Nancy's Blog

The view from our back yard includes this giant bug nest.  Although I haven't shimmied up the tree to measure it, my guess is that its about 5 feet tall and a foot and a half wide. 

Yesterday our task was to find a cord so that we can once again roll up the shades after the morning’s blinding sun has abated.  The cord we need is very specific, and its not sold here in Tamarindo.

Like Lake County, California, sometimes the need for the simplest item is excuse for an excursion, but unlike Lake County, we can’t order the item we need from Amazon and have it drop shipped, so off we went.

Rural Costa Rica offers a tapestry of small scenes, each beckoning for more than just a glance from a car window.  I saw a man holding back a team of yoked oxen harnessed to a cart; roadside stands laden with melons, coconut, and papaya; scores of children in tidy white tops and blue bottoms; Tamarindo trees blossoming pink and white in defiance of the dryness of the season.  The sugar cane we saw a few weeks ago has been harvested now and already the fields are alive with new plantings.  We stopped and filled a bag with mangos that littered our deserted country road, only the cows, the wind, and the birds breaking the quiet that surrounded us.

Ultimately our unplanned route dead ended at a place called Rancho Gesling, where against all odds a friendly woman in an empty restaurant offered to fix us a casado, the national food of Costa Rica.  We were starving and ate the black beans, rice, plantains, tortillas, cabbage salad, and fish enthusiastically.  Afterwards we took a dip in the nearby pool while palm fronds swayed in the wind overhead.

We still don’t have the cord we need to pull up our shades, but tomorrow is another day.

On Sunday night, I watched bold young men in a make shift arena face off crazed multi-ton sharp horned bulls and barely evade rapid, unpredictable, potentially fatal contact. Adrenaline poured through my veins as I sat and watched, unable to look and unable to look away. I literally had to go home and take Advil and use my last bag of herbal tea just to get through the after shock. We had ventured off to Los Ranchos, a small town outside of everywhere to a Fiesta that rivals any county fair in the U.S. but is very different. The main attraction is the “bull fight,” but rest assured that in Costa Rica, it is illegal to kill a bull. Instead, the bull is released into a small arena full of young men. Many others, including a few women, sit on the edge of the surrounding fence, their legs dangling into the arena, while the bull looks this way and that, selecting his next victim, and then charges. The crowd scatters, the audience gasps, and the bull starts again. After a time, 3 highly skilled fearless men on horseback enter the arena and with the precision of a pediatric orthodontist, lasso the bull horns and in a choreography of rope work and horsemanship, they guide the enraged bull into a slender closet and slam the door shut behind him. We spent the evening there and I would admit that my visceral reaction to the spectacle seemed singular. No one else emitted the screaming that I involuntarily subjected on the crowd, and later when we were home, I saw in one of Gary’s videos that a young lady sitting on the fence, a lady whose legs were dangled precariously close to the raging bull and whose death or dismemberment appeared to be imminent, was actually texting instead of running for her life.
On Saturday night, Lauren’s new friend Sabrina celebrated her 10th birthday at Flamingo Beach. The kids ran wild just as kids are meant to do, their skin touched by the sun, their bare feet calloused by rocky trails, their little fingers sticky with candy. As the sun set, Sabrina’s family fired up the barbecue and readied the bonfire. It was a beautiful evening. As the parents chatted against the setting sun, we learned that our old house had a break in the day after we moved. Two of the boys who were at Sabrina’s party were walking through our neighborhood late Thursday night. They saw a taxi driver pull up to the house and two guys leap over our old fence. At that point, the boys ran away. A near miss for us and one of the ugly realities of this beautiful country.

Yesterday at Lauren’s school I looked for a piece of paper in the office so I could jot down a phone number.  There was none to be had.  I rifled through my purse so I could use the back of a receipt, then looked for a pen.  The only pen available was tied to a short string and attached firmly to the counter.  No one, including me, would be walking away with it.

In Costa Rica there is very little waste.  At school, Lauren’s classroom has a “materials monitor” in addition to the other tasks students take on.  Spelling tests are done on half sheets of paper or the back of a used sheet.  

On our refrigerator, I’ve posted a list of items I’d like to bring here from the United States when we go back for a visit; among them:  rubber bands, an item in abundance in every American junk drawer in every American kitchen. We don’t have any here.

So why was I looking for Robert?  His company, Business Design Services, generously passes out the coolest sparkling red pens and fabulous purse-sized notebooks.  I should have stocked up when I had the chance - Robert probably would have given me a rubber band too.

Latest comments

20.12 | 00:15

Hi,These are some photos I took. I like to take Self Portraits. I will be taking more pictures of Costa Rica. Thank for your selfy. --

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01.12 | 18:28

Gary's Blog One Last Look Saw the last sunset of our stay tonight.Amazing post...

11.11 | 19:54

Green, or common, iguanas are among the largest lizards in the Americas, averaging around 6.5 feet ...