Takes Two to Mango…
“Taste every fruit of every tree in the garden at least once. It is an insult to creation not to experience it fully”.
– Stephen Fry
Have you ever had a bite of the perfect mango? It is life-changing. A juicy, ripe mango is the most satisfying thing I have ever eaten. I didn’t think I could top the experience of the perfect pineapple, but now I’m in the midst of a mango obsession. I scour every store and fruit stand we pass for the perfectly ripe, ready-to-eat mango.
Mangoes are king of the fruit and have historically been known as a symbol of life and happiness. They are one of the most popular fruits in the world. More fresh mangoes are eaten around the world every day than any other fruit. Mango trees, also known as “wish-granting trees”, are discussed in different theological writings. Buddha himself has acknowledged the special, peaceful quality of a mango tree, and is known to have meditated in lush mango groves.
One afternoon I was cutting up a mango when Andy was at the beach. It was, as each one is, the best mango I’d ever eaten, a record sure to be broken by tomorrow’s arrival. Each bite was pure ecstasy, melting in my mouth. I was trying to save Andy some of this magic mango, so he could appreciate its perfection…but I couldn’t stop eating it!
I managed to get some self control and saved him one perfect bite. When he got home and I handed it to him, he savored it, rolling his eyes in ecstasy. He paused, looked around the room, as if searching for more, and says “That was the best thing I’ve ever eaten. We need to get more of that immediately.”
So off we go, again, in the hunt for another perfect mango…
When life gives you lemons…throw them back and yell “I wanted a mango!”
Run for the border…
We’re running for the border, but not to Taco Bell. To Nicaragua. If you are living in Costa Rica, but are not a resident, you have to leave the country every 90 days to renew your visa. These trips are known as “Border Runs”.
Nicaragua is the closest border to Samara, so we load up the forerunner with our friends Kalin & Eric for our 1st Border Run. They have both done quite a few border runs and know the ropes, so we’re glad to have them along. We left early so we’d be able to cross the border, come back and make it home by dark. (We hired someone to dog sit Sophie for the day so she wouldn’t be home alone.)
We are lucky and make it to the border in less than three hours. The lines are short and we fly through the process, minus a few bored people who try to briefly harass us and question our paperwork.
Everything is much cheaper in Nicaragua. Andy buys a handmade hammock from a guy for $11 (they are $30 in Costa Rica). We then stop in the duty-free store to stock up on half-price booze. Most alcohol is imported into Costa Rica, causing it to be twice as expensive, due to import taxes. Even the local beer in Costa Rica is about $10 per 6-pack. In Oregon I don’t mind paying $10 for a 6-pack of delicious ice-cold microbrew, but I won’t pay $10 for six knock-off-crappy-pee-tasting-wanna-be-budweisers. EW, that offends my soul.
A 12-pack of Nicaraguan Tona beer is only $9 once you cross the border, and bottles of vodka and rum are around $8 each instead of the usual $20+. You are allowed 6 bottles of liquor per person, so we stock up and will have more than enough to last until our next border run, and through the upcoming holidays and family visits.
Buying 12 bottles of good-quality booze for just over $100 in Nicaragua = priceless.
On our way home we stop at a jungle bar we’ve driven by many times, that Andy’s always wanted to stop at. We order cold drinks and enjoy the view of the lush jungle valley and the sound of a nearby waterfall. Andy and I spot two rare green macaws soaring through the jungle valley, calling to each other as they fly by.
Our jungle bar view:
After getting home we decided to celebrate our quick and successful border run with dinner at Hotel Giada with Kalin and Julie. We order a delicious thin-crust pizza with gorgonzola, jalapeno and onion. Then we head out to karaoke night at The Flying Taco. It was a fun-filled, memorable evening full of new friends, bad singing, cheap beer, and drunken dancing.
If you’re not barefoot you’re overdressed...
nelipot (n.)– one who walks barefoot
“Coming from a farming background, I saw nothing out of the ordinary in running barefoot, although it seemed to startle the rest of the athletic world. I have always enjoyed going barefoot and when I was growing up I seldom wore shoes, even when I went into town.” – Zola Budd
It’s very common to see locals walking around barefoot in Costa Rica. The bottoms of their feet are made of hard, worn leather, and they feel no pain as they effortlessly glide over the sharp rocks and shards of glass littered amongst the gravel roads. Boys sprinting, families walking, girls skipping…all barefoot. Maybe that’s why Costa Ricans seem to have a deeper connection to Mother Earth. Going barefoot is grounding. Walking barefoot is like being radiated with the heartbeat of the ground with each step you take.
“When you walk with naked feet, how can you ever forget the Earth?” – Carl Jung
Walk barefoot in the sand, or the grass, and feel the sunshine on your shoulders. It feels like freedom. Happiness is walking on the beach with naked feet. You were born barefoot for a reason, so take off your shoes and get your feet on the ground.
Be water, my friend…
“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless. Like water. You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee
Our bodies are 72% water. Every living thing is made of water. Water is the driving force of all nature. Water is life. Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine. The water cycle and the life cycle are one.
“A drop of water, if it could write out its own history, would explain the universe to us.” – Lucy Larcom
We are not a drop in the ocean, but the entire ocean in one drop. Together we are the ocean. The sea, life’s biggest playground, awaits. Floating effortlessly in the salt water, watching the cloud shapes lazily tumble across the teal sky above, is bliss. You can’t hide from yourself in the water. Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone.
“I want to be like water. I want to slip through fingers but hold up a ship.” – Michelle Williams
Saying goodbye to Samara…for now.
We are winding down our last week in Samara, before we move to Playa del Coco for November. We’re excited to check out new beaches, towns, and waterfalls, but are sad to leave behind this special place and the friends we’ve made. It’s nice knowing we’ll be back for December and January, but it’s still sad to leave the life we’ve made here, even if only briefly.
When we return in December it will be a different town, in the midst of “busy season”, which we have yet to experience. We’ve heard stories of packed beaches, crowded bars, no tables at our favorite places…so we are savoring the laid-back, mellow month of October, where the town feels like ours. We’re spending our last week here doing our favorite things: eating at our favorite restaurants and trying new ones, spending lazy days at our favorite beaches, killing time at our favorite beach bars with our favorite people.
Our last night here happens to fall on Halloween, which is also the opening of a new bar downtown: Media Luna. There will be a costume party, along with a live band and a D.J. later in the evening. We’ll have to make it into a mini going away party for ourselves.
Hasta Luego Samara, you’ve been good to us! Try not to miss us too much...
Love is my religion…
“Spirituality is about being true to your soul. Are you a kind person, getting joy from your existence, causing no harm, and doing good to others? Love is the ultimate religion.” –Dr. Brian Weiss
On a recent morning beach walk, there are hearts all around me. Everything I see is in the shape of a heart: pieces of coral, shells, even patterns in the sand. I watch five wild horses playing in the surf. Two are touching noses, sharing love kisses, and the outline of their bodies forms the shape of a heart.
“Act from the heart – the true, loving heart – not the head. When in doubt, choose the heart.” – Dr. Brian Weiss
It’s a clear message from the universe that love surrounds us. It is everywhere, in everything. But we must choose to see. What surrounds us is what’s in us.
Only love is real.
“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand”. –Mother Theresa
Kari Pinkerton Silcox
It would be a tragedy to die, having never really lived. Which is why my husband Andy and I quit our jobs, sold our house and decided to chase our dreams. We moved to Costa Rica without a plan, and this is the story of our adventure.