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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Puzzles and Poisons and Pura Vida!

Last week I took a few days off from blogging - or doing much of anything actually - to work a 750-piece puzzle that I picked up a few weeks back from the wonderful free lending library at Kay's Gringo Postre. It turned out to be a tough one, as any dedicated puzzler can tell from these photos, but I was determined. What doesn't show in these pictures are the gold leaf highlights here and there which were an unexpected aid in working the thing as they were quite distinctive in shape and served as a useful guide to where to place a piece.

Enlarged for detail
The word for puzzle in Spanish is rompecabeza, a hilarious term to me because it literally means head-breaker, which is, of course, what a difficult puzzle can feel like it's doing to you. Very early in our sojourn here in Costa Rica, long before my Spanish had progressed very far, we visited a mall where I thought I might find a puzzle to work. I'm semi-retired, after all, I guess I can spend some time doing puzzles. The story of that search became the topic of a blog because it turned into a comical ordeal. Only Layne's creative thinking saved the day and provided me with my first puzzle pleasure in Costa Rica.

Linda and her fabulous Indian dinner
The night before I began this challenging brainteaser we enjoyed a dinner party at our friend Linda's cabina and rancho up in Barrio Mercedes. When we lived in Barrio Los Angeles, Linda was our delightful upstairs neighbor in the duplex apartment we shared. We became good friends, sharing many fun evenings and bottles of her fine wine. With a background in winemaking and a son still in the industry, she knows her wines. She is something of a "snowbird," although her northern trek only takes her as far as California, where the vintner son lives, or Texas to visit her mom. 

Her younger son, daughter-in-law and three grandkids live just up the road from her here in Costa Rica. So for about six months each year she resides here, enjoys being grandma babysitter and still manages to run her business as a construction work headhunter via the Internet and Skype.

Since she will be leaving again soon to avoid the rainy season, Linda had asked us to join her and several other friends for a small dinner party. I was to bring some of Marcial's now-famous sausages to add to the menu of an otherwise Indian feast. Sausages go with anything! We taxied up and found her new place at Villas de La Colina to be a charming 2-bedroom cottage with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. 

View from the rancho
Although I'm not drinking alcohol these days as part of the eczema-cure diet, when Linda brought out some of her top-notch champagne, I couldn't resist. It and the rest of the meal were superb. Along with both spicy and mild sausages, we had mini-samosa appetizers, then hummus, baba ganoush, vegetarian curry, rice and homemade nan. With the misty late afternoon views from the rancho surrounding us, we enjoyed a leisurely meal and pleasant conversation.

Later in the week, I made a poor decision to cook some slightly "off" bacon and paid the price the next couple of days with a mild case of food poisoning. As a result, I'm here at home today still getting my energy back, while Layne and the Santa Eulalia gang are hiking and partying up in San Isidro. Oh well, you can't expect Pura Vida every day! 

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 -- 

1 comment:

  1. I know it's bacon but you have to be careful! : )