One Month Progress Report

Bird fishing on Punta Uva
Bird fishing on Punta Uva

It has officially been one month that I’ve been here now.  Jan asked if I thought I could live here and what did I miss/not miss.  I think of the joke about this guy who said he was from some little town in Virginia (I hadn’t even heard of it and I’m FROM Va.).  He said, ‘if your doctor says you only have a few months to live, move here because everyday feels like an eternity’.  Somehow it’s not the days that feel like an eternity here.  It just feels like I’ve been here a lot longer than a month.

I think if I had a steady income and was able to contribute to my retirement funds, I wouldn’t feel as pressured as I do now.  The realization is that this can’t last forever unless I think up something that will allow me to do that.  Or at least I need to gain a new skill so I can come back to the U.S. and not have to work in I.T. or for ‘The Man’.  I felt that a job should be something you look forward to doing.  That’s basically my goal here…to find that…whether it’s here or somewhere else.

Could I live in Cocles longer than 3 months?  I’m not sure I want to.  It’s expensive and basically a tourist town.  Even the locals that live here can barely scrape by.  Everything costs about twice as much here as it does in the Central Valley.  So I’ve decided to move there in July and see how that goes.  The weather should be better as well, but I will sacrifice the beach.  I could get to one within an hour or so, but not within two minutes.  I’m sure I’ll miss it once I don’t have it anymore.  It IS a great feeling to ride my bike by and look out at the beautiful blue Caribbean everyday.  It’s what I’ve always wanted.  But I pay the price being this close to it.

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Am I gonna miss THIS? Heck yes!
Punta Uva
Punta Uva. It looks a LOT better in person.

What do I miss/not miss from my ‘normal life’?  I miss a DISHWASHER!!!  I miss a washer and dryer too but I can deal with that.  I miss a microwave in a big way.  It’s so time consuming to have to reheat something on the stove, which doesn’t always work well.  I miss cheap groceries and being able to get whatever the hell I want.  I miss meat, I miss BBQ’ing.  I don’t miss a car, TV, negative news reports, solicitation phone calls…heck, I barely miss a phone!  Oh, I do miss fast internet.  It takes about 3 hours to watch an hour 1/2 long movie.  I sometimes miss air conditioning. I miss having a boyfriend and I miss being able to see my friends and hang out with them.

I don’t miss the fairly crappy diet I used to have.  I feel that I do eat somewhat better here.  I mean, I got another cacao pod today that’s HUGE for $2.  I miss cheese a LOT.  That’s probably the food item I crave the most.  I did find some fairly reasonable mozzarella cheese ($4 for a small package of grated).  My dinner tonight consists of pan grilled red pepper and thin slices of salami and garlic.  I used half a ciabatta  sandwich loaf and grilled that in the remaining olive oil, flipped it over and put the mozzarella, Parmesan, peppers, salami and garlic on it and let it melt…along with a glass of wine.  It tasted awesome.  Whether it was that GOOD for me, I don’t know.  But I never did that at home.  I have to work with what I have and try to make it appealing.  I don’t eat as much here as I did there which is good too.  I have much less trash that I ever have in my entire life.  I’m in better shape from riding my bike and walking instead of using a car.

I’m getting used to the howlers at 4:45 a.m. as well as the birds who wake up at the same time.  I can actually stay in bed until 6 now and I scored some foam for the bed which makes it way more comfortable.  Oh yeah, I miss my mattress.  Like you wouldn’t even know.  I miss laundry that smells good.  The stuff I wash it in smells awesome but something happens when it’s been on the line in the sun…the smell goes away completely.  Weird.  I don’t feel that anything I have is all that clean, so I can’t wait to have my laundry done back in the states.

So overall, I think I’m getting over the shock of being here and accepting the bugs, the heat, the rain, the language barrier.  But I don’t feel like it’s ‘home’ yet.  Not sure I ever will.  One thing I did want to say about the people here that I’ve noticed.  When I’m riding my bike and someone local is approaching from the other way, they will always look at me with whatever expression I have on my face.  I always smile and wave or say ‘hola’ and they immediately smile back and say the same.  If I don’t do that, they will just stare at me and pass.  It makes me feel good to be nice to them and I think they appreciate it.  I’m in their town and don’t want to be rude.  So the people are friendly and very willing to help out and are very patient when the language becomes an issue.  I’ve never had one person get upset with me or frustrated, so that’s nice.   It’s a good place to be and I’m glad I do live here…the sacrifice was worth it.  I already know that I will look back on it with a fondness I’m not exactly feeling now and REALLY miss it.

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The first rainbow I noticed the other day from my yard
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Breakfast and My Little Hamlet

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Ok, as a funny side note, I have to tell you something.  I just got scared by a BUTTERFLY.  Good god.  I was sitting here on my computer and out of the corner of my eye I saw something big come toward me and it ran into my back.  Albeit, gently.  I jumped and sort of freaked out (knowing about the large flying things around here) then saw it was a monarch butterfly.  Jeez.  I need to relax.

I treated myself to breakfast in town this morning for ONCE…and I do mean ONCE.  This is the first time I’ve eaten breakfast ‘in the wild’…haha!  It was awesome.  I found out about it through the chocolate place that I’m going to tomorrow and it got good reviews, so I went to go find it.  It wasn’t difficult to find, even though I hadn’t been down that particular street before.  I hung a right off the main road and headed toward the beach.  A big white bus turned down that same road and I knew it was near the bus stop, so that made it easy.  The road wasn’t paved and along it were small shops, restaurants and the police station.

I recognized the blue exterior from the picture and sure enough, the sign confirmed it.  They were jammin’ some reggae at or before 8am and there were tables across the street with a beach view.  It was called Dreadnuts and boasted gourmet coffee, fruit smoothies and great sandwiches.  I opted for a cafe mocha, a mandarin iced tea and cinnamon rasin bagel with cinnamon butter.  Mmmmm.

I took a seat and watched an old local man (I’m sure he was older than he looked) slowly shuffle his way toward a coconut tree with a long pole.  He finally got to it and proceeded to cut down a couple of coconuts for him and his friend.  They sat under the shade and drank from the coconut and had a conversation in spanish.  It looked as if they probably did this everyday.

At this moment, I said to myself...'This is the life!  Pura vida!'
At this moment, I said to myself…’This is the life! Pura vida!’

I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast and the view of the ocean with the small waves crashing on the beach.  School kids passed by in their uniforms and headed toward the very small structure for the day.  Wonder how they can pay attention when the beach is right in front of them?  Buses came and went as they picked people up to take them away from this nice little town…most of them looked like tourists.

Happy happy!!
Happy happy!!
The view during breakfast
The view during breakfast

As I was sitting there, a Pink Floyd song came on, ‘Wish You Were Here’ but made into reggae!  It was cool…if you crank up your volume, you might be able to hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wX4iQsGDGc

I decided to do some video while biking (didn’t even crash!) so I posted those on youtube as well here: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE7_G8y87kQKbHa8pumncFw

Time to hit the beach!

Other Residents at JRC

Two new baby sloths
Two new baby sloths

I took some time this morning to do some videos of the other residents at the center today.  You’ve seen the sloths and monkeys, but may not have known about some of the others.  So the link to my youtube channel is: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE7_G8y87kQKbHa8pumncFw  and you can find what I have posted so far on there.  Most are new as of today for anyone interested!  I’m not sure if you can even hear what I’m saying on those videos, but I’ve summed it up in the description on there as well.  Sorry for the poor video…stupid phone.

Baby parrot with black and white baby owl.
Baby parrot with black and white baby owl.
Beautiful palm viper.  No, that's a reflection of my finger in the glass!
Beautiful palm viper. No, that’s a reflection of my finger in the glass!
Palma and the little blue bird
Palma and the little blue bird

Baby Bats!

Very tiny bats
Very tiny bats

Someone brought in a dead mama bat with two babies, I assume attached to her.  Wow…I’ve never seen bats this tiny before.  And to try to feed them!?!  Piccio got a small syringe filled with milk and they actually did eat.  They must be fed every two hours.  I sure hope they survive.  I did a couple of videos on them which can be seen here http://youtu.be/Qq38tdJpGfc  and here http://youtu.be/ULBBC49skNY

Piccio feeding the baby bats
Piccio feeding the baby bats
Baby bats getting milk
Baby bats getting milk