Lee Anne and I spent 8 days in Costa Rica with Lily (Lee Anne's daughter), Daryl and the grandchildren; Hannah and Griffin. My incredibly naive plan was to run long many times, while in Costa Rica. We woke up early the first morning and were running comfortably at 05:45, just before the sun came up. Then something inexplicably horrible happened. The sun came up. The temperature went from comfortable to oven baking hot in about 15 minutes. Did I mention the hotel was nestled on top of a small mountain? I don't recommend running up a steep hill on a dirt road that could easily double as a frying pan. Let's not forget the humidity! Every morning I tried to run long and basically made it to 1 hour before pulling the plug. Lee Anne ran for 3 hours each day, which is usually her warm-up, so she was also feeling the heat. This lasted until mercifully, I contracted the stomach flu and could take a day off. Our grandson Griffin was also sick, which sucks on a vacation. The flu affected my ability to run for about 2 weeks. I hope to run long tomorrow for the first time in a while.
Costa Rica is a beautiful country with some amazing national parks. We rented a car for a few days, which although more expensive than taxis, was quite convenient. While driving in CR, I figured out that licenses are either optional, or there is no such thing as a driving test. Cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians and police made no effort to obey any of the signs or rules of the road. When turning left onto an unlit major highway at night, make sure there is no motorcycle holding 3 people and no lights, on the wrong side of the road!
Although not our favourite style of vacation, we stayed at a hotel near Jaco beach. We did get out to a couple of national parks. The Carara national park was exceptional, with low-technical trails that meandered through a forest jungle. Not sure of the correct name for the terrain. We saw monkeys, parrots and a cute little boar. We were able to hike for about 3 hours and saw some huge trees. If you ever get to Jaco, take in Carara.
The other park was called Manuel Antonio. Unfortunately, it included a wonderful beach, which attracted almost one billion bathers. The trails were more akin to a country road and packed with people. The beach was nice and we enjoyed swimming with the grandchildren.
The food was quite good in the hole-in-the-wall restaurants, although since Jaco is a tourist destination, the bigger restaurants had typical international cuisine and cost about the same as restaurants in Canada.
The timing of our trip to Costa Rica was ill-advised, as we only returned to Canada on February 28. This cuts into my maple syrup prep time. This was not overly critical as aside from March 1, it remained cold until March 6. We will once again experience a cold snap, well into next week, so I have plenty of time for the finishing touches. I set about 200 taps on March 1 and the remaining 140 on March 6. The sap ran on Monday (March 6) until Wednesday, so I boiled down a small batch yesterday (March 8).
Making maple syrup is rather strange. I would be hard pressed to isolate which chores are physically demanding, yet a day in the bush leaves me sore and exhausted. On Tuesday I ran a 10K hill run, which is taxing, yet not overly so. Then I boiled down for a few hours. My back, shoulders and arms ached that night. Strange. Yes, I haul supplies 1K into the woods, stoke the evaporator, walk in a foot of snow, but nothing I would describe as hard physical effort... Perhaps simply being active for 12 hours can do that to you.
I am now able to make a prediction as to my next project. Today, Lily (Lee Anne's daughter) and Daryl sold their house in Toronto that I helped to build. Daryl has promised that the next house will not be a ground-up project (virtually a new house), simply a major renovation. Perhaps I will have recovered from making maple syrup by then.