Tuesday, March 31, 2009

As the fates would have it we are stuck in Seattle

Because of Mt Redoubt we are stuck in cold rainy Seattle at the Red Lion Inn.
Yesterday at 5:00 a.m. we left our fancy 5 star hotel in San Jose. Costa Rica (a major splurge) and flew to Houston. We’ve been out of touch, so Peter asks the Continental Airline agent in Houston if there were any problems with flights to Anchorage because of the volcano. He punches some keys on his machine and says; no sir, there are no problems.

In reality, the flights to Anchorage are cancelled there are people who have been stranded in Seattle for more than a week, no money, no medicine, no clothes etc.

Now over 10 years ago I had a run in with Continental, because I had a comp ticket they were ignorant from the start, the ticket agent was so nasty she even sent my weak mother down the wrong concourse. I swore to never fly Continental again.
I decided to forgive and forget until again last night. The ticket agents were once again rude,
I have every right to be disgruntled, they seemed to enjoy our distress. They choose not to fly even though Alaska Airlines is going to Anchorage. Why? They had no sufficient answer for that except "because we're not". There is no compensation what-so-ever for the hardships this has created for people. Do not fly Continental!

Today its better we have more perspective on the matter. This is an act of God, something which we have no control over. Things could be worse, we can catch a bus to the Jimmy Hendrix Museum, the Space Needle , the wharf, or just watch Clint Eastwood movies in the room. Here is an interesting coincidence (there are no coincidences) Peter was stranded in the Anchorage Airport for a week 20 years ago when Mt Redoubt erupted. Is there a volcano metaphor in there somewhere?

The internet is costing me $5.00 for every half hour unlike Costa Rica which was approximately $3.00 for two hours, so gotta go we are short on cash. Say a prayer for us or send some good vibes that we can get out tomorrow night.
I am finally missing my life in Alaska.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Our Excellent Adventure

Yesterday at 5:00 a.m. we were ready to go with our local friend Kurt who also lives in our home town in Alaska. Curt was on a quest to find this man he read about in the Tico Times over two years ago. He wanted to find out about how to garden a cash crop to help his mother-in-law, organic gardening tips and buy some plants from him. He knew he lived in Rio Carlo so early yesterday we three walked to the docks and took the slow ferry across one of the deepest gulfs in the world to Golfito about one hour, from Golfito we caught a bus to Rio Claro another hour. Then Kurt asked at the local Feed Store where to find this gringo that grows organic plants. After some back and forth they drew a map. We walked back and hired a cab and gave him our directions.

When we arrived this spry old guy comes out greeting us like we were old freinds talking American with a Maine accent and yelling at his 4 little dogs in perfect Spanish it was great. Curt told him why he was here and what kind of plant he wanted to grow. This man Robert showed us his farm, it was a botanical Garden of Eden. He walked and talked fast talking the whole time we passed by a shrine and a grave he explained that was his wife Mimi's who passed 6 years ago he visits her every night sits drinks a beer and talks to her. Robert has been on his plot of paradise since the 60's and his family is here also, he answered all Curts questions was an incredible fountain of knowledge about tropical plants and organic growing.

After our tour of his botanical garden we were resting and talking under the picnic area when the conversation turned to medicinal plants. This is when it really gets interesting, I firmly believe that there are no accidents in life and this is one of those times. Peter showed him some of his skin cancer a result of being a red head and a growing up a surf dog in California.
Robert goes back into his house and brings back something he calls black sauve
made from zinc cloride, chaparral and bloodroot. He is the same skin type and Peter and suffered the same thing, he showed his were they had been and now are gone. It turns out that he has a lifetime of experience and is fountain of knowledge about herbal remedies of tropical plants. He walked briskly into his house to get us a start for a cambuchi mushroom, and again to get us a draft of a book he is writing about a cancer diet. His energy enthusiasm and passion for life was amazing and so inspirational.

Quote Robert Beatham: I'm still a young man and I've got alot to accomplish.
Check him out!

Later we went to an beautiful hotel in Golfito because we were told they had the best hamburgers anywhere around. The Hotel was completely over the top luxurious, pool you wouldn't believe, a theatre, 3 bars, masusse, hair salon I finally saw some beautiful Costa Rican artwork, it had 60 rooms and no customers. The public relations guy was this funny very inebrated Polock guy our age with a wild and crazy story to tell. But thats another story.
Now back the way we came.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saturday Night and things are getting a little crazy

Maby it was too much sun yesterday and the wierd events last night but weve hit the wall Peter is napping which he refused to do in prior days, just like a kid didnt want to miss a thing. We took the ferry, really a boat across the bay to Golfito, a very beautiful Carribean type town, paved roads and everything. When we got back and were eating a late lunch at our usual spot. I noticed a very interesting man with a braided beard, long hair, cool tatoos and tribal jewelery. He was showing the artisans in front of us crafts his art. I thought this guy is a fellow artist and a free spirit. He was standing partially hidden behind the wall and caught my eye with one of his and I got a good vibe from him. I watched him talking to a well dressed business man and wondered what these unlikely two were talking about, then I noticed they were looking at a book and discussing tatoos. When we were walking back to the hotel I saw him again, so I asked Peter to ask him if he could fix my lion tatoo. I was never quite happy with the way my lion on my left shoulder turned out but no one in Alaska would fix it only cover it up. Its some ethical code among tatooists I guess, even though I drew the lion and gave it to the guy to do. We stood on the sidewalk and looked at my back and with hardly any common language we agreed upon a price $50.00 and that he would come to our hotel in one hour. We are staying at a very nice clean little family run hotel and I was nervous about what they might think of this hippy looking Guatemalan guy carrying bags coming to my room.

He arrived and set up his equipment, Peter stayed by and scrutenized everything examined the needles to make sure they were never used. Once satisfied he went outside to let the artist work. Getting a tattoo is not entirely painless so I closed my eyes and went to my happy place and just let him work. Then as if right on time the lights went out just like last week and my tatoo was not completed. We agreed to meet at the soda Carolina for some sparkling waters. Adrian got his girlfriend she was the cuttest little lady from Japan named Hokono. This is when things got even funnier she had been traveling with Adrian about 4 months and spoke pretty good Spanish but English not so well so communicating in the dark by candlelight was like some Sienfeld episode we were all getting tired of trying to talk. At one point I said who is the president of Guatemalla
and he said:
  • no politics
  • no football
  • no religion
I understood him quite clearly.

When the lights came back on as if someone threw a breaker 3 hours later it was getting late.
Adrian finished my lion tattoo. It was just enough time for my skin to get tender so the last session was painful but I held my mud. Now I am satisfied with it there is a sun behind his head and instead of looking like a stamp on my back there is ground and Joshua trees. Its on my shoulder blade and I usually forget it is there but now I don't mind showing it to people cuz its cool.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Paradise gives one perspective

After a long ride in the collectivo (a cattle truck) we got out at Carate a horse and cart was waiting to take our bags to La Leona a 45 minute walk on the beach in the sun is a very challenging treck. I imagined just falling face first into the soft sand and letting the ocean wash me away. The lodge is an eco lodge we lived in the nicest tents with a deck, chairs. On our deck where we spent most of our time drinking water and fine Costa Rican coffee and looking at the rip tides and looking at the tropical plants and the animals like bats at night. The tent was cleaned daily by the staff, candles were lit every night on the trail because it's lights out at 9:00 a.m. Peter and I took several hikes into the Corcovado National park and saw an quite a bit of wild animals (no snakes) walked on the beach, watched the sunset and the sunrise, the shower was outdoors the most delicious meals were served. It was a paradise on earth we kept reminding each other how fortunate we were.
Paradise gives one perspective. We made a personal mission statement, made some worthy goals and communicated most excellently. Check it out!
The place should be a secret however I can't keep a secret.

We bumped into a cool and interesting couple from Washington D.C. John and Allison. They were great recyclers and people interested in alternative living and not polluting the planet we had some long fascinating conversations on the deck about, the new administration, President Obama, where we came from, preserving the planet, we broke bread together and they even gave us a ride in their very little SUV back to Puerto Imenez and left me with a partial bag of dog food for the hungry stray dogs.

Happy Trails to you until we meet again.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Trankilo or take it easy no worries

thats the way it is here, the second daywe were here there were 2 earthquakes the epicenter out in the bay about 5.7 on the rickter and 5.7 and I felt about 7 afterschocks and the electricity keeps going off and on again the other afternoon Friday I think the power went off for about 4 hours every one took it in their stride, we all went out onto the streets and congregated there were candles everywhere, Peter and I ate at a beautiful little soda by candle light. Because there were no city lights the stars in the sky were unbelieveablely I even saw shooting stars. These town people are so nice to us its wonderful. There was a talent show in the town square after the lights came on, I filmed a dance, we were the only gringos there but I don't care, I would love to have these people adopt me.

Everynight we meet our Alaskan freinds at what we call the office, the corner booth at our favorite soda telling fish stories and watching the street life. We indulged out dreams a little bit and looked at some beach front property. It included out buildings, monkeys, dogs, trees of every variety and the ocean, price today 600,000 american dollars. I think the guy Ronnie thought we were American millionaires. What they can't understand is we work ourselves to death to keep the crap we own and don't have time to enjoy the stuff. Stress is the number one killer with our way of life. Here life is slowed down, people live simply, smile alot and take life easily. Factoid: Costa Rica is considered a blue zone people live longer and do not suffer from stress related diseases.

Yesterday we rode about 9 kilometers to the other beach on our bikes, Oh My God 85 degrees and 85% humitity it kicked my ass, at one point I just stopped and balled like a baby from frusration. The TiCos drove past in their cars, 4 wheelers, and motor bikes looking at the crazy people riding bikes in the heat. Way to stay cool, jump in the ocean and let the wind cool you off, take about three showers a day, drink fruit drinks, stay trankilo.

Today we are going to get some things together because early tomorrow we are heading into the Corcovado National Park for three days. Pumas, snakes, sloths, monkeys and the like. Five thirty a.m. to catch the colectivo and a two hour ride in a cattle truck, then they will put our gear on a donkey cart and walk the beach for about a half hour till we arrive at the tent camp, lights are turned off at 9:00 pm. I have been taking tons of pictures which I cannot download for various reasons.
Adios mey amigos
stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ola! this internet cafe is air conditioned so I may stay for awhile

Today is Wednesday I have to keep reminding myself because down here in Puerto Jimenez time is getting away from me. Peter is marlin fishin today and I am on my own. We landed in San Jose, Costa Rica on Sunday night a cabbie took us to a hotel just 3 minutes from the airport into a real scary part of town with bars in all the windows, there were nefarious characters walking around. I wanted to go for a walk, I must see, smell and touch things, nothing happened. The next day we took a small plane to Puerto Jimenez the ride was bumpy at first and gave me a scare, but flying through the clouds along the coast line and seeing the rain forest below was unbelievably beautiful. I noticed fires burning below and wondered if they were started with lightening or man made.

Our friend met us on his bicycle and showed us our room. I must say everything is very clean the people are friendly inspite of this being a big tourist destination they are not impatient or rude. It is very heartening to know that they are ecologically minded they serve the greatest food on the planet. I'd forgotten how good a fresh egg tastes, or a tomato even lettuce tastes better. They give us food on real plates and give us real flatwear to use. I have not seen any styrofoam containers, plastic forks or to go cups. There is not hot water in our room because most of the folks take cool showers to conserve energy. It is surprisingly refreshing. The water is sweet and drinkable for us Gringos. The Costa Rican people call themselves Tikos. The last two nights we have just sat for a couple of hours at the corner table outdoors, eating, drinking (near beer) and watching the active street life outside. I took a dip in the ocean yesterday and it was hot and the salt water stung my senstive Alaskan skin.

I even got in on some local politics. School here has been in session for about 3 weeks now the eleven year olds do not have a teacher because she is pregnant the doctor said; no work!
So the 5th and 6th graders have not had to go to school. With some instigation from some of the American residents they bought some locks and chains and locked the gates in protest. This morning there were kids and parents outside the school locked out. So No School Today The local police seem to be ineffective but very sweet and kind.

Today I plan to sketch, blog, visit the beach, do laundry, buy some shorts, hang out at the soda cafe, check into a canopy tour.
Tomorrow we are taking a tour of the rain forest and playing poker, Friday we are invited to a party. I could really get used to this life. Note to self: Learn espanol.
Buenos Dias

Friday, March 06, 2009

Bye Bye Snow, Hello Paradise

Today is an incredible lovely day in Alaska the sun is out no more dark days the temp is in the 40s spring is around the corner. Just 2 weeks after the last dog crossed the finish line in the Ididarod then break-up comes (Alaskan name 4 spring).
Tomorrow I am leaving, if I have internet capabilities in paradise you will be hearing from me but if not it's..........
Adiós estimado familiar, los amigos, y los lectores. Estaré en el paraíso. Si yo nunca vuelvo entonces por favor me recuerda cariñosamente.
te quiero.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

What the ell or Saint Judy Walks on Eggshells

Ok so when I opened my eyes this morning there was my significant other talking at me about this thing he was worried about. I agreed and said, it' a good idea to hide your truck keys, he said he didn't like my tone.... What??? I was still half asleep and couldn't get what he was so angry about, well it got worse. Yelling and saying things that we can't take back. So all day long I was a total wreck. Sharon and I drove to Anchorage to do some errands but I was so dysfunctional with my puffy eyes and messed up hair that we just drove in circles, I was a total wreck. I knew she was doing everything possible to try and cheer me up but I still felt so bad.
Now P's son has had some rather serious troubles lately and P is so co-dependant that when things go wrong that he can't control he acts like King Baby and a couple of other things I won't say here. Somebody needs a vacation.

Perhaps I know my blog is not the place to rant about personal things, if I took out a journal and wrote my feelings down it would be more therapeutic than censoring myself, all the time. I have an idea for an icon it's called Saint Judy Walks on Eggshells, this beautiful women with a long graceful body and pointed toes hovering 1/16" above the eggshells, walking softly as to not break even one, she is wearing rose colored glasses and her head is in the clouds or a fog.

I found this on Dab's blog http://artbydabs.blogspot.com/
Judy in Alaska... I read your blog... now you are having FUN! That is yet another reason why Alaska calls to me to come back... the fun that Judy has! I think Judy would be a hoot to hang around with.

WoW thats nice Dabs, we could really have some fun and without those peskey men!!!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Only 5 Days Left Until We Leave For Costa Rica

In the past when I would hear someone bragging and saying things like "Oh yes when we were in the French Riveria, and then begin to drone on about their trip to Spain, Mexico, England, Ireland, anywhere that's over the ocean. I'd think to myself they sound like their bragging. Well you know it's just a kind of jealousy that causes me judge others when they tell their stories about their trips abroad. Most of my stories about my traveles are from the late 70s, it's ancient history, so mostly I just listen. But lately I've noticed myself telling everyone "we am going to Costa Rica" and the tone of my voice is very prideful almost braggadocio. I just can't help it, I am so excited to take this holiday. Especially in this recession, our American friend says the locals are asking "where are the Americans this year?" HERE WE ARE!!!