Sunday, September 20, 2009

Help needed for Sea Turtles in Playa Caletas!

I first heard about this story on Michael Alan's blog, and it's pretty appalling. What's happening is that company Agropecuarios Caletas, owned by the same a-hole that also owns "eco-resort" Casa Caletas, is illegally draining a wildlife refuge that supports nesting olive ridley and leatherback sea turtles (all sea turtles are endangered, see below!) in order to plant corn. They've already been fined $21,200, but apparently just didn't feel like either paying the fine or stopping the illegal draining, and so far the courts have done nothing. Why is this guy allowed to keep giving the law the middle finger and still in the country, you ask? Follow the money, is all I can say.

You see, Costa Rica has this fabulous reputation as being so environmentally green and wonderful and all about saving land and wildlife, but what happens when the laws have no teeth? It all means nothing.

So I am standing with Michael and Pretoma and anyone else who cares about what's going on, and asking you to join me in doing something. I honestly do think we can make a difference here by standing together and putting pressure on this company, whether by boycotting the so-called "eco-resort" or calling and emailing the company to ask that they stop, or sending money to support Pretoma in their efforts in this and many, many other battles to save sea turtles, or just getting the word out about what's happening. Costa Ricans (I know there are a few who read this blog out there): This wildlife is your heritage; fight for it!

Here is Casa Caleta's website; phone number in Costa Rica: (506) 2655-1271. If you're in the U.S. and Canada, use their toll-free number to let them know how you feel: 1- 800- 850 4592. Write to La Nacion and The Tico Times and ask them to cover this story. International pressure would help -- NRDC, World Wildlife Fund, Humane Society International are just a few organizations off the top of my head you could contact. How about we contact El Presidente Oscar Arias? (Don't worry if you can't write in Spanish, his English is great! He's said he is a defender of the environment, so let's ask him to put his money where his mouth is.)

If you have other suggestions, please leave them in the comments. I know together we can make a difference. (Thanks again, Michael, for bringing this important news to my attention!)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Yummy things

Yesterday I had lunch with Mrs. P and her lovely daughter, and I thought I'd tell you about where we went because it was really good.

If you've lived in Costa Rica for any amount of time, you already know good Mexican food here is hard to find. (If you haven't lived here, you might think Costa Rica is a lot like California, with a taco stand on every other corner. Ha, I say. Ha.) I needed to get out of the office for a little while, so I asked Mrs. P if she wanted to go to lunch and if she had any suggestions. She'd heard about (or maybe been to?) a place called Picante Grill in Pavas, so I thought, why not?

Now, I have to say, there aren't a whole lot of things on the menu for vegetarians, and vegans have it even worse. That's pretty typical of Mexican food, though. But if you're neither of those things, you'll have lots to choose from. I had a veg burrito minus the portobello mushrooms and cheese, and it was efemente delicioso. Reminded me a lot of this place I used to go to in Monterey, actually. But anyway, the prices are decent, and the food was really good. So good, that we (esposo and I) ordered delivery for dinner the same night (yes, they deliver all the way to Santa Ana! And Heredia! Woot!).

Two things: Mrs. P had to ask for sour cream about four times and then go up to the counter herself before she actually got any; and when I asked if they could throw some lettuce or guacamole on the burrito in place of the portobellos, the counter guy said (and I quote) his boss "would yell at him if he did that." Because, you know, lettuce is so much more expensive than portobellos. @@ Other than that, I really enjoyed it (obviously!).

After scarfing down Mexican food, we went next door to a place called Tea Leaf Tea Land (at least, I'm pretty sure that's what it's called!), which is something, honestly, you'd never expect to see in Costa Rica. It's a lovely little tea bar with a few edible menu items as well. P the Younger had a ham and cheese sandwich, and we all had lovely little pots of lovely tea -- mine was chocolate orange, and the girls had roobios. It's a very relaxing spot, with couches, nice music, and chill atmosphere. (Don't tell my boss, but I really didn't want to go back to work after we went here! I still did, though.) They serve the tea at precisely the right temperature, and give you little tea timers to tell you when your tea has sufficiently brewed. Each tea service has its own color-coded pot and tea glass (nice touch!). Then esposo called, and asked me to pick up a bottle of vino on the way home. I had to decline, because after work on a Friday afternoon all I want to do is take a nap or watch Project Runway or something. Anything but stop at a store on the way home. Instead, I brought a couple of tins of tea, pure lavender for me (works wonders for migraine sufferers), and the chocolate orange roobios for him (he loved it). Perhaps the only negative here were the tea mints (I thought, vegan and sugar free, how bad can they be? Yuck.). They have tons of different kinds of tea that you'll never find anywhere else in this country, such as organic rose buds, artesianal tea, black teas, green teas, and herb teas of all kinds. Plus, the owner is a super nice guy and I want to see him succeed so that I can keep going back for more tea! So if you're in the area, please stop by and check it out; if you love tea, I guarantee you won't be disappointed.