Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Back to Guanacaste

Monday morning we left La Fortuna to drive back to Guanacaste, pick up a shipment from the US and visit with our nephew Max and his 5 surfer friends from California. They were all staying in Melissa and Richard’s house. The house was a full house! It was uncomfortable putting this entire load over the hosts, but we manage the discomfort well. So well, that we stayed longer than we were planning. I am sorry! I am sorry! Our plan was to leave the next morning, but Matt was in critical condition, he had to go to the Hospital in San Jose for surgery. The girls and I stayed in the house, Richard went to El Salvador for work, Melissa was in San Jose as a nurse for Matt and Max went back to the US. That was about 2 weeks ago. I have a feeling my sister-in-law was wishing to have family closer and she got her wish. She must not have specified length or distance when the wish was expressed. Lesson for her!!!.. hehe.

Monday, June 28, 2010

La Fortuna and Arenal

Volcán Arenal is one of 5 active volcanoes in Costa Rica. After 400 years of being dormant the volcano made its first and ferocious eruption in 1968 and still remains active; having small eruptions everyday. Little puffs of smoke come up and lava falls on one side of the volcano making it an exciting show at night..

The town of La Fortuna is a beautifully maintained town at the bottom of the volcano. From there you can take exciting tours; canopying in the rain forest, hiking the volcano, rappelling the waterfall, horse back riding, kayaking the Arenal Lake, hot springs, ATV riding, “butterflying” (i.e. watch butterflies), etc, etc. As much as I would like to do it all with the exception of rappelling I promised myself I will be back when the kids are old enough to do all that with me and when I have a job to pay for them.

We started the day with a nice typical Costa Rican breakfast; gallo pinto, orange juice, coffee, hot chocolate and fruit. Overlooking the volcano (well its hard not to have a view of it wherever you are in the area). We left the hotel and drove to El Castillo located closer to the crater. From here one can see the deforestation cause by the flowing lava. We stopped at the Butterfly Conservatory, well worth the drive. We were educated in the life cycle of a butterfly, we touched, we hunt, we photographed even those most intimate moments of this colorful creatures. Such a master piece of nature! After exploring their habitat we were shown other typical species of Costa Rica wild life such as: the Red-Eye Tree frog, the blue frog, the chameleon and turtles. We finish the visit with a nice walk in the rain forest that looped us around to the volcano observatory. We were done by lunch time so we found a fast food type restaurant with a professionally dressed and friendly chef. Not much to say about the food… or yes, it was awful.
At about 3 o clock the sun was completely cover; the grey clouds and rumbling sound in the sky were obvious indications of… the wonderful time we would have soaking in the hot springs; a free SPA, located by the side of the hotel with the $35 entrance fee. The same river and at the same temperature… I wonder if I missed something.

By 6 o’clock we were back in La Fortuna, playing a game of backgammon, comfortably lying in bed, making plans for dinner. It was at that moment when I got a reminder that it was Sunday; the bells of that beautiful church across the street rang three times. It crossed my mind that the call may be for me, but I managed to put it behind and continue my fun evening, 6:30, the bells rang again, it was a little harder to let that call go, but I manage to do it once again. 6:45… Holy.. I can’t I can’t I must go!! Trinidad went with me. It felt so good! My day could not have been complete without this visit to praise and thank God for our good fortune… and yes to ask for forgiveness and wisdom.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A little parasite here and a little there

Where and how its unknown, but apparently the bugs have been incubating for several weeks to give Matt the time of his life. Sick, loosing weight and not eating delicious meals (according to me… the chef), were clear symptoms of their existence. We tested and the results were positive. He was so miserable! Luckily now, he is under treatment and he should be fine within a couple of days.. It has not been fun! It is breaking the spirit of the crew. A beautiful place is meaningless under those circumstances and a boat without a healthy Captain is a dangerous idea. My mind wonders if the experience should be reevaluated, but the idea of giving up frightens me more than to wait and go when all goes back to a good shape including my newest patient Samantha who has Strep Throat. The contingencies of this trip are all part of a package, they enrich our experience. Once again, I think I much rather live through them while adventuring. I know they will always be there; they will just present themselves in different forms.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Road Trip

After our ordeal with the car, we loaded our few bags in a Toyota Yaris and proceeded with the plan to get to the city of La Fortuna on the skirt of Volcán Arenal. Taking a road trip its always an exiting event, especially when there is no rush to get somewhere. We get to stop when we are hungry, when someone needs to stretch, when a bathroom is required, when a scolding is necessary, when a picture is a must or when a sight lure us into stopping. We get to play our own music and sing our own songs at our own volume and we get to put our feet up against the window, plus and best of all we get to snack all the way to our destination. Our favorite snack: nuts! The girls have their books, colors, papers, personal music and video player and, of course, each other to torture. The trip was very pleasant in spite of the typical “when are we going to be there” “are we there yet” “how much longer”.

I hate rental car companies

Scammers! Is there one that doesn’t operate on the basis of “ripping us softly and kindly”… well not too kindly. I had such a great day the day before, everything was going according to plan. The search for a car was successful; cheap and easy. Saturday I went to pick the car from Thrifty and they just dind’t quite mention that the car was $90 a week, but the mandatory insurance was an additional $140…. My mind blocked, I wanted to hang onto the neck of the clerk. Anything he said sounded as he was ripping me a little more. I stepped out, frustrated to tears. Matt was waiting outside sick, the kids wanted my attention. Trinidad was asking me why I was so mad?.. At that point, I only wanted my mama… really! I MISS HER, she would have let me crawl and cry!! I guess the car wasn’t the only issue driving me to tears, but it was the detonator. At the end, not having another option, I went back to ripper and humbly said..”OoooKkkay, I will taaake it”. He did try to make it up to me by not charging me extra for adding the spouse as a driver… I guess he didn’t think I would read in the contract that spouses are added free of charge… ok! I know.. I hated the service.

A hot shower at last

This was the idea!
We checked into the hotel room in the same marina, not much luxury there, pretty run down, but there were two beds, a floor that didn’t move and a hot shower, something we haven’t experienced since we were in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico. We were exited to get all cleaned up, after scraping all the algae from the bottom of the boat, and ready to treat ourselves with an extended use of water. The shower looked suspicious; electric cables going up to the head and a heat regulator on it. I adjusted it to the right temperature and pushed the girls in. The water did not smell right, plastic was burning somewhere, it was pretty obvious when smoke started coming down the shower head. Ok! I guess hot showers are another perk of being in the US and one more to look forward when we return.


Taking the boat out

Our plan was to take Endurance out of the water to do some repairs and leave it out while we do some “dry sailing” (Inland exploring by car). Taking it out is an exiting operation; to see your home being lift up, see all its parts and curves up in the air is a strange feeling. Once the boat was out, the bottom was sparkle cleaned by the whole crew, even the ones thought to be useless in the maintenance department… hehe. 

Other projects to be accomplished were to repair a small crack on the haul and to replace the cutlass bearing… a thing that makes things happen… an important part of the propeller. To accomplish this task, he had to take the rudder off. He was into the job when he realized there was not enough room between the boat and the ground, he had two options: a-have the crane lift up the boat higher (very costly) or b- dig a hole under the boat (very hot). He went for b. Today the projects are mostly done. Matt and our brother-in-law Richard worked very hard on it for the last 3 days. Now we are ready to go!

Friday, June 25, 2010

We run out of water

Endurance has two water tanks; a 40 gall and a 50 gall, we also carry jerry jugs for drinking water, they are all empty. It’s a good thing there is a water facet next to us, but really bad to find out it doesn’t work. Matt has to go in a panga to fill some jars. To get to the working facet he had to go over a grassy area full of mosquitoes. Given the circumstances and the risk, he only got a few gallons just to do dishes that night and the next morning. We will be out by the afternoon. These sort of hoops is what we all think about when we brush our teeth and decides to keep the water running as we brush, not to mention that running out of water in the middle of the oceans could be fatal.


Saturday, arrived with the right tide, no running aground for Endurance. It took several calls to the Yacht Club office until someone finally acknowledged our approach. They were supposed to send a yellow panga to meet us and guide us through the channel… right…maybe next time! We are here! We get tied up to a floating dock for two, very strange feeling to think that even thou you have a dock you cant go far, ten steps either way you are in the water. It makes me a little nervous to have the girls on the dock, at times when the tide is going out the current is ferocious, not to mention that the river is full of crocodiles as they say.

Isla San Lucas

It was the Alcatraz of Costa Rica. The worst criminals were sent to the island. It was operational until 1991 and now it is considered cultural patrimony. We were told by the Park Ranger that at the end of its time the prisoners were given some land in the island and were allowed to stay with their families for a while. Today no one lives there, but the Park Ranger, a few cats, bats, mosquitoes, monkeys and a few ghosts.

I wonder what it is that we find fascinating on being in places like this, must be the huge amount of energy you find here, generated by all the drama, sadness, darkness and sickness. I can almost see and hear what went on and I can only say, Its good to be good, its good to be FREE.

The anchorage here was a sailors dream, not a roll, not a ripple in the water.. (a few, but it sounds more romantic the other way). It has been a while since we had it this good. Matt tells me: “this is what I picture when I dreamed about this trip”

Leaving Bahia Ballenas

It was 7 in the morning, Matt was not feeling a lot better, but we needed to leave. There is one more factor to consider when getting or leaving some of the anchorages/ports; the tide levels and cycles.

The level; to get to Puntaarenas we had to make entrance to the channel at almost high tide. It is a very shallow channel. If we run aground, as the tide comes up the boat will be picked up, if we enter at high tide and run aground then we are…. SCRE.. out of Luck! The cycle; the office opens at 7 AM

Motor on, we are leaving, zigzagging our way out through the logs, lots of them. BANG, BOOM, ZUMP.. its hard to see them all. The motor alarm goes off! Matt’s level of stress goes up, I see the fumes, but I can almost understand it. I have so much faith that God would not give us challenges we can’t handle and that Matt is so capable to solve it, I remained calm. We turned off the motor, let the boat float while Matt checked the filters. Cleaned one of the filters and it seemed to be solved. It was a difficult decision, do we keep going? Do we turn around and make sure the problem is solved missing our chance to get to Punta Arenas on time? We risked it! We kept going. We made it to Isla San Lucas, where we would spend the night, an hour sail to Punta Arenas.

Matt has Bronchitis

We were supposed to leave this morning, but Matt feels and looks in need of medical attention. He will take a bus to Cobano (a town about 30 km away) to see the doctor and get a proper diagnose and treatment. When he got there, the doctor was out, so they took him in an ambulance to another town called “Mal País”. About three hours later he is back with a complete cocktail of drugs (I should be the one taking the drugs!). I don’t get why when people are sick they get so hard to deal with, there is lots of anger, harshness, abuse? How are we supposed to give them the love they need, the tender care, the right dosage of medicine and not an overdose? (Matt was smart.. he took those on his own). Of course, Honey, that’s not you.. that is in general, other women’s husbands.

One more day...

I must go to Cobano to get another medicine, Samantha and Matt stay. Trini and I took the day just for us. We walked to the bus. To make the wait interesting: we elaborated paper boats that we then put in the water streams. Once in Cobano, we stopped for a juice and snack at a bakery, then went to the pharmacy, the grocery store and to the pet store where they had little chickens for sale. So tempting! One little yellow chicken hanging around on deck with the girls or going to the beach.. NO WAY! I remember growing up we used to buy chickens at the farmers market, they were such a disposable pet, they would only last a couple of days and usually the dog would put a quick end to our fun or who knows maybe we squeeze them to hard.. I only remember them being gone after just a few days.... In summary, Trini and I had a wonderful day, got the medicines and a few other items and headed back to the boat.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Trip to Montezuma

Matt is still pretty ill, he will take it easy today and will stay onboard. The girls and I took a bus at 11 AM to the town of the waterfall; Montezuma. We rode for 45 min in the bus, pretty comfortably and enjoying the view and the action inside and outside the bus; little kids in uniform, younger than Samantha, with their backpacks, riding the public bus to and from school, people chasing chickens out of their property, men riding their bicycles to work, women walking out of the “pulperias” (convenience stores) etc. We got off the bus just hoping the waterfall would be easy to find and that there wouldn’t be too much hiking involved (the limitations of parenting and more yet… single parenting).

Finding the waterfall was easy, seeing the water FALL was impossible the trail had been washed out in parts and it has become mortally dangerous. However, not all was lost! Right above our heads they were; the White-headed Capuchin, waiting for suckers like us to give away our snacks. They had quite a buffet; peanuts, raisins, macadamias, almonds and granola bars! It was such a successful menu, that the group of 3 monkeys multiplied to more than 20.

There was another family already enjoying the display when we got there; Mom; Lara, dad; Alex and 2 girls (8 and 4). It couldn’t have been more perfect! The girls paired up immediately and while Samantha and the 8 year studied the monkeys’ behavior, Trini and the 4 year old discussed the world, sitting on a log under a tree. I was really interested on what Mom and Dad had to share regarding their travels. It was a short time spent together, I wish we had more. We had to rush out to catch the last bus back to Tambor.

There was a sense of satisfaction coming back home, the day was a SUPER day!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The people of Playa Tambor

Wonderful! The weight of this experience in my heart surpasses my expectations. I may sound like a typical tourist enchanted with the beauty of the country saying that everything is wonderful, but Costa Ricans for the most part make the term “PURA VIDA” a true statement of their way of being, specially here in Playa Tambor.

After a while in our “explorative-walk” we decided to take a little break. Samantha then announces she has a surprise for us; she had packed a chocolate bar to split. Then she decides that she would rather share it with a local girl who was looking at us. I thought it was a good idea, not only for the interaction they were about to have, but the calories I was about to give up. We asked the girl if she would like a piece, but she gave us a skeptical look and didn’t respond. I thought it would be more appropriate to ask her mother who was in a house a few steps ahead. After a few exchange of words Samantha and Trinidad were sharing the chocolate with a lot of other children and I was invited into the house. They offered me a sit, but before I sat they laid a clean sheet on a piece of foam just for me.

Two sisters; Yexi and Cindy, their Mom; Felice and their children, a couple of dogs, a parrot and us, all sitting under the porch of a small house with tin walls, dirt floors, a couple of well organized bedrooms and stairs to the porch; built with little pieces of wood thrown together in a hurry. I had to take steps with caution and make sure my overprotected children were safe. These are the kind of experiences my children should never forget. Life in the US is pretty unique; the simplest things we had back home, in most other countries are luxuries. I got the feeling Trinidad felt very curious about their living arrangements when she sat next to me to ask me a question in secret; she puts her hand on the side of her mouth, so no one could read her lips, and said “How do you say in Spanish: May I have a tour?” I should be glad she is not fluent.

Their good spirit not only shows through their hospitality, but their generosity. They showered us with presents; shells, earrings for the girls, toys and coral. It was so much, that even Samantha wasn’t sure how to deal with it. She would tell me: “Mom I don’t want to take this away from them” She had to learn to just say “Thank you” and take note of their generosity. How could they, having less than what we have, give away the little they have? That night Samantha and Trinidad had fun making bags for the kids with Polly pockets, candy and other little toys.

Its 5 o’clock, about time to start heading back to the boat. Matt came to meet us. We walked back together, got in the dinghy and retired to the boat. We are all on board and not a minute has passed the rain starts and it gets harder and harder and torrential. We made it just in time!

Entered Bahia Ballenas

“One of the cruisers favorite destinations”… really? Not in June! I must admit it is pretty and at times of the year it must be quite an attraction. Between December and March is when the whales come to care for their young and the water is cobalt blue. During rainy season, there are not “ballenas” (whales), but an incredible amount of logs and the water is muddy brown due to the heavy rains.

We dropped the anchor and Matt suggested/commanded that the rest of the crew go to shore and explore, he was desperate for a nap. We rowed to shore just to discover that we did need a dinghy anchor to avoid being sucked under the pier. Exactly what the Cruising Guide recommended. We rowed back, got the anchor and got the assistance of a local young man who sympathized with us. He helped us with the operation of getting the dinghy situated and the kids and myself onto the dock. Once on top, we manage to o through and over the fishing nets, the puddles of fish blood, the fishermen filleting the fish, the fish heads, the hooks, the looks of the local and the so unforgettable smell.

The name of this beach is “Playa Tambor”; one narrow dirt road with little houses and shacks, jungle and beach. It has been raining, the smell, much different from the pier, is refreshing. It’s the wet jungle! The temperature is perfect, not too cold to wear excess clothing, but not to warm to be soaking in perspiration. It’s a great time to explore and the kids are all up for it.

To avoid the so unpleasant complains of “ I am thirsty” and “I am hungry” I invited the girls for a little drink and snack at a bar at the end of the peer; The Yacht Club. The place that will let us hang out for a couple of days and make use of their wireless connection. There we experienced the “Patacones” another Costa Rican dish; fried plantain with beans and guacamole. We all liked it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Arrived in Playa Samara

Found the exact same spot or way point marked in the Guide Book to Costa Rica and dropped the anchor. In this part of the world we are not fighting any other cruisers for the perfect spot. Its sad for me, I miss having people around, I miss meeting other cruiser, the sounds of their stories and the wisdom they carry in them. I miss the confidence I felt when having more of us around. If something were to go wrong, there would be someone who can witness the event or who could help or contribute with ideas. I miss being able to tell my own stories to someone new, rather than to torture Matt and my kids with the same-o’ same-o’.

    Matt has not been feeling very good for the last few days, he is about to collapse, lack of sleep, serious caught, exhaustion, stomachache a wife nagging and two little girls poking each other. He is not enjoying this today, I get the feeling he would rather be in his garage running the saw. I guess we all get strike with depression in different forms and unexplainable circumstances. The anchorage is not helping! It rolls, and rolls, the clouds are loaded with water and approaching and the lightning coming from 2 different directions. We must get ready for the pour down, the leaks and the threatening strikes.

I am not sure what happened, but when I woke up this morning we were moving. Matt says he left at 2 in the morning because he couldn’t sleep. I did hear the chain go up, but I was clueless as to what time it was. I just thought: “too early for the Queen”..hehe.

I didn’t really plan to explore much of Samara, but my observations were that it is not very cruiser’s friendly. There is an extensive area of reef; the breaks are all over the bay and in many different directions. I did go for a circular kayaking adventure around the boat and took pictures in all different angles. I thought the compositions with the water, the dark clouds, the green and the boat were magnificent.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Anchored at Bahia Ballenas

(more to be posted)

Leaving Potrero Bay.

Last week we were leaving... sometime, maybe Saturday or Sunday… or Monday.. or Wednesday… Today is Friday… we are still here. This time we have moved back to the boat, all our belongings are back into place. It happens after a month of comfort provided by a house and the people we love and love us. It is getting harder and harder to keep going, but I know that once we are moving, everything will be all right and the light will shine through the windows. I spent several hours stowing away our belongings, it appeared that we have more than before; more shells, more toys, more books, more food, more stories, more pictures…, but unfortunately, no more money.

To make our departure less abrupt we went sailing for the day with Melissa and Richard to Playa Conchal. It was a test sail and also I wanted to give Melissa a taste of our lifestyle. After a delicious lunch of “Tuna Tartar”, made by Melissa with fresh tuna (cought by Richard), wasabi, lemon and spices, we sailed back to Potrero and left early the next morning.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Paddle boarding

WOW!! I found it! A combination of workout, sightseeing and adventure! The stand up paddle boards are awesome!. Melissa and Richard have the boards and were kind enough to share the experience with me!. We took the boards to the beach early morning. They gave me a few tips to get started gracefully and off I went through the break. I stood up on the board and PLOOP! SPLASH! Under I was. Tried again and this time went a little better. Shaky legs, smile on my face and with the confidence building up. Melissa and I paddle for about and hour. Then Richard came to the water to meet us and to let me know that my paddle was backwards… Oh well! It made no big difference to my level of excitement!

Riding in Potrero

Potrero Bay is a beautiful place in the province of Guanacaste. Its roads have not been touched by progress, in other words, they continue to be dirt, “holey” dirt! It’s too bad for the drivers, but wonderful, just wonderful for who wants to ride a bike, a horse, a motorcycle or piggy back like my kids. The days I felt I needed to get out and take advantage of such a wonderful setting Costa Rica provides for me and my photo taking mania; I hopped on Melissa’s bike and went. First, I pedaled up the hills; successfully for the first half mile and 25 degree inclination. Then, I rolled down the hill; terrified because the bike didn’t have hand operated breaks, those were on the pedals. Oops! I saw for a minute the end of the bike and a huge dental bill as the bike surpassed the expected speed and the breaks were useless. Luckily, my super heroin training paid off; I was able to stop the bike just by dragging my feet. I rode later to the beach. It was a perfect ride right along the break. I had to stop and take pictures of the sunset, the sunset plus the bike, plus myself, plus the clouds, plus the logs, plus the steps on the sand plus, plus, plus.. at that point I felt so inspired by everything that I run short on camera battery. That is what this wonderful place does to you, it gets you high with its colors, its elements and the combination of the two.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Interacting with the culture

"Abriendo Mentes" is the name of a non-profit organization working in Playa Potrero whos mission is to Educate, Enhance and Empower the community. Thre times a week they offer  english classes to the local children with art and critical thinking combined. They invited Samantha and Trinidad to participate for the time we were here and they enjoyed it very much. We can never waste an opportunity to interact with the culture and to give a little bit of us, if it is possible. Yesterday, we had a fun evening making paper flowers, singing songs and breaking a Pinata that we have been carrying since Cabo San Lucas, waiting for the perfect opportunity to break it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

One more day in paradise? So what?

How is it possible to have feelings of discontentment of boredom when living life, as many would say, to the fullest? I have been looking for answers for a couple of days. It was through a chat that I came to a very reasonable conclusion and from that point on… I look forward to another chat! Ha! Well, I will open my points for debate. It’s a matter of expectations and perception. Expectations; such an amazing opportunity to explore, to interact with the culture, to make use of talents, to be outdoors and adventure, but the days have passed and I found myself not being the travel host in Discovery Channel that I though I could have been. Perception; my life these days seemed to be out of rhythm, more than that I could hear no music. So, I proceeded with the exercise of analyzing the day step by step (Now it will sound as if I am bragging).

I woke up with the howling of the monkeys in the backyard and the loud, repetitive and joyful singing of the birds. I poured myself a cup of Costa Rican coffee and put bread slices in the toaster. That is when I got electrocuted, not too bad, but enough to get my curls done. I ate some freshly cut, sweet and juicy pineapple and served myself some blackberry yogurt. The toasts are done, real butter on them and some raspberry jam… delicious! That was breakfast.

I checked my email, not much there these days. I signed on to Facebook and found a few notices; Mary bell commented on Lucy Loo status, Jonny Bee likes my status and bla, bla, bla. Its all good! Then I figure out more ways to embellish my blog and hopefully make a few nickels. The girls woke up, they walked to me, hugged me, kissed me and turned the cartoons on. I served them breakfast.

When Matt came home, he announced: “the waves are friendly, lets go swimming!” A 2 minutes walk and there we were, a magazine style beach; “Playa Penca”. Samantha and I, swam to just barely pass the break, it was quite a rush! After our swim, we headed to one of the ends of the beach were the rocks and tide pools awaited to be explored. I don’t think I could ever forget Samantha going around the little puddles by the side of the hill sticking her finger in them and then in her mouth, looking for fresh water. (Matt just taught her a few survival techniques) I will never forget, either, how Trinidad makes me believe that we are on a SPA and she is giving me the exfoliating treatment and then she tells me to put the rocks back in place, otherwise the fish and crab that live in there, will dye.

After lunch, We worked on Samantha’s math and Trinidad’s ABCs, practice the technique of making paper flowers so we could teach some local children we will see the next day. We play classical music and Samantha performed for me. Then it was time to prepare dinner; spaghetti and meat sauce. Opened a bottle of Chilean wine and proceeded with culinary moment! Chopped the onions, garlic, tomatoes, sautéed them in hot oil..mmm the house smelled good!! Boiled the pasta and continued the steps until we sal and ate. For desert, why not bake some Ghirardelli chocolate brownies?.

fter all, was this an ordinary day?.. I wish it was!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I am Happy, what’s your problem?

So I am under a new spiritual high, I am faithful, grateful, hopeful.. but wait a minute did someone just called me old? Unmaintained? Wrinkled face?.

I was preparing the classes for the kids this morning when Melissa’s maid saw a picture of my birthday and my mood was abruptly changed.

“how old are you now?” –she asked

“39” -I said.

“I thought you were older” – she said.

“I say you are stupid” – I thought,

“REALLY” –I cried.

“You look older than Matt’s sister” “well she takes care of herself” – she rubbed on my face. (She does look great!)

I quickly changed the subject, I was afraid she would crash my self esteem to the point of no repair. Of course, I felt the urgency of finding a mirror. All the hours in the sun and the sea salt must be taking a toll on me. I needed to check.

I concluded that she has a problem of expression, what she really meant to say was “WOW YOU LOOK AMAZING!!”