Some days you walk along the beach, and the tide keeps a respectful distance, also known as low tide. Under normal conditions, Rio Manzanillo is a narrow river that flows down the mountain into the sea. It is easily crossable at about ankle to shin deep. The upside of crossing the Rio, it increases the distance of our daily walk.

Conditions change at a rapid rate with the tide. The other day we crossed the Rio, which was calf-deep for this short person. Then the tide changed, raising the river knee-high for our son, but cheek high for this shorty.

Although riding a quad on the beach is technically illegal, people do it anyway. It is fun and at times a great short cut for the locals. After a good storm, Rio Manzanillo doubles or triples in width and crossing it is for the foolhardy. And yet, a stuck quad or motorbike with its frustrated rider is not an uncommon sight.

It is amazing how storms can quickly alter the beach terrain. Walking the beach at high tide means walking in water, dodging the waves.

“Never turn your back on the tide,” is a caution often voiced but goes unheeded until one strong wave will make a person regret turning a deaf ear to such advice. Do not get in front of logs because the tide has the power to pull them into the water. Recently, a wave-swept log broke a young woman’s leg, trapping her until someone rescued her.

We touched upon the rough road conditions in previous columns. If you want to tighten your core muscles, the roads offer an unexpected free workout. As you hit each bump, suck in your stomach and relax the rest of your body. Proper execution of this maneuver is harder than you might think, especially the relaxing part.

Now, imagine driving downhill on a steep, bumpy road, and a speed demon peels around a curve, leaving you no place to go. You hope to miss the gaping hole on the edge of the road and avoid a swift downhill tumble. All part of the adventures in Paradise.

Remembering the names of native plants, birds, and animals can be a challenge. If you get the name wrong, people will notice. For example, the Plain Chachalaca is around 21 inches long and resembles a cross between a guinea hen and a peahen. Unless you repeat the name several times to embed it in your mental data banks, you may end up giving the birds a different name.

Three birds landed in a nearby tree, and this writer wanted to show off her new-found knowledge. “Look! There are three Coca Caca birds,” she exclaimed as her daughter-in-law gave her a confused look, repeating “coca caca?”

“You know, the birds that resemble peahens,” the writer explained. “Chachalaca?” the gracious daughter-in-law asked before collapsing in a fit of laughter. This incident proves once again, this lady’s purpose on the planet is to entertain people at the expense of personal mortification.

It is said, “Southern ladies do not sweat, they glisten.” Since this writer put down her roots with Hubby in Texas, does she qualify to be a Southerner? It does not matter because the southern lady affectations do not apply to her. No drawl in her speech. No big hairdo on her head. No lollygagging at the country club for her.

Her upbringing was more European gentility rather than southern belle. But her life experiences, as well as the unmistakable stubborn streak she wields like a rapier, disqualifies her from that group as well. When you consider her goals in Costa Rica, she is a self-made glitch.

For example, she judges the effectiveness of her daily power walks on the beach by the amount of sweat rolling off her body. If her shirt is merely damp, she steps up the pace to achieve her desired glistening level.

Daily surfing is almost a given in Paradise, but so are the unglamorous chores waiting for you as well.


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