Archive for February, 2010

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Heavenly

February 19, 2010

Playa Pelada

Patience

Pays off

New friends

And some old ones.

A hearty wave.

Condensed Reflection

And the finale. Going….

Going…gone..

I think I have 1000 more pictures from the same sunset, but you get the idea. Plus I’ll likely get 1000 more of tonights and every night I’m here. I don’t know if it’s something one can get tired of.

Hasta luego.

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Nosara at last.

February 17, 2010

Finally here. It’s feels like a much longer time coming that it actually has been, especially since I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m very happy to be here at Refugio del Sol, in the company of Josh and Marcia, the owners. Josh has even offered to teach me how to surf, with lesson and board rental at a discount since I’m staying here. And Marcia assures me that Playa Guinoes is a great beach even for beginners, which obviously I am. It’s been a long day and so I will save the bulk of the description for tomorrow, but some things I learned about driving through Costa Rica today?

At first it seemed everyone drives very fast, but once you’re in it, it’s not as intimidating as it seems.

There are times when everyone is in a hurry to pass the person in front of them, it’s difficult not to get caught up in it. But then, just as suddenly, everyone seems perfectly content to stay in a long line, maintaining the same speed. And just as suddenly, everyone goes into pass mode again. I have yet to determine what causes this.

Double yellow lines appear to be a suggestion, not a requirement that you stay in your lane.

The main highway is well paved, but still bumpy. The smaller highways are kind of well paved, much bumpier. The smaller roads are not paved and very bumpy. Lucky I have 9 (10 this year!!) soundwaves under my belt and am no stranger to rough roads.

On the smaller roads, everyone, whether pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist, driver, waves at you with such joy it feels like you are home.

There are roadside restaurants so frequently it feels as though it would be impossible to go hungry.

Gas station attendants find gringas who drive barefoot and lose their keys three times within the same fillup terribly amusing.

When driving, make sure to put more sunscreen on your left arm than your right, otherwise you end up with a very funny looking sunburn.

When picking up hitchhikers, hold out for the cool german girls who are staying at some cool way off the beaten path hacienda type place if you want to meet awesome people who will give you good information and offer you a chill place to stay on the ocean for supercheap that comes with it’s own bats!

And now, I’m tired and would give myself over to sippin some rum in a hammock, and typing on my computer doesn’t really mesh with that somehow.

Hasta manana mi amigos.

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Alajuela by night.

February 17, 2010

Ok, so apparently it’s a bad idea to wander the streets of Costa Rica at night.  Before anyone has a heart attack (I’m looking at you, mom) nothing untoward happened to me, unless 2 cute drunk boys (as in, I could be jailed for talking to them, probably) trying to convince one to go for a drink could be considered untoward. It made for a funny scenario, me speaking no spanish, them speaking no english. They started off polite, but when they realized I didn’t understand, they instantly switched to juvenile innuendo, which needs no translation, much to their chagrin when I let them know this.

But encounters int the park aside, everyone I met was superfriendly, some guys made eyes at me, but I’ve wandered enough foreign cities late at night to realize how to signal non-interest. Everyone seemed to respect this, which is always nice. It was when I wandered back to the B&B to find the owner waiting up for me to call for a lift (regardless of the fact that I said I’d make my own way back, don’t worry, es ok, they are too sweet) and he expressed surprise that I would not only want to wander the streets  at night, but that I would even do it. Especially being a mujer sola. I encounter this a lot, it’s difficult to explain that some of the nicest times I’ve ever had in foreign places are when I was walking alone at night. I know that it’s dangerous, I know that precaution can’t rule out every scenario, but there’s something about the nighttime in a city.

Otherwise my evening was pretty standard, except for the mistake. I was directed to a sweet little restaurant with a table of guys in one corner who had more eyes for the waitress than me (yay!) and a menu entirely in spanish. No one there spoke english. Ok, I though, no problema, it’s good for me to practice. And here I made the hugest faux-pas. I asked for a biere.

A Beer! To be fair I asked for it in french, but still! How many times have I said, oh I’ll have no problem in a spanish speaking country because I know Donde esta el bano? And una cerveza, por favor. CERVEZA! And I ask for a beer. To be fair, my first impulse was to speak in a foreign language, just not the right one.

In some ways it’s been good for me to be stuck in Alajuela for a couple of days. I thought I would go straight to Nosara and find myself enmeshed within a touristy enough zone that my lack of spanish would be no problem.  And granted the people here at the B and B are fantastically fluent so there is no problem. But while wandering in Alajuela my handicap is very apparent. I had no trouble for the most part, found a department store and managed to find most of what I needed on my own, bought some sunglasses from a vendor on the street, but wow! Do I ever not speak spanish. The nice thing about knowing french is that many words in french are closer to the spanish equivalent. I even tried speaking french and adding o to the end of words, which doesn’t always work, but now and again, it does. The funniest part about the department store was that after being asked by numerous sales girls if I needed something, they tracked down a woman (Graciela) who spoke english and she dragged me all over the store, making sure I took advantage of items on sale and telling me how much everything cost in dollars. Which was wonderful, we even found a sales girl very much like me in size so we could determine what clothes might fit me best before I even tried them on.

Things I have discovered about Costa Rica so far?

Drivers will honk if there is even a second’s delay in moving forward.

There are no street names outside the larger cities. Even then, smaller streets have no identity of their own.

Drivers do not wait for the light to change green if there are no cars coming.

An appetizer plate is as big as most entree plates in canadian restaurants.

Regardless of how hot it is, most people wear jeans.

Sunglasses vendors are very helpful.

Large grocery stores do not have a produce section, because you can buy produce on the street everywhere. I even saw a bunch of loofahs hanging off someone’s truck. (I just recently learned a loofah is a plant)

Large grocery stores do have Antonio Banderas perfume, men who feather dust the alcohol bottles and others who use all purpose cleaner to meticulously clean that strip of shelf where the price tag goes.

In department stores, the higher the floor, the cheaper the clothes.

You do not have to know what time of day it is because most people will greet you with Buenas. Which helps when you aren’t sure if you should be saying buenas dias, buenos tardes, etc.

Ideally my bag will arrive sometime tomorrow and I will be able to make more observations on my way to Nosara.

Buenas noches darlings.

That is a flame on the crest because when I was driving with Bernard (Barnabus?) who has been so sweet and taken me all over the place since I’ve been here he pointed out a statue of Juan Santamaria and I had the gall to ask if those were flowers he was carrying. No, I was informed, he is not carrying flowers and a gun (which seemed perfectly logical to me for some reason) he is carrying a flame and a gun. For those unaware, a short and wildly inaccurate history lesson.

There was this United Statesian douchenozzle named William Walker who decided he wanted to be the president of Nicaragua. This was after failed attempts to invade Mexico and charges of starting wars were dropped by dudes were liked the idea of owning slaves from new countries. He took advantage of Nicaragua’s civil war to insert himself, set up a slave holding republic, mockfarce electioned himself president and recruited many honky slave owning douchenozzles from the states and europe to come and help him take over Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica. Franklin Pierce (president of the states at the time) even recognized his douchebaggery as legitimate! Lots more stupid stuff happened, eventually Vanderbilt(who business interests were being messed with) paid mercenaries from the states and along with a Costa Rican military delegation they went to fuck him up. As the story goes, they weren’t outnumbered but the tactical advantage was with William Wanker’s men. Finally Juan Santamaria, the brave little 25 year old drummer boy, risked life and limb to carry a torch (not flowers)  and set fire to the building Wanker’s men had holed up in. His limbs came out okay, his life? Shortened by a whole bunch. Eventually William Wanker was executed by being shot a whole bunch of times in the face. In Honduras. To this day, Juan Santemaria has a museum, 2 statues and an airport named after him. William Wanker is aknowledged by some narrow southern brainless idiots as a hero, but no one really thinks those guys have any sense.

History lesson over. Thanks for tuning in.

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Alajuela morning

February 16, 2010

And now to find my backpack so I can see some more.

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La gush..el gush?

February 16, 2010

I have to rave a bit about this place I’m staying tonight. It’s called Melrost B&B like I mentioned before and they are just awesome! It’s by now common knowledge that the redirect gods got ahold of my stuff and spent the day hoarding it in Toronto. I imagine this happens to travelers at least once in their adventures and boy am I grateful that I got off as easy as I did (knock on wood as I don’t actually have my bag in my possession yet). It could have happened next year when Janice and Jimmy and Hanah and I go to Bali, stop by to visit Nikki’s folks in Australia on our way to New Zealand and Tasmania..(hint, hint?) and the bag could be on it’s way to Minsk while I fret over the potential loneliness it feels. Although it could be argued there’s no way that could happen because I’ll likely play the carry-on game from here on out. Here on in? Whatever.

I’m always a little hesitant with recommendations that come from tourism affiliated businesses. Who’s to say how reputable it ever is? It could be a second cousin and it’s just a way to lure in unsuspecting, non-native languange speaking noobs like me who just wants  a sane place to lay her head while waiting for a backpack full of practical things like hula fire spokes, legwarmers and knee high socks. (To be fair, it was late, I was excited, I needed sleep but didn’t get any, I baked a cake to send to England, I spent hours backing up all of my music and writings just in case I lose my laptop or the harddrive filled with music that I brought with me and I was going on the fact that you just never ever know. Bikini top, short skirt, legwarmers, bare feet, I honestly can’t imagine many sexier things than that. ) But fortune smiled like a Costa Rican (they seem to do that a lot and it feels genuine, unlike the Danes. They smile, but it’s sometimes hard to tell if they actually like you or they’re laughing at you to your face. It’s rather endearing in some strange way though. I like the Danes.)  upon me and brought me here, where they showed me to a little room (the only one left for the night) let me know if I needed anything I should call, asked what time I wanted breakfast brought to my room, let me know where I could buy a change of clothes, offered to drive me the block and a half if I wasn’t into it, parked my rental in a secure locked up garage, drove me to a great restaurant where I sat at the furthest table from the kitchen and then felt like a jerk when I realized my super attentive waitress was waaay pregnant but so accomodating, and came and picked me up after. I’ll have to come back to Alajuela to pick up my sis next week when she lands around 9 am tuesday and since I’ll be coming back from Nosara monday night, I already know where I’m going to stay. I’m sure there are cheaper places to crash, but I don’t know about better. These guys are soooooo awesome! They even got on the phone to try and communicate with the sorry-we-lost-your-bag people because I couldn’t understand the message (being that it was in spanish and I am a freakish neophyte in that realm).

As far as Nosara goes, I’ve been checkin it out a lot, as I’m pretty sure I want to spend the bulk of my time there. I had found someone on couchsurfing who lived there, was extraordinarily charismatic and seemed to be a whole lot of fun! How ideal to have a potential couch or even just a hookup for the very area I wanted to be in! Sadly, she moved back to the states literally 3 days before I wrote to her. But write I did and she came back with mucho suggestions for where I should stay, who I should speak with about surf lessons, who to seek out for rainforest tours, which bar has free tequila for women thursdays, even a blog of events happening within the community! A wealth. Seriously.

Since I wasn’t sure how quickly I could find a place, I contacted her friend who runs a B&B over there, the day (literally!) before I was due to fly to Costa Rica, telling her that she had come highly recommended. Her response? I’ll be away for the day, but if you reach Nosara before I’m back, I’ll leave the key in the door of one of the suites for you, let yourself in.

Does that happen anymore?

She knows me from no one! And yet, extends this hospitality (which I was sadly unable to take advantage of because of my scenario) on such short notice that it would not have seemed anywhere near untoward if she had pointed and laughed uproariously. Ok, maybe that would be a little untoward, but not by much.

As well, the guy that I’ve contacted about surf lessons (the only tican run surf shop/school out of 11 in the area) also rents houses and has every confidence that I won’t need to find a place to stay while I search. WoW!

Oh, and Costa Ricans are fearless, if the way they drive is any indication, especially motorcycle drivers. I think of myself as a pretty awesome, assertive (not aggressive) driver, but I’m thinking after driving around here for a month, I’ll have the confidence to enter a nas car rally and giggle the whole time.

Speaking of giggling, you know when you’re so tired that everything is hilarious? I’m beyond that. And so I shall say Buenas noches darlings.

Sueno bien…I think that means dream well..and so I shall…

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Livin la pura vida

February 15, 2010

I remember when I first went to France and was so completely frustrated with how often I had to start a conversation with Desolee, je parle pas francais. Eventually though that flourished into more comprehensive ways of telling people I couldn’t speak the language until I realized one day that communication is not restricted to language. So many times I cut myself out of even trying to comprehend, feeling a lack of confidence in my ability to convey what I wanted to say. I had an epiphany of sorts one day, with regards to my ability to creatively express myself as a result of my impressive vocabulary. It doesn’t amount to much when that vocabulary is only impressive in one language.

So here I am again, different location, exact same phrase over and over again. Lo siento, no hablo espanol. Actually the first few times I said it, I’m pretty sure I said no hablas espanol, which I believe means you don’t speak spanish, which obviously just isn’t true. Otherwise we wouldn’t be having this communication problem!

I’m a huge fan of never checking bags. I’m also a huge fan of spinning fire. Fire toys and carry on do not go so well together. I decided at the last minute to throw my fire hula into the mix and check my backpack. I arrived in Costa Rica, my backpack did not. Suddenly all my best laid plans were for naught because I would have to spend the night in ALajuela, near the airport and wait for my bag.  Fortunately I had the sense to reserve a car yesterday and while waiting for the shuttle to get me, I asked the rep if he knew of a good place to stay. He got on the phone and called Melrost B&B. They not only had a vacancy, they had someone meet me at the car rental place  so I could follow him here. Then they directed me to a shopping mall a very long block away, through a neighborhood where all the houses have bars on the windows, but all the neighbors and very friendly. It’s an interesting contrast. Plus, there is a huge field in the centre of this residential area with half a dozen horses and a bunch of cows milling about. When I stopped to take pictures of the horses,  a cool old dude wandered across the street and told me all about the neighborhood, regardless of the fact that I have not a clue what he was saying. He knew I didn’t understand, but that didn’t phase him in the least. I believe he and his sister own a block of apartments but everything else was lost on me.I told him I wanted to go to the market, he gave me very thorough directions in spanish and off I went.

I was a little disappointed that it was very much a mall in every sense of the word, but set out to find what I needed until my pack arrives.  Most of the stores cater to the young adult scene, as malls often do, and even the grande was far too pequeno for this busty gal. The funny thing is, I would walk into a store, immediately cut short the sales pitch with lo siento…try to explain that I have no clothes, get blank stares and my reasonable, not reactionary at all response? I buy the first thing that looks like it will fit me, look like a complete jackass trying to figure out if i’m getting ripped off spending 20,000 colones on a shirt and  leave. (20,000 is about 36 bux I discovered later.) Plus I had to go to the bank machine three times because the first time I took out 6000 which won’t buy one pair of panties (depending on where you shop I’m sure) the second time I took out 20,000 thinking I was alright this time. Spent that on a shirt. But I’ll learn, it’s only my first day after all.

I’ve got to gush a whole bunch about how awesome the people are who run the b&b I’m staying at, as well as the people I’ve been in touch with in Nosara, but right now I’m going for dinner with the awesome people here in alajuela!

Mwah darlings. Hasta luego!

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Cover.

February 12, 2010

I’ve often thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great if I could make my writing ability work for me? I coul be one of those full time blahgging people who actually makes money at what they do! I could do my job from anywhere in the world!’

More often I tend to think about how clever I would have to be all the time. Most people who seem to be successful at blahgging offer a kind of niche blahg. They specify, rather than rant about whatever comes into their head at the time. Or whatever has been festering over the course of the day to the extent that it must be exorcised into the vast spaces of the interweb at random. I don’t know that I could nichify so easily. Rant, yes. Specify? Not so much.

I also wonder about the drive for content. I’ve noticed that the really successful blahgs have ooodles of people commenting after them. Most of the comments are agreeable, supportive, written  by people who are so pleased to discover other clever and witty people with the same views as themselves, it goes a long way to justifying how they are living their lives. That’s always nice. There are sometimes disagreements, to the point of venomous and wounding remarks. Outright attacks on the thoughts the original blahgger has put forth. Some eloquent, most ignorant and hateful. Would one eventually find that the writing would cater to a certain collective thought pattern, rather than one’s own? The more people who read it, the greater chance there is of offending someone (which distresses me not at all) and the greater chance there is of people voicing their comments, opinions, judgey-hatredy ramblings towards things that came from my head. Suddenly one might have to be careful about how often the word fuck is used. Or how many times in one posting the virtues of abortion to free oneself from the stress of unwanted pregnancy is put forth. Or how retarded it is to demand that the word retarded is only used to refer to people (not things, situations or governments) and then only people who were born with mental or physical restrictions. What about people who  acquire retardation like some acquire wigs? I admit that most of the facts I have are ones that I have made up to suit whatever belief system I’m supportive of today. But I realize that. How many people out there do the same thing, but take what their brains tell them to be true? I’m talking to you ‘big omnipotent dude who lives in the sky and promises sky cake after you’re dead so long as you keep yourself from doing anything fun while you’re alive and do good things (yes, because molestation of children, keeping people from using condoms to prevent excess population and the spread of disease and hoarding riches while children starve are all good acts) only because it’s what’s expected of you, not because you are well and truly a good person’ believer-types.

I’m all tingly at the thought of how many different interest groups/ demographics/uptight wankers I’ve offended within that paragraph alone! If I acquired income from my writings, you can bet that my religious sponsors just dropped me. As well as mothers against anything cool, indignant parents of retards and a good portion of fence sitters who are just uncomfortable with such sarcastic ranting. Ok, the catholic church is responsible for all those things and yes, political correctness has gone to far and people are way too sensitive when it comes to how much they let words dictate how they feel about what they say to one another, but do you have to be so in your face about it?

My thoughts. Mine. My desire to express them, my right, my selfishness when it comes to those things that will make me happy. Nobody else’s business. Truly. Am I going out and performing abortions? Am I forcing my belief system on people who were pleasantly existing before I came along and introduced them to the concept of shame and sexual repression while secretly molesting their children? Am I kicking puppies? Am I walking up to retarded kids and telling them they are limited by their brains that operate differently than most people, regardless of the fact that most people who have “normal” working brains are complete idiots who use less brain power, have less compassion and less joy in everyday existence than so-called retards? Who is the retarded one exactly?

Sure, it could be argued that I should restrain myself because it is the internet after all and some kid might come across my ramblings and be forever scarred by the blatant disregard for subservient kowtowing. (Do those words mean the same thing? Have I just written a superfluous redundancy? Yes, it appears I have. Though kowtowing has a certain amount of respect that goes along with it, wheras I am just a disrespectfully crass ninny. I’ll try again.) Perhaps I should restrain myself because it is the internet after all and someone might come across my ramblings and be forever scarred by my blatant disregard for self imposed blinders when it comes to experiencing life in all of it’s dirt covered bliss, without the stupidity of antibacterial soap.  I hope the scarring is deep enough to encourage independent thought! Besides the chance that a kid will randomly stumble across this is so slim, I use far too many words in one place for that kind of thing. I would bet that most random visitors might read the first paragraph, but upon not seeing their own name written, or some other pertinent detail, would move on. Plus there is virtually no porn whatsoever.

My advice to those who might come across this and be offended? Find something else to look at. There are thousands of websites where you can stare at cats doing silly things, children falling down, fat people being jolly as only fat people can (just lost the portly demographic…) humans enmired in all kinds of useless and ironic activity for no good reason at all. The reason I write here is because I’m reaching out from my brain, to my brain and a small selection of other brains whose presence has not been filtered out by my caustic wit, unapologetically dark humor and general awesomeness. Notice I used the word filter? Yes, it’s true. It could be that under all these layers of savagery sarcasm there is a lovely human being who is nowhere near as mean as she appears. Too bad you were shocked and appalled at her lack of tact when it comes to such a sensitive issue such as (insert religious fanatic’s cause of the day here), you miss out on me. I’m ok with that, the reason why the filters exist to keep the intolerant, the ignorant, the wankers from wanting to talk to me. I’m sure, being a human, you have your inherent value. You have your life and your story and the fact that you came into being (which the odds dictate as astronomical) suggests that you have a place here, just as I do. I just don’t need your small minded bullshit rattling my cage. I’ve got my own small minded bullshit I’m sorting through on my way to figuring out what works best for me, while living my life as joyfully and humbly as one can when one is as incredibly awesome as me.

Now, all that said, it might be determined that all my ranting is naught but a clever smoke screen for the fact that it has been a few days since I reported on the progress of my experiment. The experiment goes well. I have discovered that doing something just to prove that I can is not a good way to inspire discipline in myself. Yes, I feel good when I exercise. Yes, I feel great when I have a good piano playing session. When I have imposed mandatory regulations on myself with regard to both of these things, it doesn’t feel so good. I’m not saying any of this because I’ve stopped doing them, on the contrary, with the exception of tonight when I fell asleep right after dinner, I have maintained the discipline of exercising and playing every day. But discipline that is imposed feels so wrong. It really does. I admit I find it a little sad that there is some kind of compulsion within me to submit to such a thing. Perhaps it’s the masochist in me. I think rather than demanding of my self that it capitulates to what the overbrain considers “good practices” I should instead practice at maintaining “good habits”.  If it feels good when something gets done, why doesn’t that memory sustain a desire to continue? I know how awesome it feels to have the extra energy from exercising, why do I have to cajole my self to do it again the next day? But that’s a question for another time.

On another note, I leave for Costa Rica in 3 days. The only white I’ll be seeing for the next month will be the light cotton skirt and tanktop I’ll be wearing over my bikini, to contrast my amazing tan. I am so due for some vitamin d.  I wish I could take you all with me darlings, but my backpack is just too little. There will be pictures galore however, and while the ramblings will ideally take back seat to rainforest and volcano exploration, along with surf lessons and sunset gazing, I’m sure I will feel compelled to write a little something now and again, just to allow for vicariousness at it’s most topically tropically.

And one more pot shot, for all those banana lovers out there. I did say virtually no porn, remember.

Ha!

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