Beauty with a twist

sunset-2331736_1280I was looking forward to my much-needed vacation in Costa Rica in Central America. We had planned an itinerary which would allow us to visit different parts of the country.  There was so much more to see as we investigate the possibility of moving here when we reach retirement age.

Costa Rica

This country is beautiful with its exotic flowers, waterfalls and white and black sand beaches.  It has rugged terrain, volcanoes, and rainforests which is home to many animals. We arrived in San Jose and stayed at a hotel called the Barceló which I would recommend for its  view of the mountains, tropical gardens and great customer service. My husband and I have stayed here before and they are always more than willing to make your stay with them as comfortable as possible. Costa Rica is also known for its gourmet coffee beans considered among the finest in the world. I couldn’t wait to enjoy a cup at the Barcelos free breakfast buffet.

After leaving the hotel in San Jose, we traveled with some family and friends to places like Guancaste, Puerto Limon, and Cahuita. We saw volcanoes, waterfalls and bathed in   natural hot water springs. There is also a nice hotel near the volcano called the Baldi with several layers of hot water springs which is a must if you ever visit Costa Rica. You will not be disappointed.

20170806_121625We stopped in Liberia and went fishing where I actually caught my first fish.  We saw a monkey as we stood on the beach going through the trees. We tried to get his attention and took some pictures. As we stood near the water, the same monkey saw our stuff on the log, came down from the tree with a group of his friends in order to grab our things. Luckily, we got to it just in time. That was one of the many highlights on my vacation.

20170813_201152Our next stop was Quepos where we experienced an outdoor market which featured fresh fruits, vegetables and souvenirs for tourists. The Beaches in Manuel Antonio near Quepos were very relaxing and the rough waters did not deter us from taking several dips. I was dying to take a chance ziplining across the landscape but maybe on my next trip to this beautiful country.

Silent Racism

I like to write about the good bad and ugly in life because that’s reality. You can’t have one without the other. There is no time like the present to express my thoughts about the racism which exists everywhere in our world. Costa Rica is not different in that regard because it’s simply glossed over or ignored. Voted as one of the best places for retirement, a tropical paradise, environmentally conscious Costa Rica has its share of problems like any other country.

I am an African-American woman with a Caribbean heritage. I like to observe various aspects of life no matter what country I visit. My husband speaks fluent spanish and therefore he was able to communicate with anyone he came in contact with. On several occasions as we got into a cab, during their conversation, the word Limon would be spoken by the cabby.  I do not speak the Language but I understood why they assumed he lived in Limon.  A Little annoyed, my curiosity got the best of me so I began to dig deeper.

Costa Rica has four small minority groups which are Blacks, mulattoes, Amerindians and Asians. About 8% of the population is of black African decent from 19th century Black Jamaicans. They are considered Afro-Costa Ricans. I understand it’s a small minority of the entire population. But a country which boasts of a high literacy rate, why haven’t these minorities assimilated more into the major population?

Does all black people live and work in Limon?

Why does every cabby assume we come from Limon? Is this a segregated country? While driving through different areas, I couldn’t help but notice very few Blacks in professional jobs or casually sitting enjoying the beaches or restaurants on the pacific side of the country. So I began to look at this issue a little more closely.

Puerto Limon

Limon is closer to the Caribbean Sea and considered one of the most pristine and lush regions of Costa Rica. It’s a very busy port town shipping products like bananas to different countries and welcomes hundreds of cruise ships each year. Limon is also one of the country’s most geographically diverse regions and features everything from mangrove wetlands to towering mountains.This province also has white-sand beaches which are lined with coconut trees. In spite of this, Limon remains as one of the least traveled regions in Costa Rica, allowing for exploration of untouched prehistoric rainforests and unmatched beauty compared with the rest of the country.

Many Afro Costa Ricans have made there homes here and continue to raise their families in the Caribbean culture. The minority population who live here are marginalized due to underlying racism. The Politicians have invested very little on this side of the country. Limon is considered off the beaten path and usually not recommended for Tourists. There are not many jobs here due to the lack of investment. However jobs like dock hands, truck drivers, and cargo hauler are few and far in between. What are the options for those who complete their education?

As I drove around the country I saw a considerable amount of investment on the pacific side. New roads, new shops and restaurants like Crate and Barrel, Starbucks P.F. Chang and more. Fast foods like Quiznos, Subways, Kentucky Fried Chicken, even McDonald’s has made its home here. There are large malls featuring all kinds of designer shoes and clothing. Yes, they even have food courts with Asian, American and Costa Rican cusine. Yet in Limon, very little investment is focused on this side of the country. In my opinion, that’s why I consider it silent racism because this exists in some capacity everywhere, even in the United States.

This country is clearly segregated with the majority of blacks living primarily on one side of the country which is underdeveloped and neglected. Our Taxi driver assumed we were from Limon because he knows that’s where black people primarily live. Although I can honestly admit a lack of knowledge about the politics of Costa Rica and why things are the way it is, there is clearly a disparity between the two sides of this country.

The struggle of Blacks in this country is very similar to other South American countries. I have not been treated unfairly here due to the color of my skin however I couldn’t help but look into the matter of race. Limon was the clincher and if I am considering Costa Rica as a possibility for my future home, all aspects of this country needed to be explored. An interesting article to read although written years is by a lady named Rosebell.

https://rosebellkagumire.com/2010/02/19/costa-rica-democracy-and-why-it-doesnt-mean-much-for-black-people-here/ . She goes a little more in-depth as to the problems and I’m not sure if much has changed based on my observations.

Race is a Factor all over the world even in a democratic country like Costa Rica. I hope the government will implement policies to change discrimination practices which marginalize minorities in their communities.

Costa Rica is  indeed a beautiful country and has the opportunity to make some much-needed changes in order to make their country more inclusive for all their inhabitants. We are living in a world that can only move forward when we become more accepting of others regardless of race or ethnicity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soak in the Sunshine

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Let your mind soak in the sunshine.

Don’t let it chase after the rain.

A sea of negative thoughts which fuels

negative emotions.

Sometimes resulting in unfavorable behavior patterns and

creating false beliefs of who you really are.

Dark clouds will come and dark clouds will go but

remember there is always sunshine after the rain.

Hold On, turn it off,

find happy distractions.

Good feelings of love, peace and joy,

pointing you in a new direction.

Express your creativity in unusual ways.

See yourself beyond the darkness,

beyond the pain.

where opportunity resides for change.

Saturate your mind and soak in the sunshine,

create harmony and believe light always

overcomes darkness.

Pat Fagan

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow

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We don’t know what tomorrow will bring

whether sunshine or rain.

Holding our breath, consumed and concerned, silently.

Our world is moving faster and faster where technology reigns.

We look ahead trying to grasp all the changes yet

running trying to keep up, slipping, existing and moving at a slower pace.

 

 

 

 

A new adventure

20170715_151858I haven’t had a Saturday off in weeks but this past Saturday, I finally had the opportunity to explore a new town not too far from my home. My friend has been encouraging me to check it out for such a long time. So I decided to take a leap of faith and drove to this new location with my daughter. This was our day to spend some quality time together. Both our schedules have been out of whack lately so we made a decision to escape towards a new adventure. The name of the town is New Hope in Pennsylvania near the Delaware River.

20170715_151743It was a humid sunny and hot day. Maybe a little too warm for my taste. The heat has been excruciating this summer and that day will probably go down in history as another scorcher. When it’s not raining like it has been on a regular basis lately, the sun is blazing. By the way, I thought rain was supposed to cool our temperature down. It feels of late it’s going higher or am I just imagining the intense heat,

As we approached the town, we caught glimpses of the Delaware river on our left and beautiful houses on our right. We drove down Main Street where we observed several restaurants and small businesses. There was plenty of metered parking on the street however we decided to park in an all day lot.

In the middle of the town, a small house was designated for visitors where we were able to get a map, booklets, and pamphlets about the town and surrounding area. If one wanted to take a ride on the Delaware river, there was also a small ferry available which will take you on a small tour up and down the river. So much to do and so little time.

I was so glad we wore comfortable shoes as there was quite a bit of walking but so worth it. There were museums to satisfy everyone’s taste and small shops with various types of merchandise. As we went door to door looking at jewelry, clothing, and other paraphernalia, we happened to purchase some items at relatively good prices. But don’t be fooled, there were also quite a few high-end stores. If you’re on a budget, beware or bring some extra money if you want to spend a little more.

A  small bridge connects New Hope Pennsylvania to Lambertsville New Jersey We walked to the other side where we got a better view of the Delaware River. If you have a taste for antiques and additional shopping, you’ll find it here.

We slipped into a small coffee shop which also sold ice cream in order to get a break from the heat. My daughter ordered mint chocolate chip and I ordered buttered pecan. What a treat after a nice day. It was extremely refreshing and delicious.

Beautiful flowers were arranged in unison by a sidewalk. Crowds of people everywhere enjoying the moment. We were so glad we had the opportunity to spend the day together.

20170715_153330After walking around Lambertsville, we went back to New Hope and stopped at a few more stores where we made additional purchases. Our finale was at a popular restaurant named Havana where we sat an ordered a refreshing drink and ate some appetizers.

In the future, I intend to come back to New Hope. If you have the opportunity to discover new places near your home, spend it with someone special and build memories that will last a lifetime.

Can you recommend any places near where you live?

 

 

 

 

It’s easier said than done

anna-dziubinska-348It’s easier said than done,

Life is not always easy when you’re constantly on the run.

There are people who are extremely successful living their dreams

Making millions of dollars, it’s hard so it seems

But as you know, it’s easier said than done

As you search for answers, you must understand

Nothing will ever happen if you don’t have a plan

So reach for the sky if that is your wish

But realize in life there is always a twist

It’s easier said than done

Believe and get what you want out of life and know in your heart it’s going to take time

However just be careful where you step it’s a serious climb

It’s easier said than done

So what don’t you worry of the challenges that may come your way

Life is hard and sometimes stormy but there is coming a day

Regardless of the problems that you’ll leave behind

Guess what things will change bare that in mind

It’s easier said than done

You have to know what you want out of life even if it’s hard to explore

That’s the only way you’ll soar

Have the ability to put things into perspective

Search and reach for the stars and go introspective

It’s easier said than done

Ask yourself the most serious question when you contemplate your life’s direction

It takes faith and belief as you get to that intersection

I know and understand it’s easier said than done

Acknowledge God is your strength, you can’t do it alone

Our God in Heaven who sits on His thrown

That’s the answer that you can’t ignore

Otherwise life would be a terrible bore

Because when you focus on this life, it’s never easier said than done.

Pat Fagan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Show Time

20170619_223225It’s show time as the weather begins to cooperate giving us warm and sunny days. At times, a little too warm for my taste. Last weekend, I felt like I was melting away like the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz. The humidity was high and there was very little relief from a sun-drenched day. However, this event was so worth the trip. Continue reading “Show Time”

Picking Pockets

 

picking pockets

We are all dependent to some degree

There are some people struggling to break free

Picking other people’s pockets to support their lifestyle

Using their money rather than your own meanwhile

You got paid, now you’re broke

Using every penny while you joked

Now you will continue to use other folks

You’re robbing Peter to pay Paul

And you will continue to fall

The things in life which really mattered, you ignored

While living on the edge because you were bored

Now the debt collector is ringing and knocking at your door

But guess what, now you’re poor

Simply put, it’s time to pay up

But now you’re holding an empty cup

Picking other people’s pockets

It’s a crying shame

If you keep up this lifestyle, you’ve lost the game

You see the game of life is a complicated one

So you can’t live your whole life, living on the run.

Learn to be independent so you can be free

It’s a fact of life that will help you to live more carefree.

Pat Fagan