Saturday, 28 December 2013

First Harvest.

Well the bananas have ripened at last. They may be small, but they are jolly tasty.

I wonder how long we will have to wait for the next bunch to sprout? We had to cut down the branch where they grew, so that the plant can rejuvenate and hopefully produce more fruit in the future. I think we are a long way off supplying the supermarkets!

The small ones are more ...

Not only have we tasted our first bananas today, but DH was also sent up one of the palm trees to collect our first crop of coconuts. A few have fallen of their own accord and they really do land with a thud; you certainly don't want to be standing underneath a tree when they are falling.

Watch Out! Coconuts Falling!

17 coconuts in total 

DH very excitedly, whipped out the machete and got to chopping the tops off of the coconuts so that we could drink the water. He is not quite as impressive as the locals with his coconut-chopping skills, but still not bad for a beginner! However, as the fruit is continuously bathing in the sun, the liquid tasted foul, nothing like the Coco-Frio they sell on the beaches and roadside for a dollar.

Instead I filtered the liquid that we managed to save (a great deal dribbled down YS front as he tried to drink straight from the fallen fruit). In the end, I refrigerated just over 2 litres of coconut water in order that we could drink it later - nice and cold! 

So, it is early evening and whilst I am sitting here tapping away on the keyboard, I am drinking a cool, refreshing banana and coconut smoothie - all from our garden. Cheers!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Blues.

So here we are, Christmas Eve, four months in to our new life, and about to celebrate our first Christmas in Costa Rica. Yes, I know we were here last year, but that was a holiday and it didn't really count!

I have spent the morning catching up on the news in the UK - gales, floods, train delays - things I don't really miss. Queues for the supermarkets - after all, they are only shut for 1 day, but you never know, people may run out of food!! It also seems that Manic Monday never happened and that the high street stores have been hit even harder this year. I guess the men will leave it 'til today to undertake their mad man-dash to the shops?

Well here in CR, or at least Coco and the surrounding towns, there is little evidence that Christmas is even taking place. There are no middle-of-the-night trips to the supermarkets for supplies; no long queues at the butchers (not that we have found a butchers), waiting to purchase the turkey; no mince pies; no late night Christmas shopping expeditions; no free parking on every Saturday in December to encourage the shoppers into town (it is free parking everyday here); very few houses and streets decorated with lights; no REAL Christmas trees (I think the firs may dehydrate here rather quickly); no 'BOGOF' deals on Christmas cards and wrapping paper (in fact I do not think I have seen any cards on sale here); no drink-driving adverts on TV, or January sales commercials ... 

The catalogue of Christmassey paraphernalia that is missing in Costa Rica goes on and on. Upon reflection though, all I have just listed as lacking is just a checklist of commercialism. No,  I haven't suddenly found religion, nor do I believe that consumerism is the greatest evil. But maybe we do all forget the real meaning of Christmas - spending time with our family and friends. 

This year then, we will have to play it by ear as we have no loved ones near us and very few of the Christmas trappings to indulge in. No ham, egg and chips for Christmas Eve dinner, but to neighbours for drinks instead; Father Christmas will not be left a mince pie, but as an alternative he will be offered a traditional Tamale to snack on; the stockings will not be bulging as in previous years (no equivalent of Hawkins Bazaar here!!); and Christmas Dinner will be taken at a restaurant instead of a wonderful home cooked feast. 

Wishing all our family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sometimes you just have to improvise.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Fruit in our Garden.

I have already shown the limes growing in our garden I think. Last week, DH discovered another, much larger tree and made fresh juice one morning with the fruits that he and YS picked - very delicious and refreshing!

Limes cause a huge amount of arguments in our household and have done for years. The reason being? In the UK, limes are small, round GREEN fruit and lemons are slightly larger, sort of oval-shaped and are YELLOW. Not so in Venezuela, and so it seems in Costa Rica. The limes growing in our garden are called 'limon' which translates to lemon; thus as DH has said for years, lemons are in fact small, round and green. No, no, no, so wrong in every which way! I mean, what colour would lime green be?

This begs the question, what do the the Ticos call lemons?  And yes of course, they call them limes, just like DH. Not only that, but they make fresh lemonade out of what we call limes, as they say that (yellow) lemons are too sour! 


The accursed lime/lemon tree!

Moving on from the limes -sorry lemons (when in Rome...), we also have a few banana trees too, one of which is bearing fruit! Quite a small bunch, but a bundle nonetheless. 

Four Banana Plants

The First Bunch!

We also have a papaya tree, although how we are to reach the fruit I am not so sure! Personally I am not a fan of the orange-fleshed produce; to be honest I think it smells of vomit, sorry!


DH loves papaya though, especially when made into a smoothie with a touch of lime, no lemon, no lime ... oh for God's sake, I mean a squeeze of the green one!!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Is Iguana Wee a Sign of Friendship?

We have some 'pets' here in Costa Rica ... three wild iguanas. They hang about  upon our roof and in our garden. I believe them to be creatures of habit, because just before noon everyday, they shuffle along the roof tiles, sunbathe a while, then muddle along the guttering, to a flowering archway of shrubbery before hiding away somewhere cooler for the afternoon. They usually return to the summit late afternoon and then slink away to who knows where for the night.

Basking in the mid-day sun.

Myself and YS are trying to, well not exactly tame them, but encourage them to be a little less timid (of us at least); we are feeding them bits of banana and watermelon. They scurry away and hide when we hedge towards them with our offerings, but the fruit has always gone when we check later on. In fact, the largest of the three was lounging on the wall early this morning, just watching and waiting; no disappearing off when we walked past. Seems to be that we are making progress right?

Waiting for his morning fruit.

No, it would appear not. 

Just before lunch, while reading in the shade of the aforementioned blossoming bow of flora, I was quite shocked when what appeared to be an invisible elephant pee'd from above! A tsunami of pee in fact! Luckily it landed just behind me, splashing all over the gravel driveway, but boy, did it make me jump. The damned lounge lizard decided to relieve himself, whilst on route to his shady afternoon napping area ... and it happened to be just above where I was sitting!

The Offending Fellow!

I realise that each country, and indeed each species, have their own individual ways and customs; but surely peeing on a patrons head is not the best way of making friends and ensuring some tasty fruit for breakfast.

Or is it???

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


YS and I actually experienced our first, and second, earthquake yesterday morning, while cleaning our teeth!

It lasted seconds and we didn't really know what was happening. It was quite an odd sensation; there was just a sort of rumbling, nothing in the house moved or fell over, but we sensed a reverberation of sorts.

DH and ES were oblivious, even though they were in the house too.

Apparently it registered as 5.1 magnitude.

Communications are lost with the outside world!

What can a family achieve when they are without internet and TV for 10 days????

  • Move house! Yes, we have moved ... again. This is hopefully the last time for a while. We have moved 13 km along the coast to Playa Hermosa. Boxes are still everywhere, but at least we can call it home.

  • Read a book: for once not me but my kids!!!! Yes the boys actually picked up some reading material; ES nearly finished a Jeremy Clarkson book and YS is on to his third publication. Proud mum moment as I never thought it would happen (and no doubt an occurrence that will never be repeated now we have communications with the outside world again).

  • Play games. Yes the kids humoured me and we played some board games together. Of course we were then punished with games of chess whereby ES thrashed us ... time and time again.

  • ES taught YS how to wave-board ... and there was no arguing or fights. How odd!

  • Bake the most disgusting cookies ever. Note to self, UK recipes may need a little adapting.

  • DH almost loses his thumb while he lovingly super glues one of my favourite pieces of crockery back together, one of my antique 'Pancake plates' that belonged to my grandfathers' grandparents (I think that is correct). The plate slipped, sliced his thumb by about and inch long and was so deep that we could see the bone!!!!!! I possibly, no definitely would have thrown the plate across the patio, but knowing how much I love these vintage vessels, he remained calm and put the offending weapon down carefully! However, he decides no trip to the doctor is necessary and attends to the would himself (I am obviously too squeamish for nurse duties). Two days later, when the wound will not heal, he finally goes to the doctor, only to be told it is too late to be stitched and is just sent away with some cream and antibiotics. A week on, the wound is hideous still and will leave a great scar.

  • We receive our first items of mail, very exciting.

  • Almost have an altercation at the bank - if I spoke Espanol, I would have undeniably quarreled with the teller: some money we transferred from the UK to here was rejected and sent back!!! Apparently as it was our third foreign deposit, the bank would not accept it because of money laundering - aaarrrggghhh. We now are in the process of getting some legal documents completed in order for the transaction to be accepted next time I transfer the money. Once again, patience is a virtue that I am slowly coming to terms with.

  • Have a break from Candy Crush - NOT.