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A new blog: a new experience

I was told I needed a blog. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…now a blog. I was born in the ’50s. This means I’ve had a lot of world experiences, met quite a few interesting (and uninteresting) people. It also means I have opinions. I rant. I rave. Sharing my views with you, the reader,  will allow me to avoid the eye rolls and deep sighs from those I live with. 

Last week I attended my first GCLS Writers Conference. Yes, I was a Con Virgin. Been a long time since I was a virgin at anything. The conference was outstanding. Meeting so many great authors and loyal readers gave me a thrill! Meeting my Wicked Sisters brough new friends into my life. Wish we all lived closer. The presentations provided a lot of  information designed to help me grow as an author. After listening to several author readings I have definite room for growth. 

I’m enrolled in the GCLS Writers Academy 2017-18. I fully expect to learn more and develop my craft. 
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My first novel, Heartland, is available on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and Wicked Publishing. You can buy a paperback or an ebook. 

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The last day

My list included monkeys, sloths, wild parrots, toucans and, of course, baby turtles. I saw everything! The toucans were too far away for a good picture but I knew them by the shape their beaks. That racoon was a feisty one. He spotted a backpack and went for it. Folks had to play tug of war to get their bags back!

Arenal

Yesterday we took a bus to a lake, a boat across the lake and another bus to La Fortuna. La Fortuna is in the shadow of the volcano. The town is small with lots of tourist attractions-bars, restaurants, Souvenir shops. 

The Resort offers a welcome change from the bunk beds and cold showers. Both the room and the bath are massive, especially with only two to a room. The first thing we did was take a long, hot shower!

Now we are on an open air bus headed to an indigenous village, Maleku,where we will plant trees. 

The Maleku people were 23,000 strong when Columbus arrived. Columbus killed many. Nicaraguans invaded, discovered rubber trees and killed many more. The Maleku population was reduced to 200. Now the tribe numbers 650, but they’re all related. They live on 3,500 acres but only have control of 24% of that area. The forest means life to them. 

The government has tried to assimilate them by offering assistance IF they move to cities, speak Spanish, learn the culture. Their native schools teach Maleku history, culture and language. 

Much like the Native Americans, the change in diet has shortened their life expectancy. 

Our guide expressed his community’s belief is Live your life for you. Do not internalize other people’s’ negative attitudes. We are all the same. We all have hair, eyes, noses, mouths. They remind me of Native Americans in so many ways. 

The Maleku believe each person possesses a spirit animal. At eight years old the child participates in a ceremony to discover the animal. They also have Shamans, medicine man. The red macaw (ohlah) is sacred and represents family union because they mate for life. 

After our tour we planted a tree to help the eco system.

Off again.

Next leg of the journey begins today. First a bus ride, a boat ride across a lake, and another bus ride to an actual hotel. Hot showers and a proper bed await therein. Trips like this allow me to appreciate the luxuries we enjoy at home: hot, AC, (mostly) great roads, huge grocery stores. Here the water has been cold. No AC. The roads vary-okay to unpacked with huge pot holes. Stores carry limited items and may be far away. 

Baby Turtles!

So far, I have watched two turtles laying eggs. It is amazing how hard she has to work. She digs the nest, delivers a hundred or so eggs, then buries the nest. After all that she makes her way back to the ocean. In pre-historic times the turtle could grow to the size of a car!

Last night, I had the opportunity to watch over 100 babies hatch. We carried them down to the ocean in buckets. There we took turns plucking them from the wriggling pile and placed them on the sand. Then we stepped back and watched. 

First they turn in circles, implanting on their birthplace. Fifteen years from now, the females will return to the same beach. After that they head for the ocean. It was amazing to watch. 

This morning at breakfast, I considered a journey to Galapagos. At the same moment, One of my fellow tour members said “I think I’d fancy a trip to Galapagos.” Simpatico!​

Second Day

The shower and sink water is cold most places. The bath in the hostel had no shower head. The water exploded from the pipe, blasting you with cold water. It also doused the floor. It also quit half way through the shower, then came back on. 

The bus picked us up and drove to the offices of the tour company where we went through orientation. We each received a t-shirt stating our status as volunteers. 

We headed out again and drove to Wal-Mart. Yes, I said Wal-Mart. It was a hugh store with major appliances. We bought towels and snacks. The drive to the next destination was approximately five hours. There are other American businesses in Costa Rica, including Outback.’, KFC and Subway. 

Our destination was a small town with a turtle conservation program. The town’ population approximately 400. The town is involved in saving the turtles. 

For lunch, we stopped at a restaurant located next to a Macaw sanctuary. There are 880 species of birds. Since I own and live parrots I appreciated seeing these beautiful birds in the wild. I also saw a lot of Brahma cattle. 

When we arrived in Junquillal we once again were assigned four to a room and again found bunk beds. This time we each had a lower bunk, a minor blessing. It also has only cold water. There were outdoor showers as well as indoors. Chickens and dogs wandered the roads and yards. 

Breakfast, lunch and dinner has included beans, rice and vegetables. Meat was also available. The coffee is strong and grown locally. 

The woman in charge gave us an orientation about what we would be doing.  After dinner, we went to a nearby hotel for drinks. 

Costa Rica: Pura Vida

I arrived in Costa Rica on Sunday after two relatively short flights.The line   for customs appeared long; however, the customs people expedited. The wait was 45 minutes. 

The tour is for 50 and older. We are the first group. Once I located the Bamboo rep, I was off to my hotel. Well, the hotel was actually a hostel. I met the other women in my group. Two Aussies, three Brits, one Canadian and three Yanks. We soon learned our sleeping arrangement was bunk beds and four to a room. We mentioned this to our guide, Elisha. 

We had sangria, cheese, bread and spreads as a welcome. Later we walked to a bar/restaurant. Since the menu was in Spanish we asked the security guard to assist us with ordering. He spoke English fairly well and was friendly. 

San Jose reminded me of the Philippines. The style of the buildings, the rough streets and broken sidewalks. Even the vegetation is similar. 

The Costa Rican people are good-looking. They have a diverse background. The original mestizo, the Spanish, then later Italians and free Blacks all blended to create Ticas and Ticos. They are a friendly people with a laid back attitude which is summed up by their national motto: Pura Vida. Pure Life is relaxed and chill.