Semana Santa (Holy week)
Easter lasts a whole week here in Costa Rica. It's serious business. Not too long ago, all shops were closed for the whole week leading up to Easter Sunday. Nowadays, some stores remain closed, but most others stay open up until at least Thursday. And then Friday, the towns are deserted... and after four years, you'd think I'd remember this pattern, but I never do. Holy week is also the business week for hotels and restaurants. If you don't book well ahead, you'll be out of luck.
As we said goodbye to Emily and Jaxon, we were delighted to welcome our lawyer and good friend Diego and his wife, Fer, and her brother Mauro. We hadn't seen them in two years so we were long overdue... there was much to catch up on. They decided to catch seven trout to bring back to share with their families.
We decided to drive into San Jose on Thursday to get Kevin a new charger for his laptop, not thinking that stores might be closed. It didn't even occur to us that they wouldn't be. Totally forgot. We went to three malls and they were all closed. Then we stopped in on Diego and Fer since they invited us to come see their new house. It's a beautiful grand place nestled in a gated community in San Jose. Fer's family arrived soon after and we had a lovely lunch together... of the trout they had caught just a few days earlier at our place. They wrapped it in foil and cooked it on the bbq. It was delicious!!
We told Diego that we couldn't buy the laptop charger and he said he'd pick one up for us and send it back with his mother... we can pick it up in San Marcos at the end of this week. Nice!!
We also welcomed Nathan and Caroline from Belgium. After the bombing this week, they had to change their flights to a different airport, but they managed to get to Costa Rica as planned. Nathan speaks English well, but Caroline prefers to speak French so I get to practice speaking with her. Today, they caught their dinner and ours! Tomorrow they go horseback riding.
Just ticking along, as we do
Sometimes it's hard to remember what day it is. I was convinced yesterday was Saturday and that today was Sunday (hence why I'm a day late writing my blog... sorry).
We've been keeping ourselves busy with a bit of spring cleaning. We've decided to go through some of our boxed items and see if we can sort out what we want to keep and what we can now give away. If a box hasn't been opened in over three years, there's a good chance we don't need the contents. I love purging so this is fun for me... Kevin, however, doesn't seem to get as much joy of of this task as I do. We made a little headway and that's a good start.
We also said goodbye to our Oregon and Washington guests on Monday and welcomed guests from California and Arizona on Thursday. Emily and Jaxon were young graduates. They loved bird watching and were completely captivated by all the nature. We thoroughly enjoyed hosting them. You can read their guestbook comments here. And as most of our guests, they enjoyed catching their dinner (and ours, too!).
Other than that, we sold some more fish on Saturday and more again today.
What I failed to mention in my last blog entry is that our guest, Tom, went for a run on the trails. Bobbie accompanied him. He said he turned a corner and heard some crunching leaves and thought maybe it was one of the bulls. As he approached a little closer, he saw the back of a running danta!! As the danta looked behind, Tom saw his funny looking snout. Tom is our very first guest to see a danta!! We were thrilled for him.
Earlier in the week, Kevin and Martin filled up the hatchery pond and transferred our fingerlings from the concrete container into the pond. We've never used this pond before, but it's a lovely big space. Our fingerlings seemed quite big in the concrete container, but so small in the pond. It feels like walking your child to the school bus stop on the first day of school... you know they're ready and will have a fun time, but you worry a little that they're leaving the protection of your watchful eye. Having said that, Kevin added a low electric fence to prevent the otters and raccoons from going into the pond, as well as another taller line to prevent the heron from wading in. There are 3,000 fish in this new pond. We haven't lost many to these critters since adding some fencing, so it seem to be doing its job nicely.
We had B&B guests arrive on Thursday. We were very happy to welcome Krista and Dave from Oregon again. They had stayed with us in January and decided to come back with friends, Diana and Tom. We were thrilled to see them again and happy to meet their friends, too. On Saturday morning, I drove them down to Copey and up the road to see if we could spy some Quetzals. We did spot one eventually, but he was pretty far away. There weren't as many as last week, so perhaps they're moving on.
Then on Saturday afternoon, there was a going-away party for our friends, Bonnie and Joe. We never leave the property while we have guests, and thought Krista, Dave, Diana and Tom might enjoy the experience a Costa Rica potluck lunch, so we invited them to come along.
Bonnie and Joe moved here from Arizona this past fall. They rented a house and settled in San Marcos while they've been travelling around the country experiencing the beaches and other areas, trying to find a place that tugs at them. They recently found a beautiful home in Tinamastes, which is about 2 hours away, and closer to the beach. They seem very happy with their decision to relocate, but of course we're all sad to see them leave the area. Larry and Cindy hosted the party at their house in Santa Maria... everyone brought food, and boy was it an amazing spread!! I made some Ceviche, Kevin smoked some trout, Krista brought several dips with bread, Cindy made Thai coconut soup (YUM!), Bonnie made a bean tortilla, which was to die for, Larry made a mango salad... oh the list goes on. The food was incredible and we are gorged ourselves. Fun was had by all... and Krista, Dave, Diana and Tom fit right in.
Quetzal in our midst
Our first guests this week were bird watchers and came up to Hush Valley Lodge specifically to seek out the Quetzals. Kevin had seen two Quetzals earlier in the week so we were hoping they'd get lucky. Roberto mentioned that Quetzals have been spotted just up the road from where he lives. When Eileen and Brian showed up, we let them know and the next morning they were up bright an early and headed down to Copey to see if they could spy this elusive bird.
Well, they did get lucky! And then, while on the tour with Kevin later that same day, a Quetzal flew overhead. That is lucky!
(Click here to read Eileen and Brian's guestbook comment)
Then, this morning I drove our current guests (Peter and Delisa) down to Copey to see if we could see one. I parked the SUV near the large municipal water tanks and it didn't take long to see several pairs of Quetzals fly across the road and settle in a tree up the hill (about 100 metres away). None of us had a zoom lens and I had forgotten our binoculars, so although still thrilling, we were a bit disappointed we could not see them clearly. So, I decided it was worth driving back home (20 minutes or so... no biggie). I grabbed the binoculars and we headed back down to the same spot. It seemed awfully quiet... we didn't see any Quetzals at all. We walked up and down the road... then Peter waved Delisa and I over. The binoculars did the trick! The Quetzal was quite camouflaged within the foliage, but there it was... no matter how many times I see this bird, it never gets old... so special. (Since I don't have a zoom lens, I had to blow the picture up, which makes it quite blurry... sorry about that.)
Then after lunch, Peter and Delisa caught their dinner... and ours, too.
Peter and Delisa are staying with us until Tuesday morning. They fly back to Montana after enjoying several days at the beach and now our place. They said it was really hot down on the coast and really like the temperatures at our elevation... we couldn't agree more!
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
Click here to pick up your copy of Anne's book! It's all about their adventure and the establishment of Hush Valley Lodge: from leaving their middle-class suburban lifestyle in Canada to reinventing themselvess in the beautiful mountains of Costa Rica. Check it out and if you enjoy it, please spread the word! Thanks!