People often ask me what I like best about my property and business here in Nosara, Costa Rica. Days like today are a perfect example. Started out at 9:30 am when a new friend and fellow expat from Sturbridge, MA brought a friend from my hometown of Worcester, MA. We are the same age and boy do we know a lot of the same people and hung out in the same places. What fun to stroll down memory lane with her and how great that I now have two new fellow expat friends from MA.
Shortly after, cars started pulling in. Oscar, Ivonne and the kids who frequently visit here joyfully bounded up the stairs and jumped in the pool. They own their own little resort down in Pelada and like to come up here to get away from it all. The kids play in the pool while they relax in the beer garden. Three more cars pull up and how nice to see a new couple I met Thursday when they were here with the rest of the family. Frederica and Jesse and their little boy. Jesse loved the pulled pork sandwich so much he couldn’t wait to come back for another. Shanna and Ryan, our esteemed Fire Chief and beloved local expats as well came with their 2 boys. Shanna saw the picture of our Shrimp cocktail and had to have it. Next were Van, Pixie and their 2 beautiful daughters who were looking for another location and ended up in Ostional. Lucky for me, they turned around and followed the signs up the mountain. They, like so many others, were pleasantly surprised when they saw the authentic Irish Pub, the pool with so many other kids and parents swimming and of course the beautiful views of the mountains.
Although everyone arrived at the same time, the little dream team of Kerri and Krhisly managed to get the Fresh Fruit Smoothies and food orders out in no time and everyone ate, hung out in the pool and got to know each other, comparing stories of new and old adventures.
So when people ask.. I say THIS IS WHAT I LOVE about my business and location. It is so special and a must see when visiting the Nosara area. 🙂
I woke at 6am to the sun shining and a cool breeze blowing! Reminds me of fall in my hometown of Worcester, MA! As I sit here writing this blog at 9am, the cool breeze continues and it feels GREAT. The curtains are blowing, the pets are lounging on the front porch and the monkeys are settling in the trees for a morning nap. If you’ve ever been to Nosara, Costa Rica you know that this breeze is very much enjoyed by us all.
The monkeys have been hanging out here quite a bit lately. I can watch them for hours and it never gets old. I especially like seeing the babies foraging for their own food. So clumsy but so smart , so young. The Pizotes are also getting more comfy hanging here and as long as they don’t create too much havoc, they are a joy to see. I have one youngin’ that “watches” me cook in the outdoor restaurant kitchen. Yes, I know he is watching and hoping for scraps thrown his way but if you know anything about Pizote (similar to raccoon) you know, once you give them food, they do not stop at any length until they get more. It’s hard with those cute little faces but it gets easier when you see what they can get into! Oy Vey!
With so much to see and do up here at K-Rae’s Black Sheep Pub, you’d be crazy not to come check it out. We are only a 5 mile drive from the beach and once you get here you won’t want to leave. 🙂 Until next time.. Pura Vida.. K-Rae 🙂
So I have been here in Nosara since October 5 of 2017 and the only time
I have left has been day trips to Samara or San Juanillo and my border runs to
Nicaragua every 90 days, for an hour.
2018 was a rough year with my hand and skull accidents, floods,
rainstorms, etc. 2019 has brought not
one but 2 fires. The 2nd,
mixed with the crazy strong winds, had
the entire mountain in flames. It was an
extremely, and sometimes very scary, 5 days and sleepless nights. Were it not for the wonderful volunteer
Bombero’s (firemen and women) and countless community members, my house and
business would have gone up in flames and I would have lost everything.
I was forced to close the restaurant and block off the cabinas from the
rental sights due to the property being surrounded by burning embers and so
much smoke. March and April are usually
very busy months for me and to have it so quiet here was surreal.
So while having dinner with friends at a neighbor’s house one night,
they mentioned they were going to Malpais and Santa Teresa the following
weekend for 3 days. I have wanted to
explore more areas since I arrived almost 2.5 years ago. Malpais and Santa Teresa were one of the
areas I wanted to explore. I heard it was
smaller and not as congested with tourists as Nosara is. Also, Tom Brady, the quarterback for the New
England Patriots, has a home there and is often spotted chilling out in
I immediately invite myself, of course asking if it is a romantic getaway first. The plan is to leave early Friday morning and head back after breakfast on Sunday, stopping along the way at any beach or town we haven’t been to yet.
We leave at 10:45am, setting the GPS for Cobano, the closest large town
to Malpais. We head towards Nicoya,
dropping a friend off at his mechanic to pick up his truck. Head on down Route 160, following the
GPS. If you’ve ever driven the roads
here in Costa Rica, you know there are no road signs and usually no signs
telling you what town you are in. Our
GPS tells us to take a right. As we head
up the mountain, dirt roads, tiny clusters of Tico houses, we start to think
maybe we are going the “fast” way over the mountains. Problem is, the “fast”
way over the mountain is only fast if the roads are paved. After traveling for some time, we decide to
turn around and head back.
We stop at a cute little town called Nayundar (sp)? for a bite to
eat. Very clean and quiet town at the
bottom of the mountain. Quick lunch and
on our way.
We drive on nice, new pavement for quite a while. Several farms and fields with cows and horses grazing. Small villages, all with soccer fields, churches, schools, soda’s and restaurants. After some time the road turns to dirt and the trek up the mountain towards Malpais begins. We are used to road construction in Nosara, as it’s been ongoing for a few years. This however, is a major construction project. Widening the road, making new on and off ramps, drainage ditches etc. Road winding up, down, around for miles and miles. Beautiful scenery of the bay down below and more farms, beaches and beautiful trees. We stop for gas in Paquera, another bustling little town, almost as big as Nicoya. The ferry stops here so there are quite a few tourists coming through here. Continuing on, we see many farms, houses, lots with some type of fruit trees with all the fruit covered in individual white bags. Still not sure what was under those white bags, but it’s on my “list” of things to google.
We pass the Barcelo’ Tambor Hotel and Casino, right on the ocean,
agreeing we need to check that place out next time. Looks beautiful, large and right next to an
airstrip. The ride through the mountain
was long and bumpy, but getting through and passing all of the quaint towns and
farms made it worth it.
We pull in to Malpais around 5pm.
The center is quite busy, with shops, restaurants and people. Our hotel, the Indigo Yoga Resort, was only
2km from the center of town and only a block from the ocean. My friends had stayed here 6 years ago when
it was just starting out and wanted to see the changes. The landscaping and greenery had only been
just planted when they were here last and now it was like staying in the middle
of the jungle. Rooms, pool, restaurant
and Yoga Rancho were all surrounded by lush, beautiful mango and other trees
and flowering bushes. Pathways leading
from the back patios of the rooms to the common areas were lined with beautiful
plants. When we pulled in, the monkeys
were directly above our heads, howling away.
We were greeted by a friendly security guard and checked in by an
equally nice young lady. The rooms were
very nice, walking in to a small, separate kitchen. Going through the room has
1 Queen Bed and 2 twin beds. All walls, floors and countertops are a dark grey
concrete, the norm here in CR now. The
bathroom was quite large with an outdoor shower leading to the back patio. The back patio was also a nice size with a
hammock, coffee table and 2 Adirondack chairs.
Quite a lot of space. So quiet,
but for the howling monkeys. Sunset is
We grab our cocktails and head on down the road to the beach for sunset. Pass a few Tico houses, kids and dogs playing in the yards. At the end is a bar/restaurant, looks to be a late night hangout as we were the only ones there. Beach is beautiful, no one on it. Rocks, tide pools, cove of clear blue water. It was cloudy so the sunset was not that spectacular but just being away from real life was enough.
We headed out to dinner, not sure what we were all in the mood for. Driving down the main road we saw Pizza, Italian, Israeli, Sushi, Argentinean, Tico, Seafood, Bakeries, and Sports Pubs. We drove to the end of the road about 2 miles, and decided on the Open Fire Grill of the Argentinian place, Las Piedras. Beef, Chicken Empanadas, Fresh Baked Bread and chimichurri sauce for dipping. Chicken/Rib combo plates with baked potatoes. Food was delicious, service was great and seeing them cook in front of us in the huge fire pit is always a plus. Can you say stuffed?
Just when you thought we were done for the night we see the Bakery again. I’m not full.. not when there are fresh baked pastries so close by. The dessert case was full of creamy chocolatey delights and clearly made it impossible to make a decision. When in doubt, order one of each. So yes, we order 5 desserts and are told to have a seat. A man was playing a piano (electric) and the place was getting busy. When we ask for coffee the server asks if we want decaff or regular. Jump back! Say what??? Decaff coffee? Say it ain’t so! Decaff coffee is unheard of in Costa Rica and as someone who only drinks decaff, it was like Christmas morning! So yes, yes indeed, I want decaff por favor.. Great atmosphere, service and delicious decaff coffee. The desserts were to die for, each one even more creamy and delicious than the one before. Of course we all had our own opinion on the favorite but in all honesty, they were all to die for. Of course I also ordered 2 new ones to go, “for breakfast” the next morning. NOW we are stuffed. It’s 9pm and we are still awake? Not for long.
At 4:20am I was woken by the sweet, sweet sound of rain on my roof. Our dry season is from December through April and at my house in the mountain, I’ve only had one decent rainstorm in the last few weeks. When you don’t hear it for that many months it is a very welcome sound. I was also woken by the same monkeys that put me to sleep the night before. Although I have them at my house, they are further away, and my bedroom ceiling is concrete. When they are directly above your room and the ceiling is metal, ooooh boy is it loud. Loud is good when you are in the jungle though. It makes you feel alive and want to get out of bed and explore. I jumped up, grabbed my phone to take pics and videos, grabbed a cup of tea and sat on the back patio just listening to the rain as daylight arrived. It was so peaceful with the rain, the birds, monkeys, chickens, roosters all waking up. Hummingbirds were all over the flowers right next to my patio. They are so fascinating to me. The resort also has a little 7 month old puppy, Indio, who had come in my room the night before and snagged a K-Rae’s Koozie and ran. I thought maybe he was returning it. LOL He hung out with me for quite a while this morning and was so excited when Pam and Lou came over to join me with coffee. The resort offers free breakfast so we walked over at 7am in our PJ’s and opted for the typical Tico meal. Coffee, Eggs, Gallo Pinto, Toast, fresh fruit and fresh fruit juices or smoothie. Food was great and quick and our server/chef was wonderful. Time is a tickin though and the beach is calling us.
We drive back up the main road looking for a nice sandy spot to hang out on. We decide on the Banana Beach Club. Huge place that looks like it’s probably very busy after sunset or possibly on Sundays. We grabbed out cushioned loungers right on the beach and waited for a server to come. Great thing about this place, they didn’t bother us or make us feel like we were only welcome if we ordered right away. As we chilled out people started trickling in. the current was so strong though, no swimming today. Finally ordered a blueberry mojito which was delicious, and a few beers. So nice to just sit and relax, being waited on for a change. Ordered Tempura shrimp to hold us over and they were perfectly battered and cooked. Hung out a bit longer then headed home to hang in the pool and get ready for dinner.
Six years ago they had also stayed at another place up on the hill, Vista de Ollas, so we went there for a pre-dinner drink and sunset. The place is beautiful with an infinity pool and hot tub overlooking the ocean. There were about 30 people there; a few in their 40’s but most were early 20’s. Lots of muscles and thong bathing suits. Music on the stereo was techno? Or whatever they call it when every song sounds the same and no vocals, or as Lou would say, “Harmony”. There are few types of music I cannot handle and that, unfortunately, is the number 2 type for me. We all laughed at how old we all felt. Watched the sunset, finished our drinks and headed out for dinner. Oh no, another big decision to make.. dinner.
We decided on Italian. Pam and I were in the mood for a nice pasta dish. We get to Amici, on the main road. As soon as we see the menu and the Antipasto platter with meats and cheeses and fresh baked breads, the Pasta dish idea went out the window. Then the piece de resistance.. Beef Carpaccio. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Beef Carpaccio and it’s very hard to find, especially here in Costa Rica. I was so excited. Bottle of Sangiovese wine, Antipasto Platter and Beef Carpaccio. Perfect. But wait, more of that techno music playing. Really? What am I missing? No worries, Lou asks the server if they wouldn’t mind putting on something “with harmony”? “Absolutely” she says. Nice music, delicious food, great service, wonderful company. Another great dining experience. Can you say stuffed? Oh no, will we have room for dessert?
We decide we are too full for dessert but we can stop and pick up a few chocolate croissants for tomorrow breakfast. Again, if you’ve known me for more than 5 minutes you’ll know how that turned out. We ordered the lava cake with ice cream and the chocolate mousse pie and a chocolate éclair and coffees, decaff. So creamy and delicious. Our thoughts of “bar hopping” were quickly changed to.. I need to be horizontal, now.
Monkeys weren’t as loud this morning and I actually slept until
5:30am. I know, late, right? Make my tea and sit on the patio to listen
and watch. My house is peaceful like
this but it is so much more relaxing when on vacation. Breakfast at 7am, on the road by 9. First stop, yup, The Bakery. Needed to stock up on chocolate croissants
and other chocolate delights to enjoy at home.
Stopped off to check out the beach at Tambor. Reminds me of Samara and Garza. Long beach in a cove, low tide so the water was very far out and clear blue. As most of the beaches are in CR, this one had 3 people on it. Someone parasailing, probably at the resort down the road. So peaceful and clean.
Made it home at 2:30pm after smooth sailing the whole way home. I need a nap.
Another successful quick trip exploring another area of Costa Rica I’ve heard so much about but have never been to. So glad I went and with such great company in Pam and Luis Martinez. Thanks again for letting me tag along! xoxo
This is a VERY long story but it is my
story of what I went through during the fires last weekend. So many have asked and during the thick of
things it was hard to keep everyone updated.
So here is MY story. I was trying
to run the restaurant but more importantly wanted to do everything I could to
help. As a result and due to my
proximity on the mountain and being in between our Finca and Costa Rica Yoga
Spa (CRYS), it was a good location for a meeting point and donations. I had people here constantly from Friday
through Monday afternoon so MY experience may be different than that of other
neighbors on the hill. I write this
because we were all at risk and we all had different experiences, this is mine.
I’ve been through major floods, in two
countries, hurricanes, tornadoes, major snowstorms and ice storms. I had a small fire on the side of my property
two months ago and that scared me a bit.
You start thinking of the “what if’s”.
So on Thursday March 14, when word spread that a fire had started at the
top of “our Mountain”, Finca Dona Cielo,
I was on 24 hour “watch”. Winds were
blowing so hard it sounded like a freight train blowing through.
Calls for volunteers to help the Bomberos
(Firemen) went out as the fires were spreading fast and furious. Fire had also
spread to our neighbors, Costa Rica Yoga Spa.
We were all waiting, watching it
all unfold on Facebook and hoping the winds would die down. It was a sleepless night for many.
When I woke up Friday morning I learned
that the Bomberos had worked straight through the night and were still trying
to control so many fires at both locations.
They were exhausted, hungry and thirsty.
I am no help physically anymore with all these dang injuries I’ve had
lately but I can make a mean burrito and other quick and easy items to eat “on
the go”. I threw together Chicken
burritos, grabbed every large bottled water I had (I keep 8 large bottles in my
house and each Cabina has 2 large bottles of water in case of emergencies) and
headed up towards the top of the mountain.
I found the fire truck in front of my neighbor’s house, ¾ of the way
up. All of the firefighters were down in
the thick of things so I dropped off the waters and proceeded down the
mountain. I saw a volunteer Bombero,
Brennan, coming out of the woods, handed off the burritos and headed home. On my way down I saw that fire had burned
quite a bit of the mountainside, along the road. My neighbor Tim was keeping watch over his
house with sprinklers on and hoses on the fires across the road from his
house. Raking and drenching with
hoses. It looked to me as though they
were keeping it all under control.
We started a neighbor Facebook message
group to keep each other informed of what was happening in our different areas
of the mountain. Little did we know how
much we would use this messaging in the next 4 days. The Bomberos have a Facebook page as well,
keeping people updated and asking for help when needed. At approximately 5pm one neighbor sent a message
that she heard a loud explosion and was worried it may be a neighbor’s
home. Since I am the 3rd to
last house at bottom of the mountain, I knew I was safe from the fires, so I
decided to drive up and take a look, just for peace of mind. I had NO idea what I was driving into.
As I made my way up the mountain, the entire road, on both sides, were on fire, some flames almost 8’ high. Thick smoke and sparks were blowing across the road. The wind was blowing so hard, it was blowing fire across the road. I kept driving towards the first neighbor’s house. As soon as I arrived I noticed an old abandoned tractor (one of MANY), tires exploded and on fire. This is the explosion my neighbor must have heard. It was just outside the gate to a house, fire on both sides of the road, thick black smoke blowing all around A downed tree on fire across their driveway but otherwise, no other fires on their property, yet. The smoke was so bad; I could no longer see 2 feet in front of me and could not breathe. I decided it was best to turn around and head home. I did not want to get stuck there. Flames engulfing my truck and smoke inhalation were my top concerns. All I could think of was “The Bomberos are busy enough, I do NOT want them to have to come rescue my dumb arsse. J I almost couldn’t turn around. Smoke getting thicker, heat from the fires, visibility was a 2. I was a tad nervous, for sure. I headed down the mountain and for a mile, fire on both sides, smoke so thick I couldn’t see and almost drove off the side of the mountain twice. Pretty scary.
When I arrived home I checked Facebook for
updates. The wind was so bad it was
almost impossible to control the fires.
More calls for help for the Bomberos.
They were essentially going from our mountain to CRYS trying to save
houses and businesses.
I was told several times, I’m too far down,
and it will never reach me. The fires
were the worst halfway up our mountain, at the top by the Zip line and at Costa
Rica Yoga Spa.
Saturday the winds were still howling and
fires kept popping up. The Bomberos would get one put out and others would
start. CRYS was in danger of losing
homes and property. My neighbor Lena and I prepared more burritos and my place had now
become a drop off point and gathering spot for donations, volunteers, info. My other neighbor Liza’s house had a fire
above her, coming close to her house. Lena and I drove around, handing out burritos, fruit and
waters. The core group of Bomberos was
still fighting the fires, with little or no sleep in almost 3 days. Food and beverage donations were pouring
in. People were coming to K-Rae’s asking
how they could help. It was heartwarming
to see the community pull together.
It seemed as though the fires were
contained later in the evening on Saturday.
People sighed with relief for a moment.
Some Bomberos were able to get a few hours of sleep.
Sunday was St. Patrick’s Day. I hadn’t planned anything special
(Thankfully). Just a normal day of Fun,
food and Irish music. All seemed quiet
on the mountain. Customers started
showing up for Corned Beef Reuben’s, Irish Car Bombs and typical Irish
fun. A group of Canopy workers (love
those guys) showed up with machetes etc to cut lines on my upper property
deeper in the woods to prevent the fire from spreading to my place. “Precautionary measures”. Irish music playing on the Speakers. Everyone (about 25 people) enjoying the pool,
cold beers and friendship. Not
surprisingly the majority of my customers were from MA that day, coming to K-Rae’s
to celebrate with me.
All of a sudden, around 2pm, a few of my
customers noticed flames up above and behind the Pub. The area that they were “cutting in” was on
fire and flames were moving fast towards the Pub. Another customer noticed fire down below on
the side of the mountain next to the outdoor kitchen and beer garden. They grabbed hoses and got to work trying to
put it out. Luckily 3 of them were firefighters in MA. Fire was put out and everyone went back to
enjoying the day. Shortly after, flames
were seen again. The winds were still
howling and continued to feed the fires.
Every time we thought the fire was contained the wind would blow and
spark it up again. This time, the
Bomberos were called and asked to get here as soon as possible.
Not long after, the Fire truck and several
volunteer vehicles showed up. There had
to be 30 people here, some who had never fought a fire but wanted to help in
any way they could. They immediately got
to assessing the situation and figuring out where to tackle first. Fire was coming from all around the
property. There are no fire hydrants
here, only 2 fire trucks with water on them and small hoses. I have several water faucets throughout the
property with hoses at each one.
However, the fire was deep enough into the “jungle” that the hoses do
not reach. Everyone started grabbing
buckets and using pool water to try to contain the fire. Several volunteers and Bomberos headed deeper
in to cut in lines with chainsaws, rakes and shovels. I had customers who wanted to help as well,
however since it was St. Patrick’s Day we had been in a celebrating mood and
many of the customers, although wanting to help, had had a few beers and it was
safer for them to stay away from the fires.
I was made to feel as though the fires would never reach my buildings so
I did what I always do, take care of the customers, take care of the volunteers
and Bomberos, do whatever is needed to keep people from panicking and believe
that all will be OK. I was cooking food,
gathering buckets or guiding the Bomberos to faucets, equipment, food, and
water, whatever they needed.
About an hour after the initial call for
help went out it seemed as though the fires were under control. The Volunteers and Bomberos were continuing
to douse the fires with water and had kept it from creeping up to the
buildings. Then all of a sudden we
started to see large pieces of ash flying our way, into the beer garden. Smoke started to get thicker and it looked as
if it was getting worse. The customers
did not want to leave as they were concerned for me, my business, the
volunteers and Bomberos. We agreed to
move them to my front porch where it would be safer and away from the smoke and
flying ash. Not five minutes later, as
we were gathering their things to move, I heard “Run, everyone out! Run, the
wind has shifted and the fire is coming fast”!
I was in the outdoor kitchen trying to get everything out of the way and
I turn towards the jungle and I see flames, 5 feet away, blowing right towards me. My first thought was “Oh shit, How did this
happen so fast?” Then “Oh no, there are
so many people on that side that need to get out”. Then “OH SHIT, there is a large propane tank
2 feet away from those flames and 3 smaller ones at my feet”. I could only picture the fire hitting that
propane tank and it exploding, hitting anyone in its path. I start yelling for someone to grab the
propane tank, sounding like a crazy lady.
I just kept yelling, “grab the propane tank”. I heard yelling all around me to get out, get
out. I grabbed 2 of the propane tanks
near me and someone ran in to grab the other one. I started running towards my house and all I
could hear was “Kerri get the hell out of here, come with us, get out, get out,
GET OUT! ”. I saw my friend crying and
yelling to me to PLEASE leave with them and she was NOT going to leave me
there”. I was trying not to panic, was
thinking of all the people there to help me in harms way and hearing everyone
yelling at me to evacuate NOW.
I had packed my truck that day with clothes, valuables, cash I had, a few sentimental items, my passport etc. I pulled out all 4 cat carriers, had them open and ready to load up the cats in case of evacuation. I was told numerous times in the previous 4 days that I was overreacting by taking precautions in case the fire reached me. I didn’t care. After driving up the hill on Friday and seeing how fast it moved and how quickly I had inhaled smoke while in the truck, I packed anyway. I would rather be prepared and have to unpack if it wasn’t necessary to leave, than be caught off guard. I’ve seen too many instances where people say, “the wind shifted and it came out of no where”. So as I was being yelled at to leave, then yelled to asking where more tools, buckets, water lines, hoses may be and showing those things to people, then a few customers asking if they could pay their tabs (yes, they were, God bless ‘em), I was looking for my cats to load up and my keys to my truck. Obviously the cats had hidden with all of the commotion and my keys were not in their normal spot. I was trying not to panic but in the same time, I still had people yelling at me to get out. My favorite “chica” Bombero, Adri, was so sweet, yelling but in a kid way, “Kerri Love we really need you to leave”… I knew she was only trying to help but so many other were yelling at me, I finally freaked and yelled “I’m looking for my f’ing truck keys, shut the F Up. Yup, I had my 5 minutes of panic that I swore I wouldn’t do. I bent over, cried for about 2 minutes, hyperventilating and freaked about the cats and my property, my livelihood, my home and I lost it. I think it lasted 3 minutes. “I don’t got time for dis shit” went through my mind. The Bomberos had managed to get all of the customers and anyone else not vital to being there off the property. The yelling at me stopped and they managed to get the flames to go down and a bit of calm came over everyone. Somewhere in the chaos of running around, I stopped long enough to notice my fellow Spanish class student and friend, Scott, and another guy volunteering to help the Bombero’s, was carrying the large propane tank from the outdoor kitchen to my house, away from the flames. I’m pretty sure I had the look of full relief and Thanking him at the same time. I believe that is when I may have calmed down a bit. He looked at me and said, “You sure know how to throw a St. Patrick’s Day party”. We laughed, and took a minute to look around. People started grabbing hoses and buckets again and it was much quieter.
I NEED a beer! I went into the bar to grab a beer (I’m
Irish, it’s what we do, don’t judge J
)… Although the doors and windows were
open, it was FULL of thick black smoke and flying ashes. The smoke was so thick I could barely find my
way from the door to the cooler only 5 feet away. I am a trooper though and managed to get
through. Grabbed a beer and went back to
fresher air. As I looked around at all
of the people looking so tired and covered in smoke, I figured, why not? Maybe someone else needs a beer too. Many of the people helping had NEVER been
this close to a fire before and you could see the stress, relief, exhaustion in
their faces. So I did what I do
best…… “Anyone else need a beer? “ The smoke had cleared from the bar, enough to
where I didn’t feel like a dumbarsse for going in there. A few of the VOLUNTEERS accepted and we all
sat out front reliving the past 30 minutes.
It may seem odd to some people but where I grew up and how I grew up,
this is how we come together. It was
nice to stop for a few minutes, toast with a beer, and just reflect on how
lucky we all are and were to be safe and to have so many people there risking
their lives to help us all.
Not long after a call came in from CRYS
asking for help. My place was still
smoldering and a few smaller fires still burning but it seemed we were in the
clear here, for now. Most of the
Bomberos and volunteers rushed to CRYS and a few stayed here to keep an eye on
things. In the meantime, I am getting
messages from my neighbors saying fires were getting worse at their
houses. So many fires and so little help
with regards to equipment and resources.
My neighbor Lena was standing guard
with hoses keeping fires from reaching her house. My neighbor Jairo had people helping him try
to prevent a fire above their house from reaching them and sent guys to help
our newest neighbor Emilie to protect her house in progress. Poor Emilie.
What a way to be welcomed to our Finca.
She’s a tough chick too though and she was right there with hoses and
buckets and the guys trying to save her house.
Other neighbors were out of the country and had to keep tabs and hope
for the best with their houses. Luckily
they had no major damage. Lenore and
Annabel, the last house on the hill were manning the Facebook messaging and
Annabel sent her drone out often to assess the areas. Keeping us and the folks at CRYS informed as
to where the fires were popping up, constantly.
Susan brought sandwiches and waters to the Bomberos and checked on us
often. Martin showed up to scoop me up
from harms way when they heard I was being evacuated. He soon realized that this Irish Scorpio
chick from Worcester, Massachusetts wasn’t going anywhere. Gave me a huge hug, asked if I needed
anything. Stayed for a bit in case they
needed help then moved on to the next person who needed help.
Luckily Peter and Susan/Martin’s houses
hadn’t gotten any fire near them, until…
It was probably 8pm when the fires at my house seemed to be in control
and smoldering. As I was sitting with
Ryan Bombard, the fire chief, and 3 of the volunteers, at the top of the steps
going down from the beer garden (where the view is best), we looked out over
the mountains. Fire going up, almost
like a ski trail, on the mountain next to me.
Small fires throughout our mountain still burning but too far to get to
without a plane. I thought, and actually
said out loud, if it wasn’t so devastating it would be beautiful. It was surreal. We all just sat there for a while looking at
it all. It had been 4 days of non stop
firefighting for most of them and was still burning.
that moment we noticed a smaller fire to the left of my property had sparked up
again. It jumped and started a newer
fire where my fire was a few months ago. We also noticed a huge plume of smoke,
further down, wind now blowing towards the road. Then a call came in on the radio. Huge fire now across from Peter and
Susan/Martins house. We walk down to
Susan’s then Peter’s. It is across the
street but getting bigger and threat of wind pushing it across road is
serious. Go back to my house, a few more
guys show up. ½ go to put out the one at
my house and start controlled burns to prevent the fire from crossing the road.
The other half go to Peter’s house.
Using buckets, shovels and hoses they put out the fires threatening
Peter’s house and looks like Susan and Martin are safe from fire as well.
Ryan comes back to my house,
exhausted. I ask if he needs anything
and he says, “Would you mind if I have a cup of coffee”? Would I mind? Inserio?
I make a big pot of coffee, we all sit for a bit talking about the past
few days and how unbelievable it is that this small VOLUNTEER fire department
with old equipment, with no protective gear for most of the people fighting the
fires, and no loss of human life or homes or businesses. Unfortunately we did have one Bombero rushed
to the hospital in Nicoya for smoke
inhalation, but he is OK. It’s just
crazy to me that these guys get all of this done, with no hesitation, and NO
I was told I would be ok to stay here, as I
didn’t want to leave my pets or my property in case another fire sparked
up. My windows had all been closed so
the smoke wasn’t so bad inside that I couldn’t stay. Lord knows I wouldn’t be sleeping. It was midnight before I said goodbye to the
guys, and they were heading to CRYS for another fire.
As I sat there looking at it all I had so
many thoughts going through my mind. How
much worse it could have been. How lucky
we are to have the Bomberos who selflessly put their lives on the line with no
hesitation to save our lives and property.
How sad it is that I’m sure many wildlife perished in this senseless set
of fires. How blessed we are to have so,
so many regular, every day people pitch in to help whenever a crisis
occurs. There are so many obstacles to
living in this country, in this town, that make it hard to want to live here
sometimes. Then you see how a community
of people drop everything to help people in need, regardless of income level,
nationality, political affiliations and you sit back and say…..all of the
obstacles seem so much easier to deal with and I’m happy to be here.
Monday Morning things were so much
better. Winds were still blowing like
crazy, smoke still blowing but it seemed it was all over. I had a previous appointment to bring my
truck in for repairs and have it brought for yearly inspection (Reteve’). My friend Louis and Pam picked me up and
brought me home and offered to help clean up.
Upon arrival, water pipes burned so no water and no power. No water, no power, no cleaning. Appreciate the ride and offer to clean though
Louis and Pam. J xoxo By mid-
afternoon, Ian and Richard, volunteer Bomberos, came and picked up Water jugs
and fruits and other donated items. A
Guiones neighbor had dropped of 12 pizzas and a ton of watermelon so they
grabbed those for the rest of the crew.
It was all coming to an end and things were starting to go back to
normal. Let the cleanup begin……. I think an Ice Cold Beer, Some 70’s and 80’s
dance tunes CRANKING on the surround sound and a huge snickers bar would do
wonders to get that started! OH wait
still no water. Cold beer, awesome music
and snickers will have to do for today..
another “chapter”. Until the next one…
PURA VIDA HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT HELPED US ALL WITH THESE MASSIVE FIRES. Large or small, every little bit helps. Even just messaging to ask if everyone is ok means a LOT. So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
Today was a GREAT day. Anyone in the Restaurant/Hospitality/Resort biz knows .. one day you love it, next day you hate it, next day you love it.. and so on and so on.. Today I have a mother and her 2 -20ish year old son and daughter from California in one cabina, a couple from England and Sweden and their 2 kids in another, and a couple from Germany checking in tomorrow. My friends Amanda and Zach at High Tide Inn & BBQ sent a couple from Greece and France, staying at their place to see me. They took a tuk tuk. Within a few minutes they met and joined my guests from Sweden/England. They hung out, ate, drank and chatted for hours. My guests in the other cabina came back and joined in. How awesome it was to hear all of the different languages, cultures, beliefs, all getting along and enjoying the almost full moon rising in the background, the music, food and company. The night ended with me trying to arrange transport back for them and when I couldn’t get in touch with anyone, I left all doors wide open, guests hanging out in the bar and beer garden and me driving the couple back to the High Tide Inn, over the river. Went in to say hello and had two beers bought for me, chatted with Amanda, Zach, Liz and Jon. Came back to tables cleared, glasses and dishes washed and all but one guest comfy in their rooms. The one guest on his phone video chatting his girlfriend asking if I needed him to be done so I could “close up”. What?
🙂 Today was a GREAT day. Buenas Noches and Pura Vida.
Every few months my friends Dickie and Sam come to town for a few weeks. They own a condo here and enjoy exploring new places as much as I do. Soooo when they said they were coming for 5 weeks this time I couldn’t have more excited. One Monday, Sam rented a car and we went to Liberia for a day of shopping. Since I have the restaurant AND I have to do my 90 day border runs, I take advantage of that time to shop around the “big city” of Liberia. Prices are so much lower and the selection of certain items that you can’t find in Nosara are a big draw. We did the usual Magic Mundo. lunch at the Borghatzi right behind it. Zen, to look for lamps, Walmart for “stuff”, Islena for wines and Do it Center for pool supplies. Of course we arrived at the Do it Center at 6:05 and yes, you guessed it, they close at 6pm. LOL We took our time driving back and ended our night with a drink and a meal at Il Peperoni. Nice girls day.
Another year, another Thanksgiving in Costa Rica. I had originally decided to go the lazy route and head to a restaurant for a traditional turkey, stuffing mashed potato, gravy etc meal. Then I remembered Thanksgiving pasts and the thought of sitting upright in a chair, strangers watching while I unzip and let loose the full belly I was sure to have, would not be pretty. I also had spoken with several friends that didn’t have an extra $75-$100 for the meal and drinks. As I’ve done for so many years in the past at my three other K-Rae’s in South Carolina, I decided to host an “orphan” type Thanksgiving. Those of us with no family and the need for the traditional meal, would gather here, in my home. For at least one day this big property would be my home and not my “resort” and we would have a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Pot Luck and BYOB. The list was filling up quick and by the big day we had 22 people and all the fixins. Zach, a newbie to town, with his girlfriend Amanda, whose Dad has lived here for years, offered to buy the turkey and we would cook it in my turkey fryer up here. I hadn’t used it since the Last Thanksgiving at K-Rae’s Waterway and of course I waited until the day before to test it. Yup.. I forgot it takes a US Propane tank which is not allowed on a shipping container So as usual I own 5 propane tanks, all of which are in SC. LOL Not to frett, Super Nosara carries them and one was delivered later that day. I admit, I was a tad nervous when Zach arrived and announced that he had never fried a Turkey before so he googled it and asked his Dad. Well for a first time Turkey fry chef, it was DELICIOUS! Great job and I’ll be asking him to cook every year. 🙂 I set up the meal as a buffet and after a few hours of swimming, drinking, chatting and mingling, we all sat down to a delicious meal, with perfect weather and wonderful company. Despite the fact that most of the 22 people had never met and despite the different age groups, political affiliations, Nationalities, different cities of origin, everyone had such a nice time getting to know each other. We even had Holly, also new to the area, giving free massages on her massage table in the beer garden with the view of the mountains. What a great, relaxing, fun day. Can’t wait until next year. 🙂
Every Sunday at 1:30 the Awesome Band PaluSanto takes the stage under the shady, breezy, gorgeous views Beer Garden. Always a fun, chill day with music, swimming, food, friends. Head Towards Playa Ostional and follow the signs to K-Rae’s Black Sheep Pub. You don’t want to miss it!
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’