It’s mid-November and the New England Patriots have a robust record of 8-1. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and their jolly cocksure gang are marching steadily towards what many believe will be yet another Super Bowl appearance to close out the season. Another glittering opportunity for them to shine on the biggest of stages, to hoist The Vince Lombardi Trophy, to spray champagne menacingly yet playfully at each other in the locker room in goggle dripping ecstasy. A chance to print more Super Bowl Champion T-shirts and hats to advertise their teams supremacy in the NFL once again. I can already see the victory parade pumping through downtown Boston with some of the players dancing awkwardly to popular rap music on gaudy floats amidst the falling confetti and cheering masses. I’ve also just thrown up in my mouth. If the seemingly never-ending success of these guys doesn’t make you sick to your stomach, then you’re either A) not a football fan and therefore couldn’t care less, or B) you suffer from a far graver condition and you are in fact, “one of them”… A rabid representative of Patriot Nation, or whatever it is that gaggle calls itself these days. The only thing more disgusting than the Cheatriots winning ways is their smug, cheery, condescending fan base. Ever expecting to win and ever prepared to rub the noses of the fans of other teams in their golden shimmering, chowda-crusted feces. It’s prudent to mention that I’m a New York Jets fan. No, I’m not the least bit bitter. Why would I be? Heck, the Jets DID win a Super Bowl, which is more than can be said of the Bengals, Bills, Browns, Cardinals, Chargers, Falcons, Jaguars, Lions, Panthers, Texans, Titans and Vikings. Why should it matter that Gang Green’s Super Bowl III victory was more than 50 years ago, almost 8 years before I was even born? I’m foolishly optimistic that the New York Jets will win “the big game” sometime before I die. It’ll probably be around the same time that I get struck by lightning while fending off a shark attack with one hand and waving a winning lottery ticket in the other, to be saved by grace at the last possible moment by a flying green and white unicorn. Stranger things have happened. Such as Bill Belichick signing a deal to become the Jets head coach back on January 3, 2000 only to wake up the next day to change his mind and resign from the position and head over to New England. That served as portent of doom for unpleasant events that are still playing out to this day. The Jets had 4 first round draft picks in 2000 and made some solid selections, however they drafted a total of 7 players ahead of Tom Brady, who eventually fell to the Patriots at #199. Fast forward to the second game of the 2001 season where the two teams squared off in Foxboro. Our linebacker, Mo Lewis #57, smashed the Patriot’s starting QB Drew Bledsoe square in the chest and put him out of the game. Bledsoe wound up suffering a sheared blood vessel in his chest and he almost died from it. In waddles his skinny replacement, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. The Jets held on to win that game, but they didn’t do a whole lot of winning once Brady was at the helm. He led the Patriots to the playoffs that season and starting winning Super Bowls the season after that. The rest is history (yet still agonizingly ongoing). Make no mistake, I recognize that Tom Brady is the best quarterback ever to play the position. There is no doubt that he’s the best QB in the history of the NFL, but I believe I can safely say that most of the pigskin world is beyond fed up with the Patriots winning ways and their arrogant fan base. It would be amazing if Brady would retire at the top of his game and then he and Giselle and the family can move down here to Costa Rica to live in their property full-time. Trade in the physical punishment and the endless demand for new trophy cases for sunshine, surf, tropical drinks, and Pura Vida. Whaddya say, Tom? It sounds tempting, doesn’t it? Their property here in paradise is about a 30-minute drive from our place on Playa Tambor. Awhile back, Giselle was apparently eating dinner at a Montezuma restaurant next to the one my wife and I were dining in, and Tom yank-jumped his daughter off the very same cliff that I tossed my daughter from at Montezuma Falls. It is indeed a small world. Meanwhile, closer to home and only a few sandy footsteps down the beach access road from our house, we’ve got some Patriot/ Red Sox Nation neighbors who are also real estate clients of mine. Now we’re getting to the guts of this article. These fine folks have what my wife and I consider to be the absolute best real estate deal available in the current market. This amazing piece of titled beachfront property is a steal for $599,000 USD and we’re truly shocked that it’s still available. If we had the funds, we’d buy it for ourselves. I’ve speculated that we haven’t sold the property yet because of the New England Patriots flags and banners strewn all about the house. Something that offensive can certainly have a negative effect on potential buyers. After all, it’s only 1 team out of a possible 32 NFL squads who have a fan base. Without considering population density and detailed demographic data regarding each team’s actual fan base, that’s giving these sellers slightly better than a 3% chance that their showing is with someone from the “home team”, thereby isolating roughly 97% of the remaining buyer pool. You also have to factor in that there’s also a huge portion of the population that doesn’t care about sports at all, or have a reactant loathing for anything sports related. Yet banners and flags can be taken down. Perhaps our near misses have more to do with the massive Boston Red Sox logo they have glazed on the thick, tempered glass door that leads to the Roman Senate-sized swimming pool they have behind the house. As you may have guessed by now, I’m also a New York Yankees fan. The swimming pool is spectacular and shaped like a Shamrock, so the owners get points from this stout Irishman on that, but to have to see all of this Red Sox and Patriots sports memorabilia every time I walk through the house with clients is a bit much. This is what really had me thinking about football. In my mind’s eye I can picture these lovely neighbors of ours (they are truly wonderful people) celebrating another NE Super Bowl victory in front of me at the local bar this coming February, and enough is enough. My proposition is this: Anyone who employs me as an agent to acquire my neighbors’ property and closes before February 2nd, 2020 will be given $5,000 in cash from my commission. All I ask in exchange is to be given the tempered glass Beantown portal so I can smash it to smithereens with a sledgehammer. The $5,000 will more than pay for a new, more tasteful, glass replacement door for the new owner and it’s money well spent for me. With this limited time offer, I’m making the sweetest deal on the Tambor market even sweeter. Join me in PuraVidaVille! You can see the amazing property I’m referencing by clicking on this link:
The sun rises strong and warm in Costa Rica this morning. Opportunity brims and spills from a steaming cup of dark roast coffee. Invigoration is eminent and the day is chock full of promise. A refreshing rain falls to cool the air and nourish the world. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Do you like what you see? Does the mirror reflect back fulfillment and satisfaction when you risk a glimpse? None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, and yet we often find ourselves stalling dreams and deep seeded desires in the hopes of a paradigm shift at some unforeseen moment in the future. We attempt to schedule our maximum happiness, as if we are in complete control of the course of our lives. “I will finally make a change and do what I’ve been wanting to do for all these years- after my kids have grown up.” After my mother is settled into the new nursing home and is more comfortable with her surroundings. When I have fewer pets, when I can achieve my full pension, when I have less responsibility…These are all very real and extremely reasonable ideologies and thought patterns. Heartfelt and grounded, the road to your future reality is paved with the best of intentions. What if I told you that tomorrow would never come? What if by the time you have deemed your personal situation to be ideal and perfect enough for you to take action, you’re too old or too sick or too weak or too broke to launch the boat? It is a potential phenomenon which must he considered for an individual to honor their sense of truth. Out of respect for The Self. The author of this blog does not at all suggest that folks should simply shirk their responsibilities or make any rash, reckless rushes to judgment. That would undercut and cripple the point. It’s just that there will always be a reason (a more practical way to say that one is making an excuse…) which pops up and rears it’s ugly head, laughing at you in ironic mockery as you are “forced” to postpone the realization of your dreams. Perhaps the world doesn’t need to be picture perfect all of the time. Put your life under a microscope and scrutinize it to exhaustion. Examine your purpose and cut through all the static which stuns and disorients the soul until all that remains is what is most important to you. That is what all of your time, effort, energy, love, and vital life force should be directed towards. No matter what walk of life you come from, it’s unlikely that you can “have it all”. What you CAN do is pick and choose (within the limitations and constraints which your own life contains, of course) what exactly you want to strive for and work towards. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if the Romans didn’t commit to construction and creation every single day, the great city would not exist. Complacency and procrastination are the enemies of progress and evolution. Ride the wave of today’s sunrise and harness that strength to search inward and take what might be the first step of many which lead towards your Utopia. Your best version of you. A situation and daily life that beams and radiates happiness, peace, and an unshakable level of satisfaction. It will require a ton of work, but it is worth it. Instead of looking for the light, be the light. I hope to see you around the cosmic campfire soon. “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” ~Neil Young. Pura Vida!
It is said that Christopher Columbus named Costa Rica based on his belief that it was a “Rich Coast” from his time and experiences with the land and the people upon anchoring here back in the early 1500’s. The visual, sensual, and interpersonal stimulation that he enjoyed during his time in this amazing country had clearly left a glowing mark on the veteran explorer. Although Columbus never discovered or obtained the abundance of gold and riches that he originally expected to extract from these hills (it didn’t “pan out” as well as Christopher may have liked it to, pun intended), he was certainly on to something special. According to Legend, the locations of the most abundant and profitable gold mines were never revealed to the foreigners by the Old Time Shamans. The Osa Peninsula is rumored to be loaded with gold and there is also a Gold Museum in the capital city of San Jose, so evidence points to the existence of at least a spattering of Leprechaun Pots at the end of Costa Rican Rainbows. In fact, there’s even an abandoned gold mine at the heart of the rural San Ramon de Alajuela neighborhood that my family and I lived in for more than five years when we first moved to Costa Rica. It is still unknown whether this particular gold mine closed because all of the value had been sucked from it already, like the last delicious straw slurp of a golden pineapple smoothie, or if rather the main vein had never been found and the mission was temporarily aborted… No matter how you slice it though, Costa Rica can legitimately be called a Rich Coast for many qualities other than Gold. Let’s stick with precious metals and stones for a moment. El Empalme, the neighborhood in San Ramón de Alajuela where our magical ocean-view mountain home lies, is Chock Full O’ Tropical Bling. The Hills Are Alive with The Sound of Music (singing birds) as well alive with the sights of shining, sparkling objects 💎. When I’d hike with my adventurous daughter and our pack of loyal canines, especially after a very hard rainfall, we would literally pluck chunks of Quartz Crystals out of the mountainside. My pockets were often stuffed to the point of bursting at the seams after one of our “Crystal Walks”, and I’d have to start overlooking smaller scores to save room for the clearest, most colorful finds- like a fisherman throwing back the smallest catches. I’ve always had pretty amazing powers of observation and an uncanny ability to find valuables that are Floating Around the Universe, which then cross my path, and are essentially Up For Grabs. This skill set has undoubtedly passed through into my seven-year-old daughter’s eyes and mind through shared DNA, because she has proven to be quite the archaeological phenom (in addition to countless other blessings and gifts). Violetta is tireless, determined, passionate, and is a natural born explorer. With Our Four Eagle Eyes On Task, very little “Slips Past The Goalie”. My daughter has always been energetically drawn towards special stones, shiny gems, skulls & bones, fossils, etc. and the fevered hunt of discovery in finding them. I’ll be the first to admit that I made a mistake by unleashing the “Jurassic Park” film series (filmed in Costa Rica, by the way) on V waaaaaaay too soon, but she had literally begged me to watch it with her. She loves dinosaurs so much that I made a foolhardy, albeit well intentioned, leap from the cozy comforts and the slow roll of “Barney” and “The Land Before Time” to the intensely terrifying and convincingly REAL gore and guts splattered all of over our living-room by the likes of T-Rex and Velociraptors… Violetta was perhaps two and a half years old… Live and learn every day, folks! These days my daughter is well past her nightmares of Sharp-Tooth In The Cinematic Flesh (We recently went to the movie theater to watch the latest installment of “Jurassic World” together, and V is altogether unfazed) and she’s a truly solid exploration companion. Think Dora meets Indiana Jones meets Tomb Raider. She’s a tough little nugget and we would dig up droves of these precious, magical stones on an almost daily basis. From a metaphysical perspective, the quartz crystal embodies all five of nature’s elements: Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Aether. Crystals grow deep in the ground yet allow light to pass through. Heat and liquid shape and harden these stones into brilliant crystalline constellations over the years, and many believe that these powerful gemstones are ideal for healing, the grounding and refreshment of energies and chakras, the enjoyment of lucid dreams, meditation, and the enhancement of psychic abilities and experiences associated with the Opening Of The Third Eye. My wife is a yoga instructor, so I’m privvy to the Third Eye concept, but for those of you who may not be, here’s my estimation of it: My definition of the “Third Eye” is that it’s the source of wisdom and potential energy which each person has, and the idea is that this geyser of human potential and capacity for viewing the world with maximum benevolence is centralized behind the forehead. The Third Eye can be tapped or opened through many methods, although deep meditation and a consistent flow of positive energy seem to light a blazing path to this type of enlightenment. Perhaps by the time we’re through, Violetta and I will have so many of these magical crystals that we’ll be using six eyes instead of four 😉 Another priceless benefit derived from these long hikes in the hills is the vast amount of high quality fresh air we breathe in, courtesy of Mother Nature and the power of ancient trees. In Costa Rica, the protection of primary rainforests is taken very seriously. Approximatelty 25% of the country’s land has been set aside as nationally protected nature reserves, national parks, and designated safe zones. The rich oxygen produced by these rainforests and ancient trees is passed on and paid forward to all inhabitants of Costa Rica. Another gift from Mother Nature to Costa Rica is the steaming, bubbly embrace of thermal springs and the detoxifying qualities derived from volcanic mud baths. The thermal springs are all-natural, mineral-rich, and infinitely relaxing. Calgon couldn’t take me away into bliss nearly as deeply as these clear liquid lava pools do. Truly remarkable the affect a soak at one of these amazing Hot Spots has on the human body. They steam stress and tension out and up towards the heavens. Bathing in volcanic mud is a messier endeavor, but volcanic clay is known to suck impurities out of human skin and to tighten pores over time, which makes it more difficult for toxins to enter. Volcanoes are fairly abundant here in paradise, so your “au natural” spa treatment is right around any one of several winding mountain roads. Last but certainly not least, the riches bestowed on us from The Ocean, The Sand, and The Sun are of paramount importance. Beach sand is warm and walking on it barefoot drains the positive ions out of your body through the feet, while absorbing beneficial negative ions into the body. This phenomenon is called “Earthing”. A person is truly “grounding out” the electrical charges that have built up their body when they “Earth”. The ocean needs no introduction, but the salt water cleanses and heals the body while you swim away your stress and leave your worries behind. The Sun provides human beings with a daily cache of Vitamin D, which is essential for the enjoyment of optimal moods and overall happiness. Seasonal Affective Disorder is REAL, you better believe that. Gray skies and a lack of sunshine have been associated with higher rates of depression, and that should come as no surprise. I lived in Buffalo, N.Y. for over fourteen years before moving down to Costa Rica full-time, and I can testify to the difference I felt from the moment we stepped off the airplane at SJO. Don’t get me wrong- I Love New York and Buffalo is very special to me, but being encased in gray skies for most of the year is a recipe for tough sledding for many humans… Sledding leads me to snow, and now I’m sliding away from my point in an avalanche of memories formed from ice and winter madness… The Sun is Our Friend. In Costa Rica, we have the Good Fortune of being able to spend a lot of time with our Blazing Buddy. In Buffalo, he was the equivalent of that cousin you love but only get to see during Summer Vacation. Vitamin D is on tap here like an IV Drip Of Golden Rays Into Your Soul. Columbus was correct in identifying Costa Rica as a rich coast. Riches are determined by the quality of one’s life, not by the digits displayed in one’s bank account.
Choppy, sloppy, “That’s quite a drop…See?”. Beat up, winding, grinding, bumpy, lumpy, dusty, dirty. “Third World”, uncivilized, raw, uncomfortable. Unbelievable, imperceivable, 4-wheel drive recommended, unmarked cul de sac dead ended. Unlit patches of gravel, unfit roads for travel. Unsafe, unpaved, half-baked, dozer scathed. Old world, lastrie swirled, pebble strewn, paths of doom. I have heard all of theses words and expressions from potential buyers as they attempt to describe their perspective on the road conditions, particularly in Costa Rica’s rural neighborhoods. It sticks to the walls of their mind like a dense booger. One of the Sharpest Thorns stabbing forth from The Pura Vida Rose of Purchasing A Piece of Property In Paradise, is this strange fear we sometimes associate with the apparent condition of the streets. What’s the big deal? If you’re searching for a really special, secluded spot which is located “off the beaten path”… Then you will have to Take The Roads Less Traveled. This is the nature of the beast if you crave a country home teeming with nature and gorgeous views. Heck, you might even be pretty close to town in the bargain. You’re still going to have to deal with these potentially frustrating roads, more often than not. I say “potentially frustrating” because it all truly depends on each individual’s perspective and how the information is processed. A person can choose to accept Road Reality in Greater Costa Rica as a trade-off for living in such a gorgeous, old school hideaway. Typical farming neighborhoods which originally only used tractors and bulldozers to go up and down these rugged roads. More often than not, these rural pathways lead to magical worlds which elicit awe and amazement in the Eyes Of The Beholder. Gem-laden hillsides glimmering in rays of all-important sunshine. Seasonal Affective Disorder dissipates under the golden sun and is whisked away on a fresh breeze. Native birds sing a song of victory and freedom, a return to times of old when Nature Dictates Action rather than the man-made time parameters and virtual calendars which we as human beings are forever inflicting and imposing on ourselves. Somewhere in the jungle, a baby sloth yawns awake in his mama’s furry, gray arms. The Proud Mother Slowly Smiles a Grateful Grin which Radiates Pura Vida into the warm sphere of pulsating life which surrounds her. A wind gust whips by, prompting a powerful reed concierto. Leaves ruffle and palms flap on Mother Nature’s Breath, carrying Anecdotes of Old on Spirit Wind. Dreams drift from forest to valley, touching all along the wide spiraling path to peace. Clockwise is the Direction of The Earth’s Rotation, And We All Spin Right Along With It. Get In Sync. Adjust Your Pulse to Make Rhythym & Harmony With The Vibration Of The Earth. Two hearts beat as One. Breathe In Purity, Breathe Out Gratitude. Have you found the Pot O’ Gold at End Of The Rainbow? Let’s Take A Walk On The Wild Side. Ramble down the Rocky Road To Paradise with me and Sing The Song of Aquarius. Let The Sun Shine In.
What is The Jesus Tree? If you Google this topic, you’ll find amazing photos taken for National Geographic, Pinterest, and Flickr, but it’s unlikely that you’ll discover any other information about this remarkable tree. According to local lore, El Arbolito Solitario might be approximately two hundred years old and the miracle is that she has lived that entire time standing within the tidal wash of The Pacific Ocean. The Jesus Tree lives in salt water… The coastal trail that takes you from Tambor Beach to El Arbolito is magnificent in it’s own right. From the “muelle” (dock) in Tambor, the beautiful nature trek to The Jesus Tree takes less than an hour at a moderate pace. First you wind down a craggy dirt road and through a salt-blown neighborhood of fisherman and artisans, living close to the sea in tiny makeshift homes that pepper the coast. Cocks crow, street dogs scratch and yawn, and locals laze on their front porches enjoying the cool breeze and a cerveza or cafecito while waving at people passing through to make the pilgrimage to El Arbolito. The smiling brown faces you encounter along the way provide an intimate glimpse into the warm simplicity of this alluring culture. As the rocks and ridges become more prominent, the barrio fades into the rearview mirror and rough civilization gives way to large ancient trees, thick roots clinging to cliffs and leaning over the trail dangling families of monkeys like tropical jewelry or furry Christmas ornaments. Flowers jut out in bursts of color and the spectrum of exotic birds squawking overhead is truly impressive, all color and feathers and song. These jungle gems flavor the journey as you walk in complete peace, hand in hand with Mother Nature. The Jesus Tree awaits.
When asked about the official name of this magical tree, local Juan Carlos Cruz, birder, volleyballer, and manager of the regal jungle resort Tambor Tropical stated: “The tree has two names. Costa Rican Tamboreños call it “Arbolito Solitario”. “Solitary Little Tree”. Faithful to our custom of giving the termination “ito” (little) to everything that is dear to us. The curiosity about this tree is not only that it grew in such harsh conditions, but the fact that there are no other trees by it. Expat Tamboreños generally call it The Jesus Tree, because on high tide it gets totally surrounded by water, giving the impression to be “walking” on water like Jesus did.” That is one perspective regarding the origin of the Jesus Tree moniker- the holy image the tree appears to conjure when the tide is high. It’s also possible that this nickname emerged due to the fact that the tree has survived so long on it’s own in a salt water home, thereby making it a bit of a miracle. Some folks even claim that The Jesus Tree performs miracles for visitors when they ask at the right time, granting chlorophyll wishes and sunshine kisses while answering prayers on the sea breeze. Juanca Cruz further observes, ” Although this is not considered a place of worship, it definitely shows in a good way how locals appreciate and respect nature. With that being said, a few misguided romantic juveniles have thought that it was a good idea to make markings with their names on the trees bark.” Perhaps these lost souls were attempting to commune with the power of the tree. Our hope is that future visitors will have a high level of respect when encountering our living landmark. El Arbolito cannot be branded for ownership by a few star-crossed lovers. She is there for all of us to enjoy for as long as the miracle lasts. Some senior members of the Tambor community attest to the fact that the tree is at least eighty years old, and it’s generally accepted that it may very well be close to two hundred years old. A local biologist, Ruth Rodriguez, believes that The Jesus Tree is a “Red Mangrove” (Rhizophora Mangle) and that is why it has survived this long. Here is a link to more information about this remarkable species of plant: http://www.mangrove.at/rhizophora-mangle_red-mangrove.html
The next time you find yourself at Tambor Beach, put on your bathing suit and fill a backpack with water, fresh fruit, a good book, and some sunblock. Bring your camera and a pair of binoculars. Hit the trail, breathe in the fresh sea air, bask in the warmth of the sun, and swim in the calm waters underneath the mysterious gaze of The Jesus Tree.
Twilight Stroll On The Beach
The River Mouth Speaks Volumes
A Twinkling Peace Falls Over Tambor
As The Fishing Village Winds Down
To An Ocean Blue Heartbeat. Silence.