Swimming with a Two-toed Sloth

It’s not everyday that you see a sloth at our beach.  Our neighbors here saw a sloth a couple nights ago so yesterday morning I tracked it down.  Since they move quite slowly it was not too far from where it was originally spotted.  It was sleeping peacefully in a palm tree above the pool.  We also got to see some sloth excrement on the ground.  This sounds gross, but it was kind of cool because they can take an average of two weeks to digest and defecate.

Last night after dinner we decided to go swimming.  As we swam the sloth started to move above us.  Wow!  It was indescribably wondrous to watch the sloth move about so slowly, yet so gracefully.  Two-toed sloths are nocturnal creatures.  They spend their days sleeping away and their nights foraging and “hanging out” with people like us 😉  I was worried it would fall in the pool.  After doing some research,  I found out that sloths are supposed to be great swimmers as well.  Hmmm…I will believe that when I see it!

I hope Eloise remembers this night and the sloth.  Eloise and Frédérique were swimming around while the sloth was moving about on a palm tree hanging over the pool.  If she does remember will it be in French (paresseux), Spanish (perezoso), or English (Sloth)?

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Frédérique and Eloise swimming under the sloth.

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Drying off and sloth watching with the dads.

I also took a lot of video, but haven’t mastered the art of posting my own video here yet.  Sloth videos coming soon…

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Pizza Party Numero Uno

Here is a pizza party story through pictures…

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Driftwood collected by Heidi, Marie-Eve, Emmanuel, Frederique, and Eloise.

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Pizza dough rising.

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Getting the wood ready to light

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all the coals are pushed back and ready to cook the first pizza

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All the fixings.

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Emmanuel rolling out the crust with an impromptu rolling pin, a bottle of rum.

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Marie-eve cutting into one of the delicious pizzas.

Hermit Crabs

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Heidi holding a hermit crab for closer inspection.

Who knew that hermit crabs could keep a couple toddlers busy on the beach for hours. Yesterday Eloise mastered the art of holding a hermit crab.  It is quite refined for a two year old toddler.  She places her hand, palm up and open, on the ground and then asks for me to place the crab in the center of her palm.  It is a very exciting moment when the crab comes out of his shell and scurries off of her hand.

Today we watched a very informative video by the BBC about hermit crabs.  Amazing!

After the heat of the day was swept away by the ocean breeze we headed out to the beach in search of hermit crabs.  After meeting up with Eloise’s trusted beach combing French-Canadian toddler friend, we started our search.  It didn’t take long to find about a dozen hermit crabs.  We lined them up by size, had hermit races, looked for empty shells for them to move into, you get the idea.

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Eloise & Frédérique playing with hermit crabs.

We did about everything there is to do with hermit crabs.  It was a wonderful afternoon and sunset on the beach once again.

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Eloise taking in the sunset.

Oh and if you were wondering how to say “hermit crab” in French, Eloise can tell you.  It’s “bernard l’ermite”…   And in Spanish, “cangrejo ermitaño”

And then this happened…

Eloise and I went out to run a few errands in Jaco the other day.  Eloise was very patient with running errands in the heat so I decided that it would be a good idea to reward her with a trip to a “jungle” tour.  After all our errands we drove up to NeoFauna which is just 4km North of Jaco.

I parked the car and got out to ask about tours and prices to find that our car had lost a lot of oil all over their parking lot.  Uh oh!

The three guys that ran the place immediately took a look under the hood. One of them used to be a mechanic which helped a lot.  He quickly found the problem and declared that the car most definitely was not drivable.  Which was pretty obvious from the amount of oil lost, but it was helpful to find the source of the problem.

Now we were stuck at this place with no Costa Rican cell phone, for some reason everywhere I had looked in the past few days were out of the chips that I needed to get our mobile working.  I did have my Iphone, but I didn’t have the international plan turned on.  I wasn’t prepared in the least for this to happen.  I didn’t have the number for our insurance, Russ’s number, or the car dealers number on me :/

NeoFauna had internet so I connect my Iphone with their internet and called Randy who was back at the house.  He gave me all the numbers that I needed then I used NeoFaunas main line to make some calls.  Randy made some calls as well, but couldn’t do much since he wasn’t on the scene.

First, I called the dealer because the car had a 3o day guarantee when we bought it 3 days ago.  I spoke with him then Luis from NeoFauna explained to him which part was broken.  We were in the middle of communicating with him when suddenly he didn’t answer back. I called the dealership and they said he went to lunch.  Uh hello? Im stuck with my 2year old daughter and you went to lunch?  This made me a bit uneasy about resolving the issue through them so I decided to check and see if our insurance that we bought 3 days ago would be able to at least tow the car back out to our house in Esterillos Este.

After about 1.5hrs on the phone with the insurance people, they told me they could not help me.  Even though we bought it 3 days ago and our insurance guy had sent in the receipt of our payment and spoke with them as well.  Not all the paper work was filed internally yet so we weren’t in their system.  Apparently insurance around the world is crappy, it’s not just in the USA.

By this time the dealer had gotten back with us and said that he probably …maybe…just might be coming today with his mechanic to fix the car.  He was pretty aloof about what his plans were and didn’t give me much hope.

So Eloise, who had not eaten lunch or napped and I were just waiting.  The guys at NeoFauna couldn’t have been nicer and the fact that they had two very small kittens was a huge help.  Eloise ended up playing with them for about 4 hours.

A Canadian family arrived at NeoFauna and I overheard that they were staying in Esterillos Este.  What are the chances since it’s a bit of a drive away!  After their tour we asked if we could catch a ride back with them.  We left our car keys with Luis, who by that time had become a good friend, and departed.

It was a lovely ride back with Kelly and Justin and their two kids, Ara and Miri.  Eloise passed out in my lap.  They had been in another part of Costa Rica for a month before and now they would be here for a month.  Wonderful new friends!

We all enjoyed a nice glass of Rose wine when we returned to our beach house and then they went on their way.  I am sure we will be seeing them again soon.

We called the dealer again and to our surprise he was at the car and working  on the problem.  He said he needed one more part from San Jose and would return the next day to finish it up.  To our total amazement the next day he had fixed the car and delivered it to our beach house in Esterillos Este by 11AM.

Overall the experience was trying, especially with a toddler in tow, but it was proof of how amazing it is to travel in Costa Rica.  We met a lot of wonderful people.  It forced us to slow down and get to know the people around us.  I am not sure if Eloise will remember any of it, but if she does I hope she remembers all the kindness that was given without question.

I apologize I do not have a single picture for your entertainment.  I was too caught up in solving the problem at hand.  We are planning on returning to NeoFauna soon so I will take some pictures and post about that soon.

 

Our 2016 Costa Rican Car

The day after our arrival into San Jose we bought a car.  We used the same service that we did last year, PASS.  http://wheelscr.com/car-buying-costa-rica-help/  I highly recommend Russ and his service.  My husband and I are pretty familiar with San Jose and speak Spanish, but Russ makes the buying process so smooth that it makes it totally worth the $280.

Last year we bought a car and then sold it at the end of our trip.  It ended up being a lot cheaper in the long run.  Hopefully reselling goes smoothly again this year.

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1998 Hyundai Galloper

 

Returning to Costa Rica

We decided to return to the same place in Costa Rica this winter.  Since we had company up until the last minute of our departure it was a little chaotic trying to prep the house and pack.

I used some plastic compression bags for the first time and was really happy with the result.  They ended up saving a lot of space. It was quite comical when we packed all the bags and realized that Eloise had so much luggage.  How can someone that small need so much!

We flew on United and we have their credit card so we automatically get two free checked bags.

We checked…

  1. large suitcase
  2. Eloise’s Baby Bjorn travel crib
  3. Eloise’s Osprey Poco carrier in the bag and stuffed it full (paid $25)
  4. Eloise’s carseat (free to check carseats)

We carried on…

  1. guitar in soft case
  2. diaper bag
  3. 2 carry on sized suitcases

We took a direct flight into San Jose from Washington, D.C. Dulles.  It went really smoothly.  We played with puddy, read some books, ate lunch, and then she napped in the Ergo carrier until we landed.  Flying into San Jose with young children is so easy.  There was a long line for immigration but the guards there look for families and pull them out to a much shorter line.  So thoughtful.  We then got a prearranged shuttle to our hotel in San Jose,  Hyatt Pinares.  It is not close to central San Jose, but it is a great spot for us because of the quality of hotel, enormous included breakfast, and pool.  It is located in a shopping center so there are plenty of shops, restaurants, etc.  Basically all we need to get us by for a few days of business in San Jose.

New York with a Toddler

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We recently spent 10 days in NYC.  We rented an apartment in the East Village.  There are so many recommendations I can make, but I am just going to make a short list of highlights.

Place to stay:

A highly trusted place to rent a place that is totally kid friendly.

https://www.kidandcoe.com

Things to do:

  1. Wee Arts Drop-in class at this children-centric museum was AMAZING!!! Probably one of our favorite indoor spaces in NYC for a toddler. http://cmany.org/classes/weearts/
  2. National Museum of the American Indian toddler programs – We went to a wonderful music class that was FREE! When you are down here you should go to Robert F. Wagner Junior Park.  It’s a small grassy space that kids can run around on with the statue of liberty in the background.  Not to mention endless boat entertainment. http://www.nmai.si.edu/visit/newyork/families/
  3. Vesluvio Playground – We visited a lot of small parks.  This was our favorite. http://www.yelp.com/biz/vesuvio-playground-new-york
  4. Books of Wonder – Childrens book store that has an excellent selection and illustration gallery. http://www.booksofwonder.com
  5. Chinatown.  There are so many different forms of entertainment in streets and shops of chinatown.  My toddler was in wonder.  We bought her new chopsticks, the ones made for kids, and then went to a delicious hand pulled noodle spot.  See pic below for location info.

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