Monthly Archives: June 2014

Construction Continues!

After almost two months of “mananas”, our wood has finally arrived and construction on our wee casita is underway again! Yahoo for the Yayos! The wood we have been waiting for sooooooo long is a unique wood referred to here as “yayo”.

Yayo wood

Yayo wood

It has a twisted, gnarly appearance that gives it a somewhat enchanted quality, like a tiny gnome or fairy could pop out of one of the pocketed undulations in the wood at any moment. We think they are going to make very unique and stunning posts for our casita.
The Yayos are here!

The Yayos are here!

Hopefully, this next phase of construction will go quickly and before long we will have a roof!

Random adventures with eggs

Here is a random post about some of the curious differences one finds when living in a foreign country. Many of these things have no major significance, but I find it fascinating when they challenge my assumptions about “how things are done”. “How things are done” is not the same everywhere in the world, which is one of the things that makes traveling so interesting! Take eggs, for example. In the U.S. eggs are packaged in cartons that completely encase the eggs on both top and bottom. The cartons used to be in a type of cardboard but nowadays it is becoming common to see them in several layers of plastic that will be around for thousands of years as trash. Probably when you buy them in a store they will put them by themselves in their own plastic bag(or 2), lest anything else in the bag bump into them and break them.
Here it is common to buy eggs in no carton at all, they are simply put in a small plastic bag and there you go. Or sometimes they are sitting in a cardboard type egg carton but covered on the top only with plastic wrap. And you can buy them by the kilo, so you can decide if you want to buy 3 eggs or 29 eggs, you are not limited to 6, 12 or 18. We Americans are so used to seeing them in so much packaging that we think it must be impossible to transport them any other way without them all breaking. But indeed, I can attest to the fact that I have been buying eggs for many months now with such minimal protection, and so far only one has broken getting it home from the store! And remember, the average road has potholes the size of watermelons everywhere! No matter where you are, it’s a bumpy ride!

But listen to THIS story: last week I was driving on a highway (with big potholes) and a few cars ahead of me I see a small pickup truck with the back truck bed piled HIGH with something. At one point some things fly off the back of the truck and hit the car directly in front of me. That car suddenly puts on their brakes, and I and all the cars behind me all have to slam on our brakes to not have a collision. It was a close call, but luckily, no one collided. The car in front of me gradually managed to pull over to the side of the highway and when I passed it I saw that the front of their windshield was covered in egg cartons and broken eggs! And then I passed the truck and saw that the truck was loaded up with about 30 layers deep of eggs just sitting in cartons with no other packaging or even boxes or crates to contain them. They were just crammed in the truck bed all willy-nilly. They were stacked so high they were almost falling over the top railing of the truck bed!! The top layer was basically higher than the front cab of the truck, which is why it went flying off to cover the windshield of that car! I was totally shocked and amazed at how dangerous that little scenario was.

I’ve been pondering this for some time now, and it seems that if lots and lots of eggs were breaking while being transported to the store and also from the store to people’s houses, people would come up with a better way and put them in more packaging. Economically it just wouldn’t make sense for an egg seller to lose half his eggs on the way to market. So it must be working well enough for everyone…..It’s working just fine for me, as long as I don’t get hit by a few dozen flying eggs as I’m driving down the road!

Other egg differences here…..
the eggs are not sold refrigerated (I learned that eggs can keep for quite some time unrefrigerated, but once you refrigerate them, you need to keep them that way or they will go bad)
There are no white eggs here, just brown.

A week in Beach Heaven

We spent the whole week last week in a small, colorful little beach town on the southern Caribbean coast. This part of Central America is much different than the rest of the country, with a distinctly island flair that is more similar to other Caribbean islands. There is basically no major commercial development here — no Mariotts or McDonalds, not even a marina. The local people here have had unusual success in saying “NO” to international developers that want to come in and profit off their little slice of heaven here. Instead, there are locals with a bamboo shack on the beach selling coconuts and fruit, lots of innovative, little independent restaurants, colorful street vendors, and unique little cabins, funky hostels and small hotels where you can stay and enjoy the laid back lifestyle of this land of jungle and perfect beaches.

The beaches here are among the best I have seen anywhere. There is one after another, each just as perfect and idyllic as the last, and most of the time you are sharing the beach with only a few other people, if that. The first time I went to this beach at Punta Uva I almost had to rub my eyes in disbelief, it was so perfectly beautiful it seemed like it was out of a movie set or some distant past.

Sweet beach in Playa Chiquita!

One of the things I love best about this area is that it is flat and there is just one road, and everyone bikes. There are more bicycles than cars on the road. It is wonderful! Where we live it is mountainous and a major, strenuous workout to bike anywhere, but in this area it is a leisurely bike ride to get anywhere you need to go. Our baby LOVES going on the bike and would bring me his bike helmet first thing in the morning as a message “come on Mom, let’s go on the bike!” So every day, that is what we did!

One of the most exciting things we saw while we were there was a mother sloth with her baby just outside the little house we were renting. Apparently she had just crossed the road and when we saw her she was on the ground heading toward a barbed wire fence at the edge of the property. Her baby was hanging onto her belly looking quite cozy and comfortable. She started to climb the fence, and halfway up took a nice long break, looking totally relaxed and calm. It is really something to see a sloth’s face up close. They really do look like they are smiling! And the meditative, peaceful demeanor they have is unlike any other animal I have ever seen. You can’t help but fall madly in love with them and feel inspired to adopt their slow, blissfully relaxed attitude. She did not seem afraid of us, even though we were close enough to her to touch her. This photo was not taken with a telephoto lens, that is how close we were to her!

Sloth mama and baby

She stayed “napping” on the fence for so long, we finally left her in peace and went back to what we were doing in the house, but I was wondering how she was going to climb over the barbed wire fence with a baby on her belly…..I went back out to check on her about 10 minutes later and somehow she had succeeded and was all the way at the top of a coconut tree next to the fence!

We loved it so much in this area we are considering going back and spending a month. As long as we have to wait for so long for our house to be finished, we may as well enjoy exploring Central America……

p.s. For those of you wanting cute baby footage, here is Ju-Ju enjoying the ocean in a perfectly baby friendly beach we found that does not have big waves. Alert: naked baby butt! What can I say, it was just too much effort to get a swimsuit on him as he was running around in glee!

DSC 1163 from Wee Happy on Vimeo.