My photos from Costa Rica

The money here is Colones. When we arrived in CR, I changed a couple hundred dollars worth of American dollars for Colones. It looked like we robbed a bank.

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It was a few years ago, but I wanted to see Costa Rica. During this period I was writing under a different pen-name, and the book had a lot of content and characters from this country. When we landed, we followed the lines into customs and stood in the humidity and heat of the biggest ceiling fan I had ever seen. Birds flew over our head since the high metal ceiling had no walls. I hailed a taxi to take use to the resort and detoured to the Avis rental car business on the way.

I was pleased when I arrived. It had flowing fabric blowing with the breeze, wicker chairs in the open reception area, walkways of natural earth materials, and gardening that looked immaculately original.

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We had rented a Subaru station wagon with all wheel drive, and that proved to be one of the best decisions we made. The roads, once you got off of the main road, were rough. I could add a dozen adjectives for rough, but you will see in some of the following photos.

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There were full size busses that transported many of the local people. During the time we stayed in Costa Rica, we learned to pick up hitchhikers. In the U.S. we have been taught to keep driving past them. Here, many people walk or get rides for an hour or two to go to work and then at the end of the day catch a ride… or walk back. Their pay scale is still years behind the U.S. so the rides, tourist trade, and tips are very appreciated.

In my second book, Amaretto with Coffee, the main character fell in love with a girl who worked at Avis. By the end of the book, he had moved her family from Limon, CR, to Florida. It was surprising when the book came out. Costa Rica Star called and interviewed me for their paper. A coffee shop in CR emailed me for permission to market the book.

Shopping in Costa Rica was limited. Clothes and hand-made items are in abundance. If you buy gold and gems when you travel, your selection here is on the edge of zero. We found food in the area we were in, and the prices were comparable to the U.S. Below I am returning to the apartment, buried in the seclusion of the garden areas.

If I walked a hundred yards out of the above photos, I would be staring at the ocean. Teak chairs and tables were scattered into various shady areas with beautiful views. I took the top photo, and the others, with a Canon camera. The wi-fi to my apt. was weak, but adequate for checking my email. Several times I would go sit by the receptionist desk to send a larger file.

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As we explored, the above scene was not uncommon.We just stopped in the road, sat quietly, and passed when the cattle were clear. This empty road, will be bumper to bumper traffic at quitting time. Horns will be tooting and music played loudly as outstretched hands wave at a friend in the other lane. We visited several towns and usually found a parking place and walked.

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During the entire vacation, we never felt pressured, or in danger, in fact… we found ourselves walking to various bars after dark for dinner. Some were so frequented by us, that the waiter would have a cold Pilsner Beer in his hand when he seated us. We always got the table with the ocean view. From the pictures you can see that it rained a lot in November. We just stayed under a covered area with the locals until it stopped.

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While in town, we saw a Burger King. The urge for American junk-food peaked and we walked inside. The money here is Colones. When we arrived in CR, I changed a couple hundred dollars worth of American dollars for Colones. It looked like we robbed a bank. Notice the price of a fast lunch. At first it shocked me, but not as bad as when I filled up the gas tank on the car. There were not enough zeros on the gas pumps and every fill up was totaled with a calculator.

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Before I started writing, and building interiors for large yachts, I was a home builder. While talking to a hitch-hiker one day, we got on the subject. He told me that an American builder came to CR with the intent to build homes in the mountains, and went bankrupt. The mountain was still for sale, and I had to go look. This road led up the mountain, abruptly turned, and you were staring at a traditional guard shack and fancy stucco entrance to what appeared as a gated community. We continued, to find twenty or thirty graded lots with the roads also ready to pave. The water supply was in place and every lot had an ocean view. I was excited. After days of crunching numbers, checking local building talent, and speculating on American buyers moving to my mountain, I decided that Costa Rica was not quite ready for my development.

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I may go back to Costa Rica some day. For now, I think I will sell my sailboat, and build on to my little east Florida land home.

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In May and June we will be back in St. Croix. We are going to fly this time, and see if I still have a job in Florida when I get back. My next three books spend a lot of time in St. Croix, and I have a hangup with being accurate and current even though it is fiction. I’ve been to a lot of islands and countries but St. Croix is like a bad drug. It has been constantly on my mind since I lived there. Hind site… I should have never left. Getting older now, I’ll keep the house in Florida and rent it out if I find myself with the island addiction again.

Please…      follow the blog…    for the release date of Longue Duree 1, 2, and 3.

They can each be read individually, but are better as a set. They start in St. Croix.        Living forever has its drawbacks.

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#CostaRica #Vacation #Book #Travel #ExtendingLife #FountainOfYouth #Automotive #Sailing #Romance #Publishing #Wordpress #Family #Wedding #Murder #Sex #Wealth #Tico #CostaRicaStar

Extending your life! Longue Duree. Soon to be released.

“It is life everlasting… or the end of the world… I’m really not sure.”

 

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It all started here.

In this alley on the island of St. Croix, an island lab tech is murdered in the street after he throws a small package to Louis. He didn’t know at the time, but the contents had the ability to reduce your age, and keep you there, indefinitely.

Louis was a world currency trader and sailor. As long as he had an internet connection, he had income. He was evading a hurricane and flew to Barbados until it passed. A woman’s husband died of a heart attack while sailing their custom-designed yacht. Louis agreed to sail her and her boat back to the United States. He knew nothing of the pharmaceuticals that he carried in the package, and in book one, wasn’t worried about his age. He took the package to Dr. Bernstein’s research lab to discover what he had.

“What is in the package Doc?” We leaned over the desk. There were several minutes of complete silence.

“It could be life everlasting… or the end of the world… I’m really not sure.”

FOLLOW, this site and I will notify you when the first of a three book set is available. All three are finished and book one is with a professional editor. 

Dave Jamaica Grocery1

#FX #Sailing #Caribbean #Travel #Cruise #Islands #Aging #Alzheimer’s #Memory #Health #Extending Life #Research #Medical #Romance #Love #Sex #Hurricane #Florida #Currency #Family #Longevity #Adventure #Medical

Broke down in Florida nature reserve. Alligators and Space-X

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Alligator Bait.

I left the cabinet shop at the yacht factory after a hot day of doing things over. The partially visible hinges between the doors and the jams were not perfectly spaced. They wanted them to show 50/50 in case someone took a flashlight and checked the dark space between. There were three SOS hinges on each of nine doors.

The Alpi veneer on one side of a finished door had been damaged and had to be sanded off and re-veneered. This required me sanding with 80 grit sandpaper for two hours, then leaving the door and veneer overnight in the vacuum table.

A cedar wardrobe that went into the starboard stateroom was complete, except for the missing door and trim for the front. I pushed it aside until the walnut arrives and started on another wardrobe that was also missing the walnut parts.

After the standard ten-hour day, I laid my thumbprint on the timeclock and ducked out of the side door to my 2006 pickup. I waved at the guard at the guard-shack and sped through the traffic of 528. I exited onto Courtenay and zoomed north toward Kennedy Space Center. The radar detector was working fine. I had a 5:00 appointment with the cable company at my land home to check the cables to my high-speed modem.

As I came to the light at 405, I smelled antifreeze. My truck was running hot and as I passed the intersection, the steam came through the hood and across my windshield. I sat puzzled for a second as the steam came through the dash vents of my A/C. I opened the windows, turned off the outside air, and popped the hood.

The hose that went into the heater core had broken.

My adrenalin was peaking and I pulled the tools from behind the seat and removed the clamps. Between the hose on the heater core, and the hose to the engine, was a cheap plastic part that had a small fitting for service. The front of the plastic part was still in the hose and I ungracefully dug it out in pieces with needle nose pliers. With my hands bleeding, I tried to push it over a flange that was just a little too big. I laid my cell phone on the fender and pressed my mechanic’s number.

“Yeah David, if you pull the rest of the hose fitting off, you should be able to push the long hose onto the heater core tubing! If it doesn’t work, call me back and I’ll send a wrecker.”

“Okay! Thanks Tony.”

I managed to get the other clamp off that was recessed back against the firewall, with other hoses inconveniently around it.

Space-X, had just released their employees and cars were zooming by in a hurricane evacuation type frenzy. I laid the broken plastic part in the floor of the truck and resumed pushing the hose onto the BRASS fitting of the core. I had to use a screwdriver to push the clamp back far enough, but finally had it secure.

“My appointment! I have a 5:00 appointment!” I hit the button for my service provider.

“If you are calling to pay your bill press…”
“If you would like to change the services on your account press or say…”
“If you are calling for technical assistance press three.”
THREE… I pressed three!
“Please press one, for English… Press two for Spanish…”
ONE… damb it! English!
“Thank you… your estimated wait time is…”
AAaaahhhh! I pressed zero… and zero… and zero…
“Spectrum-Brighthouse, how can I assist you?”

“Look! I am on the side of a busy road with a broken-down truck. My hands are covered in grease, antifreeze and blood, and I have a rather large alligator that wonders if my legs may taste like chicken. I have a 5:00 appointment at my home with your service rep. and it appears that I will not be there.”

“Is this the account associated with the number showing on my caller ID?”
“Yes.”
He was laughing and snickering. “Don’t worry sir. I wall take care of it.”
“Thank you.”

Fortunately, I had been working on my sailboat last week and had all of the fairing compound, primer, sandpaper, and related tools in the back. (My truck has a fiberglass shell.) I cleaned the blood, and antifreeze off of my hands, and took out a five gallon bucket to dip replacement water from the nature reserve.

“Crap!” I stared at a big gator. He stared at me. I walked further away from him, and got some water, as we watched each other closely.  He leisurely swam toward me. I added the water to the trucks plastic reservoir and drove home watching the temperature gauge all of the way. I relaxed when I pulled in the driveway.

I took a quick shower and popped the cap on a cold Heineken. I pulled the handle on the recliner and pushed the Netflix option on the remote. It downloaded a movie, started, and kicked back to antenna TV. After doing this over and over, I went to my home-office and turned on the computer. No Netflix, no Twitter, no WordPress, no Pinterest, and only old email, from eight mailboxes.

Long drink… deep breath… and started running through the tests on the modem. In the end, the Tampa server was down, and I was exhausted. I remembered that it was a full moon… and went to bed.

#wordpress #gator #alligator #Brokedown #overheated #travel #Florida #MerrittIsland #AutoRepair #Bait #RocketLaunch #Space-X #NASA #NatureReserve

Arachnid Crunchitus

 

I am up every morning at four-thirty. Today, I got ready, loaded my lunch box, and went out to my Nissan Pickup sitting in the driveway. It was a moonless morning, so I moved through the darkness by a trickle of porch-light. I sat my lunch in the passenger seat, reached across my left shoulder, and grabbed the seat belt. When I pulled, I heard a crunch sound and it stopped half-way to the latch. I let it retract and pulled again… crunch! I did it a few more times and each ended with the same crunch.

I turned on the overhead light and looked at the seatbelt’s roller attached to the door post. On my side of the roller was four or five big spider legs. Goose bumps shot down my body as I released the belt, opened the door, and prepared for war with this huge spider.

I never found it. It either dropped onto the driveway, was somewhere in the items behind my seat, or was making his way under the seat to attack my legs as I drove. I felt… things, on my legs and arms all the way to the shop, only to find, nothing.

My truck has the little vents on the top of the side windows. You can leave the windows down about an inch, and the afternoon rains do not saturate the interior. I suspect that a spider of that size crawled in through that opening. The shop is basically in a swamp area, on a channel, that goes out to the big water. I will be cleaning the interior out thoroughly today.

#Insect #Spider #Bug #Cabinetry #Florida #Swamp #Nature #Travel #Writer #Transportation

 

The Island of Nevis. Research for my next three books.

Through his prolonged life, and several wives, he escaped to a home in Nevis, in all three books.

Basseterre, St. Kitts, was quiet first thing in the morning. It was humid, 85 deg. and we stopped at an open air bar for a cold soda. The shops displayed all of the same tourist products that you see all through the Caribbean, and at 10am we were still walking with empty hands.

A few minutes later, the gates were opened for the cruise ships and the cattle hit the grazing grounds. We waddled through the lines of the shops and heard similar sales pitches in each one. I am a sailor, with my own boat. I usually avoid tourist areas and drop my anchor away from the cruise ships. Here, the economy survives on tourism. Four Seasons Resort employs 10,000 of the Kitticians. I like to find the islands that have not been corrupted by the desire for wealth. I have lived on other islands only to watch cable TV, and tourism, turn a peaceful society into roving gangs and drug dealers. It is still years out for St. Kitts, but they are on that path. The outside force… and big dollar investors, are already here.

All of the original people of the island were very nice, sociable, and honest. Many times in the exchange of East Caribbean Dollars to US Dollars, they were quick to inform me that I had overpaid. The taxi fee from the hotel into town was only $12.00 US. Most of the shops in the tourist areas seem to be owned by Asian investors. I am a watch collector, and used to cut gemstones, so I can appreciate the quality and knowledge that they bring to the business. Tourists from the cruise ships are still overpaying even after they haggle for several minutes. In Nevis, and I suspect, St. Kitts, you must invest $400,000 to live here. That may be the smart move that saves them.

This woman, at Newcastle pottery in the mountains of Nevis, had formed all of her creations from Nevis clay. When she is satisfied with her work, it is fired behind the building in coconut husks. I bought the piece below for $18.00

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When I lived in St. Croix, I usually had my breakfast on the boardwalk in Christiansted. It was an open air restaurant and I poured some water into a bowl, dissolved a few packets of sugar in it, and the banana birds came from all directions. One time, I had eight birds fluttering around the sugar water. This piece reminded me of that. In the picture, it is on my coffee table in Florida with the left-over EC coins in it.

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I buy coffee cups everywhere I go. What can I say?

Below, I am at the stern of the ferry, with St. Kitts in the background.

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At last, I am walking up the dock toward town. Good vibes here.

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The main purpose of this vacation was to get a break from the fifty-six hour weeks I’m working now. I build cabinetry for 70′ yacht interiors. Each night when I return to my home, I add about 4 hrs a night for my writing, and advertising. (Such as this).

The strangest thing about this vacation was that Nevis / St. Kitts, were the safe havens for the main character in my next three books. As Louis refined a chemical that embellished and extended his life, he became prosecuted by the elite wealthy, politicians, and pharmaceutical companies. He became wealthy and the demand exceeded the supply. Through his prolonged life, and several wives, he escaped to a home in Nevis, in all three books. Nevis is a sovereign country and a safe haven for wealth. I had never been there and had done all my research on the internet.

In my books, Louis played chess with an old island man in the square by the police station. The old man named Charles had never been beat. I went up to a security guard at a bank and described my park. He pointed up the road and told me where to find it. I told him about the book. He said there was a man that played chess and checkers there, and is never beat… but his name is not Charles.

It was so strange to be walking through the pages of my books. They are all three finished, and presently being edited. Watch for Longue Duree’ I, II, III.

longueduree123I used to live in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. I will be there in May and June this year. The alley in book 1, where the original chemical was acquired, is in Christiansted, St. Croix. I will hire a photographer and shoot the alley at night. I remember the alley from many years ago. I hope no one has remodeled it. Book 1 is being edited now.

#Nevis #StCroix #USVI #Sailing #Romance #Travel #Murder #Florida #Pharmaceutical #trilogy #Medical #FountainOfYouth #Health #Youth #Yacht #WestPalmBeach

The beginning of my dragonfly experience.

Some of you know about my history with dragonflies. They’re attracted to me every year. Lately, they are back. I have had at least one visit every day for the last two weeks. Most of them, flutter around, unbalanced by cobwebs from the ceiling in the shop, and come to my workbench for help. I hold them down in the palm of my hand and carefully pull the cobwebs from their legs, wings and tails. I always calmly talk to them as I work and take them outside and release them. Everyone at the shop makes fun of me, but also wonders why they only go to me. Personally, I wonder too?

Monday, I was pushing a large cart back from the vacuum table. I had just taken some doors over to the other room, glued them up with veneer, and applied the negative pressure on the table. On the way back to my workbench, a dragonfly kept fling ahead of me erratically. Up and down, back and forth, and finally landing on my rolling table directly in front of me, I laid my hand over him and continued to my bench. I made the repairs to his wings, etc., and released him.

Tuesday, I went back to the same room, and was returning to my area. A dragonfly, with the same erratic flight problems, flew a foot or two ahead of my face for several steps.

“Having a few navigational problems?” I asked aloud. I held out my hand and it clumsily landed in the palm of my hand.

I about lost it.“HEY! CHECK THIS OUT!” I yelled. I did repairs and released this one. Everyone laughed and joked about the dragonfly whisperer.

Today… Friday, I found a big one under my bench, covered in webs. It was the biggest one this year. Again, I fixed him up and released him. Every year, the dragonflies come to me. I feel honored, but confused.

Now… everyone in the shop talks to them too. I hear them all the time.

“HE’S OVER THERE!” and they point.

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#Dragonfly #Damsel #Cabinetry #Carpenter #Travel #Florida #Insect #Nature

A Yacht Cabinet Maker’s Dragonfly Experience

We joked about him all morning and started calling him George.

When not writing, I build cabinets for a local yacht company.

Yesterday morning, a cold front came into Florida. It was 65 deg at my workbench when I unlocked at 5:45 am. I sat my coffee on the toolbox and noticed a large dragonfly hanging on the side by my clamps. I moved around him all morning as I worked, sometimes within inches, and he just watched me and occasionally moved himself around.

We joked about him all morning and started calling him George. After lunch the temperature was near 70 and George had left. About 3:30, George came back with a friend. His friend had cobwebs tangled on his wings and tail, and I cleared the webs and released him. They both flew into the upper level of the huge shop, and I suppose they plan to stay warm in here… until tomorrow.

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I was building this cedar cabinet for a 70′ yacht.

#dragonfly #cabinetry #insects #woodworking #yacht #Florida #WordPress #author #writer

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