Dumb Ass Gringo

When I arrived in Playa Negra/Los Pargos, Costa Rica, to set down stakes, back in 2001, I had “DUMBA*S GRINGA” written on my forehead. I was soaked in it. 

After two years, I was beached. My motor was rusted and my hull was dark. I had gone beyond my limit.

Now mind you, I had surfed and surfed and surfed.

There’s a silver lining to every cloud. The downside of being here, experiencing what is called “the learning curve”; like somehow calling it that, makes everything OK: I chalk up as part of the adventure.

We’re not called “gringos” for nothing.

They say what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

 

       

Playa Negra Property Sales

I met this local, on my walk, at Playa Negra today. First, he/she/it asked for a light, then started telling me about the cheap prices and fabulous, property buys in Playa Negra. I broke in to a run, like a barn crazy horse. Once safely inside the Mono Congo Lodge, I relaxed and began to enjoy my day!

Secret Spot

Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica, once was a secret spot. As a matter of fact, the country was unknown, until recently. Turning from Villa Real, faint images of ox carts on the swirling, dusty road, come to mind. There were very few cars on the road. It was wide open. There was only one rental car company in the country, and every rental was the same; a white, Suzuki Sidekick. You could tell a “gringo” local, at a glance. They all had an outback, rough and rugged look. Now, the town is filled with pampered pioneers. That’s progress, eh?

I actually struggled internally over writing this post. It seems a bit sacrilegious. First you share paradise, then it’s gone. It’s not like I’m spilling the beans on what a jewel Costa Rica is; I just want to tell you about a special day in a special place. One that’s pure-a-vida still.

I would not feel comfortable to disclose who these people (first names only) are or where this spot is. I can only say, this is the best. To me it cannot be improved upon. It is heaven at hand.

~The Tropical Rooster~

Roosters are a mainstay in Costa Rican lifestyle and the story would not be complete without this guy. Their crowing is  second in the chain of morning animal sounds; the first being the Howler monkeys.

Andelina, The Family Matriarch

Andelina, was our hostess and I always feel honored to be in her presence. Who wouldn’t? She generously invited my husband and I to dinner and we were happy to accept. Her stove is red hot clay, fueled by cut wood. Each “burner” is a hole in the clay. The smoke is ventilated through the roof of the house. She tried to show me how to make a tortilla. I participated the best I could. I don’t think she realized how undomesticated that I am. Or maybe, she did! It’s kind of hard to hide. It was another National Geographic experience. What can I say?

Karen and the other ~ Tropical Rooster~

Karen is the reason we know this family. She is from southern California, and is fluent in Spanish; I only aspire to be. Her husband Glenn is a photographer and world traveller. When they’re in town, we gather here and swap adventure stories and tell tall tales. With the right people, this is my favorite pastime.

Omar

This is Omar, Andelina’s grandson. He’s unknowingly putting on a show for us. This is his front yard and private playground.

Sunset

 

comidas/food

~the table was set for a typical Costa Rican meal; fish, caught that morning, black beans, rice and tortillas.

amigos/friends

Sweet! Life just doesn’t get any better than this.

~night closes~

The day was done and we had to go back home. I could see the warmth through the window and I felt the magic.

~the long road home~

I was reluctant parting, like I always am, when I have to leave these people and this place.

This is the Costa Rica that I fell in love with.

As I head home……………… I know I’ve just tasted a piece of heaven.

I’ve always been more of a sinner than a saint…..

Don’t tell anyone…………ok?

Women Surfers~All Washed Up at 21?

Olivia Benavidea/Playa Negra~Stonefish Photos
                              Olivia Benavides/Playa Negra, Costa Rica~Stonefishfoto
                              Andrea Raffo/Playa Negra, Costa Rica~Stonefishfoto
                             Jessie Carnes/Playa Negra, Costa Rica~Stonefishfoto

These ladies are great examples of young women surfing today. Fifteen years ago, you wouldn’t have seen this at Playa Negra. I know, I was there. There are more and more women in the water, and their abilities have no limits. Women’s surfing is not what it use to be, and it’s not what it’s going to be.

I just ran across a not, too old article, in Surfing Magazine. The shocking photo, for the article, is of a woman, with dirty feet, wearing a lot of make up and curls, maybe nude, maybe not, in a trash can. It mimics the cover of an Esquire magazine.

The title of the article is The New Woman Surfer Through at 21. It was written by Stuart Cornuelle. I checked out his articles and he doesn’t seem like a woman-hater.

I know that the surfing industry has been slow to change. It’s all age-old BS. Stuart’s view of women’s professional surfing is, that he’s reminded of the cruel, Hollywood of old. There’s only a place for the young women. Young, being 21 and under.

I don’t think so.

His perspective seems a bit shortsighted. Or maybe he’s just young and therefore naïve.

I’ve surfed longer than most surfers have been alive, and I’ve gotta tell you, or warn you, whichever; things are changing and they’re changing fast.

He asked women, what are they going to do, to change their current status? I have to laugh. My answer is,”They already have.”

 

Exercise and Discipline

The day started out with a six o’clock dawn patrol. 

That means, I had to wake up at four, pick up my friend at five, pick up another friend at five-fifteen and arrive at the beach at six. That requires discipline. Then my friends and I hiked a half mile to the River Mouth, my favorite wave; where I picked off four nice ones. That involves exercise.

I have to work to keep my spot in the line-up, I have to paddle to catch the wave, I have to jump to my feet, turn the board for a cutback, then I turn back into the wave, dropping in again to finish the wave. And then, I paddle back out and do it again.

To be able to do that, I have to exercise regularly. I need plenty of strength and lots of oxygen. Today the waves were small, head high, and not much of a challenge. But still, you have to be ready!

But that’s not really the discipline and exercise that I had in mind, when I chose the posts’ title.

I was thinking more in terms of writing my blog. Once you start keeping a public journal, people actually start reading it. That’s how I got in to this. I really enjoy reading other people’s blogs.

I’m a beginner, so I have to work, to learn the WordPress software. They do make it easy for someone like me. However, it still requires time and effort.

I often add pictures to my posts. I think without them, it would be boring and not near as much fun to create. Taking pictures, downloading and editing them can become a job. Not to mention actually learning to use my camera. After years of  taking portraits, documenting parties, holidays, and my adventures; I bought myself a good camera. Some of my pictures, in this, blog are taken on a Canon A495 and some are on a Canon D7.

Today, my goal was to create a link. Just now, when I saw the word discipline change color, I felt that feeling of accomplishment. In Wikipedia, they mention discipline as often being associated with punishment.

Today I find both discipline and exercise to be a source for reward.

Another example; I will go to my yoga class at four this afternoon. It will be my ninth class and I can tell a difference in both my posture and my breath.

And I’m going to need my breath tomorrow morning, when I get up and do it all again.

 

we’re free people

I dream of a trip to the city.

I use to live in LA. Echo Park to be more exact. That was in 1985.

Before discovering Costa Rica, I use to go to Manhattan twice a year.

Then I found it impossible to leave the waves.

Like I said, I dream of a trip to the city.

& so we ramble

latest free people shoot took place in the streets of LA and NY. LA or NY girl? via honestlywtf.

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Body~Temple

My body is the Temple of God?  I believe this statement to be true. However, when I was first informed of this, at the age of six, it freaked me out. I wrestled with the idea of God, being in my body. I was trying to understand all of this new Catechism information. It created anxiety in me; more than I already had, which was a lot.

But today, I know that the Spirit lives in me. It’s my life force and energy, and it connects with everything around me. We are one.

So I work at taking care of myself, physically, mentally and spiritually. I live and learn.

At one time, in my life, or I should say, in my youth, I was very out of shape. Looking back, I know I was a very strong person. I can only imagine what my abilities could have been, had I been in shape. But I wasn’t. And I wouldn’t say I’m 100% fit, now. But I am very healthy. And I’d like to be healthier; it’s possible.

For years, I have invested many hours and energy into my well being.

I am in it, for the long haul.

At thirty one, I had gained a lot of weight, and I lost it; sixty five pounds. Can you believe it? And I have kept it off, all of these years. Most of it anyways. I lost it slowly, thinking of lifestyle change, rather than just loosing weight. I’ve put a few of those pounds back on, but not many.

For incentive, I ran a few races, one being the Jacksonville River Run, 5X’s. I climbed Mount Precipice, in Bar Harbor, Maine. I crossed country skied in Colorado. And I’ve avidly surfed for the last fifteen years.

What I’m trying to say here is, I do things to take care of myself. I’m active in fun, healthy exercise.  And I’m going to add, that it was done with less positive support and more negative comments.

When training for the runs, especially in the beginning, women would always comment, “You’re going to get hurt.” When I climbed Precipice, the people that I was with, said I could die, and don’t do it. It was too dangerous. And when I went to Colorado, my friend I was visiting, was sure I would be unconcious in the snow, from a lack of oxygen.  I was breaking free and having fun. Everyone of those adventures were awesome, priceless, never to be repeated, and worth every bit of the effort.

Also, people often want you to eat, eat, eat!  There’s so much social pressure to eat decadent foods, especially in the holidays. And if I do get thinner, then I have to endure all of the, “Are you sure you’re eating enough”, and anorexic paranoia prevails.

Personally, I don’t think people are meant to carry the extra weight that North Americans have become accustomed to.

It’s hard to stick to your guns, to exercise and eat right. But if you want to reap the rewards and care for the God in you, you have to prioritize.

CLIMB MORE MOUNTAINS~SWIM MORE SEAS~RIDE MORE WAVES~PUMP IRON~RUN~

Don’t adhere to the “crabs in the bucket”, that try to pull you down.

Now that I’ve shared all of that………….I have been asked many times,”Do you have grocery stores in Costa Rica?” I want to say there are no dumb questions…..but…..Costa Rica is a country, filled with people. How could we not have grocery stores?

Yesterday, I went to town, to the big grocery store. I would say the equivalent of a Publix, at home. We have many smaller stores, scattered about and a plethora of roadside vegetable stands. I spent sixty dollars for two small bags of groceries. That’s partly due to the economy, and partly due to the fact that it costs more to eat healthy.

I gave in, when I decided to take better care of my temple, to spend the money for good food. I’m worth it. Right. We all are.

I fought that concept, for a long, time though.

Brown is the only way to buy bread, rice and pastas. Fruits and vegetables are a must, as are good proteins.

I know I need to work on my portion control…vamos a ver-we’ll see.

Also, yesterday, in the morning, was my first private yoga class. I’ve been to six group sessions now, and I am enjoying the benefits. At my one on one class, I focused on clarity, of the poses. I need to know how they are going to work for me.

There’s always knew things to learn.

I don’t believe we have to get sick as we get older.

I cherish the God in me and the God in you.

I’m glad I’m me.

Are you glad you’re you?

Namaste