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.


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




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


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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