Saturday, October 6, 2012

Basil Riot, The Wanderer

Basil the little backpacker. She has been so great; all this change and she hasn't batted an eye. Actually she sleeps better here. I suppose she is still young enough that changes don't affect her too much... as long as she gets attention from everyone then she's good, and eeeveryone here does just that, so she is as happy as a bird with a french fry. Shop owners call her by name when we walk down the street. I was walking alone late one night and someone asked me "donde esta tu bebe!?" If there are two people talking, she will walk almost right in between them and wave with both hands until she gets a reaction. She's definitely the star of the show. Women grab her hands and face and just ooo and ahh over those baby blue eyes that they don't see everyday. Or ever. The ladies of the night, or rather, of the day, can't handle themselves "aayyee, mirra mirra, la munequiiiita!" "aayyyeee que liiiinda!" all the while Basil is grinning and waving and "hiiyyeee"ing and"bye bye"ing. She graciously accepts cookies and fruits from the giggling worker-bees. Yesterday a young man selling fruit and vegetables waved at her, and usually she just stops for a minute and waaaaves and cheeses it up. But this time she didn't say hi, she just pointed at the grapes. I tried to get her to wave back but she wouldn't, she just kept pointing. He loved it. He pulled the biggest grape off the vine, wiped it on his shirt and handed it to her. Only then did she grin, wave, and take a giant bite like it was an apple. Little mooch. I didn't even teach her that. People give her cookies and kisses like it's going out of style..yes, sugar. Tony turned around the other day and Basil had a mouthful of cake. CAKE! But unlike my friends and acquaintances in the states, I just can't tell these sweet people no (but this does not mean you get to give her sugar when we return!) So. She's had her share of crystal-death. Oh well. We made it almost 14 months. I think she will survive ("she" meaning me).

Yes way, San Jose

I am not a big city kind of girl. Don't get me wrong, some of my favourite places to which I have been were bigger cities; Luxor and Cairo Egypt, Paris France, Barcelona Spain, Budapest Hungary, Rome Italy, Munich and Frankfurt Germany... But generally I just love 'em and leave 'em. I especially thought this would be the case with Basil in tow. I can't stand smog and exhaust, the sound of shrieking car horns drives me batty. I do not love massive crowds, pushing and shoving. I don't appreciate skyscrapers the way others do. Pavement is not my best friend. Touts in your face and beggars under your feet get on my nerves, fast. Higher prices for everything and crawling with tourists? No thanks. So when we pulled into stinky San Jose with an underfed, sleep deprived baby (and mama) I was ready to get to a hotel and get out of this city.
Next scene: day 5 in stinky San Jose... do we have to leave already!?
Once again, I am forced to ask myself "Ew, does this mean I am a big city street rat?" But as soon as I begin to believe that everything for which I stand is turning on me, I arrive at our next destination, take a sigh of relief and reassure myself "Oh yeah, no, I'm definitely not a city girl". But as for now I am loving this place. For the moment I can't imagine myself anywhere but our little Hostel Gran Imperial, which really does live up to its name. I could argue that this is the nicest place we have stayed while out on the road. Nicer than a Motel 6, that's for sure. They even provide toilet paper (!!), soap, sheets, sometimes coffee (Costa Rican coffee. Jeff would be in heaven) a community kitchen and bathrooms (which are separate) a large television in the communal area which is often blasting a sub-titled "Friends" or "Big Bang Theory". And the balcony. I love me some of this balcony. Wrapping around two sides of the building, high enough that passersby (almost never tourists) below rarely notice you, plenty of chairs and tons of potted plants, and positioned perfectly to watch the crack dealers on the adjacent corner. Don't act shocked; you probably have a crack-house on your block and you just don't know about it. Anyway, the nightly raids have provided much entertainment. It amazes me that they continue to show up when they know the cops will just come back. Yet somehow, it is the same guys every apparently the punishment is bearable, if there is one at all. I watch people buy peanuts all day from my perch and breathe in the smoke coming from a tall, nearby pipe, which smells something like burning caramel popcorn. To the left and right of me, the street ends in mountain, sparkling with lights at dusk. Right now there is not a cloud in the sky, but that will change in a matter of 30 minutes, when it will probably be pouring rain. I don't know how anyone dresses for the day here. Hot, cold, sunny, cloudy, windy, stagnant...eight times a day. Yet for this moody weather, the temperature stays fairly consistent. And, best of all, the people here are so wonderful. And they all adore Basil. Of course.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A one-year old.. What!?

Whoops. The last post was her birthday. And here is her birthday again. Where did that year go!? How many moms have I heard say that, and I still wasn't prepared.
Well this is not a Sara Garner birthday party. But it was still really cute, complete with a map banner and matching colors and a fabulous baked potato bar.. and of course I can't prove it because the next few photos are the extent of what was taken that day. In the moment I was intent on wanting to live it and not be behind the camera. Now...I wish the dang thing was glued to my face, as usual. Bummer.
And I can't forget a very special thanks to everyone who contributed to the donation jar in lieu of gifts. We raised $130 (!!!) which was sent to the Save Africa's Children non-profit charity to help fund a free clinic for orphaned babies who are in risk of HIV/AIDS. Thank you, thank you everyone. I cannot say it enough.
Happy One Year, punkin!
(never mind she's actually almost 14 months now)
 Pre-party faces.

 She seemed excited for her cake...

 But it might have just been the fire, because...

she just wasn't havin' it. 

This girl does nnoottt like getting her fingers messy. Great. And great!

I put Basil's fave on top for a last ditch effort. But she could see right through me. The frosting was cream cheese sweetened with breastmilk. She loved it before the party, but not when she had to touch it herself.

"Visualize whirled pea's"