La Paz Waterfall Gardens

We had a true Costa Rican experience yesterday. We visited a cloud and rainforest in the mountains that featured waterfalls, toucans, hummingbirds, newly hatched butterflies, a jaguar, snakes, orchids, and a red-eyed leaf frog. This city lady felt right a home as we walked for a few hours.

I could have stayed there for days, weeks, years. Now, that doesn’t sound like the typical urban me.  However, there was one big draw that made this place easy to get used to, Internet everywhere. I could Tweet, Facebook, and Instagram everything I saw, instantly. I loved it.

All was going well until we got to the waterfalls. Some of the walkways and flights of stairs were suspended on the side of the mountain. I could see two or three hundred feet straight down. I went into a quasi panic mode.  I don’t like heights.

I had to turn around and make my way back alone. Everyone was way ahead of me so there was no way I was catching up to discuss my delimma. I just turn around and got the heck out of there. Unfortunately, I made a wrong turn and had to climb 26 flights back to the starting point. I was sweating from nerves and exhaustion. Every once-in-while, I passed someone and asked them how much higher I had to climb. I was exasperated as their estimates got longer and longer.  I finally made it to the top and waited for the leaders to find me.

i explained what happened to the group leader and she summoned a van to take me to the place where everyone was supposed to meet up after the nature walk. As I climbed into the vehicle, she said she had a little surprise for me. Without asking, the driver took me for a very curvy drive down the mountain again till we got to the bottom. Then before me, was the last waterfall that I would have missed. He snapped a pictures of me showing that I made it and then drove me back up.

I decided to commemorate my very own personal experience by treating myself to a mask made by the Boruca Indians to ward off the Spanish conquistadors.


Everytime I will look at the mask, I will remember my heart-beating adventure.

The Other Larry David

I was listening to an interview with Larry David on Audible (the February issue of Vanity Fair) at the airport in Costa Rica on Sunday afternoon, when I spotted his evil twin. If you think Larry David is self-absorbed, then think again. He has a double that I wanted to slap silly after my plane ride home with him while he was prancing around continuously through the single aisle.

I first spotted the Larry David twin LDT, sashaying around our gate as if he was a runway model. He was looking for something but it was never clear what it was. Then he was on line right in front of me as we boarded the plane. In typical Larry David style, LDT started complaining out loud about how long and slow the line was to get on board. 

Then, surprise, surprise, LDT thinks he was on his own private plane. He stops at row 8, blocks the aisle and so no one can get by, and then proceeds to take his sweet time storing his carry-on in the overheard. After he finally gets his luggage in place, he removes it again to look for his earphones and snacks. Two minutes go by and I finally tell him he is holding up the line. He gives me a dirty look. The line behind me is out the door.

The flight attendant is asking everyone to move quickly on the public address system but he is in his own world. He could care less. He continues to rummage though his stuff which is directly above my seat. I finally sneak under him and maneuver into my chair.  Eventually he takes his seat two rows ahead of me. As we are taxiing, he gets up again to grab something out of the overhead above me. I can’t believe this dude is standing next to me during this crucial period.

Other passengers yell out that he should sit down so he walks away leaving the overhead above me open. The guy behind quickly stands up to close it. He saved me from having everything fall on my head during takeoff. LDT got up three more times during the flight to retrieve objects from the overhead. He also made about five trips to the bathroom in the first class section. 

The flight attendants kept asking him to use the bathrooms in the rear but he paid no attention to them. Then he decided to move his overhead stuff on top of my seat,  to over his, because it would be more convenient for him when we exited. He arbitrarily moved other people’s belongings around to make way for his. No one said a word. He just took over. 

LDT just couldn’t sit still. He was out of his seat more than he was in it. When we finally landed, he climbed over others to get off faster. I saw him again at the luggage carousel. He was the first one to get his luggage. He grabbed his bags and sprinted out of there. I was tempted to go to Tom’s Restaurant on the upper west side later that day to see if that character was hanging out there. Then I realized I landed in Miami.

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The Last Day In Costa Rica 

Farewell Dinner 

Ron and Andrea Hein, our traveling buddies. They live in Los Angeles and New York. 



Ron and Andrea  are in the entertainment business. They are very private so I can’t tell you who they really are, at least in writing. 

This is their buddy Billy O’Connor.

Our new Manhattan friends, Paul and Sandra Graf. Ronny and Barry Baker of Chicago. They met at the University of Illinois. She picked him out of the yearbook. Her friend found out who he was and introduced then. The rest is history.

Joe and Kandy Ginsburg of Chicago. Her mother met him in an elevator and said “I’m fixing you up with my daughter.” He called her the next day and said, “I’m asking you out for tonight. I’m giving this one shot. If you are available, fine. If not, just forget it.” She went. Love at first sight even though she couldn’t remember his name. 

WE WENT TO VISIT A COFFEE PLANTATION.





Andrea and I snuggle with the coffee beans. 









Meet Elise and Tim



I hope you noticed the new artwork I am using for DigiDame. I decided a few days ago to expand my scope to include travel and networking activities. Eliot has been bugging me for months to do so because there is a lot to share with all of you who are over 50. I also should be looking for a sponsor and turn this blog into some sort of enterprise. We’ll see what happens. 

Right now I’m in San Jose, Costa Rica. We just completed our six day cruise through the Panama Canal. There were only 66 guests and 66 crew so we all got to know each other pretty well. 

I wanted to focus on Elise and Tim, the Tauck Tours group leaders, who made a career decision seven years ago that many of us never would have had the guts to do when we were their age. They simply decided to give up their corporate jobs (she worked for Verizon, he for AT&T) and find work where they could spend more time together. Elise told me Tim was her best friend, and vice versa.

They didn’t like the fact that they only saw each other early mornings and again at night when they were both exhausted from their day jobs. So they both quit and decided to work as a team in whatever they do. They got lucky and now they travel the world together.

These two are to be admired. They are kind of like Steve and Eydie, Lucy and Desi, Burns and Allen. You can’t have one without the other. They did a marvelous job this week entertaining us, providing pertinent information, and being professional chaperones. They worked around the clock making us all happy. 

When I asked Elise what her parents said when she told them she was leaving their hometown to seek greener pastures, she said, “They thought we were nuts. Most of our families have traditional jobs, so they don’t quite understand what we do. They think we are on a permanent vacation. The truth is we work much longer hours then we did before, but we love what we do. We have never looked back with any regrets. We now have so many grand opportunities ahead of us.”

The reason I wrote about Elise and Tim is because so many of us get stuck in ruts and couldn’t break out. They did. Now we have to be sure we live the life we want to with our remaining years. 



I Always Travel With My Wires

If you are an active Internet person and use a smartphone or tablet a lot, I have two helpful hints that can make traveling much easier. I carry a nine or 15-foot extension cord with me so I can stay in bed and be connected to electricity all the time. The cord doesn’t take up much space and gives me the flexibility to move around my hotel room without worrying about how much charge I have left on my devices. Most of the hotel rooms I visit never have the electrical socket in a convenient spot.

The second item I won’t leave home without is a small grounded electrical adapter with multiple outlets. You plug it into one of the outlets in your room and then you have additional sockets, plus a built-in surge protector in case you overload the circuit.  I always plug my hair dryer and flat iron into the adapter so I don’t blow the electricity in the room.

 

Today we hiked through a remote island in Costa Rica. We came across a mountain top lodge and, when we entered to cool off, this was the first thing I spotted.

I would never survive here. Everything I do is on my smartphone – my digital books, newspapers, magazines, emails, audio books, Words With Friends, apps, websites, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, plus, plus, need I say more?

Some photos from today’s nature walk.

Several Zodiacs took us to the private island in Costa Rica named Marenco.

We traveled with several naturalists who carried spotting scopes to zero in on birds and monkeys.

Visiting The Embera People Of Darien Province, Panama 

The Darien is one of planet Earth’s last great bastions of pristine tropical nature. It’s been named both a World Biosphere Reserve and a Natural World Heritage site by UNESCO. 

We arrive by Zodiacs, rubber inflatable boats.

It was a five minute ride from the Tere Moana.

 

Our greeters once we reached Darien Province, Panama.

The people we met.

Embera crafts for sale.

Going Through The Locks At The Panama Canal

This is the fourth day on the Tere Moana, a 330-foot cruise ship. I’m starting to believe this is my private yacht. It is totally luxurious. The photos go from day to night. 

The Panama Canal is 48 miles long and connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. 





Stopovers On the Panama Canal

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Please check out yesterday’s post. All you have to do is scroll down.

Yesterday we visited the tropical islands of San Bias Province, home of the Guna Indians.

Located along the Caribbean coast of Panama, this area is reminiscent of the South Seas. We anchored off of Achutupo Island where we met some of the Guna people and examined their handicrafted molas (elaborately embroidered cloths depicting birds, animals, and mythical figures, in cut work appliqué). For $40, we bought a new art piece from the Matisse of the Gunas.

The small cruise ship we are on has interruptions in its Internet transmissions. I’m told every ship going through the Panama Canal has the same experience.

The water is very bouncy, so I am learning to tolerate the constant movement. It really rocks when we are sleeping. Objects fly off the shelves if they are not secured down. The thing I hate the most is not having 24/7 Internet access. I am able to travel all the time because I can work remotely, but not this time. Hopefully the conditions will improve.

This is what we do when we are cruising along:

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Panama News

IMG_4643<The making of the Panama Canal extension. I'm not sure the video will work. If it does. It looks like I am in a helicopter over the construction. The truth? I took a video of a movie on a TV set in one of the Panama Canal Museum. This is a DigiDame trick.

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Breakfast on the back deck of the 330 feet Terre Moana.

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Trend spotting: more and more seniors now treat themselves to sophisticated cameras for recreational use. This is one of many examples I have seen on this trip.