Thursday, November 30, 2006

Surfing with Mantarrayas

Surfing was crazy this morning...There was an animal with a fin, I thought it was a shark and that was the moment when you think all is going to end in a few seconds...I was calm and happy to be in water...We can never predict what will happen and I love to live my life this way...Not only me, Mauritzio was also scared and he jumped on the board as well. For the next two minutes there were no waves coming towards our way to take us back to the shore...We just looked at each other and tried to keep calm. When we made it to the shore, he said he thought it was a shark too, a small one...but now he is convinced that they are mantarrayas...It is almost full moon and mating time...Lesson learned, skip surfing and go to yoga when it is full moon...Otherwise, surfing is really fun!
My first visitors, Janis and Veronika left for Monteverde today. It was great to have friends in town and they made me so much more excited about Organico. As I promised, their names will be on the menu!  Janis got the Mango-Papaya shake and Veronika got Chilled Lemon-Mint Tea...You have to come and taste them pretty soon!
I had two ideas for the cafe, offer free coffee refills and have grilled plantains on the menu...The soda next door opened yesterday and on their menu board it reads "free coffee refills and breakfast special grilled plantains" DAMN!!!! I am heading there for a competitive review:)
May all creatures, all living things,
all beings one and all,
experience good fortune only.
May they not fall into harm.

Anguttara Nikaya II, 72

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It is raining and dark outside...

One who, while himself seeking happiness,
does not oppress with violence other beings
who also desire happiness,
will find happiness hereafter.

Dhammapada 132

Let Go And Let Flow

I am lucky to have friends in town, it makes such a big difference....I dont want to be alone here, I am seriously looking for a partner to run this business...Any leads, pass them along:))))
Let Go And Let Flow
Taking A Leap Of Faith

Many people, in heeding the guidance of their souls, find themselves contemplating goals that seem outrageous or unattainable. In the mind's eye, these individuals stand at the edge of a precipice and look out over the abyss at the fruit of their ambition. Some resist the urge to jump, paralyzed by the gap between their current circumstances and the life of their dreams. Others make a leap of faith into the unknown, unsure of what they will encounter but certain that they will gain more in their attempts than they would bowing to self-protective instincts. This leap can be exceedingly difficult for individuals with control issues because the act of embracing uncertainty requires them to trust that surrender will net them the rewards they seek. Yet when you make a leap of faith, believing without a doubt that you will land safely on the other side, you can accomplish almost anything you set out to do.

There have no doubt been times in your life when you chose to go where the universal flow took you. Yet you may encounter instances in which your objectives require you to step outside of the boundaries of your established comfort zone so that you may freely and actively jettison yourself into a new phase of your life. While you may fear what seems to be the inevitable fall, consider that in all likelihood you will find yourself flying. A successful leap of faith requires your attention, as it is the quiet and often indistinct voice of your inner self that will point you toward your ultimate destination. Understand that the leap across the chasm of ambiguity may challenge you in unforeseen ways but you will make it across if you trust yourself.

If your mind and heart resist, you can dampen this resistance by building a bridge of knowledge. The more you know about the leap you are poised to take, the smaller the gap between "here" and "there" will appear to be. Your courageous leap of faith can lead you into uncharted territory, enabling you to build a new, more adventurous life. Though you may anticipate that fear will be your guide on your journey across the abyss, you will likely discover that exhilaration is your constant companion.


I need to leave Costa Rica every month, to stay here legally...The first month will be a bus trip to Granada... I need to stay at least 72 hours, enough time to explore a new city and check out the local craft stores...I will also take some Spanish classes too...I am leaving on December 3rd, coming back on December 7th....
All is going bumpy here, but I caught my first wave today and it was a lot of fun...I love surfing and it is so beautiful here...

Monday, November 27, 2006

The flying trapeze

This is all I think about these days...Dagmar read this text on a yoga class yesterday. My friend Sera told me about the trapeze before I left San Francisco...
The Flying Trapeze from The Essene Book of Days

"Sometimes, I feel my life is a series of trapeze swings. I'm either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments, I'm hurtling across space between the trapeze bars.

Mostly, I spend my time hanging on for dear life, to the trapeze bar of the moment. It carries me along a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I am in control. I know most of the right questions, and even some of the right answers. But once in a while, as I'm merrily, or not so merrily, swinging along, I look ahead of me into the distance, and what do I see?

I see another trapeze bar looking at me. It's empty; and I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart-of-hearts I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present well-known bar, to move on to the new one.

Each time it happens, I hope - no, I pray - that I won't have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place, I understand that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and for some moments in time I must hurtle across space before I can grab the new bar. Each time I am filled with terror. It doesn't matter that in all my previous jumps I've always made it.

Each time, I am afraid I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless basin between the bars.

But I do it anyway, I must.

Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call faith. No guarantees, no net, no insurance, but we do it anyway because somehow, to keep hanging on to that old bar is no longer an option. And so for an eternity, that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of "the past is over, the future is not yet here". It's called transition. I've come to believe that it is the only place where real change occurs.

I've noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as a "no-thing", a no-place between places. Sure the old trapeze-bar was real, and the new one coming towards me, I hope that's real too. But the void in between? That's just a scary, confusing, disorienting "no-where" that must be gotten through as quickly and as unconsciously as possible. What a shame!

I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are illusions we create to not notice the void. Yes, with all the fear of being out-of-control that can accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, growth-filled, passionate times in our lives.

And so, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away,
but rather with giving ourselves permission to be aware and awake in the transition zone between trapeze bars.

Allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens. It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening. Hurtling through the void, we just may learn to fly."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Costa Rican Organic Movement

"The growing Costa Rican organic movement is evidence that a critical percentage of consumers are educated and well-off enough to think about the quality of their food and then to act. "

Monday, November 20, 2006

Cost Management

"But today's crop of back-office systems is capable of forecasting, calculating and ordering much more efficiently and accurately. "Today, with all the integration possibilities, the computer eliminates work and provides valuable information that leads to better business decisions," Marguglio explains. "In the past, a chef or manager would sit down and write up a recipe, cost it out the best he could, multiply it by three or four and then put it on the menu. That is one reason why many restaurants fail. They have no idea if what they are doing has been right or wrong. It is essential to know how your restaurant is operating."
All I need is a software that I can enter costs per item, beginning inventory, how much each item I sell daily, fixed costs, and an ending inventory and revenue analysis by the end of the month....I dont even have Excel on my computer...Trouble!

New Beginning!

It was a productive morning....I hired my first employee...She is awesome and hopefully will stay with me for a while. There is a lot of turnover here but she was with the old owner for at least 2 years. I also posted a job on Craigslist Costa Rica...If you know anyone who speaks spanish and english, pass my information please!
Wendy also mentioned me on her blog...I need to get going with the website...Wendy works for the same company I worked for in the US, and I just met her before I came here. She stayed in Costa Rica for a year. She is now back in the US. I am so sad I missed her stay...
I am having hard time deciding on the menu, today Dagmar and I had a conversation about Coke...I dont want to have Coke but I need money too...It is already a lot of changes with a vegetarian menu and no smoking (everyone smokes here) but I should also make it work without coke...I can do sparkling water with fresh fruit juices...Something bubbly but the Izze drinks in the States!
I wonder if I will be in copyright trouble with naming my drinks, but they remind my name more:)))
Morozzy (blackberry)
Papazzy (papaya)
Cocozzy (coconut)
I need to focus...There is so much I can do, but I can´t do everything at once. I need to do some basic shopping for salad bowls for example and more importantly i need a basic program to help me with cost and waste management. Any tips would be great!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Happy Sunday!

Hola! I spent the whole day at home going over a zillion of menus I
collected in the last 2 months and decided on my first menu. I sent it
over to my two unofficial partners (Lane and Cenk) and will see what
they will say.

Tomorrow will be exciting as I am going shopping with Nadja tomorrow,
will talk to her current employee and offer her a package to stay and
work with me. Then we will go over the books, finances, ect. Then a
break for surfing around 2 and head back to town to do more work in
the kitchen.

I am desperately hiring local Costa Rican employees who speak english.
If you know anyone who can help or got any ideas, please email me at

Rest of the week is busy too...We are going to meet with her lawyer on
Wednesday. I am headed to San Jose again. Most fun is Thursday! I am
looking forward to Janis and Veronika's visit. I will write more about
this later as I am very emotional right now. (sigh!)

Lets get back to business...

It is very strange but I could not find a decent chocolate bar that is
edible quality so far...They are either too sweet or grainy...I tried
so many different kinds but this might be a good opportunity to
consider experimenting with chocolate making...It is really hot, so I
am sure it is one of the reasons why it is so hard to get good
quality...but they have really world famous cacao production....Will
investigate this and report back soon...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Back to Montezuma

I saw the ocean and the green and the hammock and fell in love again...It also helped to see Dagmar and Costas and feel much better about the whole thing...I am on a roller coaster and tired of trying to make decisions....I just want to get going and working...It looks like December will be the month...I will have to make things happen and it will be all fine. I trust in the Universe and will take it from there....Some organic good chocolate and new pillow and cotton sheets also helped:)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I am so happy, I can cry now...

Janis and Veronika bought their tickets to come to see me in November 23rd. It has been really a tough week and this is sooooooo big for me. Janis and I go back long time and met in Japan, in 1997. His wife Veronika and Pupa live in Chicago and two dishes on the menu will be named after them for sure!!! Janis also has fine taste with smoothies so I am counting on him to figure that menu...

Ten minutes before I heard this news, I randomly turned on my computer and saw there is wireless at the hotel...I have to admit, I speak bullshit so much...I love love love technology...I already hate the fact that I can't check my email using my phone and not having wireless for the last week has been really really bad...Can someone help me to set up wireless in my cafe in Montezuma?

I am in San Jose. I arrived at 6pm, with 6 hours of delay. The flight got cancelled because of the rain and we came with a bus instead. It was nice to see the inland Costa Rica, it is very poor but beautifully green. The green here is so lush, it is amazing. I can't say the same for San Jose. So far it hasn't impressed me at all...I never liked San Jose, CA either:) Tomorrow big day with the lawyers...It is just hard to go to bed when I have fast speed and can do so much online, but I can hardly open my eyes...Buenos Noches!

Rain rain rain...making friends...

>From last night...

Right now, it is raining cats and dogs..I am not sure if this is even called rain (meteorologist friends, please help). It is sooo strong and really loud and scary. I am already scared of many things new to me here, and rain is the latest addition to the list.

So, I thought I should write more, just to keep myself busy and tell you whats going on here...Today, I was in town, pretty much doing the same routine, had breakfast at the cafe, walked around, read on the beach, checked email, booked my trip to San Jose, ect. Then, I saw a friend of Nadjas and she was having trouble with her car alarm. I stayed with them and played with her son. Luckily Ticos are experts on cars. People rely on each other here a lot, it feels like a big family which is nice...I am totally out of that circle at the moment and maybe that is why I feel even more alone... The owner of the Bakery Cafe, (a vegetarian establishment in Montezuma) was helping her, so I got to meet him and we started chatting. Of course the question of what I am doing there came up and I told him about my plans. Not sure if I was able to read him well, but there was no sign of "competitor!!!! beware" on his face. He was rather friendly and nice to me.

I missed my 6pm bus hanging out with them so I decided to have dinner by myself and  went to a very cool but cold place. Strike uno: The owner thinks he is doing a favor by letting you in the restaurant. I got vegetarian fajitas and there was no guacamole with it. Yes, they had salsa, beans, sour cream and tortillas...Now come on, no guacamole and no rice...and he asked me what I think of the dish and I told him straight that he should have guacamole with fajitas...What do you think he would make the dish too wrong...that was strike 2...the last one is a killer and I am not going back there...they didnt have any dessert...NO NO NO!

The only thing that was good about dinner was, I saw the owner of the bakery again, luis, and we had dinner together. He then got me a drink and I rushed back to the bus. By this time it was raining so bad, I was already soaked and praying my computer and DS is safe in my backpack...(yes they were, go North Face) but, there was no bus...Buses stop working in Montezuma if it is raining really bad, since they cant make the steep hills..Yucky....and there I was, absolutely shocked to hear that there will not be any bus for the night. I wouldnt mind walking if it was during the day, it takes 15 mins max but at night it is pitch black and I am dead scared to walk...I saw Luis come with a big umbrella and he walked me home. Good thing that I had my headlight...So we walked up in the rain and I just remembered my time at the Vipasanna course in December where it rained 7 of the 10 days. I knew I was being trained for something vigorous there. It is heaven to be home and safe.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I am going to the Big City!!!

I am going to San Jose for a short trip to meet with two lawyers, check out the big city and eat something other than pintos. So far its been beans and beans and beans and papayas. I also discovered why there are not many salads here...There is not much lettuce or anything green. It must be the climate..There is iceberg lettuce and thats it...No spinach, no collard greens, no romaine or my favorite curly red lettuce...I will have to figure out an alternative way to get them and store them...There must be some farmer out there to help me.
Its been a week since I arrived in Montezuma and it feels like a month at least. Not sure if it is a good thing or a bad...So far I am being lazy...allowing myself not to do much other than observing and people watching...It is strange but people here are nice...I think vacation mode or hot weather make you smiling all the time...Still, I can´t keep cursing when it takes 10 minutes to download one picture on flickr and even that fails...No entiendo!!!
The town is getting busier by the way. I met a couple new people today. Lonely Planet Guide book totally a huge help. I got a copy from the local bookstore. The bookstore is super cool, you can borrow books for C700 for two weeks.
I am off to dinner and then will head home to get ready for the trip. I am excited to go to San Jose and hope to find fast speed internet. Wish me luck with the lawyers, I really want this work! Ciao! Check out my hotel... Doesnt look too shabby:))))

Monday, November 13, 2006

Happy Monday!

Montezuma made it to the local newspaper today...
I am reading about residency...some helpful tips about life in Costa Rica  here....
Days are going much better and I could get a couple hours of sleep in the last two nights, thanks to my new neighbors. It makes such a difference when I am not alone in the big farm....
I didnt do anything noteworthy yesterday...Watched the hummingbirds in front of my door, slept on the hammock and played an impressive hour of Mario...I made breakfast, cut a papaya and had granola..Then headed down to the beach with Nadja and her good friend Benita. Benita just sold her restaurant and now enjoying the beaches with her cute son. She has been here for the last 13 years. It is great to meet people who have been here for a very long time. They know everything. I wonder if I will ever get to that point, especially spanish seems sooooo hard....I had serious headaches and Benita warned me about water....Apparently I wasnt drinking enough and I should at least have 3 liters a day...Ouch!!! I forget that I am in the tropics, though the bugs in the house and the constant heat are great reminders:)))
This week will be busy and I need to go to San with my unreliable lawyer, find a new lawyer, get my drivers license, buy a good pillow and cotton sheets...and maybe a mosquito net for my bed....
I went to the post office and found out that there is a waiting line to get a PO box. I am in a hot town...I am numero duo on the, until I get my own, feel free to send letters and your junk to Nadja...The limit is 4 kilos...
Nadja Stambuk
apartado 119
COBANO (Puntarenas)
The only thing that feels good right now is emails from friends asking for hotel advice and ticket information. I miss you!!!!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Montezuma has an awesome organic farmers market and it is very expensive. I bought tofu C1,500, soymilk C3000, mint C400, parsley C400..She had lots of other herbs, vegetables (leeks, beets, yams, plantains, celery stalks)...cheese, almond butter, natural oils, 5 grain bread...I am planning to buy a week's supply of produce there and see how I will do.... I also want to sell my oatmeal cranberry cookies there....people were also going crazy over bread too...
After the market, I went down to my future Cafe and had breakfast. It was really good, papaya in aqua is my favorite drink...I have done it before at home and highly recommend it. Papayas are a great source of enzymes and good for the skin. Sarma even recommends to make a face mask with them...
Days are going really nice, I am getting used to the heat. Nadja is tremendous help, especially about day to day freezing small water bottles to take to the beach, so I dont drink hot water....sunscreen is also very important here...i get burnt easily so I have it on me all the time.
Here is a list I made last night....Things that made me happy:
I discovered a lemon tree right behind my door. It took me 4 days to get to the back of the house. Lemon trees are special to me, growing up my great aunt had a small lemon tree and i loved to go to her house and smell the lemons. I will have lemonade at the cafe, hopefully there will enough lemons from the local trees:)
My landlady is amazing. She doesnt speak any english but we get along really well. She left a cut young coconut outside my door. I love the young coconut meat and there are tons of raw dessert recipes that I can make with it. I will have to find a way to get more of them..In the States, you can find them at Whole Foods...It is funny how everyone refers to US as States here....
Hearing my phone ring makes me the happiest these days. I am very much blessed with a great family and friends. Also thankful to Sera, since she set me up with this phone for a month. My mom and dad call every day, sometimes we talk a couple times. Talking to friends and hearing why I came here helps a lot because it is easy to think about how great life I had in San Francisco and what the hell I am doing here...Then I got an email from Idil today, asking me about tickets to Costa Rica. They want to come for my birthday and looking for tickets...Yay!!!
I enjoy reading your comments so please write!!! Also looking for spanish classes in Costa Rica....If you got any recommendations, send them over. Internet is so slow here, I can't do proper websearch...

Friday, November 10, 2006

hard night

Days are going really nice...I was at the beach most of the day yesterda, but nights are tough...Living in a one bedroom small place with no computer or an oven is tough...I listen to my ipod most of the time and read, but i do get scared when I hear noises outside, especially after 2 am...I know I will adjust, but it is just tough now...I am mostly hanging out with the cafe's current owner, Nadja and her friends and their kids. There are lots of kids here. They speak at least 4 languages. Spanish, Italian, English and German...Who knew my years of german studies would be helpful at this stage of my life....:)))))

I am doing some competitive research...Eating out as much as I can, copying menus and prices. I had a papaya smootie C700, coffee C350, no refills, eggs with black beans and rice C1200 with avocado C350....About USD 6....I will have free refills for sure....

The other thing is smoking...everyone smokes here, including tourists...Though all my tables are outside, Organico will be smoke free...

Heading out to the started raining is so hot, rain is means we will have water in April...No complains...

Pura Vida!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Day by Day

I can see the ocean from my bed...there is a warm breeze and a nice turning thing on the ceiling...(no idea what it is called, but I am glad I have it, because it is hot)..


I arrived yesterday at 1pm, my 4 bags didn't make it to the small plane from San Jose to Tambor. Per Sansa, the regional airlines, it should be here in 40 minutes. They were supposed to be here by early morning, but everyone tells me I should forget about the time for a while...things here run by Tica time...


The guy who picked me from the airport yesterday is going to get them for me and bring it to my casa...People are nice and friendly here. Two minutes ago, I got my first call from a local friend, Maritzio...It is amazing how happy I felt when that phone rang. He just called to check on me and see if I heard from the luggages...He is the one who taught me how to surf when I was here in August. If my stuff arrives, we will go the beach tomorrow.


I didn't make any arrangements for a place to stay but lucked out on this really nice one bedroom. Apparently, most places are sold out for December and January already because of the holidays and the high season...(good for the business!)... The casa comes with a shower, bathroom, kitchen, a walk in closet (!!!) and a nice veranda with a great big wood table. When saw the hammock, I could not believe my eyes...I came here mostly for love, love of food, love of hammocks and love of papayas...I had my first papaya for lunch I can't complain...


I have a lot of work to do. I am planning to take over by December 1st. I went there this morning and was really upset to see that she is taking her kitchenaid with her...It was listed in the inventory list, so i left mine with Ann, good thing I didn't sell it because they are really expensive and even more expensive here...If I knew I would have brought it with me...Sucks big time...I need the kitchenaid for cakes and cookies most of the time. Anyway, on the bright side, I did have a special bond with my kitchenaid and it would be great to see him again.


Oh, before I forget, whoever comes first, gets a special on the menu named after him or her, or a name that you like. For tickets from the US, call TACA. Their service have been extremely helpful and the seats are very comfortable. You will get to San Jose and then take SANSA (regional airlines) to Tambor.... That's it...directions to heaven....


Now, got to go and open a bank account...Wish me luck! Adios!


Day 3:


Each day gets better. Talking to friends on the phone and getting emails helps so much. I got my luggage yesterday and unpacked most of my stuff. It is so nice to see my old stuff...I thought I had no attachments to things, but scratch that...I love my life, I love San Francisco, I love my friends and family. Sera made a very good point that I am not here forever. She even said she never expected me to be here for a long time. I am here on a bootcamp...I love bootcamps. It feels much better and lighter to think this is an adventure, not   a permanent stop. As Lane said, the sooner I start doing things I like, the better I will feel...So true...I can't relax on vacations, I need to do things, like work or run around, just keep occupied...Sleeping under the sun is not my thing, but I do enjoy an afternoon nap on the hammock.


I got the bank account and they got me a debit card in one day...Now I am in Cobano, the big town and found high speed internet here...It is great....Will try to download some pictures....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I am in Montezuma

It was a good flight and I made it all the way to Montezuma...None of my bags came yet, hopefully today. I found a small place to live, there is a very cute dog who waits in front of my door. His name is Pasta..Pasta means cake in Turkish:)
Internet is really slow, it is so strange to wait to send an email...This is going to be an experience...
Update: Bags came, all is good...
more soon with pictures...I miss all of you terribly...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I fucking love this city!


"don't cry, it's only music,"
someone's voice is saying.
"no one you love is dying."

it's only music. and it was only spring,
the world's unreasoning body
run amok, like a saint's, with glory,
that overwhelmed a young girl
into unreasoning sadness.
"crazy," she told herself,
"i should be dancing with happiness."

but it happened again. it happens
when we make bottomless love--
there follows a bottomless sadness
which is not despair
but its nameless opposite.
it has nothing to do with the passing of time.
it's not about loss. it's about
two seemingly parallel lines
suddenly coming together
inside us, in some place
that is still wilderness.

joy, joy, the sopranos sing,
reaching for the shimmering notes
while our eyes fill with tears.
Found on the copier at work a couple years idea who wrote it....


48 hours...

Thank you for booking your flight at TACA.COM. This is to remind you that you have reservations to fly from San Francisco to San Jose, Costa Rica during the next 48 hours.
I am so excited and nervous and happy and sad....Life is pretty damn good!