Monday, May 5, 2014

PURA VIDA : part 1

I could hear my heart racing as my eyes were fixed on Chuck flying down that cable, when I finally heard J.P. calling me, "Señorita … Señorita." Oh, but, wait… I should start from the beginning.

Majestic Lodge
Chuck is a CPA and works long, hard hours to make the April 15th tax deadline. In years past, he jumps on a plane April 16th and heads to Costa Rica for a ten day, well deserved vacation. But this year, he wanted to share his vacation in beautiful Costa Rica, so he delayed his flee from the States until I was able to get time off from my work. April 26th we boarded a plane and escaped our every-day life and entered the world of the Ticos in Castillo, at the base of the active volcano, Arenal. Let me stop right here and tell you guys, Costa Rica is a wonderful place and everyone of you should make a trip there at least once in your life… it's that great.

The common area is beautiful and has a wonderful view.
Chuck has been going down there for the past ten years. He is friends with the "gringos" from Key West that have created a wonderful Bed & Breakfast with a spectacular view of Lake Arenal and the volcano. This is where we stayed for a week, Majestic Lodge. The view from the lodge is spectacular; the lake, the volcano, and the mountains in the background. The sounds coming out of the rainforest in the early morning light are mesmerizing. The howler monkeys are very vocal, and the birds are many.

The owners of Majestic Lodge, one night over a few drinks, decide they wanted to open a bar & grill. Twenty-eight days later, Howlers, opened their doors for business just up the road from Majestic. It is presently closed for remodeling. We have been invited for the reopening, sometime in the near future.  I'm hoping my boss will be generous and let me have time off for this reopening. I have my doubts though. I've already taken three weeks of vacation, and I haven't been at Strunk a year yet. What do you think? Will they or won't they? Let's take a vote.

I've heard so much about this peaceful area, and Chuck had a list of things he wanted to show me now. The one thing I was looking forward to the most was riding the horses, and I got to do that three days. Our longest outing was the ride to the waterfall. The trail lead us first through a pasture, then we entered the forest. Just like the "RAINFOREST" indicates, it rains often, therefore, there will be mud. These horses were good "mudders" and very surefooted, even while skating down a steep, knee-deep muddy slope. Just give them their head and they will make it through. I was impressed.

Our destination, the waterfall. Sitting at the edge of the small pool, looking up, there was a mist coming off the rock wall next to us. It was one of those "WOW" moments. The two dogs that joined us on the journey, took a dip in the cool water, and then wanted to love on me… or just wanted me to share my peanut M&Ms. I want to believe he just wanted to be near me, and of course, get me wet.

Not only did we get to ride to the waterfall one morning, we also took a couple horses of a friend out for a ride one afternoon. We crossed the river that crosses the road. Yes, there is no bridge. And on our last day there, our friend joined us for another afternoon ride. This was the third horse I rode, and fell in love with him, Pazzaz. I threatened to smuggle him onto the plane and bring him home. I was promised he would be waiting for another ride on my next trip there. I am looking forward to it.

My new boots. I left the old pair at the leather shop.

A few days before we left for Costa Rica, Chuck asks if I have a pair of boots. On my attempt to down size for the adventure on Kairos, I decided there would be no use for the Roper boots I owned, and parted with them. Now, without boots to protect my ankles from a potential snake bite in the Tropical Rainforest, I needed to find a pair. Okay, in Key West there is not much of a selection of stores to shop, and NOTHING to buy boots. But, I thought MAYBE K-mart, or Ross might have something. It wouldn't be the cowboy boots I prefer, but maybe something. NOTHING. I wanted to get a new bathing suit, so I did stop in the Beall's outlet we have here. Most of their inventory is beachwear. Coming out of the dressing room, I glanced to the far side of the store, I saw a shoe rack. On the off chance they had something for me, I strolled across the store. When I got closer, I realized it was all children's footwear, but I rounded the corner, and saw about 5 pair or boots. One pair looked a little larger than the rest. On the off chance that this kid's boot fit, I tried it on… and they fit! Yes, they were vinyl and rubber, but they fit. Actually, I found my last pair of cowboy boots in the kid's section. This pair held up better, and were more comfortable than expected. Knowing they would not last much longer, we stopped at a leather shop in San Jose on our way to the airport. They will make you a pair of boots, specially for your foot. We didn't have the time for that, but thought maybe they would have a pair already made that would fit. As I approached the doorway of the little shop, the aroma of leather was intoxicating, I was in heaven. Inside, there were walls of boots, and even boots hanging from the ceiling. There were also about ten saddles. I did find a pair that fit, and the price was right: 40,000 colones, or $72.44 US for a pair of hand-made boots from Costa Rican leather. They will last forever.

After moving to Key West, my daughter asked the question, "Living in Paradise, Key West… where do you go for vacation?" Now I have the answer… Costa Rica!

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