Here is the video of the fire we encountered the other night on our way back to the village. Since it was not compromising any homes or parks, they just let it burn out. It was till smoldering the next afternoon.
This is always the hardest post of my blogs…leaving Paradise. We awoke to a brilliant sunrise in Flamingo and ate our fresh fruit and sipped cups of smooth coffee on the patio of the resort. We were soaking in the nature, the views, the aroma like it was water to a parched throat.
We moved to the lobby to discuss our plans to travel to San Jose where we met up with a couple who had been staying at the resort, Carmen and Peggy. They were from Massachusetts (Carmen by way of Italy) and, as we found out, enjoyed travelling to the exotic and adventurous lands. Carmen told me of his hobbies of creating harpoons and stained glass works, while Peggy and Jackie discussed our plans for the hotel boutique. Before we knew it, 2 hours had passed and Jackie and I had still not closed our suitcase.
Gathering our belongings and sealing up the room, I move the bags to the Hyundai and said our goodbyes to Joseph, Willy and Raquel, thanking them for their hospitality and gracious manners to us and the other residents. Knowing that our investment in the resort was in good hands, we head out for the Central Valley. There was a 4 hour drive ahead of us to San Jose, and a short stay at the airport hotel before boarding the 1:00 AM flight home.
The drive was indicative of the natural diversity of Costa Rica. Driving from Flamingo to Nicoya, the dry heat made its mark on the landscape, scorching the low grasses and allowing the succulents to remain green despite the dry season. Our arrival at Puntarenas begins our ascension into the Central Range, switchbacks through the jungles mixed with clouds, mist, rain and filtered sun. At the crest, we see the valley of San Jose, Escazu, Alajuela, Heredia, and the entire of the Central Valley. The slow decline down ends at our hotel across from the Juan Santamaria airport in San Jose.
The font desk agent, Fabian greeted us warmly at the front desk and checked us into our suite. It will be a short stay of only 8 hours before we have to catch the shuttle to the airport. I return the rental vehicle to the agency across the street and head back to the hotel for an attempt at a nap, which is not coming easily.
At 6:00, Jackie and I decided to walk over to a Denny’s (the All-American Restaurant) for a bite to eat, breakfast fare for me, dinner fare for Jackie. After our meal, we head back to the hotel in an attempt to get some rest before our departure. A couple of hours is the best we can capture, so we shower, assemble our luggage and head to the lobby for the shuttle. The lobby holds a luggage scale which we use to weigh our one check-in…it is now 50 lbs., although we have added nothing to the 40 lb. bag from our departure other than a stick of deodorant. Obviously, the scale is miscalculated.
The shuttle took us too quickly to the airport where we purchased our exit visas and headed to the Spirit counter to check in. Our bag still weighed above the 40 lb. limit and we had to pay the $25 surcharge, but if the extra cargo was warmth and memories, it was money well spent. The 1:00 AM flight was on time and not filled, so we found empty rows to try to get some room to sleep, but unfortunately, Jackie’s empty row was quickly filled with a young student travelling to Boston who had a fear of flying. Jackie comforted her to sleep, but lost her free row to lay down to sleep. She tried to join my row, but the sleep did not come easily.
A couple of hours later, we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale to clear Customs, which went without a hitch. But we had to re-enter TSA and the line at that time of the morning spanned twice the length of the terminal. Since we had time before our connector, we had the luxury of patience, albeit weary patience. I wish I could say the same of the others in line. It was a sad reminder that we were, in fact, back in the U.S.
Clearing TSA, and boarding our flight to O’Hare, it is now obvious that reality is happening. My legs are covered with trousers, and my feet are covered with socks and loafers…something foreign for 13 days…Jackie is carrying a sweater. So sad.
My local Chicago supervisor, Bethany, meets us at the airport for the drive to the office in Elmhurst where I got a few hours of work completed before heading back to Indiana. Jackie and I rescued our dogs from the kennel with the howls from Dip and the constant licks from Gadget, ecstatic to see their Mommy and Daddy. The remainder of the drive home was filled with wagging tails and grateful puppies, but knowing we are going to get the cold shoulders from our cats, who were cared for by Courtney and George, but abandoned by us…they will come around at feeding time.
4/17/13: While waiting to proofread and publish this blog, the reality of life in the U.S has hit with full force. Work is work, and I arrive to a full mailbox, voicemails ad nauseum, and hope that a week will be enough to get through it. But more sadly than that, an American tradition, the Boston Marathon was crippled by a bomber, our local schools are being terrorized by threats of violence to match Sandy Hook, and mail is being intercepted to a Senator and the President laced with Ricin. And the Congress fails to pass an ordinance to require background checks on the purchase of firearms.
For 13 days I was able to escape the violence, the threats, the fear, the political division and enjoy the peace and beauty God has designed for us. Soon enough, it will not be for a couple of weeks, but for my lifetime. I pray I will survive the short time until it is reality.
The day at our new digs started off brilliantly. The sun made its presence known at promptly 6:04, and by 6:15, I was in the lobby sipping on fresh coffee and letting the views and breezes carry me away. I must admit, the beds and air conditioning at the El Sabanero Resort are more to a gringo’s liking, but it is, after all, a resort. The spread in the lobby is a typical Costa Rican fare with the breads and jams, fresh fruit juice, fresh fruit cocktails, cereal and, of course, a bottomless pot of coffee. the hotel chef also cooks up the eggs and meats for those who so choose.
By 7:30, the families with kids we frolicking in the pool, splashing and jumping as kids everywhere do. From our vantage point on the patio, we are able to watch the activities without getting in the way of the ruckus. There were, again, no definite plans on the books. After a few dips into the pool, we decided to get changed and go to the gas station in Huacas and get our flat tire repaired. Fortunately, I had learned the phrase llantas reparation (tire repair), for my non-English speaking friends down here. The mechanic at the gas station understood my rudimentary Spanish and took the tire from the hold in the trunk and went to work on it. Ten minutes later, he replaced the tire on the SUV and put the sparse back in the trunk. When I went to settle up with him, he waved his hand, no charge. Are you kidding me? A foreigner needing a mechanic’s assistance in a strange place? That is like fair game for robbery in the U.S. I gave him 3,000 colones ($6.00) as a tip and he thanked me profusely. What people they are down here.
We took a leisurely trip back to Flamingo, stopping in the center of Huacas to get a couple of items and then, we decided to drive further up the hill past the resort to see what or who was up there. The road only extends about 500 meters past the resort, but there are several estate houses that sit off the road which beautiful, and you can only imagine the views from their vantage point.
Back at the resort, Raquel was happy to heat up our leftover dinners which we had for lunch. We watched a little bit of the Masters on TV (in English) and went into the pool for a few more cooling dips. The sunsets in Flamingo are the most beautiful I have ever seen and we did not want to miss the opportunity to view one more before we left. On the northern part of the beach, there was a gathering just wrapping up a wedding ceremony, but other than that, the beach was just dotted with random people, virtually deserted. We parked at a wonderful point to get the full effect of the sunset and let the views take us away. A little Daschound puppy was with a couple and just running all over the place, another mother and her two children were there, also, to enjoy the high tide. And then the show began with the sun dropping amid the low clouds on the horizon, creating a palette of colors over the ocean, until it was just a faint orange ball bidding farewell.
We drove back to the resort where Willy and Joseph were getting ready for their first of weekly barbecue buffets they will be holding on the deck and lobby. The smells of the wood burning ad the meats grilling obviously made us aware that the appetites were back. Raquel made her first Long Island Iced Tea for Jackie (strong but tasty for her first stab at it), and for me a vodka tonic. The NASCAR race was on the bar TV so we were able to catch some of it while we waited for the food to be cooked. Them menu consisted of steaks, pork chops, sausage (sweet), chicken skewers, and fish with a choice of barbecue or jalapeño sauces. They also served green salad, nachos and fresh salsa, homemade potato salad, and rice. Our plates were full of the sampling and it would take a while to finish this. But finish we did and met Joseph at the bar for an after dinner cocktail and great conversation about music.
Jackie reminded me that the race was still on and we went to the air conditioning of the room to watch the end of it. Hopefully, Jackie can upload the video she took of the Spanish speaking announcers calling the race. Tony Stewart was referred to as “Señor Smoke”, and Kyle Busch, who won the race was called “Rowdy”. We could hear the regular announcers in the background calling the race in English, but the over exuberant local announcers drowned them out.
The race over, and our food settled, it is time once again for sleep, and again it came easily.
Today we will be leaving El Sabanero Lodge to stay for a couple of nights at the El Sabanero Beach Resort to experience their amenities. However, Wilbur came into the lodge to tell me I had a problem…flat tire on the SUV. Somewhere last night I picked up a screw in my tire and now it was flat, so it was time to be my own pit crew. Fifteen minutes and 2 quarts of sweat later, the spare was on. Finishing up the last of the coffee, we head up the road for the short trip to Flamingo and the resort. Willy, Joseph and Raquel were on duty as usual, and since it was lunch time, we opted for lunch in the lobby. The hamburgers were huge and most tasty, served with a salad and fried potatoes…and friendly conversations with Raquel and Joseph.
I went onto the upper deck to just look at the view. There is a panoramic view from this vantage point on the bluff. To the west is the Pacific ocean, dotted with islands of volcanic rock and tropical plants. Directly north is the opposing bluff creating the Flamingo cove. The hills of that bluff has residences climbing up the hills through the jungle. And then to the east is Flamingo cove with its boats moored offshore and ending at the beaches around the cove. It is an idyllic view and pure Costa Rica.
While standing on the deck, I notice a condor floating in the air with the air current randomly taking him to nowhere in particular. As the winds shift, the condor comes closer to my vantage point and soars just above my head where I notice his wingspan of about 5 feet. It is a grand bird. Flying along with him are ospreys, terns, tanagers, pelicans, and colorful birds the species of which I di not know. Across the hilled property of the resort are the iguanas either lying on rocks in the sun, or scurrying along to ground to a new resting spot. The trees are a combination of leafless, dormant trees during this dry season, along with fruit trees bearing and orange-like fruit, coconut palms, azaleas and many succulents. And not to forget the aromas coming from the area, there is a combination of the smell of the red tide with is salty sea fragrance along with the sweetness of the flowers. The overall picture could not be captured with one picture.
Our room at the resort is a lower floor poolside one where we can walk out of our patio door onto a small patio with steps going right into the pool. However, the first thing we notice about our room is the full air conditioning which is welcome in the 101 degree heat. We opted for a quick dip in the pool before heading out to explore some more of the area. We went into Huacas for some souvenirs, coffee (of course), jams and jellies for the grandkids, and more medicine for me from the Farmacia (I am determined to kick this cold!). We had planned on viewing the sunset from the deck of the resort, but on our way back, we decided to stop at a restaurant, Carlos y Carlos, on the road between Conchal and Flamingo. We had passed it several times, but never stopped, so this was our opportunity.
The building is a small brick café with a driveway that takes you to the front door. This inside is a combination of brick and stone archways, and cedar ceilings. The menu is Italian and the service is very attentive without being overbearing. It is such a shame that we are the only two patrons of the restaurant at the time. After ordering our wine, we choose a chicken and fettuccini with a white wine sauce and a veal and herb ravioli in a tomato and herb sauce. Both meals arrived and we realize this is not the Olive Garden. The entrees were freshly prepared and the presentation was gourmet. I chose the ravioli first, and the flavors of the tomatoes and herbs just popped in my mouth and I could see from Jackie’s first taste of the chicken, she had the same experience. We swapped dishes after a bit eating to our fill and having enough left over to bring back to the resort for our lunch tomorrow. After an espresso and Sambuca, we drove back to Flamingo, missing the sunset, but glad we did not miss the opportunity for Carlos y Carlos.
Back in our air conditioned room, we scanned the channels on the TV only to find a Nascar Nationwide race. what a surprise, so we enjoyed the coolness of the room, the sports on TV and eventually drifted off to sleep putting to bed another marvelous day in Costa Rica.
Knowing that Lonna and Ellen were leaving early today, Jackie and I got up at the smell of coffee and went to the lodge. The ladies were going on a coffee plantation tour prior to catching their flight out of Liberia. Sitting over coffee, we reminisced and exchanged email addresses to stay in touch and took the customary group picture. It is obvious that the ladies will be returning whenever they can. We met for a bit with the family from Arenal, although the language barrier made it a bit difficult. It would appear that the parents expatriated from France to the Arenal region of Costa Rica about 8 years ago. They developed a small (10 home) ex-pat community there and it is currently resided by Canadians, Americans, and French. As is usually the case with ex-pats here, Jackie and I were invited to stay with them any time we are in the region. The genuine hospitality of the people here is overwhelming.
Our plans were to go to Huacas to take care of some matters there and then head to Flamingo to the bank to pick up our wire transfer token which we forgot yesterday. So after a breakfast of coffee, fresh fruit and juice, we head on up the coast. We spent over an hour in Huacas, which is a small village, inland from the beached by about 1 km, but the people are pleasant, and the village has all of the resources one would need, supermarket, pharmacy, clothing store, cafes…but if you blink you will have missed driving by the village. Then to Flamingo, meeting with Alejandra to get our token, but in usual fashion, it has its difficulties. Three phone calls and 45 minutes later, we have our token and head up to the El Sabanero Beach Resort for lunch. Unfortunately, the kitchen is closed on Wednesday so we had to make alternative plans. However, as we were leaving, a Jeep pulls into the courtyard and out pops Danny Badran, our friend of many years here who, we were told, was in the U.S. with some serious health problems. As it turns out, the problems were less serious than originally thought, and Danny was well enough to return to Costa Rica. It was great catching up with him, albeit too short since he was on his way to Panama and had to leave.
Jackie was in the mood for a good old cheeseburger for lunch, so we went into Tamarindo for lunch at Witch’s Rock. However, when we ordered, the waiter told us they did not have any beef that day, so any “burger” would have to be chicken breast of fish. So much for the hamburger, and chicken it was…with a couple of cold brews, it was all good. So back to the lodge it was for a relaxing afternoon by the pool…until sunset fell and it turned into a relaxing evening by the pool.
Donald and Hazel were making fresh Mahi Mahi for a visitor, and while it smelled awesome, we found ourselves not hungry enough to eat a full dinner. Which brings me to the topic of this blog. During all of my trips to Costa Rica, I find myself coming home several pounds lighter (although it would have to be many pounds to show a significant difference). Jackie and I talked about our eating habits while we are here and they are quite different from our patterns in the U.S. Here, our breakfast consist of coffee, fresh fruit and the occasional slice of toast. That is followed in the mid-afternoon with a lunch of a sandwich or casada. Most evenings, we just have a small platter of cheeses and perhaps salami or sausage, and that is it. For some reason, at home we eat to have something to do and to fill in time, when in reality, we are not truly hungry. What we do eat down here is generally healthier as the fruits and vegetables are organically grown, the meats and fish are very fresh, and the breads and rice are whole grain. I wonder whether we could actually change our U.S. eating habits to mirror those here. It is worth a try.
The evening was bringing out the bad side of my cold, once again, so we decided to head to the porch of our cabina for the rest of the evening until we finally fell asleep with the breezes.
As luck would have it, I seem to have caught a cold down here. I felt it coming on yesterday, but today I had the chest congestion and the sniffles, nothing debilitating, just an annoyance. There were no etched in stone plans for the day other than to go to the bank in Flamingo to pick up our checks and debit cards. Lonna and Ellen had not been to the El Sabanero Beach Resort, so we made arrangements to meet them in downtown Tamarindo after their zip line tour and surfing for a short visit to the resort.
We lounged by the pool for most of the morning, and at one point I looked at the temperature on my phone and it was 100 degrees, not that you would know it from the breezes which cools off the skin. By about 1:00, we decided to head into town, first to visit a Farmacia for some cold medicine and then to meet the ladies. When I got to the Farmacia, I explained my symptoms to the clerk, and a doctor appeared from the side office. She spoke English and understood my problems, checked out my chest with her stethoscope and recommended a three day treatment for the cold. Doctor’s exam and prescription: $10.
The four of us then drove the 20 minutes to Flamingo and met with Willy who showed the ladies around the place. Jackie and I excused ourselves to go down to the bottom of the road to the bank. A customer service rep, Diego, had all of our documents and cards in order, and it was a 10 minute process to finalize our affairs. I have to say that this was the quickest Costa Rican transaction we have had in all the years coming here.
We had a cocktail at the pool bar at the resort and Raquel was a hit with her frozen Pina Coladas for the ladies…simply an Imperial for me. While at the resort, Willy said that their bakery was making a delivery and if we wanted something we could buy from him. Jackie got fresh French bread, Cinnamon bread, apple pie and doughnuts…all fresh. We had decided to pick up some food at the Mercado on the way to the lodge for dinner and relax by the pool for the evening, Lonna’s and Ellen’s last night here. We had decided on a roasted chicken sections which were absolutely delicious and the bread was a perfect complement.
There were two new couples visiting the lodge, ex-pats from France who reside in Arenal. They appear to be having a great evening by the pool and hopefully we will get to know more about them in the coming days. But, as is usually the case, the evening time was not kind for my cold symptoms and we decided for an early retirement to bed with my prescription. Hopefully the symptoms will ease by the morning.
Kurt and Karen were leaving in the early morning for their trip to Austria, so we arose early enough for a last coffee and conversation before they left. Kurt came down sadly with his leather jacket in hand and said he would probably be needing this for where he was going. It was sad to see them leave as we always have such a wonderful time with Kurt and it was fabulous meeting Karen, but we took solace in the fact that we will be getting together again soon. Hopefully for our next trip both Kurt and Harold will be here for a full reunion.
Our plans for the day were to travel to Flamingo to finalize our banking here. Finally, after 10 months and two banks, we might be able to put this matter to bed. However, at 7:00 AM, a Facebook message pops up on the screen from our friend Alex, stating that his chef is in Nicaragua and he has some people coming for his barbecue. He asked if I could lend a hand. Jackie and I had planned on dining there this trip, so I gladly offered my help. Then the request turns to not only helping, but me being the guest chef, which at first sounded a bit daunting, but it was nothing more than a barbecue so it could not be that bad. I offered a challenge to Alex to have a South African vs. United States chef cook-off, which he accepted and the trash talk began. He asked me to arrive at the farm at 4:00 and since we were picking up Lonna and Ellen downtown that afternoon, we invited them to join us, which they accepted. But Alex still needed to sign a letter of recommendation for the bank, so he said he would stop by the lodge in an hour.
Two and a half hours later, Alex shows up…obviously he is using a Costa Rica clock which always runs slowly. But one comes to expect this from Alex. He is a Type A person with many projects going at the same time, and appears to be bouncing off the walls at all times. So he signs his letter and we are now able to start our way to Playa Flamingo. When we arrive at the bank (and pass through security, of course) we see that Daniel is with another client so we take a seat and wait…and wait…and wait. About 45 minutes later, he completes his dealings with that couple and invites us to join him at his desk. Folder in hand, I start the process of handing him documents, corporate reference, personal references, our ownership documents for El Sabanero, our U.S. bank reference, and once he asked for our passports, I knew we were in business. The computer network at the bank was running at a snail’s pace, but after a 2 hours visit to the bank, we walked out with a checking and savings account. Wonders never cease.
By now, we had little time to do much before we were to head to Black Stallion Farms to meet Alex, so we opted for a light snack by the pool and a quick dip. Alex was still at the lodge and had not even gone to get the food for dinner, so we shooed him off to get what was needed…typical Type A. The water was very refreshing until, as I was leaning on the side of the pool, I felt a sharp sting on my stomach. Looking down, I saw a satisfied bee and a poke in my belly (which obviously the bee could not miss). I took the stinger out and guided the bee to the skimmer in the pool for his final resting place. Just once I would like to visit here without getting a sting of one sort or another.
After a quick change, Jackie and I head to Black Stallion where we met up with Alex, showing two families the horse and the new foals, 1 and 3 days old. But he still had not gone to the market! After about 1/2 hour, he finally took off, leaving me to start the teak wood fire in the grill, and Jackie took off to meet Lonna and Ellen. As it turns out, there were 20 guests coming for dinner and none of the meats were marinated yet. When I asked Alex what time he was expecting to serve, he said, “whenever it’s done”. So Jackie is in the kitchen preparing salads and rice, I am cutting up the chickens, marinating the meats and preparing the rubs, and Alex is running around talking to everyone, offering them more beer. I could tell this was not going to be a cook-off. The grill was super heated by this point, so on went the chicken quarters and wings, marinated in beer and slathered with Lizano Salsa, a sweet concoction that is popular here. next came the chorizo, followed by the steaks and mahi-mahi. I also made some roasted red pepper salsa to go with the rice, but after being over the grill all this time, I was ready for a beer…but Alex miscalculated and ran out of beer. He kicked Jackie out of the kitchen and sent her on a beer run, which is not as simple as it seems for a non beer dinking person. But she did well coming back with six-packs and quarts of the local brew…the wine drinker did well.
With all the libations in order, it is time to serve, plattering everything for family style dining. Conversation was lively throughout the dinner and plates being loaded and reloaded again, wine bottles being popped, and the beer flowing smoothly. I think everyone loosened their belts after that feast, but Alex had one more surprise in store. He brought out a dessert of ice cream fresh fruit and, for the adults, a rum syrup topping. Everyone was going to sleep well this evening.
Before we knew it, the time had become 10:30, so the fiesta started to unwind. Alex’s clean-up crew was hard at work as we said our goodbyes, but it was truly an evening to remember, and I will gladly fill in for the chef at any time to experience this again.
Sunday in the U.S. involves planning our day around the Nascar race schedule, so why would it be any different in Costa Rica? The options are limited here, though since U.S. TV is not captured everywhere and Nascar is not a popular sport here, either. Knowing that the El Sabanero Beach Resort has a lobby TV at the bar, and that they have CableTica which provides Fox Sports our travels were taking us in that direction. The challenge is that with the time zone difference the race would be beginning at 11:00 AM our time and I can’t remember ever sitting at a bar that early. But they say that you can’t drink all day unless you start early…off we drive north.
We arrived to meet the new manager, Joseph, who, after we introduced ourselves, was a most gracious host and gladly went to the bar to change the channel to the race, but I guess he did not understand Nascar since he put on a Formula 1 race. Raquel, the bartender was able to find the correct channel while Joseph and I chatted.
Joseph in the Lobby
Nascar in Costa Rica
Joseph is a Czech who was a hotelier in Argentina for years, but the Chavez regime drove away most of the business and he was forced to sell the hotel in search of another in a more stable country. Through common acquaintances, Kurt met Joseph and they came upon an agreement for Joseph to manage the hotel and staff, and a better choice he could not have made. Joseph is fluent in German, English and Spanish and no matter the language, he is a wonderful conversationalist.
Now it can’t be Nascar without an adult beverage, so Raquel prepared Jackie a mojito and served me an ice cold Imperial…and, as they say, we are off to the races. What was interesting was that we could vaguely hear the American announcers in the background, but the Spanish translator overrode them and translated with gusto. It was funny hearing him say “Yunior!” but the most vocal was “Montoya!”. All that was missing was “Gooooooaaaalllll!” The race was rather boring (short track and all), but the drink and beer were cold and we shared a plate of nachos which were awesome. Unfortunately, Jimmy Johnson won (editorial opinion not shared by all) but how can you complain when you are at a poolside bar in Paradise. Even the local denizens were looking for service:
Costa Rica Lounge Lizard
We said our goodbyes to Joseph and Raquel and headed just a bit north to Portrero to meet up with Kurt and Karen for an early dinner at La Coconut Beach Club. This is a small bar and grill on the beach, with a pool, bocce court, and a pergola for those bathers not wanting the full sun. The menu was a combination of fresh seafood, barbecue, and local casadas. I chose the chicken casada with a shrimp and mango sauce, which came with rice and fresh vegetables.
The eruption of flavor from the fruit, mild spices and shrimp sauce was marvelous. Jackie chose a shrimp cocktail with huge fresh shrimp, Karen got the fire grilled red snapper (caught a couple of hours ago), and Kurt opted for the chicken casada with a peach and curry sauce. All meals were plentiful and delicious, and the service could not have been better. There was a band setting up as we were eating, and had we had more time, we would have loved to stay and listen for a while. However, Kurt and Karen had business to attend to in Flamingo, so we said our ciao to La Coconut and off we went to meet up later.
On our drive from Portrero we saw the ever common Brahmas who had broken out from their field. But these steer were very inventive since they were trying to break into a fruteria with stands full of mango, lime, guava, pineapple, and coconuts. But the locked fences kept the foragers out.
We made a quick stop at the Mercado on our way to Cana Fistula and when we arrived, there were no breezes and the temperatures were still warm (it had reached 96 F – 36 C) so it was time to hit the pool for some refreshment. Some of the others in the village retired top their cabinas and the comfort of the air conditioning, but we chose to sit in the lodge over wine and cocktails with a wedge of cheese and converse with Kurt and Karen. Sadly, they have to leave in the morning for Austria to attend to business there, so this was our last evening with them on this trip. As always, Kurt is a great host and good friend and his beau, Karen, is equally charming so they will surely be missed during the rest of the week.
But the sun of the day combined with some evening wine has taken its toll and it is time for bed. Another Pura Vida day in the books.