THe glory of a story
Thoughts and threads of passion and experience that have woven the fabric I call my life. Sharing experiences, memories and ideas so that they are out in the world for you to find when the time is right.
THe glory of a story
Headed up to the lobby early to book our Tex-Mex a la cart the the evening dinner and a taxi to take us to CoCo Beach for some shopping.
We landed in town just about lunch time, so the guys chose Pacific Lobster for lunch. It was very good food, but four of us ended up with a bill for $217 with only 2 glasses of wine on the bill. Ouch!
We continued to do a little shopping, but just like any tourist area, the constant harassment for shopping, timeshares, food...it's exhausting just continually saying no thank-you. There is no such thing as having the peace or quiet to explore, and that's a shame.
We had only allowed ourselves a couple of hours there, as we had to go on the sunset cruise we'd booked the day before.
The sunset cruise had it's good points and it's bad. We booked with Charlies. It was an older, but comfortable boat. Our host was hilarious, a lot of fun and really attentive to all of our needs. We headed across the bay to the 5 star resort at CoCo beach, and once there, our host took the little boat to pick up 6 guests who were joining us from there. Several minutes later he returned with two guests, dropped them off, then headed back to pick up 4 more people who were not ready when he arrived the first round. The young people he dropped off said that they had been told the pickup time was 4pm, I looked at my watch and it was 4:40 and there was still no sign of the little boat returning to meet us. It was very frustrating that those 4 people felt that there was no need to rush them selves to be at the requested time, but instead to put the rest of us out by requiring the boat for wait for them. Was not amused at all by that nor were any of the other passengers. When they did arrive, they stayed below while the rest of the passengers mingled on the upper deck.
Once we finally did get underway again, we were very fortunate to see several sea rays flying through the air, as well as a large group of dolphins. They weren't as close or as plentiful as they'd been on our fishing trip, but still, it was wonderful to have them join us. I was thrilled!
The other downfall to the sunset cruise is that it is timed to have you back to shore by 6:30, however, in the 15 minutes that we were back inside the eastern side of the peninsula that juts out from Papagaya, we missed the most amazing part of the setting. You could see it's fading brilliance above the mountain range between us, but oh, how amazing it must have been on the outer side. I am sure we missed witnessing a miracle!
The evening ended on a sadly sour note for us as we were joined at our table by another Canadian couple that we'd socialized with a little. I know that in every experience there is a learning, and oh how terribly strong the learning was for us with them. I have worked very hard on raising the level of my own consciousness and in turn, Cecil has been dragged along for the ride I guess. We've become people of the human race, who accept that there are good and bad among all tribes and religions. I know that everyone is on their own journey, and that the path some choose is going to be very different from the path we've chosen to take, and have come to accept differences as a blessing and a gift to our experience.
The husband was a reminder that there are those who are still so locked in the hatred and negativity of ignorance that there may never be a way to see the light beyond. It as literally mind blowing to listen to the opinions and illusions of someone who was so self-righteous and negative towards anyone who was different than him....and the hardest part was the lack of ability we had to shut him down when he began his rants. In every moment there is a blessing and a learning, and oh boy, did we learn from him. The blessing was that he is not a part of our everyday life, and we are so lucky to have the choice not to deal with people like that in our day to day. How very fortunate we are that even the most people within our circle, who do have different opinions from us, can at least respect our beliefs and perspectives when a discussion starts to head south and become strained. The learning was that when you first meet people they will show you who you are. Believe that and make a decision then not to associate again. Walk away and don't do the things you feel you should to make people feel included when they are so contradictory to what you want your life to be. We agreed to sit with them on more then one occasion because we wanted to be nice and respectful, but in retrospect I have to ask myself why I insisted on respecting someone who has no ability to respect another human being. My need to please over rode my passions and my respect for myself and my husband by putting us in that position. It will not happen again. We deserve much better company than what I subjected us to, and from here on I will ensure that those that show us early they do not warrant our time and attention do not get it. I don't know if we made a dent in his bigoted armour, but he certainly had an impact on us.
We Live, We Learn
Robbin got up to go snorkelling with Cec this morning. I am pretty certain that the kids will not invite us to go travelling with them again, as we're on different time zones I'm afraid. Ours begins at what is 6am to us, and 3 am to them it seems. Must be their ability to stay up past 8pm, where we just can't!
I took advantage of the time to catch up on a little email and clear my inbox and finally to write a letter to Ramey's tour company to tell them how disappointed we were with how the events of Sunday turned out. Likely won't get a response, and he is back at the beach today, but still feel the need to give them the opportunity to make it right while we're here.
After the snorkelling and breakfast, we booked their zip-line tours for this afternoon. I hope they have a fun, safe day, but I'm afraid it was something that was of no interest to me at all even though the rest of our party is very pumped up about it!
I started exploring the Royal DeCameron resort in Bucerias that Jacques told us about near Sayulita, and saw that there was a really great rate for March 22. Why do I feel that I am going to be travelling again very soon! We are using the excuse that it's our 10 year anniversary in June, and we really want to explore the possibilities that the town might offer us if we decided to winter there next year...or the year after. We'll see. I say travel is one of my passions, so I really do manage to do that whenever the chance affords us. We are very blessed.
The evening was great. We did the Italian a la carte for dinner. It was so very good! I would highly recommend it to anyone who stays here. After dinner we headed to the lounge for a while and enjoyed the karaoke evening, where I got up and sang one song. The Rod Stewart lookalike singer ended the evening with a number of songs that got everyone singing along and dancing. It was fun, and we actually made it until 10pm! Wow, we are getting to be party animals!
Today we booked the river rafting wildlife tour. The bus ride was about an hour and a half one way, and was very interesting. Lots of talk about all that the government does to provide education, health etc. and I have to wonder what all the missions that come here to build schools is all about if the government is as committed as our tour guide says. That will be something worth looking into when I have more time and better internet access. Here it's terribly on-again, off-again.
The raft tour was great, the tour guides were very informative and highly entertaining. Along with lizards, iguanas, birds and all kinds of trees, we also saw 3 crocodiles, white-faced monkeys, bats, howler monkeys as well as many lovely butterflies and dragonflies.
The raft ride took about 1.5 hours, after which we headed back to the restaurant we had stopped at just prior to starting the rafting, to enjoy a fantastic lunch that we'd preordered before rafting. The meal was really great. Salad, main, dessert and ever refilled lemonade. When lunch was over we headed to the waterfall for a view and a swim in the pool beneath it. The walk down to the waterfall was very difficult. Rough steps carved out of stone, and chiselled in dirt. Very uneven with many rocks and slopes that were extremely difficult in the sandals we were all wearing. With my experience with disabilities and accessibility, it was one for the books of not a place to send people with any mobility issues. However, that said, the waterfall at the bottom was lovely.
The area was full of families swimming and enjoying picnics together. We suited up and went to enjoy the clear, cool mountain water. It was colder than any water we've been in yet, including the pool and the ocean But it didn't take long to climatize and enjoy it. We swam right out to the falls. The wind and mist as we got closer to them had an amazing force that I hadn't expected at all. Made it hard to swim and breathe against, but it was exhilarating!
After our swim there was a quick stop at a shopping centre where I purchased some 18 dollar shorts to replace the only tired white ones i'd brought, then headed back to the resort. A quick stop at the souvenir shop allowed me to get all of that out of the way for the grandkids at least.
When we got home to the resort we were pretty low key. Cec and I took our wine out to the beach and watched the sunset. There were beautiful colours, full of pinks and violet. It was a lovely way to end the day. We ate supper and were all in bed by 9! Not too wild, but very appreciative!
Cec and I got up at 6am and went snorkelling. He's been itching to do it, I have been a little more tentative, but we did buy the snorkels with good intentions, so decided we gotta use them. I have read many times, you need to do something every day that scares you and challenges you to grow a little. I think for me today it was the snorkelling. It was very, very shallow as the tide was a long way out, but we still saw a few things. A number of puffer fish....need to see if there's anything dangerous about them :) Cec and I both saw sea rays, his larger than mine...but it's still amazing to see its natural environment. We also both saw several holes on the bottom of the bay that could be where eels live. Didn't really want to see them, nor the snake we saw swimming along the top of the water yesterday, but still...it was pretty awesome way to start the day. I admit though, the sea life made me a little nervous.
Quieter day. Everyone wanted to be doing something. I am happy just to sit and write, and that does become a bit of a challenge...ensuring everyone's different needs are met through our various activities.
What I'd love to do is learn more about Costa Rica beyond the gates of this resort. Seems to be a fascinating country, and one of the options that many expats choose. If there are options to escape our winters for periods of time, either doing nothing, or maybe teaching english....could this be the place? I do feel comfortable here, that's a good sign. My twitchy periods come in the water, not around anything I have seen in terms of people or on land...except a couple of big spider pictures :) but who knows if those pictures are from here or not.
Wifi reception leaves a lot to be desired. Even in the lobby where it is supposed to be strongest...you find yourself on, then you find yourself off just as fast....would be frustrating if I were trying to do more than journal...but I am holidays...so I am not, all is good.
Other thing that has come up in conversation this week is my need to have a tattoo. Hardly a body I look at doesn't have one, or many....Cec and I seem to be the exception to the rule. Every person I have met here who has heard the story of Shane asks if I have a tattoo for him..answer no, thinking I should...now at 53 I think I need to explore that a little further.
Thursday morning the white faced monkeys were on the beach. Amazing little fellows. Looking at their faces they are so close to human, it's uncanny!
After spending time watching them, we went to head back up with Jim and Betty who had joined us, and came across Ramey...who was selling outings and adventures. His prices were definitely better than some of the others in the hotel, but his follow through on services was certainly not. We purchased his tour, and had a great tour CoaCoa Beach, which was really neat. Lots of interesting things for purchase, vendors that could be negotiated with, and our last stop...a bar that had swings set up all along the outside edge looking out at the street. That I enjoyed!
Unfortunately, our trip was to include being taking from there to a sunset cruise, with the chance to snorkel etc. That's where something went wrong, as the same little boat picked us up and seemed to know nothing about that. Most of our group was pretty ticked off about it. I am still choosing to believe it was miscommunication, but who knows. Ramey may come through yet....if so I'll let you know. If not, I'd recommend you steer clear of him!
Yesterday we had chartered a boat to go out deep sea fishing. I had no interest in the fishing, but did want to see what else might be out there. Not too far from the bay a group of dolphins started following our boat and swimming alongside us. It was amazing! I was so thrilled to see them there, and at one point there were 3 that kept side by side, surfacing and jumping together, then diving back down. I think it was Shane, Mom and Dad saying their hellos, and making sure we were enjoying the trip.
Not long after that Cecil caught the first of two black finned Tuna. Beautifully coloured fish. I felt sorry that he had to give up his life for our sport, but that's the way of the world I guess. Next our new friend from Toronto caught one, but our guides suggested that one be released telling us that they keep the sea happy if you keep one, then give one back.
That was the end of the fishing, even though our guide tried his best to do more and better. I felt bad that Billy didn't get a chance to reel one in, but am glad that that was the end of the catches.
Further out, we saw several sea rays flying out of the water. Didn't even know they did that, but it was really cool to watch! Our guide told us it was either part of mating, or part of celebrating that they had mated...who knows...they looked pretty darn happy flying through the air!!
Things were quiet for a while, but we later found a sea turtle floating on top of the water. I didn't get a good picture of him, but I did get a good look at him, and sometimes you have to just celebrate the memory. The rest of the ride home was pretty uneventful, another dolphin siting, but otherwise no catches and no sitings.
When we got back to the beach, the monkey's were back out, so that was great that Robin got to see them as she'd missed them the day before. They are pretty amazing little creatures. It was a glorious end to a glorious day!
In March of 2014 we went on our first winter getaway with some of our kids. We only booked it with them two weeks prior to leaving, so little research had been done. I'd left the exploration of our destination up to my daughter-in-law. She did good!
"We booked into an all inclusive called Allegro Papagayo, on the western side of Costa Rica. This place is quite remarkable! the flowers around the grounds are amazing, as are the many birds all over the place. Remarkable colours and song every where you look. We saw one this morning that had the most amazing crown. I didn't have my good camera, but we took a couple with the little one, will see how we make out.
The sand here is so very black, and in the soaring temperatures that touch in the high 30s, it was so very hot you would almost think the skin on your feet was being seared off. None of us could navigate it without sandals, but it was lovely to see.
The first day was pretty relaxed, once we got checked in we basically put on our bathing suits and spent much of the rest of the afternoon in the pool. In honesty, it's the first time ever that we've spent time in a resort pool enjoying the services of the pool bar. No wonder others love that so much! Billy and Robin were in the pool from almost the moment we landed here! They know how to relax!
We rode from the airport in a small bus, as we were at the tail end of a large group of vacationers. Worked out much better, only 8 of us on the bus. The couple ahead of us were from just outside Toronto. They were saying they had friends in Winnipeg, and had wanted them to join them on this holiday, but never thought to suggest they fly to Toronto as we had. They'd met them last year while vacationing in Cuba. When we got to the checkin, we were behind them again and began chatting. They had mentioned before that the guy they knew worked in corrections, however, didn't mean much, but when we were talking in the lobby they said the first names of their Winnipeg friends. It was a very familiar combination, so I asked last names, and lo and behold it's my one of my supported living co-workers. We have a small team of about 10 people, and she is one of them, and here we are across the world chatting to two of her friends!
How small is the world, honestly! It was unbelievable!
I did it! I finally finished sharing my journal from out trip to Italy two years ago. Was it really important that I spent time doing it? Not likely no, not to anyone other than me.
So why did I? I ask myself that regularly. Why to I feel the pull to keep sharing my travels and life experiences with the unknown masses that may or may not bother to read what I share. I guess it boils down to our need to share our stories with others. Some of it is to confirm for ourselves what happened and how it affected us. Some of it is to share our commonality with others, to share our mutual hopes and dreams and experiences, some of which we get to follow through and achieve, some that sit on the shelves until our lives are over. Some of it might just be to share a little hope with someone who is in the place that I myself was not all that long ago. Having a list of dreams that were unfulfilled as the responsibility of life had all energy directed elsewhere. Not that that was not satisfying and life affirming at the time, but it was indeed a different life.
Maybe it's just that sharing, for me, hopefully offers some little bit of wisdom or support to someone who might follow some of the steps my path has taken. Maybe one of my mistakes can be avoided. Maybe one of the wonderful things that I've had the opportunity to experience will inspire another to follow that path for themselves and experience something they'd not thought of before. Maybe it's all just for me to look back on at a time when I'm no longer able to enjoy these passions that push me forward today. Things are going to change for all of us, I know that.
So whatever the reason reveals itself to be, I hope you enjoy my journey. If you don't, I hope that you find a journey of your own to make your heart beat a little faster, and make the days ahead just a little more exciting for you. I hope only the best, for each of us.
We've made it to our last destination on this trip. We arrived at Mark and Faye's house last night a little after 6pm after a long day of traveling, although the flight time was only 3 and a half hours from start point to finish...it felt longer with all the time put in just waiting
We arrived in Zurich, and got a few Swiss Francs, which was good as the cab ride to the house ended up costing 80 francs, about the same in Canadian dollars. Wasn't another way of doing it though.
Mark and Faye's home is amazing! It's so very beautiful here. Cecil joked once asking if I was jealous, my response was no, rather I am proud to be associated with a couple who have managed to create the life they have, coming from the same place as the rest of us. Remarkable accomplishments in all areas of their lives. Their homes, their family, their careers. They are inspirational.
Sleep was a little elusive, even though I thought I was exhausted, but listening to the sounds of the waterfall behind the house through the open bedroom window was calming and relaxing. It almost passed for the rest that would have come with sleep.
We got up and tried to figure out the coffee machine...but it was a little too fancy for us, so instead, we wandered down to the grocery store that Faye had said was down the hill and got a few things to have over the next day or so here. It was a great walk, with this area really reminding both of us of Vancouver. Same greenery, same feel to the climate, similar smells from the vegetation.
The little grocery store had all we would need, and so back up the hill we headed, to put our feet up and have a late breakfast. Not a healthy one, a late one... like you have when you're tireder that you should be. I hadn't connected with anyone for the wifi password, so instead of working, we enjoyed the back yard, with our feet up and a drink in hand. Even the idea of the hot tub seemed like too much work. Just felt lazy. Maybe if the truth were known, we were both just ready to be home. Hard to believe how you come to miss your familiarity after a while! Such a lovely space and house, but home is home, and it was time to get back to it.
We made our way to the airport. It was surprisingly easy and straightforward. Down the street to the bridge, over the bridge to the bus depot. Bus number 5. This allowed us way more than enough time to get organized for the new flight that we're booked on. Lots of time for a cappuccino, and eventually a light lunch before boarding our plane.
We were scheduled to leave out of gate number 14, so were very surprised that when we started loading, we went through the checkout, down the hall, then down the stairs to an exit and a waiting bus! That was a little different, and in fact we were a little nervous that maybe we had taken a wrong turn, but as they say...all roads lead to Rome...and the road they took us on down on the little bus did in fact do that.
It's hard to believe that after so many years of longing, and so much anticipation over the last many months, our time here is finished. How fast the time always manages to fly! How quickly the things we so look forward to become but memories that we hold in our hearts. It has been wondrous to manage to keep in the moment with each and every adventure over the last 3 weeks, soaking it all in. Hard to imagine how many places we have seen, people we have met, experiences we have relished, as the memories begin to fade into one another. I am really glad that i took the time to document each day as we went along, in hopes that I can share with others who may be able to learn and be helped by our own journey and experience.
In a few hours we will be at Mark and Faye's, and I look forward to seeing their home, and to having a day or two to relax before our final flight home. Home sweet home!
Preparing to leave Venice, I realized I had booked us flights to Geneva instead of Zurich! Not sure what I'd been thinking, but so glad I figured it out before we got to the airport! Still, made for a rough morning all around, trying to figure out how to get around that and into Zurich. After checking trains, buses and anything else I could think of, we ended up booking an alternative flight with Alitalia, another 600 Euro, but at least we're getting from here to there! Big booboo for someone who usually is more cautious when doing these things. Good lesson moving forward, and will have to get home to work to pay it off when this is over. C'est la Vie! Lesson learned.
Adding to the challenge of of sorting out the flights was limited connectivity. I gave up struggling with the internet and getting things set up at noon, and headed out for something to eat so that Cec could at least do something while I fight with the internet on a restaurant's wifi. Luckily for me, most cafes and restaurants do offer wifi free to customers, and many signals are better than the hotels offer.
About two blocks from the hotel as we made our way through the busy streets, a woman slammed into my shoulder, pushing her way forward in the opposite direction. I really do not get these people, with their shoulders and their elbows. What frustrating, angry lives they must lead to feel that that is the way to get from point A to point B. We have experienced that so much over the past few weeks, that it really makes me long for the quiet, peacefulness of my small rural existence at home. Gratefully there have been lots of good people who's attitude and thoughtfulness have offset the likes of the young woman on the street morning, but my heart goes out to her, to have to bully her way through her days like that.
We managed to lose ourselves for several hours, and then found ourselves again. The quieter streets that we wandered onto were a welcome change to the busyness that has been life on the main tourist strip. The shops and cafes were all similar, but the pace is slower and more manageable, and I'm ready for that.
After we found our way back to the hotel, and had a bit of a rest, we wandered off the other direction. Cecil had seen a restaurant selling 'spiney lobster' yesterday, and was quite interested to try it. We found the place, and he had that with spaghetti while I had cannelloni. It was one of the most expensive meals we've had here, the lobster alone being 40Euro, while not even all that good compared to what he's used to at home. The waiters were very solemn, and there seemed to be a lot of frustrated customers. A quick update on TripAdvisor showed that there seem to be a lot of disgruntled customers at that restaurant, and we'd wished we'd checked that out before we ate, but we found what we'd been looking for, and can leave feeling that we've missed nothing.
We continued the search for a purse and although I didn't find the perfect purse for me, but I found a lovely leather one that will do the job just fine. We then found a sweater to take home to Emerald to thank her for taking care of things at home, and are officially all done shopping. I tried to count up the number of wine corks we've managed to accumulate, but really don't have much of a clue....I just know we have lots, most likely more than enough.
As the evening ended, we went down to have one last toast to the streets of Venice. The bags packed and ready to go...and truth is, so am I. I am looking forward to Zurich, but am looking forward to just getting home. It's been long enough, my king size bed, and comfortable existence is calling. My work is calling, and I have to admit that some of my greatest moments have come when sharing my passion for what i do with people I have met, and it's a message to me that I need to keep doing the work I do for now. I've gained a lot of clarity for myself on this time away. Clarifying my passions, my purpose, my markers to get there. Taking time to wander, and take pictures, and document it from day to day. My trip advisors. It's all to move things in the direction of my desires, and I have not doubts that each little step is moving me closer to that. Bigger steps will happen when I get home week, and the journey will continue forward!
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