Wednesday, January 21, 2009

OKAY, so I haven't updated in a week, there is so much to say , however this blog is going to be short and sweet. On my birthday I spent it with friends and fam. we had a wonderful BBQ that included yummy food. It was such a perfect birthday I couldn't ask for more. below is a photo of friends lounging on the beach after a swim and surf in the ocean.
this photo is of my birthday presents, on the left is a pair of shoes I bought for myself for dancing (notice how they are not heels, that is because then I would tower over any potential dance partner here) and to the right is the best key lime pie in the world made for me by jill.
this is a photo of the mango guys cart on the beach. he sells tasty sliced mangos with a small bag of sugar you can poor on them. he also does these mock snow cones, however puts sweetened condensed milk on top of it, still have yet to try it. Im just waiting for that super hot day.
the Island off shore is one of many that me and my kayaking partner, todd, have gone out to explore. It is the highlight on my days off, since there is no surf to learn surfing on at the moment. Below Im exploring with my kayaking partner in crime.

this is my new pose that I have to make every time I take a self portrait (those of you that know me, know how little I like photos of myself) however, I do this pose in order to fit in with the locals. every time you lift a camera to take a photo of a tica they turn to the side and stick out their butts as far as they can. I think it may be a latin culture thing.
above is a cave that we found at low tide on one of the Islands, the photos that follow are of the cave (It hasn't been named yet, still coming up with it)
These barnacles were the biggest barnacles that I have ever seen in my life!! the Island is crawling with crabs. not to mention the boobie birds nest here so it is awesome to see them and their young (photos to come.)

this is part of the cave. The colors were crazy and really a work of art!! the photo below is in the cave too. Im not sure exactly what it is, possibly a micro organism, it almost had the texture of coral when you went close to it. the Aqua blue colors were surreal and looked like the walls were ooozing.
so this photo is the yellow snow that we have here at the moment....NOT like the yellow snow at home! they are tiny little flowers that cover the forest floor.

So these are a series of photos from a fashion show that I helped to photograph, in quepos. I was not too sure what I was in for, although the designer margerie is a very talented friend who owns her own boutique, I was presently surprised with how well it all turned out.

this is margerie fixing one of the models hair. part of the fashion show was based on using recyclable materials and I believe that the model in the body paint was representing some sort of mother nature (don't quote me on that though)

THE END......i will post again soon, but that pretty much brings everything up to speed....sort of

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

sorry I haven't written or posted any photos in awhile. things got really busy and now they are dead again. It was so busy that I had to work on the first of january after dancing the night away. I brought in the new year with some friends of mine and some friends of friends, it was a wonderful evening with fireworks and dancing. I can't believe that it is already 2009 and I have been here for two months already. Below are some photos of new years eve in Quepos. from left to right Kevin, Brad, Melissa. We went to eat at this little place that had wonderful food. my last meal of 2008 was a chicken kabob with rice and beans. yum, yum
This was the CRAZY scene in Quepos. sorry the photo is so bad. the people in the middle with the sparkley outfits were dancers, it almost seemed Brazilian, they were dancing to drums and to someone blowing a whistle. After they were done dancing everyone began to dance themselves.
These are some friends of friends. they are a wonderful family that I met, but they don't speak a lick of english. It is quite interesting trying to communicate with them. I feel like someone that just smiles all the time no matter what they are saying. But we all have one thing in common and that is we like to dance.

Okay so for most of you that know me, know that I LOVE vanilla. real vanilla that is. so the other day I had off from work. I went on a spice farm tour that is about a 15-20 minute drive outside of Quepos. It is a very small farm only 27 acres, but it produces very good quality spices. they do everything organic and biodynamic, which means pretty much that the farm is self sustainable and nothing is outsourced. I learned a lot on this tour but won't bore you with all the little details, oooh except two things......first off when you buy "cinnamon sticks" in the grocery store it isn't really from the cinnamon tree it is a relative of the cinnamon tree, real cinnamon is a light brown and is called Ceylon cinnamon. It is hard to come by and pretty expensive. Second, most of anything that is chocolate has vanilla in it, yeah you heard that right, when you buy a chocolate bar or hot chocolate or mostly any chocolate they add vanilla to it. chocolate is actually quite bitter (hence dark chocolate) until you add sugar and a little bit of vanilla. anyways I could keep rambling on and on and on about the tour but I will stop. below are some photos I took on the farm.
above is the way that they measure the vanilla beans, this farm has the largest vanilla beans in the world, when I saw them I couldn't believe it, they are around 10 inches.
this is what they look like after drying them out for a couple of days. oooh glorious vanilla beans!!
They dry them out on these plastic sheets and they get so hot you can hardly touch them. they take all the imperfect beans and make them into vanilla extract. actually when they come off the plant they kind of look like big green beans. Each orchid (the plants flower) has to be pollinated by hand and the process to get them to look like they do here and in store is why they are so expensive.
to the left is cocoa beans (coco) that are drying out and to the right is allspice, that is drying out. the farm produces all different types of spices not just cocoa and vanilla.
above is the cocoa plant or I should say fruit that is what chocolate beans come from.
this is a cocoa fruit cut in half, the seeds are a deep purple but they are coverd in a white sweet part of the fruit. they are about the size of half your thumb.
these are the cocoa seeds that have dried out and are ready for grinding. the farm is so small that they use a big rock that is shaped like an egg (to the left) to grind them, this farm does it just like the native indians in costa rica did.
just a small corner on the farm, with a massive amount of vanilla beans on the table all stacked
another corner of the farm, there is a pastry chef that cooks with all the spices on the farm for the tour. it is the doorway entering into her very small kitchen.
just a pretty flower found on the farm. the rest of the pics are things I saw when walking.

this is a little statue that I found nestled in by one of the cinnamon trees, Im sure a worker but it there for a reason. and lastly a self portrait of myself on the farm.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"BABY IT COLD OUTSIDE!"Well, happy holidays!!
I haven’t written in awhile so this blog is going to be all over the road. Jules had this awesome fake fur coat and I thought it would be a perfect christmas picture to show just how "cold" it is here is costa rica! :)
Okay, updates, there was a makanda’s employee xmas party that was held at the pool, lots of grilling, tons of local costa Rican food, and of course beer. The employees are wonderful people who seem to always smile.

The other night I walked around quepos doing some night shots of peoples xmas decorations and some different street shots, I realized that I need to get up the courage to do more shots of people even if I do look a little like a tourist doing it.
Lets see what else….not a whole lot, just finishing with the holiday cookie baking. It is getting a little hotter each say and a little dryer. The rain has definitely stopped, its a very unfortunate thing cause the rain cools things down here and keeps everything green.
Oooh on Friday I went snorkeling with a neighbors tour. It was sooo much fun, we saw dolphins and I saw a moray eel, a couple of BIG puffer fish, and lots of awesome stuff, got stung by a little jellyfish, but nothing serious, it just felt like a little bee sting and went away after a while. I haven’t been snorkeling for over 6 years now and I had forgotten what a wonderful surreal world the ocean is.
Other than than nothing really exciting happening on my end of things. I will try and not let my bolgs get far and few between!

The picture above is of the sunset in quepos after coming in from snorkeling. the picture below is a photo of guys working on the new marina that is going into quepos.
This photo is not of good quality, but it is how a typical costa rican home is decorated for Christmas. they have most of all their decorations on their front porches it includes a tree and usually a nativity set that they put the baby jesus in on christmas eve, its apparently a big deal.
This is the equivalent to a McDonalds in quepos. There were lots of people there cause just down the street there was the grade schools graduation ceremony. Right now it is summer here so school is out for a month or two.
This is one of the few ice cream shops in quepos. I missed the perfect shot of course cause the little kid was turned around with his hands on the freezer looking at the ice cream but I couldn't get my camera out of my bag fast enough. I think Im going to try and continue to photograph quepos at night, it has a lot of interesting little scenarios not to mention it looks cleaner than it is :)

This is leo, and his 20th run to the bathroom at the christmas party, everytime he got up everyone would shout and laugh.
This is tony, to the left, one of the chefs and to the right is David not sure what david's actual job is but he does teach little kids how to break dance after work. I want to go and photograph it when I get the chance.
me and donillo sticking out his toung (I might be spelling everyones name wrong, im horrible at that)
I cant remember the girl to the lefts name but Jr. is the victim of Lewis's bunny ears.
Too many people to name each one but its a lot of the kitchen staff
The christmas cake bought at the local bakery, Shaye I think you could make a killing down here!! ha ha ha

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!"

Yesterday after spending the morning at the beach Jules and I started baking Christmas cookies!!! One of my most favorite things to do and I didn't think I would be able to do it this year! We only got three types done and still have about four or five more types to go. Most of them will be for the guest of the hotel for Christmas and the holiday season, Jules is so creative and thoughtful, she knows how to make everyone feel at home. I'm going to get muy gordita (very fat) at the rate I'm going tasting a cookie here and there. I have been going salsa dancing the last few nights in a row so I feel that makes up for being a cookie monster.
Actually every Thursday night at the local casino/pool hall, there are free salsa lessons. It is taught by a local tico, who comes up to my nose, he is very good. the night starts off with no one willing to dance, of course he grabs me and my friend Kevin out on the dance floor to teach us a dance. We of course are the only ones out there for what seemed like an hour, but was probably 20 minutes, and everyone was just looking at us, talk about stage fright!! the instructor then of course then steps aside to have a cigarette, while we are dancing. eventually he started grabbing female tourists out on the floor to dance with him and that was the end of our lesson, but it was soo much fun. I don't think I have ever sweated tooo much in my life! I guess it comes hand in hand with how hot it is here right now.
Things have been really slow here work wise. There seem to be tourist around , but no one is spending money on extras like tours , hopefully things will look up a bit in the new year. although it isn't looking too hopeful at the moment, I guess that just means more time trying to learn how to surf and taking personal photos, can't complain at the moment. only time will tell what is to come. Tomorrow I get to help Joe and Jules decorate their home for Christmas, Im super excited!!! :) Mrs. Jules "Claus" getting ready for cookie baking
Ingredients and our lovely cookie list
This will be the closest that I come to snow this year.....the powder sugar on these butter pecan cookies.