Scarlott Letters

Just some stuff I find funny…


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Pura Vida, Y’all!

Today is our last full day in Costa Rica. ☹️ Last night, after the blog we were treated to a great fireworks show over the Pacific. It was most certainly for a private party, but we prefer to think it was just another service offered by Villa Estrella. Diego, the house manager stopped by and was commenting that the fireworks show on New Years Eve is spectacular from this location. Vibe asked if there was a big show for the 4th of July…crickets, followed by lots of laughter. I wish we could blame this lapse on alcohol but sadly, not so much. 

Yesterday was so full of activity, we took the day off to recover. We may be the only group in history to need a day off from vacation.The pool party got pretty wild by late afternoon. I hate to name any names, but I’m pretty sure several of the girls might not be feeling the best for the trip home tomorrow, although this group has exceptional restorative powers, so you never know. In any case, it seems prophetic that Crazy Train by Ozzy Osborne is playing as I write this and listen to those crazy girls.

We had an extraordinary dinner tonight as a goodbye from the staff. Dinner included watermelon gazpacho soup, lobster, seafood risotto with crab, calamari and vegetables, and to finish cheesecake with mixed berries. The staff here at Villa Estrella has been over the top good. We come back to Texas more spoiled than when we left. I think consensus is that we’d love to come back sometime and that’s not something we often do.

After dinner we played a game of Squints. Which may be the strangest thing I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen some wild shit. I have included a description of the game. I’m just going to leave it there to protect the guilty.

We hope to make it safely back home to Texas tomorrow. The weather looks iffy for thunderstorms all day. We’ve already been told we can stay another night if needed, but truth be told, as much as this is paradise, I miss my house, my family, my dog and Texas. Thanks again to Julia for bringing us all together for another perfect week. It’s hard work setting all this up and we really do appreciate her efforts!

 One of the Costa Rican phrases we’ve learned this week is pura vida, which translates to pure life. It has many different meanings. It can mean something as simple as hello, goodbye, take it easy, or all good. I have been giving it a lot of thought these past few days. To me, it means living a peaceful, uncluttered life, in the moment, with a deep appreciation for friends, family and all your blessings great and small. It’s a sentiment I take home with me. Pura vida, y’all!

 


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Iguana, the Chicken of the Trees

This is our adventure day. Part of the group is doing zip lining and tubing and part a hike through the national park. Do these people even know me? Do any of these activities sound like anything I would be remotely interested in? The answer to both is no.

Breakfast was at 6:45 and we were on the bus by 7:15, which should have been anotherred flag. Ray and Tracy are our two guides for the day. The zip line includes about a dozen lines with climbing walls up to the platforms and two sections you have to repel down. Sign me the hell up! 

Ray gave us lots of handy tips on the drive. For example, don’t forget to cover up with sunscreen so you will stay forever young. Too late! Also, you must wear close toed shoes to zip line. You’d think this would be a problem for Vibe as she only wears heels (I’ve seen her climb a mountain in those things) and I have no doubt that she will be able to talk them in to letting her wear them. I just hope someone takes a picture of her on the climbing wall.

We dropped off the zip line group and headed for the national park. Our guide was great and knowledgeable about all the native plants and animals in Costa Rica. Not only does Ray speak Spanish, German and English but he is fluent in monkey and bird. We saw iguanas, or as they call them here, the chicken of the trees. We also saw more exotic species including white faced monkeys, several species of birds including a Toucan, tarantulas, blue butterflies, volcanic mud pits with boiling mud, babbling brooks, and a waterfall. The  scenery was spectacular. The heat and humidity were also spectacular. I have probably been hotter, but never wetter. I could have wrung my shirt out. I had sweat running places it should not run. The hike was also about five miles long, uphill, both ways. By the last mile, and the fiftieth time we stopped to bird call, I wondered if it would be bad form to say, “Fuck this shit” and head to the car.

 We met up with our zip liners who didn’t hear the fine print about the climbing walls and the repelling. I would have lost my bet on Vibe as she actually traded in her heels for water shoes. I think the zip line kicked their proverbial butts.

We split up again for white water tubing and a tour of the snake terrariums and butterfly garden. You might think that the tour would be wussy next to the tubing, but the only thing standing between us and certain death was a thin layer of plexiglass. It also added another mile to my already tired feet.

We met for lunch at a nearby restaurant after all the ‘fun.’ Earlier in the bus trip our guide asked if anyone was vegetarian. I replied, “Vegetarian? We’re from Texas. We eat a whole cow every day.”

Our last stop was for mud baths and volcanic hot springs. I smell bad enough without rubbing mud all over myself and as for the hot springs, I am so hot I may never be cool again. The idea of getting in a lobster pot holds no allure. I think I’ll pass. Nubb, however, was enthusiastically going for it. He was slathered from head to toe and headed over to me with his arms open wide for a big bear hug. I called his bluff and leaned in for the hug. It ruined my shirt, but it was totally worth it for the look on his face.

On the way back, we were chatting with one of the tour guides and discovered she also teaches boxing. She invited us to come to one of her classes tomorrow. I suggested she just whip my ass when we got back to the villa to save me the trip.

Every time we come back from an outing, the staff meets us with drinks and people to help with our bags. You could get spoiled. And speaking of spoiled, dinner was corn soup, followed by beef tenderloin with chimichurri sauce, grilled eggplant and sliced potatoes with melted cheese. Dessert was chocolate soufflé. Every night we think this is the best, and then they top it.

 

 

 


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I’m No Mona Lisa

I can’t report any big outing for today, but when you are staying at a house like this, it makes it hard to work up the ‘want to’ to go anywhere else, so we didn’t. The first day and a half they had the pool heater set to the Hotter than a Thousand Suns setting. Today it had finally cooled off and was perfect. The laughter was flowing even more profusely than the drinks. At one point we were trying to get a picture of all the girls in the pool. Even the simplest tasks take on a new challenge when you get to be our age. Monkeypoo was in charge of the camera but without his glasses he couldn’t tell if he was getting a good picture or not. Meanwhile we were trying to hold a geriatric pyramid pose, which consists of just leaning over someone’s back instead of standing on their shoulders…you go with what you’ve still got. Anyway, it was taking what seemed to be an inordinately long amount of time to get the shot, so I popped off, “You’re not Ansel Adams, just take the damn picture.” I thought that was a quite a witty comment and was rather proud of myself until he came back with, “And you’re no Mona Lisa.” Ouch! Monkeypoo is going down.

Eleanor received a text from her office that one of the guys taking care of things while they are out of town had accidentally given a sales rep a tea bag instead of a business card. He then said to tell Single Malt that they were enjoying the new office margarita machine. Eleanor just sent back a picture of Misch saying, “This is our margarita machine.” I like ours better.

I couldn’t tell you everything funny that happened today, but we were physically worn out from laughing. I didn’t know that was possible, but it’s a good kind of tired. 

The day ended with a slow rain and dinner on the patio. There was even key lime pie. It’s like all the planets aligned to make the perfect day.

 

 

 

 

 


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Beached Boys

The howler monkeys made a visit to the house early this morning. They were in the trees, one mountain over, most of yesterday afternoon. Nubb kept doing his Tarzan yell to try to entice them to join us, but they were having none of it. We watched them off and on through binoculars for a couple of hours. Someone wondered aloud what they were thinking, looking back at us watching them. Joe: “Probably to hell with this Darwin thing, if that’s the end game, why evolve.” Anyway, this morning they showed up at the house to see what kind of idiots they were dealing with. Luckily, a couple of people had cameras at the ready.

Today is our boat day, and odds are the cook won’t have to feed all twelve us tonight. If history is any indicator, someone will be down for the count before we get back to the house. We left the house a few minutes before 2pm to meet the boat at the beach. My very good friend did not tell me until we showed up at the airport to leave that there was no dock and we would have to ‘wade’ out to the catamaran. Seriously WTF? I’m short and I don’t swim so unless the water is extremely shallow, there’s an excellent chance of me being towed like a beached whale out to sea. Next year I will be asking specific pre-trip questions. First question, will there be a dock? Luckily, they sent a skiff for us, but that was no picnic as it took two people to hold it steady enough to board and you had to hurry and get on that sucker between waves. Fun times. Because the waves were so big they had to take us in two trips. The girls and the Wanderer went first without incident. We were then able to watch the remaining guys get beached several times before finally launching. That’s when the Wanderer came up with the name of today’s blog…Beached Boys.

The coast of this part of Costa Rica doesn’t really lend itself to our normal bar/island hopping crawl, but that doesn’t mean it was boring. On our sail out to the snorkeling hole, Single Malt, as we call him, caught a nice sized black tuna. Ceviche for everyone! The resulting fish cleaning left the pool noodles a little worse for wear. I heard someone remark that they were going to need a blood free noodle. And really, who doesn’t? Snorkeling and floating, with recently cleaned equipment, was enjoyed by those who actually like swimming with the fishes. I watched and captured the Kodak moments. 

By the time everyone was back onboard, a little thunderstorm was blowing in. The ride back was kind of like a ride at Six Flags or the bucking bronc at Billy Bob’s. Oddly enough, the rough seas didn’t scare me as much as the thought of the drive back up the mountain. By the time we got back to the cove, the rain was over and we were able to enjoy a sunset through rain clouds. Even though we were barefoot, we looked like we had on men’s dress socks after walking the black sand beach back to the van.

We made it back to the villa just in time to enjoy another fabulous meal and rehash the day’s events. Wish you were here.

 

 

 


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Naked and Afroed

Bright and early this morning my wayward butt pellet finally made good on its escape. The spot was really tender this morning and as I gingerly felt of it, a perfect pellet just popped out like April the giraffe giving birth. Ok, not that messy and it’s more the size of a couple of grains of rice than 150 pound baby and I don’t have to raise it or pay for college, but it was still kind of traumatic for me and my butt cheek. I’ll admit I kinda freaked the hell out. Downstairs I related the grisly incident. Nubb: I can’t believe you’re talking about butt pellets. Me: Hey, I figure when the vibrator makes its first appearance any subject is fair game. Nubb: You make a good point.

Today was massage day for ten lucky people. This place has a two table outdoor massage pavillion. Insane. We had massages the year we went to Eleuthera by a woman named Monique who had some serious mystical mojo going on and has become a legend among us. Since then, she is the standard against whom all others are judged. Monique was not dethroned, but it was close. The massage was Devine but I did have a small issue. As any curly head can tell you the first rule of curly haired girls is, don’t touch your hair. The second rule of curly haired girls is, DON’T TOUCH YOUR HAIR! Where curls are concerned the less you fuss with them the better. Things can turn Roseanne Rossana Dana bad in a heartbeat. If my masseuse had understood English I would have told her to skip the scalp massage. Instead, she was going at my head like a rotary sander, but in a good way. Between all the head massage and oil on my neck, I had a greasy mullet in the back and a Phil Specter do on top. The massage was still worth it.

About mid-day, Howler got an email from someone in his office with a request to review a 40 page document. This poor guy apparently has nothing better to do on Monday morning. Howler sent back a picture of him in the pool surrounded by all us women and a note saying, “Sorry! I’ve already got my hands full.” His colleague responded that he was jealous and offered to be here by tomorrow to lend a hand. That guy’s dedication to the firm is commendable.

I won’t tell you what we had for lunch and dinner because you would just hate us. After dinner we played a couple of games of Heads Up. It’s played on an iPad. You divide into teams, the men against the women naturally, pick a category and the person holding the iPad above their head gets clues and has to guess the phrase from the chosen category. Picture this, the women are up, the category is Adult Supervision, the phrase is Kama Sutra. We are shouting out clues such as “famous book that illustrates different sexual positions!” Sassy’s answer…wait for it…I kid you not…honest to God…”Fifty Shades of Grey.” Best answer of the night and the guys wouldn’t even give us partial credit for creativity. We still beat them by one point. That must hurt. 

 

 


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Eat, Float, Drink, Repeat…

 

Ok, here’s the deal, from this point forward we all have code names to protect the innocent and give the guilty plausible deniability.  Some people might be tempted to hold back to try to escape the blog and we wouldn’t want that. This is vacation after all. If you can figure out who is who, it’s not my fault.

To begin, and I’m just puttin’ this out there because there’s no other way to break this kind of news, but someone brought a big ol’ vibrator. Just when you think you know this group and nothing they do could surprise you…BOOM! A vibrator isn’t something most people would bring down to breakfast, no matter how close those friendships are, but that’s just how Vibe rolls. It wasn’t long before people were lining up to get pounded…on their back, shoulders or neck naturally.

This would be a good time to tell you how awesome the coffee is here. There is a huge Jura espresso machine that will grind fresh Costa Rican beans for you, then give you a triple shot of espresso followed by steamed milk. It was prior knowledge of this masterpiece of caffeinated wonder that tipped the scales for me to sign up for the trip. Totally worth it. Second breakfast, at the outdoor kitchen veranda, with fresh squeezed juices and everything you could think of for breakfast burritos didn’t suck either.

After breakfast, three of the guys decided to go for a walk. First there was a lengthy discussion of the dangers of Costa Rica, including the fact that it has more varieties of poisonous snakes than any country in the world, including a couple that will drop you dead in your tracks. After the calls back home to check on the status of life insurance policies, the boys were on their way. Kind of…they lost who, for purposes of this blog, shall be called The Wanderer before even leaving the house. Wanderer was told that they were waiting for him ‘down there’ which was meant to convey the lower level of the house, but the Wanderer took ‘down there’ to mean the bottom of the hill. Unknown to the rest of us, he takes off at a run to catch up. All the while, the other two were waiting on the lower veranda. It took binoculars to find him and a van to pick him up and drag him back uphill where they all started off again, together this time. If I were the Wanderer, I’d have found some shade and waited for them to catch up to me.

Traditionally we spend our first full day hanging at the pool. I must say, the bartender improves the experience exponentially. It’s always fun and one of our favorite days and this year was no different. I caught part of a conversation and according to Eleanor, “It’s the blood splatter that always gets you.” I didn’t ask. I wouldn’t want to turn in any of my friends. I’d much rather provide bail money.  Also, its nice knowing I have a friend that could help me move a body.

The food has been fabulous. Lunch was a shrimp and quinoa salad with pesto dressing and garlic bread. Dinner was squash soup, sea bass poached with plantains and corn salsa in banana leaves, broccoli and a pan fried potato-like root vegetable topped with Cuban onion salsa. Dessert was tres leches cake with meringue topping. Sooooo good!

 

The tip about watching out for scorpions turned out to be well founded. Knotty (because she has a big knot on her neck and I like the double entendre) nearly stepped on what in Texas we’d call a ‘big un’ in her bathroom floor. Then at dinner, Nubb (aka Two Inches of Terror) found one under the table. The time spent last night looking under the covers doesn’t seem so silly now. Until tomorrow…

 


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Hope You Didn’t Need Swat this Weekend, Because They Were With Me

I am sitting on a plane, waiting to take off for Liberia, Costa Rica and its already been an eventful trip. The fact that Joe and I had to fly in from Midland last night and spend the night in a hotel, an extra leg of a trip that will repeated on the way home, is the cost of living in Midland. The evening was quite entertaining as it turned out, as there was a SWAT convention at the inn. The place fairly reeked of testosterone, coming off of the muscular bald men that were everywhere. The shaved head thing must be a thing with them. Anyway, I’ve never seen so many big biceps, wide shoulders and narrow hips in one place, all decked out in camo. You could have decorated the cover of trashy romance novels for decades with that talent. I broke out in what I’m sure was a totally unrelated hot flash.

 I just showed Joe my first paragraph. Him: “Are you sure it wasn’t my T you were sensing? I mean, I was standing right next to you.” Me: “I’m sure that’s it, King Never-Wrong.” (A name bestowed on him by our grand daughter, Preslee, which I use to mostly convey the exact opposite.)

 I don’t know if it was all the eye candy in the lobby bar or the extremely hard seats on the flight from Midland, but when getting ready for bed I discovered that my butt pellets had tried to mount an escape. I should preface this by saying that I have had hormone pellets now for about nine months. You can feel them under the skin getting smaller with the passage of time. Anyhoo, I noticed that mine were all bruised and tender and felt ready to pop through the skin, which was alarmingly how I discovered that flying first class is a medical necessity for me. Instead of handicapped parking I need a first class flying permit. If that’s not a thing, it should be. Luckily, we got an upgrade.

 Bright and early this morning, we met The Wards and the Sawyers at the Centurion Club and officially started our trip, as all good trips should start, with Bloody Mary’s. Now a couple of hours later, sitting on the plane, I’ve added a glass of champagne and a gin & tonic and it’s not even noon. This could be bad.

 To say that this is the best house we’ve stayed in to date would be a gross understatement…and we’ve stayed at some phenomenal places. We were met on arrival by the cook and bartender with cool towels and a coconut drink served in real coconuts, which we needed because the drive up the mountain to get here was a white knuckle experience. When you step into the house you are immediately met with the most amazing view of the infinity pool overlooking the Pacific. I cannot believe we get to stay here. The tip we received from the house manager to shake our shoes out to check for scorpions gave me some pause, but what’s an adventure without a little danger?

 It didn’t take long before the infinity pool was tried out and it became clear that the bartender, Misch, will have his job cut out for him keeping this group lubricated all week. He’s not dealing with amateurs here. Lest you think we are spoiled with a house manager, driver, cook, bartender, maid and security guard, I should point out that the bartender only works from 11am until 7pm, so we are on our own for breakfast cocktails. 

 And speaking of cooks, there is a kick ass espresso machine and continental breakfast laid out for the early risers, then later we have the real, or as I call it ‘second breakfast,’ served. Lunch and dinner (which always includes dessert) are also prepared by Alberto, as well as two snacks. I read once that it’s healthier to eat six meals a day. Just sayin’. Tonight’s menu was traditional Costa Rican fare, which included rice, beans, chicken, slaw and cooked plantains. I should have brought my yoga pants.

 Dinner was followed by roundtable banter about previous trips. There was a lot of laughter and “remember whens.” This is our seventh trip together and that’s pretty awesome when you think about it.