazu. So lets just say I am in “Paradise”. I live in an area that is like spring year around. From Mid May to December it rains almost every afternoon starting around 2:00-3:00. The only thing I am missing right now is my family who are their one month yearly hiatus to New York to visit family and that has been stretched to three months due to a few circumstances. I really miss them. My brother will be here Thursday for an indefinite stay, possibly to adopt this great country as well.
Tomorrow it's back to Santa Ana I think. Who knows where tomorrow will tale me. For now I think I will head up to the bar. Tip back a few more cervezas and enjoy the tropical dreams. The only thing missing are my three senoritas. For though now as usual Pura Vida.

Hiatus to Puerto Viejo?

I decided to take a couple day hiatus to Puerto Viejo a beach town on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. I felt this would give me sometime to reflect on our eight month journey in our new country. Just getting started is always the hard part for me. I just never know where to begin. I guess the beginning is the best place. There were quite a few things happening in my life that made me disgruntled with the way things were going. I always believed that if I made a lot of money me and my family would be happier. Truth be told that is only a formula for disappointment and an unsatisfied life, at least for me. I will say being able to experience what some consider the finer things in life I will say they are only things. This adventure in a new land and a new culture has been a great and sometimes trying experience, if I adopt Costa Rica as my new home for eternity or if it is just the spring board for future adventures only time will tell. I am going to make a commitment to keeping the progress on my progress in life and update this blog at least once a week. These blogs are a fantastic tool to stay in touch, express emotions, tell stories, and share experiences. If you have a blog I encourage you to link it to mine.
So why the move? Well the direction my life, my families life, our society in the USA, and the shift in our government were a total compilation of feelings and emotions that persuaded me to push my family into the move. My life had gone from some successes and some failures in the business would to lead me on a trip to Panama. I know Panama stirs up many different images for people, from third world to corrupt Norieaga. Panama city is a first class city in a third world country. The people were nice and the weather was hot. I stayed in the Marriot but toured through some of the poorer areas in the city and it was quiet humbling. It did spark my thoughts into living in Panama though. The business I was in had its successes and failures and I was able to do somethings some people only dream of. I will say I tried to always share the fun with my family and friends and I hope they recognize how important all of them are to me. None of them care if I have money or not and all have een supportive of our move. Maybe questioning it at times but I know that was always out of caring for us and I do thank you for that. I think Affluenza a book my brother lent me also affected our family and I recommend you click the link and buy it or better yet go to the library and check it out....that way it's free. This move has definitely knocked some of the affluenza out of me and my family. We have one old car, Miguel, a 1990 Mitsubishi Montero and one television. That is quite a change for us. Ah the next thing the US government....Who are all these people unhappy with George Bush? And why did you vote for him again...OK OK just giving a little shit here. But hey the more that's revealed, Patriot Act, wire taps, checking phone records, etc., etc. Where I am now I know no one is bothering with me and they seem to have a very thorough checks and balance system that is respected. When Bogle JHS in Chandler told me my daughter had to take abstinence training because it was mandated by our state government and Catholic Social Services(a non church affiliated group....oh my God how stupid do they think we are?) was going to teach it with a curriculm I found out later that had many enacurraties I was pretty hot. Separation of Church and State, has anyone heard of that? Ok well you get the idea I am one of many disgruntled ex pats now living in paradise.
I started this piece saying I was going to Puerto Viejo, once again I didn't make it there I decided on Jaco a closer beach town but ended up at Arenal Volcano. Go figure my AADD, adult attention deficit disorder but hey I can treat it or have fun with it. I choose have fun. I passed the turn for Jaco and said screw it, well those of you who know me know I said something else but I don't want to offend. This maybe my only attempt at Political Correctness on this blog. Speaking of Political Correctness it is hard to get use to certain customs here in Costa Rica. First off you always kiss a woman you know hello on the cheek not a hard thing to get use to but I usually only reserved that for good friends and family in the states. Getting the attention of a waitress or bartender thats female can be tough. Say “Senorita” or “Muchacha”loudly and I wonder if they understand Spanish but politely say “Mi amor” and they are right over helping you and seeing what you need. Back to Arenal I ended up staying on a finca that has five rooms, Lomas Real B&B right behind Volcan Look a disco in between La Fortuna and Arenal. Unfortunately there was no lava to be seen flowing from the volcano this night as of yet but it obviously flows quite a bit from the look of the charred side of the volcano. Now check in was fun because the woman spoke no English and after 8 months I speak enough Spanish to get by. Twenty dollars a night in a very simple clean room with a fan and hot water. It feels good to be alone sometimes it gives yu time to sort through your thoughts. Well until next report I end with the country phrase of Pura Vida, translation pure life but you have to be here a while to really appreciate the sentiment of the phrase.