Going Bananas

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We’re going bananas feeding the birds and monkeys bananas!  We can’t seem to help ourselves…these animals are so much fun to watch.  We have lots of fun taking pictures of them, too.  It’s nice that bananas are almost free in Costa Rica.

Several Toucans have decided to partake in eating the bananas on the makeshift bird feeder that sits on one of the cement posts on the pool deck.  They usually land in the middle of the railing closest to the bird feeder platform.  They hop slowly toward the platform while panning their heads.  When they determine it’s safe, they hop onto the platform.  At first they nibble on the banana and then next thing we know, they are flying off with the entire banana.

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The monkeys are particularly amusing.  They come by so often that we’ve noticed their distinct personalities.  They are becoming braver, too.  Just the other day, the monkeys stopped by for a visit.  I had towels and clothes drying on the clothes line.  One monkey walked along the railing tugging on each item!  He was rather fond of the towels.  He would take the corner of a towel and rub his little face with it.  Good thing I had everything anchored with clothes pins!  I had visions of my undies ending up in our neighbor’s back yard.  Now, that would have been awkward.

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This is a spider monkey that hangs out with the white faced monkeys

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We have been told several times by many different people that you have to be careful of the monkeys because they like to steal things.  And, if they do manage to take something, you won’t ever get it back.  Once when we were hiking in Manual Antonio National Park, I had a tug of war with a monkey who was trying to take a small plastic bag away from me.  He thought I had food in it, but I only had bug spray.  The little guy was quite strong, but I won the battle and the monkey was so disappointed!

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Our caretaker Lopez has warned us that if the monkeys become too comfortable, they will come farther into the property and probably start to go through the trash.  He speaks from experience.  So occasionally we let the dogs bark at them and chase them off.  The monkeys still return and the last time they were here, one walked right up to our sliding glass door, which was open and pushed on the screen.  Then he put his little hands on the wrought iron bars and peeked in looking at us.  It was like we were in the zoo being watched by the monkeys!

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The flash from this photo made the little guy jump and run for the trees.

Christmas Day at Toni & Gib's

Christmas Day at Toni & Gib’s

‘Tis the Season…to be Careful!

Dont take my stuff

It’s holiday season and Christmas is almost upon us.  It really doesn’t matter where you live in the world…crime accelerates during this time of year, which is unfortunate. It’s not a good thing any time of the year, that’s for sure, especially if you’re a victim.  In Costa Rica, petty theft is even more of a problem than usual.  Not only are tourists targeted, but long time residents and Costa Ricans, too.  I have been told not to put my purse on the floor or hang it on the back of my chair in a restaurant.  It should be on my lap or right in front of me on the table.  When in the grocery store, never put your bag in the shopping cart.  If you look away for even a second, most likely your bag will not be there when you turn around with whatever you were taking off the shelf. It’s important here not to leave anything in your car, not even an empty bag. Of course, I would follow these suggestions if I lived in a big city, but when you live in a remote area like we do here, it’s easy to forget.  Even though we live in paradise, crime is still prevalent.  So, it’s important to be vigilant!

Just the other day, a friend of ours mentioned that he was robbed in the parking lot of a grocery store where we frequent often.  He left his backpack unattended in his vehicle for just a few seconds.  Fortunately, he had all of his money in his pocket.  Even so, he had to cancel credit cards, etc…a huge inconvenience.  Another friend was in the bank and since the lines were really long decided to leave.  She was in the bank for about five minutes.  When she returned to her car, there was a cargo taxi right next to it.  The driver was on his cell phone.  Our friend noticed that another man near the ATM was also on his cell phone.  She made a big deal about getting settled into her car, really taking her time about it.  When the taxi driver realized she wasn’t going back into the bank, he left.  And, so did the man near the ATM who was on his cell.  She was sure that she was a target because she had some furniture in the back of her SUV.  If she had stayed in the bank any longer, she may have been a victim.

On a happier note, last Sunday Roca Verde (a restaurant in Dominical) hosted the 17th annual Arts, Crafts and Garage Sale.  The sale is always in December for holiday shopping.   Eddie and I attended and it was a lot of fun!   There were many artisans present as well as people trying to sell off their unneeded stuff.  I bought a beautiful table runner from the Borucans – Artesanos Naturales.  It will look fabulous in our new home, which if all goes well, will be completed the fall of 2015.

Ellen buying a table runner from Marina's daughters

Ellen buying a table runner from Marina’s daughters

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Ellen and Dale having fun shopping

Ellen and Dale having fun shopping

Duty Free Shopping

Last month, we decided to drive to Golfito, Costa Rica for some duty free shopping.  Every six months, Costa Rican residents and whomever are allowed to shop in Golfito duty free.  The allowance is $1000 US dollars per each person.  It’s a one time deal…if you buy only an umbrella that counts as one of your duty free shopping.  So, it’s best to make the most of it! Spend, spend and spend!!!

We decided to visit Golfito to see what was offered, just checking things out.  We requested a ticket for just one of us as we weren’t going to buy all that much and we decided that if we were impressed with Golfito we might want to return before the end of the year.  We ended up buying some wine and liquor as the prices were pretty good for Costa Rica.  However, there were many other stores – appliance, housewares, electronics and some furniture…none of which we needed right now.

The duty-free shopping outpost in Golfito, CR

The duty-free shopping outpost in Golfito, CR

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Eddie checking out with our purchases

Eddie checking out with our purchases

From where we live in Hatillo, it’s approximately a 1 and 3/4 hour drive, which is not bad at all.  However, you have to buy your duty free ticket the day before shopping, so that requires spending the night in a hotel.  We got a good tip on where to stay…thank you Kitty and Mike!   We loved staying at Banana Bay Marina.  It was right on the water with a fantastic view.  Our room was very nice and the restaurant food was fabulous!

Bayside restaurant and bar at the Banana Bay Marina

Bayside restaurant and bar at the Banana Bay Marina

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A rainbow appeared behind the hotel as we were relaxing at the bar

A rainbow appeared behind the hotel as we were relaxing at the bar

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It was a two and a half mile walk to the duty free zone, which we actually walked, bought our tickets for the next day, and then hailed a taxi cab back to Banana Bay Marina!  We started to walk back to the hotel, but it was getting late and we were tired, so fortunately for us, taxi cabs are plentiful in this small town.

It was a fun trip!

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