Monday, September 27, 2010

Costa Rican independence day!



Every year on the 14th and 15th of September I take the pleasure in participating in Costa Ricas independance from Spain. As a foreigner and resident of Costa Rica it is always a pleasure to participate in this rich cultural experience of celebration and remembrance of family and home. This is actually a celebration for all of Central Americas independace from spain in 1821 that was actually won by Guatemala. It took about a month later for the news to reach Costa Rica.

On the night of the 14th the annual celebration begins with a children’s parade. The kids dress up in adorable traditional dress and carry homemade candle lanterns throughout the town. This replicates the scene in 1821 of people walking with lanterns from the Central American capitol in Guatemala to spread the word to Costa Rica and beyond of the declared independence from Spain. The following morning there is a traditional parade where all of the local schools have marching bands that play and dance through the streets. There are also floats that represent local traditions and dress.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A little art festival on the beach

Chunches



Every year, a group of artists goes out to Playa Grande.
and works to help clean up all the things that float over from the other side of the gulf. Then they make art out of what they have collected. It's called the Chunches del Mar (things of the sea) and it happens at the end of every January here at Playa Grande in Montezuma.
There were a lot of things on the beach this year, this happened to be from a visiting artist who was camping on the way to Playa Grande




The beach cleanup







And a little shot of one or two installations on the beach


video

And this was a fun little something i found on the way back


Walker, you would make an awesome witch doctor.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Back to the Beach

January to April is our summertime, and although we are 9.5 degrees north of the Equator, our summer is still switched from the rest of the north, because now is when the skies clear, and there for the most part won't be a drop of rain until about the first of April.

This is Playa Grande (the big beach in spanish) which is about a 40 minute hike from town along the Nicolas Wessberg absolute reserve. This beach is foot access only, but a beautiful hike. It also gets big swells periodically:



This is also the site of the Chunches del Mar art festival, where local artists spend months cleaning up debris and trash that float over from the other side of the gulf and make an art installation from the items collected, as well as coordinate beach cleanups on this beautiful beach. This is an annual event, which usually takes place at the end of January, this year it falls on the 30th.


For more information, you can check their website here.



While you are out there, you can keep on hiking along the foot access only beach until you get to El Chorro waterfall out at Cocolito, which is a beautiful little river that falls directly out into the ocean, and you can climb up underneath at low tide, although below the waterfall is inacessible at high tide, but you can always hike up the trail that takes you towards Tango Mar resort and check out the view from above on the river.




There is also a way to drive closer to this waterfall, but you'll have to ask for detailed directions from us, because it can get a little confusing, and you'll feel like you are out in the middle of nowhere.




If you aren't interested in the hike, and you don't have a car, you can always take the Tortuga Island snorkeling tour, which takes you past the El Chorro waterfall by boat out on the way to the snorkel sites around Tortuga island. The tour leaves at 9am, and you get back around 3pm. They do a nice lunch out on the island, and there are lots of things swimming around in the gulf, although water clarity can be a gamble at times, just the trip out is worth it for the time on the water and the lunch on the island, although don't mistake this for a remote getaway, as it is a popular destination for local tours and boats and fishermen. Sometimes the water clarity is pretty amazing, though.

Thanks for the snorkel pics, Heather

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ah, the holidays

So the new year is here, and the rains have stopped and the sun is shining, and it's time to go to the beach!

Although this year was a dry one, the slow season from October to November is always spent getting ready for the next summer, but we now have a tradition as a family of all of us going out to Playa hermosa, which is a beautiful beach, and celebrating with a little surf, a little sun, and lots of companionship.

This also marks the first year that we have a high speed internet connection at the house, so we are now happily able to offer free dsl speed wireless to guests, and now for the first time ever i am able to post video clips to the blog!!

Here is my one man perspective of Las Manchas:
video

Which is just a quick shot of me looking out on the beach at the bottom of the hill. Las Manchas is a little spot that is popular with the locals (especially the folks that run Cocolores restaurant here in Montezuma) because, well, it's beautiful, and a great spot for swimming and snorkeling if you like to try your hand at catching spiny lobster. Just ask before you go though, because there is a powerful little rip tide that develops at certain times of the day.

So here is the fam on the beach for Christmas:
That's me, mom, Summer and Ryan just off a glorious trip to the beach. Playa hermosa
is a great day trip, although it is much easier to get there by car, which now that the roads are pretty good only takes an hour, even with a stop off at the store in Cobano for a restock on ice.

Definitely worth bringing a cooler and ice. Strangely enough, although coolers are a dime a dozen in your big box retail store in the states, they cost a pretty penny for even a disposable one here in costa rica, so just let us know if you want to borrow one for a day trip.


More News for 2010
Noni!

So about 6 months ago our friend Roger from Cabuya (now St. Teresa) stopped by with a little plant that he called Noni. Now it's fruiting, and we are going to try the traditional method of fermentation to see if the stories are really all true.


To be continued!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Green Time

(disclaimer: although I did not personally take all of these photos, they were taken by people right around the house)


This is one of my favorite times of the year.  We don't get much in the way of seasons by northern (and southern) standards, but the difference between summer and "winter" here is pretty significant.  There is absolutely no precipitation to speak of between December and April.  We always seem to ring in April fools with the first rain of the winter, and then the green season begins.  The most striking difference, of course, is the absence of dust generated by cars during the summer months, and the vibrant and luscious green that springs out of everywhere.

With the Flora, comes the Fauna, and since the sprouting, fruiting, and blooming ha
ppens everywhere, the local animals and insects follow:


This is an Urraca, spanish for jay.

A white throated Magpie-Jay to be specific, Calocitta formosa, I believe, to be technical.  These guys are pretty common around here, and they have almost no fear of people, and are not only very pretty, but bullies in the bird world.  They are fairly well behaved around here, because we don't feed them, but they can get rather territorial around places that do.
  

So we are blessed with lots of other birds here as well, trogons, mannakins, among others.  Right now as I'm writing this we have a Chachalaca in our Capulin tree, and we have a few Motmots that I think are burrowing in the area.  I believe that we have both blue crowned and turqoise-browed Motmots here.  It's fascinating to watch them swing it back and forth while they are surveying the area behind our balcony, looking for meals.  I once saw one stab the center of a scorpion, and swallow it down 
after slamming it against a branch to make sure it went down smooth.  

There is a lot of food for the Motmots around here
 at this time: beetles, and all manner of bugs. lizards, dragonflies, and of course, butterflies.  Part of the reason that we keep the butterflies that we raise here under an enclosure is to keep them safe from this impressive hunter. I'm not a hundred percent sure what this one is (although it is a little big for a Motmot  to swallow)

I'm guessing a female stilt beetle, but if anyone else out there has an idea, let me know.  This, however, is not too big for another beetle and caterpillar eater that comes to visit every once in a while:


     
Cebus Capuchinus

The White-faced Capuchin is a regular around here at this time of year.  The Capulin that that Chachalaca is still in (sorry, the camera is on the blink right now) is also a favorite with them, and they come by all the time to see if there are any bananas, beetles, berries, napkin holders, salt and pepper shakers, or humans around.  We also get a lot of howler monkeys in the area:  They are much more tranquillo than the white faces while they are here, and as the Mantled Howler or Congos (Allouata palliata) mainly eat the leaves of the various trees here, like our Papayas or Cecropias, we like to stop everything and just watch them browse while they are here.

We get a few other mammals around here too, but they are a bit harder to encounter, although both the Agoutis (Dasyprocta punctata) and the white-nosed Coatis (Nasua narica) like to get into our organic trash.
Agouti







Coati


If you come stay at our bed and breakfast, I can't promise you that you'll see all of these guys, but the chances are good that you'll see many at this time of year if you are patient and quiet, and look for a good spot to just sit back and enjoy.

And, make sure that you have us point you in the direction of Rainsong wildlife sanctuary!!  They now have two rescued Ocelots, and are in sore need of donations to create an appropriate enclosure for them to begin a breeding program!!  For more info about this amazing endevor, check out their website: www.rainsongsanctuary.com


Monday, October 6, 2008

la lluvia, es buena


October is deep rainy season. While it is sunny, and there are blue skies over the balcony as I am writing this, this is the month of torrential downpours. The rains start to recede in November, and by December we are back in the sunny season, but this time of year shares it's own special gems. The wildlife thrive, and although everyone runs for shelter when the torrents are here, the breaks are for taking care of business...


Living in the Jungle gives you a whole new appreciation for living in harmony with the other lifeforms that share the planet. It's one thing to raptly watch an Attenborough commentary on Army ants, and another altogether to watch them from your porch cheering, as they clean out that pesky infestation of stinging ants for you "organically."







This season I've decided to post some pictures of various things that we have planted within the last moon cycle. (not just a hippie thing, moon cycles definitely have a drastic effect on plantlife too) Costa Rica is the first place that I've lived where you can just stick cut up plants into the ground and have brand new plants grow. This is a shot of our PiƱa Garden, which is simply the tops cut off of the pineapples that we serve with breakfast stuck into the ground. Check back in 6 months for samples....

Aloe, this poor baby has put in lots of service for the folks who came back from Tortuga island without following sunblock advice...

Oregano.
Palm Trees

Porter's weed and Hibiscus (next to the sign). The car in the background is from our neighbors, who suffer from flatireitis, a common affliction here during the rains, as the roads fall apart from flash flooding. For chronic sufferers, make sure to fix your spare and/or make friends with the neighbors. For other chronicles dealing with this common, and serious affliction, check my myspace "time of the tico."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

..Discontinuity..

There are some that call Montezuma the Vortex. Mainly because time happens differently here. There was a newfie who once put it like this: "one day I spent a month in Montezuma."

It can happen like that.

It can happen other ways too, even linearly, but only in a rod sterling kind of way. Personally, I believe that it has something to do with a Coriolis effect, but since it's all relative you are going to have a hard time pinning it down anyway.

I am rapidly approaching a year since the last post, and although it's easy for me to put into words, I'm afraid that the affect of time here boggles the mind unless you've lived it. Last December seems like just a eyeblink ago, but if i were to reflect on all the changes and events, it seems to add up to at least five years worth of experiences. It's like I get extra time, but it is still the same day, all the same. It's not quite like every day is Groundhog's day, but it's pretty close.

The main addition to the family is the casita, our new lodgings behind the garden that houses my brother, our live in employee Morgan, and the work stay or backpacker folks. The main house is still the center of the community, but it's nice to have the satelite space, which is complete into itself, and useful to have in case the party needs a seperate venue....