High Tides And Iguanas

I visited Playa Hermosa today to work on some interviews I am doing with the local lifeguards. These guys are the best! There will be very high tides for the next few days here in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica. Please, always listen to the warnings and recommendations of the lifeguards on any beach. Also, know they are there for you and usually quite happy to answer your questions!

As I was leaving the beach I spotted this glorious iguana! It had cool orange coloring along its spine. This beauty paused long enough for me to take its photo and then scurried off. There are often all sizes of iguanas at Playa Hermosa and today was no exception!

Pura vida

Nice Iguana!

Nice Iguana!

 

Seriously, Stock Up!

It has become normal here in Costa Rica for things to be constantly shifting or changing. For example, if you find something special, such as a brand of coffee you love at the grocery store, buy as many bags of that coffee as you can. No doubt, the next time you go to the same store, that precious item will be missing from the shelf, sometimes never to be seen again. I have even gone so far as to take a photo of such treasures so I can show it to the checkout person and see if they can try to order it again! Sometimes it works, sometimes, no such luck.

Some of my friends and I actually play a little game at the Supermercado. It is true that when a few of those coveted items return to the store shelves, occasionally they get mysteriously hidden or stashed secretly in different places around the market. There are a few of us that literally dash to the store, when word gets out one of our favorite products has returned, and buy what we can. Immediately. But then, we might move a few other of those specialty items way to the back of a different shelf or behind a different product or in a completely different aisle of the store. And hopefully the next time you return, that hidden treasure will still be waiting for you!

I can remember the day we were out of my husband’s favorite coconut cream and how it frustrated me when I went to buy it and it was all gone. But having lived in Costa Rica for over 2 years, I’ve realized this is just the norm. So now I call these little annoyances “#paradiseproblems”, and when something that I really want isn’t available, I can just shrug it off and try again on another day. And when such specialty goodie is available again, I’ve learned it’s best to stock up, smile and be happy! We are so spoiled down here with a ridiculous amount of beautiful things that it’s just plain silly to complain about much.

I Love Costa Rica Livin’!

Rare and precious treasure!

Rare and precious treasure!

 

 

Our Very First!

Many months ago I threw a bunch of seeds, from an especially yummy tomato, into some soil in a pot on the deck. The tomato plant grew and flowered and grew and flourished, but it never produced even one tomato.

Well. on April 28th, I noticed this green fruit on my tomato plant! I couldn’t believe it, our first tomato was growing!

A green jewel!

A green jewel!

 

Today, just over three weeks later, I decided it was best to pick our first tomato, before something else got to it. Tomorrow it will be added to a homemade pasta sauce and enjoyed for dinner. Now I’m looking forward to planting a few more tomato varieties and see what happens! Yippee!

 

A Change Of Location

Here is a follow-up on my previous blog about helping with the local lifeguard program. I am now officially known as Ambassador Beth!

My new Volunteer Fridays soon became a fun and exciting day of local interaction for me. I loved my time working at the lifeguard t-shirt table and there wasn’t a week that went by that something extra special didn’t happen. My spot in front of Plaza Pacifica was in a perfect location, just off the main road and right on the edge of Dominical. Loads of people traveled to the Plaza to shop at the Supermercado, to visit the real estate offices or go to the bank. There was also a delicious smoothie and ice cream shop, a gift shop and a yummy Tico restaurant. I began to recognize lots of people and the more folks I met, the more I learned about Dominical and how the original lifeguard program got started. There’s a lot of history here, about 20 years worth, and that history was being shared with me each week from various people who had lived in the area for decades. I never knew exactly what would happen, or who I would meet, or what I’d learn, but my hours at the Plaza were definitely fascinating!

After several months of my Friday routine, a rumor started going around that the bank in the Plaza would be closing. This did not seem like a very wise idea, since it was the only bank in the Dominical area, with the next closest bank being in Uvita. No one could imagine it would really happen, but within a month, the bank closed down. There was some talk about doing some extensive remodeling to the interior of the building, but nothing ever came of it. Soon after the closure, the entire Plaza became much slower and there was far less business for everyone. And for me, many of the people who donated to the lifeguard program, were no longer stopping by to see me after going to the bank. After a while, it just didn’t seem to make sense to continue setting up anymore. I began thinking about what my next move would be and where.

If you can be patient enough, Costa Rica has a way of presenting things to you that you need, just when you need them most! I knew someone would have an idea about where I could setup my lifeguard table. The owner of a popular, beachside restaurant/bar, Tortilla Flats, is a huge supporter of the lifeguards and she offered me a space in front of her place. The following week, I headed into downtown Dominical to set up in my new spot!

Ah, well this was a nice change of scenery! Although there was nothing too pretty about being in a parking lot at Plaza Pacifica, I made the best of my surroundings and enjoyed myself immensely. But, facing the beach at Tortilla Flats was a whole lot sweeter and it felt great being in closer proximity to where all the lifeguard action occurs. Also, the small road that runs along the shoreline is full of vendors with tapestries, beach towels, jewelry and hand-made Costa Rican souvenirs, so it is a great place to sell lifeguard t-shirts.

So please, come on down and find me in front of Tortilla Flats in Dominical, Fridays from 10-ish until 2-ish! If any of my readers outside of Costa Rica are interested in cool Costa Rica Guardavidas tee’s or tanks, lemme know! The next time I’m in the States, I will bring them with me! $20 per shirt goes a long way for our lifeguard program and is hugely appreciated as 100% of the proceeds go directly to the lifeguards. Plus, maybe one day, you might come down here for a visit and get to meet them! I can make that happen!

 

One Of The Many Me’s

In late June of 2015, we moved from the remote rainforest village of El Brujo, Costa Rica, to the growing town of Uvita. It was a humongous change living closer to simple creature comforts and immediately my days became a lot easier. Uvita is just 10 (paved-road) minutes south of our new house, Casa Teo. In the other direction the surfy, fun town of Dominical is just 15 minutes away. It seriously felt like we had moved from the country to the city, with all kinds of amenities like restaurants, grocery stores, hardware stores, doctors, dentists, and veterinarians. There were plenty of venues to check out live music, loads of local and cultural events to attend and lots of gorgeous beaches to choose from!

It was overwhelming and surreal to realize this was the natural progression of our Costa Rica journey. It was also very special for me to be residing closer to the coast, after living so far inland for the last 4+ months. The ocean soothes my soul and I began falling even deeper in love with my new homeland. There were days, when we first moved in to Casa Teo, that I would wake up and wonder “How did I get here?”

After several weeks passed by, I was finally settling in to my new way of life. And it was time to start making some friends, exploring the area and finding things to do!

On December 8th, 2015, I had my first correspondence with a member of the local Lifeguard Program. I found out that a small group of people had gotten together to help keep the lifeguards working at two popular beaches, Playa Dominical and Playa Hermosa. The Lifeguard Program was created in an effort to raise not only awareness of the dire need for the lifeguards, but also to help raise money to keep them on the beaches. The group had great sounding ideas including t-shirt sales, collecting individual and business cash donations and holding occasional fund-raiser events. This all sounded right up my alley, so I offered to be helpful, in anyway that I could.

The following week I set out with another member of the group and we headed to the town of Dominical. Our hope was to get some of the local businesses to contribute a small donation for the lifeguards. Much to our surprise, this proved to be more difficult than we thought, but I persevered and came up with another plan.

I set up a table with lifeguard information, a donation jar and Guardavidas t-shirts to sell. I was offered a great spot for this table, right in front of a busy shopping center called, Plaza Pacifica. Every Friday I showed up, set up, and helped to educate folks about the Lifeguard Program. I talked about what a riptide was and suggested what they could do to help keep the Guardavidas employed. I met some amazing, wonderful people, sold bunches of t-shirts and made my presence as a lifeguard volunteer at the Plaza a regular weekly thing. I really enjoyed being pro-active and I felt my volunteer time was time well spent!

In addition to meeting fabulous people, I started to make some new friendships. One such friend was 4-legged and I had the pleasure of making a dear connection with a little orange kitten that I named Tigre. She was a young cutiepie, super sassy, playful and totally adorable. I was told that before I started coming around, this kitty was skittish and wouldn’t let anyone come too close to her. Well, that quickly changed after a few weeks of knowing each other and she and I made a very sweet bond. I looked forward to seeing her each week, as she would run out of the store to greet me when I came across the parking lot to set up my table. Tigre was always entertaining and eager to assist me as a lifeguard volunteer!

This was the beginning of my time helping our lifeguards, so they could do the real job, of saving lives. And what a great way to get involved with my community! If you would like to follow along with all the activities of the program, you can connect with the Guardavidas Costa Ballena Lifeguard page on Facebook.

Pura vida.

Oh Fiddlehead!

Spirals are fascinating to me. They have been recorded since the beginning of time. I often find spirals in nature and I always marvel at their beauty and ability to come in some many forms, sizes, shapes and colors.

Here is an exceptional find from the other day. What a great Fiddlehead Fern, with a bonus spider attached! So cool!! Start keeping your eyes out for spirals and see if you notice them more in your daily life. It’s fun!

Oh Fiddlehead!

Oh Fiddlehead!

 

 

Craziest Bug Yet!

Okay, folks, I have shared various bug posts with you before, but this is the most unique ever! What in the world? I guess it’s time for some more research!

Okay, name that bug?!

Okay, new game. Name that bug?!

This freakish, cool bug is about the size of a firefly, maybe a 1/2 inch long. Yesterday I saw it floundering in the pool, so I used the end of a broomstick to rescue it. When I set the broom down on edge of the pool, I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing. Whoa. Just plain, whoa.

Check this thing out!

I was so blown away by this bug I took a quick video of it’s movements, in slow motion. Zoom in if you can and get a close-up look at how crazy extraordinary it is.

In sloowwww motion...

This particular bug has me stumped. I have searched and searched but I cannot find out, from anywhere, what type of bug this is. If any one of you kind readers can figure this out for me, I’d be super grateful!

To add to the story, this morning when I was hanging out some laundry, this dang bug was back in the pool! It was almost exactly where it was yesterday. Hmm, I grabbed my trusty broomstick and rescued it again. I rushed in to grab my phone to take a photo, but by the time I got back, it had flown away.

 

 

 

 

This Is Amazing!

While visiting my sweet friends at Manoas the other day, I was shown something completely amazing! Tatum had found a pupa of a Tetrio Sphinx Moth or Plumeria Moth. It was such a miniature masterpiece work of art and it was about to open its wings and fly! This “soon to be” moth was so detailed, it was hard to believe it was real.

Wow.

There is so much to learn here in Costa Rica and although I still am not buddies with my computer, it has been an incredibly useful tool. But, with all the research I’ve been doing lately, I’m not sure where I’m going to put all this new information. My brain is getting crowded! Ahhhh…

Pura vida everyone. Come and see for yourselves one day what it’s like to be constantly awe-struck and inspired every time you turn around.

Masterpiece Pupa

Masterpiece Pupa

Can You Name This Flower?

Costa Rica is full of fascinating and beautiful flowers. We are fortunate to have an abundance of powerfully medicinal plants, that grow just about everywhere! I have been admiring this particular flower lately and thought it looked like a type of ginger. Well, I was recently informed that it is turmeric, which is indeed part of the ginger family! If you don’t know much about the phenomenal benefits of this tuberous rhizome, take a few minutes to read up on it! I love it when nature provides us with organic ways in which to heal, be more healthy and to live a better life!

 

‘Tis The Season

Mangos, mangos and more mangos. Not that you’ll hear a complaint out of me, I la-la-la-love mangos! As a matter of fact, mangos come pretty darn close to making up for not having peaches here in Costa Rica. They are not quite the same thing, but just like a perfect, ripe, juicy peach wakes up your mouth with sweetness, a ripe, juicy, perfect mango has the same effect. Yummmmmmy. Insert drool here…

When mangos are in season, they are absolutely everywhere, including on the ground. Not that they’ll ever go to waste around here, because every critter out there seems to love mangos too. Here is another cute Pizote I came across on my walk today. I am always cautious and aware when I am out in the jungle, even on a fairly-well maintained road. Many of the animals around here look adorable, cuddly and friendly. But, you have to remember they really are wild animals. And when it comes to wild animals and a food source, well, it’s wise to use your best judgement. I waited for this lil rascal to move on and then I continued with my walk. Geez, it’s fat belly looked like it was going to explode! Mango overload!

 

Pizotes Too?

Well, I’ll be darned. Absolutely every animal around is crazy for the fruits on the magnificent tree! There was quite a bit of commotion way up in the top of the tree and I was sure I was about to spot some monkeys or maybe toucans. But, noooooo… Sometimes I forget how well the Pizotes (Coatis) can climb. These raccoon looking cuties are amazingly agile and move through the trees with ease. Enjoy this video and zoom in on the photo to better view this happy face!

Pizotes can sure climb!

Pizotes sure can climb!

 

 

It’s Not A Leaf!

From my blog post of last November titled “Moth Or Butterfly?“, I would have to say this is a moth. But have you ever seen a moth this size before? I hadn’t, that’s for sure. This enormous beauty, seriously about 6 inches wide, was waiting for us on the window of our vehicle. There’s a light on at night directly above the truck, and we often find happily fed moths on our windshield in the morning when we head out for the day. At first I thought it was a very cool looking leaf. But, then I looked again. Wow.

Ah, for the love of nature, continuing to blow my mind, I am humbled by this country and all it’s extraordinary creatures.

Monkey Balls

Yup, I said it and I photographed them just for you. From what research I have done, the larger the monkey’s balls, the softer their howl. The smaller the balls, the louder the calls. Please read about this fact and more on this great link!

Here are a few close up pictures of our dear Howler monkey family. In one of the photos you’ll be able to see a momma mono hanging from a branch with a little, tiny baby on her back and a helpful Auntie close by. These monkeys were having the best day, some of them being lazy and lounging, others swinging through the trees, being playful and very talkative! On days like this when these animals are so close, it almost impossible to get anything done. All I wanna do is sit, watch and admire them, balls and all…

Well, there is probably more than you ever cared to know about the testicles of a monkey. I hope I added a bit of humor into your Monday! If you’re having a rough or frustrating moment, just say “Monkey Balls!”. Heehee.

Have a great week! Pura Vida

 

Howler Monkey Heaven

The magnificent tree continues to live up to it’s name! We still haven’t identified what type of tree it is, but maybe this video will shed some light. Anyone out there know if this is a fig or a guava or what kind of fruit it is I show in the attached video?

Anyway, the howler monkeys and their super small babies (smallest newborns ever) are loving the tasty treats. About 20 or so of them are having the best time throwing their leftover fruits into the pool!  It never ceases to amaze me just how close we live to these beautiful creatures. To have them around on a regular basis, listening to their sweet monkey noises and watching them play is beyond my wildest dreams. I am grateful to share this place with them all, even when they wake us up at 4am….

Please give the video time to load. I got a little carried away with my camera. Love me some monkeys.

Howler Monkey Heaven
Oh my, the pool is a mess!

Oh my, the pool is a mess!