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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Costa Rica Dance Card: FULL!

The old saying "Time flies when you're having fun" certainly seems to fit our lives here in Costa Rica. In the week and a half since we returned, we have 1) joined a gym and gone now four times, 2) had friends over to watch the presidential debates last week, 3) seen the chiropractor twice, plus the acupuncturist once for Layne and the physical therapist once for me, 4) traveled to Alajuela by bus to shop at PriceSmart and to the clinic there for x-rays of my feet (cost: $22), 5) shopped at the feria last Friday and picked up organic produce on Saturday, 6) had breakfast with Marc at Kay's Gringo Postre, 7) had Bonnie over to watch some of the baseball playoffs yesterday, and (8) joined the Santa Eulalia gang for a hike Sunday morning and a potluck by Bonnie and Stephen's pool that afternoon. I could go on but you get the point. Our dance card always seems to be full here in Costa Rica!

The new gym in town is called VGym and bills itself as "mas que un gimnasio," or "more than a gym." The "more" is the petite owner whose name is Vigie (not sure of the spelling but it is pronounced V-G). She is trained in physical therapy, used to work at LA Fitness in Los Angeles, California, and obviously relishes her role as personal trainer to everyone who walks in the door. In excellent English, she asked us questions and took down notes on all Layne's and my little aches and pains, old injuries or current problems, such as the chronic tendonitis in my shoulder and Layne's occasional sciatica issues, then designed a workout program tailored to our individual needs and our exercise goals. (As usual, Layne is focused on improving his golf swing.)

Like a mother hen, Vigie watches over us and the other patrons as we do our workouts, being sure we maintain good form and avoid any risk of injury. Unlike the other two gyms in town where some of our friends go and where I've taken a salsa aerobic class or two, VGym isn't rocking with loud music or stuffed wall to wall with massive exercise equipment. But the apparatus she has is more than adequate for her current clientele: a treadmill, free weights, yoga mats, a number of stationary bikes, large and small rubber balls and a variety of weight-lifting machines. With a senior rate we each pay only 12,000 colones (about $24) per month and Vigie even offers a weekly rate for out-of-towners wanting to stay in shape, so if your vacation plans bring you to Atenas, be sure to check out VGym, located across from the gas station.

The Sunday hike was a lovely if damp excursion, with an overcast sky and occasional mistiness cloaking us as we followed Marcial down a side street, through sugarcane and coffee fields, negotiating over rocks to cross a small stream and finally back up through another local neighborhood to the main road. It was especially joyous for Marcial and Seidy as Marcial's oldest son Gabriel and his wife and two adorable little girls were along with us, having just arrived the previous week from Germany where they live. They have rented a small house here in Santa Eulalia and will be staying for a few months so we will enjoy their company on many future outings, no doubt.
Marcial leads the way
The Santa Eulalia "gang"
Marcial shows the ripening coffee beans
 After everyone had returned home and cleaned up, we reconvened at Bonnie and Stephen's charming rancho by the pool. They have lucked upon such a wonderful and inexpensive rental, spotted by Stephen through Craigslist while still in San Francisco. It offers the small 2-bedroom, Tico-style house where they live, but is overlooked by their landlord Dave's beautiful home up the somewhat treacherous stairs near the pool. Since Dave is gone so much of the time, Bonnie and Stephen also have access to the larger home and well-equipped kitchen when needed. 

Chris and Sue 
Stephen, Layne chat with Bonnie as Felipe takes in the view
Stephen enjoys the gang
So it was there that I warmed up my Creamy Chorizo and Chicken Soup (made, of course, using Marcial's excellent spicy Italian sausage) and Chris re-heated his stuffed baked potatoes. Along with Chris' tasty shrimp dip, Stephen's excellent beans slow-cooked with pork ribs and abundant fruit from Seidy, we had quite a feast. The children played in and around the pool while the grown-ups laughed and talked and enjoyed the splendid view from the rancho. Even the sun came out to warm the day and make us all realize just how fortunate we are to share this Pura Vida. 

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