Sunday, August 17, 2014

Life Update

Not a lot of posting lately, as life is just happening and nothing ultra exciting is going on.  Which is fine with me, as too much excitement exhausts me.

We fired our yard guy.  Well, told him we did not need his help anymore.  When we first started using him, he worked hard and for the entire day and showed up every day except Sunday.  But as time went on, a lot of things he did started to annoy us.  First, every day, Kurt would get up at 655 AM to unlock our gate.  Kurt is a light sleeper, so basically once he gets up for the morning he cannot come back to bed and sleep.  The guy started just showing sporadically.  Which annoyed Kurt since he was getting up early to let the guy in every day.  And the guy would never tell us ahead of time if he was not showing up.  We talked to him about it, asked him to let us know or text if he was not going to be over.  He did it like once then just started showing when he wanted again.  We might have been able to deal with that, however, shortly after that, his work product started to diminish.  I kept telling Kurt we were being "ticoed", which basically means someone from Costa Rica taking advantage of people not originally from here because of the language barrier or whatever.  He was supposed to work from 7 AM until 4 PM with an hour lunch.  He started showing up later and later, taking longer lunches, leaving earlier, and wanting to be paid for the 8 hour day.  And it is hard to tell if he even is there or not as he works throughout the property.  Also I have no desire to stalk my workers and follow them around to see if things are being done.  We also noticed he was bringing him one kid to work and playing with him instead of working, taking calls, talking on his cell about 50% of the time while working, and taking many breaks to talk to or hang out with the guys working across the street on the neighbor's property.  Anyway, finally enough was enough.  Kurt decided that we are going to work on our own property for a while, and if we get sick of it, hire someone else to do the job.  Lots of people around here need and want the work and will actually do it.  I am not going to pay someone to simply hang out at my property and work at 50%.

Speaking of working on the yard, I actually did some yard work.  Which is very rare.  I don't mind doing almost everything around the house, but I don't usually do yard work as I hate getting dirt on my clothes, in my nails, etc. We had a huge storm the other day and a lot of branches, bromeliads, and leaves fell in the yard.  Kurt was napping, and I went out with the wheelbarrow and started picking everything up.  Once Kurt woke up, he came out and helped me and we got it all done pretty quickly.  The lawn guy would have take an entire day or more I think.  He would pick up a branch, drag it to a pile while talking on his phone.  Take a break, get water, take another call.  Anyway, the yard work is exhausting!  Like another work out for the day.  I could really feel it in my legs the next day as I was working different muscles than a normal workout.

I have been cooking and baking a LOT.  I made mashed potatoes from scratch for the first time in my life the other day.  Kurt was thrilled as mashed potatoes are one of his fav foods.  I also have been making a ton of different muffins and breads as snacks for us.  I also finally bought the ingredients to make my chickpea cookie dough here and its nice to have that snack around again.

We went on this crazy hunt today for a dehumidifier.  Annoying.  Could not find one anywhere, and Kurt was driving me insane as he was getting more and more annoyed.  Certain things that would be simple to find in seconds or order online in the States are difficult to find here sometimes.  I told him to just let me post online on one of my boards and I would figure it out quickly, but instead, we went to like 10 places looking.  Of course, as soon as we got home, I figured it out pretty quickly.  Have a couple leads for used ones we will check out, or we will buy closer to San Jose on our next trip out there.

Still dogsitting for another week or so.  The cats will be happy when this is done with, as they have been stuck in one room since the dogsitting started. Poor kitties.

I found this app that lets me call the States for free on my phone called MagicJack.  Love it.  I am now calling my Mom every Monday night as Kurt is cohosting a radio show with a friend.  He is going to be hosting another show on Fridays soon as well.  I was so excited to find a way to call the States free of charge.

We are going to get an estimate for getting solar power at our house.  The most expensive bill by far here is the electric bill per month.  Supposedly with solar power you can reduce your electric bill by 75% plus.  So we are going to get info on it.

Pura Vida!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Happy Birthday, baby Midas!

Midas is one!

I can't believe how time has flown this past year.  My baby is one!  Luckily for me, he still acts like my baby.  :)

I lost my boy Vito a year ago, which was devastating for me.  Even though he was sick and I knew it was going to happen, it did not make it any easier since Vito was my favorite.  He was such a loving, happy go lucky doggy.

However, I can now see a LOT of Vito in Midas, and I think in a way, Vito is still with us, through Midas.  Midas is so friendly, happy go lucky, and always nice to all humans and other animals.  He is also obsessed with Gretel, just like Vito was.  He is such a sweet dog, never getting angry and always giving lots of kisses and love.  The other day, Gretel tried to push him in the pool and he did not get mad at all.  Oscar and Gretel are always trying to steal his snacks, and he just lets them take his food.  he also will let the other pugs eat before him, and be the third to eat at the pug food dish.  He patiently waits.

Some unique things about Midas.  He LOVES to play fetch. I have never had a pug who fetched.  He can play for hours.  Sometimes he has issues giving me the toy to throw, but he always brings it back!  :).  Midas does what we call "fake bark".  He will want someone's attention, but instead of barking he opens his mouth, acts like he is barking, and nothing comes out.  He will also do fake bark on command.  I know he can actually bark as we have heard it, but he mostly choose to fake bark.  Midas is not big on human food, and does not really beg Kurt for snacks like the others do.  However, if you have anything that is sugary (i.e. candy, cereal, muffins), he will literally freak out and hound you.  Only sugar though.  Anything else is not that exciting to him.  Midas loves Costa Rica and the nice weather.  He spends a lot of time outside, even by himself, just sitting on the porch or running around the yard.  The other pugs like to be inside with us or near us on the porch.  Midas wants everyone outside all the time watching him.

Tomorrow, we are going to either make or buy Midas his own birthday snack.  I will try and take a picture, but I have a feeling the snack will be gone very quickly.......

Happy Birthday, Midas Ezekiel Haskell!  We love you to the moon and back.

Thursday, August 07, 2014


We are dogsitting our neighbor R.J.'s dogs for three weeks (started last Thursday).  He is back in the States getting married.  The dogs are two Yorkies that get along perfectly with the pugs.  But, it is a houseful of pets and kinda crazy!  :).  Luckily, we like dogs more than people..........

I made my own applesauce today.  Apples are not cheap in Costa Rica as the apples we know in the US are not grown here.  However, for some reason, the grocery store had them marked half off today, so I bought some and made awesome applesauce.  It turned out great.  It was pretty simple really, with the exception of the labor of peeling all the apples.  I used 12 apples, so that took me some time.  I had to do two batches too since I did not have a big enough pot to cook them all at once (really need some more kitchen pots here).  Also, used my new food processor and it worked awesome.  Yay!  Here is the recipe:  Also, made another batch of guac while the apples were cooking.  I am a pro, I don't need to even look at the recipe any longer, :).

I also made Vegan Cream of Broccoli soup the other day.  I had broccoli that I needed to use up and this was made.  Super easy and looked yummy, however, it was for Kurt since I don't like broccoli.  I

Next on the list to make is cinnamon bread.  Was going to make tonight, but was kind of worn out from our workout tonight.

We took RJ to the airport on Thursday and afterwards stopped in San Jose to pickup the plates for the scooters.  Got those, then decided to stop at Taco Bar in Escazu for lunch, then Pricesmart to get a membership and Walmart for grass seed.  Pricesmart is like the Costco of Costa Rica.  Americans love it.  Lots of things we are used to from the US, but for reasonable prices instead of the crazy prices the grocery stores charge for American products.  There really is not much American I wanted, however, I really did not want to buy some things in bulk like paper towel, toilet paper.  I also got a food processor much cheaper than they are in Jaco.  We bought a bunch of candy and crap, and were sorry we did after the fact.  Will not be making that mistake next time.  I think it's because we had not seen some of the stuff in so long, we were like OH, that looks good, let's grab that.  Overall, great trip though.  And, we finally found grass seed.  No place in Jaco seems to sell it, or they are out.  Walmart and EPA had it, but WalMart had the kind that I wanted.  Whoot.

Oh!  I finally got mail.  We signed up with this company where you get an address in Miami, and then your mail gets forwarded to Jaco.  You get an email telling you that you have mail and you can pick it up the next day.  All sounds great except that we got an email, went there, nothing. This happened 5 times and they never had our mail.  SOMEHOW a miracle happened today and ALL our mail appeared there.  3 Pinconning Journals (kurt's mom got him a subscription a while back), a card from my sister, and my new drivers license.  Hooray for mail!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Pool Chairs

We decided when moving here to simply buy things slowly, as we found exactly what we wanted.  We are in no rush to fill the house with "things", and we have no need for having everything done immediately.   I have been watching Craiglist and Jaco boards on Facebook to see if things come up to buy that speak to me....

I previously went to a wedding in Florida for my friend, Katie.  At that wedding, outside, there were there amazing chairs that I loved.  I told Kurt I wanted one, but in Michigan, you cannot really have outside furniture for most of the year, so it was pointless to get one.  Plus, in MI, the only time I really spent outside was working out, not sitting on my back porch relaxing.  Here, we are on the front porch and in the pool area all the time, so awesome furniture makes sense.

Anyway, I saw some awesome chairs listed and HAD to look at them.  So, we headed to Hermosa Palms today, the area where the chairs were at, which is about 15 minutes from where we live.  It is down this horrible dirt road (this road would seriously drive me insane if I lived in Hermosa).  Got there and LOVED the chairs.  The couple had other stuff for sale too, but nothing that we need for the house, unfortunately.  Made an offer on the chairs, she called to get someone to deliver them, and we are the proud owners of some super kewl pool chairs.  We have already napped and hung out in them.  The pugs quickly figured them out too.  I have a feeling that once Bugsy is better and outside again, he will be loving those chairs and will lie right in the center of them.  :).

Tonight, I was proud of myself.  I really wanted to skip the gym and get fish tacos or a mahi burger from this new place that opened under the gym.  The chef is from this place that closed that I loved called Bohio's.  Bohio's closed because the owner is in prison for money laundering or something and awaiting trial.  So, Bohio's closed, and I guess the chef opened a new place.  It's nothing fancy at all, but I am guessing the food is incredible.  Of course, it's right under the gym and tempts me daily.  Then Kurt says, you know, you really can take a night off from working out, you work out twice a day.  He was NOT helping at all.  Anyway, I said no, I want to work out, and we did, and I made healthy dinners.  That may not be the case next time, LOL.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Car Stuff in Costa Rica

We have an SUV in Costa Rica, a Nissan Xterra, that Kurt drove from Michigan to Costa Rica.  This post is about the maintenance we have had to do on our car while here and the cost.

First, we needed an oil change right after I arrived here since Kurt drove so far to get here.  We took it to a place that you drove up to and they lifted the car in the air, with us inside. No wait.  The cost was about what it is in the States, but we got higher end oil. Super nice guy who owned the place.  Very close to our house in Herradura.

Today, we needed to get a flat repaired and changed, and wanted the car detailed since it was filthy from Kurt's trip down here.  Took it to the local gas station we usually fill up at.  In Michigan, a car detail would cost around $150.00 (for inside and out).  Also, there is generally an appointment that has to be made, and you usually have to leave your car there for hours.  In Costa Rica, drove right up and got in.  Total was $11.00.  They did an awesome job.  The tire patch was $6.00.  The guy fixed the tire, then switched it over for us and put our spare back underneath the car.  Super fast service.  Not sure what the cost for that in the States would have been.  But, I know it would not have been as easy or fast.

We ate at a new place or date night for sushi called Arigato.  I updated my restaurant post to include a review, but thumbs up to this place.  :).  Jaco was crazy busy today because of the holiday.  We lucked out though and got a table right away at Arigato.  SUPER long wait at POPS for ice cream.  Usually we walk right in and up to the counter.

I was a cooking fool today.  I made a new batch of guac and tartar sauce, as well as a strawberry banana bread.  I also made a new recipe of smashed potatoes for Kurt and black bean burgers.  I made a new pudding too which only has three ingredients and was super yummy and healthy. 

I also finished painting the wood for my closet that Kurt is going to build. So, hopefully he starts on that soon.  I would love to hang all my clothes up and stop living out of suitcases.

Bugsy it done with his antibiotic shots at the vet and now gets drops at home only.  We have a recheck appointment on Thursday.  Each time we have gone in though, they seem to think his eye looks better and better.  We have been barring Bugsy from going outside though as we don't want him to get into anything that will bother the eye.  He spends a lot of time in my bathroom in the sink.  Weird cat.  LOL.

Pura Vida!

Friday, July 25, 2014

First Vet Visit in Costa Rica--Bugsy's Adventures

Generally, we keep our gate closed, but it blows open once in a while when not locked.  Two of these times, Bugsy has taken the opportunity to leave the yard and get lost.  Yes, I have such a high maintenance cat that he cannot get home once lost in a field of weeds and trees.  We have two lots located on each side of us that are empty.  One is for sale, and overgrown as the owner does not have it cleared very often.  The other one is more cleared. 

The first time Bugsy got lost, it was on the cleared field and near the edge. I heard him meowing, and found him. I think he got stuck in a rain storm and was scared to come home.  I picked him up and brought him home and that was that.  This time, he went in the other uncleared field.  We could see him on the other side of the fence.  But, you cannot get under our fence or over it, so the only way to get him was to go in the field.  Simpler said than done.  When someone does not clear their lot, there are generally lots of fun things living in it, i.e. snakes, spiders, bugs, all of which could or might not be poisonous.  So, we did not want to walk the 40 feet back that Bugsy was.  Kurt decided to drive.

He drove the SUV back while I stood on the other side of the fence with a flashlight on my iPhone to show him where Bugsy was.  He got there, grabbed Bugsy and put him in the car and backed out.  As soon as he pulled in the driveway, I heard a hissing sound from the tire.  Yep, flat tire from thorns or something in the next door lot.  Ugh.  Thanks Bugsy. 

I thought I noticed his eye looking hurt, but Kurt thought he got into catnip and was just drugged out.  So, we took him in the house and he retired for the night.  We went for a walk since we were too late for the gym after all this mess.

The next day, we looked more closely at Bugsy and it looked like I was right and he had scratched his eye. So, we took him in right away to the vet in Herradura (which is right across from Los Suenos Resort in a little mini strip of stores).  We had been in there before to buy flea and tick stuff and deworming pills (which are monthly here).  The vet there speaks great English.

Took Bugsy in and we were seen right away, even with no appointment.  Bugsy was being a pain in the ass, so they ended up sedating him which made it way easier.  They had to put a dye in his eye to look at the cut, which they thought appeared pretty deep.  However, they made up two eye drops for him, and while he was out, cut all the debris out of his fur that got embedded during Bugsy's great adventure in the lot next door.  Since Bugsy will not take pills, we were told we had to take him back every morning for  days to get a shot for possible infection.

Grand Total for appointment, all followup appointments and all drugs and shots as well as a specialist looking at pics of his eye and progress?  $90.00.  So much cheaper than the US. 

Anyway, Bugsy seems to be doing better daily.  We have taken him two mornings now for his shots and he is much better behaved now.  I think he was mad the first time because they had to take blood, which required shaving him and he hates the sound of the shaver.  He gets really mad if you try to remove his fur, LOL.

So, that was our first vet experience here.  We loved our vets in MI, but I am liking the quick service and prices here even more. Pura Vida!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Restaurant Reviews

I have been living in Costa Rica for a little over 2 months now, and wanted to share a post about places we have eaten and our thoughts.  Some we have eaten at other times before we moved here as well.  It's hard to pick favorites, as we like different places for different reasons and food.  Here goes though.  I will update this list as we try different places as well and will try to post links to those that have websites.

1.  Green Room Café.  We have eaten here twice for dinner since moving here.  A couple local people recommended it to me, and we finally tried it.  Awesome place.  They have a regular menu, and a special menu that is written out on a chalkboard in the restaurant.  There is indoor and outdoor seating.  They have live music on most Friday and Saturday nights.  They also have a lot of local art displayed inside, which I believe is for sale.  I have also heard that they have an organic market there sometimes, but I have not asked when.  I need to do that.  Anyway, both times we ate there, no wait and easy to get a table.  We were told to sit anywhere we wanted to and both times, we sat indoors.  Both times, we ordered the exact same meals, so I guess we must have liked them!  :).  We started with two appetizers, falafel and guacamole.  Both awesome.  Kurt was leery of the falafel, but the second time we ate there, he ate that entire app himself!  The chips served with the guac are really good and taste homemade.  For my meal, I had the best mahi burrito of my life.  It was super spicy and just incredible.  Kurt had a grilled jalapeno and cheese sandwich with fries.  The sandwich is made with thick bread and the fries crispy.  We both had sodas, but one time Kurt had a juice that he really enjoyed. The second time we ate here, our friend RJ joined us.  He started with ceviche and had the mahi tacos, both of which he raved about.  One note, the Costa Ricans seem to like to go heavy with the cabbage on the tacos, so if you are not a fan, order none or ask for light.  RJ took about half of his off the tacos and I would have too if I ordered them.  The website says cash only, but we have paid with a card both times so I think that is an old entry.  We heard no music the first trip there, but the second time there was an acoustic duo playing American type music and they were really good.  Service has been awesome both times.  Prices are very reasonable.  I think our meal each time was around $40, but that was for drinks, 2 apps, and 2 meals.  They also use all local ingredients to cook their meals and make drinks.  I imagine we will be back here many times over.

2.  Taco Bar.  This is one of my fav places to eat in the world.  It is VERY casual, the one in Jaco anyway.  There is a bar you can sit at with swings, or there are tables outside to sit at as well.  We ate here many times before moving here, and we have eaten here twice since moving back.  They have 3 other locations besides the Jaco one, but the only other one I have been to is in Escazu, and I prefer Jaco, just for the casual beach environment.  Anyway, I get the same thing every single time I go here.  Ahi tuna tacos (two) spicy and well done with cheese.  You order at the window, they bring you the tacos on shells, and then you go to the salad bar in the middle of the restaurant to put the toppings on your tacos.  I usually add lettuce, onion, a spicy sauce they have.  They also have these little potatoes that everyone raves about.  Kurt eats a ton of these every trip.  They have bread as well that is pretty yummy.  You can go to the salad bar as many times as you want, so I have seen people go back multiple times for more salad or potatoes.  Kurt gets smoothies there for most meals and raves about those as well, but I usually get a Diet Coke.  We have never had a bad meal here.  We went with another couple last time, and our male friend said it was the best taco bar he has ever been to, which is saying a lot since he is from the land of taco bars, San Diego.  Prices are reasonable here as well, I think our bill is usually around $25.00.  Side note, they have breakfast here as well.

3.  Los Amigos.  Probably the most popular sports bar in Jaco.  Located on a corner near Taco Bar and El Lagar.  They have a huge menu here for a sports bar, with lots of variety in food. Kurt's fav thing here is the menu item called Big Ass Smoothie.  He adds extra protein and its great for workouts.  Anyway, I always get the shrimp pad thai and its incredible.  Kurt gets the mahi rice bowl most trips.  We had a guac app once that I would say was OK.  They served it with crackers in a package, and I thought that was a turnoff as I hate anything in a package.  But, it was decent besides that. We always get awesome service.  We tried to go here to watch one of the Costa Rica soccer games recently and the entire place was reserved ahead of time, so that shows how popular they are.  They have both indoor and outdoor seating and take credit cards.

4.  Caliche's Wishbone Restaurant and Bar.  We have been here twice after moving and had eaten here once prior to moving.  The seating is right on the Jaco strip so its great for people watching.  The appetizers here are awesome.  We have gotten a couple, both with chips and black beans or guac.  Both good.  I always get the mahi burrito here and it's great.  It used to be my fav until I discovered the one I really like at The Green Room (above).  Credit cards accepted.  Great service and have never had a bad meal here.

5.  Graffiti.  We have been here three times, all prior to moving here.  I consider this higher end dining, for Jaco anyway.  This in no way means you have to dress up though and casual is kind of the way of the land in Jaco and Costa Rica in general.  I think I wore a sundress and sandals.  Anyway, the décor in this place is awesome.  All graffiti covering the walls.  It is a small place, so on busy nights, I would recommend reservations.  We were lucky each time and they fit us in, but it was slammed each time we were there.  It is also kind of out of the way and hard to find, so ask around as it is not right on the main strip.  The menu here is on a whiteboard and changes daily and sometimes changes while you are there depending on availability. Every meal I have had here is creative and awesome.  We also split a dessert there one time for Kurt's bday, it was called Elvis something or other and it was truly amazing.  One of the best I have ever had.  Service is always awesome, and the place is just a gem. Credit cards accepted.   Highly recommend for a nicer meal out.

6.  Lemon Zest.  This place is raved about by everyone I encounter and it is a favorite for people.  We ate here once after the move.  I would suggest reservations on busy nights, but we lucked out and got a table.  They have indoor and outdoor seating.  This place is higher end, both in price and ambiance.  I would say it may even be a little snobby for Kurt and I, since we like casual places.  Service was perfect though.  They had a regular menu and specials which are told to you by the waiter.  Truthfully, I would prefer special written down so I don't have to remember them.  I had a seafood soup that was amazing, followed by a coconut shrimp entrée.  Both fabulous and prepared perfectly.  Prices are high for Jaco, but the food is worth it here.  Credit cards accepted.

7.  Jaco Taco.  I have eaten here once, and it was the night I arrived in Costa Rica to live and I was exhausted.  But, they were open as they are 24 hours, and Kurt had no food in the house since he can't cook without me.  Mexican food is very sparse in Costa Rica, so this place is popular when one wants to get a Mexican fix.  Great service, although we were the only table when we were there late at night.  I had a burrito and it was awesome.  It also was a great serving size, as I was starving and it filled me up.  Prices are great, and it's awesome to have a place open all night in Jaco in case you are craving a snack.  Kurt ate here quite often before I moved down, and he liked every meal.  It's a great place to watch the game, and they play American sports so Kurt would watch the Tigers.

8.  Amancio's.  Italian place in Jaco.  Pizza and pastas.  We should have only ordered one pizza.  We thought they were smaller sized, but they were HUGE.  I had a tuna and onion pizza and Kurt had cheese.  We ended up bringing home the equivalent of an entire pizza.  Super good food and exceptional service.  Indoor and outdoor seating, we sat outdoors here.  We also had a yummy bruschetta appetizer.  The credit card machine went down while we were eating, so we had to pay cash, which could have been a problem if we had no cash, but it was fine.  TVs to watch as you eat as well. 

9.  Pizza Pata.  Kurt ate here once before I moved down, and the other day, we were waiting for our travel agent to finish with some other people and he was hungry, so we stopped in.  I ordered a tuna and spinach one slice pizza and Kurt ordered three cheese. The pizza is awesome and a huge serving for one slice.  Cooked while we were there, and the prices were low.  Service was great.  They also have cheese and crushed pepper in packets on the table.  And wow, that crushed pepper was spicy, even for me!  Many say this is the best pizza in Jaco.  I don't have much to compare it to, but I thought it was pretty great.  They also deliver.

10.  Pops.  Chain ice cream place.  Lots of choices, both yogurt and ice cream.  Lots of different shakes, sundaes and other ways to have your ice cream.  I have not had much here, as I usually just go with Kurt and watch him eat.  But, I had a sundae there once with caramel ice cream and it was amazing.  They have waffle bowls for the sundaes made from scratch that were awesome.  Quick service and good prices.

11.  Heladeria El Barco.  Located next to Restaurant El Barco.  Gelato style ice cream served in a variety of ways.  Super yummy.  I have only technically eaten there once and had a cookie gelato that was amazing, one scoop in a cone.  Kurt has tried a lot and likes it all.  They have this meal you can get with a waffle and ice cream on top that looks amazing.  Have not had that yet.
12.  I Love Sushi.  When we ate here the first time, pre-move, it was located on the main highway and not in downtown Jaco.  They have since moved to downtown Jaco.  We ate here one time since moving.  The service was perfect in both locations.  The last time we ate there, the waiter brought out a free appetizer to try, fried green beans, that were awesome.  We both started with miso soup, and split three sushi rolls.  The rolls were all incredible.  Kurt commented it was possibly the best sushi he ever had.  Downfall to this place is price.  It seemed really high priced for Jaco.  Our bill was around $70 and we did not have alcohol, just sodas.  Supposedly, the local favorite place for sushi that has more reasonable prices is Arigato, so we will be trying that next for sushi just to save money.
13.  Dolce Vita.  I met up with a friend for lunch and she suggested Dolce Vita.  This place is located in the marina shopping area in Los Suenos Resort in Herradura.  This place has a menu and also inside, lots of bakery like treats and desserts.  I was not super hungry, so I had a bowl of minestrone soup which came with some amazing bread.  The soup was awesome.  My friend had soup and bread as well.  Service was good and there was seating outside and inside.  Prices were reasonable as well and the views are great there.

14. Surf Dogs.  Ate here once while watching Costa Rica lose in the World Cup.  Boo.  Kurt and I split some appetizers and I had one passionfruit daiquiri.  They have all these premixed units on the wall with different flavors.  Anyway, the daiquiri was incredible and left me buzzed the entire time I was there and after.  So, fabulous drinks.  The food was below average.  I was starving, so it hit the spot, but was your typical bar food that is nothing special.  Service was OK.  Waitress did not come to the table very often to see if we needed more to drink.  The place was slammed though, so I will cut her some slack.   I would prob not eat here again, but would have drinks for sure.

15.  Arigato.  Sushi.  Always busy, and is supposedly THE place to get sushi.  Once seated, I noticed the Happy Hour Specials on the table which look great, but alas, it was not happy hour while we were there.  That's OK though.  Prices were about half of what I Love Sushi were, so that was great.  Rolls were not as "fancy" or filling, but were good just the same.  We ordered two miso soups and three rolls to split.  The miso was awesome and had some little noodles instead of tofu, which Kurt loved.  Super yummy.  Service was great and quick.  Super friendly staff. Highly recommend.

Border Run to Nicaragua from Herradura

In Costa Rica, you have to leave the country every 90 days and re-enter if you are not a resident. Technically, if you have applied to be a resident, you do not have to do this, however, there is another law that says if you do not leave every day and are not a resident, you cannot legally drive and your insurance is invalid.  So, even though Kurt and I have applied for residency, we still had to do this border run in order to still be able to legally drive in the country.

Kurt was coming up on his 90 days on August 1, so we decided to go on Friday together and get on the same schedule.  I had until September since I was in Michigan in June for a wedding, but we want to be on the same time schedule to make things easier.  Hopefully we are approved soon and don't have to keep doing this.

The law used to say that you had to leave for 72 hours before you could come back, but, that is no longer necessary. 

We had two country choices, Nicaragua and Panama.  I read a lot online before doing this and decided that Nicaragua seemed like less of a hassle, so we headed to the border at Penas Blancas. 

Got up early and stopped once to get gas and some snacks. The drive was LONG.  It should have been about 3 hours, but there was a TON of construction and traffic, and it took about 4 hours.  I downloaded this great app called Waze, that a lot of people in Costa Rica use. It was great telling us where police officers were ahead of time, since using a radar detector is not useful in this country since the police do not use radar for the most part.

When we got there, we parked right next the entrance.  You can get a guy to watch your case for a few bucks.  You don't have to, but I would not chance leaving my car there and pissing them off by not paying.  You can also exchange money in case you plan on going into Nicaragua for lunch or seeing the sites.  We exchanged a small amount of money and headed off.  There are a TON of handlers there who want to help you get through the process. Hiring one of them could be helpful, but you can figure it out yourself.  Since Kurt has been through a TON of borders, we decided to forego hiring anyone.  In the meantime, we had to tell about 100 helpers we did not need help.  It is very annoying and they are VERY pushy.  Anyway. First place we went was to pay the Ministerio de  Hacienda Direccion General de Tributacion.  This building was to the right of where we parked and right at the entrance.  Small wait in line.  This was a fee of $7 per person and they gave us a yellow receipt we would have to show later to prove we paid. 

We next went to Costa Rican customs.  To get to this building, you have to walk a ways down the main road outside the first building.  Handlers will again drive you crazy.  There is a form you have to fill out, one per person, to present to the customs person.  Bring a pen!  Got to this building and there was a kind of long line.  Waited, and it went quickly.  Got to the front, and they checked all documents.  There are restrooms outside the customs building.

Next, you have to go to Nicaragua.  You walk a ways down the main road.  You can rent someone to give you a ride in a little cart, but we were not lazy, LOL.  Got harassed by handlers, again.  On the way two police officers stopped us at booths to check our documents.  Got the Nicaragua building, which is off the street to the right.  Have to pay $1 municipality tax and then you head to customs.  There, you pay $12 to enter Nicaragua.  Remember to have a copy of your passport.  I think they ask for that for people from certain countries.  We did not have one, so they sent us to a yellow building outside to get the copy, which cost $12 cents each.  Went back in, waited in line again.  There is a customs form you have to fill out here as well. 

Once you get done there, you can go into Nicaragua.  However, we did not want to go into town as we had a long drive back.  So, we walked to the other side of the building and started the process back into Costa Rica.  You pay another $1 tax to exit, then wait at the window again, and pay the $12.00 fee again to exit the country.

The next step was walking the main road again back to Costa Rican customs.  We had to stop at the two checkpoints again, and for some reason, the one officer gave us a hard time.  Even though the time is not on anything, he kept saying we had to stay in Nicaragua for 4 hours before we could leave.  I knew this was not true.  Of course, there was a handler there who could "help" for $20.  If we gave him $20, the 4 hour rule would not apply.  Since we had no desire to wait 4 hours or go into Nicaragua (lunch and a taxi would have been more that $20), we gave him $20.  He then said it was $20 per person.  We got annoyed and said no and started to walk away.  I guess he changed his mind and wanted to help us, so he took the $20 and the officer smiled and let us through, no problem.  Pura Vida!

Then, you go to the Costa Rican customs.  There, they will ask for your proof that you are leaving Costa Rica within 90 days.  We both had bus tickets that proved we were leaving within 90 days that we got from Rebekah at Solutions Travel in Jaco.  Those worked fine and we were set to leave and drive back to Jaco.

Found our car right away, tipped the guy who watched it, and we were off.  Long drive home, stopped once in Liberia for a snack.

Exhausting day.  Was glad to be home.