Hiding in Costa Rica...

It’s been a while since I updated this blog, and I have no doubt that all six of my readers have been racked with loss.  I haven’t been avoiding my narcissistic instincts of self-sharing.  I just have been doing much worth writing about (at least not on a daily basis). 

After returning from my five week spin through Asia-Pacific, I found myself in the oddest of places:  home.  I spent two entire weeks at my house, albeit not my usual house.  A curious event happened while I was traveling:  Sandee (DSW) moved us to a new house.  Now, I did not know about this move before I embarked on my five week trip.  I did know that we had bought a new house, but we still had a house to sell.  I had thought we’d be in our old house when I got back, but for a variety of reasons, it made more sense to move into our new digs.  So, I left one place and returned to another.  I will admit that this was a little bit of an odd experience.  

I spent two weeks dealing with the reality of not having done any Christmas shopping, not having seen my family for five weeks and having a new house to help finish the move-in process.  Busy, busy.  

However, travel found me again.  As luck would have it, we had a long planned trip to visit Costa Rica as a family, two days after Christmas.  Therein lies the very brief review of yet another piece of my long, travel binge.  Nosara.  It’s a little(ish) town on the Nicoya peninsula in the Guanacaste province which is on the Pacific Ocean side of the country.  The Nicoya peninsula is a largely undeveloped stretch of coastland that is highlighted as one of Dan Buettner’s increasingly famous Blue Zones where people live a long time in a state of perpetual happiness because they live well/right.  

http://www.bluezones.com/live-longer/education/expeditions/nicoya-costa-rica/

Nosara is considered a relatively more developed part of the peninsula despite not having more than about 22 feet of paved roads anywhere.  For those not familiar with Nosara, it is generally characterized as being a destination for three kinds of people:

  • Yoga women (and men):  Nosara has a huge yoga training institute that draws people from all around the world.  It also draws socialites who wear cowboy hats and their best Burning Man jewelry while doing superhuman poses in any number of the burgeoning outcrop of yoga facilities that have sprung around the institute.  
  • Surfer dudes (and dudettes):  Nosara and the beaches that surround it on the peninsula have a well deserved destination as a surfing mecca that draw people from all around the world who say “dude” a lot. 
  • Hippies:  often a combination of the above two

The four of us, Sandee, two daughters, and yours truly, stayed in a house we rented that was perched high up on a hill about seven km from the main beach (Playa Guiones).  Our choice of villas created a unique, and ultimately great, vacation experience largely due to our being somewhat isolated.  It took about 40 minutes over bumpy dirt roads to get to pretty much anywhere interesting.  This locational inconvenience collided with a feeling of post-house moving exhaustion to create a unique form of locational stasis.  We were just too lazy to cope with leaving our house very much.  It had a little pool and some really pretty views, so the collective opinion of the family group was “why bother leaving.”  We were further cowed by the seemingly nearby cries of Howler Monkeys, which sounded an awful lot like velociraptors.  

In addition to being isolated in the house, we also had the world’s worst internet connection.  It took what seemed to be an hour to download the Google homepage.  As a result, mindless electronic diversions were highly limited.  The upshot of all the above was that we spent considerable time TOGETHER as a family.  Anyone with teenage daughters knows well enough not to take this for granted.  In this way alone, it was one of the best vacations I could have hoped for.  

Quality time with the girls would have been reward enough, but we did get out of the house enough to enjoy some of the activities for which the area is known.  All of said activities were far outside my span of competencies, and all required standing on a wobbly board.  In order of flailing incompetence by yours truly, I partook in the the following...

Standup paddle boarding through a mangrove.  This was my third time on SUP, and I actually felt pretty good (no falls).  This was true right up to the point where my guide suggested that I try his board, which he claimed was more stable than the one I was using.  I did know enough to know that he was lying through his teeth.  No one told me that shorter, sporty boards don’t love spastic tall men.  I proceeded to fall over and over again, until I finally started to get the hang of it.  By the end, I was feeling pretty proud, and my guide gave me a gold star for effort which I will always cherish.  

The feeling of pride was with me right up to the second day of SUP, this time in the open water off the beach.  I got on my board with my newly found sense of competence and “I got this” attitude and proceeded to fall over and over and over again.  I know it seems blindingly obvious in retrospect, but SUP on ocean water is harder than SUP on flat water.  Nonetheless, I started to get my sea legs once again by the end, and I was kind of holding my own (other than for style — I pretty much looked like the Tin Man).  

Two days of SUP practice was a welcomed practice run as I am once and for all going to take advantage of the fact that I live on a coastal town on Long Island Sound and start doing SUP regularly.  I swear it.    

For reasons beyond reasonable explanation or practical justification, I tried regular-style surfing for the second time in my life on the third day.  My first time at it in Australia, I was surprised that I was able to get five solid runs in.  My second time surfing in Costa Rica, I marveled about how really horrible I was at this.  To be fair to myself, I did actually get some decent rides in the baby surf where I was practicing.  I blame it on my high center of gravity, and I disavow anyone who contradicts this obvious truth.  I could only marvel at the people in the break further out who were doing all manner of weird maneuvers inside tubes of water.  I’m a million miles away from that, but give the old man credit for trying a second time.  And I am definitely going to surf a third time. 

I would like to point out that however poorly I'm doing it, technically I'm standing on the board.  Which makes me officially a surfer.  That being said, I think I now know how I got my fraternity pledge name.  Think Adam's Family.  You rang?

I would like to point out that however poorly I'm doing it, technically I'm standing on the board.  Which makes me officially a surfer.  That being said, I think I now know how I got my fraternity pledge name.  Think Adam's Family.  You rang?

This was my second time to Costa Rica, and I am pretty much loving this country.    

From Costa Rica, I was home for one week, before starting my LAST big trip in this five month odyssey.  

To be continued...