Archive for December, 2010

Last day of 2010

The last day of 2010 is about to begin, approximately 30 minutes to go over here in Costa Rica but I guess there will be lots of celebrations shared with us from over in Europe already starting at about 4pm our time. Time difference is a strange thing, thinking that in Finland its already almost 8am and a lot of my family and friends over there are at work already while I am about to tuck myself in for the last full night of 2010.

My Christmas Fairy Lights on the TerraceWe have been back up in the central valley for a few days, spending some time at the office (which I did find quite difficult following the working from home flexibility of Monday and Tuesday) and enjoying our lovely house. My youngest sister arrived today with her boyfriend and tomorrow we are heading back to the beach for some more surfing, a new years dinner at the Los Almendros restaurant as well as some hotness and sunshine. A weird but wonderful way to end the year!

Mum brought over a couple of bottles of champagne so we get to have that tomorrow since we missed the traditional Christmas Champagne on the 24th. But I think its much better this way, to get to enjoy it with my sister as well.

I think 2010 has been an absolutely wonderful year, I would not want to change a thing.. I guess I almost wish I could have squeezed a few more days into the year, days that I wouldnt have had to work during so that I could have spent them just enjoying J’s company, life in general and this wonderful country. But then again, I am very much looking forwards to what the future and 2011 brings… Happy New Year everyone!

P.s. New years resolutions for this year:

– Work on my frustrations to reduce them and control them more (in general – not let my emotions take over)

– Get fitter 😉

– Appreciate what I have in life

– Spend lots of time with J and Sofia and as much time as possible with the people I hold dear

Ps 2: What I was striving for in 2005-2006

 

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A Tropical Christmas

The only thing missing from my Tropical Christmas was the calypso music. (Gotta remember to get the “Calypso Christmas” CD for next year..) We rented our usual beach house down in Esterillos Oeste to spend our first Tropical Christmas by the beach and it has been absolutely wonderful although slightly strange. And I regret not bringing my fairy lights, as we have some terrific palm trees over here that would be very suitable as tropical Christmas trees. (Mental note: Bring them down on Friday when we head back to the beach)

I got a beautiful surfboard from my wonderful boyfriend and a delicious set of organic cotton sheets from my mum, a fantastic Putumayo Family Christmas music CD from my dad and some small bits and pieces from my loved ones back home. Unfortunately I was a terrible girlfriend and forgot (!) my wonderful boyfriend’s Christmas present at home…I hope the present in itself will make up for it (it is something that has to do with the other love of his life – His 1977 Toyota Landcruiser so it should make him pretty pleased). Once he gets it that is…

I got to have a surf on Christmas day which was pretty amazing. There would not have been ANY chance of that if we would have been back home in the UK. I think I am spoiled for life now after having surfed these warm waters in just a bikini. Unfortunately me and my new board didnt really get along that well on Christmas Day morning. I think the main problem was a communication error that meant it didnt understand what I wanted and I didnt understand what the hell it was doing. Our differences of opinion were solved by me as I got out of the water, marched home and changed it to my old board. Unfortunately my second tour to the beach happened too late and the water had already retreated too far out, making the waves so small that even on a larger board it was just not happening at all.

My second encounter with my new board ended in a slight disaster (although this was following some pretty good waves before!). I thought I could ride the board prone into shore but that was just a stupid idea I soon figured out. Being as light as it is my new board threw me off and bounced up in the air before landing on my head and calf muscle, giving me a big bleeding bump on the head and a throbbing calf muscle that was soon almost twice the size of my usual pathetically small calf muscles.

So no more surfing for a few days for me 😦 Which I am feeling quite devastated about. I feel its a complete waste just sitting here without having the chance to enjoy the beach and the water that is just around the corner from me now… I will give my leg a few more hours to heal, but god damn then Im going in again.

My mum is also here celebrating her first tropical Christmas in ages and its been really nice to show her where we live, show where we usually go when we go to the beach, to introduce her to Sofia and to just have her around (She makes amazing food so I am slightly taking advantage of that as well…)

I dont think it really feels like Christmas, but then again, who cares when you can have iguanas, monkeys, hummingbirds, BBQing by the pool, surfing and great company anyways? Ok, time for a little nap and then let’s see if this leg and head can manage some more waves..

Weekend in Bocas del Toro

This past weekend we did a little stopover in Panama in order to renew our tourist visas for Costa Rica. Having already been to the US, the UK and Nicaragua during this year, we wanted to check out what our southern neighbor Panama had to offer. Having heard a lot of good things about the Bocas del Toro archipelago on the Caribbean side of Panama and considering the fairly cheap air tickets that you can get for Bocas with Nature Air, we decided to try it out.

We left the mountain on Friday afternoon to catch the 1pm plane from the smaller Tobias Bolanos airport. I very much liked the smaller size of the airport and the more laid back attitude, even if it did seem a bit too laid back at times. I did find out though that I weigh approximately 128pounds with clothes on. Interesting as that is the first time I have even been weight in pounds! I guess its good to know.

Irazu Volcano seen from airplane

Irazu Volcano - Volcan Irazu, Costa Rica

Anyhow, the flight was just amazing! We were so lucky with the weather; no strong winds made the take off super smooth and the sunshine and clear blue skies for most of the ride meant we got to see loads of this beautiful country. We flew out over Pavas, Escazu, Alajuelita, Cartago and saw incredible sights of the cities, the gorges, the Volcano Irazu etc etc etc..

The Nature Air plane was a two propeller plane with seating for about 25 people. Most of us were foreigners, most likely on a necessary 72hrs long stopover in order to obtain yet another stamp for yet another 3months stint in the beautiful country of Costa Rica.

Anyways, this is about Panama and Bocas del Toro. We had booked ourselves into the Master Suite at a lovely little B&B, Bahia del Sol,  located in Saigon Bay, close to the airport but about 10minutes walk from Bocas Town city centre. The B&B along with the cabins next door and the “Koko Resort” (that I never really located or got a good idea about) were all owned by an American couple, Jack and Lee, who had decided to up their lives in Ohio State and take the plunge and try their luck in the Panamanian tourism industry. From what we experienced, how pleased the other guests seemed and from how enthusiastic Lee and Jack were I think they have found a winning formula!

Sunset view of the "House that Blew Away"

Sunset view of the House that Blew Away from our jacuzzi

The flight from Costa Rica only takes about 50mins so we had the chance to go for a swim as well as see a bit of the town that same afternoon we arrived. Having unpacked and gotten ourselves somewhat familiar with the place with the help of a few maps and the advice of Lee and Jack, we headed out to have a drink at Rip Tide before having a lovely dinner at Casbah next door. But unlike most of the younger crowd in Bocas, we happily headed back to our room following the dinner and a fairly long day of all kinds of activities, we crashed into our wonderful and huge bed to have a long nights sleep so we would have lots of energy for the following day and all the adventures that would bring with it.

A starfish in Bocas del Toro

One of the many, many starfish we saw in Bocas del Toro

The next day meant an early start and a whole day trip with Jampan to see dolphins, starfish, corals, and beaches while snorkling, taking pictures and enjoying delicious dishes. We had decided to go on the Adventure Tour 1 to see Dolphin Bay for dolphin spotting, Crawl Cay for snorkling, Punta Solarte Jungle Tour for a tour of one of the islands (where we spotted lots of teeny tiny red frogs!) followed by a brief stopover at Slot Island before ending the day at Red Frog Beach. The 9am till 4pm day proved to be an excellent introduction to the Bocas archipelago for $25 per person with a knowledgeable guide and spacious boat with snorkling equipment provided as well.

Sunday started off with yet another of Jack’s massive breakfasts (he used to cook breakfast for about 400 students at one point in his youth, and you could tell he knew what he was doing in the kitchen) before we ventured out in the kayaks that were available for all guests for free. We headed out to”The House that Blew Away” for some snorkling before doing a little tour of the mangroves at the other end of Saigon Bay. All in all we were not away for more than about 1.5hrs I think, but my god did I realize how tiring paddling a kayak is! Christ.. Although, my pilates teacher would have been proud, I tried to focus on keeping my shoulders down and free of any tension while activating my lats for every stroke of the paddle..

The rest of the day we wandered around Bocas Town, had lunch out before heading back to chill out in our new room for a bit. This B&B was so popular that I only managed to book us into the Master bedroom for two nights of the three we were there for, so for the last night we switched over to a room at the front of the house (towards the street instead of overlooking the bay like the Master Suite). I think both rooms were excellent, although the Master Suite was definitely something special with its balcony with jacuzzi along with open air shower next to it. Sinking into the jacuzzi after a long day under the hot Panamanian sun was definitely an experience (that made me agree with J that it would definitely be nice to have a jacuzzi…).

But the last day away always reminds us that these Visa runs are just not really that nice in the end. You start off with the mindset that its a great way to experience something new, a little adventure that you get to have, and trying to make the most of it. But in the end it never really feels like a holiday, you start missing home and your own bed, its a bit uncomfortable and most of all, its compulsory and not actually your choice. Not to mention the fact that it does cost money, money you could have spent on one or two big holiday trips a year instead of four smaller ones.

Then again, as always with J, I had a great time and loved spending some time away from everyday life with Joel, but boy was I ready to head home on Monday afternoon when our 72hrs were up. I was missing Sofia, and as I already mentioned, my bed.. I couldn’t think of anything nothing nicer than cuddling up in my own bed… Mmmm… So for now, I just want to spend time here at home and in Costa Rica. At our house but also down by the beach with J, my mum and my new surfboard! Only a few days to go now!

My Christmas Wish List

Happy 1st December everyone – Let the countdown to Christmas begin!

In celebration of Christmas I decided to put together a lovely little Christmas Wish List (CWL), just like I used to do with my sisters when we were small in the hope that Santa (a.k.a mum and dad at that time) would acknowledge our pleas and bless us with something from the CWL.

So Dear Santa(s) here is my Christmas Wish List 2010:

1. Walden Mini Magic Longboard

Oh this board from Walden Surfboards is absolutely wonderful… With a yellow colour that makes it look so happy! So happy that I think I would be incredibly happy on it. Until a wave thrashes me and I get another dosis of the washingmachine experience..  But I bet I would be happy again once I am back up on this board… I wonder if they do yellow leashes.. I want a yellow leash to go with this..

2. Stamp Rug from Rocket St. George

Even if I don’t live in the UK anymore, something about England and English design quirkiness touches my heart.. Like this 1p Stamp rug! I want, I want, I want! It would look amazing on my floor, Im sure of it! Even if I would like to have a white floor on which to lay it, instead of our black tile floor. Hmm.. But no, let’s not go that far as to put white floor tiles on this list. Ill leave that till next year’s Christmas list!

3. Sweatshirt from Stereopanda

The guys at Stereo Panda make amazing stuff, fantastically fun 80s inspired BMX/Street wear. Unfortunately way too seldom they create their wonderful items for women. But these sweatshirts are just adorable and look like you just want to slip into one and stay on the sofa in your woolly socks and leggings all day long…

4. Blossa Glögg!

Of course there has to be glögg at Christmas and of course it has to be Blossa Glögg! Although, since I am pretty far from Alko and the ferries between Finland and Sweden (for cheap tax free boose) I will be attempting making some myself this year.. Fingers crossed it turns out almost as nice as this year’s Blossa Glögg with Saffron..

 

5. Scottish Fine Soaps – The Tin Soap Collection

And when I say the collection, I really mean the WHOLE collection… How can you every chose just one out of these??

6. Magazine Rack from Rocket St. George

So I can store my Oxygen Magazine and Women’s Health magazines somewhere stylish AND practical.. (See mum, you can be stylish AND practical! ;))

7. Hurley Shorts for Women

I find it so difficult to find surf wear, not to mention street wear for women in general, and all these difficulties seem multiplied here in Costa Rica 😦 Thank god for online shopping and people coming to visit, but boo for luggage allowances on planes! Hurley has done some lovely things that I have been quite drawn to lately, such as these shorts here and a few bikinis I have stumbled upon in the shops over at Multiplaza..

8. This Christmas’ new Moomin Mug

Is so pretty! It would go marvellously well with the rest of my collection and I really hope someone will bring me one when they travel over here from Finland this Christmas/Winter…

9. Knitting Stuff!

I do like my knitting and even if I cannot foresee myself terminating my latest project in the next few weeks (a 1.5 meter long, about 1 meter wide throw in off white) I would love to get started on the next project already now! But since I am currently using my only pair of knitting needles and the only wool I have, I would love to have more fun knitting stuff.. Anything really.. (and a sowing machine as well actually now that we are on the topic of making stuff…and….)


10. KitchenAid’s

And lastly, some kitchen porn.. How hot is this KitchenAid Artisan Mixer in Cobalt Blue! I cannot say how often I would use it, but how can any woman (excuse the gender stereotyping here..) live without one of these? (And if you dont like my colour choice, pick your own at the KitchenAid Online Shop!)