Getting a new internet line installed in Costa Rica

phone lines wrapped around a tree

I’ve mentioned a few times that I now have my own internet connection in my apartment (YAY!) and no longer share it with the rest of the building (YIPPEE!).  But I haven’t yet told the story of how it got installed.  Which, of course, this being Costa Rica, is a story worth sharing…

So Grettel, my property owner, had to put the line in her name since I am still pending residency (at this point, I’m beginning to wonder if getting a Costa Rican citizenship would be easier and faster).  When I asked her when the installation appointment was, she told me: between 1-10 days.

Ah, it appears they don’t make appointments.  You just have to hope you’re home when they show up.  Seems like a totally efficient way to handle the situation, yes?  Then Grettel printed off a sign that had a number on it and taped it to the window of my apartment.  Remember from the photo in my Life in a Shoebox post, I live at the end of the street, up against a mountain.  But supposedly, whenever the installers decide to show up, they will be able to find the location by looking for that sign.  It sounds a little wacko to me but remember we don’t have addresses here so I guess a tiny sign is as good as anything.

Around Day 7, they did arrive but there were, of course, complications.  They were an outsourced company and, wanting to do a good job, told Grettel that they would not install the phone/internet lines around the tree.  Instead, a pole must be installed.  Somehow Grettel talked with someone else and convinced them to install the lines using the tree to hold them in place and then they got to work.

phone lines wrapped around a tree

As they were leaving, they told me that it would take about 10 minutes for it to start working.  Of course…it didn’t.  I got on the phone with ICE and while it was only 3:00, they said they wouldn’t do anything about it until the next day. They wouldn’t even put in a service request and told me to call back the next day! But somehow, miraculously, the guys showed up again and fixed the connection problem.

There’s really no rhyme or reason to living here and the complications that occur on a regular basis…you just gotta keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope that it all works out.

Pura vida…Chrissy

A mini (working) vacation

quetzal in Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica

Last month, I took 4 days to visit with clients and check out a new area (for me) in Costa Rica.  The first two nights were spent in Tamarindo, the second two were in Cerro de la Muerte.

Playa Langosta Costa RicaArriving in Tamarindo, I knew immediately this was not where I wanted to be.  It’s just not home.  Yes, I lived there for my first year of living in Costa Rica but no, this was not home.  And in a future post, I’ll write about the differences between Tamarindo and Manuel Antonio but for now, let’s focus on the good.

The afternoon that I arrived, I went out on my client’s catamaran and got to see my friends who work on the boat. Super fun day, warm tropical water and a much needed nap in the sunshine on the way home followed by a little salsa dancing!

I was staying at Sueno del Mar where several of my friends work so it was fun to catch up with them.  Plus, it was so nice to stay at this sweet beachfront bed and breakfast.  Before, while living in Langosta, I had enjoyed many delicious breakfasts there but staying there was even better.  I enjoyed a tranquil sunset from their beach chairs and loved the outdoor shower in my room.  And Lily, the hotel’s chef, made me a special breakfast on my first morning – their stuffed tortilla.  Mmmmm, so good!

breakfast at Sueno del Mar

I reconnected with the howlers (who are pretty much nonexistent in my area of Manuel Antonio)…and they kindly woke me up each morning at 4:30.  I even got a photo of the white squirrel…finally!

On the second night, I met with Kevin, my team member, for dinner.  It was great to catch up with him over a good meal at my favorite pizza place in town, Esquina.  And it was so nice to see the owners of the pizzeria and their growing family (they’re mentioned in my first travel book…which is now available on iBooks!).

I went to Lola’s for lunch on the second day and caught up with one of my awesome wellness clients, Bob Witty from Real Surf Trips.  While I don’t miss living in Tamarindo and the Guanacaste province, I will admit that seeing the good friends I made there was a nice bonus to the working trip.

Sunset in Cerro de la Muerte

From there, I traveled to the tall mountains southeast of San Jose.  Cerro de la Muerte (translated: Mountain of Death) is the highest mountain in Costa Rica that is accessible by car (Chirripo is the highest mountain) and is a part of the Inter-American Highway.  Our lodge was at 2,650 meters (8,694 feet) and at one point on the road, we reached almost 11,000 feet.  There are actually endemic pine trees and oak trees there…which of course requires a certain type of climate…

climate in Cerro de la Muerte

I was traveling with new friends and they warned me that it would be cold – like in the 40’s kind of cold.  Having forgotten what cold feels like, I wasn’t totally prepared…plus, I don’t own long pants!  But the beauty of the area was well worth the shivering teeth, the 5 blankets I slept with and the horrendous allergies that ensued.  Without a doubt, I have got to be allergic to the cold.  For the short time that the sun came out during my stay there, the allergies went away…But quickly returned as soon as the clouds came back and the cold returned.

quetzal in Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica

The highlight of this part of the trip, besides making new friends, was definitely seeing the elusive resplendent quetzal.  WOW.  What an incredible bird.  It’s height can measure, from head to tail, almost 3 feet!  And it’s colors are like no other bird…it’s truly remarkable.  And totally worth the cold.  When I posted a picture of it to Instagram, one of my followers wrote:

“Guatemala’s national bird, a symbol of hope, freedom, and my people’s strong heart.”

Such a beautiful sentiment.

As we left the wild avocado grove near the Tapanti National Park where the quetzals were spending their morning, our guide from the eco lodge, Paraiso Quetzal, thanked the birds for letting us be in their presence and to photograph them.  I smiled and nodded…I do the same thing any time I get a shot of wildlife, especially the ones who are a bit more difficult to photograph.

Sadly, I learned on this trip how there are still people who don’t appreciate (or respect) the loveliness of our world (*sigh*)…but alas that is another topic which I will someday post to my business blog at Social {media} Wellness.

For now…enjoy the slideshow…of our lovely world…

[slideshow]

Pura vida…Chrissy

Costa Rica…the most spirited team in the FIFA World Cup in Brazil!

Costa Rica World Cup celebrations

Costa Rica World Cup celebrationsAs the world has come to see, the biggest sporting event besides the Olympic games is the FIFA World Cup, this year celebrated on our continent, down in Brazil. Even though this was a difficult year for Brazil, they did an extraordinary job welcoming all the fútbol federations from around the world, including our very own Costa Rica! It was a huge thrill for all the Tico fans to classify for the World Cup. The last time we were in the games was in 2006 and the last time we were in the Round of 16 was in 1990! This time Costa Rica’s national team, fondly called La Sele, not only did an excellent job during the hexagonal, taking second place, but also played great futbol, beating the United States and Mexico in the last round.

When Costa Rica’s team was getting ready for Brazil, we didn’t see great results with a loss against Japan and a draw against Ireland. But as the Cup started, La Sele really stepped up and showed the world what our small country can do! The disapproval from commentators, reporters and fútbol fans around the world was forgotten and Costa Rica got on the map as a contender.

As Tico’s, we put on the biggest national celebration after each incredible match, standing together in unity and showing the whole world who we were. We took on some of the best competitors in the first rounds, beating three past World Cup winners and some of the best teams in all of soccer history: Italy, England and Uruguay in the first round and Greece in the second round.

While we lost in the penalty shoots against Holland in the quarterfinals, what gave us such happiness was the fact that no team could defeat the Costa Rica fútbol team on regular time! So, while we got knocked out in last Saturday’s match, there was not a better way to lose then in the penalty round, fighting until the end, defending the honor of Costa Rica!

Chrissy told me that Quepos was fully alive for each of the games, with everyone dressed in Costa Rica’s colors of red and blue and their faces painted with the flag showing their Tico pride. For the quarterfinals against Greece, the County shut down the Malecón (the main road into town) and set up a big screen TV along the sea wall so everyone could watch together. When we won the game, the streets were filled with cheering people and traffic was at a standstill. They shut it down again for the Holland game but Chrissy was suffering from her day at the bank, having had severe allergies overcome her from spending almost 6 hours in the freezing cold building. She watched the game on ESPN and could hear the cheers coming from the Malecon, about 1 ½ km from her house. But even after the loss to Holland, the town held its head up high. Ticos still celebrated, honking their horns and cheering….Proud to be Tico and to have come so far.

She also happened to be in San Jose after two of the group games and just like in Quepos, everyone was wearing red, cars and people filled the streets, honking their horns and shutting down their businesses for the day. People were not only cheering on the bridge overpasses but were actually in the freeways. The entire nation was smiling. Pure happiness. Pura vida.

One of our clients in Manuel Antonio, Café Milagro, shut down their restaurant and coffee roaster to watch the games all together as a team but after the game against Greece which started at 2:00 p.m., they never reopened that night for dinner. They all went down to Quepos Centro to celebrate with the rest of the country. Chrissy and I both agree…we have some pretty cool clients who put social well-being above their bottom line.

To see Tico pride in action, check out this great video we found on YouTube!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07hdfdPxxJU&app=desktop

And enjoy the slideshow…

[slideshow]

Viva Costa Rica!

Kevin