Updated: Dec 11, 2022
This is long overdue for those that are keeping up with our travels. This week marks about half way since we arrived until we leave mid May. Time has flown by, although on the other hand it feels like we've been here a long time.
If someone were to ask "what's it like here?" the first 3 things we'd say are
it's very windy
it's very hot
it's very noisy
Apparently it's 'windy season' right now, they've even got a name for it: the Papagayo Wind Jet. It's starts in the north, heads out over the Gulf of Mexico then finds its way through gaps in the mountains and ends up here in near gale strength winds, periodically throughout the day. When it's not gale force, it's just windy. Which I suppose is good, otherwise it would be smokin' hot instead of just hot.
Did I mention that it's hot. I actually don't mind, really (as opposed to the cold) it's the humidity on some days that makes it uncomfortable. On the good side, we have an awesome walk-in rain shower with incredible water pressure! The condo complex we are in also has an unheated pool for a cool dip in the afternoon. When we hear the locals talking about how hot it is, and how hot it's gonna get... that worries us a tad bit. Starting early May we move into 'rainy season' and that's when the humidity gets really gnarly!
It's noisy, and sometimes very noisy! Read our first blog when we arrived. We stayed in an Airbnb in town. Getting Our Groove at Latitude 11
On Wednesdays a make-shift Church group sets up just down the street and preaches (screaches?) through an incredibly large loud speaker. One guy went on for over 20 minutes nearly losing his voice (we silently wished he had) then 2 others took the mic , the whole thing was about an hour long. funny? seemed much longer! lol
There was a political parade one evening which was interesting to watch.
The noise level here at the condo is considerably less. Aside from the 5am neighborhood roosters vying for first call of the day and the barking dogs next door, the sound of the crashing waves and breeze through the palm leaves are a welcome treat compared to in-town living.
One noise that was very memorable though, was the day we heard a beautiful song coming from down the street. It was a funeral procession with a pickup truck carrying a casket covered in flowers. A loud speaker was set up in the truck and a whole parade of family and friends walked through the street behind it. The whole town stopped and waited and watched as they passed. It was quite a sight and touching how they celebrate and honor their deceased in such a public way. We saw 2 of these rituals in the two weeks we lived in town.
Overall though, it really is a cute little beach town. As first noted when we arrived, the expat demographics are very young, (under 40, which is very young to us!), lots of backpackers and a huge influx of young families moving from US, Canada and even Australia to escape the madness of their home countries. There doesn't seem to be many expats in our age range, although there are many housing developments north & south therefore only needing to come to town for supplies. We also don't hang out at the bars, or do the night life, so we could just be missing this age group (along with all the other old farts?). We have been told that some of the families that made the quick move here are now leaving to return home, perhaps because it's just too much of a culture shock. It's not for everyone.
We like the Latin culture and have decided that living here feels a lot like when we lived in our 'Minnie Winnie' on the beaches in Baja. Those days were great, life was simple back then. Three or four days a week were spent getting basic groceries and supplies and communication meant going to town to the internet cafe dialing up AOL and using a calling card at the corner payphone to call home. We also only took off for 4 months a year, then went back to run our business for 8 months.
Fast forward to 2022 - four months away from Canada is just not enough and I'm still doing administration for our business back in Kelowna which means I need to be connected. We did manage to get the internet in our condo here upgraded from 7mbps to over 50 mbps with requesting a new router and it only took us 2 weeks to figure out the international phone system here.
Short answer... there isn't one.
Soon after we arrived we bought new SIM cards for our phones. Coming from Mexico and used to the Mexican cel plans I happily paid for 10gb of data per phone for 300 cordobas or roughly $10 cdn. Cheap right? I made a couple of phone calls back home to my mom and received phone calls as well. I had the business phone call forwarded to my Nica number so I could still serve customers. All good. Then....
Crickets.... the phone stopped ringing.
By the 3rd or 4th day we got an email from our accountant saying that he was trying to call us and couldn't get through. Weird? So, I called Roger's Wireless (our provider back in BC) to figure out the problem. Normally, I call forward the biz phone to my international number, pay the extra daily Roam fee and poof!... answer calls just like I'm in my office in Kelowna. Looooooong story short - a week later and approx. 5 hours on Rogers chat to different agents, several emails from the higher ups - nobody could figure out why the calls weren't getting through. One day Gary came up with the 'what about international calling plan' question. The local Claro provider informed us "Yes! We have International calling... of course we do!" You can choose from 30 min, 60 min or 120 min and.... it's good for only 24 hours!!! What????!!!!! (thankfully tech has advanced to include wifi apps for calling etc and I have found a workaround, and also for VPN's that have security issues, grrrrrrrr ) so, it's a beautiful country but the tech side is sorely lacking and spotty. Rolling blackouts are also part of everyday life, (thankfully we brought our surge protector for our electronics)and the complex we are in has a huge generator that kicks in automatically (and often).
I can't miss this one.... on the Foody Side of things... the markets are overflowing with fresh fruit and vegetables. The bananas are always brown ripe to mushy, they send the pretty ones north, lol. Plantains are my new favorite, they substitute well for potatoes including crispy chips. Aside from the crap oil they are fried in, plantains are incredibly healthy!
fruit and veggies galore
All this for about $5 >>>>>>
but this one item below was $7 yikes! anything American is quite pricey. Thankfully that picture >>>
is more our staple diet... that and seafood!
Yay! for Online Shopping
Despite having to go to three or four stores for regular groceries, you can find just about everything for main ingredients. There are also a number of online delivery services that I've used for things like almond flour, frozen blueberries, smoked salmon & good unsalted butter. And there's always Amazon, it only takes about 5 or 6 weeks, but they deliver!
We ventured up to the famous (here, anyway) Tree Casa Resort the other day. The day pass price goes toward food and beverages, so you can enjoy the pools, hiking trails and have lunch or dinner there too.
We rented a scooter to get around town, which works well, but not great for exploring the beaches north and south and other parts of the country. We will rent a car soon and venture out of our little town. On our list is to visit the colonial city of Granada and to see some volcanos - apparently there's a must see one north of here.
All for now. Be sure to check out our new online Shop! If you want to keep up with our travels (and all the other incredibly interesting things we will post), you can sign up for notices! That also helps us get noticed by all those mysterious algorithm bots which we need to increase our rankings.... ps. 😊 thanks. (scroll to bottom for sign up box)
Joan & Gary
nobadbeachdays... it's an attitude