Archive for ‘Observations’

Tropical Paradise?

Well, it was bound to happen. Even though I’ve been careful, I am now host to the lovely intestinal parasite, giardia. This little bugger causes a diarrheal disease aptly named giardiasis. I’ll spare you the gory details but I will say the symptoms are triggered by food. So, not eating has suddenly become quite appealing (thankfully, drinking doesn’t seem to be a problem).

I had this once during college and clearly remember the experience. I even know exactly how I contracted it back then, I drank untreated water out of a mountain stream (hence the nickname “beaver fever”). It was so unpleasant that I don’t drink out of streams any more. There are any number of ways to ingest giardia down here so I can’t pinpoint the source this time. Ah well, this, too, shall pass.

I am sharing my misfortune so that those of you dealing with the record breaking cold spell understand that as I stroll down the sandy beach on a warm, sunny day I am suffering, too. That’s living in paradise for ya!


My Daily Routine


Enjoying the Morning Sun – (Sleepy) Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

I thought I’d share the mellow routine that I’ve settled into during my time in Santa Teresa. Daybreak occurs around 5:30am every day of the year down here (since Costa Rica is only about 10° north of the equator the day length doesn’t differ much). After one or another animal alarm wakes me, I get dressed; swimsuit, cover up, and hat.

First order of business, sweeping out the sand and bugs that accumulated from the previous day (some of the unavoidable hazards of living in a tropical, beach town). Then it’s time for desayuno. By 8am I’m out the door, headed to the beach, after a quick stop at the mercado to buy a fresh banana.


Main Street in Santa Teresa During Rainy Season


Path to the Beach

The beach is siete minutos from my house, though I prefer walking further south toward Mal Pais (the fisherman’s village) since it is less congested down there.


This View Never Gets Old

I have a favorite spot where I do yoga and then spend the next few hours reading, writing, or just watching the surf. The climbing midday temperature and my growling stomach are signals that it’s time to head back to mi casa.


Walking North Toward Playa Carmen

After a refreshing shower and a bite of almuerzo, I spend time with the neighbor’s cute pup. We play tug of war (with an old rope I beachcombed) before retiring to my hammock for some relaxation.

By 4pm I’m wandering back down to la playa to get a good seat for the daily sunset extravaganza.


Dry Season Has Begun, Drawing in the Dust is a Fun Hobby

After the sun slides away (around 5:30) I meander back to the market to pick up provisions for cena. At this point I’m in for the night unless I’m meeting up with friends later.


Santa Teresa Sunset

It is a simple, uncomplicated life and I’m incredibly grateful to be spending this time in el paraíso.

Signs of Encouragement

The laid back vibe out here on the Nicoya Peninsula attracts artsy people. As a result, there are fun, inspiring signs posted just about everywhere.



Pondering Perro


Perro Pondering the Sea, Playa Carmen, Costa Rica October 2019

This sweet boy has joined me at my favorite spot on the beach the past several mornings. He waits patiently while I stretch through my yoga routine, then after a few rounds of fetch, he goes out on patrol. Sometime later he joins me on my towel for some scratches under the collar. I looked up from my journal the other day to this scene. Don’t you wonder what he was thinking?

Note: Just in case, perro is Spanish for dog. My Spanish still isn’t great but my Spanglish is awesome!

One Last Trip

The recent passing of my aunt Coralie has been sitting heavy on my heart as she was very dear to me. Most of my young life she lived in Texas. During her annual visits to Tucson I appreciated how she made a special effort to spend time with me.

A lifelong traveler, she’d send me postcards from whatever far-off country she was exploring. Her gallivanting filled me with wonder and, while I was born with a curious spirit, Coralie gets credit for encouraging my wanderlust.

Born in 1930, Coralie marched to the beat of her own drum, which wasn’t always easy back then. The family moved from Milwaukee to Tucson in 1934 in hopes of finding a brighter place to weather the Great Depression. After graduating from Tucson High School she began working in local government. That career path led her to Denver where she took the civil service exam which resulted in a job at the Pentagon.

In the late 1960s, in a very unusual departure from the family’s hardworking ethic, Coralie quit her job and hopped on a freighter bound for Europe. After a few months of touring around she walked onto the Weisbaden Air Force Base and landed a job as a secretary. Several years later she transferred back stateside, to Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Coralie worked in the purchasing department for the C-5A Galaxy (at that time the largest aircraft in the US fleet). She loved her job and excelled at it, even attending night school in order to get a college degree to further her advancement. She especially delighted in her paid vacations and used her time off to continue her worldly travels.

Since Coralie enjoyed her work, she was in no hurry to retire. Every year, after age 65, the General she worked for would ask her when she was going to retire. With a wink Coralie would reply, “You’ll be the first to know.” Turns out, the military had to close the base in order to finally get her to retire!

In early 2001 she moved back to Tucson, to my great joy. Over the last eighteen years I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with Coralie. Since she never married or had children, my step-sister and I happily filled in the latter role. Many a laughter-filled evening was spent around her dining room table. Game nights were especially fun (though you had to keep a close eye on Coralie, since she inherited Grandma’s penchant for a little self-dealing, if you know what I mean).

While her traveling had slowed in the past few years, in the end she had visited every continent (except Antarctica). A dedicated member of her church and supporter of several charitable organizations, Coralie’s intelligence and thirst for knowledge will be missed by many.

I will especially miss our long conversations and random adventures: museum visits, lectures, outdoor concerts, and even a behind-the-scenes tour of the University of Arizona’s sports facilities. Bon voyage on your last trip, Coralie, I will treasure all our wonderful memories…


Coralie, October 2015