Thursday, January 5, 2012

Our Costa Rica Gift Of Happiness: Day 2, El Silencio Lodge And Spa

Barbara: Deb mentioned in this morning’s comment that there was a small warm fuzzy surprise in our beds last night—Phil literally jumped out of the bed when he felt first a tail-like protuberance, followed by a warm, gelatinous mass.

Colin: This had nothing to do with my basket—let me just get that out of the way.

Phil: I’ve seen Colin’s basket—and gelatinous is one way to describe it.

Barbara: Okay, boys, let me finish: the “mass” was none other than a delightfully warm squishy hot water bottle encased in a soft felt blanket which warmed the bed and to which my feet stayed glued the entire night (not because it was cold in the room, but because it was sooooo cozy). The rooms at El Silencio are perfect. There are 16 separate cottages, outfitted with the most comfortable white-sheeted beds and huuuuuge bathrooms and outdoor hot tubs. You feel as if you are alone in the rain forest (but in a safe, sophisticated, no-want-of-a-luxury way.) Jo, in reference to your concern about heat, the rain forest could be your place. It is relatively cool here in the north. Probably low 70sF, low 20sC—and yes, it does rain. But it is more like a mist, and you don’t feel cool if you are hiking the woods for hours as we did this morning (or ensconced in front of the main room fire, wrapped in blankets.)

Deb: Today’s spectacle came in the form of a three-hour hike in the rain/cloud forest with our eco-concierge Andrey. It was in a word, spectacular! Off we went covered in layers of warmth and plastic, walking sticks in hand, to wind our way into this magical forest. We encountered three, count em’ three, gorgeous waterfalls. I am proud to say that my DNA is forever ensconced in this magical place in the form of my magical urine, which I generously deposited not once, but three times during our sojourn. I am sure in the very near future you will hear tell of miraculous growth in the rainforests due to an undetected and unexplained presence there.

Phil: After viewing the trout pond, one particularly feisty one ended up on my lunch plate. Delicious. I want to say something about the “Hot Lips” flower we saw on the trail. What can I say??? What ... can … I … say…???

Colin: This has been … wet. But my shoes were dry. Deb bent my room key. I had to go up and down the stairs (between the room and the main lodge). The waterfalls were spectacular. The food was exquisite. The people are lovely. Good senses of humour, very informative, they seem to know everything about everything. If we could just ditch the two broads, we’d have a great time. (I also marked my territory with an eco-friendly Sharpie.)

Barbara: I will say this: I didn’t want to pack heavy, dirty boots for trail walking, but I guess I had no idea there would be so much rain in the rainforest (…idjit…). So I packed rubber-soled Mary-Janes—and you know what? They were fine, given that the trails, while wild, were groomed and not really muddy. Couldn’t believe that my feet stayed warm and dry the whole time.

Deb: Although we did not see any scurrying animals, we did see and hear plenty of colourful birds including the yellow-thigh finch, common bush tanager, green hermit hummingbird, grey-breasted wren, and the clay-coloured robin, which is the national bird of Costa Rica, seen everywhere in the country from rainforests to cities. And where you might ask are my bino's? On the back windowsill at home! grrrr arggghhh!

Barbara: I’m intrigued with the water system they have here. Water in Costa Rica is generally safe and clean, but El Silencio has an ingenious eco-friendly approach to water, piping it in from a nearby spring, filtering it for sediment, and purifying with ultra violet light. No chlorine!!! You can safely drink ALL the water here—and they use the same purified water in the hot tubs. No chlorine!!! And then all the used water is cleaned and recycled. I bow to their eco-savvy ways here. El Silencio is owned by a Costa Rican family who I have it on good authority is a wonderful family, very committed to environmental responsibility and supporting the local communities. They grow their own organic vegetables for 40% of their needs and buy the other 60% from the local farmers. Their staff of 25 comes from a nearby town of 200. No guilty pleasure here!

Deb: Now we’re going to hit the hot tubs and sit down for another meal—after all, it’s been a couple of hours since we’ve eaten. Pura vida!

Hot Lips flower

La Promesa Waterfall

We were offered the wonderful chance to plant a Dama tree (or Lady tree) on the property.



    You are making me so jealous!! Costa Rica looks just spectacular! The bit about the basket was hilarious! :D

    Thanks to all for keeping us posted; the pictures are wonderful!

  2. Awww how i wish i could see what you all,are seeing. Those pics of thw flowers were so amazing and the waterfalls were so beautiful. I bet they were even more amazing in person. Glad you all are having a great time. Be safe.. And please keep those pics coming . We love them

  3. low 70'S?????!!!! um...jealous.

    Oh my goodness gracious! That waterfall is so gorgeous. It reminds me so of Scotland when I was in the Highlands.

    I think I might cry.

  4. I have been dying to get back on here and compliment you guys! I just now got my computer fixed and running again. So I must say YAY to the fact that y’all arrived safely. And also thanks for sharing your trip with us. I really feel like I am on this trip too. And as with all other bloggers here I have been checking back anywhere I could get an internet connection as often as I could on my tiny IPod.
    Also I have to say it’s nice to have all four of you blogging for us.
    Costa Rica looks beautiful. Enjoy your vacation!!

  5. This makes me want to go now. You all look so happy and carefree. And the forest is amazing. I went to Malaysia and hiked in the rainforest, got lost for 6 hours and thought I was going to die. Needless to say the guy I went with was dumped shortly after. It was suppose to be a guideless walk for an hour. Clearly we missed that route. i had leaches in my shoes and on my legs. Glad yours went better.

  6. So glad you're having a good time! El Silencio is one of my favorite places in the world. I love the rooms, the food, the grounds, the stream... the spa! Do they still deliver hot chocolate to your room, and turn on your fireplace as part of the turndown service? Have a great rest of your stay!

    Arenal is next, right? What are you plans there? If you have time, Venado Caverns are definitely worth checking out! Or if you're feeling adventurous, try waterfall rappelling!

  7. First things first! Deb, how could you plant a lovely Dama tree in a rain forest wearing light coloured pants AND NOT GET THEM DIRTY?!!! I am Utterly Jealous of that feat (this, coming from the girl who accessorizes her clothes with the food she eats...).

    Colin & Phil - I'm sure you could discuss at length the gelatenous state of each other's baskets, but that may be a bit ... um ... uh ... it may be too much information than I'm prepared to handle after a long day of work...

    Barbara - Using the sediment is one way of filtering water to make it potable - provided that the "filter" doesn't becomed too clogged with sediment. However (or from what I've learned in note-taking for a plumber's apprentice), it doesn't filter out all the bacteria that may be present.

    Also, I would suspect the time of year would also affect the temperature/humidex right now. It's been almost 6 years (amazing how time flies) when I went to India to visit my inlaws who were teaching at the Canadian International School in Bangalore. My husband, Odin and I decided that we'd go to check out Pondicherry (one of the hardest hit areas of the 2004 tsunami), and stayed by the coast. It was +40 C, and with a humidex, it was at least +42 C. You walk out, and got hit with this wall of humidity. Our hotel room was air conditioned, the restaurant was air conditioned, and there was an internet cafe between the two which wasn't. We didn't make it down to Pondicherry, but the boys got to go to the Alligator Bank, and then got to check out some new archeological sites uncovered by the tsunami.

    I'm a prairie girl through and through - give me highs in the teens, and I'm the happiest. :) But, I'm the odd duck...

  8. Oooo, Erin! Waterfall rappelling? I'm in!!! PLEASE!!! OOoooooo, that sounds so fun!

    I'll comment more later tonight. Actually, there's something I've been writing in my head all afternoon. But, kiddo has 4 (!!!) subjects of homework tonight. He's eating supper right now, but his worst (math!) is yet to come. Ugh.

    When y'all talked about hiking for 3 hours today, my first thought was about waaaaaaaaaay back on the blog when Deb talked about Colin having surgery to get his knee fixed. And, I thought, "How great did that work out?!?! It's like God knew this trip was a merry treat planned for down the timeline and that Colin should have his knee fixed, pain free, and fully ambulatory in time!" Colin got a cosmic cuddle!

    I've been googling Costa Rican recipes. YUM.

    To be honest, I was disappointed that the warm, furry bedtime surprise was just a flannel-wrapped hot water bottle. Although I knew it was completely impractical and totally unlikely, I'd been secretly hoping that your rooms came with pets, that you got to sleep with monkeys or sloths or something. Like taking a bookstore having a resident cat to new extremes. Yeah, I know, that was fruitloops.

    Still, what y'all got was better than the horse's head scene in The Godfather.

  9. OK, I can't fight it anymore. I have to say something. Am I the only one thinking, "Ohmigosh, I hope they at least swished their hands around in a stream or something? I bet they didn't have little bottles of GermX in their pouches. Maybe packets of wetwipes? What if they? What if they? What if they peed without washing their hands!!! NOOOOOOOO!!!"

    I understand answering the call of nature out in nature. Been there, done that. I'm fine with camping and all. But, omigosh, the hands washing thing is mandatory for me. Yes, I'm the nut out in the woods who still insists on pausing to wash my hands.

    When I read the magical fluids portion of the post, oy!, did I get twitchy! *shudders*

  10. Oh, ladies, looks like another good day! Colin and Phil, you naughty boys, talking about baskets and such!

    Barb, I have to say I love the earrings you were wearing in one of those pics and Deb, is that Mickey Mouse on the back of your jacket?
    The pics of the hot lips flower and waterfalls are absolutely lovely! Wish I was there with you all!

    I have to say it again, I love the fact that all four of you are posting. It's great to hear all of your "voices" together!

    Have a lovely night!

  11. So the pictures and tomfoolery continue. (Is tom even enjoying the trip?) It is more fun vacationing with a group of friends. Someone's always available with a camera. (Hi Phil! C'mon... Hot Lips... M*A*S*H didn't immediately come to mind? Yeah, see this is evidence I'm not on a similar vacation. Carry on.)

    Uh...gelatinous baskets... nah, gonna leave that one be...

    Seeing the trip through photos and reading about your experiences is a great way to participate in the vacation. What I'm adding myself is the soundtrack. The rumble of the waterfalls. The sounds Deb mentioned of the birds. The rain/water dripping on the leaves. The particular attention paid to anything besides the running of other people's water. (Hi kids!)

    Major kudos to the hotel for doing more than talk the talk about the environment. They really do love their country. I'm proud of them, and they deserve to be proud of themselves.

    (PS So that's what Brad would look like as a 5'5 hispanic male. Always wondered...)

  12. Steph I am glad you are loving the four voices. WE are having fun with it. And yeah it's Mickey m' main man! We were in Disneyworld during a hurricane and they gave us those slickers which have come in very handy here in the rainforest. And Dawn you soooooooo nailed it regards Brad. I totally said that today and everyone could see it too!

  13. I logged on to type out something I've been thinking strongly since afternoon. A very serious and sincere something. But, I'm sleepy. Too sleepy to type out something heavy duty and have it coming out making any semblance of senes. So,instead, I'll leave y'all with this:

    Not just gelatinous. Not just a basket. A gelatinous "Happiness Basket."

    Perhaps the world would be a safer place if my access to Google were restricted when I am this loopy tired, hmmmm?

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. OH MY i am just jealous of you guys...what was really awesome except for all the bird watching and spectacular environment..and amazing people...i guess was the CHLORINE FREE WATER...!!!....:P This place sounds like the eco friendliest place you could great !!! The waterfalls...I loved and the La Promesa Waterfall is Magnificent !!!!
    You gals are looking great .....btw DEB your hair looks adorable in the first picture....and i loved the mickey mouse slickers :D
    Barb You know...i just love you.....sucha cute smile you have !!!!!!
    Phil and Colin look cute in the raincoats :D.....
    and "GELATINOUS BASKET" guys are so funny....all i can say is I am LMAO here !!!!
    Love you guys....!!!

  17. Deb -

    Seems odd to do this on blog, but I don't know if you are checking email.

    CanadaPost is required to hold onto that box for 2 weeks. So, it should still be waiting for you at your post office when you get back. *whew!*

  18. Wow it is beautiful Deb Happy you could make this trip but envious Peggy

  19. Rigel you sound cutely punchy. Hope you had a nice sleep. As for the handwashing, my darling girl, I don't know about you but peeing in a forest requires no touchie!!! No need to wipe. get the picture? LOL.
    Shalaka it is the most eco-friendly place I have ever been to. Rigel I do check my email but it is nice to know that this is the case. Our housesitter would not be able to do it as they would not release it to him without proper I.D. So I will deal with that asap after getting home which is the 11th so plenty of time!

  20. My favorite picture is the one of Deb crouching down to pee. Whats that... she's planting something... Oh I'm sorry. Great pics. Have a great time in Costa Rica guys.
    Much love,
    Dave and Nancy

  21. amazing...looks like paradise. My daughter was in costa rica last year caring for endangered SLOTHS (speaking of gelatinous masses). Have the best time. CHEERS!

  22. I love waterfalls (or water in general - and heeey, I've been to the Niagara Falls once)!

    And it's amazing that they try to take care of the environment.

    And it's so cute that you could plant a tree. =)

  23. LOL @ Dave...glad I wasn't the ONLY one who thought that about Deb.. :D
    Were those habanero peppers? Is it noisy at night with jungle sounds? What do you mean no touchie? No wipey? I don't get it, but no need to paint THAT picture for me.
    Colin & Phil look like they are afraid to get their hair wet. lol
    I was glad to see other visitors there at a nearby table...gave me relief knowing that you probably were NOT going to be eaten by cannibals and have your heads shrunken. (I do need to read up more about CR I guess).
    Hmmm, I'd still be concerned about the no chlorine in the hot tub. The chlorine kills germies that are on the people in the hot tub so even if the water is filtered the germies are in there until it goes through the filter.
    No sloths yet (Colin & Phil don't count. ha)?
    Hugs & Hand sanitizer,

  24. Barb, every time I see a photo of you now I think of the chin forward trick. lol You've ruined me. .. and I love it. :)

  25. Thank you for this. I think it's informative for people. Master Spa Eco Pur Filter.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.