“Everything Happens for a Reason . . .”


Happy Friday, All!

So, pardon me while I T.G.I.F.!!  Ahem … Thank you!

How many times have you heard that “everything happens for a reason”?!  I am sure you might tend to agree if you are over say … 15 years of age!  It usually takes a few years before we realize that “the stuff” that we often wanted to do was better left undone!!  It is all part of the maturity process.  Sometimes, even after we have accepted the relevancy of such an anecdote, we still doubt.

I am hanging out in a quaint animal type sanctuary part of Costa Rica.  I am in Cahuita but have had the chance, as suggested by a taxi driver in San Jose who is from Limon – the region where I am staying, to visit Puerto Viejo.  Many of you probably know that there are two sides to Costa Rica – the Pacific side where many of the hard core surfers and “well of” ex-Pats visit and live, and, the Caribbean side, a little more nature-driven with sloths and all kinds of birds and other small animals!  At night, nature’s chorus helps me fall asleep as well as the fresh relatively warm air and the morning sounds of nature with every kind of bird “singing his song” that one can imagine.  There are no high rise hotels on the beach nor lavish restaurants like the ones I saw in Sitges, Catalunya, Spain.  There are no museums and statues across Puerto Viejo … only one or two story restaurants and cabin-style hotels and hostels!  Yet, I find it a place of peace and solace … most people say hello when they see you while other locals are more focused on their “home peeps” rather than travelers.  There are a lot of couples traveling together, backpacks mostly and camping gear – shorts, mosquito repellent, maybe a tent and hiking boots.  The restaurants and shops have small kitchens for making a home-cooked meal of beans and rice and your choice of chicken or fish as well as your favorite healthy smoothie!  One of my favorite smoothie shops though a little expensive is “Puerta Pirata”.  The regular smoothies cost about 4 or 5 dollars while the supreme ones run about $7.00.  My favorite restaurant is called “Gueto Girls”, run by an African Costa Rican, Marie and her daughter.  I ate there yesterday, beans and rice, salad, patacones and a strawberry/”Pipa” (coconut meat)/banana smoothie … all for $7.50!  Yesterday, Marie and her daughter connected me with a woman who has a hostel that she wants to sell … I told them that I was looking for a place to rent!!

After Marie’s daughter had contacted “Joann”, she came by the restaurant and we chatted a bit inside the colorful, wall-less restaurant, with decorations of every kind from carvings of birds to paintings of ocean shore scenery common there in Puerto Viejo.  Joann took me for a ride to a part of Puerto Viejo that I hadn’t seen!  The street was bustling like a Caribbean town might with no street markings for drivers and literally hundreds of people in the street, backpacks loaded up, people seated at a quaint restaurant or a line of folks at the “jerk chicken” stand just across from the beach!  There is everything from reggae music playing to the golden oldie sounds of “Lou Rawls” or “Aretha Franklin”!  There were folks jumping in and out of the water, there were a few yoga village set ups with one woman giving a gent a beach-side massage!  All I know is that the sound of the ocean, the waves, even the wind blowing through the palm trees in this 85 degree Farenheit weather is heavenly.  We met up with a couple, a guy from France and a woman from Czech Republic, who were playing around in the water.  Turns out that they were looking for a jelly fish and other little “blow fish” to add to their huge home aquarium with a selection of orchids that “Jerome” had transplanted from some plants he had found along the side of the beach!  Shucks, Joann even took her fishing net out of the truck, got halfway into the water and caught a couple of jelly fish for Jerome and Marushka!  These folks took turns taking me by the hand to walk across the coral and rock as well as trees and leaves to get as close to the water as possible.  Some waves lapped up onto my calves a couple of times as the waters ebbed and lulled intermittently.

As Joann drove me back to the area of Puerto Viejo where I catch the bus back to Cahuita, she told me of all the complications surrounding renting/selling requirements and how there is no real system.  It is best to hire a lawyer, she said, even for citizenship issues.  I saw a couple of law offices tucked away off the main road but didn’t have a chance nor an interest in speaking with one!  The folks I hung out with also explained that the price of food is going up and there are some shortcomings to a regular “health plan” there in terms of the services you receive.  While there were some places that I could rent, they are mostly cabins with shared kitchens and I would need more time and help to figure it all out!

One more week here and I will probably head back to San Jose for a few days and look to catch a flight to Colombia … Medellin, to be exact!

Have a wonderful Friday and a better weekend!


John I. Cook, Director

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