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Friday, June 14, 2013

Going to the Dogs!

The big news around here today is named Winston, or Winnie for short, and he's a Chocolate Lab mix puppy with amazing golden eyes. I saw him at the feria today, offered for adoption by the Animales Abandonadas, a local foundation that works with private foster homes. They called him Tomi but we decided he needed a more distinguished name. (Plus, Layne happens to be reading a book on Winston Churchill at the moment. Thus, the name.)
Introducing Winston 

Winne's only about three months old and has apparently been on the street for a while as he is pretty thin. But for a little guy who has had such a tough start in life, he's very calm and sweet; he just looks up at you shyly and wags his tail hoping for a kind word or pat on the head. Layne and I are only fostering him for now since we have plans to spend a couple of months in the U.S. later this year but we will give him a loving home and some much-needed nourishment while we find him a permanent home. If you've ever thought about getting a dog and if you know the joys of owning a Lab, which are wonderful loving and loyal dogs, please consider adopting Winnie.

Besides trips to the States, Layne and I also feel we should not adopt a dog permanently right now because we are away from home so much, both on local outings with our Santa Eulalia friends as well as trips around Costa Rica exploring the country in my role as a travel writer. Although a dog could certainly join us for our local hikes, it's not so easy to bring one along on our trips to the beach. Most hotels are not very welcoming of pets.

Rancho Coral gardens

As it happens, however, we were at a pet-friendly hotel only last weekend, charming Rancho Coral in Esterillos Oeste, on an outing with our friends Marcial and Seidy and Chris and Sue. But the two-hour bus trip would not have been so pet-friendly; indeed, getting there would have meant renting a car, another drawback for us in dog-ownership. Once we arrived at the beachfront motel owned by Marcial and Seidy's long-time friends, Wilburth and Eva, it was wall-to-wall dogs -- well, maybe only six or eight -- a few cats and lots of chickens as well. So for pet lovers, Rancho Coral is the place to go for a warm animal welcome.

It's a great place for humans as well, especially humans who love playing in the ocean, surfing the waves or just walking on a long empty beach. Rancho Coral is just a few steps from the high-tide mark, its lush gardens strung with hammocks perfect for lazing away an hour or two meditating on the endless rolling surf. Sue and Layne and I took good advantage of those comfortable swinging sofas to enjoy the balmy weather and light breezes. Unfortunately, Sue warned me a moment too late to avoid flipping over backwards onto the sandy ground as I tried to seat myself in my hammock. Nothing was hurt but my pride.
Marcial, Chris, Sue, Seidy and Layne
Later in the afternoon, at the insistence of our strong-minded exercise coach Marcial, we all took off for a long walk down the beach toward the tide pools formed by ancient lava flow and adorned by a fascinating sculpture of a mermaid perched on a concrete base, known as La Sirena or The Siren. With the tide out, she reigns supreme on her dry pedestal and when the tide comes in, she rises above the waters to serve as a sentinel offshore. Taking a rest, we watched some young men kicking a soccer ball around on the shore as the sun began to set in the western skies.

Heading out for a beach stroll

La Sirena
La Sirena and tide pools at low tide
Seidy, looking like a tropical princess 

That evening, we enjoyed a wonderful meal at the hotel prepared by Tomas, one of the family members who run Rancho Coral. Most of us chose grilled snook, with its firm, white flesh, accompanied by vegetables,
A great fish dinner!
rice and tasty little mussels alongside two excellent sauces, one spicy, the other a Thai peanut flavor. We all raved!

It was a short weekend for most everyone, as they all caught the Sunday afternoon bus back to Atenas. But Layne and I decided to hang out one more night to give me my beach "fix." If the weather weren't quite so hot and humid ocean-side, I'd surely choose to live there!

Check out Layne's book "Moral Turpitude," available for only $2.99 at High adventure with corporate intrigue, danger and romance; from the exotic jungles of Borneo and Costa Rica to the erotic jungles of San Francisco. Sample or purchase at -- 


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