Saturday, November 22, 2008

What a Sunset

Derek took us over to a lookout point on the farm where the four of us (Derek, Beth, Me and Rach) sat on a car and relaxed to watch our first sunset in Costa Rica. It was gorgeous to look accross the valley and through the mountains to the Pacific.

The Gate and a Truck Full of Manure

I think I posted about the gate for the farm (Fuente Verde) that Beth and I had a big hand in building. All bamboo and beach palm with some bolts and bits here and there. It´s been turning a few heads, literally, as I´ve personally seen 3 cars stop to stare at our creation. Not bragging, it´s just got an unusual look for this area. Generally a gate here consists of a single metal bar across the road or some removeable barb wire. We´re proud of our creation!

Also Derek and I spent a wednesday morning to shovel shit. A whole truck load of horse manure into the back of the farm truck. My shoes were caked. Glad that´s a rare treat.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Zip lining

Loved it! Zip lining this past weekend was so much fun. Here´s the pics and videos from our day. Look at Beth go! And check out that 3-toed sloth we saw on the way. Our guides telescope was awesome!

Ode to Baby Bunnies

This is an ode to the baby bunnies out there--
You and me, we make quite a pair.
Other animals? They just stop and stare...
For you are the littlest and you don´t have much hair.

Now, I have a question for you all...
Why are you so cute and ugly when you are small?
This is a strange phenomena
And now we sing fa-la-la-la-la.

Fa-la-la-la-la, baby bunnies.
Fa-la-la-la-la, sweet, sweet, fuzzy bunnies.

Your eyes are closed so snug and cozy,
With hair and woodchips you´re so toasty.
Your ears look like people´s bellybuttons
And you don´t seem to care bout nuttons...

I graciously thank you for not getting mad
When you were in my hands and a tear I almost shad.
You melted my heart like hot lava...
Oooh, que lindo! Entonces yo cantaba,

Fa-la-la-la-la, baby bunnies.
Fa-la-la-la-la, sweet, sweet, fuzzy bunnies.

Manuel Antonio Trip

We took off last weekend for Manuel Antonio, a nature reserve on the pacific coast a few hours away by bus. Rachel was the catalyst behind the trip and we´re so glad she came up with the idea. The trip down the all dirt 47 km road was a bumpy one, but once we got there we quickly found a little room for us to share for cheap and we hit the beach. The beach was long and gorgeous. Not many tourists yet as it´s still the rainy season and the swimming was great. We had been warned about the rip tides, which seem to be bad all up and down the pacific coast of Costa Rica, but this day the water was warm and we just played in the waves. After that we returned to our room (they call them cabinas here, which sounds way more exotic) via the private path through thick forest/jungle growth for a little rest. Oh, I almost forgot an important part of the story. Along the way we ran into a family from the states who were enjoying their day at the beach: Larry, Joy and their two sons who were about 10. They had been hanging out on the beach for some time before we bumped into them and stopped for a chat. After talking about the weather and what we were all doing in CR, the three (Rachel, Beth, and I) all noticed simultaneously that Larry´s (and I hope I don´t offend anyone with my directness here) penis was hanging out of his zipper! At this point all of our eyes turn to the horizon and we fight back the laughter as Larry goes on about the great apartment they found for cheap and he invites us all to stay with them if we need a place. Then I collect myself and I say, "Hey man, your fly´s down" (an understatement if I´ve ever heard one). And he replies "Oh, that´s pretty exposed there." Who uses that language unless it was totally intentional!? Exposed! You´re darn right it was exposed. And what´s the deal with the wife and kids not giving ol Larry a heads up? No pun intended.

Pretty quickly we declined their offer to room with them and moved on from there. What to do next? After our rest time we checked the guide book and got sucked into spending a fortune on a shit meal at an expensive (prices in dollars) restaurant because the meal came with a free film at the adjoining hotel´s movie theater. Long story short, the film was the worst ever. I´m not against dracula, but this version was terrible. We shivered for two hours being drenched from the rain that fell hard and fast before the meal and left with a few minutes to go in the film. An over priced taxi ride later we couldn´t stop lauging about our run in with larry and how we got suckered by our guide book. And we slept soundly knowing that even the occassional rip off wouldn´t ruin our getaway weekend.

The next day we hit the national park and walked through it´s beautiful trails. Along the way we met 3 sloths, a few monkeys trying to steal bags from the beach, a cayman, a sweet looking lizard (see pic) and had our first dose of tropical forest.

How to Roast a Pepper (Starring Derek)

Derek´s always fun and he knows tons about getting around in the kitchen. Before managing Fuente Verde he was a chef for 14 years. Fun fact for you Oklahomans out there, you might be interested to know that he was at one time the head chef at Sushi in the Raw in Tulsa on Brookside.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Swim Hole

Bethanie and Derek, the farm manager and the cool guy who´s house we´re living in.

David tieing a new knot in the swing.

That´s me striking the frog pose.

For Tiffany´s b'day we headed down the road and off onto a little dirt road to a small beach on the river. It was our first time there. David made a rope swing from bridge and we swam and played. As a lot of you know, I'm a clumsy dude and I did slip on the rocks but managed to turn it into a crazy jump into the water. After slamming my knee on more rocks in the shallow water, I surfaced to clapping and whistling from the people on the shore as they celebrated my aerobatics. Other than that and the scrape that I´ve got to show for it, we had a great time.

A Bit of Nature at Finca Ipe

I took all these pics on the farm. There´s always plenty of coconuts to be foraged for. And that´s a huge gecko that lives in the kitchen of the volunteer house! Those letters are 3-4 inches high!

Rachel and I had fun making this one. I remember seeing these plants before, but never in such numbers. There everywhere!

Ants at Work at Finca Ipe (video)

To best enjoy this vid, turn up the classical music and enjoy. Since being on the farm our appreciation for the details of nature has really increased. I sat and stared at these ants for like 15 minutes trying to get the perfect recording to capture the frenzy. This is the best I could do.

The Bamboo House at Finca Ipe and a Little More

Jaw-dropping is the adjective that springs to mind when I try to describe the bamboo house at Finca Ipe. It's completely open to nature. The entire east side of the house is open. Only a very thin mesh keeps the rain and a few of the more stupid bugs out. Most of the bugs find there way in without much problem. We've got a couple of beautiful golden orb spiders in the kitchen for pest control and other than that it's long sleeves, pants and socks all the time for us. Any ways, back to the house. As the name says it´s a lot fof bamboo. Bamboo supports, wall decorations, tables and chairs, kitchen island and counter supports. And it is shrouded in trees on the edge of the farm. We live with the couple who helps run the farm, Derek and Tiffany. They´re from Colorado and Oklahoma (it´s crazy that they´re from OK and we´re always talking about our favorite restaurants and things). They were in the restaurant biz for 14 years before coming down to the farm and getting away from it all. They've got a 10 yr old son named Gabe who's full of energy and has a great imagination. We also live with Dave, a retiredish dude from Florida seeking some solitude.

From the bamboo house there are trails leading to the yoga hut, where we have yoga three times a week, and other houses. We have been spending a lot of time at the volunteer house lately. Two families of three live there along with Rachel. Rachel is from Canada, along with all the other volunteers there so everyone says hoos instead of house and things like that. We really hit it off with Rachel. She's just a couple years younger than us and she´s just out of college enjoying a trip around central/south america. She´s got a great sense of humor and we hang out all the time. We even went on a weekend trip last weekend with her to Manuel Antonio to check out the beautiful beaches and do some hiking in the tropical forest. We were liucky to see 3 sloths, a bunch of monkeys, a really cool cameleon and a cayman along with some very beautiful nature. Lately the three of us have been relaxing a lot in the evening over rum and cokes. A good way to end a long day.

In the pics you can see Rachel and Beth in the kitchen, a golden orb spider, Tiff making quayle eggs (so rich and you gotta each a bunch to get full. When I eat them I feel like the Flinstones. They´re white with purple blotches.), the goats and the snake that was in the kitchen rafters last week.

Hot Tubbin

While at the Montana Linda, the hostel we stayed at in Orosi, we had a jam session. To me it was a bit of a funny idea at first, because there was only one other person at the hostel at the time along with the two of us and booster. So I thought it would only be like the three of us and the two owners/locals who came up with the idea. Well, that night three people who had been at the hostel the previous weeks and were now in homestays returned and 6 people checked into the hostel for only one or 2 nights. Crazy! So we had a full house. Three guitars. I played a bit of harmonica. Plenty of beer and then we hit the hot tub. It was awesome. It took like 8 hours to heat the thing because the rain water that had been collected had to be pumped through the tubing that coiled in the fireplace before being dumped into the tub and then repeated until the 14 or so of us from Holland, Costa Rica, Germany, Israel and Canada eased into it. Then we all took our turns singing our national anthems before relaxing and just talking the night away. Truly a special night to remember.

Pics from Orosi 2

Here's what´s happening in these pics: That´s us with our Spanish teachers and a picture of the school. For Bethanie´s birthday I gave her a two hour horesback ride through the coffee fields in the valley. It was beautiful. The coffee farms from the Orosi valley are some of the best in the world and we meandered through one of them on our journey. My horse was named Betty and Bethanie's was something like Paloma. And then lastly there´s one of the confused roosters that started sounding the alarm at 2 am!

Pics from Orosi

The first two weeks of our time here in CA were in Orosi, studying Spanish and getting used to things here are some pics of our time there. It´s a beautiful little valley with some of the friendliest people around.

Bhadri´s Take on the Work (a segment of an email to a friend)

You know at first I kept thinking to myself "Damn, I got the worst assignment again." It didn´t matter what the work I was doing was. It could be turning compost or using a machete to shave needles from a beach palm or digging 3 foot post holes. And then something occured to me. Farm work is hard work. I talked to the other volunteers and they would always say things like"You don´t want to get stuck planting this or doing that." And the funny thing was I thought that the other volunteers were lucking out with more enjoyable stuff. But really it´s all grinding and exhausting and the bugs eat me all the time. So now I am enjoying the process of the work much more than just having ticked something off the list, if that makes sense. I'm really working on my patience and at my own pace without worrying about how fast I'm working or when it will get done and finding a lot more pleasure in what I'm doing.