Costa Rica Trip 2013
- Pura Vida!! Nov 23, 2013
- That was too close!! Nov 23, 2013
- Traffic Cops! Nov 23, 2013
Landed in Liberia (Costa Rica) and headed to the nearest supermarket to get some grocery stuff for the kids.
Started discussing speed zones and traffic tickets with the local driver. Found out something interesting.
The traffic cops cannot hide here to catch you speeding. They have to be clearly visible from some distance. At night, they have to keep their red and blue lights on.
Of course, I had a logical question – “But people will slow down if they see the cop. How is he going to catch them?”
The driver who has been to US, politely asked “Isn’t that the whole idea? Get everybody to slow down? It is not about making money by giving tickets!”
I quietly murmured “you actually have a point there”
- That is a big fan!!! Nov 23, 2013
- The Roy Clan Nov 23, 2013
- “Hum do hamaarein do” Nov 24, 2013
- Hacienda Pinilla Nov 24, 2013
- For waves may come and waves may go Nov 24, 2013
- After the 5K run Nov 24, 2013
- Scenes from today’s run by the countryside Nov 24, 2013
- ‘Nuff said! Nov 24, 2013
- River Tempisque Nov 25, 2013
- Better pictures Nov 25, 2013
- Sunday night. Date night! Nov 25, 2013
- The western sky is on fire!!! Nov 25, 2013
- The Aussies are coming!! The Aussies are coming!! Nov 25, 2013
- Early morning view with coffee Nov 25, 2013
- On the rocky beaches of Guanacaste Nov 25, 2013
- While not fifty shades of grey.. Nov 25, 2013
- How I met your mother! Nov 25, 2013
As the two Roy families sat by the pool late last night, Hullor and Chiko wanted to know how did the two families get to know each other.
It was Aug 2, 1997. We had moved into our new apartment the previous night. The movers had just finished dropping the last of the boxes that morning. As Sharmila started making another round of Saturday coffee, something startled me. I could distinctly hear a lady’s voice speaking in Bengali (my mother tongue which is not very common). It seemed to come from very close to our door.
I put my eye in the peephole to investigate and saw an young lady looking down the staircase (we were on second floor) and talking to someone (who I could not see) in clear Bengali. And the door directly opposite was wide open!
Marveling what the chances were that we would have moved in right next to a Bengali family, I opened the door. She looked at me, perplexed. I introduced myself, explained that we had moved in next door and asked if she was speaking in Bengali. By this time, her husband, who from the evidence looked like was in the middle of taking the trash out – upon noticing a stranger talking to his wife had started briskly walking back up the stairs.
The next few minutes were hilarious.
Me: “You guys are Bengalis?”
Me: “As are we! What is your last name?”
Me: “Get out! We are Roys too!! Where do you work?”
He: “A small supply chain company called i2. I have just joined.”
Me: “WHAT? I have been working there for 2 years!”
I had also noticed that the lady’s unmistakable bump.
Me: “So is this your first kid?”
He: “Yes. We are expecting a daughter.”
Me: “Ha Ha. Nice! We are expecting too. Our first kid. A daughter!! Do you have any parents coming to help you?”
He: “Yes, my inlaws are coming this November”
Me: “Mine too!!!!”
At this point of time, the conversation had the full potential of going the route of a scene in an old Hindi movie where a guy meets another guy and during the conversation finds out they are from the same place, same last name etc..etc.. As the conversation reached a crescendo of “Me too” excitement, one guy asked if the other guy had a mole on his left chest. To which the guy replied “No”. “Me neither” exclaimed the first guy and hugged the other guy realizing they were long lost twin brothers!!! 🙂
That, Hullor and Chiko, is how the beautiful relationship started between the two Roy families more than 16 years back.
And yes, Hullor, you turning up to be a boy was a complete surprise to your parents and us! But we would not trade you for anything on this whole wide world!!!
- Pottery lessons Nov 25, 2013
- Lessons over! Nov 25, 2013
- It’s like we are in California already!! Nov 25, 2013
- Beautiful sunset with even more beautiful company! Nov 25, 2013
- Apt song! Nov 26, 2013
Sunil and I sitting by the ocean, watching the sunlight fade away… We were talking about old Hindi songs when we came to the most appropriate one – and we sang together….
“Kahin door jab din dhal jaye
Saanjh ki dulhan badan churaaye chhupke se aaye
Mere khayaalon ke aangan mein
Koi sapnon ke deep jalaaye deep jalaaye”
- Happiness is… Nov 26, 2013
During college days, happiness used to be taking long aimless walks at dark nights with another friend or two holding hands with your girlfriends, playing “antakshari” and singing old romantic numbers from Hindi movies from the 60s and 70s. Usually with terrible sense of tunes. But we didn’t give a damn.
Last night we realized that, now that we have grown up, happiness is …. ummmm.. pretty much the same… An hour of Hindi songs … the four of us … pitch dark night… long walk on the streets…
Good thing that the iguanas in the bushes did not understand Hindi songs. Else we might have owed them some apologies for our terrible renditions.
On the other hand, even if they did, I am sure we wouldn’t have given a damn!!
- Chiko’s verdict Nov 26, 2013
- Janllos de Cortes Nov 26, 2013
- First glimpse of Lake Arenal Nov 26, 2013
- Now we are in hot water 🙂 Nov 27, 2013
- Cheers! Nov 27, 2013
- Salud! Nov 27, 2013
- Living in the “now” Nov 27, 2013
Beautiful onset of dawn as first daylight cracks thru the clouds …. Verdant rainforest fresh from a shower of overnight rain…. Each tree silently standing and watching…. Clouds playing peek-a-boo with the volcano peak… Flocks of bright colored birds flying by….. Multitude of mellifluous bird chirps…. Howler monkey howling somewhere yonder…. The constant babbling of the brook creates an auditory illusion of rain falling …. Humming birds darting by…. Brilliant multi-colored flowers gently swaying in the ever so light breeze….
Time has come to a standstill
- Ekti sishir bindu (the glistening dewdrop) Nov 27, 2013
“Bohu din dhore, bohu krosh dure,
bohu byay kori, bohu desh ghure,
Dekhite giyachhi parbotmala, dekhite giyachhi sindhu,
Dekha hoy nai chokkhu meliya,
Ghar hote shudhu dui pa feliya,
Ekti dhaner shisher upore ekti shishir bindu”
I traveled miles, for many a year,
I spent a lot in lands afar,
I’ve gone to see the mountains,
The oceans I’ve been to view.
But I haven’t seen with these eyes
Just two steps from my home lies
On a corn of paddy grain,
A glistening drop of dew.
- Swift move Nov 27, 2013
- Verdant green! Nov 27, 2013
- That is my friend Sunil for you! Nov 27, 2013
- After a heavy breakfast…. Nov 27, 2013
- Mommy daughter splash time!! Nov 27, 2013
- Rare moments in life… Nov 27, 2013
I guess vacation brings the best out of everyone! Not sure what got into 15 year old Natasha. The rest of the gang took the bus back to the hotel. She offered to hang back if I wanted to. So, here I am – at the bar by the river chatting with the same teenager who usually barely acknowledges my presence…. Next bus is in 30 mins. We might miss that too 🙂
- Nailed it!!! Nov 27, 2013
- Just hanging out… Nov 28, 2013
- Sharmila’s birthday… Nov 28, 2013
- Rainforest colors Nov 28, 2013
- Coffee time!! Nov 28, 2013
- ATV Nov 28, 2013
- Sugarcane harvesting Nov 28, 2013
Learnt something new from our local friend Jorge. We were driving thru dirt roads into the countryside where we saw cantaloupe farming. First time in my life. But the more interesting part was how they were harvesting their sugarcane.
The simply set the fields on fire!!! Evidently the leaves of sugarcane are very sharp. Making it difficult to harvest by hand. And sugarcane fields have a lot of rats. Which invariably brings a lot of snakes. So, they just go ahead and set their sugarcane fields on fire!
What I did not know is that while everything else gets burnt, the sugarcane bark is thick enough that nothing happens to the sugarcane itself!!!
But now the sugarcane has to be transported and processed within 24 hours. The sugarcane is unharmed but very warm which will set in motion the fermentation process soon.
So, I asked Jorge “what happens if the farmer gets delayed, for whatever reason”
Jorge: “Oh! They make alcohol”
That was a simple solution!!! 🙂
I am quite sure in India though, I have seen farmers harvesting sugarcane with sharp sickles in their hands. I think Costa Rican farmers are too lazy 🙂
- Thodi si jo peeli hai Nov 29, 2013
- Thanksgiving evening Nov 29, 2013
Last year when I had written
“Thanksgiving evening: Sharmila Roy and myself sitting by ourselves with champagne facing the imposing visage of the Arenal volcano in the dark night and catching up on our life…
When visiting our traditional family involves a trip to the doctor for a malaria shot, invariably “family” takes a larger meaning in life. And for the last twenty years “family” has mostly meant the friends that we made in our journey thru multiple countries, states, cities, jobs….
To all those friends, we say Thanks!!Thanks for making the journey so enjoyable that we have seldom cared about the destination!!!
… rarely did I realize that exactly a year later, literally on the same day – Thanksgiving evening – Sharmila and I will be at the exact same spot at the exact same resort facing exactly the same imposing visage of Arenal – except this time with two of our best friends who have truly made the journey so enjoyable!!!
- Glamor shot Nov 29, 2013
- The three musketeers Nov 29, 2013
- Last few minutes of vacation Nov 29, 2013
- Nice touch! Nov 29, 2013
- “See you down the road” Nov 29, 2013
An indelible moment of an “intersection point”. At Tamarindo, a few days back, the girls were busy buying knickknacks from the street vendors and I was generally hanging out watching all the people.
Struck up a conversation with this lady who was waiting to cross the road. She was probably in her late fifties to early sixties by my reckoning. Found out that she was from Vancouver Island. I told her how my eldest daughter fondly remembers the sea plane ride to her island. “Yep”, she said, “both my sons work as sea plane pilots”!!
The girls were still busy haggling. My new friend – Marlene was her name – was in no particular hurry. I learnt that she had lost her husband a few years ago and had once visited Costa Rica with her ex-husband when he was on a project in Panama. Evidently, her husband always wanted to settle in Costa Rica.
She is now applying for residency in Costa Rica. (I further learnt that you can stay for 90 days only on a tourist visa). She wants to teach English for free in Costa Rica. I asked her how she was getting along with her Spanish. She let me know that she was staying with a Costa Rican family nearby to do a 30 day immersion into the language!!
By this time, everybody was in the tourist van again and were calling for me. I asked her if it would be okay for me to take a picture of her for my travelogues. She gladly obliged and I got the street vendor to take a picture of us. As she turned away, she said something that stuck in my mind for the rest of the day – “See you down the road”…
As I climbed back up in the van, I kept shaking my head thinking about her. Here is somebody at least ten years older to me – completely unafraid of change… after losing her husband, instead of staying closer to her sons, decided to move to an entirely new country… learn a whole new language… dedicate herself to a new profession. What courage!! What zest to live her life!!! What determination to travel the road less traveled! And how much I need to learn from her example.
I was so absorbed in her willingness to seize her life that I completely forgot to get her contacts. Now I am kicking myself. I am hoping her words “See you down the road” turns out to be very prophetic.
We certainly are all nomads in this long road called life. Sometimes, we do turn around a corner and run into somebody we had seen before…
As some poet had famously put it…
“Sitaron ko aankhon me mehsoos rakh lo
Bahut door talak raat hi raat hogi
Musafir hai hum bhi, musafir ho tum bhi
Isi mod par, phir mulakat hogi”
- Iguana in full glory Nov 30, 2013
- Swooping for a fish… Nov 30, 2013
- Sad monkey Dec 1, 2013
- “Sanjher Pakhira Phirilo Kulay” Dec 1, 2013
- Blue Heron by Rio Tempesque banks Dec 1, 2013
- Umbrella trees Dec 1, 2013
- Ficus tree Dec 1, 2013
- Unique experience! Dec 1, 2013
One of the greatest advantage of having a local guy take you around is the little known places that only locals know and no amount of literature reading would give you an idea.
We were on our way from Guanacaste to Arenal when Jorge asked if we would like to see a waterfall. We, of course, had nothing better to do – so we said Yes. An hour later, we exited the road and got onto something that can barely be called a cowpath – let alone a road. After about 15 minutes of driving over a virtual non-path, we came to a stop.
Found out from a guy sitting there that the waterfall is owned and operated by the Board of Education. The proceeds (there is no entry fee – you give whatever you feel like – and they give you a receipt regardless of the amount of the donation) go to building new schools. They have purposely not built any facilities or commercialized it because they feel that the municipality might take it way from the Board!
We walked down for about 5 minutes and came across this virtually virgin waterfall in absolutely desolate nature with nobody around. We got into the water and swam all the way to the fall. Hullor, Chiko, Nikita and I then scaled the rocks near the waterfall and went behind the waterfall. It was a little dangerous – the rocks were too slippery and offered no grip and we were afraid of slipping and hitting our head on the rock. But eventually we made it!!
That was the fun part. Then we realized that we had no towels and no facilities to change!!!! So, to show solidarity with nature, we walked into the forests nearby and changed. Athough, some of us had to scamper back once the howler monkeys started yelling!!!! 🙂
- Higher than 31,000 feet! Dec 1, 2013
On a Delta flight to Boston. At 31,000 feet.
Spirits are lifted even higher by Abida Parvin’s rendition of:
“Tu ne deewana banayaa to mein deewana bana
Ab mujhey hosh ki duniya mein tamasha na bana”
You made me a lover,
thus I am a lover today
Now please don’t make me a laughing stock
In this reality-conscious outside world
“Nigah-e-Naaz se poochhenge kisi din ye zaheen
Tu ne kya kya na banayaa!! Koi kya kya na bana”!!