Friday, December 27, 2019

Pura Vida

This is the last blog of the year, a time to reflect.

A while ago I had one of those light bulb moments. A few strands of life, and death, had come together. An elderly old pal had passed away peacefully, a young friend ( 42) had been given a year to live... and died two weeks later. We had paid off the mortgage and I had just got some very good book news.  I was trudging up my stairs, passing the usual pile of junk mail at the bottom- that ever growing pile that nobody ever deals with. On the top was a brochure called  Bucket List Holidays, so I picked it up and carried on my way. It had been a long hard shift. The clinic had been questioning an outcome of a patient- something didn't fit - but the NHS moves slowly and all our ways and means of shifting it on ASAP had resulted in a treatable, but very nasty diagnosis. He's 22 and looking forward  to about 20 weeks of chemo. ( He's actually out the other side of that now  and doing well.) It had been a hard and frustrating day as I lay on the bed with dog and cup of tea, flicking through the brochure.

I have no wish to see the Great Wall Of China from a hot air balloon. ( Have you seen the slow time film on it? Fascinating! )

I have no wish for a gastronomic tour of the Far East for obvious reasons.

Machu Picchu? Maybe. But I'd like to walk in and walk out and no way was I fit enough for that.

I kept flicking pages over, and over until I got to the last page. A cruise up the Panama Canal- now that has been on Alan's bucket list for a while, and, being a Clydesider, the engineering aspect of it did appeal to me. That page was the second half of a holiday, so I looked over and there was a eco safari tour of Costa Rica.  We could book it  for a pound per person.

Hold my coat!

We got back just days before Christmas to three full days of work so here are some pics ( I have 6500) to keep you going... full blogs to follow...

Our route. 20 of us in a bus. Costa Rica has a mountain range in the middle with the kind of roads they make documentaries about. We crossed it many times. By day four the men were asking where the nearest pharmacy was and  what's Spanish for haemorrhoid. 

We saw lots of these, some 8 feet long.

Rare sighting of a Costa Rican haggis.

If you ever need the company of a female howler monkey, it's good to be able to imitate the call of a male howler monkey with a good credit rating.

One of  my favourite pics  of those I've had the chance to go through.

We were often up at 6am, or out looking at turtling hatchlings at midnight. As you can see from the pic, the accommodation was awful....

And the neighbours round the pool could be naughty.

The pacific coast of Costa Rica. It's a little smaller than Scotland with a proportionately smaller population. The wildlife is right up close though in Costa Rica. Here we have the sea, a beach and in the foreground a river- with crocodiles sunning themselves.

Cheeky Wee Monkey

These guys will nick suntan lotion and  smooth it all over themselves.

My best dolphin  shot I'm afraid.

An Englishman going snorkelling.  When he was born Clement Attlee was Prime Minister!

After the tour, we had the cruise. Big Boat!

This was taken in Grand Turk which is famous for selling diamonds and being where American astronauts are scooped out the sea on return to earth.

Skyline, Cartagena, Columbia.

The volcano in Costa Rica supplies ( very ) hot water to many spa resorts.

View from  one of many balconys.
Monteverdi, built by Quakers.

A wild one of these.

And in the middle of this picture is a sloth. He's on the central trunk, his head turned to the right. He has a dark stripe down his back and  buttocks like a Samoan prop forward. And yes, he's green, covered in the same moss as the tree.

Caro Ramsay 27 12 2019


  1. Thanks so much for the beautiful photos. An 8' long lizard? I'll pass on that guy.

    Hope the trip is as wonderful as the photos.

    It figures that the monkeys would use the suntan lotion, as the old saying goes.

  2. Caro, I've been so distracted by events this past weekend that I entirely missed your post until now. I'm sorry about that, but I've been appropriately punished by the almighty for my indiscretion. Had I read your bucket list approach to holiday planning I'd have had not a single anxious moment, for in it I'd have found the answer for all that preoccupied me: "Relax, smell the suntan lotion, and allow sloth to be thy guide."

    Welcome back, and Happy New Year to you and Alan.