Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Daze

I had no sooner got settled into our new home, then I was packing my bag and heading to Bothell to spend a week having fun with one of my favourite Kinley boys.....Magnus.

Brad and Anette flew to St. Lucia to celebrate their 10th anniversary and I got to hang out with Magnus and got a refresher course on keeping up with a 4 year old.  Magnus was really good for me that it was far easier than I expected and he reminded me so much of Brad at that age that I often found myself calling him "Brad".

Brad at 4
 It was fun chauffeuring him to music appreciation, gymnastics, pre-school (where I was a parent volunteer one day), and to swimming.
We went to the Seattle zoo and spent an interesting few hours exploring exhibits and checking out the animals.

Magnus loves to read as much as Brad (and I'm sure Anette as well).  Trips to the library are a must!

After a week, Anette's folks came and took over the reins for the last week and I headed home for 3 days.  I really missed Magnus -- he has such a great sense of humour, and the two of us had a very special time together.  He just cracks me up.

I repacked my bag, and headed south to Costa Rica to visit Roger.

I took a 12 seater plane from San Jose to Limon, and was treated to a display of  a volcano erupting in Costa Rica.

The island you see is the project Roger is working on. It will be a
computerized container port for bananas and pineapples to be exported.

Roger warned me Limon, where he is working, is not the resort type place people associate with Costa Rica.  Taking the advice of our friend, Dwayne, I aimed low and avoided disappointment.  But first he surprised me with a weekend in Puerto Viejo - a seaside town an hour south of Limon where we kicked back, drank Margaritas and ate some great seafood.

Puerto Viejo is a backpackers destination a long with rastafarians and mid-aged men in pony tails.

On our way back to Limon, we stopped for a hike through Cahuita National Park.  It was fabulous hearing the ocean crash nearby as we walked through a rain forest.  We kept our eyes open for wildlife and were lucky to see a good selection.

I love leaf cutter ants.  They carry 3 times their weight and are incredibly industrious. 
A banana snake which we found out later are extremely poisonous.  

A very prehistoric looking lizard

Lots and lots of monkeys

Roger took this picture of a sloth on a previous trip to the park.
I'm sure they saw us, but we couldn't find any the day we were there.
 For all our driller friends - I took a couple of pictures of an abandoned drilling project from 1910.

The house is in a compound with about 15 of the guys from the project living in a house and a motel like building.  Only the bedrooms were air conditioned, and Roger didn't want me exploring on my own, so I spent a lot of time reading and watching TV.

Our crack guard dog.  At least he was at the front of the house......

Limon is a port city with a population of about 55,000 on the east coast of Costa Rica.  It was founded in the 1800s and has survived it's share of earthquakes and hurricanes.  And it shows.  Having said that, I found people friendly and many spoke English.

A view of the city and port from a great hill top restaurant 

One of the best parts of the week, was spending time with our nephew, Chris, who is also working on the project.  He is smart, kind and fun.  It's the longest I'd ever spent with him and loved it.  I'm glad he and Roger have had each other to hang out with.

It wouldn't be a project without having a  BBQ for some of the workers.  I enjoyed cooking 2 nights and enjoyed getting to know some of the local "Ticos", and staff from California.

Clockwise from left:  Roger, me, Alberto, Ally, Conner, Juan and Chris

One day he had a super guy, Luis, who does work for the project sometimes, take me on a tour of Limon.  It gave me a chance to practice my Spanish and I was relieved and surprised to remember Spanish words I hadn't spoken in 6 years.

Limon would never be described as pretty, but this building with the multi colored windows was neat.
 I love going through markets throughout the world and seeing the fresh fruits and vegs.

Luis took me to see his 90 year old grandmother.  She was amazing and showed me her beautiful garden and sent me home with a bag of mangoes from her trees.

The ocean was super warm but very rough all week.

I went on a Ceviche tasting quest -- this one was pretty darned fabulous.
The day before I left, Chris, Roger and I went down to the beach.  We met one of the guys from the project and chatted for several minutes.  I then said I'd go check out the water that was probably 50 ft from us, and gave Roger my camera while I put my purse down beside him.

 Roger then handed the camera to Chris to take a picture of the two of us.
 And then a rogue wave came and swept right past us as well as Chris......
That moment of realization when I saw my purse -- complete with passport,
phone and wallet --- starting to fill up with sand and water......
I dashed to my purse and scooped it up.  Fortunately my passport wasn't damaged, my wallet dried out and my phone was also spared.  Close call.

By Sunday it was time to start heading home.  I flew to San Jose on the little plane I came to Limon on.  Only this time, it wasn't sunny with blue skies.  There were storms all around and it was a sphincter clenching trip to remember.

Leaving Limon
Shortly after heading west to San Jose it got bumpy.  And then REALLY bumpy.

I could only see white outside the windows and the GARMIN radar of the plane's panel had big splotches of red and yellow.  I assumed that wasn't good. The pilot and the female co-pilot periodically spoke to each other, and alarm bells sounded enough to give me a flash back to watching a movie about Buddy Holly and how he died in a plane crash during bad weather.

At one point the pilot made an announcement, but neither me nor the only other adult passenger understood what he said.  After a half hour of turbulence and not being able to see anything, the clouds cleared enough for me to see San Jose in the distance so I started to relax thinking we'd be on the ground soon.

But then the pilot flew right past the airport.  And we kept flying.  I whipped out the airline's magazine and looked at the map trying to figure out where we might be going and wondering how I could make my 6:30 a.m. flight the next day.

After about 10 minutes, the plane banked and we headed back.  It was a relief, but the red lights still lit up the plane.  It wasn't until we touched down did I really exhale.  The pilot and co-pilot actually kissed each other when we came to a stop!

I got back home safe and sound and happy to be on the island.  Roger is hoping to be home by June 23rd and he is excited about seeing the house.  And to get out on the boat.

There is a saying in Costa Rica:  "Pura Vida".

It literally means "pure life", but it means so much more.  It speaks to the Ticos' easy going nature and their optimistic spirit.  It conveys that things are going well and another way of giving thanks.

Pura vida.

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