not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

...More Eye Pillows!

The Purple Stitch.

...That's what I'm going to call my "eye pillow making business". I couldn't decide on colors for the stitches, so I just decided that no matter what, the stitches are bright purple. They are $10 for cotton ones (front and back cotton), and $12 for the silk (this is silk all around, and the ones that are 1/2 cotton 1/2 silk). The scent's I have are:

  • Peppermint & Chamomile
  • Peppermint & Eucalyptus
  • Lavender & Chamomile
  • Lavender w/ a hint of Peppermint

AROMATHERAPY:
The Healing Properties of Scent

  • Lavender: circulatory stimulant, boosts immunity. Of several fragrances tested by aromatherapy researchers, lavender was most effective at relaxing brain waves and reducing stress. Lavender aromatherapy comes from the lavender plant, and is believed to balance unstable emotions, put emotions back in control, and to bring logical and rationale back to the mind, helping such medically defined problems as hysteria, panic attacks and anxiety.

  • Chamomile: It has sedative properties and will bring a state of calmness and serenity. It's great when you are feeling anxious, depressed, or overly stressed. Promotes restful sleep.

  • Eucalyptus: Is extremely beneficial in its ability to treat breathing and respiratory conditions. Eucalyptus is one of the main ingredients in the commercially prepared, Vicks vapor rub. Many grandmothers knew that it was the secret to treating congestion in the chest and nose area. Eucalyptus has also shown great effectiveness in restoring mental clarity, removing confusion, and restoring a state of clearness after having head colds, or sinus congestion. It is also a great way to relieve nervous tension and anxiety.

  • Peppermint: clears sinus and lung congestion. it is an energizing scent, stimulating the senses. Mood uplifting, helps to remove mental fatigue, sharpens the senses, reviving and refreshing, improves mental clarity, concentration and memory.

Lavender & Chamomile.


Peppermint & Eucalyptus.


Lavender...w/ hint of Peppermint.


Peppermint & Chamomile.

There are MANY more colors to come...I have a gazillion vintage silk scarves that are in the process of transforming into eye pillows - so if you don't see one that catches your eye, don't worry - there will be more. If you are interested in placing an order email me at cailin.callahan@gmail.com . Woohooo, eye pillows for everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Paprika Facial

If Emily Corkill offers you an epic "Eminence Organic Lime Stimulating Masque with Paprika" I want you to RUN in the opposite direction as fast as you can. It's all fun and games until your face starts to burn...and turn twelve shades of red.




Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Anxious Energy...Breeds Productivity.

I have been super anxious. Going from my full days, mentally and physically, in Costa Rica - and returning to the winter-time paced South Jersey has thrown me for a loop. In the wintertime on the East Coast, it's like everyone goes into hibernation. They eat and get real fat, drink themselves to preservation, and then lay around. And at their defense - there really is nothing to do. Well, nothing aside from eating and drinking. All of my favorite things about the shore like fishing, surfing, clamming, hanging at the beach with my family are put on hold - until May or June rolls back around. So, with all of this restlessness due from lack of activity (add insult to injury...my damn car is broke down!) and anxious energy regarding this lack of activity and my dad's health - I decided that I needed a project. After yoga at Michelle's the other day, I was inspired by the several eye pillows that she had for savasana. Savasana is one of my favorite poses -it's also called "Corpse Pose" because you literally lay there like your dead. Lying on your back, palms facing up, uou {are supposed to} completely relax your body. After an hour of contracting and releasing poses, this is a time for the regular blood flow to return and for the body to absorb all that it's just done. Every muscle should be relaxed, including every single muscle in your face - where we hold most of our tension and stress. The mind should be clear of any thoughts, only focusing on your breath or a mantra. This pose is GREATLY aided by an eye pillow - the slight pressure it applies to the eyes, the darkness is provides, and the fragrant aromatherapy of the dried herbs in the pillow is just what is needed to fully relax into this pose. So, to calm my anxious energy - I have taken up making eye pillows...and then using them to relax! I busted out my sewing machine and the acres of fabric that I've been hording in my attic for just this occasion, and I got to work. For years I have been collecting vintage scarves and bits of fabric that I've found at thrift stores and flea markets. Also, from a sewing class in college I have a gazillion yards of the most beautiful purple silk. What I've done with the eye pillows is to do one side in the luxurious silk and the other in some fabulous fabric from a scarf or bit of soft cotton. My dad's is 1/2 camoflauge and 1/2 purple silk. My mothers is all silk, and Shawn's is all camo. The filling is simply organic Flax Seed, organic dried Peppermint and organic dried Chamomile. Others will be filled with Lavender as well. They are sassy and original and the perfect accessory for comfort and relaxation. Again, this anxious energy has been bubbling over, so I have made about 50 of these so far!! I think that I'm going to sell them on Etsy, and maybe take them around to a few yoga studios. I also have been experimenting with chic straps for yoga bags. Who knows. This could be my new calling. The person who has really fallen in love with the eye pillow is my Dad. He has been overwrought with anxiety - and with the aid of his new pillow and a breathing exercise I gave him he has been able to calm himself down to achieve some peace and serenity.



Simply learning how to take a deep, full breath can be extremely therapeutic in many situations. Deep belly breathing calms both body and mind. Deep diaphragmatic breathing also helps rid the body of gaseous chemicals and can bring as much as seven times more oxygen into the lungs as shallow breathing.


Rising and Falling Breath

Benefits: Strengthens the nervous system and calms anxiety.

How to Do It: Lie on your back with your hands resting on your abdomen. Tune in to your breath. On the inhalation, consciously expand your belly as if you were inflating a balloon. Let your breath continue rising up through your rib cage and out to the sides; you should feel the top of your lungs inflate and your collarbones rise. Begin your exhalation at the top of the lungs, so that as you release air there, your collarbones lower. As the exhalation continues-with the ribs contracting in and down-draw your abdominal muscles in and bring your belly button toward your spine. Let your exhalation be long and slow. If you are counting, try to exhale for longer than you inhale for each breath. While you breathe, keep your torso completely relaxed. Don't let the muscles in your rib cage tense or tighten as they move; simply let them expand and contract with each breath.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sweet Onion Dip, I Love You.

Ask me what I had for breakfast.
Really, I'm serious...go ahead, ask me...

Oven Roasted Sweet Onion Dip,
with potato chips and carrots.

Bah. So freaking delicious.


Chef Ro

Rochelle & Brad had Mom, Dad, Shawn and I over for dinner last night. Brad and Ro have been feeding me for years now - and Mom & Dad have had a few of their meals as well - but this was a first for Shawn, and he had NO idea that he was in for such a treat! They have spoiled me rotten with good wine, top-notch beer, and the most delectable food for such a long time now. Whatever they produce looks straight out of Gourmet magazine- perfection, all the way down to the garnish. They cook everything - Greek, Mexican, Italian....all of it. I would say though that Ro's specialty is simplicity. Simple flavors, combined to make something outrageous. She uses salt, pepper, lemon and olive oil for most everything. And don't get me wrong, I'm not "simplifying" her cooking because she uses simple ingredients - the genius of her food is that she only uses a few things...and the food is heavenly. She tends to cook French when it comes to appetizers, dips and aperitifs, which was the case last night. Rich & Delicious. Last night we had baguettes with a mild and creamy bleu cheese spread on them - baked and then drizzled with honey. Another baguette was done with a thin slice of fliet mignon, drizzled with a red wine cooli (this is red wine and sugar that has been reduced over the stove, down to a honey-like consistency). Ro roasted shrimp in the oven, with salt, pepper, lemon and olive oil and served these jumbo-delights with some homemade thousand island-like dressing. She made a scrumptious sundried tomato dip that was served alongside veggie crudites and some home-grown radishes. She made her signature hummus with pita bread to accompany, and as always - she had a big bowl of some fantastic marinated olives on the table. My FAVORITE of the evening was Ro's HOMEMADE potato chips - sliced, cooked and salted to perfection - that were served with a OVEN ROASTED SWEET ONION DIP. Oh-My-God. Let me say that again - OH-MY-GOD. It was creamy and salty and sweet and just the most fabulous dip I have ever tasted. I put it on veggies, on chips, on crackers and just on a fork.

The Chef and I - with sundried tomato dip and hummus.

And not only does Rochelle do food - but she also works in the wine industry, so we were sipping on some fantastic top-notch Merlot, in some very-fine wine glasses. Whenever I dine at their house it's like I have died and gone to heaven.


I have to get the recipe from Ro for her outstanding onion dip, but in the meantime I found a somewhat-similar recipe online.

Ingredients:
• 2 large sweet onions (Vidalia or Walla Walla), peeled and quartered
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 teaspoon salt, divided
• 1 whole garlic head
• 1/3 cup nonfat sour cream
• 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, packed
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Directions:
1.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Place onion in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Toss to coat.

3. Remove white paper skin from garlic head but do not peel or separate cloves. Wrap and seal garlic head in foil.

4. Place onion and garlic on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

5. Chop onion and place in a medium bowl. Separate garlic cloves and squeeze out pulp then discard skins.

6. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, sour cream, cilantro and lemon juice to onion mixture and mix well. Cover and chill for 1 hour.


Shawn, a SUCCESSFUL first meal @ Casa de Brad y Ro.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Big Bialetti



Woohooo, I got a BIG Bialetti!! This is particularly for Adam and Pat in Esterillos - because whenever they come over for coffee it takes a while...I need to make each bialetti separately (I only have a 3cup, which makes one cup of coffee - or 3 shots of espresso). Anyways, as soon as I landed in the states I went on Ebay and ordered myself a NINE cup Bialetti!! So exciting. Coffee makes me happy.

Pj's and Beer Holsters



My Aunt Diane, from California, sent my parents matching red pj's - with their names embroidered on them! Also in the Christmas Box was a leather beer holster. Ha. I have a feeling that my Dad is going to be living in his red onesy for the next month or so....


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas


Happy Holidays Everyone!

gifts under the christmas tree
though the best gift of all is,
being home with my family.
-cailin's christmas haiku

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Yoga for Christmas.

It's been an emotional few days, and what I really needed was yoga. Yoga makes me feel at peace with myself - it is calming and energizing all at once, and it's a great way for me to connect with my feelings and understand exactly what it is that I'm experiencing and thinking. I sent out an email to Michelle {see blog below} to see if she would be up for a pre-Christmas yoga session. She happily agreed, and we had 3 other friends join us at her home in Ocean City this morning, Christmas Eve. Michelle always puts emphasis on a "mindful" practice...meaning that we aren't just going through the motions, one asana to the next, but instead focusing our practice and our energy on a certain thought, person or emotion. I instantly knew the thought that I would meditate on and I felt Michelle sending her love and energy in the same direction. Power of the mind and of the heart is such a powerful thing, and I'm so thankful for this mornings class - the peace that it brought to me and the love that it sent to my family. Thanks so much to Michelle for obliging my request and opening up her home on such short notice!

While I was doing some research online the other day I came across the CUTEST gingerbread - in the shape of yoga asanas! I printed out this photo and made it into a card for Michelle, and thought that I would share these with you. They are made by Patti Paige in NYC, and not only are they are great Christmas gift for your fellow Yogi or Yogini - but they'd be a cute gift year-round for any occasion!

http://www.bakedideas.com/




Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Guru.

.Michelle.

I guess that you could say Michelle is my "guru". Since I began taking her yoga classes this past summer, she has been a constant inspiration to my personal practice as well as my professional practice. She has a passion for yoga that is contagious, and she was born to teach yoga. Her cueing makes impossible asanas possible, she fills you with confidence in your asanas and incorporates the theory of yoga into her classes - enriching the overall experience. She keeps a yoga blog, which I've mentioned before, but I feel like it deserves some special attention. It's not just about the asanas, but also about a healthy diet and lifestyle. You'd be silly to not take advantage of the knowledge that is at your fingertips, so go ahead:

http://yogababymomma.blogspot.com/

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's Beginning To Look Alot Like Christmas...


Arrived home just in time for a huge snowstorm. Yesterday morning I was put to work shoveling the driveway and sweeping off the cars. It steady snowed all day yesterday, through the night. Our Christmas Party was a bit smaller than planned, only the daring and adventurous making their way through the blizzard all in the name of a Callahan party. We ate and drank and ate and drank, and half the party slept over. We woke this morning for more shoveling and breakfast! I made my green scrambled eggs {portobella mushrooms, onions, spinach and asparagus} with homemade scrapple on the side and a little bowl of chili. Boom. The days plan is to play in the snow, eat, watch movies, eat, shovel, eat, watch movies and eat. I'm coming back to Costa Rica 15 pounds heavier....with a huge smile on my face.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cold Weather, Hot Chocolate



After a day of traveling I am now sitting in Miami International Airport...ALMOST to my final destination, filthy Philadelphia. It's chilly here, yep - even in Miami! But I gotta say, I was thankful for the chilly weather - if only for a few minutes - so that I could enjoy a $3 Starbucks Hot Chocolate. Damn...deliciouso! It's little things like hot chocolate that I appreciate about being home, because hot chocolate in hot weather just isn't the same. Also, as much as I've been trying to get into the Christmas "Spirit" in Costa, it's difficult while you are wearing a bathingsuit and sweating all day. Sure, Tico's decorate with christmas lights and festive christmas trees - but nothing puts me more into the holiday mood than my parents house on the holidays - it looks like ol' saint nick just threw up christmas all over the place! Top to bottom! Christmas lights, christmas music, and christmas decorations galor. Did I mention that my ma makes egg nog that has so much booze in it that it will literally put hair on your chest and fur on your tongue?! Soooo goood. So... Ho Ho Ho, I think that I'm going to enjoy being home for the holidays. Extra hot chocolate...MmMmM.

La Dron's Strike Again!!




CSI Samara!

My last night in Samara we were robbed. The thieves got away with some sweet gear - about 18,000$ worth!! 6 Mac Laptops, several ipods, speakers, external hard-drives, cash and a boatload of clothes... they even took all of the guys flip flops from outside and the boardshorts they had hanging on the back of chairs. Poor Dietz - they took everything he owned, except for his Green Man suit and the clothes that he was wearing - boxers and a shirt that said "Babes and Waves" in neon writing. They took Lenny's whole bookbag - wallet, passport - everything. None of the guys speak Spanish, so I stayed an extra day to be an interpreter. Well, typical Costa RIca - we get down to the police station and they act as if we are the first people to EVER get robbed in Costa Rica. I can't explain it to people who haven't been here - but for those of you who are from Costa or frequent this beautiful country, you know that something as basic as filing a police report in a thieve-filled-country can take a WHOLE DAY. We were here, we were there - we talked to this person, that person and that persons friend. Brian took matters into his own hands, going around to some locals and ruffing them up and talking to his good friends who live in town and know whats up. The "OIJ" which is similar to the FBI came to our house and dusted for FINGERPRINTS. HA. We all just laughed. I'm totally bummed for the guys, but glad that none of us ran into the robbers...who knows what could have happened. The bad guys had been watching the house and waited for us to go to bed - and anyone who entered a house with NINE full grown men in it - one of them a very scary Brian Bourgeios - well, they must have been armed - cause there is no way that they had the cajones otherwise. Another quote for Costa Rica is "Welcome to Costa Rica, you've just been robbed." Have a beer. Pura Vida.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

You Can't Have a PLAN in Costa Rica...but You Can Have a BEER.

Been having a good time in the house. I can't stress enough what a sweet place that Brian got - and how stoked I am on Ben paying for all the food, just letting me cook up whatever I want. It's like a mini bed and breakfast....and I think that I'm pretty good at it and that this is my calling in life. Surfed Camaronal today -- got ripped again by Ben and Brian for being a "BD"..."Barrel Dodger". Ha. Still, got some super fun waves and Nate got them on film. Woohooo. I am supposed to leave tomorrow after our morning surf. This was the plan. But...the problem is that we are in Costa Rica, and in Costa Rica you cannot have a plan. Waves should stay this way - small and fun...and their friend Johnny, who is opening a sushi restaurant, is coming over tomorrow and making sushi for all of us...IF I decide to stick around. The holdup is my yoga lesson on Thursday morning. I hate to let down my students, so I'm going to try and find a balance. Hmmmm -- I will make my decision tomorrow after the surf.

Pura Vida.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Marbella.


SO - last night we surfed Camaronal - and it was well overhead with no one out. Surfed til sunset and then headed back to the house where I made some dinner. Earlier that day I made a breakfast that Ben was stoked on...so later on he insisted that I went to the supermarket with him. He basically just followed me around with the baskets and let me buy anything and everything, and he paid for it. I was excited to have all of this food to cook and eat, and was even more excited that I didn't have to pay for it. Anyways -for dinner I whipped up some salad and pasta. MmMmMm delicious. We retired early...no need to repeat our previous night of rum and more rum. I was asleep by 8pm. This morning we were all up at 5am and prepping for an hour ride to Marbella, a spot a bit north of Nosara. The ride was bumpy and river-filled, but we arrived to perfect head high beachbreak with only 3 people out. Ben (Bouregious) is a pro-surfer and was a little bummed about the "small" waves, but inside I was doing jumping jacks!! THANK GOD! I didn't want to surf death barrels, and from the looks of it Marbella gets pretty insane, not exactly prime conditions for a log. Ben and Brian were giving me lessons on how to get barreled, legitimately and in a fast, firing wave. I wasn't so successful with this, but I did get some super fun waves and the cameraman Nate got clips of a few of em. Woohooo!! Tonight two more people arrive and for dinner we are having fish tacos!! Pura Vida.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rum...with a shot of ginger ale.

Rum...with a shot of ginger ale.

Last night I had 3 rums, on ice -- with a splash of ginger ale and a wedge of lime. The most I've drank in a while...sleep deprived and stressed from 3 point turns, my 3 drinks put me over the edge and right to bed. The search for waves begins....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Samara.

I arrived in Samara, and I didn't kill or maim anyone. I still stand strong on my love for automatic cars, this stick shift shit is simply not for me. Atleast this clown car that I am renting for way-too-much-a-day has power steering and power brakes....but everytime I think that I have this whole "stick shift" thing down I pull some dumb shit: for example....

-passing a truck, putting car in 5th gear to do so, after passing - going back down to 4th but accidentally put into 2nd gear...car clearly doesnt like this and freaks out and the truck which i just passed almost ran me over.

-missing my exit...going down an empty dead end street...trying to make a 3 point turn and stall, 6 times. thats 2 times for each point in the 3 point turn - and by the end of it there are 3 cars beeping at me -- clearly not as amused as i was at my inability to drive in reverse.

I could go on, but for my parents sanity I will stop there. Mom and Dad (and Shawn) - I promise...I'm not an AWFUL driver, just a couple slipups, and I'm still ALIVE!!! woohooo!!!

I arrive into Samara in 4 hours and miss Brian and the video guy, Nate, by 10 minutes. Kill well over an hour outside of the amazing house I will be staying at. House locked up - I'm held hostage by my car which makes Adam's golf cart look like a luxury ride - because I don't want hoodlums to steal my shit.

My internet won't work on my ancient laptop - so I'm forced to borrow some internet time from one of the boys - who are more addicted to the world wide web than I am!! Holy shit.

Gotta go. Pura Vida. Pray for waves, cause right now its FLAT.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yoga in Da Ghetto.






Monday and Thursday morning Yoga Classes are a HIT!! I'm so proud of the regular Yogi's who have been coming out and to the NEW Yogi's who have discovered a love in Yoga! Today Brett brought along two of his surf students, telling them that this was part of the surf lesson! hahaha. Oh Lagarto, you are a paddling MACHINE! It's all causa yoga - and I think that you are lookin skinnier already....







I'm so glad that the class is a success and I'm sure that it will only get better. There's only one trouble maker in the class, Adam -- always talking about how different asanas ("poses") affect his balls, but that's okay - we just get into the Zen Zone...and well, zone him out.

Oh Adam...

{Also being zoned out...the very loud, very smelly trash truck "Okay class, very shallow, short breaths...}


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hasta Luego Atenas John!

John and I: Taking a break from Orejas and
snacking on some Passion Fruit in Dominical.


John Barret Lancaster left Costa Rica today. For the past two years he has been living in Atenas and spending as much time as possible down the beach here at Esterillos Oeste, camped out at the one and only, Soda Mary. John is headed back to the States (Georgia) for the next 4 years to become a chiropractor - and he plans to return a hopefully start up a practice in the neighboring town, Jaco. John - you will be missed...but we know that we will be seeing you again!

Me, John and Pat -- party hats @ Mikey's Bday Fiesta.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lester Earl.


Lester Earl McConnell is coming back into town this afternoon and I am SO excited. It's just not the same around here without him. Can't wait for our afternoon surf..."hya hya" and pushups. Gotta Love Les.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Oh Me, Oh My...OREJAS!




I know that I've mentioned it before -- and despite trying to "eat healthy", I simply cannot get enough of OREJAS. They are sweet, but not too sweet. They are delicious with your morning coffee, just right as a mid-afternoon after-surf snack, perfect dipped in some hot tea - or used as a spoon for vanilla bean ice cream. Soooo delightful. Atenas John introduced me to this highly-addictive, completely-unhealthy and ridiculously inexpensive treats. It's all his fault. Orejas are thin and kinda crispy...and some of them (depending upon the bakery) they are almost chewy on the bottom where all of the sugar has carmelized. Mmmmmm!!!

"Orejas” (’ears") are similar to Spain’s “palmeras,” France’s “palmiers,” and America’s “elephant ears.” The latin american pastry is flaky and sweetened and can look like either “palm leaves” or “ears.”


Atenas John, the ear-addict.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mikey's Birthday.

Last night was my main man Mikey's birthday!! He partied....a lot....and when I borrowed the guitar from the band to serenade Mike with a song, he decided to enjoy the tune from the floor - a safe place. We all had a blast and the Chupacabra's put out some amazing tunes.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIKE!!!!
* FYI : Monday's (dec 7th) Yoga @ El Vago's has been changed to ***9am****

Another Day, Another Doctor

Goddamnit. For as healthy as I eat, the supplements I take, and all the yoga that I do you would think that I'd have an infinite clean-bill of health. So you'd think. Atleast this time it was nothing serious (like when I was stranded in the Amazon), but we are back on Tico Time - and that means that you wait...and wait....and wait. Anyways, one hour and a hundred dollars later (we aren't in Ecuador anymore) I had my prescription in hand, was fully drenched in sweat, and headed back to Esterillos. Oh, it's not just me that's broken, the carborator on the Land Cruiser needs some TLC...aka it needs to be rebuilt. Not too worry, I have the only brand of car in Costa Rica that is easily fixed.

Shawn and I made curry shrimp over rice with a tomato salad for lunch, and now I'm going surfing. Vavavooooooom.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

YOGA : Esterillos Oeste

Yoga Lessons are ON.

Starting this MONDAY (December 7th) at 7am.

*****

Where: El Vago (Esterillos Oeste),
on the opposite side of the fence where the pool tables are

When: MONDAYS & THURSDAYS 7am
This time is subject to change: influenced by the waves and the tide. Pretty soon there will be a board up out front of Brett's surf shop stating any time changes. Also, there will be emails sent if times are changed, if you'd like to be a part of this mailing list then email me with the subject line YOGA : cailin.callahan@gmail.com

How Much: Donation
This is something that I stressed over. I certainly can't charge what I charged in the states, and I don't want to discourage anyone from coming if they are low on cash - yoga is for EVERYONE - so I decided to put out a "LOVE BUCKET" and you can make a donation of your choice. I'd like to recommend around a 2mil donation, but use your discretion.
What to Bring: Yoga Mat, Blocks, Pillow, Strap
All of this is completely optional, aside from the mat (if you don't have a mat, don't fret...I have a few that are available to loan). Blocks, a pillow and a strap are just nice accessories to have. A small throw pillow helps aid some different asanas (postures), and the blocks and straps help deepen poses as well. Again, if you just show up empty handed this is fine - and if you show up with a mat EVEN BETTER :)


Yoga should be done in a peaceful, clean, spacious area -- with that said, it's somewhat limiting in Oeste. Yoga can really be done anywhere, I've taught it on the beach in Jersey, done it on a sailboat in the Galapagos, and been cramped into a congested downstairs basement -- but VAGO has been wonderful enough to let us Yogi's take over the other half of his bar. This spot is ideal because it is a flat surface, right on the beach - with a roof, rescuing us from the sun and rain. As I said, the 7am time may be subject to change on days that there are waves and the hide tide is early -- but it shouldn't interfere too much. I hope to see some familiar (and unfamiliar) faces this coming Monday, and remember - YOGA is for EVERYONE. All skill levels are welcomed...from first timers to the advanced Yogi. Different variations of asanas will be demonstrated and I urge the beginners to listen to their bodies and take it slow.

Namaste!

Yoga can be done anywhere, and I'm thankful that VAGO has let us use his place...

Yoga atop the volcano Sierra Negra, Galapagos Islands


Yoga along the hostal walk-way, Banos, Ecuador

Yoga @ Hostal Tiana, Latacunga, Ecuador

Yoga on a post, Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands

Yoga aboard the sailboat Sulidae, Galapagos Islands

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

mini update.

Had some of the crew over last night for a Greek Feast...MmMmMm good. This morning had Pat, Maria and Adam over for a "test" yoga class. Well, all went pretty great and I think that I'm going to start holding class twice a week. Pretty sick right now, still fighting off snot and a fever...slept for 5 hours this afternoon! BAH. Trying to get it together and get healthy...high season is right around the corner. Tonight is the Full Moon Party @ LowTide Lounge and tomorrow is MIKEY'S BIRTHDAY!! I'm going to bake him a key lime pie...MmmMm. God, I love food.

Going to sign up for some SPANISH LESSONS...enroll in school or private lessons, so for all of you people in Costa Rica - if you have any recommendations, fire them at me!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Yo Regreso para DOMINICAL.

Hey Hey Hey. SO, after a huge thanksgiving feast @ El Vago I rolled myself back to the Soda and somehow managed to surf...and have a great session. It was early to bed that night...at Pat's, even though I had Annes, cause I was a little scared of the dark - it being a new place and all! PLUS, I definitely wanted to spend my Thanksgiving with Pat, silly to sleep all alone in my new casita. The next morning I woke up early, packed a bag for Dominical (did I mention that I STILL have yet to unpack my Ecuador bag?!?) and trekked down the hill to the Soda. Noah, (Atenas) John and I were hopping in John's car for a 3 day trip to Dominical. John had never been and I was glad to be able to show him around my old stomping grounds. The bumpy, awful 3 hour drive was an hour and a half of smooth sailing on pavement!!! What a WONDERFUL surprise!! We were arrived in no-time and set up camp @ Tortilla Flats....20 bucks a night for the 3 of us, right on the beach. We surfed some not-so-great-waves and then I was sound asleep by 630pm. Seriously. I woke up the next morning at 6am. Did some yoga, had coffee and gallo pinto at my favorite SODA NANYOA with John, and then we headed up to Billy's house. The boys were obviously blown away by the beauty of Bill's oasis, but still wanted to go for a surf in the (crappy) waves in Dominical. I opted to hang at Bill's and head over with him to Jeff and Kris's house while he worked on their car. I played with their dog rita, read my Yoga magazine, and shot the shit with Jeff...comparing our Ecuador/Galapagos stories (he was there in the 70's.....). Met up with the boys later at Billy's and I made us a big dinner: a nice salad, linguine with homemade sauce, bread and roasted garlic in olive oil. We had OREJAS for dessert. You are going to hear a ton about Oreja's...so I'll prep you. "Oreja" means EAR. This dessert is just flour, sugar and honey but holy christ it's delicious...and it somewhat resembles an ear. Anyways, having slept for 12 hours the night before, I was ready for a night out...and hoping to see some old friends. The 3 of us went to Que Nivel, my friend Taylor's bar, and hung out with the crew...so good to catch up over a few beers. And though we said we weren't going to go to the disco, Roca Verde, at midnight John and I were hopping in the cab en route for some dancing!!! We got home a little after 2 am, woke up Noah - pissed off Noah...both the boys went to sleep, and continually ripped awful farts from then until 8am that morning. Our last day in town, today, was the most successful surf day. It was windy, but the waves were fun and fast and a decent size. I said goodbye to all my friends and then hopped back in the car, back to Esterillos. Rolled into town, stopped at El Vago, had a club soda and some gratis Chicheronnes and then up to my little casita to FINALLY unpack and do some fucking laundry!!! BAH. Tonight I'm headin to Cameron's for dinner...he's making a pineapple curry, and then tomorrow Adam and I pick up Shawnie at the airport. VaVaVOOOOM.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving, Oeste Style.

I woke up this morning, totally overwhelmed by all that I was thankful for. This year I am going to dedicate this thanksgiving blog to Eseterillos Oeste, though it certainly extends much further than here, I feel a special connection with this place and these people.

I am thankful for Pat. After a month of traveling with me, I have been camped out at her house, in her bed, in her space...she is truly family. I tell her my thoughts and dreams and fears and she listens...with an open mind and open heart. Í'm thankful for her CONSTANT positivity and her ability to see the best in everyone. I am thankful for Mikey. He drove 3 hours to the airport to pick me up when I arrived from the states...along with my 9foot double board bag, my guitar, and my huge bookbag. Bah. THEN, a month later, he drove back AGAIN to the airport to pick up Pat and I. He is always there when you need him, and as apathetic as he always comes across, he is infinitely stoked and he certainly lives up to his nickname, THE LEGEND. I'm thankful for Soda Mary and the whole crew that makes up this wonderful group of rifraf. Brett. Lagarto. When Pat and I pulled into town late at night, everyone was waiting for us - cold beer, burgers and smiles and hugs. Brett, who drinks like a goddamn fish and has a heart of gold. I'm thankful for the love he gives me, the meals he cooks me, and his neverending want to make ya happy. I'm thankful for ADAM, that motherfucker. Love him to death. He hauls my ass around in the car to wherever I need to go, makes up some MEAN french toast and hashbrowns, and has let me store my boatload of shit in his spare bedroom. He is constantly busting my chops, but it's always out of love. I'm thankful for Cameron...for "Cam and Eggs", for his UNDYING PASSION for the water, he is a wave-slave through and through. I'm thankful for his shared love of food and cookies with tea...and I'm thankful for his soft-spoken kindness and constant generosity. I'm thankful for Noah, his simplicity...love of waves and weed, and for his inspiration in the water. I'm thankful for Adam's BEAUTIFUL girlfriend Maria, for welcoming me into the town and instantly as a friend. I'm thankful for her being patient with my shitty spanish and for her smile. I'm thankful for CRAZY STEVE, who despite being absolutely insane is an amazing, interesting, complex and talented person. I'm thankful for his rendition of ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER, his extravagant stories of being on the road with rockstars: sex, drugs and rock and roll, and for his passion of raw food -- I'm currently eating some figs he grew that are soaked in raw honey. BAH. Delightful. I'm thankful for Lika, little lika, the dog of a local gardener in town. She is small and fat and somewhat resembles a mini-pin, but she is so happy all the time that her body wiggles all over the place. The other dog in town that makes me so happy is STAINER, the local cooks dog who sets up his home wherever he pleases. Sweet to the core and one of the best dogs in Costa Rica. I'm thankful for Anne, allowing me to set up camp in her home for the next 5 weeks, for free. I'm thankful for every little act of kindness that everyone in this town has shown me, and there have been MANY. I'm thankful that despite being thousands of miles away from my family that I love so much, I still manage to feel at home. El Vago is having a thanksgiving feast today, and I'm thankful for the community that I will share it with.

I'm thankful for Oeste...for offering up a family in every sense of the word.
I am THANKFUL.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I'm back home in Oeste and damn, it feels good to be back. Mikey picked us up from San Jose and when Pat and I pulled into Oeste there was a welcoming party waiting for us, as well as a few cold beers and 1/2 pound monster burgers. We were deliriously tired so the party didn't last too long. I stayed with Pat...the poor woman couldn't shake me if she tried!! I bought some food for her fridge and promised to cook her delicious meals as well as some free yoga classes. We get along like 2 peas in a pod, so it's no problem really. Since I've been back I've been trying to catch up with the crew, log some water time, and edit the 3,000 photos that Pat and I took! Well, when we were sitting on her porch today, reminiscing about our great trip and trying to figure out where I'm going to live and work in town, Anne came walking up the stairs with a proposition. Anne is from Canada, but has lived in Costa Rica for years now. She is heading home for the holidays and her house will be empty for the next 5 weeks...and she needed someone to watch the place. SO, for the next month I will be living in an amazing place for $40 (I have to pay the utilities), and now all I need is to find a job! Wohooo, pura vida is in action.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Galapagos Part 2

So...I´m not going to write day by day descriptions...I´m just going to fill you in on some of the highlights during the last 4 days aboard the Sulidae, sailing the Galapagos, with some of the most wonderful people.

Poop.

We had a slight poo problem. Actually, it was a MAJOR poo problem. The toilets aboard the sailboat were pretty interesting, and add some poo into the bowl and it was just no good for anyone. The first two days I managed to flush my morning poo´s with the assistance of Pat. God bless her. The pump to flush the toilet is right next to the bowl, so as you are frantically pumping you are simultaneously face to face with the dirty deed. Ew. I have never been so intimate with poop in my whole life. I finally stepped on deck and desperately asked if anyone else was having flush problems, and luckily my dear friends and neighbors aboard the sulidae, Peter and Shane, were having some serious problems as well. They had to call Floro to bail them out once or twice, but said that with about a half hour worth of time, plunging the toilet with the toilet cleaner, adding water and pumping - all at the same time - you could manage to get most of it down. Shane and I often got into discussions about our FEAR to go to the bathroom. When you wake up at 6am, having to shit like you wouldn´t believe, we would lie in bed on the brink of tears...knowing that our sleepy morning would start off staring at last nights dinner. !Que malo! Anyways, on day 3 we started having serious problems and I had to call on Floro to flush for us more times than I´d care to share. One time I left a nice note on the toilet (he cleans the rooms while we were on excursions), other times I cried and apologized, and sometimes I just laughed hysterically because really...who knew that poo could be so stressful!! Shit! Literally...shit! Pat and I laughed about it every morning as we battled the toilet, clenching our sides and gasping for air as we laughed about how frustrating and funny and totally gross our situation was. And every day that we left, having left a present for Floro to clean up, we were worried that he wouldn´t be able to look at us the same...but everytime upon our arrival back, we entered our room to beautifully folded towels! (side note- floro didnt fold anyone elses towels...just ours. and not only did he fold them, but they were folded into swans, hearts, manta rays, snakes and more!).

Peter...and his several ATTACKS

We were in town, killing some time and all of the sudden here comes Peter, covered in blood!! He cries that he was attacked by a tree, and though Pat, Shane and I love him dearly we all could not control our hysterical laughter. No good deed goes unpunished, and when Peter ran to retrieve a stray volleyball from the game going on at the courts, he ran face first into a vicious tree!! He´s lucky that he didn´t break his nose or break his teeth, and even more lucky that his bestest bud and bunk mate is a doctor. When we got back to the boat Shane began nursing him back to health. He gave him ibprofuen, and set up a cleaning station...hot water, salt, and neosporin cream. He cleaned out the inside of his lip, cleaned up his nose and nursed the wounds. Poor Peter...battered and bruised and bloody, though he still managed to choke down two plates of food for dinner.

Attack Number 2. Despite his face, Peter accompanied me snorkeling in Libera (no one else would go in because it was too cold). We saw several turtles and a couple seals. Well, it´s mating season in the Galapagos, and the male sea lions are very aggressive. As we were getting out of the water, the male sea lion on the beach became very aggitated and then quick as lightening he jetted into the water and bit Peters ass!! It all happened so quickly, and once again - knowing that he was alive - the 3 of us laughed til we cried. Peter, the big German in his tiny speedo, bitten in the arse by a sea lion. What are the fucking odds. Once again, upon our return to the ship, Doctor Shane busted out his tools and cleaned up Peters buttocks. We have pictures to prove it.

Unfortunately traveling through the Galapagos with a tour guide is a little like being on a field trip in preschool. Over supervised and completely obnoxious. Well, we finally see a Blue Footed Booby and Peter dashes into the water so he can get a closer view and some good photos. Our guide is having a heartattack because Peter is in knee deep water and he may ¨cut his foot on a rock¨...mind you, Peter is 32 years old and has traveled the world 5 times over. She was calling for him the way that a kindergarten teacher scolds a child. Peter held strong though and trekked on to get some amazing photos. While we were walking away the guide said ¨Well, he´s been attacked by a tree and a sea lion, anything is possible with that boy.¨ Hahahahaha. Oh peter.

Our Final Days

Our last two days aboard the Sulidae were the best. We got EIGHT new people on board, most of them rather dry, but we got two AMAZING people, Walter and Ellen. Walt and Ellen have lived on their sailboat for 14 years now, traveling the world...they are amazing people with amazing stories, and hopefully they will be sailing into Costa Rica sometime this winter for a visit. The 4 of us became quick friends with them and the laughs continued. The two final days were in San Cristobal, the best of the islands. We had sunshine for TWO WHOLE DAYS, a nice alternative to the drab weather we´d been having. Also, we got lots of water time. We snorkeled at some amazing spots...with sharks, turtles, manta rays, and more seal lions. Peter wasn´t attacked and all was well in the water world. We had some time in town so we rented bikes, and within 5 minutes we stopped at the bakery for some pastries and cold milk. In town on the beach were all the mothers and their little babies...so we saw them nursing, which was precious. At night we took the panga back into town with Floro. We were the only people in the bar, but played some pool and drank lots of beer.


The 4 of us left Saturday morning, and the guide was glad to see us go. I think she was more used to old, rich ¨bird watchers¨who didnt want to wade through rocky water to take photos, and who relied on a strict schedule. We laughed all the way back to Quito, where Pat and decided to forgo Otavalo and spend the rest of the day with the boys. We checked back into Secret Garden, my FAVORITE hostal, and then we all met up at Peters´friends home thats just here in town. We had some drinks, went out for some pizza, then had a sad goodbye. Two wonderful gentlemen, whom I feel VERY blessed to have met. Pat and I are already planning our trip to Venezuela this January to visit Peter. Pat went right to bed after dinner, and though that was my plan, my friends at Secret Garden felt otherwise. I played some music and then Ravi and Mindy twisted my arm into loading onto the party bus to new town to go salsa dancing. I had a BLAST dancing, though I will say I´m just not crazy about ¨structured dancing¨ such as salsa. Came home, did some yoga in the computer room with Ravi at around 2am, and then slept til NINE the next morning. I love Ecuador.

Pat and I are now at Secret Garden and ready to leave town tomorrow. Tonight is some world domination card competitions, music and maybe some yoga. Tomorrow night is beers back in Esterillos Oeste with the fam. Pura Vida.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Galapagos Islands : Part One

It is 6am, our 3rd day aboard the sailboat Sulidae. It is rainy and overcast, but still we are in a magical paradise. Im lying in my bed, top bunk, looking out over the sea watching sea lions play, swimming around and under our boat.

Let me begin by making some introductions.

1. Koch Ki: also known as COOKIE, he is 21years old from Japan. He is traveling South America for 3 months. His name means HAPPY TREE in Japanese and he has been a delightful part of our group. His english is so so and he doesnt speak spanish, so I give him huge props for taking part in this adventure.
2. Peter: is a 32 year old German, who now lives in Venezuela. He is a well traveled, educated son of a Diplomat and is a gentlemen-to-boot. He is funny and clever and great to have aboard.
3. Shane: is from Ireland. ¨The doctor¨, or ¨the Healer¨ as Peter calls him, is completing his residency in Australia but he is currently taking 4 months to travel around. He is quite funny, even if most of his jokes are at my expense.....´the american´.

These are the 3 that Pat and I met at the airport ...we will spend all 8 days with Peter and Shane, and 5 days with KochKi before he leaves for Peru. Also aboard the Sulidae are 2 couples...a couple from Spain and an older couple from Germany. The Germans are nice, though Andreas´ wife doesnt say too much...she speaks very little english and no spanish. The Spanish couple came off as pretty rude at first, but after an afternoon excursion to the bar Jesus came alive and Lara is slowly coming around as well. Two names that I will mention A LOT are WALTER and FLORO. Walter is the chef and Floro...well he does everything except driving the boat and taking us on our daily excursions. Walter and I became close friends within minutes of me boarding the ship. I hover around the kitchen, and I dont think that he minds. We talk about food and life and free time...and he talks me through whatever it is that hes cooking for us. We have had some amazing meals...lots of fish, cooked to perfection.

DAY 1: we flew into baltra and took a taxi to the isalnd of santa cruz. here is a pretty busy town where most boats begin their journey. we visited the charles darwin center, got a briefing about the galapagos and saw some enormous freaking turtles. It is a hot and sunny and beautiful day. We swim off the boat and all get to know eachother.

DAY 2: arrive to FLOREANA at 630am. it is a bit overcast and the days activity is snorkeling! peter, shane and the spaniards take off to go scuba diving,so its just pat, me and the germans...and the wife is scared of the water. that now makes 3. the water is chilly, but once we get in i am surrounded by schools of fish, i swim alongside a huge seaturtle for a distance and then lay on my back next to a seal who is just taking a little float. later in the day, once everyone returns from diving, we take a hike up to the mountain on floreana. the town is pretty dry and dark and a little depressing, but we are entertained with herds of cows and the seals playing on the dock. dinner was rather exciting....we had JAPANESE lessons. everyone had managed to smuggle some booze onto the boat and we all had a nice buzz going. Jesus, the spaniard, began to warm up after a drink or two and our Japanese lessons turned into a haiku session.
(koch ki wrote all of this in traditional japanese, the pronounciation in english, and what it meant)
a saying that we used often that night, and continued to use for nights to come was KAN PAI which means ¨dry glass¨...the Japanese equivelant of saying cheers. before eating you say ¨ITADAKIMASU¨ and after your meal you say ¨GOCHISOUSAMADESHITA¨. The haiku that Koch Ki created for us was beautiful and when translated meant ¨this meeting is life a dream i dont forget¨. it was a magical night.

night is full of stars
boat full of japanese, laughter, rum, fanta
magic fills our sails tonight

***day 2 i decide, i REFUSE to accept instant coffee...SO, i bust out the coffee that was gifted to me by Andrea at the hotel coco in Salinas, I sacrifice a tank top, and I get crafty. Everyone thought that I was crazy but really: what is more important, a meesly tank top or REAL COFFEE? Floro insisted on helping me, and for the rest of the trip it is our morning messy ritual of making coffee aboard the rocky ship.

day3: this is the day that things began to get more interesting. we arrived at the island of ISABELA to day...by far the most beautiful island. it is rainy and cold again, damnit...but we are just going with the flow. we go horseback riding in the morning up to sierra negra volcano and then hike to see the rest. the hike was hellacious and boring, but one we got to the top the view was amazing. we are all pretty tuckered out and ¨touristed out¨...so we tell our guide that we dont want to be guided anymore...we want to find a BAR on the BEACH and we want to DRINK SOME BEER! With majority favoring the bar (the only one opposed is our guide) we find the most amazing, charming, most wonderful bar in all of the world. We laughed and drank and sang along to the wonderful cheesey american music playing, with some bob marley thrown in here and there. We go back to the boat, only for Floro and I to hop BACK onto the panga to go back to town. His daughter lives on this island with her husband, who is a guitarist...and everyone on the boat was desperate for some music! Floro and I cruise through town, he is introducing me to everyone as his ¨esposa¨ (funny because floro is an old man) and then we pick up the very old, very out of tune, pretty awful guitar. I cant complain though, and the kindess that everyone shows me warms me up from the inside out...so we head back to our ship, ¨guitar¨ in hand. Aboard the ship drinking has continued. Pats drinking some godawfulcocktail that we named PEACH ECSTASY and the mixers are getting more odd and more awful as the night goes on. I play every song in my repitoire and its like a bunch of drunken sailors as everyone tries to sing along. Jesus and I get into a deep conversation about Spain and FOOD. Im completely absorbed with all that he has to say. This is how they do it in Spain:

  • wake up at 7am. breakfast is coffee.
  • 11am is CAFE con PINCHO (pincho is a very small snack...croissant, little sandwich, something).
  • between 130 and 3pm is LUNCH. You take 2 hours for lunch.
  • done work, home by 8.
  • 10pm friends coem over. start dinner. go to bed btwn midnight and 2am.
  • Also, there is dessert after EVERY meal. They drink their coffee black and usually a cocktail after every meal, even lunch. Jesus is a biologist by trade and a music enthusiast in his heart.

Day4: Our last day at ISABELA and the SUN IS SHINING!!!!! in AM: sharks. white tipped reef...over 20 of them in canal. snorkel: well, snorkel is busted, so i get some great practice just holding my breath. shark swims close to me, i literally climb over shane who is swimming next to me. penguins, fish, and SEA LIONS. One sea lion in particular. Lara finally warming up, lets me borrow snorkel. Laugh uncontrollably as my new sea lion friend swims circles around me...pressing his nose up to mine, and swimming past me and over me and under me and eventually brushing up against me. laugh more, swallow water. for it only being my 2nd time snorkeling, i am the LAST one back into the panga. shane, koch ki and i lay on deck like seals...soaking up the sun and taking a nap. LUNCH. more turtles...once youve seen one youve seen them all. eh. we are supposed to go snorkeling again, but its gotten chilly and windy and the best bar ever is only a few steps away. pete and koch ki go snorkeling...we have PARTY TIME. 2 for 5 mojitos...load us up. everyone is pretty buzzed...dancing, singing...pat has 3 umbrellas in her hair - Jesus has rasta dread hat on...oh the madness. Back to the boat, diving off the stern. laugh laugh laugh, choke on water laughing so hard. shrimp for dinner - so delicious- more booze - more laughing- debating - POLITICS...lightened by music. Sleep on a VERY rocky ride as we make our way back to santa crus to say goodbye to koch ki.

Day 5: I am currently sitting at the internet in santa cruz. we returned to deliever koch ki and tonight we leave for san cristobal...it will be another 4 days before i get back to internet...and now im going for ceviche and beer. life is good.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ecuador Day 14: The Galapagos

¨They¨ say that Vegas is the town that never sleeps - obviously ¨they¨have never been to Montañita...because this town certainly takes the cake.


day 13 continued...

So at 5pm I meet the band at Caña Grill for ¨band practice¨. I know, less than 36 hours after my arrival in town and Ive already adopted a local group of musicians. We decide on 4 songs I will play with them...peggy lees FEVER, india aries VIDEO, desrees YOU GOTTA BE, and PROUD MARY. By the way....I will be playing an ELECTRIC GUITAR - totally foriegn, but to my surprise, totally wonderful. As the boys said, ¨Es muy suave Cailin!!!¨ With FEVER i had congas, the piano on lead, and bass. VIDEO was the same. YOU GOTTA BE was the full band: congas, the kit, bass and lead guitar..as was PROUD MARY. and all i gotta say is WOW. WOW. AMAZING. Who would have thought that the most talented people who have ever backed me would be a random group of musicians from a little dirty surf town in Ecuador. It was an amazing experience. Wonderful and unique and very special. When I finished, the boss lady walked me over to the bar, which only a has a few RESERVED seats, sat me down and said FREE BEER. Okay with me! The boys went back on to continue with a GREAT show...tons of energy that penetrated everyone in the crowd. Once again, I didnt return home until 2am...and I was one of the FIRST people in the whole town to retire!! (day 14) At 330am our alarm went off, time for Galapagos. We waited outside for Bisetes arrival and still, at 4am, there were hordes of people in the streets, music blaring from speakers. People young and old, locals and tourists. 4 in the freaking morning!!! Bah. ANyways, it took us 2.5hours in the taxi to get to Guayaquil. The airport was a clusterfuck from the beginning - I probably lost about 3 pounds while walking laps around the small airport. Once we FINALLY got things situated and arrived at the gate we both had a cup of coffee...though what we really needed was a freaking IV of caffeine. Once aboard the plane we noticed we were sitting in fancy shmancy FIRST CLASS. Holy shit! Im probably the greaziest person to ever grace this seat! We figured that there must have been some kind of mistake...so we just kept quiet. Well, 20minutes into the flight and we are still here...lounging in our plush chairs with the leg rests. You cannot predict the flow and wow...what a fucking treat!!! Galapagos, here we come...in STYLE.


Quickie update: we arrive in to the main island and meet our traveling partners. 3 young guys: one from germany, one from ireland and one from japan. A solid crew of well traveled gentlemen. As soon as we get to the boat Im overwhelmed with love for this charming sailboat...and I wanna swim. First I jumped off the side, and then did a huge dive off of the bow!! HOly mackeral. We took a small panga back into town and visited the Charles Darwin Center and saw some huge turtles and talked about what the next few days will have in store. Pat and I hit up the supermarket to buy some cheap boxed wine to smuggle onto the boat. We are blessed with a great crew, and I have obviously already become very close friends with the chef. Today for lunch we had fresh wahoo, a great salad, and cauliflower-mashed potatoes. MmMmM. Love it. Wont be back to land for atleast another 2 days, so Ill report back then.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ecuador Day 13

Yesterday, day 12...after the internet cafe Pat and I cruised around our new town. It was really muddy and beginning to rain again. This town kindof reminds me of Dominical...very young, bohemian with a bunch of people who came here for vacation and just never left. Anyways, Pat and I shared some nachos and a few beers. Electricity was out, AGAIN, so a shower was out of the question. While we were finishing up our food we heard bongo drums coming from down the street...and soon thereafter we saw someone throwing fire. So, LA CUENTA and we were off. A crowd quickly gathered and then the party was moved to the bar inside. There was 3 drummers...Jorge on congas, a dreaded guy on the djembe, and someone on kit. It was AMAZING. Plus, we had a guy throwing fire and dancing around. Very cool, very entertaining. Like every other town we have been in while in Ecuador, everyone here is super friendly. Pat went off to bed and I opted to stay...our room is so close to the bar I would have been laying in bed listening to the commotion, so I just decided to ADD to the commotion. In between the drum sessions there was a great DJ which was nice. I mostly just listened and chatted with a few people. I ended up talking with Jorge, the conga player, and when he discovered that I was a musician he INSISTED that I play with them the following night. A group of us went outside and a jam session was started up....I learned how to play some salsa music as well as Buena Vista Social Clubs CHAN CHAN!!!! WOohooo. Went to bed around 2am and the party raged on outside til about 430. This town is definitely the opposite of Banos, where everything closes at 8pm. Woke up this morning and yogaed on our great front porch. I didn't get started until 8am, but thats okay..everyone was still asleep!! Pat and I had breakfast and then walked down the beach to check the waves. Though it is still raining and overcast and somewhat chilly, I figured that I should try to get in a surf session while I'm here. Waves looked about chest high and kinda fun, so I rented the best board that was available in town... a 9 foot balsa board, a shape that I would never ride but was the best available. Turns out that the board wasn't too shabby, it was actually a little fun! After one wave the head honcho in the water yelled to me "Benga BENGA" ...so I paddled over to him. He introduced me to everyone in the water and told everyone not to drop in on me and to give me a wave if I wanted it. Not bad for my first session out there on a new board. Surfed for 2 hours until my lips were purple and I was covered in goosebumps. The electricity was back on so I hit up the ATM and took a HOT HOT SCOLDING HOT shower...delightful. Pat is out and about trying to find someplace that gives pedicures...I wish her luck. I'm interneting now and then Im going to lay on the hammock on my porch and take a nap. All this fun is making me tired. Tomorrow at 4am, Bisete picks up us out front of the hostal and we are off for the GALAPAGOS ISLANDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 8 days in Paradise. Pura Vida.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ecuador Day 11 and 12

¨¨You can´t predict the flow.¨

Pat and I were on 3 buses for 11 hours today - only scant minutes between one and the next. It was awful and long and frustrating. After many detours and changing of plans we ended up 2.5 hours south of where we originally planned to be,...and traveled 4 hours longer than necessary. If it was not for the EXTRAORDINARY kindness of a complete stranger on teh bus, Pat and I may STILL have been traveling from bus to bus, town to town. This older Ecuadorian gentlemansat across from me on the bus...he yelled at a food vendor for trying to rip me off and made small conversation while on the bus. When we arrived in Guayaquil...2 hours late...all of the buses for Montañita had left for the day. Basically, we were fucked. BUT, this guy talked to bus drivers, policemen and vendors...finally finding us a bus to a town along the shore where we could catch a cab 2 hours away to Montañita. Did I mention that it was now 830 at night? He told us over and over and OVER again to BE CAREFUL! He told us that the taxi drivers have no heart and to trust no one. When we walked us to the bus he talked to the bus driver who he told multiple times to look out for us, and to help us find a safe taxi upon our arrival. If I have not yet mentioned this...it is ESSENTIAL to speak spanish in Ecuador, it´s not like Costa Rica where everyone speaks some english. SO, a little over 2 hours later we arrive in Santa Elena. Pat and I both decided that arriving in Montañita past midnight would not be safe and that nothing would probably be open, so we opted to take a taxi 20minutes away to Salinas, the ¨Miami Beach¨ of Ecuador. We were SO lucky to have stumbled into COCO´s Hotel and Restaurant. Everything is very expensive in Salinas, but we lucked out with a double room for under 40 bucks. Andrea, at the front desk, was amazingly helpful and assured us that she would help us get situated the following morning for a taxi. Pat and I grabbed some local seafood down the street and then passed out. I went to bed exhausted and pissed and upset....a full day of traveling, all the time and money wasted, and I was definitely missing Baños---BUT, as a fellow traveler said in Latacunga, YOU CANT PREDICT THE FLOW. Little did I know that everything happened for a reason. This morning, day 12, we woke up only somewhat defeated and decided that coffee was the first thing to do. Andrea was already at the front desk and when we asked for coffee she obliged....with FRENCH PRESS COFFEE...beans from the GALAPAGOS islands...with steamed milk, a bar of dark cocoa, and a biscotti. This cup of coffee alone was worth the 11 hours of bus rides. Definitely the BEST cup of coffee in south america. Just FYI: Andrea is the owners daughter....probably in her late 20s. She is beautiful and funny and eccentric...fluent in English, lived and studied in Switzerland, and was now back in Salinas to help run her families business. She told us to return in an hour...she was going to call a bunch of taxis and negotiate a good deal for us. Well, she delivered. Besite was our driver, an older Ecuadorian man who spoke a fair bit of English. He would drive us the 2 hours for 50 bucks...and would act as a tour guide. Our ride with Bisete took 5 hours. He stopped when Pat asked to take photos, he took us into every little fishing village between Salinas and Montañita, and took us to an AMAZING little gem where we had lunch of fresh oysters on the half shell, oyster ceviche, fresh grilled lobster, a shrimp tortilla, patacones, rice and BEER. BAH. You couldn´t wipe the smile off my face. Bisete was such an interesting man. We talked about his life, his family, Ecuador, the government, the people, the poverty and his dreams. We went to a little aquarium in a poor town, visited HUGE beautiful rich cathedrals that were in towns so poor that people cannot afford food. We passed shrimpfarms and statues and visited a museum of artifacts from the first indigenous cultures. Such a rich day. We talked about the culture in Ecuador...most girls marry at age 13 or 14...17 or 18 if they are educated. Bisete said he will let his daughter do whatever she wants...ONCE she is a PROFESSIONAL. We talked about the people in these towns, who only make enough to eat, barely able to put food on their back. Some people recieve money from the government, about $35 dollars a month, which is basically a drop in the bucket. There is oil everywhere here, which is great for the country of Ecuador, but is only benefiting the corrupt government. Bisete is a BUSCADOR TE SOROS...a treasure hunter. His dream is to go to Spain and study old manuscripts and logs of treasure ships. He is bright and kind and unfortunately will never have enough money to do all that he deams. SO - our shitty shitty shitty day turned out to be quite wonderful, and now I am sitting in the internet cafe in Montañita. Montañita is not quite what I imagined it to be...and its rainy and muddy with no sun in sight. BUT, Im holding onto the notion of going with the flow, because in the end...it all works out.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ecuador Day 10

I biked 45 kilometers.

Holy Shit.

And I didn´t die.

Wow.


SO....yesterday (which was day 10....couldn´t blog about it yesterday cause there was no electricity in Banos) I woke up, did yoga, had breakfast with Lou, Pat, Bar, Kathryn & Duncan. Bar met the Australian couple while traveling earlier in the month, and they met up with us. Duncan has mountain climbing fever, so he departed after breakfast to summit the tallest mountain in Ecuador. Anyways, breakfast at the same fabulous place as the day before, and then we were off to pick up our bikes. The night before when we were at the baths, we fell into a conversation with a local Ecuadorian guy. He owns a place in town that organizes tours, canyoning, climbing etc., He told us that the bikes were 6 bucks...Bar refused, bargained and then just said ´Well, I am paying 5 dollars, and so are my friends. So have 5 bikes ready tomorrow for 5 dollars apiece¨ and that was the end of the conversation. You must understand my friend Bar, she picks a price that she´ll pay and she refuses to pay a dollar more...even if it means bargaining for hours!! hahaha. The next morning after breakfast we headed to Paulo´s place and there were 5 bikes sitting out front. We handed him 25 bucks, put on our helmets and we were off. He offered to ride part of the way with us, which was very nice...after all, I haven´t been on a mountain bike in a very, very, very long time....I only tried to STOP the bike about 10 times by peddaling BACKWARDS like I do on my grandma-bike at home! The beauty of the 60 km bike to Puyo is that a good majority of it is downhill, BUT there is also some not-so-inviting uphill inclines that are just unfriendly. I would be cussing up a storm, sweating to death, moving about an inch a minute, and then after 3 minutes of agony, I would coast for about 6minutes. We stopped once and climbed down to an epic waterfall, and several other short stops to just take a breather. Once or twice we had to get off and walk our bike, and once we had to peddle through a very dark, very scary tunnel. Bar´s bike broke half way through so she hitched a ride home, Lou´s chain popped off about three quarters of the way there, so we coasted a bit further and then called it quits. Afterall, we had been biking for 6 hours. We walked to the opposite side of the road and waited for a bus. Buses here will take anything...you will see live sheep standing on top of a bus...somehow tied down. Big cotton candy machines are loaded atop, and they certainly take bikes. We were picked up by a pickup truck though, and for about 30 minutes the 4 of us (kathryn, lou, pat and i) and our 4 bikes were crammed into the bed of the truck. Bar and I had decided earlier in the ride that we were going to make a big dinner that night...so when we got back she had already gone to the market. We set the table beautifully and made homemade salsa and guacamole, I roasted garlic in olive oil for dipping our delicious bread in, Bar made a huge huge delicious salad and I made some dressing...and of course, we made sangria. We also found some delicious whole wheat bread with walnuts which we ate with some dutch cheese and gouda. LIFE IS GOOD. Ben, a frenchman who was lucky enough to be placed in our dorm, was invited to dinner as our guest....and he couldn´t believe his eyes!! hahaha. We put some music on and their was a ton of candlelight (no electricity!) and we sat by our fire to enjoy our delightful meal. Afterwards, sore and full and exhausted, we all stumbled down to the hot baths to soak our sores away. Bah. I love it. I could spend hours at the hot baths just going from hot, to cold, to hot hot to hot to cold. hahaha. Now, at 6:30am, I am being bad and skipping yoga...trying to catch up on some internet time before Pat and I take our 10 hour journey to MONTANITA. I do NOT want to leave Banos, but I think that we have to...otherwise our 10 hour journey would be for one day at the beach, which seems quite ridiculous...and in another 4 days we will be flying to the GALAPAGOS. I´m pretty bummed to be leaving Bar...we´ve become incredibly close this past week, but shes one of those that I will remain friends with for years to come. Onward and upward to the BEACH!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ecuador Day 8 and 9

Every day is better than the day before.


Yesterday, Day 8, we arrived in Banos. We were lucky to catch a direct bus to Banos, not having to transfer in Amabato! Bar and I grabbed seats next to eachother and exchanged ipods for the ride. We bought some sweet empanadas on the bus for 50 cents, and cuddled with a mans puppy for some of the ride. The bus ride to Banos was the most beautiful ride yet. Huge mountains topped with snow, smoking volcanoes, blue skies and beauty beyond belief. Once in Banos we checked out a few hostals and opted for Hostal Santa Cruz...what a gem! Cute, small, with a fire place in the center of our kitchen. Free internet, a full kitchen, hammocks and clean comfortable rooms with a private bathroom and shower (HOT WATER, and good pressure!!!!). Lou, Bar, Pat and I are sharing the dorm which is nice. We walked through the whole town which is cute and homey and friendly. While walking up to the waterfall, amazing waterfall, we ran into New York John, whom we met at Secret Garden in Quito. He told us that we MUST go to the hot baths at 6pm, so we hurried to Cafe Hood for some delicious grub, and then to the baths. Wow. You pay 2 dollars to get in, and I SWEAR that every single person who lives in Banos was there. You go in, shower, and then there are 3 pools: freezing cold, hot and extremely extremely hot. All have natural minerals in the water that are said to heal the body. We went from cold, to extremely scorching hot, to cold, to hot, back to scorching, then to cold, then to hot...then shower and home. We chatted for awhile but then retired to bed. Now, starting day 9....the most epic day yet.

Day 9: I wake up at 6am and do an hour of yoga outside in our beautiful garden. Following that we go to breakfast in town at Cafe Rico and had the most amazing breakfast ever, and it was only 3 dollars. REAL coffee with milk...and it was GOOD coffee...freshly blended pineapple juice, big whole wheat buns and buttery croissants, and yogurt with granola and fruit, drizzled with honey. THEN, Bar Lou Pat and I headed to Maria´s for horseback riding. We got 4 amazing horses and went riding with Marias husband, Jamie. It was the 4 most spectacular hours of my life. WAIT till you see the photos. There was a huge waterfall, giant canyons, we drank water straight from the stream and soaked our feet in the cold water running down the mountain. I´ve never seenPat so happy...and shes ALWAYS happy. Bar too had the most amazing time...all of us, smiling so wide that our cheeks hurt. Lou, who is 62, hadn´t been on a horse since boyscouts...but he had a great time as well, just a bit sore..... After the horseback riding we went and scheduled MASSAGES. And now, you are going to think that I´m exaggerating, but it was the BEST massage that I´ve ever had...and Pat, who has had many massages, agrees with me. When Bar walked out she looked like she was ready to just float up to heaven hahaha. It was a dreamy walk home. FUCK. Just amazing. I love Banos. I decided this afternoon, perched atop one of the highest mountains on a horse, looking out over this beautiful town, that NEXT year I am cutting one month off of Costa Rica and I´m going to spend it here in Ecuador, in BANOS. I was talking with Jamie about living with a local family, and he said I could rent a room from his sisterinlaw for 30-month. Everyone here speaks spanish...very very little english, so I think it would be a great learning experience. ANyways...gotta jet now, heading to the hot springs to soak soak soak. Later we are coming back to the house for some sangria I made this afternoon...and tomorrow, we bike to PUYO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

VIVA ECUADOR! VIVA BANOS!