March Madness

Published: April 8th 2008
Edit Blog Post

Busy PlayaBusy PlayaBusy Playa

We went to this beach on Good Friday and found out what Semana Santa means to Costa Ricans.
Upon our return from the journey to the Caribbean coast we started exploring our opportunities back in Canada. According to my leave agreement it was necessary to indicate my intentions to return or not by the 15th of March. I had already contacted my buddy in human resources to find out what might be available and Nataghia was exploring her opportunities as well. As it turned out my opportunities were limited to a couple of teaching positions in small remote communities and a principal position in a small town similar to Eastend. In the meantime Nataghia found a nice opportunity with the Office of the Provincial Secretary and with that in consideration I requested more time with respect to my decision so Nataghia could try and firm up her situation. Nevertheless it seemed like we were heading home early and I began making the arrangements. I re-scheduled our flight to April 15th, I booked us a room in Chicago with ExtendaStay Deluxe using the coupon they gave us in the fall as a result of the poor service we received, and I booked us in a sleeper car on Amtrak from Chicago to Williston. We are going to be in Saskatchewan

The bridge to San Geronimo. If you are not going to drive over the bridge go back to Canada. We decided to drive over the bridge and go back to Canada.
on April 17th and I must admit we are all looking forward to it. The boys are especially pumped about the sleeper car and I agree. The sleeper car cost $512 and includes all the meals for our family during the 22.5 hour train ride. With the travel details taken care of we had to start preparing our exodus from a Costa Rican perspective. We have a car and about $2,500 worth of furniture to get rid of in a month. With that in mind we did what every other person in Costa Rica was doing on the Easter weekend. We went to the beach… and it was the most crowded we have seen it since we have been here. While at the beach that beautiful Friday afternoon we made our list of things to do before leaving and itemized the things we wanted to sell.

We had decided that we would go to Manuel Antonio after the rush of Easter travelers had returned home so we prepared for the Monday morning departure. I went to the print shop earlier Monday morning and made 100 copies of our for sale poster and we packed up our car and headed
Fun with MomFun with MomFun with Mom

This little pool has been a life saver these past weeks as the temperatures have been around 35 everyday.
to the most famous of all Costa Rica’s beaches. On the way we stopped at the Saint Patrick American School to say hello to our friends and drop off the posters to Marlon who is our all-around good guy, helper, and friend. We arrived in Manuel Antonio in the mid-afternoon and since we had decided not to tent we had to choose between two hotels we had researched, Mimo’s or Mono Azul. It seemed like both would be fine and since they had a room available at $65 plus tax including breakfast at Mimo’s we ended up taking a room there. We enjoyed the sweltering heat and humidity poolside and then had one of the famous Mimo’s pizzas for dinner. We packed it in relatively early considering we had a television with ENGLISH channels. We were tired from the business of traveling and worrying AND we were heading to the beach first thing in the morning since they only allow a limited number of people in Manuel Antonio National Park each day. In the morning we arrived at the cue for the park at about 8:30, which is when the park opens, and we were behind about 200 people. All
Mimo´s PoolMimo´s PoolMimo´s Pool

We would like to have a pool like this at our house.
the hype about Manual Antonio is true as the place is perfect. One very long beach with some serious waves right next to another long beach with numerous snorkeling spots, tidal pools, and both had perfect white powder sand. We didn’t see any Squirrel Monkeys at the beach but the night before after we finished our pizza Owen spotted three or four “hanging around” the hotel pool. After a long day at the beach we headed back to the hotel in the late afternoon and enjoyed a refreshing dip in the pool and went out to the corner store and bought supplies for supper. We spent the evening in the comfort of our hotel room watching a movie about a rock band staying at an estate in England starring Alicia Silverstone and Peter O’Toole. Our boys are so understanding when it comes to sharing the television on occasions like this and we all really enjoyed laying around together laughing at the crazy movie.

The next morning we partook in the complimentary breakfast and then another hours in the pool before heading back to Esparza. It isn’t a long drive but we wanted to get away early as there are
Manuel AntonioManuel AntonioManuel Antonio

This is one sweet beach.
a couple of single lane bridges that can really cause some delays. We made it over the bridges without any problems and were back in Esparza in time for lunch. The trip is actually about two hours and fifteen minutes and the scenery along the way is quite interesting with the coastal vistas, crazy bridges, palm tree plantation, and the over development of condos that are featured in places like Jaco and Playa Estrellas and the like. We were fairly anxious upon our return home as I still needed to talk to my employers and Nataghia was waiting for the news from Regina. I was somewhat stressed about being able to sell all of our things in such short notice. I had posted the stuff on the internet as well as I participate in a couple of ex-pat forums about living in Costa Rica and between our posters and the internet connection we had commitments for everything except the bunk beds. We had priced the items reasonable but it looked like we were going to recoup about $1,500 of our original investment.

The next day I went to work with Johnny my friend who is in the real estate

There are nine bats hanging from this tree branch. Find them and win.
and development business. When he found out we were leaving in couple of weeks he didn’t waste any time and offered me a partnership in his business. He suggested that I invest in one of his houses he had just finished building, furnish it, turn it into an office and home away from home for me, and a vacation rental business. With the terms he was offering it would be crazy to resist so I jumped at the opportunity and now we have a new place in Costa Rica to use and rent out. I had heard that nearly every person who moves to Costa Rica for any length of time ends up working in tourism or real estate…I guess we are not as exceptional as we once believed and now we are one of those people. The house is actually part of a bigger plan Johnny and I had been working on and this commitment we have made now really has solidified the our long term plan with Johnny to develop several properties to promote in addition to creating a tour company and a luxury cabin compound/retreat with meeting rooms and recreation area. With this new development I had to break the news to Marlon, who stood to make a great commission, that we weren’t selling our things. He was disappointed until I told him about the job opportunity I arranged for him as part of my deal with Johnny. Of course we will leave him a nice tip for all of his help over the past six months.
In order to celebrate we bought tickets to the a professional soccer match occurring on the weekend between Puntarenas, our local team, and Saprissa, the national champions.

We had to head to the futbol match early as the children were free if we arrived before 10am. We bought tickets for the shady side as the game was starting at eleven and we weren’t interested in getting the experience of sitting in the sun frying like we did when we went to the Rider game last summer. The crowd was split relatively evenly with the fans of Saprissa being somewhat more vocal. It was odd because most home teams enjoy the crowd advantage but apparently the Saprissa team enjoys support whenever they play. Actually Sparissa had won their past 10 games and Puntarenas was on a four game losing streak
Palm PlantationPalm PlantationPalm Plantation

Palm oil has replaced bananas in the Quepòs area.
so the Puntareanas fans that were there were rather timid too. The match was very exciting and we really enjoyed the close up view we had. It was amazing to see the players diving so horribly up close. The other part of the match that was interesting was the field in Puntareanas is slightly smaller than other professional soccer fields, think Boston Gardens, and as a result the play was quicker and more exciting that we expected. We all laughed at the numerous “injuries” incurred by the players, not that we thought getting hurt was funny but each time the team helpers ran onto the field and carried the players off on a stretcher. It really wasn’t that serious of an injury. The Puntarenas side ended up breaking their losing streak and we watched them celebrate and jeer the Saprissa bus relentlessly after the match. It was definitely worth the $12 per ticket and I was glad I could take Marlon and his wife along as they wouldn’t likely be able to afford attending such an event. With all the fun over we had work to do…we were moving out of our rental in a few short days and we
Scary BridgeScary BridgeScary Bridge

The bridge is being replaced this year.
still hadn’t officially had any employment back home. The next week or so will be filled with many anxious moments and we embrace the challenge. Of course it is always easier knowing that we are going to head to Playa Samara for one last time after the craziness of moving our things a week before we move ourselves back to Canada.

Additional photos below
Photos: 21, Displayed: 21


Don´t look DownDon´t look Down
Don´t look Down

The bridge NEEDS to be replaced this year!
Wanna Buy a Box Wanna Buy a Box
Wanna Buy a Box

We saw many of these types of developments along the way from Esparza to Manuel Antonio.

Marlon, Camilla, Andrea and the boys were cheering their teams on with fervor.
Futbol or SoccerFutbol or Soccer
Futbol or Soccer

Whatever you call it... much better live and with professional playing. No offense Owen.

We saw plenty of this kind of action. Funny how they usually return within a minute.
Safety FirstSafety First
Safety First

Apparently the referees are targets of contraband bottles. That is right no bottles of any kind in the stadium.
Protecting the PlayersProtecting the Players
Protecting the Players

These people wanted to tell the Saprissa team how much they liked them but the police wouldn´t allow it.
Dad´s New SpotDad´s New Spot
Dad´s New Spot

These days I´ve been doing plenty of thinking and working on the computer...again.
Mangos GaloreMangos Galore
Mangos Galore

We have been eating a ton of these babies!

Doesn´t that look delish?
Sharing with FriendsSharing with Friends
Sharing with Friends

This cow and calf have made friends with Owen and Ben. I think it is because they feed them mangos.
Snack TimeSnack Time
Snack Time

This is what we call the fresh fruit section.

8th April 2008

hope you are having a good time.
Hi Ron and gang: I hope all of you are enjoying the warm weather, not bad here at 16 today. I am working one more year, take care.. Nick Reifferscheid
8th April 2008

I'm soooooo jealous of the mangos!!!!!!!!!
10th April 2008

Well what an advebture you have been on. I will need a month just to hear allabout it when you get back. Hope you all have a safe and fun trip back home to Saskatchewan!!!
12th April 2008

Good to hear you are coming back. It is interesting to think of what type of tour/stay adventure you are getting into!!! But even more important is where you will end up here. It does not sound too good for jobs but maybe something will come up that will interest you. You had a great time in Costa Rica so that is a nice thing. I am currently on the west coast but soon going back to Saskatchewan to enjoy the warm winds on spring!! See ya! Alan

Tot: 2.208s; Tpl: 0.078s; cc: 12; qc: 59; dbt: 0.0625s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb