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A lot has happened lately. You know, relatively. I’m living a pretty relaxed lifestyle so a lot isn’t a whole lot. Perhaps one might even call it a pura vida lifestyle. 🙂 So here are some various notes about things past and present.
[AWESOME UPDATE]: Videos are done uploading and included below.
Semana Santa, or holy week, starts tomorrow (or maybe today, Palm Sunday). I had absolutely zero idea when I booked Zach’s ticket what this week meant both culturally and in terms of traffic. Everything shuts down on Friday, the day he’s to arrive. And everyone leaves San Jose and goes to the beach. Which beach? Jacó. Because it’s the closest.
So Thursday, I’m catching a bus to San Jose and couchsurfing there for a night. Zach and I will then either spend the night in San Jose or maybe head over to the Arenal area to watch the volcano erupt that night. It depends. If the traffic isn’t horrible, we might come back here.
Two nights ago, just after dark, I was sitting outside on the porch. Then I hear a little voice and in the middle of it, I hear “muchacho.” I look over and it’s one of the neighborhood children at the gate. The rest of them are lingering behind. After fumbling my way through Spanish, I determine they want to get mangoes from the tree in the yard. I open the gate and it was like magic. THE most adorable thing. They’re all just laughing and screaming, swatting at branches on the tree just out of reach. They each made little buckets with their shirts to hold the mangoes. It was just such absolute purity and innocence and totally awesome! We “talked” a little bit back and forth.
They were soooo sweet and kind, saying “Gracias” when they left. They had all the enthusiasm that goes with trick or treating. Though, I suspect they’ve just been working up the nerve to ask the gringo on the block if they can come in to get mangoes from the tree which they’ve probably been hitting up for all of the few years of their lives already.
Mayonnaise seems to be to Costa Rica what ketchup is to the United States. Everything comes with it. Also, in place of sour cream for your nachos.
I’m unfortunately hooked on Tang’s Guanabana juice. Unfortunate because it’s all sugary. It was one of the first powdered beverages I bought when I got here and I can’t shake it. I’ve gotta get my hands on some pure guanabana.
The ONLY places I eat are at sodas. And there are a ton of them, each with their different flavorings. The casado is the traditional Costa Rican dish and is served everywhere. At sodas, the meals run between $4-$6. (I always feel like $6 is really high. 🙂 )The photo below was my dinner last night. This is HALF of a casado. This meal cost me $4. So I eat half of it one day, the other half the next. $2 per day. I supplement with fresh fruit and whatever else throughout the day. A watermelon costs $1 and lasts five days. I also cook because it’s just as cheap.
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Internet access is a gift from the gods here. Many days, it’s simply unavailable to me for many, many hours. When it is accessible, it’s slow. I went to an internet cafe on Friday to try to upload a video and realized that it was only marginally faster than uploading it at home.
I actually started this post Friday night. When I’ve had access to the internet, other activities were slightly more important than posting this, though I’ve wanted to share. Because who doesn’t want to read about mayonnaise?!
Speaking of outages, today my power was out for three hours. That’s not a fun thing in Costa Rican heat.
I went to Playa Hermosa on Saturday just to take photos. Ended up spending a lot of time on the rocks on the coastline between Jacó and Playa Hermosa. It’s something else, that sight. And when you stop to think that day after day for, I don’t know, at least 50 years(!), waves just keep rolling in, one after another, crashing there… it’s pretty majestic. Pretty awesome. I have two videos from that little adventure, specifically of the area, but I haven’t even begun uploading them yet. However, I do have all the photos up from Saturday’s excursion. Check the Playa Hermosa gallery AND the Central Pacific Coast gallery (for the awesome waves crashing) on the Costa Rica page of photos.
Here are a few favorites from the day.
The rocks and waves at the south end of Jacó on the way to Playa Hermosa.
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The coastline as scene from the same location.
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Urban jungle graffiti in Playa Hermosa.
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A lovely couple of flowers on a vine in Playa Hermosa.
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A bench at the park in Playa Hermosa.
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Oh, too… a friend of mine asked when I was going to start photographing people. Good question. Here you go. Just for you, Mike.
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And here are a couple of videos. 🙂 Make SURE you select the HD1080 viewing option. Otherwise, it looks like it was shot on a cellphone from 2007.
The first one is walking out to one of the scenic overlooks. The particular view isn’t overly scenic; I just wanted to highlight the nature of the cliff.
And this was shot while out on the rocks. I parked the bicycle at the top of the cliff, then basically slid my way down the side of the mountain to get to the shore, camera and gear in tow. Shot some photos and then found a great vantage point out on the rocks to shoot waves crashing. 🙂
I HAVE managed to upload a couple of videos with success… Other videos I have uploaded with success!
Late in the day Saturday, after getting back from Playa Hermosa, the neighborhood dogs came to play in the yard.
And surprisingly, I get in front of the camera and make an appearance. (This is actually part of a longer video I’m piecing together.)
On a related note, I have completely given up on using Vimeo for video. Although they serve up videos by default in HD and YouTube doesn’t, I can’t get a video to upload to their service without it timing out. At least YouTube has mastered the art of uploading. So I’ll always encourage you to click the HD button.
I’m enjoying a simple luxury in life that I’ve done without for too long: listening to music at home out loud. Not loudly. Just out loud. For the last two years in South Beach, I watched tv shows, movies, AND listened to music through earbuds in my computer. Why? Because I didn’t want to disturb the neighbors. From time to time, I would play music out loud. But not often. Here, it’s a daily thing. It’s pleasant sitting on the porch, listening to mellow music. Pura Vida. 🙂
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