Sunday, February 8, 2009

Costa Rica

I'm home.

My three brothers, their spouses, and Bill and I went to Costa Rica for a week. We had the most wonderful time. Biggest announcement about the trip, besides the wonderful camaraderie and bonding we all had with each other, is that we went on the zip line.

Yep, me too; bent up like a pretzel, sailing away on a zip line across the rain forest thousands of feet up and thousands long. We went on seven separate zips and most you couldn't even see the end of the line. After the first test one you could get off but after that you had no choice but to go on. The wind would plummel me a bit and I'd freak thinking I was going to start swinging and get off track. I feel so good that I could do it and so proud of everyone. Bill and David were the only ones going at first but they had a domino affect when Rita said she would go too. It was rainy and windy that day and not the best day I don't imagine. I was glad to get off that thing for sure but what an adventure. I would recommend it to anyone because if I can do it, I think anyone can. LOL

We stayed at my friend, Dolly's B&B, Alegria, there when we got into San Jose. She is on the outskirts in Alajuela.

We also spent several nights at the Arenal Volcano and saw lava spilling over the side as it erupted about 3a.m. We stayed at the lodge there and had a wall size view through glass at the volcano. Just heavenly. It was overcast and rainy (in the rain forest...imagine that) but we had a great time just the same. We were in the same lodge and had balconies so got to enjoy life there surrounded by the rain forest, Arenal Lake and overlooking the volcano. The Howler monkeys and frogs serenaded us while we picnicked on the balcony. Such wonderful memories now. We ate breakfast at the lodge and would watch the colorful birds and coati mundi and even a squirrel monkey go for the fruit offered them there.
We saw a Quetzal, the cutest bird I think. This beautiful blue/green/red bird looks like he's got his hair all gelled up. We also saw my favorite butterfly in CR, the Blue Morpho. It's gorgeous irridescent blue on top but normal brown coloring on the bottom. We saw iguana and monkeys and birds oh, my. LOL

We toured San Jose and many little cities on the way there and back. Luis, our guide took us up to the tops of mountains and into valleys. There were banana, plantain, sugar cane, pineapple, and orange trees. I had coconut freshly off the tree and broken up for us to taste. Also coconuts pierced at the top for a straw to drink the juice out. We had fresh mangos, papayas and pineapple each day with our breakfast at Dolly's. We tried a few strange (different) fruits and decided we liked the more familiar ones. We had the Typical TICO dishes just about every time we ordered at a restaurant...rice and beans, French fries, chicken, and fruit drinks. Even their Coca Cola tastes different because they use their own natural resource, sugar cane, in it. Fruits and vegetables are plentiful and fresh out of the fields. We purchased fresh picked sweet strawberries from roadside vendors and they were yummy. I came home and wished I had some yellow rice and black beans cooked up. I don't think I would ever get tired of the food which is really like our Cuban food here.

The flowers were huge and full . We saw hydrangeas as big as our heads and bougainvillea in every color imaginable.This is such a colorful land. So many tropical flowers paved our way whether it was through the rainforest or through the Dako Coffee Tour. I don't think we will think of coffee in exactly the same way again after seeing what it takes to get that bean to us. J

Our driver and tour guide was Luis who stayed by our sides each day and showed us the Costa Rica he obviously loves. We met his lovely family and all of us were taken with this gentle man who was always there thinking about us and what we would enjoy seeing. His daughters made us (women) beaded necklaces to take home with us and that really touched us.

We saw some of the devastation from the Earthquake and the people now living in tents and metal buildings and school buildings(because the schools aren't opened yet). Roads were damaged and mountain sides tumbled we are told. We didn't see anything that drastic but seeing a road opening up was damage enough. It must have been terrifying. The earthquake was Jan 8 and the clean up is fast and people from all over have come to their aide. I know Luis had concerns over the displaced persons getting settled somewhere when the schools open. This was a 6.2 on the richter scale

We had an incredible adventure and now I'm back to the real world. I'm trying to catch up with Pura Vida in my thoughts.


Lynne said...

What an amazing trip to take, Judy, and even made more wonderful because you and Bill were able to share it with family. Nothing like those bonding times. The photos you show here are simply beautiful. Can't wait to see more. As word spreads about Dolly's B&B, she'll have to be turning people away soon. I'm hoping to go there some day...but I don't think you'll catch me on the zip line! You are a brave woman, Judith!

Mary said...

I enjoyed very much reading about your time in Costa Rica and will enjoy seeing photos. You are brave to go on the zip line. I wouldn't be caught dead doing that!! LOL.

It sounds like you saw a lot of interesting sites and animals. I am sure you will have wonderful memories of this special family vacation!

Victoria said...

What a trip Judy! I love reading about all it's aspects and the pictures are gorgeous. THat big periwinkle blue butterfly is just unbelievable and I'm thrilled you saw the coati mundi. We tried so hard in Arizona but they were elusive there, as I know I complained before. YOur coati picture is so sweet. I'm ipressed you tried the zip line. I've debated if I'd try if I had the chance - scared but curious. Proud of you, and welcome home.

Darrell said...

Judy: Lucky Dog You! To most people, I would normally say, "I sure hope you appreciate your good fortune to take such a trip, with your family nonetheless", but I know I don't need to say that to you. I know you are a grounded person, one who remembers from whence she came, and you must just be giddy that opportunities like this come up for you and Bill. You were a long way from Muddy Pond, in case you didn't know that. Great pictures, and I'm sure, great memories. I don't mean to steal your thunder, or overshadow you in any way, but guess what I did this week? I used coarse black pepper on all of my food, instead of the normal, every day "blah" fine ground pepper! Uh huh. That's right, baby. Livin' on the edge, and lovin' every minute of it. Sounds like you're not the only one in this family who lived "outside the box" this week, Ms. Roney. But, don't get me wrong--your zip line experience still seems kind of cool; not as cool as coarse ground pepper, but, well you just keep trying Judy. You're getting closer and closer to being as courageous as me. Most "zip-liners", as they're called in the "biz" , will tell you; first you go on the zip line, then you start using coarse ground black pepper. I believe in you, Judy! You can do it!

Oh yeah, a couple more things. Please do not feel like I am trying to upstage you in any way. That would be cheap, and immature of me. But I did want to tell you about a couple of other things that happened to me this week.

1). We had a Blue Jay on our bird feeder.

2). We saw a Chimpanzee on TV. I think it was on PBS.

3). We "splurged", and had 2% milk. OUCH!!!!

4). We talked about the rain forest, and how cool it is that there is so much rain. In a forest.

I could go on and on, but then I'd be a braggart. Does anyone say "braggart" any more? Anyway, I just want to encourage you: If you keep trying, you will eventually have an exciting life. You're getting kind of close, what with the zip-lining in Costa Rica thing. Let me know when things really start heating up.

LOVE AND HUGS Your weird, mixed-up, cousin, living the crazy life in Jones, Oklahoma,

Darrell--Who else??????

P.S. I'm gonna walk out to the road and get the mail now. HOW CRAZY IS THAT????? Say a prayer for me!!!!!

Bill said...

It was absolutely the best trip. I enjoyed the people of CR and enjoyed being with family. That is always so nice. It would be so easy to loose contact but your life is enriched with family. The zip line was out of this world. i gotta tell you that I was so impressed with all the ladies. I was scaird at first but when I saw the courage on the faces of the ladies I knew I had to go on and go on I did. Wow !! What an experience.Only a pulley and a taunt wire holding you from falling into the abyss. Thanks Judy for planning and organizing just a wonderful trip. I know you were concerned that all have a good time and I think you succeeded. Bill

tico said...

I read your blog and I see you like Costa Rica as much as I do. I'm sure you already know there are many things you can do while you are in Costa Rica, but like most people you never know where to find the best places to go. So, if you are looking for the best things to do while you are in Costa Rica then check out -- I find they've covered pretty much everything you could ever what to know about Costa Rica.

Judy said...

Victoria - That big periwinkle butterfly is a Blue Morpho and it is incredibly beautiful. That, along with the Quetzil bird are my favorites there. Amazing irredescent color blue on the butterfly.

Lynne and Mary, honestly, if I had the opportunity to do it again now I'd NEVER get back on that zip line. But I did it with the seven others and I think that gave me courage, or the fact that I could not turn back after the first trial run gave me the courage. LOL It was amazing though. I flew thousands of miles up over the rainforests! Can't believe it was me.LOL
Darrell - My comedian cousin, you crack me up. Let me assure you that raising four children is more adventurous and daring than anything I could possibly be doing anywhere else on earth. LOL You ahve the scary job, I just play now.
Yours and Mary's turn will come when your little ones are raised and gone and its just you two again. Don't wish it away too quickly though. You are living the golden years right now. (Trust me on this one).
Love and hugs to all of you.

Darrell said...

Hi Judy: I'm so glad you put up with my silliness. I just wanted to say that I am learning the wisdom of your words that these are the "golden years" that Mary and I are living now. Boy, that's hard to believe sometimes. Like yesterday, when I was trying to get Elliott ready for school, and he was putting on a little show for us. He discovered that by running through the house, his "pull-up" would fall down to his ankles. (He still has occasional accidents at night, thus the pull-up).This happened over and over, each time to uproarious laughter on his part, as the clock was ticking closer and closer to school time. (And of course, I had to stifle my laughter, or that would have just made us later for school. The show would have gone on forever if he saw me laugh.) Another "golden moment" happened to Mary. Tomorrow night is the Father-Daughter Sweetheart Dance at Avery's school. Yes, I'm taking Avery, are you kidding? How could I miss that? Anyway, Mary wanted to trim Avery's bangs for the big night. After she was done, Avery looked in the mirror, and collapsed to the floor in tears. She hated it. And, after several attempts to cheer her up, Avery ran off to her room and went to bed. So, keep on reminding us about those "golden years" of which you speak. We need to hear that over and over. I like that line from that old song, "...these are the good old days...". It's just so easy to get caught up in the struggles and disappointments that we forget that. Thanks for reminding me. Love, Darrell

Peggy said...

Wonderful to see your CR photos and read about your adventures there. Makes me want to make a reservation! You did really well with your photos, including the close-ups to show details. What a great country for photos! Such a great trip to do with your brothers and family! (And I am so glad I finally found this part of your blog).

My Carolina Kitchen said...

We've had several friends visit Costa Rica but never been ourselves. It looks gorgeous and I understand that the medical care there is excellent.

We lived full time out of the country in the islands for ten years and it is a once in a lifetime experience, but it's not for everyone. At least where we lived they spoke English. Thanks for taking us along on your trip. Fun stuff.