Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Travel Day

We packed up to head back another world, another way of life, and to *sigh* winter. I wanted to say goodbye to Shira, our hostess. She rented us a one bedroom guest house with a spectacular view of Coral Bay. She is from Israel. She came to US for personal freedom. Israel was a man’s world, and women had a subservient role there. She wanted more. She studied art history at NYU and then taught in NYC until she realized  life in NY did not full-fill her. She was not experiencing the degree of freedom she sought. Life became suffocating. She accepted a job at the University of St. Thomas USVI about twenty years ago. To this day, she loves it here. She loves being able to raise her boys in a safe environment. She could identify with much of the story of my Korean past, culture, and learning to accept and grow and evolve. She wanted to read about my stories. We found a friend in one another, having both experienced the merging of a culture of the past from another world while merging and colliding with today’s culture. We said goodbye to each other and exchanged our hopes of seeing each other again.

Tom and I drove on to Cruz Bay without having eaten breakfast. We wanted to be sure we got to the car ferry before stopping to eat. We circling Cruz Bay in search of this mysterious ferry. Whenever we stopped to ask for directions, it would go something like this: “buzz buzz...go to the roundabout, don’t do, buzz...and make sure you will see a tennis court and buzz, cannot miss it. It takes two minutes.” Well, we did miss it, a few times. Those two minutes were a long, twisted, and confusing two minutes. 

While we drove through the craziness of Cruz Bay, my thoughts went to another place: I hoped that beautiful Coral Bay would be preserved as we found it this week. Residents are very concerned about plans for a monster-sized marina. This will disrupt so much of the natural habitat and the local way of life. 

Cruz Bay, the largest and only town on the island, is a popular vacationer’s destination, but it’s just too much for us. The people lining the already congested roads, the restaurants and bars, boat rentals, car rentals, cruise shop huts, hotels, and more hotels. Eventually we found car ferry and we were transferred to St. Thomas Island from which we flew to the states. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Last Day on St. John

Today we went to Ram Head on the southeast coast. The trail was about one mile long beginning at Salt Pond Bay Beach. The sign said to expect it to take about one hour each way, which made it sound like a challenging trail.

It started at a beach of stones. The water was amazingly clear—I could see every detail on the rocks underwater.

As we climbed, the scenery got more and more beautiful until it became absolutely spectacular!

There were parts of the trail where you could look over the precipice. Tom went closer to the edge than I was comfortable with so he could take some pictures. My thought was, “Don’t go near the edge! I would not be able to save you if you are hanging from the edge!” When I verbalized this, Tom just looked at me with an “Of course!” expression. It took less than an hour to get up to the top—an invigorating climb, but not so very strenuous.

And the scenic view from the top was GORGEOUS. These photos do not do it justice.

Whenever I would lead on the trail, I would sometimes turn to look back, only to find that Tom had disappeared. I’d find him stooping down to take a photo of a pretty flower or an interesting small animal. When Tom took the lead on trail, I talked the whole time so that Tom would know I was right behind him.

While we were hiking back down from Ram Head, I was thinking that I’d love to just sit on the white sands of Salt Pond Bay beach and soak my feet in the water. But once we got back down to the beach, the white sand area was too hot. We settled under the shade of the Mangrove trees and sat on the rocks with our feet immersed in the water. Ah! so wonderfully refreshing.

We decided to check out Drunk Bay, since it was close by. In my mind, since we had already seen so many bays with their beaches, I wondered if this one could be any different. We went on the trail that leads to this bay. We came to a large brownish pond with white foam along its edges. Tom thought maybe this was Drunk Bay, with white foam representing beer froth. But then Tom checked the map and realized this was Salt Pond and Drunk Bay is beyond it.

When we came to the bay, we knew this was it! It was a very dramatic change. The water color was deep, deep blue, so deep and dark blue it was almost scary. I was used to colors so warm and inviting, aqua blue-green! There were large boulders, and as the full strength of the waves hit these boulders, it created a giant spray of angry white foam.

The beach was filled with larger whitish rocks and coral of all shapes and sizes. The huge boulders were deep grey. Visitors have created art formations of white rocks and coral on dark boulders.

We decided to go to Miss Lucy’s Restaurant again for lunch--great food and beautiful setting at this place! We were there for two hours over our leisurely lunch. Our live entertainment today did not include the diving pelicans we saw on Thursday, but the chicken cleanup crew was out in force, grabbing any leftovers from the tables as people left.

Today, the chickens were joined by a goat which came up to tables to grab food whether anyone was at the table or not. This goat came to our table as we were eating and pushed us, trying to reach our food. When we pushed her head away, she pressed against our hands, trying to get to our plates. She only managed to grab a napkin and a packet of sugar—and ate them both! She walked away when someone from another table threw her a french fry. She is on mission to get herself fed, since she’s a nursing mama.

Tomorrow we head back home!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cinnamon Bay

Today was a bit of a lazy day. We didn't have anything planned. We packed a lunch, using up most of what we accumulated in our little home. We like taking long walks on the beach, walking close enough to the waves that we are sometimes in and sometimes out of the water. I heard that Cinnamon Bay is big, which means it should have a beach long enough for a good walk. The downside is that I also heard it's crowded. No way of really knowing without going there, so that's where we headed.

As we turned into the entry to Cinnamon Bay, there was a restaurant, one or two snack shops, a boat and canoe rental shop, and probably snorkel rental. Also showers and modern bathrooms. Oh my! we could stay the whole day here.

Cinnamon Bay is grander in scale compared to all the other beaches we have been to this week. Also, at least today, there weren't so many people at the beach in the morning, though it started to get more crowded as the day wore on. It certainly has a long stretch of beach with beautiful white sand for Tom and me to walk in the wet sand. We got that and more. Another great thing about beaches here is that you generally have a choice of sitting in the sun or in the shade, because there are usually mangrove trees growing along the beaches, and they provide a shelter-like shade area.

We were not looking for much more than hiking in nature and walking along the beach in barefeet, and also sitting where the waves can caress us. I am not sure if it is our age, but boating, canoeing, and snorkeling somehow do not have the same attraction for us that they once had.

I am learning to take pictures, although it's just with my iPhone. This beautiful backdrop of nature was our photo studio today.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Francis Bay

This morning I work up tired. During the night, it seemed like little insects were attacking me. There was so much irritation with itching and scratching that I had a hard time sleeping through the night.

We had some significant rain here the last several days. After rain, noseeums come out and start making us miserable with their never-ending bites. Tom was not affected, as usual. Bugs love me. 

All my ammunition to battle insects is back in Goshen. A note to myself: pack the following two items as soon as we get home so next time I will be prepared: (1) lavender and other essential oils for insect repellant; (2) beta-glucan for any ailments we may encounter, including bug bites, colds, etc.

Well, tired or not, the beautiful island was still out there for another day of discovery! But because I was so tired, we had a later start than normal.

Tom decided that he would edit yesterday's blog post while we were on the beach today. I usually write in the evening, then he edits for me. He also places photos where they belong. This is one activity that we do together on vacations. I'm really bad at remembering our good times together. Blogging our daily activities during vacations, when we're away from our daily grind, has been a good way to preserve our sweet memories.

So, we set out for Francis Bay. As always, the ride there made me nervous, but Tom reminded me to leave the driving to him and just enjoy the spectacular views. And spectacular they were, as you can see.

Once we got to the beach at Francis Bay, Tom began editing while I sat close to the water so that I could enjoy the rhythm of the waves over my feet. I watched the birds, children at play, and snorkelers.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Moravian Church, Brown Bay Beach, Miss Lucy's, and Salt Pond Bay Beach

This morning, we wanted to see the southeast tip of the island toward Ram Head. There was no shortage of amazing natural scenery on the drive there. As we looked for a place to park the car to take a look around, we climbed hills so high and dove into descents, and I was always worrying if our "little red car that can" really could. When the road came to an end and we needed to turn around, that in itself was a challenge. Tom backed into a dirt road, and we heard a "thump." Oh no! Hope we are not stuck. Fortunately it was just a steeper-than-normal drop-off, and with a little maneuvering, our little car was back on the road. We traced back to where we had seen several cars parked along the shoulder, but more cars had arrived and filled up all the parking spots. Sigh. 

So Plan B. We had wanted to go see Emmaus Moravian Church, an old landmark not far from here. Let's go! We parked outside of the gate at an uncomfortable angle, which I better get used to. We let ourselves in through an unlocked gate and started walking the grounds and taking pictures. Oh, we really hoped that someone would give us a guided tour. Tom took pictures and I took a picture of Tom taking pictures. Then a voice from above beckoned us, "Hello there! Let me come down and show you the place." We were overjoyed.

Pastor Isaac introduced himself and shook our hands. He unlocked the door into the sanctuary. He took us inside and explained about the ceiling, the stained glass window, etc. This congregation has met at this site for two hundred sixty one years. I was debating, should I take a picture of him or is it considered an offense? He then asked us if we had a camera to capture the beautiful view of the bay from the sanctuary. He was fine with pictures.

I especially liked the fact that long ago, this church also served as a lighthouse for boats and ships. Very poetic with so much symbolism! Here is some information I remember: This island was owned by the Danes. The US bought it for a military base in 1917. There are about a million Moravians worldwide. The greatest increase today is in Africa. Moravian missionaries came from Germany to the Caribbean in the 1700s to share the gospel with the slaves. Some of the missionaries even became slaves themselves for their spiritual work. Today, though this congregation has two dozen young people, most of the membership is getting old, from age 60 to over 90. They are hoping to build a ramp for the elderly. I cannot imagine living with ANY disability on this island, where even well-abled persons could get stuck without the right kind of vehicle.

We thanked Pastor Isaac for his time. We were glad we came and even more glad that he was willing to give us a tour.

I told Tom that we needed to go back to the trail that lead to Brown Bay Beach. Yesterday, we climbed almost to the crest of the trail which would then descend to Brown Bay Beach. This time, knowing this was the right way and that the destination was at hand, it was easier to keep going. Sure enough, we reached the crest shortly after passing the point we had turned back yesterday, and the downhill stretch was much easier.

This is Brown Bay Beach. It is very small, and soon we were the only persons there. We just sat there in the warm water looking out to the island some distance away and just enjoyed the peacefulness.

Our stomachs told us that we should look for someplace to eat lunch. We had been meaning to stop at Skinny Legs, recommended by my friend. As we were driving, we saw a herd of wild goats. At one time goats, chickens, cats, and donkeys all belonged to plantation owners. Donkeys were imported from Spain in the 1600s and used for heavy labor in the days of the plantations. Today, they are wild and wander the roads and beaches.

Anyway, the herd of goats was enough distraction that we missed Skinny Legs Restaurant. And since we still wanted to see the southeast end of the island, we decided to stop at Miss Lucy's Restaurant, which is on the way. Later, we read the rave reviews for Miss Lucy's, and the food certainly was delicious. But what we especially enjoyed was the live entertainment while we ate. We were eating outdoors by the sea. There were about a dozen chickens running loose among the tables. When a couple got up and left, a crew of two or three chickens hopped up onto the table and began cleaning up. The main show, though, starred the brown pelicans. They were so fascinating, we could have watched them for hours. They will fly up 20 to 40 feet, then dive straight down into the water to catch fish. If they are diving into shallower waters, they would angle 30 to 45 degrees. When they came up from a dive, we can often see them swallowing the fish they caught. They have amazing eyesight to be able to spot the swimming fish and to judge the depth of the water.

After we had our fill of lunch and pelicans, we walked down toward Salt Pond Bay Beach. This trail had a more normal feel, easy on our balance and not many big rocks to trip over as we continued on a gentle slope down. A lovely small beach. We sat in the waters and talked. My eyes were trying to capture all there is to capture.

We wanted to get back home before dark--I don't like driving these roads at night! Stopped at a grocery store, got a few things. Got home before 6 PM. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Vie's Snack Shack & Hansen Bay Beach

It is a beautiful view from our little deck. So quiet and serene. This morning, I saw three lizards, two cats, and a chicken on our deck. Beyond the sloping hills filled with vegetation, the bay was dotted with small boats not yet filled with life. Then there are islands breaking the continuity of the water. A quietness that is so unusual is broken by the gentle wind rustling the green vegetation.

We drove all the way to the end of Hwy 10 E. We were looking for beaches along the way. The road was even trickier than last night. Some of the inclines were so steep that the road seemed to disappear at the crest of a hill. Then we realized, now the decline is upon us. Slow down, the next turn may be another steeper incline. I then appreciated the beauty of the terrain. As in life, I was so concerned with the possible danger in driving I did not notice the majestic beauty.

As we were driving, we saw a sign for a trail that led to a beach. So we started the trail with anticipation of a beautiful walk on the sand. As we climbed a rather rough and narrow trail, it kept on going up and up.

After about 20 minutes we thought we must have missed a turn. There cannot be a beach this high up. We back tracked. Shortly afterward, a couple came out from the same trail we had been following. They told us that we did not go far enough. At one point we would have descended to a beach, which we would have had to ourselves. An adventure for another day, I guess.

We decided on an easier adventure for today. On to a small snack shop called Vie's. We were told that when you eat there you have access to their private beach in Hansen's Bay.

So we ordered two different local dishes that we would share. It indeed was good. While we were eating, the rain started. Just then a young Asian woman and her parents stopped to order a dish and asked if they could join us at our table. We spent next two hours getting to know each other while waiting for the rain to stop so we could visit Vie's beach. They were from mainland China. The young woman, Yaqiong, studied in the US and is currently on the faculty of a US university.

When we walked down to the beach, I was not ready for how pristine and clear the water was, the beautiful color aqua green so soft and delicate, the softness of the white sand, and the warmness of all seemed unreal, too good to be true.

Our drive home was a bit more scary. The road was slippery from the rain. A few times as we were going up some of those especially steep inclines, especially on a curve, our "little car that could" just spun its tires while the engine was still revving. Tom had to backup some distance to get up some momentum. My heart was in my throat as I looked back and hoped that no other car was behind us. Now I realize why on this island, the only car they rent is 4WD, mostly Jeep.

Monday, December 15, 2014

St. John

Our adventure began by coming up to Chicago to spend time with Mateo and Helena. These two grandkids of ours are so incredibly clever, cute, and every other high commendation one can give. Helena is just eight weeks old.

At 2:15 AM we were woken up by both Tom and my alarms. We ate a quick breakfast, then requested a ride through the Uber service. This new technology made me see our future where we may not need to own cars: competing companies with fleets of hundreds or thousands of cars coming within minutes at your beckon at a very reasonable price and driving away once you are at your destination.

I pressed a button on my iPhone to request a ride at 2:45 AM. Immediately I saw a photo of a driver, name, ID info. At the same time, I could see his little car on the map turning around toward our location and a timer going: 6 minutes to arrival. I watched as that little car turned to our direction and then onto our street. Just as the timer went to 0, a car stopped in front of our house, the driver came out and loaded our luggage, and off we went into the empty and dark streets of Chicago and on to O'Hare International Airport.

Our plane departed at 5:45 AM. We flew into Fort Lauderdale at 9:20 AM. When did I come here before? The name and place seemed so familiar, though Tom told me we've never been here before. Time to begin unlayering my many layers of clothing. By 12:30 PM, we were on another plane, and we finally arrived at St. Thomas at 4:45 PM.

The cars here are huge! For such a little island, it should be all little cars, especially since there are not many roads, and the roads are narrow. At the car rental, they recommended that we rent either a Jeep (4WD)  or SUV (4WD), but we went the cheaper route and rented a Ford Fiesta. I could not imagine renting a huge car at twice the expense. As the day unwound, I started to think maybe the terrain requires 4WD! The hills are steep, and there are so many blind turns where you cannot see the oncoming cars until you are passing them. They drive American cars (steering wheel on the left) but drive on the left side of the road (English style), which can totally throw off your sense of what's what. When Tom was driving in England, they drove on the left side but the steering wheels were on the right side, so eventually Tom got used to mirror-image driving. The unusual arrangement of British driving with American cars feels strange.

As we left the St. Thomas airport in our shiny red Ford Fiesta (feeling very young), it became evident that we were not in the USA anymore. Soon we ran into flooding on one of the major roads. We wondered if our Ford Fiesta would come out OK. Then we encountered so many pot holes filled with rainwater, and the sewer drains in the streets were covered with what looked like iron grills which did not seem strong enough to hold up cars that were driving over them. Maybe another reason for an SUV or Jeep? I had to close my eyes many times in the heavy traffic of BIG cars on a little island with narrow streets as cars butted in front of us, and watching Tom trying to not lose his place in traffic.

It was getting dark when we finally got to Red Hook Bay where we would drive our car onto a barge to go to St. John, the island we want to vacation on. We are told that they do not take a credit card. Tom has to get cash (US currency). It is after 6 PM, the last barge for the night. Tom went off to get currency. Meanwhile, cars were parked in such a way that all the cars were trapped by other cars. We are not in US anymore. It is a US territory, but it does not feel like the US. So our first day began. Yes Tom did get cash. We got our car onto the barge and came to St John.

We are in St. John now up on a high, steep hill. The hill feels like we're driving at about 45 degrees. We parked on a road which is about 45 degree incline, then walked up a steeper and rougher terrain hill to our one bedroom guest home.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Two Years at My Pharmacy

It has been two full years that I have been at this pharmacy as a manager.

I took this position with the thought that I will work full time for the next four years to put Elizabeth through college. It took  some serious considerations. I have not worked full time for decades mainly because of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) which made me very weak during cold months, usually from October to April.

There were so many thoughts that rushed through my mind. I was offered a manager pharmacist position. So much of this job was not me. My personality tends to be free flowing, not detailed and focused as in keeping track of hundreds of little tasks. To fulfill this position I must be a manager and a business person; keep track of inventory, overstock, and attempt to keep staff performance at a peak, and be the best pharmacist that I can be.

On one hand I love the thought of stretching my person beyond what I am comfortable with. On the other hand I am not sure how in the world I was going to accomplish that!

Then I encountered unanticipated problems. We were missing narcotics on regular basis. I must be vigilant in keeping track of that inventory. As a pharmacist I do not have meal breaks. I have had times that I would eat breakfast at 6am, only to find that I did not have time to eat lunch till 4pm or much later, and when I get home near 11pm, I would be so famished and would gulp down dinner before trying to fall asleep after midnight. This happens often during my dreaded 13 hour shift that occurs once a week.

Inspite of all these challenges,  here are some highlights of last year:

We caught 3 perpetrators at my watch co-ordinating with my supervisor involving police and investigators:
           involved a long time employee who stole narcotics over several years
           involved a floating tech from another store working at my store
           involved a perpetrator who forged a prescription and pretended to be the patient picking up the drug- This man was caught at a gun point by police. The police was hiding in pharmacy behind a drug shelf.

I received a commendation paper for being an excelling pharmacist with excellent customer service

I learned to love my technicians

We improved our service score from barely 60% to almost 90%

Then came the situation where no pharmacists ever want to be in. One of my techs left to be at home with her family more. Now we were trying to survive with one tech to cover 80 hours. Trying to survive with one tech when we needed three was extremely demanding. Then the one tech was scheduled to go on vacation. Our arrangement of borrowing a tech from 40 miles away backfired on us. The union pulled her from us at the worst moment. Union, seemingly did not care if they destroyed the business that they are supposed to serve.  We were left helpless. Now we were down to zero tech. That week was a week from hell. Both I and my pharmacist partner experienced stress beyond anything we have ever experienced in our careers. We probably destroyed our customer service base during that one week. Inspite of all that we are still here. I am still here.

We hired seven techs to date. Five of them have quit in the midst of training without warning us. Soon after hiring a tech, he/she may have realized that the responsibility and demand was beyond the wage we were offering. Each time he/she went on to their next employer and quit with out letting us know. Then we have to pick up the pieces and try to hold a business together without breaking. The last two of the seven is showing some interest in the job, that they want to stay. With much hope, life goes on.

I post this on 7/18/2015

Jaeson Ma


I just discovered this young man who was once in a gang, stealing, selling drugs, and destroying himself. His life was powerfully changed at age of 16 by discovering God. Since then he has impacted innumerable number of young people with a message. Life of hope, life of passion, and life worth living for! (please click onto Peace above for one of his works)

As I am looking at my life, I too have experienced in a small way the experiences of God, yet so much of the times, all that is choked by maze of life. Maze of good doings, being ever so busy, always endeavoring to accomplish more until I am just a shadow of a real life.

I want to live a life with PASSION! 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A day in pharmacy

Last Three hours

It has been a very busy day. Stephanie leaves at 6pm and there is still so much to catch up. I don't have enough tech hours to schedule help. I am working alone. There are lots of prescriptions to fill. A couple of people come in with new prescriptions. I promise them that it may take 15 to 20 minutes to fill if there is no interruption. Patient A and B. I tell them that I am working prescriptions in order.

As I start to fill, I see a person at the other end ready to pick up his prescription (patient C). I leave data entry (new scripts) and I go to the other end to ring out the cash register. Pt gives me his new insurance card. This can be a smooth process or it can be very drawn out. I need to take care of this. 

Phone starts to ring. I put that line on hold saying that I’ll be back as quickly as possible (patient D) . Another phone rings (person E). This is from a hospital. I put this on hold giving my self a mental note that this may be more urgent.

As I am finishing up the new insurance for pt C. Another 2 persons line up to pick up their medicine (person F and G). Patient C is now taken care of. And I am also releasing prescriptions for F. He after ringing up, he decides he does not have enough money so he leaves. I undo all the steps that requires and place the prescription bag back where it belongs. Pt G is taken care of without any problems. Now one of the phone person hung up. Another phone rings. I put this person on hold (person H).

Just as I am about to return to data entry, another two persons (person I and J) line up to pick up the prescriptions. I apologize to them. I need to take care of new prescriptions. They are annoyed. I could read on their face “it only takes a couple of minutes to release medications”

I finish up 2 prescriptions for patient A. and ask them to line up at the register. He is 3rd in line. I take care of them. Then I go back to work on pt B’s prescription. 

Another phone line is ringing (person K) and caller ID says Amthem Insurance. I put that person on hold. Then I finish next person’s 2 prescription. I tell this person to line up at the pick up line after a couple of people that came in. Pick up person gives me a new prescription card which is not paying for the script. I apologize and tell him that I must call the insurance.

A person walks up to reception end and asks 2 prescriptions to be filled. I tell her that right now I am working on several persons ahead of her so it may take a while. She says OK (person L).

Where was I. What was I working on. Oh, call the insurance. After some time, it gets resolved and I release that prescription.  I pick up the  waiting phone call from the hospital and answer a few questions about a patient who got admitted and does not know what medicine he is taking and what he is being treated for. This takes some time. By now other waiting phone line has given up. Fresh phone is ringing. Probably the old waiting person. One call resolved. I pick up next call. Did my doctor call in for my pain medicine? I search and respond, No he has not. On to next waiting call and take care of that need.

Preverification needs to be emptied and I start filling product dispensing. Oh no, the first med is 240 tablets from a bottle of 1000. I continue down the line as I am eating my lunch at 8pm (my last meal was at 10am at home).

I notice from the corner of my eyes, one woman has been walking back and forth then finally comes upto my window. How long do I wait for my prescriptions? I totally forgot about her. Her request is in reception and I totally forgot about her. I apologize perfusely. Her eyes roll. I have no idea how long she has waited. And my thought is “there goes my attempt to provide an excellent service”

So I finish up her products and apologize again. What she saw was that I was peacefully counting other scripts on my que but not hers. I  hoping that she will not complain about my lack of service. 

I take care of her prescriptions quickly then I look at the time. It is 8:57. Store closes in 3 minutes.

I am thinking, the company wants a prescription to be done in 17 minutes or less. Also there are breakdowns of each steps, as to how many minutes. I wonder how many of these steps I have sucessfully taken care of in timely manner. Probably none!

I wake up 3am the next morning and I am wide awake. Things are rushing through my head. What should I have done or could have done. I am not able to fall back asleep and today I am to work 13 hours. Again with only 8 hours of a tech to assist me.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Costa Rica: Coming Home

Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014

We are on our way home from Costa Rica. We must leave behind this beautiful weather and go home to below freezing temperatures.

All my adult life I have suffered from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) from October/November to April. My vibrant summer health slowly disappears and my life becomes a struggle of survival, going to work, then coming home to crash. And if I should catch a cold, life becomes more difficult. A couple of years ago a friend suggested, "How about going away to sun and warmth in the middle of winter, like January or February?" Why had I never thought of that? Possibly because when you have four children with school schedules, vacations must come when they have time off.

As my health continued to decline this winter, I caught some virus which may have eventually led to a bronchial infection, maybe even a touch of pneumonia. Tom had the virus before me, so we were both coughing much as we started our Costa Rican vacation. We were hoping this rest in the sun would restore our health. The first half of our trip was in the tropical wet forest. Although we did not see much sun, I noticed that Tom was tanning. Daily we noticed our coughing decreased until it disappeared.

As we wait in the airport, we are aware that we are fully back to our summer health. To wake up feeling well is one of the blessings in life I treasure. I hope this will carry me through the remaining winter months! We have already decided that we will spend one week every winter in some type of tropical region.

And back in the icebox...-2 °F!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Costa Rica: Beach Life

Tuesday & Wednesday, Jan. 21–22, 2014

Our hotel, El Jardin del Eden (The Garden of Eden) is in the center of Tamarindo, the beach-town we are staying in on the Pacific.

We start each day here with with a fabulous breakfast in the hotel’s open-air restaurant under a thatched roof of palm branches, next to the pool.
Breakfast includes all the fresh fruit you can eat: watermelon, pineapple, passion fruit, cantaloupe, and bananas.

We strolled along the main street in Tamarindo, the small beach town we are staying in. There are restaurants aplenty as well as little shops. I even bought a sundress to wear to the hot, sizzling beach.

We ventured out many times during the day to the beach and into town. We always had our cool room to recover from the sun and the heat!

A delicious cold smoothie break as we walk is sooo soothing in such weather!

The highlight of the day was watching the “stunning sunset” advertised in the brochure. The sun sets at 5:45pm. We were at the beach by 5:20, strolling toward the sunset. Oh my goodness, I have never seen the sun set so quickly. Within minutes, the sun sank 30 degrees and disappeared behind the rocks. The beautiful rays of sunlight swiftly gave way to darkness. By 6:20 pm, it looked like it should be 10 pm. Shops that were lively till sunset hurried to close up, and people scurried from the darkening beach. We knew we needed to get to a smoothie shop before they closed.

Yet the half hour before sunset was so romantic. There was such a large crowd at the beach, strolling, swimming, fishing, laughing, and playing. We walked holding hands, talking and watching so many activities around us. There were more people at this time than during the overly hot daytime. I think every sunset is a big event here. We will experience another full day at this town famous for its beach, surfing, and sunsets!

The walk to and from the beach and town is quite pleasant. From the hotel, we have a private access that takes us past the pool and gardens, then through a long narrow walkway lined with palms.