Consistent internet connectivity – FINALLY

Hola!

I realize it’s been two weeks since my last update and I apologize.  Between the scheduled day-long power outages, losing power during heavy rains/thunder/lightening, and inconsistent (and often non-existent)  internet service in my apartment, it’s been impossible to post updates.  The few I was able to post the first couple of weeks I was here took about three hours each to complete!  That was not sustainable.  Thankfully the wonderful people who run this place added a new router in my apartment and although it still wasn’t working yesterday. . .it’s working today!  YAY!

Sooo much has happened in the last two weeks!  I’ll start with the most recent events of this past weekend.  I rented a car for the first time to explore south of Manuel Antonio.  I went to Dominical and Playa Ballenas.  I explored a waterfall on Saturday and climbed to the top of a crazy steep hill with my silly car (note to self. . . ALWAYS get a 4-wheel drive in CR!!) to find a very special hostel called Cascada Verde run by a German couple that is walking distance to the waterfall.  I found it alright, but it was closed for repairs!

Waterfall near Cascada Verde hostel in Ballenas

Waterfall near Cascada Verde hostel in Ballenas

I was intent on finding one specific restaurant on Playa Ballenas that I had heard so much about.  It’s called Villa Leonor and from what I was told, it was the gathering place for locals on Sundays when the owner of more than 20 years, Cliff serves barbeque.  Although it was Saturday, I wanted to find it, as my intention was to eat there on Sunday, but I was also told that it was located along Playa Ballenas and that I could park my car there (safely) and explore the beach.  I found it and it really was as fantastic as I was told – as was the food!  The restaurant is a sprawling, rustic open air space with a pool, a bar, and a few covered locations with tables and chairs.  There is a path that leads you through the jungle along a river that looks like perrrrfect crocodile habitat out to a southern stretch of Playa Ballenas.  Absolutely incredible.

Perrrfect croc habitat between Villa Leonor and Playa Ballenas

Perrrfect croc habitat between Villa Leonor and Playa Ballenas

I spent several hours there getting to know the owner and some of the very colorful local ex-pats – mostly retirees.  The owner’s gorgeous stepson Adolfo made me the most delicious traditional Tico breakfast of gallopinto (best I’ve had in CR so far) with eggs, sliced tomato, and some kind of yummy cheese.  Mmmmm. . . I explored the beach, but was afraid to swim there on my own as I was the ONLY person on this long stretch of beach on Saturday.  Thankfully one of the friends of the owner (Keith) swam with me and we had a great time.

Playa Ballenas toward the 'whale's tail'

Playa Ballenas toward the ‘whale’s tail’

I’ve been very careful swimming in CR overall as crocodiles and caimans have been unusually aggressive towards humans since I’ve been here.  Something like 5 attacks in the last month with at least three confirmed deaths.  No kidding.  See the photo of a big daddy swimming at the Manuel Antonio town beach last week.  Horrifying!  Joaquin sent me an article today about the growing ‘problem’ of crocs inhabiting coastal waters in greater numbers the past few years, probably due to habitat loss and tourism that includes feeding the crocs for show.  Crocs are now associating people with food. . .no bueno!

Croc swimming at Manuel Antonio town beach

Croc swimming at Manuel Antonio town beach

Since the hostel was closed, I asked Cliff for a recommendation and he hooked me up with friends of his who own an incredible mountain-top lodge called Pacific Edge in Dominicalito.  The owners, George and Suzie, are former sailors of large yatchts – Susie was the captain!! – and they bought this very special property more than 20 years ago and built it up to it’s current majestic glory.  As it was at the top of the mountain, I had a very sketchy ride up with my silly car and by the time I got there, it was nearly dark.  As they didn’t have a restaurant, I wasn’t sure how I would get dinner but the hosts graciously made me a ham and cheese sandwich and sold me a bottle of wine!  HA!  It was great.  I absolutely loved my night there and hope to return with Jim when he visits.

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On Sunday, my friends Moriah (teaching English in Quepos) and Ramona (social worker in the Peace Corps) took the bus from Quepos to Domincal where I picked them up for a day at Villa Leonor.  We had delicious barbeque, explored the beach in the rain, and drew a storyboard in the sand with our feet!  Then we told the story ‘in the round!’  Val would have been soooo proud!  It was a blast, and I love my new friends!

 

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