After a quick tour around some of the highlights of Costa Rica, we went to the Caribbean coast. We had accepted a housesitting job that would have us in the Puerto Viejo area for about 30 days. This would be an interesting challenge for us, as we have not stopped moving for 30 days in over a year! But we had a little casita, a big yard, a washer and wifi. So this would work out. Puerto Viejo area is filled with beautiful people, beautiful beaches and an amazing jungle. We settled our camper in to a parking space in the jungle. It would be stored here while we rented a small car to drive around the area. The camper barely fit, and it was on a crazy, steep slope. And on the second day of being parked there, a huge stand of bamboo tumbled over in the rainstorm. One of the pieces fell on the camper. But fortunately it did not cause any damage.
Our housesitting task included a small casita that we lived in and a large house that we checked on regularly. The yard was filled with incredible plants, flowers and even a few beautiful creatures. Here are some views of the yard and our little casita.
There were toucans, butterflies, frogs and lizards that made their appearances regularly in the yard around the houses. We also saw agouti’s, but they are very hard to photograph.
The first task we did in our spare time was to visit the local veterinarian. Zeb had been acting a little strange for a while, and we wanted to get things checked out. Unfortunately the tests did not show good results and we had to accept the sad news. Zeb was suffering from acute liver failure. It was likely a cancerous tumor, and he was fading fast. Nica was clearly going to miss her new buddy. And our hearts were breaking as we prepared to say goodbye to yet another of our dogs. Leaving the USA with three old dogs meant that we had to be prepared for this time to come……. but is anyone really ever ready to say goodbye to a precious pet? I don’t think so. We spent a final weekend with him, keeping him comfortable and spoiling him. Then we said our final goodbyes. Mike laid Zeb to rest in the jungle area just behind our little casita. The view from our bedroom window during a tropical rainstorm gave us the sights and sounds of the jungle. And just beyond there we could see where our sweet, old dog was buried. But we still have Nica with us, and she wants lots of love and attention. She clearly misses her wrestling buddy, Zeb. But she is very attached to Mike and wants to go with him wherever he goes. Long walks are a favorite pastime and she is a great leash-walker. Nica also likes to relax and cuddle. She was particularly fond of climbing into the hammock with Geneva for an afternoon nap during the heat of the humid, tropical days.
And when we were done with the medical stuff with the Zeb, we moved on to some medical stuff for Geneva. Many of the regular readers know that she has suffered from foot pain for a while. She has endured a few different surgeries and treatments but none of them provided any relief. So with a little searching, we located a doctor in San Jose, Costa Rica that could perform a procedure to relieve the foot pain and muscle changes that had occurred. It was a great experience from the beginning to the end. We had a consult on a Saturday, and were in the operating room in less than a week. We paid up-front for the entire procedure, and at $6,000.00usd it was less than 1/3 of what it would have cost in the USA. Heck, that price is even less than our US insurance deductible! Here are a few shots of Geneva waiting to go in, under the early anesthesia and then in her recovery boot. She had three toe bones cut, shortened and pinned and also a muscle fascia cut on the back of her leg. We will report on her progress in a later post! The highlight of the hospital visit was finding this cool collection of old cars in the parking garage. Apparently the doctors can store their classics there for protection from the elements. This little surprise included a few great American classics and even some very nice Volkswagens. WOW!! And while we were in San Jose for the surgical stuff, we were able to meet up with Marcus and Julie, the notorious travelers in Cuthbert. They travel under the name “Tucks Truck” (click here to see their Facebook page) Their assistance and support helped make the medical visits much more pleasant! Thank you, friends.
And then, right after the surgery was completed, we had family fly to Costa Rica for a week-long visit! We were able to rent them a lovely house that was located very near to where we were housesitting. With Anne and Seenu there for some time, we did a few tourist things! We visited the local wild animal rescue center called “Jaguar Rescue Center” (click here to learn more) This place offers great tours which include very close up visits with the animals in their care, and great info about their work as a rehabilitative center. While they were in the Puerto Viejo we also went on a food tour and a chocolate tasting lesson. It was fun walking through town (in the rain) and learning about the restaurants, the local history and the special foods of the Caribbean area. We had some delicious (and some not-so-delicious) food on our tour. And we certainly enjoyed the chocolate information and tasting! We even took a few afternoons to do some shopping! And while we were in town we saw monkeys climbing on the roof of a restaurant. It looked like they were trying to get in through the cooking vent!
Of course, since we were on some of the most beautiful beaches in this country, we had to have a beach day. We packed our gear for the day and relaxed on the beach. While there we had delicious empanadas, and everyone (except Geneva) tried their skills at snorkeling in the ocean. There wasn’t much to see underwater, but they had a great time playing in the warm, ocean waves. Beach day wore out Nica, and she loved having company visiting. But she also loved curling up on her bed each night and falling asleep to the sounds of the jungle.
We really enjoyed the visit with Anne and Seenu. It was so wonderful to have family come and visit us on the road. We took a few days after they left to relax and finish our housesitting duties at the property. It was time to adjust to our new family structure (two humans, one newish dog) and return to our lifestyle in the truck camper. Being in a house for 30 days took us through some good, bad and sad situations. But we were ready to return to our traveling ways!