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Published: October 23rd 2006
What a busy time over the past three weeks! I’ve had scarely any time to update my blog let alone take of care of many personal items that I keep putting off. As I mentioned in my last blog, we’ve been having a lot of fun here this month. Terrific guests, a lot of laughs, and great food are a terrific combination for making the month enjoyable, even during this rainy season.
The B&B has been humming with activity and it seems lately at least, that when we’ve just finished one meal, it’s time to prepare for the next one. Bob, our 17-night guest (along with his wife Deb), has been our “chef in residence” this month cooking everything from corvina with a mildly spicey sauce to burgers you’d find in any backyard barbeque in the states. To top it all off, Jake (another long-termer) and Bob combined forces to make not one, not two, but four outstanding key lime pies over the past 1.5 weeks.
Most people that know me are aware that I’m not exactly Superman in the kitchen. Fortunately, I’ve learned to cook breakfast in the last year and a
half (and temporarily at least, it’s been a necessity that I do cook breakfast) but one thing that I missed is having a grill. You can buy a grill here but any decent gas grill is expensive and not well made, so I’ve just held back, resigned to the fact I’ll have to use my trips to the states for grilling (at friends’ homes of course). However, this week during a tour of local real estate developments, Bob and Deb stopped at a local soda ( small, hole-in-the-wall restaurants) and found a beautiful grill just sitting next to the soda unused. Built of solid metal, the circular portion of it on which the cooking grill and lower racks rest, is a large, solid wheel. It looks like it came from a truck. Upon hearing about this opportunity, I immediately seized the day and Bob, Deb and I went back to the soda to offer a few colones for it. We didn’t even know if the grill was for sale, but the owner was happy to sell it to me, and for a fraction of what the gas grill would have cost. In fact, this grill was hardly used. Given the
many years of use I’ll likely get out of it, this may even be a better investment than Costa Rican real estate!
This is no small grill, however, as Bob estimated he could cook about 15 or so good-sized hamburgers on it—and he did a few days ago. For our inaugural test of the grill we invited about 20 friends over for a Saturday afternoon barbecue. Even though the weather was threatening, we managed to make it through the grill out with only a sprinkle of rain. Bacon cheeseburgers were the only entree, along with Bob’s special mango salsa, beans and chips. Chico, our jack-of-all-trades handyman happened to be around doing some work during the barbeque (suspicious eh?) and ended up eating 3 hamburgers and two pieces of key lime pie. I don’t know how many times he said, “muy rico,” but he obivously was enjoying the food—and few beers thrown in!
I’ve had so much fun the past three weeks enjoying the company of Bob, Deb, Renee, and Jack (all long-termers), I’ve hardly felt this is a B&B! It’s more like having family over for a long stay (but not in the bad way!). And, having my
Jake & Bob with makeshift grill
Later, I bought a nifty new grill so we would no longer have to steal wood, cement blocks, metal, etc., from Dave & Mary´s new house (Thanks D&M!)! Look for a photo of the new grill in my next blog entry!
godson Basem here for a few days was just icing on the cake! While Deb and Bob will be headed back to the states by the time this blog is posted, thank God they’ll be back, and none too soon for me, as this coming week it’s back to mac and cheese for me!
Eggs, eggs and more eggs….
I mentioned in a previous blog entry that I recently acquired 10 new, healthy, egg-producing chickens as I really want to get some value out of our remodeled, deluxe chicken coop. With two separate quarters, it’s a large coop. In fact, with some additional cement, or wood, it could easily convert into another bedroom (except for the fact it is away from the house and plumbing would have to be added)! So, I’ve been anxious to see the chickens reach their full potential. I was told by experts, namely by Chico, that it would take about one month after getting them, for them to start producing. Chico was correct as it took about 4.5 weeks for eggs to start to appear. It started out slowly as I found two or three eggs each morning, and in recently days, I’m
averaging 10 eggs, or one per chicken. If anyone knows how I can these chickens to produce 15 or more eggs per day, let me know, as I have no idea!
Eggs are not expensive here but for some reason I relish in the fact that I get free, fresh, organic eggs every day. Perhaps next I’ll consider purchasing a cow. I’d love to have fresh cheese as well but I cannot seem to figure out how the cows manage to put plastic wrappers on those individually packages slices of yellow cheese, or how the cheese gets that wonderful Velveeta-type yellow color either!
Welcoming back Alex and Davide…..
My good friends Alex and Davide spent about 25 days in Italy recently visiting Davide’s family, near Milan. I’m so glad they are back, as living here I’ve come to rely on a small group of close friends I talk with or see almost every day. Along with newer friends, Preston and Mike, and a host of others, we’re forming a very nice ex-pat community in and around the San Ramon area.
Alex and I have a busy few months coming up as we kick off our “Boomers
Renee´s car after a finca tour
And who said fincas (farms) were clean?!
in Costa Rica Tours” (www.boomersincostarica.com) and are in the final stages of organizing the December tour. Being both former “A-types,” we’re actually in good shape for the December tour. Now we just want to get out there and start doing it! We both think it is going to be a ton of fun traveling the Central Valley, showing people how we live and why we love this country so much. Showing clients where the best stores are, terrific, value-priced lots and homes, and more is going to be as fun and informative for us as it will be for our clients. We still have a few spots left so if you want to join us, drop us a note: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a general strike planned for tomorrow (Monday) that could shut down much of the country—at least the roads, public services, buses, schools, etc. (I guess there is not much left!). While the basic premise is labor’s opposition to seeing CAFTA ratified here, it is really more about protecting a certain lifestyle and their concern that CAFTA will lead to job losses. Job losses are a concern of course. However, if Costa Rica does become
a signatory to CAFTA, and it is implemented, it will clearly change the country—hopefully for the good—but we don’t know yet. What it will clearly do is bring competition to the huge and inefficient government monopolies that exist here including telephone/cell service, electricity, Internet and even medical and car insurance. While all countries have inefficient public services to some extent, even where competition exists, at least competition will help keep these former monopolies on their guard, forcing them to change based on market conditions and customer needs. For me, that’s a good thing.
That’s all for now. Keep your comments coming!
www.AngelValleyFarmBandB.com (the B&B!)
www.BoomersInCostaRica.com (4-day/3 night relocation/retirement tour!)
www.CostaRicaRealEstate.typepad.com (Boomers in Costa Rica blog!)
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