Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I wanted action and action is what I got!

Morning at the Yacht Club in Puntarenas, Costa Rica

The girls are playing in the pool, Matt is making phone calls and I am taking pictures of an iguana who is always around. I did shots of her on her right side, the left, top, front, back… What a beautiful animal! I talked to her, I looked at her in the eyes, I felt the connection. We were friends! Matt was uncomfortable.. how silly of him, to be uncomfortable with an iguana!. Few more iguanas came near a table next to us, where the people sitting there were feeding them. I am not usually a fan of feeding the wild animals, but I thought maybe a few times here and there would be okay. If they do it.. me too! What an impression I got when I see the iguana hanging on my fingers rather that eating the cracker I was offering… did I feel stupid! I told myself those annoying phrases I tell my husband… in between many... “I told you so!” “See what happen?” and many others in spanish “Que bruta!” “Tonta” “Lesa” . Okay enough! The moral of the story… Sometimes those you thought were your friends will give you bloody fingers… haha, but most importantly: DO NOT FEED WILD ANIMALS!


Incredible, no one in this town is capable of sending a fax internationally, except for the Post Office who would do it for US$3 per page. We had to send a contract and some documents with a total of 18 pages… wow! There goes the whole daily budget! Of course, I would not do that. I got it done with the help of my sister in law, my Nikon camera, a lot of walking in town searching for copiers, cyber cafes and doughnuts for the girls who tagged along with me during the whole hectic process without a complain. It is not that important what I did, but how I felt… so horribly frustrated!!! I was just a matter of pushing up a button back in the US. On the other hand, the sense of accomplishment I get is such a “high” in my emotions and the satisfaction of seeing the girls enduring hectic times make it all worth the bad while.


The girls and I are back in the Marina, the rain force has been picking up steadily, we are suppose to take a water taxi back to the boat, everyone is well protected with their yellow raining gear, but us. For our protection we had just a few bags of groceries and two flimsy Chinese umbrellas. I made the decision to wait, the rain must stop… eventually. One hour, two… its getting worse and the lightning and thunder is right over our heads. Luckily for us, the marina has a game room where we found refugee and we order a nice dinner, played a modified game of pool and watched a movie in the computer. Matt was waiting for us in the boat. We were “separated by nature”! The rain eased no excuse to stay away from the boat any longer. We called the water taxi, but realized it would take a while to get it. It was a mess! The river, where all boats are anchored, was running furiously, carrying trees, trash, tires, snakes and what ever could not extend arms to hold on. We made it into the boat alright, I read the girls a story, we were all drowsy, about ready to pass out and Matt called me and said “you better come up here”. A few boats have broken loose, our dock is tilted around 45 degrees as a product of accumulated debris pushing against it, stressing the already stressed lines of our boat tied up to it. This combined with the power of the river and the oversized logs hitting the hull of the boat was a very uncomfortable situation. We could only picture the lines snapping and the boat running into the vessel behind us in no time. At one o’clock in the morning, when the tied started to come up overpowering the strength of the river we were able to rest in decent amount of peace.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A trip to San Jose

When I left the US last year, I had not idea that being a permanent resident of the country meant I really had to be a permanent resident.., who would have thought? Ok, so there are no backward concepts in the US. They didn’t tell us that in the English classes while growing up. I should be excuse from the rules. I am from a latin country where “No” means “Yes” and “Do not park here” means “Perfect place to park” and permanent residency would mean “permanent, if you want?” or “we can work it out” So, that is one of the reasons we are in San Jose; to go to the US embassy, besides having to get a few parts for the boat, but most importantly, we are here to go to the MOVIEEE!!

Our first stop was the Embassy. US embassies are such an intimidating place, I often feel that if I step the wrong way into the building, the alarms will sound, gates will drop around me and I will be marked as “suspicious animal”. However, in Costa Rica, they were much more informal, relax and nicer than in Chile. Besides the wait and the lack of straight answer to my question, the attention was cordial and the fact that nothing went wrong made me feel accomplished. Who cares if I got no answers?!... aaaahh!!! Ok, here is the deal:

A permanent resident can NOT be out of the country for more than a year without a Re-Entry permit.

A Re-entry permit must be obtained while in the US, before departure

If a permanent resident is out of the country for over 6 mos. He (she… I) looses the eligibility to become a citizen.

The best place for answers regarding this and any, ANY issues are in Yahoo Answers!!!

After the embassy we decided that our kids deserved a cultural re-encounter… we took them to the jungle gym of Mc Donalds. They were so happy! We bought them ice cream sundaes, bought ourselves some coffee, by the way, fancy coffee shops they have these days!, and used their Wi-Fi to make some phone calls. When the smiles started to vanish, we drove to the cinema in the Mall… wow! I loved the smell in the malls, new clothing, candles, creams, chocolate, perfumes… aaah!! I wished I was loaded with money and make over myself!! A new me, a younger me, the one people would look twice or at least once. The only time I get look at more than once is when going by a mirror and I look at myself…haha. Oh! Yeah! I was talking about the movie… How fun! We watch Shreck 3 in 3D! We laughed hard the whole movie, it was a funny movie, but my laugh was more of a product of the girls’ laugh.

When the movie was over, we drove through the infamous, poorly rated for safety and dirty downtown until we found our place to sleep. We stayed at a nice, clean, cool place by the National Park, called Pension La Cuesta. Recommended by the Lonely Planet and for only $28, we got room, internet, hot water and breakfast. It is a good place for adventure (cheap) travelers to stay.

Where is the Pura Vida when you make a mistake

Pura vida! Is a typical saying that literally means Pure life, that expresses being wonderful, being cool. It is a motto in the Costa Rican life. Apparently a successful motto, because someone told me this nation has the highest life expectancy of all. I haven’t been able to Google it, but I will take it because it is not a crucial part of my story. Now I wonder where is the ”Pura Vida” when going against the traffic? I almost got my head shopped tonight by a taxi driver half way through the street. I didn’t hear the details of his scream, but I am sure it was not “PURAAA VIDAAAA!!” It must have been good, because I was forced to do a U turn to comply with the signage, right in front of the cops and they only laugh. I didn’t look at them to hard either, because I could have attracted negative forces and gotten a ticket for being an idiot. I must say in my defense that the road signs in Costa Rica are pathetic, well worse than that… there aren’t any at least not in the right place and definitely not at the right time.

That reminded me one more irony of the language in Costa Rica, “Con mucho gusto” it means “with delight”. It is usually said after a service and when one says “Thank you” I have experience that every time I go to a store I get an intense look with almost an annoyance feeling. The non-verbal language I get is this: “what’d u want?” ” is that all?” ”and now…what?” “hurry up and pay” then I say “thank you” and they say “Con mucho gusto” which I think means in their non verbal language “with delight I am done with you”

Thursday, July 22, 2010


One of the typical discussions, not arguments, we have with Matt when we travel is if the place we visit would be a good place for us to live. We talked about Guanacaste Costa Rica before, how could we not to picture ourselves leaving in a house overlooking the ocean, with the surrounding jungle, waterfalls, monkeys howling, birds, butterflies of all colors and designs adding to the landscape deco…we could and we did, but concluded it is Matt’s , but not ”my” kind of place. It did feel a little lonely, lacking something, maybe because we are in a transit mode, we don’t seem to fit in, we don’t really belong to anything or anywhere at this point. We did enjoyed meeting people from the Christian Church and some friends of Melissa like Mark, Tracy and their kids who were so nice inviting the girls over for play dates several times. A few more months and we would have built a social network.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nothing like family

It was going to be just a night we would have spent at my sister-in-law’s house , but as I posted before, we ended up staying longer, much longer due to Matt’s medical condition. My sister-in-law, Melissa, and her husband, Richard, put up with us day and night with laughter, screaming and long faces at times, not theirs, but ours. Melissa, expert in nutrition and fitness made sure that every day Matt would have a diet rich in fiber and that he would get plenty of rest. At the same time she would make sure our diet was MSG free, low fat, rich in vitamins and that I would get my antioxidants at night in a nice wine glass. She was able to push some exercises on me such as; a couple hour hike in a steep hill with a castle as our destination, a couple of zumba classes at the local gym, which I find its more my kind of exercise and a yoga class given by her. She also managed to make me feel guilty; every morning, when I woke up, she was already back from her morning run and had oatmeal-raisin cookies baking in the oven or when going shopping. I will miss our time spent in the kitchen, cutting the veggies, putting together dinners, observing how she came up with the best fresh tuna recipes I have ever tried.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We are grateful to you!

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Our friends from Ganymede make entrance to Costa Rica

Ganymede is the boat of another family cruising with their 3 little girls with whom we have sailed and share experiences since La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in Mexico sometimes we are behind and others ahead. In any case our girls are always in search of their boat at anchor or awaiting their arrival. This time we were ahead and for a long time wondering if we miss them altogether or if they were still making their way down. We were pretty lonely at this point and the though of them not making it here was comparable to the fear I used to have when little of falling asleep and waking up to see that no one is around. It was a nice surprise to open my email and find a note from them telling us they entered the country. Samantha was running around the house announcing the good news.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Medical Bills

Aaah! As we gain strength emotionally we go broke financially. The medical bills add up quickly. What the doctors don’t take, the pharmacies will make sure to grab. Given the prices of medicine I have decided that the next time I am asked if we are allergic to something.. the answer will be to “expensive medicine”; cold blood runs to my head, acid to my stomach and it makes me want to throw up.. yeap, I muuust beee!! The good things are that the same pharmacist (who may happen to be a doctor) can prescribe; in that case, there is no need for a doctor’s visit and the bills are still a fraction of what we would have paid in the US.