Red next to yellow, you’re a dead fellow. Red next to black is a friend to Jack.
Jack has no friends here.
the details of a random life
I have recently started on a new journey of trying to become a healthier version of myself. I had a frightening realization that I am no longer a spring chicken WHAT?! and I have opted to not go down the road of aging without a fight. And so I am fighting. I have two mottos that I carry with me when I am in the middle of a workout that I am sure was designed to send me to my death, when I am sure that I. Absolutely. Positively. Cannot. Finish. I repeat to myself the words “Keep your head up” and “Finish strong”.
And on that note, you really should always keep your head up while vacationing in Costa Rica, as you never know what you may find up in those trees. *So totally and seamlessly brought those two topics together, didn’t I? No? Listen people, it’s a real struggle, this whole blogging thing. Take what you can ;)
I have visited Costa Rica on three occasions now, and on each occasion I head home with eyes that are exhausted. Because during the trips they are busy busy busy hunting for the one critter I absolutely adore. The sloth. These little stinkers are So. Hard. to spot. Unless you live in CR apparently. Then you can see them without trying, while speeding down a highway, while they are hidden atop trees, tucked into the greenery. Seriously. It seems they are always just out of my grip.
On our first visit we visited a botanical garden and when we informed our guide of my desperate desire to see a sloth he got incredibly excited and rushed us to a particular spot where there is always a sloth. I was giddy with excitement. I was going to actually get to see a sloth! FINALLY!!! Except apparently today was his poop day. And he took a trip down from his usual spot. To poo. *sigh*
On my second visit I did get to see a couple sloths, but they were always just a touch too far away. I couldn’t get a good picture. I couldn’t see them well. I wouldn’t be greedy, I was still thrilled to actually see one in the wild. But.
So when we told Geovani that really, all I wanted to see was a sloth, and he said he guaranteed he would get me so close that I could touch one, I balked. While driving around with him, he quickly pointed out a three-toed sloth travelling along a power line. Three-toed sloths are harder to find, so this was pretty exciting, and honestly, I was pretty excited to have seen it, even though it was out of the reach of my camera. And then we carried on with our day. And saw lots of stuff. Minus one thing.
Until we were charging down a busy highway. “Stop! BackBackBack. My friend, I have found you your sloth.” Wait. Wha? Where?
Now imagine going 65ish down a highway, and being able to spot this from afar…
HOW I ask? HOW?
Geovani gave me exactly what I wanted, and then some. I could not believe we were thisclose to a sloth!!!! GAH! He was awesome and grabbed hubby’s phone in order to take video for us…it is one of my favorite pieces of memory from this trip…hearing Geovani’s voice sweetly talking to the sloth, and the sloth just looking so intently at the camera ♥
He helped my climb onto a barbed wire fence and balance precariously in order to get some of my favorite photographs I have ever taken…
As we finished up Geovani said, “Now let us see the baby sloth.” Ummmm. I’m sorry…..wha? He walked us further down the highway where he had seen a baby as well while we were driving by. I MEAN.
This little bugger was MUCH harder to photograph (I may have walked away bleeding from being attacked by a tree and barbed wire) and in the end I had to walk away satisfied that I was able to spend time with him, even if I couldn’t be in love with the images.
So here’s a confession. I sometimes say I have a love/hate relationship with photography. Honestly though, I am head over heels in love with the actual process of taking a photo. I love how, the moment I look through the viewfinder, the rest of the world is lost to me. I only see what is on the other end of my lens. I love the challenge of getting The Shot. And knowing the moment when I have got it, then pushing to get something even better. I love all of that. I could make out with it on the couch for hours. I just would like to break up with all that comes after.
I hate loading the photos into the computer. Culling them. Editing them. Cropping. blah blah blah. I despise sitting at the computer for hours on end. I just want to snap my fingers and be done with it all. And I have the need to point out that this is not to say that my images require lots of editing…I am a firm believer that if an image requires any significant amount of time to make it look presentable, than it should just be deleted. But raw images need some basic attention. And when you have a gazillion to edit it sort of makes me want to run away. Which is apparently what I did with our vacation photos from *cough* eight months ago *cough*
I didn’t even realize my avoidance game was so strong until I went to blog about a day from our trip…and realized that I had only edited about 15 of the hundreds of photos I had taken from the trip. oops. So I have busted our the Swiffer and I am evicting these wretched dust bunnies. Have you ever tried getting dust bunnies off of frog skin?! Not easy.
Once in a while, I still spend time with my camera ;) It is rare, but it does happen every now and then. I made a quick jaunt out to the yard with some new extension tubes…and realized that I don’t really know how to shoot with extension tubes lol. But I will admit, it was nice having the weight of the camera in my hands again.
…look at that baby croc on the sidewalk!
Walking back to our room after dinner one night, I saw something up ahead in the dark. When vacationing in a country that has so much nature to offer, one always is prepared. So out came the flashlight. And the camera. And BOOM! Just call me the crocodile hunter, because this girl found us a croc!
We were SO excited, and introduced ourselves to our new friend. I am not sure that he was totally thrilled to be distracted from his peaceful evening, maybe we came on a little strong, but we just couldn’t help ourselves. We showed him around our room. He loved the curtains but felt the artwork on the walls should be updated. We discussed his plans for the future and decided that though he desperately wanted to meet our friends the following morning, we felt he may not be the best roommate Costa Rica had to offer. Plus, the cleaning people may not appreciate his stay with us too much either. So we swapped phone numbers and made plans to meet at some other time, and then gave him directions to the river bank out back…
Until we meet again!
There are days that, as they are happening, you think to yourself, this one is good. This is the kind of day that will forever be imprinted on the memory banks as a Good Day. This is one of those days.
I fretted over this vacation for some unknown reason. I made the planning so much harder than it had to be. Leading up to the trip I allowed stress to overwhelm me and I just felt like surrendering. So many things were wreaking havoc on my mind and my emotions and I really was ready to just hide in bed at home while hubby went off for a solo vacation. It is so very easy for me to allow myself to be held hostage by my sneaky little brain. However, for my brain, Costa Rica acts as an anesthetic of sorts. It is why I love the country. It has given me some of my most favorite days.
This day was one of them.
We had planned a day with our guide Wilson, who drove us from the airport the day before. There was a question of whether his friend, and nature guide, Geovani would be with him. As it turned out, he was going to spend the day with us. And what a day it was.
We perplexed our new friends in the beginning. They kept throwing out options of things to do for the day. Zip lining? No. Hot springs? No. Welllllllll…..what do you want to do? We want you to show us your country. We want to see snakes. And bugs. And ummmm, if you could please find me a sloth, I will love you forever. And then Wilson and Geovani showed us the greatness that is their country. There are so. many. things. I want to write about this day. But I am afraid I would bore you. I am afraid you would stop reading because there would just be so. very. much. Just know that I adore this day. It goes down as One of Those Days.
One thing that we desperately wanted to see was a red-eyed tree frog. You will see these beautiful frogs adorn many advertisements for the country, however they are actually fairly uncommon and difficult to find. Unless you have Geovani by your side ;)
There are times as a photographer where you capture an image. And then quietly do summersaults in your head. And maybe say with a little attitude, yeah. I took that. This is one of those images. I could have thrown my camera away after capturing this*. This. This was the shot I came to this country for. Wash my hands and call it a day.
*Thankfully, I did not throw my camera away. phew! Because I had another summersault moment later in the day :)
and the eggs…
and what about THIS moment???????????
Ummmmm. Yeah. That happened.
Remember “if you find me a sloth I will love you forever“? How about if you find me a sloth on the side of the highway going a gazillion miles an hour and it is so close I can touch it I will totally marry you? And then you find me a baby only minutes down the road? You’re a dreamboat.
Wanna know what baby sloth fur looks like? It looks like this…
It is a sad day that I have no photos of me getting these photos. Because I was sort of impressed that I have more physical prowess than I thought. There is a very delicate balancing act occurring here, on barbed wire, while precariously wrapping my arm around a tree branch and crossing my fingers that it will hold me as I lean back to get these shots. I might have been bleeding just a little bit after this little photo shoot…but so totally worth it!
This pretty sums up what my face looked like as I climbed back into the van…
I could have gone home right at that moment and been so insanely happy. But the day must go on! And it did. And continued in greatness, both big and small. My mind was blown by just how much we saw, and how much we experienced, in such a short period of time. I can say that I did not want the day to end, and as we hugged the guys goodbye, I truly felt like I was saying goodbye to friends.
Forever and a day ago (or maybe it was about 6 months ago) I went on vacation. And I didn’t tell you about it! WHAT?! I hinted. I posted a couple pictures. And then I got in a fight with my blog. We stopped talking for awhile after we called each other some unfortunate names. But then my brain started wandering back to those lovely vacation days, and I thought it was quite rude of me to not share those lovely memories here. *ok. can we just be honest? I really want to go back on vacation, so this allows me to re-live these wonderful memories. There. I said it.
For some reason, this vacation induced So. Much. Stress. beforehand. Our last trip was planned incredibly last minute. As in, tickets were bought before I even received my renewed passport. We had little time to plan, which in normal circumstances really should cause my OCD to break out in hives. But no. And then this trip? With plenty of time to plan? I wanted to throw up at times. I stomped my feet a lot. The packing?! Only I can make vacation planning so very….grrrrrrr.
I won’t even try to tell the tale of my arguments with a traffic cop at the airport. Or my attempting, yelling really, to just pay the airport guy for my oversized luggage already. I have never had someone NOT want to take my money! Our start to this trip was not a pretty one. And then there was the little stop at customs upon our arrival. Trying to explain our luggage situation. I am pretty sure if it wasn’t for the man carrying our luggage for us, we would have been short some items. A $20 bill can get you far in a developing country ;)
Really, the only luggage I truly care about on these trips is what is on my back every day…the cameras.
Well. that and my motion-sickness medicine :) For a girl that gets carsick *very* easily, these are a must on these trips!
One of our biggest concerns while planning this trip was nailing down transportation from the airport to our lodge. After not much luck, we discovered our friend’s coworker’s cousin just so happened to have a tour company. I love Costa Rica! Someone always knows someone who can help you! So we contacted Wilson, and made a new friend. He picked us up at the airport. Happily brought us on some quick errands we needed to do before hitting the road. And made the looooong drive much better by being in his company. He brought us to a local soda for lunch and it was delicious, and we made some furry friends while there as well. He took us on some detours and made the drive fun, instead of a tedious drive from point a to point b.
While we were eating lunch Wilson had the owner make us these plantains…these were the most delicious plantains I have ever tasted! Best I could decipher, they are simply boiled. That seems too easy for the amazing flavor. If anyone knows the secret to these plantains, I will be your new best friend!!!
We finally arrived at our lodge, Arenal Lodge, and made tentative plans to meet up with Wilson, and possibly his friend, the following day, depending on the weather. The weather was cooperative for us, and our first full day in Costa Rica was more than I ever could have asked for…
Just for a taste of the greatness…this was the view from my bed. I mean!