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Strange Partners

When You Quit Chopping the Weeds the Jungle Returns With a Vengeance

macaws return
By Jack Ewing
Environmentalists and people in the real estate business don’t usually like each other very much. The former tend to blame the latter of environmental destruction while the latter accuse the former of obstructing development and progress. In spite of this, on a strip of coastal land in southern Costa Rica 80 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide, nothing short of an environmental miracle has been accomplished by these two actors working separately and each doing their own thing. The area is called the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor (PTBC), and its landscape has been transformed from one of pastures and farm land to lush tropical forest replete with wildlife. It is one of the few places on our planet where biodiversity is increasing and has been for the last 35 years.
Hacienda Baru

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The Unsellable Curvito

Shambling through paradise headerMy first car in Costa Rica was a ‘77 Jeep Curvito. Like most of the seven cars I have bought since, it was a teenager. It had a removable soft top, no radio and was a dull purplish gray—the color of a bad bruise. It also had an extended back end. In my years of owning it, I never saw another Jeep anywhere on the road that had an extended back end. The body of the Jeep had been manufactured in Costa Rica, in the mid-70s—there was a metal stamp on the inner hood that said so. I had never heard of a Curvito, didn’t know what the word ‘Curvito’ meant. With time I decided it meant either, “Jeep that makes mechanic shake his head in dismay’’ or “Jeep that’s replacement parts are nonexistent”.

I had arrived in CR as half of a couple, but in 2 short years we had become a family of 4 and it was time to go back north to make enough money to return. I took on the task of selling the Curvito. It was the early 1990s in Costa Rica—no cell phones, no internet. We lived about a 20 minute drive from the nearest pay phone. A retired alcoholic American I knew had a house with a landline phone in San Isidro del General. He loaned me his phone number so I could place an ad in La Nacion. I spent the weekend at his house, fielding inquiries and trying not to drink too much. But I had a half dozen calls that expressed interest, including a wealthy Texan who assured me that he was ready to buy it sight unseen, and that, aw shucks, if he didn’t buy it, he had an off street parking area where I could store it until I did find a buyer.

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Donate to Hurricane Nate Recovery

Hurricane Nate floodingThe recent flooding of the communities surrounding Manuel Antonio and Quepos has been devastating for many people and families. The flood relief effort has been hugely successful, with many individuals and business owners helping out directly to bring food, supplies and basic needs to those who were hit the hardest. Yet there is still a desperate need for aid out there, and many families who lost most of their humble possessions—or who lost their homes completely.

Along with dozens of other community members, we’ve banded together in an effort to organize and bolster the flood relief and aid these families are receiving.

Julie from Castillo de la Riviera has created a Facebook page called ‘Costa Rica Unidos’ specifically for the effort, facebook.com/groups/122005531812843/.

Matty Ruggs, from Paddle 9, has also created a GoFundMe campaign which people can use to make online donations, gofundme.com/costa-rica-disaster-relief.

We also have a community Google sheet which we’re using to keep track of the affected communities, families, what they’ve lost, what they’ve received, and what they still need. Through donations from home owners, businesses, and past visitors to Manuel Antonio, we’re raised a fund of over $25,000, and worked through wholesalers and manufacturers to get the best prices for mattresses, bedding, towels, and other domestic supplies.

But more is needed! There were literally thousands of homes and families affected, and those who were hit the worst were those who could least afford a disaster. We still need help in raising funds, distributing supplies, and gathering information—so if you would like to get involved, please contact Adrienne Pellizzari at Adrienne@CafeMilagro.com.

Lastly, Marina Pez Vela has been gracious in providing a center for storage and distribution for the donated supplies. If you have a donation you would simply like to drop off, please contact the Pez Vela reception at 2774-9000 or Arlene Alfaro at 8842-4942 to coordinate.

A huge thank you to everyone who has been involved—from those in the light to those in the shadows! It is great to be a part of a community that shines with compassion when needed! Go Manuel Antonio!

Kent Thompson


Fiddlin’ Around – September/October 2017

Fiddlin'AroundIn the music world, funny is good. Funny is important. Funny is probably more useful and definitely more interesting than profound. I love songwriters who can make us laugh at our paltry little problems, or who can bring perspective to what we think are huge issues, or who can describe a piece of life in a way that brings us comfort and smiles instead of alienation and angst. My Dad, another musician, always told me not to take myself too seriously. He was right, and luckily for us, there are a couple of skillful songwriters around here who write about the humorous side of life and love, not just the so-called important stuff! John Prine, Randy Newman, Joni Mitchell, Johnny Cash, Lyle Lovett, Steve Goodman, Charlie Daniels, Robert Earl Keen, Kinky Freidman, Jimmy Buffett, Roger Miller, Ray Stevens, Arlo Guthrie and even sometimes Bob Dylan—they all know the value of laughter—and so do a couple of our local guys, Ben Orton and Ken Nickell.

BenJammin

Ben Jammin’

Ben Orton is an excellent and generous vocalist and guitarist—I’ve been playing with him for several years now, and appreciate all of his songwriting, including his lighter and more whimsical songs. He’s got a song called Sell Your Stuff, which is of course a re-occurring theme and impulse for many of the first timers who find this beautiful area. The first lines of the song are,

Some say that it’s paradise—at the very least it’s very nice—and if you’ve got the nerve to make it real—sell your stuff and move to Costa Rica! Read More…


Macadamia Nut Pie

Chef's Corner logoThis is a remake of the classic pecan pie with macadamias as the star ingredient. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and your guests will rave about about this awesome tropical dessert!

For an 8 inch pie dish.

CRUST

crust Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1/2 ts salt
  • 3 tbs manteca (shortening) chilled
  • 4 tablespoons of butter (preferably unsalted) chilled
  • 4 to 6 tbs water
  • 1/2 shot vodka

Directions

  1. Work the dough by hand combining fats and flour into a crumbly mix.
  2. Moisten with water and vodka until you can form a ball.
  3. Let rest for 2 hours.
  4. Roll out and line pie dish. 

filling

FILLING

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup of light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cups of white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk

Instructions

    baked

  1. Preheat oven to 3500F (1980C).
  2. Cream eggs, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla together until well blended.
  3. Add nuts and pour into prepared pie shell.
  4. Bake for about one hour or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
  5. Let rest for at least ½ hour before serving.

Eyes of the World


I try to see other peoples’ lives through their eyes. I try to imagine how they feel, both physically and mentally. I don´t know if this is a common practice for others but it is almost an obsession for me. I do this most accurately when it involves physical feelings. A description from a client or friend, followed by questions, listening, and decades of personal physical experiences, usually leads to an accurate conclusion. My hopes are beyond wanting to relate, I want to change their feelings for the better. First physically with my hands, next emotionally as the two are connected. I see it as my duty and my oath as a massage therapist. I give thanks every day that this is what I do here in wonderful Manuel Antonio. Which just so happens to be a place that tourists seek out. They come here in droves from around the world for a variety of reasons. I live in a town that survives on the tourist dollar. Interest in what we do here, how we see the world, is what we sell.

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Education

Your voice is their futureThe Passport to the Future

By Seda Sejud
The Sloth Institute Costa Rica 

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”, Malcolm X once exclaimed in an impassioned speech about the importance of education. At The Sloth Institute Costa Rica (TSI), we truly believe that “education is the passport to the future” and as TSI embarks upon its third anniversary, we are excited to be expanding our work with Education and Conservation initiatives, both of which are core tenets of our mission.

TSI’s 3rd annual Elementary School Sloth Challenge (ESSC), will be held the entire month of October in celebration of International Sloth Day, Friday October 20. This year’s campaign—Your Voice is Their Future—offers elementary school teachers a four week differentiated curriculum packet with resources designed to engage and excite young minds about the rainforest and animals who call it home.

The Sloth Institute logo

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Choosing the Right Countertop

Counter Intelligence header

Design WiseBy Shelagh Duncan

It is an undeniable fact that the kitchen is the heart of the home. Many of our homes have an open-plan layout so the kitchen is a visible part of the living area. We can make the kitchen less noticeable so it blends in with the appearance of the rest of the living area, or it can become a feature.

Mixed material countertop

Mixed material countertop

A seamless, linear kitchen design is modern, clean and very appealing in a minimalist space. The cabinets and appliances form a wall to visually blend into your larger living area. Your cabinets and countertop will be sleek, spare, and perfectly co-ordinated.
If however you want your kitchen to be a separate entity with its own personality, then there are many creative opportunities available to you including cabinetry, appliances, lighting, bar stools, and especially the counter tops.

Royal Palm Interiors

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That’s Fishin’ – September/October 2017

That's Fishin' headerBy Benn Gilmour
We are now in what are traditionally our wettest months here on the Pacific Coast where heavy rains & flooded rivers cause an abundance of trees, branches and other debris to make their way down the rivers and out into the Ocean creating huge areas of weed & floating debris along our current lines. Any fisherman will tell you that this means only one thing, a super-highway for DORADO!

AWESOME DORADO ACTION OFFSHORE!

Nice Bull Dorado

Nice Bull Dorado

Floating debris creates the perfect Dorado fishing environment and anglers should find some excellent sport during offshore trips. On a day charter during the peak of last year’s rains, we caught 18 Dorado up to 50lbs aboard the GOOD DAY! At one point we hooked 6 good sized Dorado at the same time, carnage is an understatement with rods, lines & jumping fish everywhere but our guests had a blast catching these hard fighting, excellent eating fish!

SUSHI ANYONE!?

Tuna Time

Tuna Time

Our Yellow Fin Tuna fishing has been fantastic this year and should continue over the coming months as water temperatures remain cool. Our Tuna fishing has to be experienced to be believed!
Hundreds of Spinner Dolphins, diving birds and Tuna busting the surface as they hunt down their prey. Picture an airborne Flying Fish with a hungry Tuna in hot pursuit, jumping clean out of the water behind it. Discovery Channel material for sure but a common sight for a Captain in Quepos! We are so lucky to witness the wonders of the ocean play out before our eyes.

We catch many Tuna in the 40-80lb range, plenty over 100lb and there are a few HUGE 200lb-300lb Tuna caught off Quepos every year also.

Aside from the Tuna & Dorado action there will be Blue Marlin and Sailfish offshore as well as some excellent ‘deep drop’ bottom fishing for Snapper and Grouper. Inshore boats will be in search of Roosterfish, Snook, Snapper, Mackerel, Jacks & more and a half day inshore trip can be a great option during the rainy season with trips ending at lunchtime.

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Titi Conservation Alliance – September/October 2017

Ing Juan Pablo Aguero, TCA forestry engineer giving talk to students at Villa Nueva Elementary School

Ing Juan Pablo Aguero, TCA forestry engineer giving talk to students at Villa Nueva Elementary School

Field Trips are Fun!

While many visitors and locals are aware of the wonderful reforestation efforts of many organizations in our area and around the country, other important conservation efforts sometimes go unnoticed. Besides our habitat reforestation program, the Titi Conservation Alliance has also focused its efforts on Environmental Education at the elementary school level for many years. So far this year, fourth and fifth grade students at Villa Nueva and Sabalo elementary schools have received talks on topics such as biodiversity, scarlet macaws and the importance of water resources.

Field trip to Hacienda Baru National Wildlife Refuge


Field trip to Hacienda Baru National Wildlife Refuge

In June, students from Los Delfines elementary school participated in an awesome field trip, first visiting the Hacienda Baru National Wildlife Refuge in the morning then heading up to the hills above Dominical to visit the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary. The kids enjoyed touring both centers and had a great lunch afterwards. Of course many local students also participate in our tree plantings often held to celebrate important dates such as Earth Day and Tree Day. In August, we celebrated National Park Day with tree plantings in Naranjito and Tocori, both communities located within the Rio Naranjo Biological Corridor. Education of our young people is an essential part of creating a sustainable future for our area.

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What’s Shaking at Marina Pez Vela? – September/October 2017

The long awaited, ever useful, always insight DOUBLE MONTH edition of Quepolandia is always a blast for those businesses and companies who are gearing up for a few slow and sleepy months in our rainy season…. NOT SO MUCH FOR MARINA PEZ VELA as packing in all the news, events, activities and developments at the project requires a weekly edition rather than bimonthly one! That said, and without further fanfare, here is some insight into what’s going on at MPV during September and October to add to your calendars and busy schedules!

BANCO PROMERICA AT MARINA PEZ VELA IS OPEN

This is huge news for the marina and for our local community. This location is a full service branch and is open until 7 pm Monday – Friday and until 2 pm on Saturdays. This is the ONLY bank in Quepos open after 5pm and is a great way to combine a sunset, dinner or some shopping/errands at the plaza and take advantage of your banking needs.

SEPTEMBER 15TH, COSTA RICA’S INDEPENDENCE DAY

Whether you were born and raised here, are an expat enjoying paradise, or a tourist just here on vacation, there is NOTHING like sharing in the pride of Costa Rican Independence Day. Costa Rica’s Independence Day is such a special time where local schools, communities and families celebrate the pride which is such intrinsic to this nation and its wonderful people. The Marina has always looked to compliment and support the civic activities and traditions which our local Municipality and schools coordinate on these events. This year’s 15th falls in on a Friday so plan on coming by MPV for a weekend full of faroles, typical food, dances, and events celebrating this amazing country and its heritage.

Marina Pez Vela logo
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Spanish Sucks – September/October 2017

¡Happy New 70 Verbs!

¡Happy New Flashcards!

Parte VIII

¡Hola amigos!  How did you do filling the previous seven verbs?  Remember to check your answer on this link:  http://www.oscostarica.com/printable-spanish-flashcards/

This month there are seven new verbs.  Fill the boxes with the conjugations of the verbs in present tense…

Remember that I chose those 70 verbs based on the frequency of use, the importance of complexity and the pattern of conjugation…  Every month I will give you seven flashcards to feel!  Go to my website and compare your fillings with mine:  http://www.oscostarica.com/printable-spanish-flashcards/

Spanish Sucks

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KSTR – September/October 2017

KSTR logoBy Lexi Baca

Hello, and welcome to your monthly article from me, your faithful KSTR spokeskid. This month I have some good news and some bad news!

A few days ago, I had a chance to interview a 9-year-old girl named Karma, who moved here with her mom specifically for KSTR. Karma’s mom, Kerri, is the new Volunteer Coordinator for the organization. I was able to ask Karma a few questions about herself and why she moved here, and what she intends to do with KSTR.

Karma and Lexi

Karma & Lexi

And, as we all know, I’m getting old. (Back pains and everything!). I’m also going to be moving soon which means, unfortunately, I will have to step-down as spokeskid for KSTR. Now now, try and hold back your tears. You won’t be left spokeskid-less! Karma is going to take over and honestly, she’ll probably do a better job than I have!

Still, I’m going to miss working as spokeskid. It’s been a long ride, but a fun one nonetheless. I enjoyed writing articles, doing radio shows, visiting the sanctuary, educating kids around the world, and everything else that was part of my job! People would even recognize my name from the articles on occasion. But I have no doubt everything will be in good hands once I leave.

Now, without further-a-do, here are a few of the questions I asked Karma and the answers she gave me!

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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – September/October 2017

September/October CoverBienvenidos…Welcome to the Rainforest…green season has arrived. So enjoy the peace of it and the greenness it provides. Our mornings are normally beautiful the rain comes later in the day so get moving early and maybe an afternoon nap (guilt free in the rain haha). Our restaurants and tour companies are in full swing to make your stay here unforgettable and without the crowds more enjoyable. We recommend calling ahead to our fine restaurants beforehand because some will be closing for a quick holiday for themselves and staff. Always love this time of year being from the US I always look forward to the start of the NFL season. Catch all the games at Hawg ‘n’ Bill at the beach, Sancho’s and Byblos on the mountain, or Double Hook at the marina.

Costa Rica celebrates their 196th year of Independence on Sept. 15. Quepos will be having its parade with children in traditional costumes, floats and festive marching bands. So if you are in the area come celebrate with a country that truly appreciates their Independence…. Pura Vida!

Halloween is coming so get your costumes ready for fright night in the jungle. Marina Pez Vela will be having its annual Halloween bash as well as many bar and restaurants in the area.

We want to thank Manuel Cabalceta from Manuel’s Tours for the great tree frog cover. We also want to welcome our new advertisers Casa de Amor, DHL, Hari OM, and Premier Wine and Food Company. Also, Paul Gerace, who has been our source for a number of great covers, has 2 new books of photographs.

September/October is a double issue here at Quepolandia so we will be back to guide you in November. We hope you enjoy our magazine and it helps guide you through this enchanting paradise we call home. You can always follow and share us here or at facebook.com/quepolandia. We appreciate and welcome your comments. Happy Independence Day Costa Rica!!!


Titi Conservation Alliance – August 2017

Titi monkeyThe Titi Conservation Alliance was started in 2001 by a group of business owners within the tourist industry based around Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica. Recognizing the need for conservation of their natural environment to maintain prosperity of the local economy, this group of entrepreneurs began the Titi Conservation Alliance with the mission of promoting sustainable development and conserving the biodiversity of Manuel Antonio. The organization’s work has been essential for the preservation of the endangered Titi monkey.

The mono tití, or the grey crowned red-backed squirrel monkey (Saimiri oerstedii citrinellus), is the smallest primate in Costa Rica. This subspecies is only found in and around Quepos/Manuel Antonio National Park on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. They have been listed as Critically Endangered by IUCN Red List since 1996. According to a study in 2006 by the University of Florida anthropologist Sue Boinski, approximately 1,500 individuals of this subspecies and 4,000 individuals of the species on the whole, remained in the area at that time. That’s down from a population estimated at 200,000 in 1983!

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