The Mercado Family

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Costa Rica Part II

We left the next morning, after drying our clothes in the sun for a little while from our rainy hike the day before, to make our way to Tulemar Resorts in Quepos. Originally, we thought it was a four hour drive, but we found out it was 6 hours! Luckily, the kids didn't hear that and the hours flew by as we observed the surroundings. It turned out that we had the same driver from the airport to La Fortuna on our drive to Tulemar. His name is Wilson and he was great! We stopped at a soda for lunch, which is what they call the local diners there. They are famous for their casados which includes your choice of meat (chicken, fish, pork), a salad, rice and beans, and a sweet fried plantain. The price is always great at the sodas! The one we stopped at was near the famous place for seeing crocodiles below the bridge. Some people actually buy a chicken to feed them. We didn't witness any crocs eating, but we enjoyed watching them sit there, which is about all they do.

We stopped at the BM which is the local super mercado (market, in case you didn't know what that means!) We bought some essentials so we could cook come food in our villas. It was at the BM where my mom asked someone where the tortillas were and they promptly turned to Austin, who was with her, to tell him in Spanish! Although we encountered a few people who didn't speak English, it seems most of the people we interacted with were fluent in it. Probably because they do get a lot of tourists there! I was able to understand the Costa Rican Spanish a little better than Puerto Rican Spanish and had a couple of conversations in Spanish, but I still am not great at speaking it!

Our villas were amazing! They each had two bedrooms with either two queens in one room and a king in the other (except Karina's had two queens in both). They all had a little sofa bed at the top of the stairs in a little inlet where Austin slept from our family. Each had a fully equipped kitchen and a hot tub on the main balcony. We had smaller balconies outside our bedrooms too. Outside our villas were tons of trees that the monkeys played in and you could sometimes see macaws land on. Our family had four different villas and we all surrounded the family pool, which was perfect for us! Tulemar is on a hill and slopes quickly down to the beach, so there are lots of stairs and ramps around the resort. We got a lot of exercise just walking to each others' villas! The walk down to the beach was very steep and then just as steep back up. They did have shuttles to use, though we only used them a few times to get back up.
View from our balcony before they put the safety gate up.

From our kitchen window looking at Grandma's and Grandpa's villa.

Monkey on the railing.

Monkey in the tree.

Karina and Dan's villa looking up from the pool.

Erik in front of Grandma's villa.

Family pool looking down from our front porch.

Family pool

Hot tub

After we arrived, we started the laundry (also equipped in our villas) and made some dinner (eggs, rice and beans!) while we waited for Derek's and Karina's families to arrive. When they arrived, it was raining, but it wasn't for very long. We were able to all go for a swim in the dark after they got settled. In Costa Rica, it gets dark by 5:30 pm and is light 12 hours later. It's close to the equator, so it's pretty even. It did rain most afternoons, like we had heard, but it was not as hot as we had thought it would be. Humid, yes, but not too hot. We were very comfortable. At times when it was raining at night and we got caught inti, I was a little chilly.

The next day it was play with the cousins all day! We don't live by any cousins, so my kids wanted to just be with as many cousins as possible and do whatever they did! That first day it was swim in the pool and then swim and boogie board at the beach. The whole day! We did reapply sunblock, but Erik got a little burn on his arm just below his shirt that actually turned into a blister, which I was surprised about, since I didn't think it was that bad. Victoria got a little burnt and ended up pealing a little, but Austin and Karissa just got really dark. Austin actually pealed a little too, which surprised me as well. Some other kids weren't so luck and got burnt pretty badly. There was no rain that day, so it was a lot of sun! After our marathon in the water, we went to eat at a soda to show my sister's family about CR food. My brother's family went with my mom and Jim to another great place. Karissa tagged along as well. She and Layla, Derek's daughter, were inseparable!
Best boogie boarding pic taken, thanks Mom! This is Victoria.

Layla, Austin, and Karissa after a ride.

Erik's in the yellow life jacket.

Trying to cover up later in the day.

Karina and me on the way to th soda.

Natalie, Mariah, Blake and Victoria. Blake was badly burnt, that's why he doesn't look very happy here.

Nik, Austin, Peter, and Erik.

Dan, Karina, Calvin, Andrew, and Jason.

Friday was a lot of the same thing, though there were less people from our group out in the sun, due to their sunburns. There was game playing in the rooms in addition to the swimming and boogie boarding. Only a portion of us were left at the beach mid afternoon when it started to rain. We were the lucky portion to be the first to find a sloth within good viewing distance. Sloths poop once a week and they come down to the bottom of the tree they're in to do it. That's what this sloth was doing, though he didn't actually go when we were there. Maybe he was embarrassed by his audience!
This was during my run wth Jason. The tide came all the way up past where we sat the day before. 

Family pool with beach balls.

First sloth viewing!

Lucky sloth finders: Jason, Austin, Peter, Nik, Me, Erik,and Dan.

That night we all went to eat some amazing Mexican food! I believe we walked home in the rain. Nothing stops for rain there, not even tourists. Game playing ensued in Grandma's villa after wards.
Karina, Derek, and Me
Bats on the underside of our porch roof.

Saturday morning we took the bus to the feria, which is an outdoor market. The kids got some trinkets and we got some produce. It happened to be hot and sunny at that point, so out family didn't stay long. Erik wanted to get back in the water! More swimming for the rest of the day and games, hairdos, and animal viewing. I believe Saturday was the day I finally decided to try boogie boarding. I have a confession: I am afraid of waves in the ocean! Sizable ones, not the small, fun bumps. The waves in the cove our beach was at were not very sizable, but they were more inconsistent to my liking. Most of them were small and fun. In fact, all my kids, Erik included (with his life jacket) were able to body surf and boogie board on all of the waves and were fine. I admit, though, a couple of them made me nervous to watch with those little guys. My brother is a beach life guard in California and I always felt safer when he was with us, though, being the surfer dude that he is, he of course had to go catch the good waves somewhere else. Some of the older kids and the aunts joined him one day, but I decided I needed to try to boogie board first. When I was about 3, I remember being taken out in a small wave in California. I remember seeing the wave roll around and around me until my dad, who was the life guard on duty, rescued me. Having a bad ear by age nine, didn't help. I went on a boogie board here and there as a kid, but it was just in the final parts of the waves as they came in. the waves at our beach in CR were small enough for all the kids to catch as they crested and then broke, but big enough to allow adults to have fun with it too. When I finally worked up the courage to do it, I have no idea what I was doing in terms of timing. Derek was there and kept trying to get me over, but I would wait too long and miss the wave. I finally caught one and totally wiped out! Luckily, my ear plug did it's job and stayed put and kept my ear dry, though I didn't like the feel of all the salt water in my sinuses! I did manage to catch a couple waves after wards and it was super fun, but I am good with that. I didn't do it again. I don't like all the splashing and the fact that I could wipe out again!
Trying to look cool later in the day after my wipeout. Missy's in the background building sand castles with the kids. 

Mariah and Jake are in the front, Derek is toward the right, the rest are behind them.

Izaak, Nik, and Kallie
Karissa and Layla

Sunday, most of us took the bus and went to sacrament meeting. It was fast and testimony meeting. The "chapel" was smaller than our primary room. The kids all tried their best to sing the himnos and I tried my best to understand what was being said. A couple of testimonies were in English by Americans living there. It was such a great experience to be there! We had seen missionaries walking through a field on our way down from La Fortuna and the missionary efforts in CR all became very real to me. Another reason we have to get Austin to start learning Spanish ( our other kids too) is that he might be sent on a Spanish-speaking mission and with his color and his last name, people are going to assume he knows it! As we were leaving, the Bishop shook hands with all the kids and when he got to Austin, he looked at me and asked if he spoke Spanish. We explained about where Abuelo is from and had a good conversation.

Bus ride to church. Derek, Izaak, Grandpa, Grandma, Andrew

Little boys and Dan in the back.

Jason, Izaak, and Derek

The sign for the church is on the left. 

In the church parking lot.

Me, Andrew, Karina, Victoria on the way home from church.

Playing games with Grandpa

Monday we took taxis to a very fancy hotel to try their breakfast buffet. The word was that they had the best french toast ever, well it turned out they didn't have french toast that day, but the food was delicious. I was a little pricey, but that made the kids happy to eat as many cinnamon rolls, and whatever else they wanted, as they could! We have since discovered that it wasn't as expensive as we thought because we paid in Colones. They accept Amercian $ pretty much everywhere in CR, but sometimes the exchange rate is better when you pay in Colones. This was one instance where it was. After eating, we looked at some of the wild life at that hotel. Monkeys, sloths, lizards, and birds like at ours. They also had some historical artifacts in a museum-type setting in the lobby. We enjoyed looking at those and pretending we went to breakfast, the zoo, and a museum all in one!
Digesting our food

"Museum" at the hotel lobby.


Macaws drinking water from the gutter at the villa nest door.

 We tried some kayaking in the ocean later that day and saw a mama sloth climbing down a tree with her baby to do her weekly business. There was more boogie boarding and pool swimming as well. We brought some beach balls and they were a hit in the water many of the days. It's amazing to me that the kids never tired of all the water activities! We had to drag them out of the water when it was srtarting to get dark each evening. They had so much fun!

Mama sloth

The bump on her tummy is the baby's head.

You can see the baby pretty good here.

Erik, Victoria, Natalie, Grandma, Layla
Tuesday we went a a little tour with our concierge throughout the resort. He pointed out certain wildlife and trees and certain tips on where to find other animals, though by then, we had seen the sloths, monkeys, macaws, and I even saw a pangolin! The rest of the day included more kayaking and beach time. We played more games that night and watched the fireworks over the water for the Fourth. Many of the workers wished us a Happy Independence day that day. Our boat guide on the safari flight at the beginning of the trip had said that if the US is happy and doing well, then they are, since they get so many tourists from here.

Doing doll hair

Group shot!

We had to leave early the next day. We took a separate shuttle to the airport. Our flight was supposed to leave about 2 hours before the Utah group. Well, it ended up being late and we ran into them at the airport for one more goodbye!

Pura Vida, Costa Rica! And thanks Grandma!