A few stories…


Speed Trap


We finally experienced the dreaded “being pulled over by the local police”. We were on your way to San Jose in November for a doctor appointment for the infection with my post-op melanoma surgery incision (all is well now). We were cruising along the highway going 52 mph, which translate to 87 kph (kilometers per hour). Apparently the speed limit in this certain area was actually 60 kph (37mph), but knowing how fast one is allowed is always a mystery, as speed limit signs are few and far between. For those lead footed like myself, maintaining the speed limit is a challenge here when 80 kph (50mph) is the fastest speed limit in this country.


Back to the road trip….two police officers had pulled their squad car off to the side of the road and set up a little speed trap. With mini orange cones sectioning off their area and radar gun in hand, they waited for their prey; this being a typical scenario. We knew were “caught” when we approached them, as one officer stepped out on to the road and waved us to stop.


With nerves high, we waited in our car as one of the officers approached us. We were unsure of how to handle the situation as we had heard stories of “paying off” the police and then conflicting advice to not and to take the ticket. With only Spanish being spoken, we were able to communicate that we lived permanently in Esterillos Oeste and along with Kurt’s Costa Rican driver’s license; we had hoped that not being a tourist would aid us in this situation.


It looked like it was not going to go in our favor when the officer returned with our paperwork saying, “Ten thousand colones ($22) for the speeding ticket”. At that moment I remember thinking, ‘Okay, does that mean he wants us to pay it NOW or was he going to give us a ticket?’ I really wanted neither. So I started saying “No ticket, no ticket” and then used the only tool I could think in the moment and pointed to the nasty looking incision on my leg, which was propped up on the dashboard (it actually looked worse than it was, as I had just applied Polysporin to it, which made it look like it was oozing). “Emergencia, Emergencia Cima Hospital!” I pleaded.  The officer then walked back to his partner who was waiting at the squad car and returned a few minutes later to inform us that there would be no ticket today, to slow down, and take care of that leg. Whew! That was a lucky one and now we are considering a business in marketing fake oozing incisions.


Power Surges


A common occurrence living is our little village is the uncertainty of having electricity or not. Most of the time it is only mini loses that come and go throughout the day, but one day we experienced a new sensation…too much electricity. While Kurt was taking a shower, the girls were still sleeping, and I was starting the coffee for the day, everything seemed status quo. Then for a second or two it felt as if our house was possessed. The fan that was directed my way went from the first setting speed to the third on its own, the computer surge protector started beeping and then smoke poured out of it, and the lights that were turned on increased in brightness, so much that the bulb in the bathroom blew, sending shards of glass everywhere (no one was hurt). Apparently the ground wire that runs up to the house (the wires are just strung through the trees that line the property) became disconnected causing the house to go from 120 volts to 240 volts. What a surge that was! Needless to say we have contacted the owner of the house who has promised to properly rewire the house, but that was a month ago. We are definitely looking forward to getting into our own, correctly wired, house in the near future.


Finally a Puppy!


For the last few years, Tiana has been pleading, begging, and bargaining for a puppy. She and I had actually had been volunteers at DAWG in Goleta, as dog walkers, with the hope that we would discover the pet that Tiana wanted so badly. Well of course the move to Costa Rica ended the walks at DAWG, but opened up the possibility of getting a puppy here. It was actually one of our selling tools in convincing Tiana to move to Costa Rica and as soon as we landed she began her campaign of “when would she get” her puppy.


After returning from CA early November (we had gone back to wrap up loose ends) we discovered that a stray dog had just had nine puppies behind the local corner store. Even though I wanted a dog, especially one that would sit on my front porch and bark at approaching strangers, because of my leg (I had to stay off of it for two months) I wasn’t open to the idea of getting one at that moment. 


Day after day Tiana would plead her case on why we should get one of those puppies now. So finally after figuring out the only way to end the daily bombard of reasons, I gave my approval and immediately off went Kurt, Jennaka, and Tiana to the market (actually behind it) to pick out our puppy. Fifteen minutes later the three returned with smiles beaming a mile wide each and carrying our little three week old mutt, Josie. (See photos) She was named Josie after Josie and the Pussycats, since we already have our two cats.


After weeks of cleaning up pee and poo everywhere in the house (thank goodness for an entirely tiled house!), Josie, at the age of two months old, was officially relocated to the front porch. To our pleasure she has adjusted well to her new position and is proving to be a great watch dog. And Tiana….she is currently campaigning for her next puppy as she feels that Josie should have a companion on that porch. 



Cosmo Makes Five


While at the Vet in Jaco getting Josie her vaccinations, two kittens laid about a small pen outside the office, an orange striped kitten and a little white with gray kitten. Quickly, we noticed that the white kitten had only three legs and were later informed by the adoption personnel that this kitten came to them with a crushed back leg. His surgery had gone well and besides having one less leg, he was doing fine. They did fear, however, that he would never find a home due to his “uniqueness” and would end up spending his life in that very pen.


I knew that the meeting of those kittens would not go without a plead for one, but to my surprise it wasn’t the four-legged orange kitten that my girls were begging for, but instead the three-legged white kitten. Jennaka and Tiana just knew that if we didn’t give him a home, no one would. Well, we could not deny such openness and acceptance and besides the fact that he is really cute…so on January 10, 2005, Cosmo became our third cat and fifth pet in our family (the fifth is Jennaka’s Christmas gift from Tiana, a Beta fish named Leo). Josie loves to lick him when she gets the chance, and our other two cats, Bubbles and Lizzie, aren’t necessarily thrilled with the newest member, but are tolerant. Guess you can’t ask for more than that. 



East Beach Volleyball


In early January we received our first visitors from Santa Barbara. John Durkee, a friend of Kurt’s from his men’s UCSB volleyball group, and his fiancé Denise, who had been traveling Costa Rica for the past three weeks. Now on the country’s west coast for their last week of travels, they included us in their plans and stayed at one of the local cabinas in the village and spent some time with us. Their timing could not of been more prefect, being that we all love playing beach volleyball, as we were scheduled for the first time to go to Esterillos Este (East) to play some VB on our friends’ Chris and Milt’s beach court (Chris and Milt use to live just a few blocks from us in Goleta, but we didn’t meet them until Chris came to our moving to Costa Rica yard sale in July. They had just purchased a small cabina/hotel on the beach in Esterillos Este and moved here in November).


We had a grand time, playing four games until finally the sun set leaving us to a moonlit dip in the warm ocean.  A dip that we were very anxious to take, as we quickly learned that playing on a black sandy beach is a completely different beast than we are use to. We had black sand sticking everywhere and to our dismay the stuff just doesn’t come off easily. Instead of looking like a sugar donut after taking a dive for the ball, we looked like a burnt sugar donut. After the dip in the ocean, a rinse in one of the outdoor showers, and a swim in their pool, we finally felt that we were de-sanded.


Fun conversation, good wine, microwave popcorn, and fresh pastries and pizzas from a local French baker that apparently drops by the hotel nightly to sell it goods to the guests, completed our night at Playa de Este (East Beach). We are so grateful to Chris and Milt’s hospitality and friendship (the VB was great too) and for having John and Denise include us in their travel plans. We can’t wait for more of you to come….



Pura Vida