Friday, January 13, 2012

Our Costa Rica Gift Of Happiness: Open Letter To Costa Rica And Happy Videos

Deb and Barbara: As a sign-off to this blogging week and to our 8-day travel diary of our trip to Costa Rica, we want to take this chance to just say a few more words.

We said it many times during our visit, but we were honestly amazed at just how much effort was being put toward eco-sustainability by Costa Rica in general and the hotels we stayed at in particular: Arenal Springs Resort earning its 4-leaf status and El Silencio Lodge and Spa and The Harmony Hotel earning their 5-leaves. Costa Rica obviously prides itself on these efforts—and the efforts pay off in the abundant wildlife, epic scenery, and pristine beaches that adorn your magnificent country.

However—and this is a big however—please, please keep it up! It could be very easy to embrace eco-tourism as an economic boon, but then cater to the whims of the modern age by mowing down your beauty to make way for roads, hotels, condos, and gallerias. Please resist this common failing.

Because it is your wild and diverse eco-systems alongside your environmental triumphs that make your country so very appealing and unique to the very tourists you want to attract.

Believe us, we know it is and will be hard. We are pleading with our current Canadian government to understand and embrace this forward-thinking philosophy, but instead they try to convince us that tar sands are good and eco-consciousness is baaaaaad. We’re not good with absolutes, but we will say it here: they are wrong. And if they don’t realize that soon, they/we will keep destroying this fragile balance in our own beautiful and largely wild country.    

For Costa Rica, we hope endless dairy farms won’t replace your forest and jungle, that more medical problems will be solved by the healing secrets in your flora, that you will continue to enlighten and lead the world, that you will show us how it’s done. And continue to show us that it CAN be done.

On our trip, we met a journalist who told us that for new development in Costa Rica, the government often doesn’t spend the extra money necessary to insulate the overhead wires, which can then kill wildlife as a result. If your electrical wires are electrocuting the monkeys and sloths so characteristic of your wilds, then we hope you will make the short-term investment necessary to coat those wires that will protect those creatures and your long-term ecological growth (just like your efforts that saved the turtles). One of the ironic moments on our trip was watching the howler monkeys cavort in the trees just above a sign announcing a condo development. Of course, people need places to live and stay, but so do the native animals—and so far you seem to be serving both needs quite well. Don’t forget, you won’t need all those condos and hotels if you mess too much with the unique sites tourists come to see. And also, your people won’t be so happy (see the Happiness Index) if their pristine country is overrun (or run) by the superficial needs of outsiders.

We dearly hope you will continue to charm many many generations of indigenous, local, and international guests as you charmed us with your distinctive balance between nature and man. You humbled us already. We long to be humbled again and again and again by the courageous policies of your country and your heroic nature sentries. 

When tourists ask for “a view of the ocean”, what they really want in Costa Rica is to preserve “a view of the ocean”. A view of an ocean that is clean and pristine and untouched. That’s why we came. That’s why we will come back.

Yours very sincerely, Deb and Barbara

Videos!!!

This is from El Silencio Lodge and Spa where Andrey, the eco-concierge, took us on a tour of the grounds. We’re sampling organic herbs from their greenhouse garden.

This is from the 3-hour hike through the rainforest around El Silencio. Andrey showed us 3 waterfalls—this one being the largest: La Promesa Falls.

This is us during our visit with the Maleku tribe. We are discussing language with José, our gracious host.

Turtle Turtle

You can watch as many of these videos (or as few) as you like. The first 3 videos are short snippets (between 1 and 2.5 min long) of the turtles emerging from their sandy nest and trekking down to the sea. Notice how they need to rest along the way!

The last of these videos is the full journey from nest to sea and runs a cool 10+min. Reader’s choice.


You can still enter for your own Costa Rica Gift of Happiness here!


And a late PS: Please feel free to ask us any questions you might have about our experience. Now we might actually have some time to answer!

62 comments:

  1. Hola “chicas” , Glenda A. from Costa Rica, Aah, hate to see you sign-off to your 8-day travel diary of your trip to Costa Rica. I will miss it all. I came in late but have been reviewing the trip. It was such a pleasure to read about your happy experiences in CR and view your photos and videos. Your smiles and laughter were contagious and brightened my days. You seemed to transport the reader into your world, at least in my case, and all worries or outside distractions disappeared, if only briefly. I am sure I can speak for other Costa Ricans in saying that it was a pleasure to have all of you here. Your open letter to Costa Rica was a nice touch. Maybe someday we will meet on your return trip. For now, Gracias y que Dios le acompañe siempre! Oh goodness, horrors, a huge possum, “Zorro” is crawling across my office window from my inside garden. My husband, caveman, is out there right now with a flashlight. Wonder what he plans to do? I want no part, so I will sign off and head for another room. Oh, such is life in the tropics! THANKS, SO MUCH…Enjoyed every single blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hola Tica!! Glenda, you've been such a charming addition to our romp here! You fit right in!! Thanks for the Zorro imagery. That does set the tropical stage very well. Thank YOU for sharing your own experiences here. xo

      Delete
  2. So precious! We were cheering on the little guy the whole time! :) Glad you all had a wonderful trip!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can watch these videos over and over and never get tired of it.

      Delete
  3. Gosh LOVED THE VIDEOS !!!!! (GREAT WORK PHIL :D).....The waterfall was so great.....We dont realize how beautiful this planet is....unless we get close to it ya know.....The waterfall was the best example I guess !!!...I loved the El Silencio video.... loved it more when Colin said "Oh so we can talk....so we are here smelling some herbs and spices.....and " Phil goes "tripping over steps..."...lol..And I am wearing headphones so when you guys yelled "CELERY"....my eardrums went right through my head !!!!! But i LOVED ALL OF THE VIDEOS..!!!! and TICO was so cute...I am watching the video right now....He reminds me of SQUIRT from Finding Nemo....And oh my god.....his tail ...and his tiny shadow...oh my god.... his little footprints.....lol I wrote it and then Deb said it in the video :D....God....its like watching a little kid learn how to walk....better its like watching ten little kids learn how to walk !!!!!...it was like a mind field of cuteness !!!!! I THINK YOU GUYS KILLED ME !!!!lol......can't wait for more.....OH MY GOD...I am tired of awhhhing I'll take a break now ....:P LOVE YOU GUYS xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i saw the message you left responding to my question yesterday shalaka . Basics of Film-making ,Animation and VFX... wow . are vfx video special effects ? film masking particularly sounds a very intetresting area of study .

      Delete
    2. yup vfx is visual effects.....!! Film making was not in detail....but we were learning a different film making i.e what we learned was mostly using the green screen and track points ...to create visual effects!! I am really into ART so i really like studying painting and sculpting ....so i think that is pretty interesting.......Animation is a very vast topic...its very deep and very interesting...:)

      Delete
    3. And Shalaka is unbelievably talented so I predict a great career. And she's about as cute as a baby turtle!! AWWWW.

      Delete
    4. Oh Barb....I think I am welling up.....Thats the sweetest thing anyone ever said to me...!!!..I am on the peak of happiness right now....the only thing that could make me happier...is COMING THERE IN TORONTO AND GIVING YOU A BIG BIG BIG HUG !!!!!!!!! (btw did I mention I wanted to move there after I'm done studying? It might take a couple of years...but what's life without ambitions huh ?)

      Delete
    5. HUGS to you too, my sweet! And Toronto (and/or Canada) would be honoured (and lucky) to have you.

      Delete
    6. PS.....HOW COOL IS THIS NEW REPLY TAB ????

      Delete
    7. LOVE the reply tab!!! Still wish the font was bigger though....

      Delete
    8. by the way you know you can enlarge your own text . if you have windows XP go to the top left of any page you will see the word view . if you click on it a menu will open click on zoom then zoom in . do it as many times as you need . before i did that the font size is a bit of a pain especially as with my dyslexia i need to carefully read what i type before i send it in otherwise who knows what people round here would think of my really bad typing !

      i see you are studying painting and sculpture amoung other things shalaka . do you have any examples online of you work . if you do i would love to see them . i admire people who are artistic as i do not possess talent in that direction . i love looking at pictures especially modern ones . i like to try and work out what they are about ( an usually fail !)
      i send you some good Irish luck for the rest of your exams ( even though i bet you don;t need it .)
      take care .

      Delete
    9. Oh Linda.....that is so sweet.....thanks..!!! Oh all you gals are amazing !!!! And Honestly Everybody is creative....Trust me if I can paint anyone can...!!! You just have to believe.... And everyone around here is so awesome !!! they would never say anything about your typing....BECAUSE ITS AMAZING...I think anything that anyone says or writes with all of their heart is always amazing!!!!!

      Ive got a Flickr account....Heres the link http://www.flickr.com/photos/72626631@N07/?savedsettings=6554906549#photo6554906549

      I dont have that practice that i could paint without a reference....But I am sure it will come with time....!!! I am so HAPPY...And excited !!!Lemme know if you like 'em and ....Feel free to send any suggestions about them...(THANKS TO BARB WHO ASKED ME IF I COULD SHARE THIS WITH EVERYONE HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE......LOVE YOU BARB !!!!)

      Delete
    10. PS...About figuring out the modern paintings....I dont think there is one meaning to any painting....I mean...Different paintings can mean different things to different people....I guess that is the beauty of any painting really...It depicts your way of perceiving Life !!!! Artists paint it keeping something in mind but....its our perspective that makes paintings unique.....!!

      Delete
    11. had a look at your Flickr account . way cool so it is . the paintings are beautiful . i love the one you did based on harry potter , although i have to confess i have not read any of the books of seen the films . i also have Flickr account for my photographs so i saved a couple of your painting to my favorite list. keep up the good work !

      Delete
    12. Omigosh, Shalaka!!! I can totally imagine one day opening an issue of Hi Fructose art magazine and see a spread of your work!!!

      Delete
    13. Hey Linda.....I must confess too...I havent read the books yet...coz well I love watching vfx movies...so i decided I would watch the movies and then read the books !!!!
      Awwwwh...........THANK YOU SO MUCH...So glad you liked the paintings !!! So sweet that you added them in your favourite list....You have no idea how wonderful I am feeling right now !!!! LOVE YOU SO MUCH !!!!!xo

      Hey Rigel...!!! So glad to finally talk to you....well We've been messing with Colin and Deb during the Costa Rica posts..indirectly...:P you would point out something and I would keep it going !! (especially I loved messing with Colin :D)..Loved the whole week :D.....
      And that is so sweet of you !!! Thanks so much.....Awwhhh....I hope it comes in the magazine too...I am so flattered you are hoping for that too....trust me when it does...I will remember you !!!!! Much Love !! xoxo

      Delete
  4. Loved the videos, and those little turtles and their long trip! You all looked like you were having so much fun. The landscapes and waterfall were gorgeous. Did you swim in the ocean? And how did you eat that big fish curled up on your plate? You will have great memories forever!! Thanks for sharing them with us! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phil, Colin and I all swam in the ocean. It's not Deb's thing. And turns out she's allergic to it!! We don't to what or why, but every time we walked the beach, her eyes would itch and her nose would pore. The fish: very carefully. Pulled the delicious meat from its bones right where it sat. Of course, it was a tad to much for me! Do you see how big it is???

      Delete
  5. CELERY!!! bahahahaha. I died laughing.

    My favorite were the turtle videos, for sure. What an incredible experience you all got to witness :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Celery! Yeah, us too. Felt quite humbled :)

      Delete
  6. I loved listening to your voices as you watched little Tito go on his adventure. He cast a big shadow. Hopefully, now he is blissfully swimming to his paradise in the ocean. I was wondering if the long walk to the ocean is part of their learning curve? Otherwise why couldn't one pick them up and help them into the ocean to safe their strength for the time they have to stay afloat and watch for predators. It is sad to think that so many don't make it. But then again it is the natural order of things. Maybe by protecting them on the sand they have a better chance of more clearly entering the water and upping their odds to make it. SO wonderful to witness. I hope Costa Rica (which is the new go to place) doesn't become like many other beach countries that destroy their landscape for the all mighty dollar. Great to travel along with you all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Madge, it's such a good question. They say that the turtles need to orient themselves by making the trek all the way from nest to sea in order to remember where they need to return when they are ready to breed. Protecting the first part of their journey has definitely helped their numbers enormously. And we have the same wish as you!

      Delete
    2. I thought that was the reason. I guess they can track how many come back next year to know how many survived.

      Delete
    3. One of the volunteers we worked with said that he and his family joined the annual turtle count (National Geographic coordinates it) -- and that's exactly when they they count them, when they come back to this same spot to breed. Of course, it takes 15 years for them to reach maturity.

      Delete
  7. I forgot to say I loved all the videos.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow, these are such amazing videos. Especially the turtles!!!Thanks for sharing so much with us here!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Awww...Videos! :D Love them. It's always better to really see someone and listen to them. =)

    Celery? That's not exactly a herb, is it? Or do they (one) use the leaves, too? I always give them to my bunnies, because they love them. :P

    Ahah, the Mickey Mouse was cute! =)
    Loved the waterfall.

    And OMG the turtles. Soooooo cute. Weren't you afraid to accidentally step on one of them?
    And why does this guy speak french? My brother's girlfriend once helped turtles in Greece. Must have been as amazing as your experience.

    How warm/cold was the ocean water?

    I hope that the whole world recognizes that we have to take care about our environment. I live near a nuclear power plant (scary), but, in Germany, they want to turn them off, soon. Right now they are building loads of sun collectors. Think that's a good way to start.

    Thanks again for the pics, the videos and the stories! =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great questions, Becki! Yes, they fed us the leaves of the celery (and use them too).

      Many of the volunteers came from all over (although most were Costa Ricans). I would imagine that your brother's girlfriend had a very similar experience. And yes -- we were terrified of stepping on them. You really can't move your feet if you go into the water.

      Water: very, very warm. Like spa warm. And I soooo agree with your hope for the world. Love the idea of sun collectors and so interested in this new solar power technology that they can apply to our roadways.

      xo

      Delete
    2. *dope slap* It never occurred to me that the water would be warm. Where the heck is my head? Certainly not used to any WARM ocean water, obviously. LOL

      Delete
    3. Dawn, me neither. ;) That's why I asked...When I go swimming, it's usually in the North Sea (about 700kms from my hometown), and there the water is hardly 20 degrees. Last year, I went there in October, and it was so warm (as if it were summer), and the water was like 14 degrees, and I jumped right into it. :P So I don't mind the coldness.

      Delete
  10. Loved every last bit of this trip videos, pics, commemts everything. The turtles were amazing. I love their tracks in the wet sand so adorable. I would be so nervous I'd step on one by accident you must have had to stay very aware of your surrondings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Should have watched the rest before posting when there were bunches of them, wow that's so spectacular. Love the smiley face seems to fit right in.

      Delete
    2. You can comment anytime you like, Erin :) But, yes, stepping on them and the fear thereof was verrrrrrry real!

      Delete
  11. It's here! It's here! Chat box is here! :)

    I love the color commentary, Deb, "Ground cam" and all! Those turtle prints are adorable! Credit to Colin for holding your bag and patiently watching the turtle races.

    Barb, I was counting the turtle's paces, too! "Fourteen fifteen sixteen" and "breeathe."

    Such a sweet, unique experience! I hope the US, as well, learns a thing or two about what we're doing to our environment. I live reasonably close to, and take yearly boat tours of, humpback whale breeding and feeding grounds in an area called Stellwagen Bank.

    (The sanctuary is an 84-square-mile (638-square-nautical-mile) marine protected area at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay. The sanctuary boundary is somewhat rectangular, stretching from three miles southeast of Cape Ann to three miles north of Cape Cod. The sanctuary is about 25 miles east of Boston, and lies totally within federal waters.)

    The government has GOT to keep an eye on what we're doing to our waters, our land, every aspect of our environment. We, and the world, are not paying nearly enough attention to the harm we are causing, and certainly not enough care to ensure these life-cycles continue... Turtle... whale... us.

    Your trip, and these videos, have allowed us to gain a new appreciation not just for another country, but for our own, as well.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is that what this is called -- chat box???? Anyway, I LOVE it.

      Great, great comments, Dawn. We do have a major responsibility. And I do think awareness is a big part of that. I would love to see the sanctuary in your area. Maybe that's another adventure...

      Thank YOU! xo

      Delete
    2. dawn that sounds amazing . the next time you go out there take your camera and when you come back start a flickr account where you can post your pictures .

      Delete
    3. It's absolutely a thrill to go whale-watching. Humpbacks like to play, and they love the attention from the boats. The tour leaders are guides who are actually doing research, taking a headcount, logging particular whales/species, etc. They take us out to make some money for the research (and for the boat company). They look for specific whales, who keep coming back year after year. "See that one with the white stripe down the fluke? That's Fred," or whatever the whale's name is. It's SO much fun! The season runs from about mid-April or May til September. Then the whales head south to FL/Caribbean area to breed and raise their calves for a year. Truly an amazing sight when you see a mom and calf feeding together. Barb, I imagine I get the same feeling watching this as you folks did watching the turtles.
      I've taken pics before. Will certainly again!

      Delete
    4. Oh, wow. Would soooo love to see this!! Putting it on my list. Want to see pics! And, yes, I was just saying to my dad that these animal miracles have a unique magic when you're experiencing them in real life -- so comparing our turtles and whales adventures is perfectly apt.

      Delete
    5. We can set up a whale day. :) A whale-watching trip lasts about 4 hours. That includes the close-to-an-hour-each-way trip to and from the "main" whale area, so it's a nice boat ride and a chance for some sun (or a soaking, depending on the ocean. I was SOAKED once. Brrr...) I should also add that the whales don't mind the boats; they don't actually LOVE them. :)

      Delete
  12. Comment box! I meant Comment box! Oops! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol! Thanks for clearing that up -- you saved me from a lifetime of embarrassment :)

      Delete
  13. due to various computer malfunctions i have started leaving a message here but never got chance to finish them 4 times today this is why this message goes under the heading better late then never :-)

    just want to say to Deb , Colin , Barbara and Phil thanks for metaphorically bringing us on holiday with you . your pictures , stories and videos are absolutely cool .

    barbara nothing worng with calling this section of the blog a chat box if you like . all of us here are chatting to each other !

    i hope Costa Rica remains as it is now . you both have made it sound like a magical place . money talks though ( as well we have seen here in Ireland ) . i hope it can stay magical for as long as possible .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, Linda, this is SUCH chat box! And we loved sharing our experience with you all. PS thanks for the tips re enlarging -- I just wish it was ALWAYS enlarged like it was before... My eyes are getting sloppy...

      Delete
    2. ypu're welcome for the enlarging tip . i know what you mean about the text always being big though . i should really wear my glasses when online !

      Delete
  14. Oh, I have been so busy with work I haven't had time to leave comments, but was able to read and see the pictures (albeit very quickly), and I am so happy that you all enjoyed your trip to Costa Rica. The pictures reflect just how happy you all were. Yes, the Deb sticking her tongue out was a good one, but the one that killed me for some reason, was the one of Deb laughing because she stepped into a pool thinking it was a path... it killed me just imagining it. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I hope I can keep up a little more with the blog. Now, of to see the videos :-D.

    P.S. Been a hispanic, I just about died laughing with the "Suave, tigre" thing ;-D

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ok, that last comment was done by me, Sheyla. Forgot to put my name, you know, things that happen...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sheyla, just about died laughing at your comments!! Thanks. And, yeah, the pool one is awesome too :) Deb is good at stepping in it... Suave, tigre.

      Delete
  16. Loved the videos! When I watched the first one, it froze at 18 seconds, which was Colin's face (shocked expression) rigth before tripping. Funny!

    What a wonderful and humbling experience it must have been watching those turtles!

    Thank you Barb, Phil, Deb, and Colin for taking us all with you via this blog.

    Time to get back to real life...huh...um...well...maybe I'll watch the videos ONE more time first! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great freeze moment, Steph!! As Deb said, we're having trouble getting back to real life too...

      Delete
  17. thanks i felt like i had been to Costa Rica with you guys, it looks like the most beautiful country and one to go on the Bucket List for me . thank you very much for letting us follow you around on your holidays

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Nicky. It truly belongs on everyone's bucket list.

      Delete
  18. Just this morning got the chance to read all the comments. So glad you guys loved the experience and the videos. Funny about holidays though. When they are wonderful, they really stick with you don't they? Still back there a little bit. Loverly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yup.....And i guess the more people you involve the bigger it gets !!!!

      Delete
  19. Love the videos thanks for sharing your,all's experience with us. I just melted when I seen the video of the.little turtles. Turtles are my faviorte animals.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Sharon (BRRRR!) ReineJanuary 15, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Thought the photos were spectacular but the videos are expotentionaly greater even.
    Glad you all had such a great experience,
    now find a away to deal w the Ontario winter!xo

    ReplyDelete

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