I Am Addicted to Ceviche and Costa Rica

photo 2 copy 4Here I am, at 0630, on the balcony deck of our suite, De la Luna, nestled among the plant and animal life of Villa Tortuga in the beautiful sector of Guiones in Nosara, Costa Rica. I was awakened by the sounds of the landscape caretaker gently raking the leaves from our poolside tropical paradise. Melodic birds now welcome me and I hear monkeys in the distant surrounding jungle. Otherwise, I am alone with my thoughts and senses of this endearing place.

“No shirt, no shoes…..Nosara,” the get-away experience of a lifetime when you comprehend that true value often means less is more, when your surroundings are primarily in the form of pure natural habitat, when the locals happily “make do” with what they have at hand, and recycle EVERYTHING. I have graciously embraced their example.

Our son and his new wife-and a wonderful, lovely, gracious new daughter for us, wisely chose this soul-soothing place in her birth country to become as one spirit, husband and wife, on December 7, 2013, at La Luna, with a Sunset Barefoot Wedding on the beach, surrounded by family and friends. I am not biased when I share with you that every couple desiring to tie the knot should consider a heart and soul celebration like this one! Rose petals gently hugging the sand guided the bride to her groom, waiting for his lady. The sun would set soon, as if on cue just for this one moment in time, with the ocean as the canvass and the ebb and flow of the waves, the music of the night. Poems they had written to each other over the past few years were recited by their lifelong friends. Beautifully written self-authored vows were exchanged while the emotions of family and friends peaked as the sights and sounds of the couple’s officially pronounced love evolved before us. I envision that they will renew their vows here so that we may come back someday, with no excuses born through thoughts of why we could not return.

Although we are challenged with a slight language barrier, we have been embraced by the local people and made to feel comfortable in an environment that encourages us to learn the language and more about the Central American culture. The people are proud, happy, accepting, friendly, and helpful. We feel welcomed.

Ceviche!

I am addicted to this wonderful dance on my taste bud palette! The locals tell me that there are varying recipes of this unique and delectable dish, so I have requested it either as an appetizer “shot” or an entree at every meal except breakfast. Every version has been tasty, but the best dance by far was prepared in the suite kitchen of Casa Tortuga, just a Costa Rican coconut throw from my balcony, by a friend of the bride’s family. Aha! She is from Peru, where the dish originated. I have been to Ceviche heaven. The preparation of firm white fish such as Tilapia, marinated overnight in lime juice, garlic, red onion, and fresh cilantro, will be high on my “to do” list when I return to Amelia Island, Florida, my homeland paradise. Perhaps “Ceviche Amelia” will become a new menu selection that even the island’s namesake, Amelia, the daughter of King George II, surely could not have resisted!

The Shores in Costa RICABut after the first 2 days of enjoying consistently happy bellies, we realized that there were non-edible adventures yet to be discovered. The beach. Surfers from all over the world and all walks of life know and love this place of perfect waves, continually welling, rising, and flowing ashore, then dissipating into the wide sand berth. It is a beautiful scene, a picture framed by mountains that lazily rise above Passion flowers, Hibiscus trees, sand, driftwood, and coconut remnants: an open invitation to a special place unspoiled by corporate landmarks, private estates, vending machines, strewn trash, and vehicles. A sanctuary, comforting, like the sight of a hungry baby bird upon the return of its mother to the nest.

The mountains. The song lyrics, “over the river and through the woods” came to my mind as four of us traveled single file on ATV’s. We all gave close attention to the terrain-and our guide-wIth ONE OF US  EXHIBITING WHITE KNUCKLE SYNDROME part of the way. But once I remembered to BREATHE, I convinced myself that this excursion was not a parachute jump after all. I could do this! At the beginning of our journey we traversed modestly paved roads, some laced with fallen coconuts, and slowly migrated to unpaved, rough, rocky roads, narrow dirt trails and NARROW HANGING BRIDGES met by shallow rock-filled streams that gently flowed intermittently between pastureland and jungle. Costa Rican “stop signs” in this mountain range existed in the form of domestic dogs, free range herds of cattle, sheep, chickens, ducks, horses, and cowboys on horses. After 2 hours of exploration and many memorable moment notches in our belts, we were delighted to see below us a breathtaking view of the entire region of Nosara.

The Wedding, Teak Wood, Gilded Iguanas, Black Monkeys, Red Squirrels, Humming Birds, Butterflies, Tica Massage, Surf Boards, Turbo Golf Carts, Imperial Beer, Patron Tequila, Guacamole, Lizano Salsa, Los Cabecares Sikewa Coffee, Ceviche! and the SWPMCN (Special Wedding Party Macaw Communication Network) are the things that will forevermore bring to mind fond memories of being here…this majestic place. Costa Rica!

Nancy Shores