Archive of ‘Travel’ category

Florence: SA Day

Florence 023DT FLorenceHow do you celebrate Singles Awareness Day? Go to Florence – no, not Italy- Alabama!  I started pondering this question, and I decided to do what I love to do best which is go to a different city and see new things and meet new people. Florence, AL, would be a fun quick trip.  I had been to Florence one other time in a conflicting September a few years back with a friend celebrating her birthday and Fall Single Awareness Day, so I had seen some of downtown.  My first thought was my second home Destin, but that needs to be a longer trip.

I asked Michelle what spa to call, and then preceded to book an appointment with Epicurean Spa, and I made reservations for the Hampton Downtown; they have an online check in that is awesome. Do not choose the Hampton Midtown by mistake. I called the wrong one first, and I was informed that Applebee’s was the only restaurant within walking distance. I knew that was not the correct Hampton.  I did check with Marriott, but there were no vacancies, and the spa was a wee bit expensive. Even though it is rated very high as far as Marriott spas, I felt confident that spa treatments are great wherever you go.

I waited late to book the spa, so I was up bright and early leaving Tupelo for my 9:00 spa time. I had a body wrap and detoxifying treatment and a skin purifying treatment and relaxing deep cleansing facial. My massage therapist was the young and beautiful Crystal Martin. She was very nice and knowledgeable about the products. I was wrapped up like a mommy with the body wrap, but I could move my fingers, and she stayed in the room with me.
Crystal said, “I sometimes leave so the client can relax”.
I said, “Oh no, you are not leaving me in here unable to move.” (I would not be a good replacement for Dakota Johnson for the second part of the Grey trilogy.)
She stayed with me the entire time and started my facial. You lie on the table all wrapped up for around 45 minutes then a warm shower is next to wash off the stuff that she applied to your entire body. It was relaxing. NO dead skin on this chick!!

When I left the spa, I headed downtown and then I decided I wanted lunch at the Marriott and changed directions. I had a fried green tomato pimento cheese sandwich with lots of bacon (reminded me of a similar sandwich at Café 212 in Tupelo, MS  http://www.cafe212tupelo.com/) and wonderful green beans with caramelized onions.  I ate outside on the covered patio, and the view was very nice. Florence 003 After lunch and a little relaxation, I headed toward downtown. The weather was warmer on Saturday, so downtown had browsers.

Florence 022 The first place I stumbled upon was the Court Street Market.  There were several things in this building, but the one place that I immediately fell in love with was The Carriage on Court. It was an open floor plan wine/cheese/ flower, etc. shop. It reminded me of New York. 

http://courtstreetmarket.org/vendors/carriage-court/ 

Florence 018Florence 017Florence 014Florence 016

I found two adorable tops at a boutique called My Favorite Things that I did buy, but I had to remind myself that there is a certain cash limit to being nice to yourself on this special weekend. I met two nice ladies (one from Virginia), and the owner was very helpful.

Florence 026

Then I walked in to Jewel’s Accessories. This beautiful women with a huge smile greeted me at the door. I told her I wanted full curly blond hair like she has. This stated our warm honest conversation and our friendship. Graham is a delightful person with a huge personality. When the karma shirt is marked down, let me know. My life has been ruled by karma-some good and some bad! http://www.jewellsaccessoriesboutique.com/  Jewel
I wandered around more and found a great book at the Thrift Store down the street.

Then I went to Rosie’s to relax before heading to the hotel. Fortunately for me, Rene’ Anderson was behind the bar. She is so kind and so delightful to talk to that I ordered food and stayed longer than I had planned. She is artistic, creative and has a great thirst for knowledge and strives for a good life for her family.  Her love story made me smile for a long time.

This store has very classy traditional clothes and a cozy shop atmosphere. I loved the painting above the register.

Bill ReidFlorence 030

I finally made it to the hotel, and the check in was easy. There were no hot cookies yet, but they always have a great coffee for you, and I did walk back to the lobby when the cookies were ready. I tried a strawberry cheesecake cookie- It was so good. I was really into “be nice to Wanda” today! As I was checking in, I ran in to a friend from Tupelo celebrating Valentines’ Day with his special valentine.

I walked down to On the Rocks to watch the Ole Miss game. http://florenceontherocks.com/  I ate a great burger then I walked down to FloBama to watch the second half. Someone had told me there was an eighties band playing tonight.  They were correct, but it did not start until 10:30, so I watched the game and talked to this delightful couple who has celebrated Valentine’s Day thirty-two times together, and they still liked each other! We had a good time conversing and then the Velcro Pygmies took the stage! I do not know how to describe the outfits of the band. My first thoughts were a combination of Boy George, Richard Simmons, and Kiss. The music was really good, and they had a big stage presence. http://www.reverbnation.com/venue/flobamamusichall

Yes, I was a little shocked.

Yes, I was a little shocked.

When I Ieft the hotel earlier, I walked to On the Rocks. When I left FloBama, it was freezing, so I called a cab to go back to the hotel.

I enjoyed lunch the next day with a friend at Ricatoni’s.  The lasagna has a delightful red sauce. It was a warm and inviting atmosphere.Postcard of Forks

Afterward lunch, we went to the remnant of an old plantation- the amazing Forks of Cypress. This is a great video of the Forks of Cypress Tour.     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeTWJK-SGtw

Beams of Forks of Cypress

Beams of Forks of Cypress

Before the fire..

Before the fire.. 

small replica of FOC - Florence

small replica of FOC

Alex Haley did not live to see Queen published. This was the story of his great-great grandmother and his great- great grandfather’s family and plantation. http://www.alex-haley.com/alex_haley_queen.htm

A friend told me that I reminded him of Frost’s poem and that he knew I had “many miles to go before I sleep”.  I think he knows me well.  I think beignets will be in my future. Until next time…..
Excerpt from “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”

Cruise Again- Anyone?

Cruise -Jan. 14 040

 

Cruise -Jan. 14 027

I would Cruise Again! Cruising is fun! No sea sickness at all but a little cotton mouth from the patch. I think it was a very calm cruise which I am sure helped with this. I also slept well except for one night when the bed was doing a little moving.  We had a room that did not have a window, and two ex-teachers accustomed to getting up early were able to sleep late. The schedule was always flexible.

Cruise -Jan. 14 012

The food was great: the chocolate dessert was my favorite. The best hamburger was found on this cruise thanks to the “fixings” bar with bacon bits and mushrooms.  The atmosphere was so relaxed. What is there to fret about if you have three meals and a wonderful steward who cleaned your room and brought you breakfast if you put the card out before midnight. All you had to do was circle what you wanted.  We ordered a light breakfast—you know to tide us over until we could go to the real breakfast. Waking up to a knock on the door and then fresh coffee being placed on the counter was a treat!  The last morning we went to the formal breakfast. I would do that every morning on the next cruise. I felt like royalty.

Cruise -Jan. 14 045

We had an 8:15 dinner time and after the first night, we found delightful companions to spend our dinner time with each night.  Paige Copeland and Daniel Heidrick – thanks for welcoming us to your table. The menu was enticing every night.Cruise -Jan. 14 046

One night after dinner, we enjoyed two comedians, and there was also a casino on board, a piano bar and several other places to relax.

Cruise -Jan. 14 016

When we arrived in Progreso, we walked off the boat and went to the first establishment that had food, cold Coronas and the most important thing– high speed internet. We both needed to work on our online classes and communicate with the world. Adelia got a $20.00 amazing massage, and we enjoyed the three for five Coronas.

I bought a cute blue beach dress and Retina A. The dress was $25.00, and it was $20.00 for two tubes of Retina A. Bargains! The place where I bought the Retina A was named Drugs and Deli which made me laugh.  I guess the contents of the store were not that different from the old drug stores like Brent’s Drugs in the movie The Help. You could buy several different types of antibiotics, Flexeril and Ultram just to name a few. I was afraid to purchase anything like that because I thought this might not make it through Customs.   I knew Customs would not care about my wrinkle helping cream.

Cruise -Jan. 14 043

Alcohol was also cheaper, but travelers must pay a tax to bring home alcohol, and carrying the alcohol safely home without breaking it would have been a hassle for me. Not worth it! While walking through Customs, potential customers were given free Tequila shots to promote the product. Beautiful and reasonably priced gold and silver jewelry was abundant. I wish I had purchased some jewelry. Adelia told me to buy souvenirs in Progreso because they were cheaper. She was correct! Some people were told to wait until they were in port in Cozumel. My cruise expert knew where was best to shop.Cruise -Jan. 14 032

Our next stop was Cozumel. We found the Three Amigos restaurant after we departed. Good food, great view and high speed wireless internet – a winning trio of offerings. After we finished working and returned our laptops to our room, we began the search for a free beach.  After taking directions from several people and walking a long way, we faced the fact that there are no free beaches in Cozumel. At this time it was around lunch, and we had to board at 3:00, so paying $40.00 for beach privileges was not a wise investment.  Adelia got another massage and then we shopped and boarded the ship.

The next day we were at sea all day, and we enjoyed the pool. There was always something going on at the pool: Hairy Chest Contest, ice sculptures, music, etc.

The day of departure there is choice of whether to put your luggage out or carry it yourself. We carried our luggage and that made it easier to depart quickly.

We rode a bus back to the airport for our 4:00 flight. Our new friend Jennifer ate lunch with us before boarding her plane back to Oklahoma. Jennifer is a house mother for a fraternity and a director at Upward Bound. She is an amazing young lady that I hope to see again soon. Adelia is a great travel companion, and I am thankful that she invited me to accompany her on this trip!

Cruise -Jan. 14 017

I would cruise again, but I will always hope and pray for calm waters before each voyage!

BV - cartoon

First Cruise: Face Your Fears

Cruise - NassauCreative Commons License faungg’s photo via Compfight

My first Carnival cruise will be taking place soon. There are several reasons that I am a virgin cruiser: job and fear of being seasick again. The most important reason is because of my jobs. For the last eight years, I have needed internet access 24/7, but for the next ten weeks, I do not need internet access for every waking moment.

Another reason was my deep sea fishing experience twenty years ago and my para sailing adventure. There are some experiences that you never forget. Daddy thought it would be a great idea for me to go deep sea fishing with the boys, so I did. We arose at 6:00 that morning, and we hit Waffle House with a vengeance. After fried everything, we boarded the boat.

At first it was fun, I actually caught the first fish. It was a small thing, but I was quite pleased then the nausea began. After about thirty minutes, I was hanging over the side of the boat. It is safe to say that I did not want to eat at Waffle House or crave eggs and bacon for a long time.

Finally, I was able to go down in the gallows to lie down. I went to sleep and I woke up feeling better. I walked up to the steps and then I saw myself. I was literally green from the neck up –not a bright green but a pale thick green.   Then I followed Daddy’s advice and ate a few crackers and drank some soda. BIG MISTAKE! I was back hanging over the side of the boat again.

When the trip was coming to a close and we were heading in to the marina, as soon as I saw a land form and focused only on looking at the land, I immediately started feeling better.

Parasailing @ SaipanCreative Commons License

Hajime NAKANO via Compfight

The para-sailing adventure was not as traumatic as the fishing experience, but as the boat was hitting the waves, and I was going up and down in the sky like a yo-yo, I started to feel that same sick feeling as if someone is taking your stomach and throwing it around like a Frisbee.

I have decided to tackle my fear of seasickness and arm myself with a patch, Dramamine, and Phenergan. Hopefully the patch will be all I need, but just in case, I will have the other two meds to make me feel better.

I am going cruising, and I am totally clueless about what is allowed and what time you do everything, but Adelia is a seasoned veteran, and she will direct me and assist me. We travel well together, so I am ready for the adventure to begin later in the month. I will share my trip with my friends.

 Restaurant Recommendations from Recent Adventures

New Year’s Trip to Destin
790 on the Gulf Restaurant was amazing!
http://www.eatmoregumbo.com/
http://www.eatmoregumbo.com/sunday_brunch

View from the inside of 790 on the Gulf

View from the inside of 790 on the Gulf

 

View from the outside

View from the outside

 

synergylogofinal.36074947_std

http://www.synergyorganiccafefwb.com/

Synergy is an all organic cafe and juice bar that focuses on using real whole foods from our local and regional farmers. The Cafe is owned by longtime Locals Amy Likins and Christian Echele who have been making wonderful healthy food on the Emerald Coast together for 13 years. Amy has a degree in Holistic Nutrition and Christian is a classically trained chef- combined they make an amazing team to bring you the freshest, best taking and good for you combinations- you will be eating healthier and loving it before you know it!

At Synergy we strive to help others find a path to health and well being by bringing about a greater sense of awareness and wholeness to all that we do. We believe the secret to a life of health and well-being is found in taking a Synergistic or Holistic approach to life with a healthy Organic Whole Foods based diet, daily exercise, and a positive mental and emotional constitution. Come have a seat at the bar and watch as our amazingly talented team create fresh masterpieces right in front of you. Every time you come into the cafe is an opportunity to learn how to make positive healthy choices for yourself and your families’ diet and lifestyle. (copied from the public website)

JB’s
Holly Springs, MS, on the square
Great service! The salmon and sweet baked potato were amazing. There was also a great salad bar with spinach—thank you!
http://jbsfamily.com/

imgHome01

Chase your dreams….they will not chase you!

Rebel Football Love

hotty toddy

LyceumOle MissSEC Football Team love is hard to describe. It is a feeling, an emotion that is hard to explain if you are not a southerner with a team.  Football in the south is an institution that is cherished and loved by many people. I have no comprehension or tolerance for people that changes teams according to the team’s record or their affiliation with people.  I was an Ole Miss Rebel  fan in ’94 and 2004 when we were 4-7, and I will always be a fan.

For my family and most of the Ole Miss family, football means tailgating at all home games.  We started out tailgating in the circle around thirty-five years ago when it was just us and a few other people. We had a card table, a few chairs and KFC. When my girls were old enough to sit through a ballgame, they climbed the magnolia tree and played in the Circle before the game and then they were introduced to Ole Miss Football.

2013 706

I have no comprehension or tolerance for people that changes teams according to the team’s record or their affiliation with certain people.  I was a fan in ’94 and 2004 when we were 4-7, and I am a fan in 2014; I will always be a fan.Eli

Football tailgating preparation begins at least a week in advance. Deciding departure time on game day and coordinating food selection and arrival times of all parties is like coordinating a party or social event. Our location has changed due to the new parking restraints, but we have settled in at our new location. It is very convenient for Daddy and Jane, Donna and John, and Peg and Ralph to be able to back the vehicles up and unload.

We pick our crew up from wherever they can park and bring them to the tailgate.

We pick our crew up from wherever they can park and bring them to the tailgate.

12-14-14 010

We have an intricate tailgating plan.  Daddy and Jane bring the tents, grill, chairs, food and lots of other stuff. Whoever gets there at the same time Daddy does helps with the tent. Tyler will ride down and coordinate when possible.

The Hills bring the tv and the satellite dish, the heater, food, the sides of the tents and lots of other stuff. I bring two dishes and my Cranberry Dicey Gold which is a very good mixture guaranteed to enhance your pre-game experience.  (Thank you, Michael Murphy and the Jake Owen Gold Tour for giving me the opportunity to concoct this drink.) My bring list decreased when I had to start parking at the Wesley House.   All of the other parties involved bring food and whatever else they want to bring.  It is like a family reunion every home game.  We look forward to the fellowship, laughter, and stories.2013 008

 

One interesting man who loves Ole Miss Football and was featured in a video is Mr. Glenn.  He tailgates with us for the home games, and he dislikes LSU like no one I have ever met. (It is true that many Rebels had rather beat LSU than anyone else on the schedule.)   You can count on him to bring fried chicken every week, and he will surprise you. He had champagne and cigars for us after our last home game.   He also danced after the Alabama win, but I cannot find the video on ESPN.10-28-14 camera 0192013 855

I miss this group of people after the last home game, but God willing, we will all be back next fall to spend time together and say, “Hotty Toddy”.hotty toddy

All fall  trips are scheduled for me around the Ole Miss Football off weekends and away weekends. The departure and arrival of trips planned for the fall must accommodate all game times of parties involved in the trip.  While traveling with a State fan (Lori) or a Bama fan (Michelle), game times must be taken in to account of all teams and a place chosen in said town to watch all games. You must watch and cheer your team on to victory if at all possible. I do feel that Bo could hear me this season say which receiver was open and the linebackers could hear me yell- “Stop him.”  Running toward the tv for away games also helps everyone on the team run a little faster.  We understand the importance of supporting our team even if it is just viewing the game at home.

Weddings should not be scheduled in the fall. I do not understand anyone who gets married during football season. Jordan and I watched one game on our phones with the volume down waiting on the bridal march.

Enjoy your bowl game and remember that many teams are at home wishing they were playing in a bowl game, so cheer for your team and be thankful for their hard work that made a bowl game possible for your team.Vince quote # 1Laquon

 

Of Parties, Prose and Football
 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/travel/faulkner-and-football-in-oxford-miss.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Katy Perry gave the Ole Miss mascot the best hug of his life.    http://usat.ly/1rbMkfe

Costa Rican Return

Costa Rica 333

Pirate’s Beach: Thank you Bill for taking me to see this beach!

A few travel hints and my Costa Rican departure story should assist you when you visit Costa Rica. Was it hard to leave? Oh, yes! It was hard to leave the beautiful beaches and the sense of calm and peace, but all good things come to an end. Does anything last forever?  No, not on this earth.Costa Rica 295

1. Bring enough contact solution. Very few people in Costa Rica wear contacts and maybe the ones that do get the solution at the eye doctor’s office. I started looking at every store, and I did not see any solution then I found it at the farmacia in Flamingo. I mentioned it at dinner with Dave and the radio DJ that does the radio show at Flamingo Hotel. He said he purchased saline solution  in a bag and  then withdrew it with a needle for his contacts. I think most people that can afford the laser surgery have that done because it is so cheap in Costa Rica. All dental and medical procedures are very affordable.

2. The climate is different for each section of the country. Getting weather for different sections of this country is a little tricky. I read online that the nights can be really cool. Well, that was in San Jose not Playa Flamingo, so the blue jean jacket, the sweatshirt, the work out jacket, the ankle skinny jeans,  and the scarves were not needed. Packing fail again! I did survive with five pair of shoes for the entire trip, so that was a success.

3. You must arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight.  If you are late then you will be told that you will take the next day’s flight. There is an exit tax to pay to leave the country. It is $29.00. There are places that you can pay it before you get to the airport. There is only one in the area where I was located, and it was at the Playa Flamingo Hotel, but it was inaccessible most days. I did not have any problems when I arrived at the airport paying the tax. When I arrived, I took the Airport shuttle which was very nice and very safe, but it was expensive. With tip it was around $90.00.  For the trip back to the airport, I booked through Eoctrans, and it is only $50.00 if I am the only one on the shuttle. If more people book for that flight from this area, then it will only cost $25.00. I was the only one, but it was a very nice peaceful ride and worth the money.

5. The currency here can be understood by doubling the sum or something like that: Below is the official rate.

1.00 USD = 540.649 CRC

500 colones  =  $1.00
1000 colones=  $2.00

By the end of the trip, I was doing a better job with the conversion. (Do not ask Bill or Dave or the waiter at Marie’s if I was improving.)

6. There are English channels on the TV. I found Warner the second night I was there, but I thought that was all I had. Bill came over and showed me the other three channels that you have access to with basic cable. I was going in to Big Bang withdrawals until I found it on Warner!

7. Books- As most of you know, I am a readaholic. Bring your books with you. Marie has a share area at her restaurant that was a lifesaver and Linda (from Washington) also shared her books with me before she left.

Since I shared my trip with you to get to Costa Rica, I wanted to share the return. After paying the exit tax and checking my bag in at Delta with the help of this nice man who assists people for tips, I went through security with ease and headed to the wait area. Because of the departure of my plane being at 12:55 and getting to the airport at 10:00, I was hungry. For a mere $30.00, I had a fruit smoothie and a small quesadilla. They have you at the airport early, and they take full advantage of it. I shopped a little, but I did not buy anything. The chocolate covered coffee beans, almonds and fruit were very good. They had free samples and free coffee. Brit coffee is very good.  There was a cowhide purse that I really liked, but not to the tune of $200.00.Costa Rica 407Costa Rica 408

Our departure was smooth, and the flight was a good flight.  The plane landed in Atlanta and went through passport check which the form is now electronic if you are a US citizen then we waited in line to get our bags, re-checked our bags and then went through security again. This took around one hour and thirty minutes. It was a long painful process. Then I proceeded to gate B 32 and purchased a salad, brownie and a water. While eating and talking to Lori, we were told that our gate had been changed to  A 9. I gathered up my food and started the hike to the next terminal and then rode the little train to terminal A.
The terminal was packed, and we waited and waited. A storm came through so our flight was delayed. We started boarding around 10:40, and we all got on the plane then we waited because we had NO pilots. They had been detained by the bad weather on another flight. I arrived in Memphis at midnight, and my dear friend, Lori, was waiting on me with a welcome sign.  We made it to my house by 1:45 a.m. She had to be at work at 8:00.Costa Rica 410

As Hemingway stated in The Sun Also Rises, there is a price for everything that is good and my Costa Rican trip was very good.
“Women made such swell friends. Awfully swell. In the first place, you had to be in love with a woman to have a basis of friendship. I had been having Brett for a friend. I had not been thinking about her side of it. I had been getting something for nothing. That only delayed the presentation of the bill. The bill always came. That was one of the swell things you could count on.
I thought I had paid for everything. Not like the woman pays and pays and pays. No idea of retribution or punishment. Just exchange of values. You gave up something and got something else. Or you worked for something. You paid some way for everything that was any good. I paid my way into enough things that I liked, so that I had a good time. Either you paid by learning about them, or by experience, or by taking chances, or by money. Enjoying living was learning to get your money’s worth. The world was a good place to buy in. It seemed like a fine philosophy. In five years, I thought, it will seem just as silly as all the other fine philosophies I’ve had.”
― Ernest HemingwayThe Sun Also Rises

Please click on this link, and after you read the list, wait on the pictures at the bottom to load:They are so funny and so accurate!
13 Things Only Solo Travelers Will Understand

 http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/13-things-only-solo-travelers-will-understand.html?mid=20140808&ref=mail&uid=9583

Costa Rican Wednesday

CR 9 011CR 9 009

My Costa Rican Wednesday started with a scenic drive to Rincon Largo  and then I was able to see the beautiful birds at Dave’s house that he feeds every morning. These smart birds take the dog food (that he puts out for his roaming dogs that never stay home) and dips the dog food in water to soften it and then they eat it. Smart birds!CR 9 001

The beach was amazing again today, and the waves were huge. This lady had more fun with her board then all of the kids combined.  I also played in the waves,  and I was taken down several times. I have never seen waves this high. CR 9 034CR 9 019CR 9 025

The Costa Rican beach snow cone is amazing. The snow cones have powdered sugar and what we call eagle brand condensed milk poured over them for $2.00.CR 9 031

After the beach, I had lunch at Marie’s and gave her a big “See you later” hug, not a good bye hug.   I will share more with you next week about my different adventures. I am preparing for home and trying to spend as much time with my friends as I can before I leave.

To all of my Costa Rican friends, ” See you later”.

Yes, I had the tourist pics made!

Yes, I had the tourist pics made!

 

Bill and Marie- more about our great Saturday later.

Bill and Marie- more about our great Saturday later.

Costa Rica: Chili, Tuna, and Sea Bass

CR6 049It has been another great week in Costa Rica with Chili, Tuna, the Beach and Sea Bass.  When  Bill mentioned Monday that the best chili was in Coco,  I was ready to go.  We drove over Monday to shop and eat Chili. The main store we wanted to visit was closed, so we looked around a little while and then we walked to La Vida Loca in Coco Beach.  Bill ordered the chili, and I spotted Coors Light in the cooler, and the mountains were cold.  We had a great time and as always in Costa Rica, the scenery is breathtaking. CR6 042 CR6 046

Wednesday night, I had great seared tuna with Dave at Embere’s. The owner was very kind as he brought a fan and put it by our table. This was a very colorful place with a hotel and a restaurant. The restaurant was on the second floor looking down at the pool. PangasCR6 045

Thursday, Ron picked me up for lunch, and  I asked him could we go by the bank.  I had not been to the bank since I arrived.  When you enter the bank here, you go through a  metal detector, and your purse is searched then you take a number and have a seat. Your number is called and then you go to the teller. Ron speaks Spanish which is comforting, but the young man behind the counter could also speak some English. It reminded me of being at the DMV for  license renewal. We then preceded to Tamarindo to the very nice  French restaurant, Pangas. Ron said that I  could not leave Costa Rica without having the snapper. It was very good. The view of the river flowing in to the ocean was very pretty.

CR6 066CR6 067CR6 069

In the trees above us as we ate lunch.

In the trees above us as we ate lunch.

After we left there, we drove toward town and someone hollered at Ron. It was his friend Katarina, so we parked and walked to her restaurant the El Coconut for a drink. She is a very interesting lady who has lived in many places: Norway, the US, Paris, England and Costa Rica. She left home at 16 and began her travels.  As she talked about her parents, the love and respect that she has for them is apparent. She said there were two rules: 1. Your plane ticket must always be open, so you can always come home. 2. Call at anytime from anywhere.

Katarina

Katarina

Thursday night was the radio show at the Flamingo Beach Resort Hotel.  This is where I had the wonderful sea bass. Afterwards, we went to the Shack for live music, and as you can see, we had a great time.

Claudia  and Sue

Claudia and Sue

 

CR6 089

I will return your fan.

Dave playing with the band.

Dave playing with the band.

I would like to say a big thank you to all of my new friends in Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica for letting me share your wonderful life for a little while.

Life in Costa Rica

CR 4 019 Life in Costa Rica is very different, but as with all of God’s children Maslow’s first hierarchy of needs must be met to sustain survival.  

The air in this country can be many different things. It can be muggy at times almost like a Mississippi muggy but not quite that strong then at times it feels very light. The mountain air is so pure and clean, as is the breeze from the beach air which you can feel in most locations. I think what makes this place so special is the mountains and the ocean coexisting side by side. We are in a drought in this area, but we did have rain yesterday. It was the first rain since I have been here. Here at the condo the plants are watered, but I see beautiful flowers on the side of the road that are not being watered. One thing that has made me happy is no sinus or allergy meds the entire time I have been here.

CR 4 009The food in this region is basically rice, beans, and fruit  with some meat. There is sea food available on the menus, but not the amount that you would think would be in a coastal town. I thought the food would be hot and spicy, but it is not. Breakfast on Thursday with Ron  and Bill was very good. We went to Estero Azul which is located on the beach. The gallo pinto which is rice and beans with a side of bacon hit the spot. It was my first bacon since I left home. Thursday for lunch, Bill and I drove to The Green House, and I had amazing guacamole.

Bill and Claudia

Bill and Claudia

Ron and  Bill

Ron and Bill

 

CR 4 027Thursday night is  the radio show evening  at Playa Flamingo resort. The radio station broadcasts from 5 to 7, and your first drinks are two for one.  I made a new travel friend,  Tracy. She lives in Vegas, and she loves to travel. With just a little notice, she will be ready to hit the road. She found a great trip on Groupon for her trip to Costa Rica. The festival Friday night was entertaining. We arrived at 5:00 to hear Dave’s band play, and  we also got to see the Guanacaste dancers preform then Bill, Dave, and Brian, and I went to Tubla, an Italian restaurant. I had a brick oven calzone that was very big.

The pool at Flamingo resort

The pool at Flamingo resort

 

View of the beach from the  bar on the second floor.

View of the beach from the bar on the second floor.

Ron made his amazing clam chowder this weekend, and he shared with his friends.  I am eating a small portion each day to make it last longer.  By the way, lime rules in this country. You have mayo with lime, and my chips are barbecue with lime.  The price of food in this area is expensive but easy to access.

The water is easy to drink. It actually taste better than the water at home. I am not walking around with a water bottle in my hand all of the time. I still must have one with me when I leave the condo. Some habits never leave.  The predominant  beer here is Imperial Light. There is a good selection of different wines and alcohol. I have not had sweet tea or my version of half and half sweet tea since I have been here.

I am enjoying the condo. It is a perfect size for me.  I usually do not use the ac during the day, but I  do use it at night in my bedroom, so I can sleep. I think I was conditioned for this in Charleston when I was sleeping on the second floor where the air did not work well when it worked. I sleep well with the hum of the ac, and I can some mornings go back to sleep after the birds start their morning routine.  There are more English speaking channels on cable than I previously thought.

By the end of this trip, you may be very tired of beach scenes, but I cannot get enough of them.  Great environment and great people equal a great trip. Love and laughter to all!

CR 4 021

maslow's hierarchy of needs five stage pyramide

To understand the other parts of his hierarchy, check out this site.  http://www simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

Zip Lining in Costa Rica is Amazing!

Hike
CR Excursion 035

Hard to pose for a pic when you have just landed.

 

My first zip lining experience in Costa Rica was amazing!  The tour guide, Goose (Heiner Monge), picked me up at 7:45 at the entrance to the condo. (He is not sure why his mom gave him a German name. Yes, I asked.)

Monkey eating his breakfast

Monkey eating his breakfast

Aw we entered the long driveway to the Westin, Goose spotted monkeys in a tree. He stopped, so I could take pictures. This type of monkey is called the Screaming Monkey. It is not a pleasant sound in the mornings. They eat only leaves and flowers. We preceded to go to the Westin to pick up Andy and Jana.  A delightful couple who were on their celebratory twentieth wedding anniversary trip. They live in a small town in New Jersey which is twenty minutes from the Big Apple. They were waiting on us at the lobby of the Westin Hotel. This place was very impressive. You can get one night all inclusive for $800.00 a night.  I am not sure if this includes golf, but it does include all you can eat and drink.

http://www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3560&language=en_US

At that time, I realized that it was going to be the guide, Jana, Andy and me  for this tour. I was happy about the individualized attention that we would be receiving.

Jana and Andy

Jana and Andy

 

We drove to Liberia and then we took the road to the mountain that would take us to the Rincon de la Jungle Adventure.  The road was not like any of the roads we have in the USA.  There are no words to explain driving on a gravel road up a mountain with ruts and potholes. Goose was an excellent driver who maneuvered the roads with ease.

When we arrived, we were greeted and given fresh Guava juice. It was so tasty and refreshing. We preceded to get in the back of a thing like a wagon that was attached to a John Deere tractor and then we rode in that for maybe fifteen minutes then we elected to take a hike to the mud bath and hot springs. The great thing about the small group was we could make decisions about how we wanted to spend our time. The hike was not an easy trail with many steps and a small path through the jungle. We did see a pretty waterfall and a few animals. Hike

When we arrived at the mud bath, we were hot and sweaty, so we changed to our bathing suits and proceeded to rub mud all over our bodies, while doing this, we met a young couple that attends Charleston College. The young lady’s hometown is Costa Rica, and the young man was from Atlanta.  After muddying our bodies, we let the mud dry then took a very cold shower to wash the mud off before entering the hot springs. There were three different pools with different temperatures. Jana and I started with the coolest temperature pool and preceded by stages to the hot one. It was very relaxing.

After this experience, we changed clothes and walked up a very steep hill to find our horses.  We mounted our horses and started the ride. I would have to say this was my least enjoyable part of the tour. The reins of my horse was a thick rope that was too big, and it was a circle, so I felt a little out of control. Of course, my horse wanted to run and be the leader of the pack.  The trails were narrow and steep. It was nothing like a Mississippi trail ride!

Goose and our rides

Goose and our rides

When we arrived at the main house, our lunch was waiting. It was delicious: pork chop, rice and beans, fried cheese, fried banana, squash soup and bread. Dessert was flan. We were also given more guava juice.

After this we started another steep uphill climb to the zip lining area. We decided to forgo the slide because we did not want to change to our bathing suits and then change again and then walk back up the mountain to zip line.

CR Excursion 052Zip lining was my favorite part of the day! We did eight lines and the scenery was amazing. I did not feel any fear as I thought I would. We had an awesome group doing it with us: the young couple, a family of four with two adorable young boys, and then our group of three.

After the fourth line, one of the zip line guides asked me if I wanted to go with him and do the bird pose. Of course, I did, then after that I rode with him again and did the upside down pose. It was so much fun. It was a great adrenaline rush. He made a video, but it is too long to post. I will work on that when I get home, so I can post it and give everyone a big, big laugh.

After the zip line was over, we headed in the direction of home, but we did stop by and do a small coffee tour on our way back. The guide explained that coffee is not grown in this region because it is too dry. The coffee of Costa Rica is grown further south where more rainfall occurs. The coffee was so good that you did not need sugar or creamer. I bought a bag to enjoy while I am here.

This is a great tour to take when you visit Costa Rica. I booked through Claudia at http://www.infoflamingo.com and the tour was though Ecotrans.  Goose was an exceptional tour guide. I would recommend zip lining in Costa Rica.  We had an amazing day.

Tours advertised in Tamarindo in dollar amounts

Tours advertised in Tamarindo in dollar amounts

Costa Rican Expat Hospitality

Flamingo Beach

Flamingo Beach

I am having a wonderful time in Costa Rica, but as with anywhere you are the hospitality of the people you meet  are what make your visit memorable.

Friday night, I went to a rib place.  It was a big place with a pool table and a band was set to preform later.  If you want to open a business in Costa Rica then I would recommend a Rib Shack.  The owner did say that he was not being shipped quality/big ribs. He said the ribs were small and hard to cook for fear of over cooking. The sauce was good. They also do not cook enough ribs, so get there early. Ribs are featured every Friday night.

Saturday, I walked down to the beach close to my condo. It is a pretty beach, but the water is not as clear as the neighboring Flamingo beach, and the sand is dark, and the waves are not as strong as Flamingo Beach. It was an enjoyable excursion because there is something that is drawing about the boats in the harbor, and my view looking back toward the condo was breathtaking. I met a delightful lady walking on the beach who is a foreign language teacher in North Carolina. She is originally from France, and she teaches French and Spanish in a middle school. She was here to take classes to improve her teaching skills and to sight see. She is the one who convinced me that I needed to rent a bicycle. She is also a solo traveler like myself,  and she bicycled everywhere, but she does speak Spanish, English and French. The people you meet enhance your journey.

Harbor to the right of the condo

Harbor to the right of the condo

View from the beach of the Flamingo Resort

View from the beach of the Flamingo Resort

Saturday night, I ate at Cocolocos with Bill. He is a great tour guide.  It is a small beach side restaurant at the south end of the Playa Flamingo Beach. It is quaint with very good service, and the sea bass and the sangria were good.  You park on the road and walk to this location. Use your phone or a flashlight to see the potholes if you venture to this location.  I met a talented photographer who works at the restaurant named Manfred J. Rodriguez. I hope to talk with him before I leave and share some of his work with you.CR 3 019

http://cocolococostarica.com/

CR 3 031

Sunday, I walked to the Flamingo Beach. I had borrowed a chair from Ron, but I was afraid that it would get heavy on the walk, so I packed my Bubba Gump back pack that Kelley had purchased on a New York trip and away I went. It is not a bad walk going because it is downhill.

CR 3 021

It is beautiful beach with colorful water and strong waves The temperature of the water was perfect.  To the right are mountains with houses and to the left are mountains with houses. Some of these places, I was told, rent for $10,000.00 a week.  There was a masseuse on the beach. If my funds hold out, I will try a massage before I leave. There were several jewelry people, and I have a new ankle bracelet that I love. I rented a chair for $4.00, paid $5.00 for my new ankle bracelet and $1.00 for water. It was a $10.00 beach day. I will have to do better. Beach days should be free!

I thought I was in decent shape. No, I am not in any shape at all.  The hour walk at Veterans Park in Tupelo did not prepare me for the uphill walk on my return. I need to do this walk every day, and I am sure I will because the world begins at the bottom of our road that comes to the condo.

I  visited with  Claudia this morning about a bicycle and excursions after breakfast at Marie’s. I booked an awesome excursion for tomorrow. I cannot wait to share it with you later in the week. I will rent the bicycle later.

It is like being in paradise every morning when you wake up, but I do miss my cell phone! I want to hear my girls say, “I love you”, and I want to hear about the days of the people I love, but there is a freedom to sitting on the beach and not checking your phone every five minutes.  E-mail and messaging on Facebook really helps.

It is hard to explain what I am doing here to strangers.  I think they get the wrong impression that I am a trust fund kid, or I am a wealthy divorcee. Wrong on both accounts!  You are here for a month. Why?   I am just a lady looking for people with beautiful hearts and for beautiful places. I will be a retired instructor in Mississippi in the  middle of August who has firm legs from climbing mountains and a great tan and wonderful Costa Rican memories.

Hasta luego – until later……

1 2 3 4

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookCheck Our Feed