Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Monkeys and Dolphins and Earthquakes, OH MY!!!

I'm sorry it has been so long since my last post. We have been slowly adjusting to things since Rob left. We have made more changes to the Cabinas...switched sheets around, updated a room and rented it monthly, tore down the old carport and built a new hangout area, and made crafts/artwork to display in the rooms.



Vases I made to put in the rooms

Painting of Birds of Paradise flowers

Last week was really exciting...I went hiking on the trail up the mountain. At the beginning of the trail I thought to myself "It is going to be a good animal day, maybe I will see monkeys." I had already seen a few squirrels, vultures, a blue morpho butterfly and two toucans! I went all the way up, and on the way back down, I heard it. Snap,"whoo-whoo." I looked up and saw the cutest little white face (besides Snickers' of course). It was a whole group of white-faced capuchin monkeys. I got to hang out with them (there were about 10-15 in all) all by myself in the middle of the rainforest for about 30 minutes! They were jumping up and down, looking at me, playing and eating. They were just as interested in me as I was them, and they came pretty close to me too! My only regret is that the camera I take with me on hikes is not that great, so the quality of my pictures was less than I had hoped. It was a surreal experience that left me smiling all the way back down the mountain.

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When I got back to the cabinas I was so excited to tell Nick the news! As we were standing outside talking, a big wind came up, or so I thought...then I heard screaming from our neighbor and the ground started shaking. It took a few seconds for it to register to me...we were having an earthquake! When I figured it out I ran to Nick in the middle of the yard and wrapped my arms around him. It felt like we were on a boat...the ground was moving underneath us, it was so weird! Once it stopped, I ran in to check on Snickers and Tiger. They seemed fine...but then we started getting worried about a Tsunami. All the power and phone lines were out. Tody was able to get in touch with his sister in San Jose on his cell phone and she said it was a 7.9 earthquake and we were under Tsunami warning. This was pretty scary! Nick and I were proactive though and went inside and packed an emergency bag, just incase. We put our important documents in it, my medicine, our computer, camera, some money and a pet carrier for Tiger and Snickers.
Damage from the earthquake...not near us though

Thankfully, we did not have a Tsunami. The power came back on and I called my mom to let her know we were okay. We also had a voicemail from our friend Trevor, who lives in California and works for NOAA. He was warning us of the Tsunami. Once we received the message though, the warning had expired. It was nice to know we had someone looking out for us. Thanks Trevor! We were lucky to not have any bad damage. A picture fell in one of our monthly's rooms, and our bell (for service) fell and in all the earthquake cost us $33. 

The day after the earthquake Jennifer and I went hiking up the trail and saw monkeys again! They did not get as close this time, but it was still awesome! Seeing monkeys twice in two days, score! Later that morning, I was laying on the beach and saw dolphins, and a man came up saying he saw a 10 ft. shark. Now, living in Wilmington, NC, this was a very common occurrence...we saw dolphins all the time and swam with sharks when we went diving...However, Nick didn't believe me when I told him because he has never seen dolphins, or a shark here in the 8 or so years he has been coming. Felicia (a monthly) didn't believe me either, but now she has an awesome picture online of her surfing with the dolphins. Later that day we heard from another guy that he saw the shark too. My conclusion...the animals must have been all stirred up from the earthquake! I think they have all gone into hiding now, because it has been pretty quiet animal wise the past few days. 

Business wise it has been pretty slow. We have had a few groups come in and have met some really cool people the past few weeks, but it is not the full house that we had when we first took over. Everyone says that September and October are the slowest months because it is the middle of the rainy season. Rainy season? What rainy season? It has not rained during the day in over a week and hasn't even rained at night the past 2 days! I am not complaining, I don't care for rain...but the people need to come out and play!!! Hopefully this weekend will be busy. It is Costa Rica's Independence Day, and everyone is off of work on Monday. I put an add on Jaco garage sales to encourage people to come stay with us, hopefully it works! 

We still have a lot of plans and ideas for this place. We will continue working to make it look better and run better as we go. Nick and I have decided that I am going to decorate number 5 and 9, and he is going to decorate number 1 and 2...that is a start at least....we have 11 slowly, but surely we will have this place in tip top condition:) 

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Thanks for reading and I will try to be better about blogging sooner :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


A lot has happened since my last post...Where to start...Well Nick has fully recovered from dengue, praise God! That sure was an experience I hope neither of us (nor anyone else) ever has to endure again! Holly, my sister has been here since the 7th. She has been a big help around here with cleaning, planting, digging, painting, you name it! 
Here is a sign we made for the Cabinas...we actually added more things since this picture.

Holly wrapped these in rope and I made the driftwood pieces.

We have also made a little time to have some fun. First we went on a bike ride to the Turtle Farm. We didn't see any turtles, but the journey was fun! A few days later, Nick and I took her and two guests to Tres Picinas Waterfall where she overcame her fear of heights and jumped from the top. Another day Holly and I went on a zipline canopy tour. That was awesome! We didn't see much wildlife (they do not feed the animals, to ensure the animals stay safe, so it is completely up to the animals when they want to be seen or not), however, we did see a few poison dart frogs! The views were amazing, and not to mention it was like riding a roller coaster over the rain forest! Again...I am proud of Holly for doing this! She was a little nervous at first, but in the end she had fun.  Yesterday we went on a Jungle Spa Horseback Tour, and we have been able to make it out to the beach quite a few times. 

Holly and I at the Turtle Farm

Poison Dart Frog

View of Playa Hermosa from the treetops!
Horseback Tour

Spa Treatment on the Jungle  Spa Horseback Tour

Unfortunately, all has not been fun and games. Three days ago, Rob told us that he was leaving. I guess it was not what he had expected, and he was not happy here. This has put us in somewhat of an awkward situation for multiple reasons. We now have to figure out how we are going to run this place with just 2 people, or hire someone else. The problem is that someone has to be here 24/7, or we could potentially loose business...which means that we can not even go to the grocery store together, and for now, until we get this figured out...forget getting to see the rest of the country, surf trips, day trips, even going back to the states. We will get it figured out I'm sure, but it has been an emotional, stressful past 2 days. Prayers are greatly appreciated to guide us and help us get through this. 

Before Rob left, we finished our room upstairs. Now that he has gone, we have re-arranged some more. The living room is now upstairs along with a guest bed. We have moved into what was Rob's room downstairs and the living room is now our office.
Driftwood Stairs

New upstairs Living Room

Guest bed...That is Holly's pink blanket (and Tiger)


Our bedroom

Our bedroom

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Monday, August 6, 2012

A little bump in the road

Well, for those of you who do not know already, we have had a little bump in the road. Nick somehow contracted dengue fever! He has been out of commission the past week. Not only does he have dengue, but also a severe ear infection. My love has been very sick:( It has been a long road for us all.

If you know Nick at all, you know that he does not like to sit around and do nothing. Well, that is all he has been able to do the past week or so. He had a fever of 103.5 for 2-3 days. We thought it was just his ear (he gets chronic ear infections from a perforated ear drum), however when his fever would not go down and he was achy all over...I called our friend Lance, who has lived in Costa Rica for about 20 years. Lance immediately called his doctor, Dr. Hector and got us an appointment. They did blood work, and it came back positive for dengue. Dengue fever is basically like a really bad flu, but it is not contagious. You get it from mosquitoes. They call it 'bone breaker' because it makes your bones and joints hurt so bad. There is no cure except time and fluids.

Dr. Hector gave Nick a shot for pain and the fever, and it helped a lot! Once he got his fever down he felt a lot better, but he has still been very weak. He has been sad that he has not been able to surf (we have had a big swell), and that he has not been able to help around here. We have not been able to work on our room any since he has been sick...and that has upset him. I keep telling him not to will get done when it gets done.

He is feeling much better today, thank God! I have reminded him to take it easy and not push it, but as I am writing this blog, he is upstairs sanding the sheetrock! Not even dengue can hold him down long! I am so thankful that he is feeling better! I was thanking God for it this morning on my walk! I hate seeing him feel so bad...and I felt so helpless because there was really nothing I could do but try to make him as comfortable as possible and keep him hydrated.

On another note...we have been slammed busy! Today is the first 'down' day we have had. We have pretty much been completely full since I last wrote. We were full this weekend and had to turn several people away...which is good and bad. There was a bachelor party Saturday night and boy were they wild! We had to ask them several times to keep it down, because there were other guests. Sadly, one guest decided they were too loud and left in the middle of the night :(

Rob and I had to clean almost all of the rooms yesterday. It was a busy day, but we got it done! My sister is coming tomorrow for 3 weeks! I'm excited to show her around! It is her first time in Costa Rica, so hopefully I will have a lot of pictures to share soon!

Welp, we have to go back to Jaco to get Nick's blood checked again now.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Busy Little Bees

Well we have been pretty busy the past several days! We officially took over on Wednesday, July 18th.  We had a few walk-ups and Nick and Rob started on the stairs to our room. 
The hole is cut!

 The landing is up
Putting the stairs together

Almost done

The stairs are done now except for the handrail. They look great! They also made a TV stand out of driftwood that goes under the stairs. I will post more pictures when they are completely done.

Saturday and Sunday were VERY busy! We were all sold out! Woo-Hoo!!! We had a group of about 25 from the Peace Corps stay with us Saturday night, along with the other people we already had. They were very excited to have a weekend off of their training, and we were very excited to have them choose Brisa del Mar! Sunday we had to clean all of the rooms...this took most of the day. Thank God for the clouds that were out...they helped with the heat...a little.
Peace Corps Group (Well at least some of them)

Today we got to take a little break. Nick and Rob went surfing this morning, and I went on a bike ride (Pictures of our bikes to come later). I went to the beach for a little while, cleaned one room and did laundry. Nick made some signs for the cabinas and Rob painted the table. We all took a little nap, which is the first time that we have been able to do that since we have been here. It was good to have a little time to relax after a busy weekend.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

1st project....and friends

Yesterday Nick and Rob started cutting wood for our stairs. We went back to Jaco for some more errands. Didn't get bikes, but we did get an American washing machine, an A/C for our upstairs room, a new 4 burner range for the outdoor kitchen and a pressure cooker. Hopefully we will get bikes today. Yesterday afternoon we went back to Tulin (Nick corrected my spelling of it) to get more wood. Dina, Dennis, Dakota and a guest (Chris) came with us. We got more wood for the stairs, and more wood for the outdoor hang-out area. Nick and Rob also got us some fresh coconuts, yum! :)
Some of the driftwood we collected

Cutting the stairs from driftwood

Finished Stairs

Animal Update:
We have adopted a kitten. The mama cat has lived here for about a year, and she had 3 kittens. Garfield (Dakota named him) is going to a local across the street for his daughter. Angel is going to our monthly couple, and we are keeping Ninjetti (Nick and Rob named her).
 This is Ninjetti!
 Ninjetti climbing a tree
 My little boy is so cute! He was watching his daddy cut the wood!
Black squirrel that lives on the property! He was about a foot away from me....he wanted food!

Nick, Rob and Dennis went jet skiing again this morning to do tow-ins. It is cloudy today so far, so I haven't been to the beach.

 Front of the Cabinas
View from #9....yes that's the ocean!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


This morning Nick, Rob and I went to Touline to get some wood to build an outdoor hang-out area. We scavenged the beach for 11ft. pieces of driftwood that were straight. Nick and Rob plan on tearing down the carport sometime next week and building a lean-to hang-out area in it's place. We have to been able to do any updates/renovations/etc. yet. We have been busy getting the car and jet ski. Nick and Rob are currently on their way to San Jose to pick up OUR first customer...a young american guy who will be staying with us for a month and a half! We will officially take over on July 18th. I have been doing Rosetta Stone, but it is so much to remember! Rob is awesome at Spanish and everyone is so impressed with him. He has been helping me too. We try to talk to each other as much as we can in Spanish. Hopefully it will start flowing soon!

Our new car and jet ski!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Moving Day

Well, we have safely made it to Costa Rica. We arrived here on July 11th, and it has taken a few days to get the chance to update you all. Our friend, partner, and now family member Rob decided to write a running diary of the events of the day we left. I have copied his diary from his blog and I am going to add to it our thouhgts/feelings/actions. Rob’s commentary is in blue, mine is in red. Here goes: July 11th, 2012…
12:30 am: Even though we went to bed early, I have still not been able to fall asleep. I have looked at the clock so many times and sighed to myself…”only 30 minutes have passed…ugh! “I am getting nowhere and keeping Nick awake…so I move to another bedroom and hope to catch maybe a few hours of sleep. Tons of things are rolling through my mind: How will the animals do tomorrow? Will we miss our plane? How will the flights be? What is the first thing we need to do when we get there? And so the night goes…

2:40 am: Kenetha (Nick’s mom) comes to wake us up (our alarm was set for 3:00)

3:15 am: We start driving with all of our luggage, Tiger (cat) and Snickers (dog) to the airport.

4:50 am: We arrive at the airport and start putting Snickers and Tiger in their cages…Tiger goes in fine (he likes to sleep in his cage as a ‘house’), but Snickers on the other hand…we had to force him in…I felt so bad L

5:03 am:  (Rob) Rolling my suitcase through the doors of Myrtle Beach International Airport as I see Nick and Liz with their respective Moms and Dads in tow and a mountain of luggage in front of the Delta counter.  Our bill of laden: Half a workshop’s worth of tools, chainsaw, pots & pans, fishing tackle, sunblock, pictures of family and friends, my Xbox (hey, it streams Netflix and plays DVD’s), cameras, baseball glove, and whatever clothing we could fit in the cracks.

5:27 am. (Rob) First luggage snafu: There’s a disagreement over the interpretation of Delta’s overweight/multiple checked bag policy.  Nick’s argument has laid waste to 2 separate counter agents, their supervisor, and he’s now threatening to get Delta headquarters on the phone.  I’m glad he’s on my side.
5:41 am. (Rob) 3 people, a dog, and a cat, successfully through security.  (Liz) We had to take the animals out of their cages and walk through the scanner with them in our hands…so I, again, had to force Snickers back in his cage. (Rob) I’m suddenly feeling halfway home.  Give my family a final wave from the other side, and head for the escalator.  Man that was tough.  

6:30 am: (Liz) I slipped Snickers a sedative to help calm his nerves, and then a woman from Delta approached Nick and I and asked if we would like to move up to economy seats (like that is a question). Apparently someone had thrown up in our seat. Hey maybe this day isn’t gonna be so bad after all…too bad it wasn’t our long flight.

8:40 am.  (Rob) We’ve touched down in Atlanta and I’m eating the last American breakfast I’ll have for a while.  It’s a sausage, egg, and cheese bagel from McDonalds.  What else. (Liz)  I had a bacon egg and cheese biscuit and Nick had a stinky steak egg and cheese bagel…and score, we got a free hashbrown!
9:15 am.  (Rob) Nick suggests we shave our hair into Euro Mullets when we land.  I see lots of opportunities for hair/beard creativity over the next year.
10:00 am.  (Rob) And we’re in the air.  Time to make up… some.. shut.. zzzzzz (Liz) Yes, Rob was out before we even took off! I got a nap in, but it did not make up for the lack of sleep the past 2 weeks. Nick played Angry Birds pretty much the whole time since our TVs didn’t work…one more thing to complain to Delta about.

12:50 pm.(Rob)  We’ve made it through customs without much trouble other than the Disney-esque line for our entry visas.  Nick and Liz have been called over for a double check of their animals’ paperwork while I play a game of Tetris with a tiny hand cart and 75 pound suitcases.  They’re falling, passers-by are unsympathetic. (Liz) This was pretty funny…sorry Rob haha!
2:24 pm. (Rob) Yeeeeeeww! Costa!  We’re here baby! I have a good feeling.
3:00 pm.  (Rob) The surf is mixed up because of the afternoon on-shore winds and there’s a storm brewing, so we’re unpacking and heading to the supermercado for some necessities.  I’m still being surprised by the things that I did and didn’t remember to pack so I just opt for a couple big bottles of Imperial.  We bring home some take out from a small Tico buffet which ends up serving as our dinner because (SPOILER ALERT) we’re exhausted and pass out shortly after sunset.

~July 12th~ We spent all day riding around San Jose looking for a car. We finally found one. A 1997 Hyundai Galloper 4 door diesel. The guy said he will fix the a/c, clutch and fog light that is out for free, but it may take a few we go out and about waiting for his call. On our outing we go to is very different here! 
1. the parking lot is almost empty 
2. it is 2 stories 
3. things are way more expensive that the Walmarts in America, for example ONE beanbag chair is $70!!!
Finally the mechanic  calls us is going to take longer so we will have to come back and get it tomorrow. 
~July 13th~
It is tomorrow and the car is still not ready...he is on true Tico time...never in a hurry for anything. 
Hopefully we will be able to get the car tomorrow and go to the store. We do not have everything we need right shampoo or conditioner for example. I washed my hair with soap tonight and that was a mistake...maybe I should have just left it stinky and is now so stiff and dry it feels like straw...oh conditioner, I need you soon!
Another obstacle today...I met the washing machine...or what they call a washing machine in Costa Rica. You have to use a water hose to fill it up to wash, drain it, use the water hose to fill it up to rinse, drain it, and then transfer it to a separate spinner. This almost made me cry! How am I going to wash all the sheets and towels for the cabins like that? We started looking on CR Craigslist for automatic washers...again, they are more expensive here. ...Just another expense we had not planned on. 
Tomorrows plan: beach for some sun and maybe some surfing for me...since it is small.