Going on a Toot!

The best part of getting the dinghy ready for the Bahamas is Dad putting it in the water and taking the kids on a toot!

Boruca Indian Masks

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

I haven’t found shopping to be much of an activity in Costa Rica…it’s hard to find nice little shops that have true Costa Rican made items. You can find all the touristy things with Costa Rica or Pura Vida on them, but finding nice things is a little more challenging. Last year I had read about the Diablo or Boruca Mask, but didn’t have a change to buy one. This year we were in the area where the indigenous people live who make these beautiful masks. Diablo masks reflect the Costa Rican rainforest and are made by the Borucan Indians that still have a village in southwest Costa Rica, just east and a little further south than Uvita.

The masks originated during the Spanish Conquest. Villagers learned the Spanish were afraid of the devil, so in an attempt to protect their village, they wore “diablo” (devil) masks. They failed to chase the Spanish away, but were able to save their village and retain their own culture. Today, the Boruca artisans carve and paint three types of masks…the diablo, the ecologico, which represents a stern-faced shaman surrounded by the flora and fauna found in the wilderness around Boruca and the combinado, which combines both the diablo and the ecologico. The masks were originally carved out of cedar, but are now carved out of balsa wood, because it’s a fast-growing native tree. It goes from seedling to harvestable in three years; each tree can yield as many as 30 masks.  

The village of Boruca has a current population of 1,500-2,000 people, who live on the indigenous reservation. Sixty percent of the residents make their living as artisans of these masks and other textiles. They give tours of their village and workshops, but we didn’t have time to go this year. It’ll definitely be on my list of things to do on another visit to Costa Rica.

Traditional Diablo Masks

Combinado Masks
Ecologico Masks
These were some of the masks for sale on the beach in Dominical
Here are the ones I bought to hang on Texas Pearl
This video shows how the masks are made and painted.

Feb. 2 – Resort Day in Uvita, Costa Rica

“Fill your sand pail with life’s hidden treasures.” –Author Unknown
We’re staying a nice boutique hotel above Uvita, called Vista Ballena. It has a wonderful view of the ocean and a spectacular pool. For these reasons and the fact that it’s quite warm…we decided to take a resort day. We spent the whole day sitting around the pool…with an occasional dip in the water to cool off. When we planned this trip we thought we’d spend more time at the beach, and there are some great beaches in the area, but walking on the beach isn’t very appealing when the daytime temperatures are in the 90s and the sand is dark. Hopefully we’ll have more beach time on the next vacation.


Feb. 1 – Uvita, Costa Rica

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls” – Anais Nin

Our third stop on the Pacific coast is Uvita. This little village is about 10 miles south of Dominical. It’s home to the Cola de Ballena (Whale’s Tail) and the closest village to Marino Ballena National Park. The tiny village consists of some dirt roads lined with farms, guesthouses, gift shops, a cluster of strip malls along the main highway and a scattering of hotels in the jungle-covered hills above. It’s a very low key area…definitely not the heavy touristy beach area you’ll find around JacoTamarindo Beach or the Nicoya Peninsula. Many expatriates from North America and Europe have made Uvita their home. Tours available in the area range from whale watching, ATV tours, surfing lessons and snorkeling excursions…and of course there are waterfalls to explore.


Jan. 30 – Pozo Azul Waterfall

“Traveling’s not something you’re good at. It’s something you do. Like Breathing.” – Gayle Foreman

After the last two, very busy days, we decided to relax at our house and take it easy all morning. By noon we were getting a little restless and decided to find a cool place to explore for the afternoon. The weather in this part of Costa Rica is very, very warm this time of year. I guess it always is, so going to the beach was out…it’s just too hot to go there except in the morning.


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Amsterdam Light Festival

“The Medium is the Message“, the famous quote by Canadian scientist Marshall McLuhan, is the theme of the 7th edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival. The displays are mostly along the interior canals and designed to be viewed from the water as well as the shore. We’d seen several of the displays while walking through…

31 January 2019 Larkhill Community Ocala, FL

      2019 began with a flurry of parties or maybe it was just a continuation of the soirees of 2018! New Year’s Day we enjoyed 3 parties—1 was a meal of collards, black eyed peas, cornbread, ribs, and chicken in a neighbors’ home down the street—our Southern Good Luck Charm for the year.

     Another neighbor needed a bit of nursing help so I hung his IV antibiotics a few times to fill in some blanks. I don’t miss getting up to go to work but I do miss nursing.

     We finally got our living room rug and the remainder of our bedroom furniture.

     There are two more pieces that don’t show here but we’re so excited to finally have drawers! Headboard is asymmetrical as are night stands. More narrow one on left with longer portion of headboard and the wider night table on the right with the shorter headboard segment.

       There is a significance to the canvas of an abstract Washington DC skyline and the bicycle bookends. In all of our years of cruising and although we loved many places, we spent the most concentrated time in DC and it’s our all-time favorite city. We spent a total of 6 months and 1 week there, riding our bikes to Bethesda (home of NHC), Silver Spring, Mt. Vernon, Arlington, Alexandria, Capitol Heights, Georgetown, Hyattsville, Crystal City, and more places than I can name. So that’s why we fell in love with the painting! THEN, Bill spied the bookends and we knew that they would have a special place beneath the painting of our nation’s capitol.

     I can tell you that we weren’t sad to see the Rubbermaid tubs go that we’d been living out of for months. Oh, the things we take for granted! Several weeks later and I’m still thrilled at being able to open a drawer and finding the items that I expect to be there. With the tubs, I never knew where anything was. A rug and furniture has helped our echo somewhat but we still hear ourselves bouncing off the walls. Window treatments will probably help—one of these days.

     There’s a wonderful art instructor here as part of our Life Long Learning Center. I’ve taken classes from her before and just love her. If only I could tuck myself in her back pocket and absorb every technique that she knows. I did a little sea turtle the other day and it’s hanging in our guest room.

     We also have a performing arts center and enjoyed a dueling pianos show like none other. They play piano, harmonica, sax, guitar, and are also a comedy team. Deuces Wild is their name so if they come to your area, you’d love their show.

     Bill and I began foreign language classes and after only 1 class, I’m not sure I’ll survive. He’s taking French and I, Spanish. Now why didn’t I take French, too???  Sure would’ve made a lot of sense because when Bill worked for Michelin, a French company, he was fluent to the point that he could give presentations in French when he went to the home office in France. He’s thrilled with his instructor and just the first class seemed to resurrect all he knew but had forgotten. My instructor is also very good but when I took 2 years of Spanish in college, I never even came close to being fluent so I’m struggling. Hope subsequent classes loosen my tongue a bit.

     Andy and Dinata, boating and RV friends from Marathon, have settled in Leesburg, FL, so they drove up to visit us for a day. We had a wonderful time laughing, talking, laughing, catching up, and laughing some more.

      Bill’s Old Car Club took an excursion to the horse farm of the Gypsy Gold Vanner breed established in the 1995 by Dennis, the farm owner, and his late wife. He thrilled us as he narrated a walking two-hour tour of his farm. We met the Gypsy Gold Vanner horses in person, heard the history of the breed from its discovery in Great Britain and to its growth in the United States. Dennis discovered this unique breed in England where they were used as draw horses for the bands of gypsies and he brought the breed to America. 

     He explained the species, its history, and the unique British Gypsy culture. We walked the farm and met the stallions, mares, foals, mules, donkeys, parrots, and various other animals loved at Gypsy Gold Farm. I was surprised to not see dogs or cats there but I loved on the other creatures—although not the birds.

     The farm land and animals are immaculately maintained by 3 people—Dennis, who just had his 70th birthday, and two others.  That 3 people can maintain that level of perfection is amazing.  If you’re ever in the Ocala area, put this on your list of things to do. The tours are 3 days a week and reservations must be made in advance.

Notice the perfect heart on the flank of this horse!
     So many of our neighbors have entertained us in their homes and we haven’t been able to without asking them to bring their own chair!  😦   Now that we’re almost complete sans lanai furniture and window treatments, we’ve had a few open houses inviting our new neighbors. Having several nights of guests was fun and we look forward to doing that more often.

     Last month I suggested we have a Full Moon Party each month. We hosted the first one in December. Another of our neighbors, Tom and Elaine, hosted the January Super Blood Wolf Moon/Eclipse Party. It was COLD—in the low 30’s which is way below my comfort level.

     Carolyn and Don, dear friends from our boating lives, were our first overnight house guests. They’re fleeing north GA for Marathon and some warm weather. We had an exciting time of ‘catching up’. 

     Our Larkhill neighborhood gathered at a local steak house to wrap up the month and, of course, food and fellowship were outstanding. 

     January ended with the Larkhill Men’s Breakfast Club heading off in a caravan for Red’s Cafe and Sherry, a neighbor, and I drove to The Villages for a make-over for me. Her complexion is gorgeous and flawless and and she’s inspired me to buy some makeup after a decade long hiatus of wearing none. 

     An end of month report on our language classes—on Bill’s 3rd class, he presented a ‘story’ in French and the instructor understood him and Bill understood each class member’s “recital”.  Hate to admit it but I’m not doing nearly that spectacularly in Spanish. Hopefully February’s report will present my Spanish language skills in a better light.

Bill and Laura
9128 SW 82nd Lane
Ocala, FL 34481

Jan. 31 – Dominical, Costa Rica

“Half the fun of the travel is the aesthetic of lostness.” – Ray Bradbury

We’ve really enjoyed our time in Dominical…maybe it’s the house we have more than the town itself. We’ve enjoyed sitting on the deck watching the birds, the sunset and I’ve really enjoyed the pool. We’ve done a few strenuous activities, but mostly we’ve been unwinding and relaxing. Here are a few pictures of the town of Dominical and a few beach pictures. We haven’t spent too much time on the beach, because it’s just too dang hot! 

Jan. 29 – Nauyaca Waterfalls

“Wanderlust: n. a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world
Today we drove up to Nauyaca Waterfalls, they’re one of the main attractions of the southern region in Costa Rica. Again like many other places in the mountains above the coastal towns, the drive getting there is part of the adventure. Although most of the road is paved, it’s very windy and cars were fly around each curve…several times I thought someone would hit us head on. The falls are located in a canyon and there are two main falls. The top falls have a drop of about 147′ and the lower falls are a stepped falls that drop about 65′. The lower falls forms a natural deep pool that’s a great place to cool off on a hot day.