AN AMAZING--NO, AN EERIE--ENCOUNTER!
Trip Start Dec 14, 2011
22Trip End Jan 05, 2012
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It is 6 PM and I have walked away from the hotel to try a different bar to wait for Linda while she gets ready. A few blocks away from our hotel, the La Palapa is a bar/restaurant, which sits on the beach. A portion of the bar is in the sand, and the rest is under cover with a tile floor. I watched the sun set outside, but have now come to the under cover portion so I can sit at the bar and type---and, of course, have a beer.
Christmas Eve lasted until Christmas morning for us, or at least for me. Linda went to bed around 11 PM or so. I stayed up talking to the vixen, Debbie, an American Chinese woman now living in New York City
While I was wrapped up with Debbie, Linda was engaged with a French family; attractive parents and a gorgeous teenage daughter. They were very nice and friendly but only the mother spoke English, so I was kind of glad to let Linda converse with them.
I should explain that prior to all that socializing we had sat in the small outdoor restaurant and enjoyed the Christmas dinner prepared by the hotel. It included a bottle of champagne, which we drank along with a bottle of wine and several drinks. We had great conversations with the wait staff and other people at the dinner. It was after our dessert when we moved to the bar and engaged in more drinking and more fun with other guests.
Debbie talked me into trying some fine, aged rum
Before dinner, Linda and I went to a corner of the bar and made internet phone calls home.
I went to bed about 45 minutes after Santa Claus should have visited. Which reminds me, I should mention that Linda and I "did our Christmas" at the dinner table. Christmas for us, as usual, consisted only of thoughtful cards, but I added a little surprise this year and got Linda a Nano for playing music in her new car.
After the late, drunk evening, I surprised myself by getting up at 7 AM to go for a run on the beach. I wanted to re-institute my tradition of Christmas morning runs on beaches. It was a beautiful morning and an excellent beach for a long run/walk, which is what I did.
I got back to the hotel and showered, had a light breakfast with Linda and then walked down to the beach again to spend the day
I sent my son, Jaret, a text message with a picture of a girl in a thong I took with my iPhone and said, “I hope you are having as great a Christmas as I am!”
Linda left me to return to the comfort of the hotel pool lounge chairs after only an hour or so. By 2:30 PM, I was sufficiently baked to get out of the sun. Linda and I shared a sandwich poolside and I went for a discovery drive.
I first drove around the little village of Tamarindo to get oriented and then took off in search of Playa Grande. Playa Grande is the beach where Linda, Jaret, Shaun and I watched the Leatherback Turtles lay their eggs twenty years ago. That year, 1991, was the first year that Costa Rica had made Playa Grande a protected reserve (Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas de Guanacaste) to try to save the Leatherbacks. You can still be on the beach during the day, but have to be with a guide at night (like we were in 1991). It is a huge and beautiful beach.
I used back roads (4-wheel drive required) to get there rather than the longer, better road access
I got back to the hotel just before 5 PM. Linda and I both lay down for a little rest before showering.
Linda said that while she was at the pool this morning a very large iguana fell out of a tree onto an unsuspecting man lying beside the pool. That must have scared the holy bejesus out of him! A large iguana would weigh nearly ten pounds; what a shock!
Costa Rica is not inexpensive! Prices are US high, or higher. Maybe we won’t find that to be the case when we get to the less-traveled areas of Orosi and the Caribbean coast, but in Arenal and Tamarindo, things are expensive. There are 500 Colones to a US dollar. Colones must be pegged to the dollar because the exchange rate doesn’t seem to have changed in the past year
I am sitting, once again, at the La Palapa bar, but this time I am sitting on the beach in the uncovered part of the bar with my feet in the sand. The sun sat as I was sitting here at 5:30 PM. Very pretty. The breeze is blowing, so it is very comfortable. And, of course, I have a cold beer.
I started the day again with a nice long run/walk on the beach around 7 AM. At the north end of my run, I ran along the river which empties into the ocean until I came to the docks from which boats will take you across the river to Playa Grande and the protected turtle reserve, and for boat tours up the river. I stopped and talked to one of the boat operators to get the skinny on taking a boat tour up the river later in the day. It didn’t sound interesting enough, so I decided later not to do it; and did nothing but lounge on the beach and around the pool all day.
Last night, Linda joined me at the La Palapa bar, but we left right away because sitting at the inside bar was stuffy and humid and I had noticed when I walked past earlier that the bar at Nibbana a few doors away looked more active. It was so active, we couldn’t find a place at the bar and as we were looking for a place to sit, a couple from our hotel asked us to join them at their bar table.
We had never talked to them before, they just recognized us. Their names were Frank and Ilana; both (as of this year) are US citizens and have lived in the US for 12 years. He is from Azerbaijan and she is from the east coast of Russia, the city of Vladivostok. They both are probably late thirties and very smart. He is a mathematician and computer programmer, and she has an MBA; they both work for Shell Oil in Houston and are married with no kids. Frank was a little hard to understand and a little dry; Ilana spoke much more clearly and was entertaining to talk to. While we sat and talked, I decided to order a Caipirinha, the first I have had since we drank them with the European friends we met in Buzios six years ago. This prompted us to tell Frank and Ilana about Buzios and the Caipirinha party we had with the fun people we met there
And then an amazing thing happened. A woman walks up to Linda at our table and says, “Excuse me, but I think I know you.” She didn’t have to say another word, because the minute Linda and I focused on her, we knew who she was. It was Touria from the Caipirinha party in Buzios six years ago! We had not kept in touch with her, nor really even thought that much about our great time with her and her friends since it happened. And then within minutes of having talked about it, she is suddenly there! It was amazing---actually, more like eerie! She looked the same as before, which means to say, incredible. We were stunned and chatted away with her and her traveling companion, Selma, fast and furious, leaving Frank and Ilana behind. I broke away for a moment to apologize to them, but they understood.
Touria now lives in Los Angeles from where she knows Selma; they both work at a biotech company there. Touria is Moroccan and lived in France when we first met her. I don’t know where all she has been since then, but as I said, now she lives in Los Angeles. Selma is Brazilian but has lived in the US for a number of years. I am guessing both ladies are around forty, but both are in great shape and are very attractive. Apparently, Touria is planning on seeing the Italian twin brothers we partied with in Buzios soon, so apparently she has kept in touch with them over the years. We took pictures of the four of us and then Linda and I went back to join Frank and Ilana.
Later, Linda and I both wondered why we had done that; we had no commitment to the Frank and Ilana, and we would much rather have spent the evening with Touria and Selma. Oh well.
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