It started badly…

Don’t put your socks on before your nail varnish is dry

This is what happens when you paint your nails, are too impatient to wait for them to dry and then put on black socks. I guess it could be a new trend. For the past few weeks I have been hibernating so that I wouldn’t catch Covid for our first vacation overseas in almost 4 years. I was certain that I would cancel it but just kept trying to manage my anxiety by cleaning the house obsessively. In the past I was an intrepid traveler but those days have gone.

The first shock was that my passport will be out of date this February – eek! Many countries insist that you have at least 6 months left on your passport before it’s renewal date. I feverishly Googled in the middle of the night after I woke up panicked, suddenly realizing how long it was since I used my passport. Fortunately, Costa Rica will accept American visitors as long as the passport is in date. I had packed a week before the departure date choosing clothing for variable tropical weather – cold in the mountains and wet at times. Then I decided to paint my nails and you see what happened… My nails remained bare.

Our Uber arrived early and we sped to the airport, negotiating it easily despite the current construction. The fully packed flight left on time despite the airline pleas for people to take another flight as it was initially overbooked. The passengers were an eclectic bunch – many had connected at Houston from Europe and further afield. Most were meeting guided tours but we were staying in San Jose with one planned trip to an animal sanctuary, not a zoo, with SLOTHS!!!

Brown Lump otherwise known as a Tayra,

a fast moving member of the stoat family

The plane arrived on time and we breezed through Inmigracion. I struggled with my bad Spanish but noticed that everyone else just spoke English. It’s polite to at least try to speak the nation’s language or apologize for not doing so. At the luggage belt one of our bags turned up quickly but the other was MIA. I spoke to the United agent and she said the luggage had arrived. She suggested one of the customers might have taken it but I doubted that because it had multi-colored ribbons on it and a luggage tag. After a panicky wait, she got a call from the ground staff – it probably fell of the luggage cart and was retrieved from the runway.

My anxiety was rising but it was okay – we got the bag! Thrifty is my middle name so happily discovered that Ubers were available in Costa Rica but not legal. We walked past the taxis and followed the directions of the staff to the Ubers. It was complicated and incorrect. Our Uber app worked however and Jesus was on his way in a white Chevy. He arrived but we couldn’t see him. I passed my phone to a security officer who described me and where I was. Ropa azul (blue clothes) Blanca (ethnicity) and something else that made her chuckle. I suspect it was something referring to Gringas. We waited and waited to no avail. Then the app stopped working.

Fuzzy sloth in a hammock

Equally fuzzy hair of the person in front of me

We had to go all the way back to the taxis and pay more than I wanted to. Our driver spoke no English but chatted happily in Spanish. The driving was a tad erratic – traffic lanes were more of a suggestion. It reminded me of Egypt where they made five lanes out of three. Then the skies opened and a deluge of rain started that made the driving more interesting. I understood that our driver was blaming the California weather event for this unusual rain. January is the dry month, in theory. He asked if we were going on any trips and I told him about the animal sanctuary. For the rest of the time we were going to explore San Jose. He asked why??? My mood was dipping.

Finally we got to our beautiful hotel with a fantastic view from our luxurious 10th floor room to the mountains and city. There was a faint smell of food that may have been from the vents but it was the last straw. I told Teddy that I wanted to go straight back home and he sat dejectedly on the bed. I started unpacking and slowly calmed down. Eventually we went out for a wee walk and got some local currency at a bank. We had been worried about food because of Teddy’s restricted diet so ate at the hotel that first night.

There was a Hollywood ending! The food was delicious, no more rain just glorious sunshine and the friendliest people. San Jose was a delightful city with amazing museums. We loved the animal sanctuary and even went to see one of the volcanos. More blogs to come with some decent photographs…but don’t you love my outtakes?

Sloth in a bucket who refused to come out

The Glasgow Dress

OASIS dress, Target belt, Ralph Lauren denim jacket (all bought 10 years ago).  New Carlos Santana suede embroidered boots.

Teddy and I went on a short road trip last week when he took this photo – more posts to follow.  I have been battling my cholesterol levels successfully and have lost weight.  It was fun to wear clothes I haven’t worn in a while and the dress has a story.  Ten years ago, I went on dreary winter trip to Scotland to see the old folks.  On a free afternoon I went to a local shopping mall to check out the stores.  I walked into a dress store and the manager greeted me with an insincere smile and welcome.  Her thoughts were, “You are in the wrong store, turn around.  Why would an ancient crone/homeless person come into my fabulous shop?”  I looked in the mirror and saw a tired, jetlagged woman with so many layers of clothes to fight the cold.

In my head I thought, “Game on, Termagant…”  The real word I thought of rhymed with Witch.  The Termagant was a very pretty lady in her late 20s with long wavy blonde hair.  She had a great little figure – a pocket Venus.  Her dress was a gorgeous navy dress with taupe banding (look familiar)?  I said, “I love the dress you are wearing.”  She stared at me as though I had lost my mind.  Did I really think I could look good in HER dress? With a slight sneer, she said, “We only have one left on the mannequin and it is an EXTRA SMALL.” “I would love to try it on if you don’t mind taking it off the mannequin…”

Well, now the Termagant was annoyed.  She summoned her minion from the back to help with this hopeless task.  The minion was a lovely girl, full of smiles and clearly didn’t like the her boss.  The minion and the ancient crone went off the fitting rooms.  Underneath the many layers of clothing, I had/have a pretty cute figure and I was particularly slim on this trip.  I came from behind the curtain like Cinderella – transformed.  The minion’s eyes opened wide with surprise, delight and the inevitable Schadenfreude.  She called out to her Termagant boss, “Look how amazing the dress looks on her!!”

Termagant’s face was a picture, ‘How could that ancient crone have a rocking body?’  Her perplexment made my day and I still have the dress, as you can see.  Keep your old stuff; fashion comes in cycles.

Hello Sailor!

Mexican Naval Eye Candy

Well, I have met some handsome naval guys during my life but this gorgeous specimen took my breath away caught my eye. Can you hear the low cougar purr as I admired this young cub? He was standing outside the Naval Museum in Puerto Vallarta to draw in cougars, kittens and the large gay population of the town. Well, I assume that… Just like my mum would, I went straight up to him and starting talking to him. My mum, who had a thing for Hispanic men, would have fainted. He was charming, articulate with perfect English. He told me all about the museum but I wasn’t really listening.

Eventually, I did go into the Museo Histórico Naval de Puerto Vallarta (The Naval Museum) and what a revelation it was. It was small but beautifully created. The naval history of Mexico was quite fascinating from Conquistadors to current life. All the staff was enlisted naval personnel and it struck me that this was an excellent job in an area that had limited opportunities for young people. It was situated right on the promenade so you couldn’t miss it.

Stained glass ship

The piece de resistance was this amazing stained glass artifact in the coffee shop. What I couldn’t photograph was the light display on the ceiling which was a constellation. Wow! The coffee was also the best I had tasted in Puerto Vallarta. I was curious as to why it wasn’t busier but not all the naval staff had much English. How hard is it to ask for “Un cafe latte, por favor?” It amazes me that English speaking tourists travel all over the world without even a phrase book. On occasion I have had to resort to clucking like a chicken in restaurants but at least I try…🐔

As I sat in this beautiful coffee shop, looking at the sea, I pondered my Mexican ancestors and hoped that they were proud that their ‘grand-daughter’ was determined to visit one of my homelands and understand how amazing they were.  I also realized how lucky I was to have the ability to travel the world.

Kerry in the City!

Before my sad week, I was traveling again and went to the wonderful city of El Paso, Texas. I met up with Lisa, a friend and fellow blogger, and it was so much fun! Lisa looks lovely in our selfie but I look like I was sniffing some cocaine (just Prosecco). 😄 I have a couple more posts from Salt Lake City and then we are off to El Paso, an amazing place. BTW, Lisa was so sweet, kind and generous. It was such a pleasure to meet in person.

Life of an El Paso Woman

Hi everyone! Happy Saturday! I hope your weekend is off to a great start! One of the best parts of blogging is meeting fellow bloggers, especially in person! I won’t lie, I also enjoy the free stuff and the pocket change that allows me to indulge at times. This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure of meeting fellow blogger and friend Kerry Duncan from Postcards from Kerry. Please check out/follow her blog if you aren’t already. Kerry blogs about her many travels around the U.S. and worldwide. She recently wrote the Kindle book, “Letters from Cairo.” The book is available for $4.49 on Amazon.com “Letters from Cairo” is about Kerry’s experience living in Egypt a few years ago. In case you missed it, you can check out my Saturday Evening Interview with Kerry here.

Kerry was staying at the beautiful Hotel Indigo in downtown El Paso for a few days…

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