Welcome Back to the blogosphere!
I'm sorry! I keep saying that I'm going to get back on a regular blogging schedule and then I let you down. There are no excuses. All I can say is that for the month of February, I was enjoying the trappings of the developing world life in Costa Rica.
I have LOTS of photos to share, but will tease you with just a few of them here. What I will do, is give you an overview of the trip, the good and the bad!
We arrived in Costa Rica on January 31st, spent the night in San Jose and flew down to the coast on February 1st. We've learned that the somewhat bumpy 20 minute flight is considerably better than the 6 hour drive!
We settled into our house in the village of Ojochal, the area that we've visited for a couple of years in a row now. Its a good mix of Ticos, ex-pats and tourists and has a great foodie scene!!!
What was my plan for the month? To read books and take pictures. Anything outside of that would be a bonus!
The great thing about renting a house is that I have broadband internet - I can (and do) continue to work when I'm in Costa Rica. Early in the month, I reviewed and updated all of our investment models. I paid the bills and ran payroll. And, I was available to the team should the need arise.
Of course, what did we see in the markets during the first week we were away??? A drop of nearly 10%! So, I wrote up an analysis of the situation, communicated with Neill and the rest of the team and included an extended discussion along with our already-planned email sharing our 2017 EEA Annual Report. Here's that communication if you're interested...
The birds at our house this year were pretty terrific - several species that we had never seen before and several that were old friends. Like I said above, I plan on putting together a full post with photos, so these are just a tease...
It wasn't all fun and games this year. On the afternoon of the 12th, I was taking some time to go through my photos that I had downloaded to my computer. I stood up, grabbed my camera to take another photo and the earth started to move. It wasn't an earthquake, but some pretty bad vertigo that only got worse. Melissa helped me to the bedroom where I proceeded to degrade, including vomiting, cold sweats and turning gray. I couldn't walk the vertigo had gotten so bad. Scary for us both!!!!
Melissa went into action, contacted several our friends in Ojochal for help and advice and was an absolute savior! Our landlord, Tom, came and picked us up and took us to the hospital in Ciudad Cortes, about 40 minutes away. They wheeled my miserable self into the emergency room and luckily Tom could speak better Spanish than we did. We were doubly lucky to get a physician who could speak some English and through process of elimination, he decided that I was suffering from heat exhaustion. Three bags of IV fluids and a couple of other unknown medicines (there still was a language barrier) later, I was sent home.
I am so grateful for the help of Kim, Kais, Sandy, John, Tom and of course Melissa for taking such good care of me!!! And also to the physicians and other folks at the Cortes Hospital. In case you're wondering, the 6 hour time in the emergency room cost a total of $250!!!
The next morning, I'm sitting outside and enjoying feeling much better when just as Melissa joins me...a snake falls out of the palm tree right in front of us. Luckily it was a non-venomous snake, but nonetheless scary!!!
I had a second episode of vertigo and vomiting a week later which Melissa was able to cure with pipas frias, AKA cold coconut water. It's rich in potassium and other essential nutrients and made me feel much better!!!
Melissa had to deal with a bee sting, a swarming of ants and a cold that I lovingly gave to her about a week before we arrived. It lasted almost two weeks into the trip.
But I'm not bitching. These are the realities of the jungle and the developing world and I accept and embrace them. I love Costa Rica: its people, flora, fauna, landscapes and seascapes. I can fully relax when I'm there and allow myself to be truly present. We will continue to return.
So what else good happened? LOTS!!! Our friends Dave & Sandy graciously allowed us to use their treehouse at Finca Bellavista for a couple of nights. This treehouse truly is in the MIDDLE of the jungle. From basecamp (where the kitchen and lounge area are) its a 15 minute walk to the treehouse on narrow jungle paths. There are numerous venomous snakes on the site requiring you to wear boots at all times. Fun, but certainly not for the faint of heart!
We took a two hour hike around the Finca, saw several different species of butterflies, lots of beautiful flowers including heliconias and orchids. And again, the birds were everywhere! Grateful to Aaron, Sela and the management for making our short stay both memorable and enjoyable!
I had the privilege of spending my Sunday mornings with a great group of folks playing volleyball on Playa Tortuga. I met Frank & Co during our trip last year and was able to develop friendships from afar during the year thanks to Facebook and was so excited to return and enjoy the camaraderie, competition and trash talk! I love you guys!
We ate very well on the trip, taking full advantage of the Asheville-level restaurants including Citrus, Exotica, Mama Y Papa, Heliconia, Fusion and Hotel 360. We visited a great craft brewery in Dominical called Fuego which would give Asheville breweries a run for their money! We enjoyed some great live music from the G String Cowboys at the Bamboo Room.
We spent lots of time with our good friend Maude and her partner Marlon as well as fellow Montreal native Mike Maassen who treated us to some of the best crepes we've ever had!!!
We swam in the pool and the ocean, walked on the beaches, went to the farmers market and I got to enjoy an Imperial or two. We relished time with friends and time alone. Melissa practiced yoga nearly every day, by herself or at Kim's class, and we both loved Thai massage from Kais.
We visited the indigenous Boruca village to drop off a present and got to watch a tornado/water spout over the ocean. I accomplished my main goal and read seven books and took well over a thousand photographs!
We said goodbye to Ojochal and headed back to San Jose on Feb 28th and then on to the States on March 1st.
While our time in Costa Rica wasn't perfect, I wouldn't give it up for anything. The people and place make our little corner of the world in Costa Rica a home away from home. I'm full of gratitude that we get to experience it as fully and regularly as we do.