Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Daily October

Ooops...

Yikes...

Oh noes....

Yap I did it again. I was unable to sustain every day blogging. Why do I even try.

This recent violation saw me missed 5 blogging days in a row. I don't know what happened. Well that's not true. I knew what happened to some of the days, but the first 2 days I cannot remember what prevented me from blogging.

Since my senile brain is unable to recall Thursday and Friday, let me tell you what a hectic but wonderful day Saturday was.

It was my dad's birthday and although he had passed on 3 decades ago, we still remember him. This time around though through the insistence of mom we got together at home to pray, except that mom said she already prayed the novena 9 days before dad's birthday. So we ended up just hanging together for lunch at a Chinese buffet.

I was so happy to be hanging out with my brothers - all 4 of them - all at the same time. There was good food too. Too much for that matter.

When lunch was over we drove back home and chatted at the backyard and they started catching up. Funny how our lives are so busy that we need times like this to catch up with one's family. The irony of it all is that we all live within a 10-mile radius of each other, well maybe 7 miles.

I hated to cut my time with brothers short but we had to head out for church for the monthly night out. We were feeding about 30 people who signed up for our DINNER AND A MOVIE night. We played THE LIFE OF PI and our menu was pie-ta chips with hummus, pie-na colada, and shepherd's pie with apple pie for dessert. Another fun night with people.

Sunday was nice. With another couple we drove to Napa for some leaf peeping. Fall is not at peak yet, but there was plenty of colors to be seen. We enjoyed the outing.

I was off Monday again, you know too much vacay time that it is imperative I take time off. I ran errands with mom and then spent a good chunk of the afternoon editing photos. By evening when hubby got home from work, we went to get cat food and his costume at Party City.

They say Halloween is a 7 billion industry and I saw how. Party City was jampacked with people getting their costumes. I lost my hubby more than once. His group at work decided they were to dress as SMURFS. We were hunting for Smurf hat and blue paint. I found the paint, but no hat. There wasn't anything SMURFS related on the shelves, such a shame. When we saw the long line to the cashier we abandoned the body paint and left for home hungry.

It's madness, people going overboard for Halloween.

I told the hubs maybe one year we'll host a cocktail Halloween party so we all could dress up.

So that's what's been happening in my absence here. Feel bad that I didn't complete this daily blogging exercise.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Daily October (23)

A PAGE FROM MY JOURNAL

Day 5

Arenal Volcano

We arose from a restful sleep in our spacious hotel room and ran outside in our backyard where we caught a glimpse of the fickle peak of the volcano. The view was clear one minute and the next it was cloud-covered.

Our free breakfast buffet was lovely with meat dish, rice and beans, fried yucca and with an omelet station. The table carrying fresh fruits, watermelon, strawberries, papaya, pineapple and melon was always full. I could definitely get used to this.

On our first breakfast, the next table to us was occupied by a couple from Oklahoma whom we exchanged pleasantries and information with while we ate. They have nothing in mind to do this day so we told them why not go to the waterfalls. There is one in La Fortuna. They hiked on the volcano perimeter the day before already.

The servers at the restaurant were friendly. Kaylor was our server and he was very chatty. When I told him I’d take his photo for Facebook he willingly posed.

We met our tour mates, the couple from Baltimore, at the reception area where we asked the desk guy to ring us a cab. Our plan of action was to go to the town center of La Fortuna and look around. Every next door is a tour agent so we could easily shop around for whatever activity fancied us that day.

We were dropped off the side of the plaza facing the church. We stopped by the church first and took a few photos then walked around the town center. Boy was it hot. We pretended to shop for souvenirs while our hubs inquired at the cost of various activities. There was butterfly garden, kayaking, ziplining, and other activities aside from the tour of the volcano. Upon research prior to trip we found out that going to the volcano was doable, no need for a guided tour. Besides guided tour would cost nearly $100 pax. We weren’t keen on paying that.

Taxis are assigned a spot, so it’s easy to find them. They are in line too so you go get the first one. Lucky for us we got a good one. William is his name and he was our driver for the day. We asked him to take us to the volcano. Wasn’t far, but the road was not paved, it was like riding in a bumper car. Upon inquiry he said they have to change tires every 2 months because of bad roads, but the gov’t subsidizes this – he reasoned must be cheaper for govt to do this than to pave all the roads. He ended that with a sheepish grin. We were here for an authentic Costa Rican adventure and that is what we’re getting, including the bumpy gravel and dirt roads.

We paid our entrance fee and he drove up until the parking area. Then we asked him if he could pick us up after 2 hours and take us to the waterfalls. He agreed. And not only did he agree he didn’t want to get paid until the end of the day. We jotted down the mileage. I cannot remember if we were paying by miles, but we were tracking the mileage. What an honest guy, isn’t he? We are foreigners and he trusted us. He doesn’t even know where we stay. We could have easily turned around and called for another cab you know.

Anyway, with maps of the park in our hand we look at the best trails/path to take while here. We tried to take one in between tall grasses that are similar to sugarcane. But we abandoned the trail since it wasn’t going to lead us to the volcano overlook. I’m not sure this is the way to go closer to the volcano. Because by the looks of it and by the brochure I was holding I could tell that the volcano was farther than the 2 km that the longest path on the brochure indicated. There are, however, tours that would take you hiking up the side of the volcano, although I think that’s quite risky. We weren’t really looking for that much adventure you know.

We found where the path leading to the overlook. While it wasn’t long and difficult, it was on a slope uphill. Shame on me, I was breathless!

We arrived at the overlook with plenty of time. It’s a covered spot ontop of a small hill with benches. Another family was already there. They look locals to us.

It’s wasn’t long before we realized that we gave ourselves too much time to spend here. Two hours was definitely way too long to admire the volcano from this spot, no matter how beautiful it is. There wasn’t anything else to do other than go back down and take any one of the trails, which we weren’t keen on doing since it was very hot and the sky was turning dark, impending rain was visible.

The Baltimore guy took a nap in one of the benches, my hubs went around photographing flora especially the variety of ferns that grow here and us girls we snacked on some Indian munchies that Baltimore gal brought.

We took photos then decided we’d walk back to the entrance to ask the guy manning the booth to call William as we’re ready to go. Along the way, we passed by guava fruit scattered all over the ground. We looked up and lining the trail are guava trees. We helped ourselves with the juicy fruit. We picked from the tree and ate some for our lunch. So delicious.

There is a little hut with covered porch area across from the ticket booth and we stayed there when the guy said he has no phone for us to use. Left without recourse, we waited by the porch for the time we gave William to come.

William showed up on time and by this time the drizzle has been ongoing for about 15 minutes. We asked him to take us to La Fortuna waterfalls. I read somewhere that this was the same waterfalls they used in the opening of the movie Jurassic Park. Remember the scene?

Also we asked if he could take us for a quick stop at a local market, I have been craving for some passion fruit – maracuya. He stopped at a nondescript one story building with a small opening/door. I was expecting an airy open-air farmer’s market type of setting, but probably due to weather, extreme heat and constant rain, they decided to put a roof over their market.

This one’s very small - just for snacks and fruits and veggies. I didn’t see any seafood or meat products. We bought some rambutan and passion fruit and tamales. Our Baltimore friends have never tasted this but has seen them once or twice before.

Off we went. Again we requested him to fetch us at a certain time. This time around the entrance to the waterfalls was open for another hour. You can stay as long as you want but no more entry after another hour.

The rain continued to come down, although mildly this time. We stopped at the lookout point. From that vantage point the waterfalls was clearly seen, except that we wanted to descend and see it up close.

The descent was manageable. The humidity was bogging me down, and the rain was adding a little misery to my already petulant demeanor. Honestly people I cannot fathom why I was kvetching.

The second we reached the bottom, we immediately peeled our clothes off, we were wearing our bathing suit underneath. The water was cold. Did I mention that there was thunder? Lucky for me there wasn’t any lighting, that would have completely get me cowering under all the trees. We spent a few moments taking photos and dipping our toes and legs in the water, cold did I say?

The rain wasn’t letting up, it was alternating between mild drizzle and a moderately heavy downpour. It was also starting to get dark and misty when we were down by the river so we thought we’d wrap up our time here in this gorgeous waterfalls.

Moreover William would soon be out in the parking lot waiting for us. Now this was the most difficult part of this entire trip – the climb up. Huffing and puffing, I struggled to clamber back up. Despite all my huffing and puffing and all the constant stops, we managed to complete this task – all of 500 steps some say – in 30-40 minutes.

As expected our friend William was waiting in the parking lot. The rain got heavier as we reached the top where the souvenir store and entrance is. We let the heavy downpour pass for some minutes, but it wasn’t really letting up. So we decided to just go and get wet. We had one umbrella.

We asked William to take us back into town for one more round of window shopping and possibly eating. We haven’t had anything but some fruits in the falls and chips by the volcano. And breakfast was long time ago. It was nearing dinner time.

We asked him to take us to the soda he goes to. It was across from a supermarket. Again he only dropped us at the soda and he was going to meet us at the taxi stand by a certain time.

Still drizzling we were not sure if we wanted to eat right away. So we crossed the street and snooped at what’s in the supermarket. We found a variety chips – potato, yuca, and other root veggies in one package. We bought 2 packages. The store has an ongoing sale on ground coffee beans, Costa Rican coffee, so we filled our shopping cart with it – pasalubongs for people back home.

Well the rain was nonstop as we looked around at other souvenir and knick knack stores. Finally we decided to just take some food home since the rain wasn’t going to let us have a moonlit stroll around the plaza. The server at the soda was very friendly. She noticed that my husband and our friends are Indians (hubs is not, but well) so she boldly shared how her daughter is currently backpacking in India – Goa – and how the daughter couldn’t handle the spices in Indian cuisine. We seemed to talk forever as she, Dona Flora, got more brazen. Our little Spanish and her almost nonexistent English went a distance with sharing one anecdote after another.

We hurried to the taxi stand carrying our dinner. Initially we thought we’d all go back to the hotel and meet at the pool so we can take a little dip at the jacuzzi. However, on the ride to the hotel we all realized we were very tired and didn’t want to soak in the jacuzzi under the constant rain. So we said until next morning.

We turned on the jacuzzi in our little back porch – each room has this feature – and enjoyed a little warm soak while enjoying our Costa Rican dinner. Then it was off to bed, our last night here in Arenal.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Daily October (22)

I'm a few pages away from finishing New Moon, the second of 4 Twilight books. I don't know about the reviews for this book or the movie for that matter, but the fact that I'm tackling these books long after all the hullaballoo is quite lunatic on my part.

However, there was something about the Twilight movie that made me long to read the books. I like it when a story is narrated/seen from the protagonist's point of view.

The thing I liked about the first book is that it's an easy read. I liked the pacing of the story on the first two books.

In the movies I belonged to team Edward. But when I read New Moon, I couldn't help but switch sides to team Jacob. In the books Jacob was written so appealingly. In the books I never liked the Edward character. But I liked him in the movie version.

Anyway I am enjoying the story so much that I read the two books in 3 days, well almost done with the second one, which is a record. Well at least now that's a record. I used to devour books a long time ago. However, I do not have the 3rd book Eclipse, which may delay my reading the whole saga. I don't want to skip a book; I'll see if there's a copy of Eclipse in the library.

In between these books I read Sidney Sheldon. I'm trying to read Sheldo again because I want to analyze what it is about his stories, his writings, his characters that resonated with me and appealed so much to my sensibilities.

I remember in college or something we would read his book and put the characters under microscope and identify all the psychological fibers/abnormalities of their persona. It was a fun activity to do after reading the books. Of course we were all psychology majors pretending to know more than we do. I hope this time around after reading the books I can dissect the characters better than I did back in the day and that I can understand the reasons behind why the characters do the things they do or why they did in such a way and not another way.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Daily October (21)


Something wonderful and unexpected happened today. Like last Monday I was home again today, on account of overflowing vacation accrual. Woke up midday since it was my day off anyway. Made a quick brekkie and hurried off to the dealership to get my car serviced. You know since last Monday I was sent away due to overflowing work load. Luckily this time around my guy Fernando was happy to accommodate me. The job would require at least 1.5 hours. I didn't expect it to be that long. 30 minutes tops was all I thought it would take. That was why I brought a book.

When I learned it would take 3x longer, I took the free shuttle back home. Instead of wait there and read a book, I would rather finish up the load of laundry.

When the shuttle stopped at the curve, I saw a familiar shape in my drive way. Fuzzy! Or who I thought was Fuzzy!

I jumped out of the shuttle and started for the cat. Once upon a time - or a year or so ago - there were little kittens that came to the house. In the backyard every night two of them came for feeding. One gray and one black. Both of them with long fuzzy hair. They came regularly. The gray one was skittish. The black one was tame. She would go inside the house and socialize with Buster. We named the gray Grayce (very original right) and the black Fuzzy, for the hair.

I don't know how long they regularly visit, but while Grayce continued without fail to come, Fuzzy disappeared for about 2 weeks or more. When she returned her ear was clipped, which is a sign that she got fixed and that she/he is being cared for.

When she returned from her temporary disappearance, she went back to her normal self. I got my nightly visits, she allowed me to pet her. I enjoyed her nightly date with me. I toyed with the idea of keeping her, but I was overruled by the hubby. His reasons were valid. Emma wasn't keen on adding another cat to the family. She is barely tolerating Buster on most days. And Buster is simply a jealous cat. He doesn't like it when the hubby touches another cat; sometimes he voices his disapproval and unhappines even when the hubby is petting Emma.

I just couldn't risk getting Emma depressed. It's not only wrong but costly as well.

Besides we tried to shut the door when Fuzzy was inside, she freaked out. She didn't want to be inside the house without a visible way out. We only wanted indoor cats; Fuzzy was definitely not an indoor cat only.

Then one day suddenly she disappeared. One day. Two days. One week. Two weeks. A month. Then two. I stopped counting altogether. For months, well even up to now, every night we go to the backyard and call her name. We do in the hope that she would be running to get food. Just like before.

My fear was that she was run over. I keep my eyes peeled for roadkill; thankfully no cat resembling Fuzzy. Well no cat at all, period.

And then today.

There was a cat in my front yard, she looked like she recognized me. I called out Fuzzy, she ran towards the neighbor's yard, I followed. She kept looking at me, I kept calling her name.

From a distance I swear I could identify the clipped ear. I was so happy. However, she does not recognize me fully. Will not come to me when I called, but I was relieved that she is alive, all these months. Then she went inside the yard of the neighbor's two houses from me. She was this close all this time. Just two houses down.

I'll start putting food in my front yard for my baby, Fuzzy. I hope it's you sweetie.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Daily October (20)


I've been reading. I finished Twilight. I think I like to do it like this. Watch the movie version first then read the book.

Then I followed it up with a Sidney Sheldon book, The Stars Shine Down. I've loved Sidney Sheldon and devoured his books in college - decades ago - and I'm enjoying rereading them. I've got three more of his books pending.

Oh the leaves are changing colors. I love to go out and photograph the leaves, maybe next weekend. Later today I have to take the kitties to get their shots.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Daily October (19)

"You must take time to grieve. It is after all a lost. You must admit it to yourself that you lost something. That way you can grieve. It is only in giving yourself time to grieve that you can move on."

"There could be no such thing as a fastrack to moving on; there is no shortcut. Take your time. Be kind to yourself and let yourself be sad. When you're done, then you can move on."

Those were the wise words that were given to me as an advice by someone who's been there before. She walked in the same shoes I was walking on, not once, not twice, but three times. I listened to her, heeded the advice because I know that she knew what is in my heart. She was able to give names to feelings that I couldn't identify. It's a blessing to have people like that in one's life.

Lately I've been thinking about all the people that come in and out of our lives. Some come in and nourish us, others come in our lives because we happen to be the nourishment they needed.

In the past 2 years or so, I've been nourished by the cats that come in my backyard. My belief is strong that each one of us has specific roles in this world. I think I just found mine. I'm here where I am right now because the cats need someone to look after them; someone to feed them; someone to keep them safe.

One day we arrived from running errands and as soon as I entered the family room/kitchen I noticed four kitties standing in the backyard on the other side of the glass door looking in. It was dinner time, or just about. The minute the older cat saw my face, they meowed. I couldn't hear it because the door was closed, but all their mouths moved in unison. I have never felt been more needed than that moment.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Daily October (18)

October is a crazy time. It's no longer summer but the temperature has not gone down significantly from summer. It's the period of quiet before the storm (of Holiday activities).

I'm getting antsy. Bored. But I don't blame October for that.

My feet wants to go place. My camera longs to photograph something new.

I need a breather from the routine.

I need a trip.

Even a road trip.

Happy weekend everyone. I must go check where I can go for a short break soon. I need it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Daily October (16)

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Today is the 3rd anniversary of Buster's adoption day. Here we both were in this picture a week after his adoption, we were already bonding.

We love you Buster.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Daily October (15)

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This is how I feel today :(

Monday, October 14, 2013

Daily October (14)


As I was writing yesterday's post, hubby was taking a nap with the kitties, a common sighting on Sundays we decide to stay in. Nothing was unusual with that. When they awoke I was reading Twilight, he played red dot (laser) with Buster then we fixed dinner.

After dinner we all went upstairs in the bedroom instead of hanging out in the family room. I went straight to the computer desk to edit some photos. He went straight to bed and we watched some of the tv shows we follow. Later I noted that he was all curled up in bed. And he was shivering. I sprang out from the chair and was on his side quickly. I felt his forehead and he was burning up. Holy cow! Hubs had a fever. He told me he already took some pills but didn't kick in. He asked for Nyquil cold and flu and I gave him 2 pills. He took them and then I put a cold compress on his forehead. He slept while I kept watch, at the same time I caugth up with my recorded shows - Revenge and The Good Wife. When I felt his temp was going down I slept.

Woke up to find him only a little lukewarm. Went to fix him breakfast in bed, then I went out to run errands with mom. We both took a day off today prior to him having a fever.

Upon my return he was out of bed, dressed in his sweats and was ready to drive me to get my car's oil changed.

At the dealership, Fernando my man in service, was just telling another customer he can't take her car today because they were full. I could see the line of cars to service. I spoke briefly with Fernando and tried to sweet talk him into taking my car, but I knew when to push it and when to pull back. This was time to pull back.

Then the hubby proclaimed: Let's see a movie today. I hear Gravity is really good.

I looked at him quizzically and he smiled, "You always complained I'm not spontaneous!"

Gravity's showing is scheduled at 4:45 pm.

We had time to grab lunch. Subway footlong for that. We parked in the cinema parking lot and split a footlong. I ate my sandwich while reading Twilight.

Gravity is a wonderful movie. Sandra Bullock is fabulous. It's very rare to have a movie with only 2 characters and they make the movie work. Kudos!

Hurried home to fix dinner. Was thinking of proper dinner, but I wasn't too hungry and just like him I was feeling fluish. Plus we have burger buns (homemade) thawing. So dinner tonite was burger and zinfandel, perfect combination. Only ate the bread around my burger and left all the meat on my plate.

I just let you in on my offline life.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Daily October (13)


It's only 4:48 pm but I feel like I've had a full day. And I've only done two things today. Go to lunch with friends and go to the local library's book sale.

At the book sale I managed to get all three (only 3 right?) Twilight books, about 5 Sidney Sheldon hardcovers - I've read them all back in college. Since he is my fave author so far, I thought I'd start collecting his books and maybe someday I'd be able to complete the collection. I simply love the way he tells a story.

I've started reading Twilight and just stopped so I could blog, hahahaha!

And all these books - plus others that my hubby picked - for $1.00. I'm so happy!!!!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Daily October (12)


I almost forgot to post today. It's nearly 10:30 pm now and both Emma and Buster (my cats) are already in dreamland for quite sometime.

The weather has been chilly for a couple of days now. So it's so much more enjoyable to sleep early.

Hubby is scouring the net for place to have brunch with friends tomorrow. If he'd listen to me I already have one in mind. I really like this place for it's scone and lemon curd.

Wish that's where we go tomorrow.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Daily October (11)

I just want to share a few shots from a bouquet I received a while back. I dug the photos and uploaded them on Flik'r last night. I thought they look pretty.

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Enjoy your weekend. I'll make sure no cleaning for me this weekend. Had enough of that last time.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Daily October (10)

Overheard:

"The last time I had FUN, I couldn't walk for two days."

Me:

Whoa, I never had that kind of FUN in my life!!!!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Daily October (9)

I was a little depressed yesterday after realizing that the year is almost over and I hardly went anywhere this year, even though I have cleared my required/mandatory 1 big trip + 1-2 small (read: California)trips for the year.

Yes, that's how we structure our annual vacations. We have to have one big trip and up to 2 small ones. To be considered a big trip, it must be at least one week and must take a plane, domestic or otherwise.

Small trips are generally your run-of-the-mill overnighters in the coast or two-nighters up to 250 miles from home.

My big trip for the year was an 2-week sea and sand in Cancun. The two small trips are a 2-night camping trip in the Sierra Nevada and a 2-night Mendocino get-away. While all these are satisfying, I seem to want more. So greedy of me, I know.

Thankfully, yesterday as I opened my email I got this notification that via Travelzoo, Southwest Airlines is offering a too-good-of-a-deal-to-pass-up trip to Vegas, 3 nights including air for $129.00. Yap, that's about the same price we paid for the same package we took in 2009. 4 years later the same package is available.

So without delay hubs and I went online and bought the deal, although from the dates that were available we chose the first week of February next year to go to Vegas. I figure in February all the chaos of the holiday season has died down and life should be running quietly then.

The promise of a good time in Vegas perked me up. I've got a little hop to my step today.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Daily October (8)

A PAGE FROM MY JOURNAL

Day 4

Excitedly the hubs arrived from his early morning trip to the beach with the gang to tell me all about his wonderful experience. Today is our last day here. We’re spending a couple more hours before we depart for our next leg of the tour.

We sat at breakfast table with the same group of people we dine with here. The German couple have their plans mapped out courtesy of our antiquated laptop, remember? They are excited to spend the remaining days of their Costa Rican adventure just lounging by the beach.

The rest of us will head on to Arenal, home of the famous volcano of the same name.

Breakfast was where we said goodbyes to other guests we became buddies with during our short stay in this lodge. We exchanged emails and facebook pages, etc. I was a bit sad, especially separating from the German couple. They were very nice and found out were mostly like us in many ways.

After breakfast, hubs and I took a walk around the perimeter, one last time. It’s so relaxing being surrounded by nature in this setting. While I was looking forward to seeing our next adventure, I was sad at the same time at leaving all this behind. We both wished we could spend more time here.

At the dock, we were sorted into 2 boats. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same Spanish-English speaking grouping. So we got separated from our German friends. Sad to see that happen. They went off first, then it was us, all 7 of us with a boat full of people.

This time the ride was not narrated, unlike when we were coming here from San Jose. I enjoyed seeing the familiar places now, the birds and the butterflies and the trees and the grazing cows, water from the canals splashing into my face and arms.

We arrived at the restaurant where we would be waiting for our tour bus to take us back to El Ceibo restaurant where on day 2 we had our second breakfast, remember?

When the buses arrived we were sorted again. And the ride back was faster than the one we took to get to Tortuguero.

A lunch buffet spread was awaiting us. Unfortunately, by the time we got in the El Ceibo in Guapiles, our German friends were no longer there. They are traveling on their own and I suppose only the ones in travel packages get to have lunch. They probably caught their bus to their next destination. Here we managed to say another goodbye to the same people we said goodbye to at breakfast time in Pachira Lodge. We don’t know where they were going. Some of them were heading in the same destination but taking a different transportation.

We took a van that carries about 8-9 people, just perfect for us. Cozy. The ride to Arenal took about 4 hours from Guapiles. We were traveling all day. The passing scenery was not all agricultural lands, we passed by many small towns. The long ride gave me a chance to indulge in wool gathering while enjoying the scenes outside my window. We even stop in a small restaurant/bar where our driver had something to eat.

It was pouring when we got near Arenal, we expected it. It is rainy season afterall. We just got lucky in Tortuguero, that was the exception, not the rule in this trip.

We stopped by a tour office and inquired about tours around the area. Nothing jumped at us and we thought we could easily do the tours ourselves without signing up for a guided tour.

The town of La Fortuna bears many resemblance to many small towns in the Philippines. The plaza is the center of the town with the church across it. I could totally live my Philippine lifestyle here, except this one’s full of tourists. Stores surround the perimeter of the plaza/church. It’s that feeling of I have been here, but I know I haven’t that really caught me off guard.

In our group we have a 94-year-old grandma who came to Costa Rica with one mission – to zipline. When she broached this to her son, he and his wife agreed to take her so she can fulfill her wish – another off the bucket list. My husband asked the tour office if they have a zipline where one is not going to climb up the platform but some sort of a gondola ride would take anyone up there. Roberta signed up for ziplining in Tortuguero. Nobody did because apparently the ziplining in Tortuguero is considered weak in comparison with the other areas of Costa Rica. Perfect for her. The problem was she couldn’t handle the climb up to the stairs on the platform. She felt dizzy.

And so when the tour operator said their zipline has a gondola ride to take one up to the platform to zipline, it was like destiny. She signed up for the next day.

Nobody else signed up for any trip; the couple in Baltimore along with us decided we’d make it simple and make this a do-it-yourself tour of the La Fortuna and Arenal.

When our van deposited us at the front of our hotel/lodge – I don’t know how to classify it – we were all impressed. The one-storey building/bungalow style in vivid bright reds and yellows Spanish decorated only housed the reception area. Across it, on a hilly portion is the dining area. I was bugged eyed at how lovely the d├ęcor was and how behind the reception desk was a large window with the view of the volcano, who needs painting when you can have this active volcano decorating the reception area. Needless to say, natural light was aplenty here, except it was cloudy and rainy when we checked in. Two nights here, let’s get it started.

With our luggages in tow, we needed to have the golf cart to take us to our rooms. It’s a little walk uphill, but it was drizzling and dark. Our rooms are sprawled all over the property. Landscaped, paved paths and bungalows housing 2 rooms each dotted the green landscaped area. Our bungalow was the first one from the reception area.

It was about 5 pm and we have nothing to do. The woman from Sacramento suggested we go to Baldi Hot Springs that night and get our hot springs experience over with. No wasting of time here. We all agreed. We agreed to meet at the reception area by 6 pm.

And because we had a plan before our van driver left, we asked if he could pick us up – not part of his job – and drop us to Baldi Hot Springs, not far from our hotel but not walking distance either since our hotel is a little remote, in a hilly portion of Arenal with unpaved muddy roads. He agreed and also agreed to bring us back to the hotel afterwards, for a fee of course.

While the leading hot springs attraction here is Tabacon, we decided it was okay for all of us to go to Baldi instead. They have many spring pools with varying heat levels. The ticket we purchased included a buffet dinner, can you believe that? If we knew, one could easily buy a ticket in the morning, stay all day here soaking in very therapeutic water, then have some eats.

WE sampled different pools testing whether the heat is just right for us. We found a very nice pool with just the right heat and a feature of a waterfall. The waterfall mimics the aquamassage in parlors, have you had one of those? So splendidly good. We didn’t want to leave. We had our meals, buffet style, typical Costa Rican food and a station for pastries and other sweet things. The good thing about this restaurant is men are not allowed to eat without putting their shirt on, but women can walk around and eat with just their bathing suit. We wrapped the towel around our suits, we were prudish.

And then it was time to leave. The driver was already waiting for us outside the hotel/hot springs. We asked if he was available the next day as we thought we’d just hire our transportation and we’d go wherever we wanted to go. But he wasn’t free the next day.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Daily October (7)


I have a headache.

I miss my San Francisco Giants.

I just realized that I only have one trip this 2013 and I already cancelled the one that's supposed to happen this 4th quarter of the year.

I'm grumpy.

I'm cutting down on carbs, that's why.

That's all for now.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Daily October (6)


Today is chores day...

Vacuum, mop, laundry...

Didn't make it to the free museum day in Asian Art Museum...

As a treat for cleaning, I'm giving myself a mani/pedi.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Daily October (5)


Watching the A's-Tigers match, game 2, and it's bottom of the 9th, 0-0.....


The A's just won....walk off hit by Vogt.


Yay!!!!!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Daily October (4)

Episode 1, Fall Season 2013 Part II

What do you know I have forgotten a few of the shows I follow on the previous post about premier episodes?

So here are the rest of the shows I watch and what I think of their premier episodes:

GREY'S ANATOMY - This would be the 9th or 10th season for this durable show. While they lost me as an avid viewer sometime during the course of its long run, I found myself coming back last year. The thing with GA is that it's like an old neighborhood where you grew up, or the neighborhood where you lived while in college....while there are many changes (new characters), the landmarks (mainstays) are still there. You can easily reconnect with it, with the characters. The 2-hour show held my attention, it was like visiting with old friends. I have a feeling that this might be the last year of the show. Leave while you're still somewhere near the top :)

THE BIG BANG THEORY - Seriously I don't know how I could have forgot to write about this on the previous post about premiers. It has never wavered in the entertainment value; the comedy is terrific. Watching the show makes one realize that it's an well-oiled machine at work. What a great cast. Not since FRIENDS have I been this awed at a casting of a show.

SCANDAL - Wow, what a first episode. I was hoping that the affair would be out there in the open and see what happens, but then again there will be no storyline if that is what happens. So Scandal, bring on all the shows!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Daily October (3)

I cannot remember if I wrote about the brunch we had last weekend. If I hadn't, well a friend of ours invited us out for brunch because she really wanted to eat there.

Since then I have been like a hungry bear wanting food....breakfast/brunch food. I find myself googling menus for brunch. What is happening to me?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Daily October (2)

Got the surprise of my life yesterday. Had taken the day off to accompany mom for greencard renewal. Her interview was set in Oakland. They no longer have it in the downtown office; they now have it near the airport, which was good since there is available parking and it's easy to go - after you've battled your way out of the traffic jams from 80 to 880.

Anyway, as I have said I had taken the day off because I really don't know how long it would take and just in case an emergency arises I don't need to be worrying about going back to work.

Our appointment was 9:00 am. We arrived about 8:40is. It was quick. The process was greased lightning. Pain free, hassle free. She was called upon arrival to the next desk where her expired green card was slapped with a sticker signifying the extension of the said card to another 9 months. 5 minutes max - that's all it took then we were headed to the fingerprinting and taking of pictures. Another 5-7 minutes.

I commend the job done by the USCIS to facilitate the processing of renewals.

By the way, I have downloaded the form online and sent it out with the renewal payment ($450) and a couple of weeks or so I got the appointment letter in the mail.

How about DMV....is there still a long wait?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Daily October (1)


Here I am again attempting to write daily for a month. Keeping my fingers crossed this will happen.

Let me begin this project by writing about my success in the kitchen today. I attempted to make "ginisang ampalaya" or sauteed bitter melon with shrimps. I'm all thumbs in the kitchen, so this is a victory for me. This would be the first successful thing I cooked that I could remember.

I've made some wonderful dishes before, but everything lacked something. Salt is the most common lacking in my previous dishes. This time around though I aced it. Hubby even gave it two thumbs up! My mother was really impressed and I had the gall to tell her that I learned to cook without getting any help from her.

My mother was a great cook. She fed us with wonderful dishes when I was growing up. In her advancing years, she lost her mojo in cooking and in sewing - two trades she was really good at when she had all her faculties.

She taught me how to sew and use the sewing machine. BUT she never taught me how to cook. Hence, today makes me more hopeful about my abilities in the kitchen.

Next up.....I'll attempt to bake a scone.