Saturday, September 15, 2012

How do you say "Band-Aid" in Spanish?

Ojochal Vacation Day 3  April 7, 2012

Our first night sleeping in Ojochal found us waking up occasionally to the sounds of the abundant wildlife. We had fallen asleep to the sounds of insects and frogs calling back and forth to each other, then woke up to birds and howler monkeys. Ahhh, doesn't get much better, if you ask me! Below is a video of the early morning sounds. It was taken from the balcony off our bedroom. This video is meant to be heard, not really seen (you can play it while you continue reading this post!); however, if you watch it, you'll slowly see it get brighter as the sun comes up to start a new day.  Be sure to turn your volume up!

The sun comes up early in Costa Rica, so Gary and I found ourselves waking up about 5 am. The view from our bedroom was awesome--there's nothing like sitting up in bed and seeing the vibrant green rain forest and sparkling blue ocean in front of you!

The kids stayed asleep much later than we did, but slowly they started filtering downstairs. I finally went to wake Abby up around 8:30, but she fell back asleep. At 9, her sisters went upstairs and ran into her room and screamed which woke her right up! We all had a good laugh at that--except for maybe Abby.

Breakfast was a huge pineapple we had picked up from a roadside stand, cereal, toast, and Costa Rican coffee. The pineapple was to die for. We kept commenting on how juicy and sweet it was as we gobbled up more.

We had planned today as a "down day" to recuperate from the travel yesterday. We decided to head out to the nearby town of Uvita (about a 15 minute drive) to look around the farmers' market and hit the "big" grocery store. As we were getting ready to go, Chloe decided she wanted to put a flower in her hair, so she and Ahna went looking around the yard for something pretty.
Gary walking up the driveway. You can see how steep things are!

 Now, Chloe is known as the family klutz. If someone is going to get hurt, it will be her. And sure enough, the next thing we know, Chloe is face down in the dirt. Because the house is built on a hill, the yard has 3 levels, and Chloe had not descended one of the hills correctly (after her fall, she noticed the stairs a few feet away). Now the skin on her hands, knees, and upper chest were shredded, and she was bleeding pretty good.

So, while she was in the kitchen trying to clean the dirt out of her wounds, I was running around the house looking for band-aids for her. The best thing I could find were some cotton pads which we taped on with scotch tape. Needless to say, she looked a little scary, and we promised we'd find her some band-aids before she went out in public.

As we headed out to Uvita, we stopped at the local grocery store, and I looked in there for some band-aids--but how do you say "band-aid" in Spanish? I figured since "band-aid" is a trademark name, they would know what I was looking for, but no. So in bits of Spanish, English, and sign language I tried to explain, but "no comprende." Then I see a box of generic band-aids sitting behind the counter. I point and say the color of the box in Spanish, and she understands. Then she asks me how many I want. Hmm, I want the whole box, but the box is open, so now I'm a bit confused. Then I realize they sell them by the "each", not box. So I somehow end up with 5. I think cinco was the first number I could think of; however, I did learn that the Spanish word for band-aid is tirita.

So, off to Uvita we head. We were a little underwhelmed with the farmers' market. It had more "ex-pat" jewelry makers than Tico farmers selling produce, but the lack of sellers could have been due to it being Holy Week, which Costa Ricans take very seriously. We did find some yummy fruits and veggies to take home with us, though.

Checking out the Selection
 From the farmers' market we headed over to the grocery store to get some food for the week. I also wanted to get more band-aids as Chloe's wounds were in need of new ones, plus some wound cleansing spray, as it looked like there was still dirt imbedded in some of her cuts. This time I knew to ask for "tiritas", but figuring out how to say "wound cleanser" was the new obstacle. For some reason, band-aids and medicines, even aspirin, are kept behind a counter, so you need to talk with someone to get them. So, with a mix of Spanish, English, and sign language, I was able to get some anti-bacterial spray. Plus they sold me a whole box of band-aids this time!

The store rivaled a decent grocery store here in the States, and the prices went along with that. If you want to eat like an American in Costa Rica, it can be expensive! But if you don't mind eating like a Tico (Costa Rican), the cost is usually not too bad. While in the store, we ran into one of our (future) neighbors and his wife. Originally from Canada, they had recently completed their move to CR. Their house is about 1/2 mile or so from ours. They were planning a large gathering of people for Easter over at their house, so they invited us all to come. We gladly said yes!

After the store, we decided to eat lunch at one of the local restaurants, which are called "sodas". The food was really good and centered around rice and beans with a choice of meat or seafood.

One of our lunch plates
Once finished, we decided to head back to the store for the cold things we needed. The girls and I had been standing outside for a few minutes while Gary picked up the last couple of items, when our waiter came running around the corner to find us. Seems Chloe had left her anti-bac spray on the table. I was so impressed that this young man ran to find us and return it to us! But that seems to be the norm in Costa Rica--everyone is so super nice.

Once back at the house, the kids went in the pool to cool off while Gary and I went up to our property to check it out. It had been a year since we had seen it last! Some water management work had been done, and the weeds newly cleared. It looked really good, and it felt really good to be standing on it once again.

Me standing on one of the corners of our property
For dinner we headed to one of the more elegant restaurants in town--Citrus. We had never been, but had heard so much about it. The rain started as we were leaving the house, and it was coming down pretty good. The rain brought out the frogs--HUGE frogs just siting in the middle of the road! We didn't even notice them at first until we saw some jump to get out of the way of the car. Because the road is dirt, they just looked like rocks in the road. They were quite fun to watch, and I hope we did not run over any.

Citrus is a beautiful restaurant, and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. We opted for the full experience and had appetizers, tropical drinks, dinner, and dessert. The bill for the 5-star meal--including tip? About $130. We thought that was pretty awesome!

Our Table at Citrus

Inside View of Citrus
My Main Dish--Sea bass, fresh steamed veggies, and rice
After dinner, it was back to the house for pool time, then off to bed.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Family Vacation to Ojochal, Costa Rica

Yes, this is LONG over-due, but sometimes life gets in the way! I hope you will forgive the lapse in time from the actual trip to my blog posts, and that you will still be able to get some enjoyment and information from our adventures. So with that being said, let's get to the good stuff!


DAY 1-2 / APRIL 5-6

You can imagine our excitement--the day is FINALLY here! It's the Thursday before Good Friday, so Gary is at work, and our youngest, Abby is in school. I decided to pull Abby out early from school, and took her and Chloe (our middle daughter) to In N Out Burgers for lunch. We were expecting Gary to be home from work in a few hours, so we figured we had some time to spare; however, on our way home from lunch, Gary called and said he was getting off early and would be home in about an hour. YIKES! We hadn't planned for that one.

We raced home and dashed around the house putting everything together. We ended up leaving the house 15 minutes earlier than our original plan (in other words, Gary's coming home a couple hours early =  a whopping 15 minute earlier departure). About 5 minutes into our trip, Chloe realized she left her iPod at home. How would she be able to live without her "tunes" for almost 2 weeks?? Gary graciously turned around so she could bring it with her. So now we were actually leaving later than originally planned.

Our eldest daughter, Ahna, was living in Los Angeles at the time, very close to LAX, so we picked her up around 7:45 pm when we got into town, and went out for dinner at a nearby BJ's. It was a fun, celebratory meal.

Our 3 Beautiful Girls (notice the matching lipstick!) during Dinner at BJ's

After dinner, we headed over to the airport. Our plane didn't leave until 2:35 am, and we were getting pretty bored (see picture below) so we spent the time doing power walks around the top story of the airport, and racing each other going up and down the stairs.

This has to be one of my all-time favorite pictures. It is NOT staged! It's all three girls waiting so patiently for the plane. hahaha
Our plane ride was uneventful, and we arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica about 9:30 in the morning. We usually try to get a flight on TACA airlines. We love their customer service, and they still include hot meals (plus free alcoholic beverages) on their flights! We also happened to score this awesome row of seats with tons of extra leg room.

Getting ready to take off!

Now for the drive to Ojochal. About an hour from the airport, we stopped at the Tarcoles River for some lunch in a tourist trap restaurant, but we definitely needed the break as everyone was a bit cranky, tired, and hot. After lunch, we all enjoyed looking at the crocodiles in the river.

Bridge over the Rio Tarcoles. Everyone is looking for crocodiles!
Here is what we saw:

Back on the road, we were stopped at a police checkpoint, but Abby was asleep in the backseat between her two sisters, and she had drool coming out of her mouth, which was wide open. Plus the air conditioner in the car wasn't working that well, so she was, shall we say, glistening quite a bit. I think the policeman took one look at her and let us go. Smiley

Finally (it's about a 3 1/2 hour drive from the airport on a good day) we arrived in Ojochal! The house we were renting, Casa Faust, was really nice with lots of room. We were all excited to get showers! Shortly after arriving, the rain started, and then the power went out. Thankfully the showers still had hot water, and it was light enough to see what we were doing.

Casa Faust--our home for the next week!
Gary in the pool at Casa Faust
Casa Faust is located about 1/4 mile or so from our lot, and it offered very similar views to what we will have! The property is managed by Ojochal Vacation Rentals, so if you're interested in a lovely home to vacation in, be sure to contact them and tell them I sent you!

Dinner was at Jardin Tortuga which is a funky, jungle pizza place. It's like eating in a huge tree house. If you look closely in the pictures below, you'll notice it's all open-air, as are most of the restaurants. We love being surrounded by the sights and sounds of the rain forest everywhere we go--even in restaurants! Gary and I remembered the pizza being better last time we were there, but it was still good this time. We met a couple there visiting from Florida and talked with them for quite a while. Also, we ran into our friends from a year ago--Jerry and Susanne! It was great to see them. We had been connected via Facebook, and had planned to get together later in the week, but it was so nice to run into them early and get an extra visit.

Jardin Tortuga

The girls at Jardin Tortuga
After dinner, we went home and collapsed into our beds at 8:30, looking forward to waking up to an ocean view and another day in paradise!