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Archive for the ‘Costa Rica’ Category

A map of Costa Rica will be confusing in the maze of convoluted roads along the Guanacaste shoreline. Here we are, several world class beaches within about 20 minutes drive. But where to surf in Tamarindo?

A simple map of Costa Rica with some broad destinations plotted relative to each other might sometimes be the way to go. Follow road signs and ask the locals and providing time is not an issue you will get there.

As they say in Costa Rica – Pura Vida!

Check my simple map of Costa Rica here.

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Edgehill Press has just released their new book, “Tamarindo; Crooked Times in Costa Rica – the author, yours truly.

If you intend to visit Costa Rica this is essential reading, a humorous account of the practices of two drug dealers and a lizard who start a company that offers Vespa tours to surfers in the town of Tamarindo.

See the book here…. Tamarindo; Crooked Times in Costa Rica

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Behave Yourself! – Rockwatching Blogging Protocal

 

scan0001, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Well, Rockwatching has been up and running for a number of years now (5 to be exact) and I believe it has contributed significantly to the interest of people like myself who like caving, rocks, the outdoors, gems and minerals in Ontario.

We are just a few short days from 2011 and I believe it’s high time we made some resolutions -all of us  (you my loyal fellow bloggers as well).

So in the interests of all involved a few ground rules to follow on Rockwatching from now on

1) Lets not carry a personal vendetta onto this site which is meant to be a forum where like minded enthusiasts can interact in a positive way.
2) Lets respect each other and try not to get personal when we are frustrated.
3) Lets respect the basics of conservation and eco-minded thought.
4) Lets not assume stuff we don’t know for sure (hence the survey at the bottom of the post).
5) Lets keep in mind that this is all about enjoyment.
6) Lets keep in mind that just because the topic is on the table, every single aspect that pertains to it is not an open book.
7) Lets respect people who are not on the site, private property, reputations etc. Just because there is discussion of a site or feature does not mean permission has been granted to go there.

8) Lets not get petty, self righteous or important. Stop correcting my grammar, spelling or use of terms. I am a writer at heart and so I believe I can use the language as I please (providing it’s in good taste, or if I choose, not in good taste).

9) Lets not waste my time by having to re-direct you to one of the above rules.

Happy and prosperous 2011 – Mick

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Real cute little guy – Costa Rica

Costa Rica 3 185, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

A mother and baby howler monkey in what we came to refer to as “the monkey tree”.

One really hot day when Maggie only wanted to relax on the beach I ventured further inland up a dusty road. I reached this tree that must have had about 30 howlers in it. I think it may have been a guanacaste tree that has been enveloped by a strangler fig.

The monkeys just watched me until I got really close and then the males started barking. It was insane. Every monkey within several kilometers took up the cry, you could hear them everywhere. Its quite intimidating.

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Bad attitude earns the big bucks.

Costa Rica 3 413, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

These are the bulls – the most ferocious in Central America. Guanacaste is famous for its bulls and these are the cream of the crop – killers every one of them. Guanacaste is especially well suited to raising cattle as its interior consists of vast dry plains – the only shade being the umbrella expanse of the Guanacaste tree.

The humped cattle or Zebu are more tolerant to heat and have far more sweat glands. Their oily skin helps shed parasites and ticks. The famous Brahman is a sub species of the Zebu along with other species such as the Gir, Afrikaner and the Indo Brazilian. To my untrained eye the above appear to be Brahman – first domesticated in India some 10 000 years ago but the cattle most commonly seen in Costa Rica are the Indo Brazillian. They have great hanging dewlaps and absurdly floppy ears.

Terrible meat and I would not reccomend them to anyone.

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Witness my wife being pickpocketed – it makes an interesting picture.

P0000181, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

This post had appeared on my other site – thetravelnet – but as it was too much to keep up I will repost it here for its informative value – would be visitors to the Mercado Central in San Jose – BEWARE.

Every type of unusual item can be found in the “Mercado Central” – Peruvian ponchos, cheap yellow plastic rain coats, pig’s heads, cow’s feet, leather belts and wind chimes. Situated just to the edge of San Jose’s downtown core it is well worth a visit but – keep your wallet close – the pickpockets swarm as thick as flies.

Admittedly, we had been warned but feeling invincible with my money belt tucked across my belly (gave me the appearance of a really beefy beer drinker) we wandered in to the foray.

For reassurance I rubbed the secret stash from time to time and glumly followed Maggie around as she nosed into the various heaps of bric-a-brac looking for trinkets. At a vegetable stall she found tomatoes at half the price that you could buy them at the convenience store across from the Melia (our Hotel). Absent mindedly I stood some distance off wishing she would hurry – I am not a big one for shopping. Two young guys who were running the store had not noticed me and the smaller, sharper one called out quite loudly to the other – “Englise”, quite literally meaning a tourist but more practically implying, “stupid dope” or “easy mark”.

Maggie wanders around our home town with her backpack hanging open, no doubt losing things from time to time. It would appear that she had continued this habit here in the Mercado Central – a practice that was akin to slopping great heaping piles of fish guts into shark infested waters. We were immediately identified as a meal ticket. I could see a pouch on the back of Maggie’s day pack where the buckle was loose and a wad of untended postcards hung out as a signal to would-be pickpockets, “Easy pickings here”.

The smaller stall tender’s hand shot out at the pack with the speed of a viper strike – no luck, a better angle would be required, and he maneuvered around for a second attempt. Working in tandem the larger, more placid looking stall tender drew Maggie’s attention. He stood squarely in front of her mumbling something and she straining to understand what he was saying.

I was already moving in for a defensive block, Maggie was still oblivious. She bent over to look for ripe tomatoes. The two conspirators exchanged gleeful glances; they were by all appearances a well practiced team. Sudden shock as I pushed the predator away, the stall attendant immediately changed his demeanor back to dutiful sales man once discovered. They were by appearances only teenagers. I suppose they were just doing what was expected in a world of limited opportunity. No hard feelings on my part. The viper had melted back into the crowd and we bartered for tomatoes. Jeeeze this guy is not so bad, “Picture?” I asked. Compliantly he posed with Maggie just behind.

You might see by the picture that no sooner had I raised my camera than “the stealthy one” slid back for another attempt at Maggie’s pack (see his foot to the bottom right of the picture). Pretty brazen dont you think? We left so as not to tempt fate any further. Consider that while I am watching Maggie, who is watching me?

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A Spanish lesson.

Sheltering from the Costa Rican weather

Up until this day, it had only threatened rain – brief sprinklings from a leaden blanket above – lilac flashes in the dry and dusty hills around Tamarindo but today it was different – the sky leaked water as though its belly had been slit – an evisceration that began with a splattering of large warm drops upon the beach soon escalating to a all out downpour the like of which we had never seen. The Costa Rican weather can be stupendous.

Leaving the beach at the initial onset we headed for the tour company – hoping to find our trip to Barra Honda being arranged as promised, but the intensity of the rainfall had us seeking shelter in “The Pelican Bar”. The bar had sucked up all street traffic for some 50 metres circumference. In dripping darkness without power as frequently seemed to be the case- was packed a great many people from the street – cheek to jowl – sweating and waiting. Few were paying customers.

These two fellows in the picture are Carlos from Tamarindo and the other (whose name I cant remember – but who came from Managua – Nicaragua) I recognized Carlos from the beach, he sold cheap porclean pots with Mayan symbols. I cant imagine how they made any money as I never saw anyone buying them.

Every time the thunder struck Carlos cowered and grimaced – gun shy by all apearance – like a war veteran – but Costa Rica is peaceful so maybe a childhood fear. I bought them beer – the cost of which likely would exceed their daily earnings but they were friendly decent people and by the time the rain subsided and the air had cooled we were pretty tipsy. “KEY – AERO” Spanish for “I would like”.

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