Thursday, March 28, 2013

On the Way, Part Two

We stayed at Vida Tropical near the San Jose airport on our first night in Costa Rica. We checked in, showered, and swayed in a hammock on the balcony to relax. We went to bed pretty early (travel was tiring), and planned to leisurely eat breakfast at 7-ish and make our way to the bus station to catch a 10 am bus to Palmar Norte. Our new friends, Lisa and Mark, would pick us up there and drive us to Osa Mountain Village.

We woke with our 7 am alarm and wandered slowly to breakfast. Which wasn't ready. BECAUSE, it was really 6:40 am. They don't acknowledge the time change here. (headsmack) We almost went back to bed, but the breeze was so nice, and the orange juice and coffee ready, that we stayed up.

I journaled, and Ali swung in the hammock, reading a Costa Rican guidebook. The hostel there keep rabbits as pets, and the birds wake you in the wee hours of the morning. (Sunrise here is 5:30 am.)


While waiting for breakfast, we were informed that we should really be at the bus station an hour or two before departure because of it being Easter Holiday Week. We hurried through a traditional Tico breakfast of rice, beans, and eggs, and got to the station via taxi. The taxi to the bus station (back in San Jose) was more expensive than the four hour bus ride to Palmar Norte! $30 for the taxi, and $23 for TWO bus tickets.

(Waiting for the bus at the Tracopa station in San Jose.)

Despite my ass hurting from sitting so many hours in two days (three, if you count the drive to Portland), and my feet swelling up, puffy in my flip-flops; on the bus ride to Palmar Norte, both Ali and I felt that even though we had just arrived in this country (and hadn't even reached our destination of Osa Mountain Village), we didn't want to leave. A week would not be enough.

Costa Rica already felt like home.

On the Way -- Part One

It would be easy for me to disregard Days One and Two of the Costa Rica trip since we weren't at Osa Mountain Village yet, but then I'd be leaving out the journey. Of course! I often jump ahead of myself and look forwardforward to what it will be like when, when the right now is pretty damn awesome in and of itself.

For instance, Ali and I left Eugene on Sunday after dropping the kids at their respective plans that day, walking the dogs one last time, and last minute packing. We drove to Portland (I napped on the way -- so relaxing) and met up with Ali's friend, Erika. We went out to dinner at The Observatory and I ate a super yummy lamb burger, and Ali ate the BEST MEATLOAF ever. Or so he said. I couldn't taste it. It had gluten.

Erika had just inherited (sort of ) a new dog named Patrick. I caught him with a wee Irish hat on.

Erika's place was super cool. The light was a fantastic bonus feature for her husband, a glass artist.

We took a taxi to the airport the next morning, and flew to Texas for a short-ish layover, and found this cool glass sculpture that was really an instrument.

And then we flew to San Jose, Costa Rica.

Napping along the way.

We landed in San Jose and went through the immigration line (even though we weren't immigrating), and got our passports stamped. We got our bags and went through customs, and caught a taxi to our hostel. 

Part Two tells of our sweet hostel -- Vida Tropical.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde -- a review

Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde, by Rebecca Dana.
3 out of 5 stars
Published: 2013, G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Summary: Rebecca suffers from a crappy break-up and moves away from her beloved Manhattan, where she writes about $1400.00 shoes, into a shared apartment in Brooklyn’s Lubavitch community with a not-so-rabbi rabbi.

Review:  Giving Dana’s book only three stars because I thought it was going to include more rabbi comedy smacks of injustice, I know. But, I can’t give it four stars because it didn’t wow me.

She’s a great writer. Her years of journalism allow her to effortlessly sock you with sensory details that the average reader (or writer) wouldn’t even know was missing, until you read her work.

Her humor is self-deprecating, just the way I like it. And the pervading sense throughout her memoir is one of hope, despite – or maybe because of – her seeking and questioning. And she does it with such honesty.

“Everything I knew felt half true. I hated Crown Heights, except the parts I loved. I adored Fashion Week, except that I also loathed it. I lived for my colleagues, worshipped Tina and Edward, was happy writing silly stories about Tiger Woods and stripper heels, but also felt a kind of hollowness in the abstract, that nagging pointlessness pulling at my clothes.”

Who couldn’t relate to that?

I mean, I don’t know Tina, Edward, or Tiger Woods, but I have often felt that conundrum-y pulling of hating and loving something at the same time – and not knowing what to do about it.

Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde shares fascinating snippets of Lubavitcher lifestyle (an ultra-Orthodox branch of Judaism), New York City’s Fashion Week, and how to walk the night streets of a dangerous neighborhood in Brooklyn. (Hint: it involves rapping.)

As a lover of memoir (and an author of one), I really liked that she ended her book with how she’d grown as a character in her own life story. I wasn’t left wondering, “Now what was that book about?”  I connected with her, felt myself resonate with her personal trials (even though my life is vastly different than hers), and ended up wanting to have a cheeseburger with Jujitsu Rabbi and his rubber band smile.

Worth reading.