Sunday Funday…. PaluSanto Style

WOW What a day!  I’ve been toying with the idea of doing Sunday Funday again for quite some time.  As is the norm for me, I’ve had numerous people almost insist on it and tell me I’m crazy not to.  I had been doing it for a few weeks when this great restaurant on the beach in Garza reopened and was revamped.  They started doing Sunday Funday with two great bands playing every week.  Awesome ad campaign, perfect oceanfront location, great food…..  hard to compete.  So I stopped.  Several months later, this restaurant went through management changes and stopped the Sunday Funday.  Then it was May, the beginning of the “off season”.   I thought about picking it up in July/August but it seemed much slower this year.  Then I was at a restaurant in Guiones and heard this awesome band.  Four young guys, NO vocals, but the sound was so fun and uplifting.  I was told they were from San Jose and only play here once in a while.  I assumed if they were a band from San Jose they would be entirely out of my price range for my budget.  I left thinking, I’ll find a decent band somehow, somewhere.  A few nights later, I saw them playing at another place.  Everyone in attendance looked so engaged and happy.  I decided to take a chance and ask what the deal was.

To my delight, they had moved closer to town and were available to play in Nosara more often.  Great!  When I asked what their fee was, I was pleasantly surprised and booked them immediately for the following Sunday afternoon.

It being September, and the height of rainy season, I knew I was taking a chance but I also knew there are quite a few more residents here than in the past.  I knew I had to at least try.  As news got out that this great band, “PaluSanto” would be playing on Sunday afternoon, I began getting texts and Facebook messages telling me how excited people were and how busy I would be.  Oh boy..  this could get interesting.   I immediately put word out for extra help to work that day.  What most people don’t understand about this business, it is not a simple matter of booking a band and waiting for the customers to show up.  You need a staff, more food, more beer/wine/liquor, etc etc. Y’all get the point.

I hired a bartender, a server and an extra person to help Krhisly in the kitchen.  I thought, this is good; I’ll have plenty of people to cover the 50 people that will probably show up.  I scheduled them all to come in early so I could go over the menu etc.  Evidently I should have had them come in 4 hours earlier.  We open at 10am and at 11:55am we only had 4 people.  I’m thinking.. ….   Oh boy, I guess I overestimated the “crowd” that would be here today.  And thennnn ….   12:05………..BAMMMM….  Cars, trucks, quads and moto’s started to arrive.  Oh boyyyyy.   Here we go. …

Mojito’s, Margaritas, Caparanhas, Mint Limonadas, …    “Can I order food”, “What’s the Wi-Fi password”?  Holy Muther of….  All at once………..about 100 customers……….  THREE new staff members………..oh wait, no, only 2 new staff members since 1 new server never showed up.  Hahahahahaha………….  There is only so much you can do……….. you smile, laugh and run…….lots of running.  Run to the tables, to the bar, to the kitchen, back to the tables and the bar…. Over and over and over again…     People trying to order food with the brand new bartender who never had a chance to catch up from the 5,000 Mojito’s and Margaritas being ordered, let alone take food orders when he had no idea what was on the menu.  It was quite stressful and but even more comical.

My neighbor, Mike, had come down to hang out and enjoy the music.  He made the mistake of asking if I needed help.   Hahahaha……..Ummmm Yes Please.  Thank the heavens above he offered.  He cleared tables, helped serve beers, helped me deliver drinks etc.  I was more than just “in the weeds”; I was “in the very tall cornfields”.  Hahaha…   I tried very hard to enjoy the day and the crowd.  People tend to assume I am “upset” or “angry” if I don’t have a perma smile on when it’s busy.   I am actually, 100%, enjoying every minute of the crazy, busy, somewhat organized chaos.  However, when you have a totally new staff, and not enough since 1 did not show up, 90 more people than you normally have on a given day here in the mountain and you are coming up on age 53……….you need to concentrate much harder to keep it all straight.  LOL There is a LOT going on and 98 of the 100 people are looking to me, calling my name, chatting as I walk by, yelling out orders as I run by and if I’m not smiling the ENTIRE time, I get…  “Relax, Tranquilla, SMILE”  (my favorite).  Hahahahaha..  I can’t win so I gave up long ago.  As long as all of my guests are enjoying themselves and I’m “somewhat” remembering all the orders, I think, “Good Job”.  I keep plugging along, answering the 1,000 questions thrown at me, putting out fires, dealing with power outages, needs of the musicians, fielding phone calls….  You name it, I handle it.  J

I have put a few new systems in place, I am far more organized than I was that first day and I can now enjoy my “Sunday Funday” with the rest of ya’ll!

Anyone in this crazy business we call “Hospitality” will most surely understand every word I have written here.  If you are not in this crazy business, now you get a little glimpse of what it’s like.   (And you can stop telling me to smile, relax, take a breath, cuz believe me, I AM smiling, relaxed and breathing, on the inside)  J   Someday I will hang up my “owner shoes” and find something less stressful, but clearly not as challenging and fun.  Until then, bring on the next CRAZY, Chaotic event.   Have a great night everyone!  Pura Vida

FOOTNOTE:  Thank you VERY MUCH to my right and left hand Krhisly Aguilar, my neighbors Mike Murphy and Tim Hartig for bailing my arsse out 3 weeks now and to ALL my very kind, understanding, patient, FUN customers for putting up with my Boston, Irish, Sarcastic arsse.  Until next time.   Slainte’

K-Rae

 

No Really, Cats realllyyy do have 9 lives….

Generally I have Mondays off and try to go to the beach, run errands or just hang out watching Netflix in the wonderful silence.    This Monday was “play catch up day” after an awesome, very busy Sunday.  I received a dinner invitation from a new friend that recently moved to town.  I was tempted to decline but I had declined the two previous invitations due to work commitments or just plain exhaustion.  Keri Dawn, her husband Rick and their 2 young boys moved here a few months ago and are such a kind, fun couple and great little family.    They have been up to the restaurant quite a few times and are always so interesting to be around.  They are renting a home in a community not too far from me until they decide where they would like to purchase a home.  They know that my only day off is Monday and that is the only time I can go.

I arrived at 5:15 and was immediately greeted by Keri Dawn, the boys and a nice glass of red wine.  While Rick was busy cooking dinner, Keri Dawn gave me the tour of this very beautiful house.  During the tour Keri Dawn tells me they have a house cat and house Pizote.  The cat has been there since they moved in and evidently was there for at least a year with the previous renters.  The previous renters actually drove it to town, TWICE, and he made his way back.  Keri Dawn told me he hadn’t been fed by the other people or the neighbors.  That he was surviving on compost and whatever he could catch.  She felt bad and began feeding him.   I immediately thought of my cat, Mini, that disappeared 2 months after I brought him here from SC.  December of 2016, Mini was chased away for the umpteenth time by the dog of an employee.  After a few months of calling his name, putting out food and litter all over the property, I assumed he had become a victim of one of the many wild animals who frequent the property.  Every few months I would wonder if he was “out there”.

After a delicious meal, Keri Dawn and I went back to the porch to relax and finish our wine.  She grabs the cat food and tells me the “house cat” should be here any minute for his dinner.  Two minutes later this white/gray cat walks up onto the porch and walks toward the bowl.  I immediately think of Mini as he looks JUST like him.  Mini was one of 4 kittens that a stray cat that was dumped at my house in Surfside Beach, SC gave birth to under the spare room bed.  Mini looked EXACTLY like the Mama cat, hence the name.  When the kittens were fixed, the vet notched their ears thinking they were ferel cats when brought in. Mini developed an infection and his ear slowly fell off piece by piece until there was just a small nub left.  If it hadn’t been for that ear I may have thought it was just another stray cat.  However as soon as I saw the ear, I knew IMMEDIATELY.  After almost 2 years, wondering if he was actually lost or was gone, there he was, right in front of me.  As I called his name he came running over.  Of course he was more interested in eating but he did give me a minute for a big ole hug!  After eating, I wasn’t taking any chances.  Scooped him up, said goodbye to Keri Dawn, Rick, the kids and Garee and got him in the truck as soon as possible.  I’m sure he thought he was being dumped in town again so he was a bit nervous.

As soon as I got him home, I put him in his own room, food/water, litter box.  I wanted to give him a few days before reintroducing him to his 3 siblings.  He was skinny, patches of hair missing and light case of fleas/mites.  Surprisingly he was in great shape for living in the jungle for 2 years.  He ate 2 bowls of food, breakfast and lunch for several days.  The first few nights  he was home, I hung out in the room to calm him.  He was his old cuddle bug self.  Couldn’t get any closer to my face/chest and likes to be UNDER the blankets.  If there was any doubt at all that this was Mini, all doubt was gone after spending 10 minutes alone with him.

It’s been 10 days now and he was given a full exam at Safari Animal Clinic.  Other than the fleas/mites, for which Susanna gave him Advantage drops, he is in great shape.  Skinny, yes, but that will surely change if he keeps eating the way he has been.  He is still very skittish when any vehicle pulls up or staff come in the house.  His 2 siblings from the same litter aren’t exactly welcoming him with open arms but they don’t attack him either.  The other, his buddy Coco, that wouldn’t ever leave his side, is not as welcoming.  Hisses anytime he is a few feet away and has stopped sleeping in the room with the others.  He actually looks pissed.  He is NOT happy that this male is back in the fold.  LOL

So with everything else going on, running the restaurant in a foreign country and everything that goes with it…   we now have the “Psychology of Cats” Episode 1 happening.  One thing is for sure..  Cats have 9 Lives is definitely fact and not fiction.

Have a great day everyone!

 

Rainy Season Fun….

Hello Hello Everyone!

Well last year I was in the US from August 24 to October 5 visiting family and packing up 2 storage units and part of a house into a 40′ shipping container for shipment to Nosara, CR.  Since I was not here for this, our “rainy off-season”, I have chosen to stay open for business Wednesday through Sundays.  If I’m not open, I won’t know what kind of business we may do these months.  Many businesses close for Sept or Oct or both.  Many take this time to vacation, visit family/friends or do necessary maintenance.  For me it’s been a great opportunity to gain new customers.  I’ve had so many new families with small children come up for the pool etc.  Lot’s of new Tico’s and Tica’s have discovered the fun, tranquil, relaxed Pub with views and pool so close to town.  Many new “local Expats” who have lived here for years that have been meaning to come check it out and are finally doing so.  One thing they all have in common?  Their reactions…    🙂

“WOW, it is GORGEOUS up here..   this food is awesome…..  These views of the mountains, the ocean, the monkeys, birds etc are crazy….  I can swim in the pool?…. you have Fried Pickles, Buffalo Cauliflower Bites, Corned Beef Reuben…?  This is like a REAL Irish Pub in the jungle!….  You have rooms for rent? ….  I feel like I’m not in Nosara anymore”…    I LOVE it!

I didn’t realize until a few months ago how rare it is for most people to see this view and I love to share it.  When a storm rolls in, the clouds sit in the mountains and valley, the breeze kicks in..  Crazy loud thunder, brightest lightning I’ve ever seen.  Sunrises, sunsets, full moon rising over the mountains.  It’s spectacular and to have people enjoy it with me is just icing on the cake.

If it rains too hard, I grab the darts and start practicing a game I used to play every week on a league.  Bullseye still gets me every time but I am practicing by gollie..  (Look out Ian McKenzie)

So in a nutshell, September is almost over, fingers crossed we don’t get the flooding we endured last year and October is the same.  I’ll get more new peeps discovering this gem in the jungle and before you know it, high season will be here.

Until next time…   Be Safe and Pura Vida

K-Rae

 

Rain, Rain Everywhere… :-o

What a crazy week it has been!  My hometown in the States is Pawleys Island, SC.  Hurricane Florence looked to be heading straight for them as well as the entire coast of SC putting so many of my friends in danger.  For almost a straight week, Mandatory Evacuations, Curfews, waiting…  lot’s of waiting..   and RAIN.  Watching it all unfold and keeping track of all my friends was like a full time job.  😮   While I was watching all of the posts, I saw so many humorous meme’s to get everyone through it, and am glad people still have a sense of humor through it all.

If you don’t know, this is our normal “rainy season” here in Nosara, Costa Rica.  It is so beautiful here during rainy season.  The mountains are lush green.  The storm clouds hovering over those mountains. The monkeys, Pizotes, birds all enjoying the abundance of fruit, vegetation and water.  It’s so calm and peaceful.  Until the late afternoon evening thunderstorms.  It’s a good thing I LOVE a good thunderstorm with lightning and the loudest Thunder I’ve ever heard.  When it cracks over the mountains and river it shakes the whole property.  Nothing like it.  I grab a nice glass of Pinot Noir, settle in to my hammock and enjoy the free show.

K-Rae’s is still open during the rainy season and I’ve been getting quite a few new people coming to check out the awesome scenery.  It is so great and such a big part of the reason I am in this  business.  To meet people from all over the world, learn what they do or did for a living.  Learn about the areas in the countries they are from.  It’s better than any class I could take.  🙂  I now have a list of 25 countries I would like to visit and names and phone numbers of people who are eagerly awaiting my arrival to be my personal tour guides.  Can not wait for that………..  🙂

I hope everyone has a wonderful day.  Stay safe and smart in those storm areas people.

Pura Vida!

Kerri Rae

Polly from Cayman

No Power, No Problemo…..

People often ask what I miss in the States.  While I sit here writing this blog, my power went out.. again…  I have a battery backup that lasts for 2 hours so I will continue working until either 1)  My power comes back on or 2) until the battery backup dies.  Soooo one thing I miss about the States..  continuous power. 🙂

Losing power is an hourly occurrence here on the mountain.  Most times it comes back on within a minute.  Other times, it takes days.  Also, although we have a water pump for all of the houses on the mountain, often times, especially in dry season the well needs repairs or needs the water to be pumped manually.  I am the first to lose it and the last to get it back.  (Of course).  But luckily we have Chimbolo who gets us back up and running as quick as he can.

Losing power and water are just 2 things that have made me stop, look around and say “No problem, not the end of the world, it’ll be back before you know it”.  Something I am grateful to have learned here and wish more people could have the experience.   🙂

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Saturday fun with friends, old and new

What a GREAT day we had today.  A group of expat friends came up for the day and while they were here a couple staying in town from California and another group of 3 (2 awesome young ladies and a gentleman from Chicago).  Everyone started chit chatting and eventually moved their tables together and it became one big happy group!  Eating, drinking, swimming, chatting, laughing….   Then the Howlers showed up!  For the tourists who hadn’t seen them yet it was perfect timing. They hung out in the trees next to the beer garden and moved along to above the bar where they watched while swimming in the pool  I heard one of the girls say, “How cool is this, swimming with a delicious craft beer in hand while chatting with new people and watching a large family of monkeys hang out in the trees above”!  that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to tell people.  🙂  The views are AMAZING, the wildlife that you see is incredible and of course the food and service are the BEST!  (If I do say so myself)..    It’s days like yesterday that make me stop and remind myself…. “this is my home and the reason I moved here.”

So a big Thank you to Pam, Louis, Shelly, Jim, Nikki, Joe, Kim, Chris, Alex, Sarah and Tom for such a fun, laid back, “friendly” kind of day!  Have a great Night Everyone!  Pura Vida.

Meeting and Greeting…….

Happy Friday Everyone!

It’s been a busy,  interesting week here at the K-Rae’s.  When I say busy I don’t always mean crazy busy with lots of people but busy with a nice small group of people that I sit and chat with for hours learning all about there lives.  Where they are from, what they do for a living, their history, their culture.

I met a wonderful couple and their son who live in the Cayman Islands.   He is a DR., she owns her own IT business and have lived in Cayman for 26 years.  Another couple from Germany and their 2 young boys.  He owned a very popular nightclub and retired early.  They just moved here and their kids will be starting school at Del Mar Academy soon.  Two guys come up regularly, smoke cigars, drink draft beer and just chill for hours under the beer garden.  I sit and talk with them and learn all about their wives, kids, grandkids.  We talk about the different areas of Costa Rica, how much Nosara and the surrounding area has exploded in the last year.  What to do for fun in town, in the country.  Where to rent quads, where to eat, drink, zipline, hot springs, monkey refuges, turtle time on the beach…  So much to talk about and to learn.

Although i was able to do this a bit at K-Rae’s Waterway Bar & Grille, K-Rae’s Beach House, K-Rae’s Pubs 1 & 2, I never had the chance to really listen and learn about so many different cultures and countries.  It is why I moved here and why I don’t mind when it is not so busy that I am “in the weeds” every day.

How cool is this life?

Polly from Cayman