Cruisin' in Costa Rica

Published: November 11th 2007
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A "New" Car!!!A "New" Car!!!A "New" Car!!!

Yes, we bought a car. We have been assured that we will be able to sell it in a week and we did the math on bussing fees for school, taxis and future rentals and it made sense.
October 23 to November 11, 2007

As life gets busier here we seem to have less time to update the blog. As well, we are now settling into a somewhat normal day to day life of work, school and a bit of fun and rest on the weekends.

The biggest news of the last few weeks would have to be the purchase of a car. While we planned to use the local buses and taxi service we missed the convenience of our van. So when a fellow teacher at Ron’s school decided to sell his car and the price was right for us, we took it. Of course buying an older used vehicle is not without some minor hassles, but it has been an interesting learning experience. The actual purchase went very smoothly, with Ron meeting a lawyer to sign the papers and then coming home with the car. The fun began when I took the car shopping one day and couldn’t leave the parking lot because the clutch would not engage. Luckily we continue to meet some very helpful and kind people here - as Costa Ricans are reputed to be. A young man helped to fix the
No Patio Lanterns YetNo Patio Lanterns YetNo Patio Lanterns Yet

We are now dining on our patio for every meal. There is something nice about eating at a table as opposed to the sofa.
problem right in the parking lot so that I was able to make it home safely and only accepted a gracias in return. The guy who sold us the car then came to tow it to a mechanic in order to have the problem fixed permanently. For $25 the auxiliary pump for the clutch was replaced. Finally another employee at Ron’s school, Marlon, has offered to help fix the front bumper, which was a fancy spoiler, until it tore off coming into our driveway- this time it wasn’t me driving! We did not like the spoiler when we were looking at the car and had planned to replace it once we bought the car as it is not practical for driving on many of the roads we tourists like to drive on.

Aside from the trips to the mechanics we are enjoying the freedom of our own vehicle. The boys now ride to school with Ron and get home about a half hour earlier each day. We miss the pool at the cabañas and are able to drive over and take a swim when we want to. On Halloween night we dressed up in swimsuits and enjoyed a swim
High Ceilings & Low FloorsHigh Ceilings & Low FloorsHigh Ceilings & Low Floors

We love the high ceiling in our new home.
with candy, pop and chips for supper and one last English TV program in our room at the cabañas. We were trying to ease the disappointment of not celebrating Halloween like in Canada. Here there were no parties at school, no dressing up and no trick or treating. Owen was fondly remembering how he, Joel and Benjamin froze last year but had lots of candy. I reminded him that we would definitely not be swimming outside in Canada.

Last weekend we took a short road trip to a nearby beach, about a half hour drive to Puntarenas. It is not the nicest beach we have visited but the ocean is always fun. Yesterday we were invited to go surfing with Teacher Henry, the man we bought the car from. One of Ron’s goals was to learn how to surf and so we all got up and left the house by 5:35am. We waited, as to be expected, for about a half hour and then followed Henry to a good place to surf. We had to walk about 45 minutes to get to the good waves but it was well worth it. The beach was deserted and very beautiful. While
Loving SchoolLoving SchoolLoving School

Owen loves going to school in his somewhat hot golf shirt/uniform.
Ron worked hard at surfing the boys had a lot of fun playing in the giant pool left behind when the tide went out. We also saw lots of crabs and learned how snails stick to the rocks. With fierce determination to get up on the board Ron did so after more than an hour of practice. Yaah!! I watched from shore and just might try to surf too, one day. The boys took turns using the surf board in the mellow pool and both showed great potential for being surfer dudes one day. Ron is a little stiff this morning but has added a new move to his exercise regime…the pop-up push-up. It was another great day at the beach and because we left so early we were home by noon. It is truly awesome to be so close to the ocean. Ron had time to go get an oil change, buy a new Cumbia disk, spend an hour at the internet café, write two proposals, and get a haircut ($3 with tip)

Besides the weekend adventures school has been keeping the boys busy and it is very good for everyone’s Spanish. Ron is able to speak with
Loving School Even MoreLoving School Even MoreLoving School Even More

Ben is thriving at school and tells us it is the best part of every day.
his coworkers and the boys are learning a lot. Ron also picks up plenty of Spanish from teaching the beginner business English course he developed. He has also met a Costa Rican business man who has made a rather attractive offer that will require him to learn even more Spanish and possibly spend more time in Costa Rica over the next few years. We’ll see where that goes over the next few weeks. Owen doesn’t say much but understands lots. Benjamin comes home singing in Spanish it sounds good even if we don’t understand what he’s saying or if it is correct.

I have also been able to improve my Spanish as I have been learning to cook Costa Rican food from a local lady. She speaks no English and is very patient with my Spanish. I now know what all those different looking veggies are in the market and what foods are called in Spanish. I can also make Gallo Pinto - rice and beans - like a local, and a very yummy Chimichuri. Besides learning how to cook I have learned my second valuable lesson on being a foreigner in Costa Rica. I had read prior to
A Friend Visited Our HouseA Friend Visited Our HouseA Friend Visited Our House

This beauty flew in and at first we thought it was a bat.
coming here that some people may try to take advantage of foreigners. They believe that because we are Canadian we are “rich” and able to pay an exorbitant amount for simple things. My first lesson here occurred when I was charged $20 for a lady to do one large load of laundry. I did not end up paying that amount and the very next day arranged to buy our washing machine. Now with my cooking lady I was shown all of the things in the store that I “must” buy in order to cook properly. Money was no object and it took a lot of explaining to make her realize that I was not able to have every convenience available for my kitchen. I was also quoted a price of $10 for 2.5 hours of cooking lessons. That may not seem like a lot, however I could have someone clean the house, do laundry and do some cooking each week for about that price. After letting her know that I would not be able to pay that much we did decide on a lesser amount. And in the end I received a bargain, with two types of lessons for the
A Closer LookA Closer LookA Closer Look

I love the markings..they look so scary!
price of one.

Finally, we have purchased our table and chairs for the patio. It is great to be able to sit and eat our meals like a family again. It is somewhat of a strange experience eating breakfast outdoors in our pajamas at 5:30 in the morning…but I think we can get used to it. It was a good thing we waited as the original price we were quoted for a set of plastic chairs and table was around $72. With that outrageous price Ron went on a mission to find a better deal. There is a bazaar across the street from the internet café that sells just about everything. One day they had chairs sitting outside and Ron inquired about the price and availability of a table. They told him next week and that the chairs would be about $8 each and they weren’t sure about the table. We have bought several things from the store since moving here and Ron made a good impression on the owner, or at least he must have, because they sold him the table and chairs for $52. A great discount that was made even better as when Ron was
Other FriendsOther FriendsOther Friends

These Geckos find their way in our house and they make a real loud noise for such little guys. They eat up any bugs that might bother us but they also leave evidence that they eat too. Gecko poo!
paying he told the guy that it was good the price was what it was because that was all he had on him. The guy gave Ron a c1,000 Colones bill (about $2) and said, “Pura Vida! Have a coffee on me.” With the new found money from the discount we went and bought four more chairs for when we have guests. On that note there is plenty of space left on the calendar for more visitors…hint, hint, Roland, Chris, Kim, Howard, --May long girls--Melissa, Tebbutt, Glenda, Stacey, Carrie, and any other friends or relatives that are considering a holiday this winter or spring.
Summer is approaching and there has been a good breeze for the past week. Apparently this is the signal that the season is changing. We will be busy over the next few weeks with school field trips and we are hosting a party at the end of the month so we should have plenty to write about. Thanks again for the comments and the private messages as we really appreciate them even if we don’t respond to every one. Remember if you want a better look at the pictures you can double click on them to
Surfing Beach at CalderaSurfing Beach at CalderaSurfing Beach at Caldera

A nice walk past the main port of Costa Rica in Caldera and you will find an abandoned beach where the breaks are perfect for learning.
enlarge. You can also read previous journal entries by clicking on our name or the previous button at the top of the journal entry. Hasta luego.

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


Watch & LearnWatch & Learn
Watch & Learn

Surfing looks easy and I'm sure one day it will be but I had to take a break to watch and make mental notes every half hour because my body was so fatigued.
Surfing is Great ExerciseSurfing is Great Exercise
Surfing is Great Exercise

No, none of these guys are Ron... Teacher Henry is at the top of the picture.
Surfers in TrainingSurfers in Training
Surfers in Training

Ben & Owen practiced in the tidal pool.
Wiped Out!!Wiped Out!!
Wiped Out!!

Ben walked into the house after our surfing safari and this is where he ended up for the next two hours.
Best BudsBest Buds
Best Buds

Owen reads to Ben quite often and Ben is doing some reading of his own these days. Notice our little Tico boys wearing blue jeans on this cool day...20 Celcius at 8AM.
Reversal of FortuneReversal of Fortune
Reversal of Fortune

Last winter Owen lost his two front teeth. This week he lost the two on either side of his new front adult teeth. He swallowed one at lunch at school one day and nearly did the same the next day. Luckily he salvaged the second one and the tooth fairly gave him credit for the one he swallowed.

15th November 2007

Love the car!
Seeing the pictures make us miss the boys even more, Happy to hear that all is going well. Diogi misses you too, but he is doing ok. Love to all. Mom
20th November 2007

Beach vs. snow
Always fun to read your blog. Funny to think of it soon being summer there when we are just getting into winter here. Up here in Debden we have snow, snow and more snow. They say down in southern SK it's dry. But we have more snow here then we usually do at this time of year. It could be a very white winter in Northern SK. Enjoy the beaches and the warm weather, I will be thinking of you when I am shoveling yet again more snow. Love ya always!
5th December 2007

Enjoy the heat
When I want to escape thinking about our cold winter I read your adventures and enjoy your beautiful pictures. Your blog is great! thanks for sharing with us. May you enjoy a Very Merry Christmas. Love lillian and alden

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