November brought an amazing change of seasons to the Guanacaste coast. Almost overnight the storms and rains stopped and clear blue skies and sunshine were seen from morning till night. The strong Papagayo trade winds paid frequent visits, blowing through the beach house like a Tasmanian devil, knocking dust, bug nests and whatnots out of every nook and cranny. The roads became dry and mostly passable and were slowly being repaired, although "after" was only slightly better than "before"! It was amazing to see how quickly the moisture in the soil evaporated and poor Victor, the gardener and handyman, was now kept busy with daily waterings of shrubs and flowers.
November also produced a somewhat historic event for Junquillal...it's first ever community fiesta called the "Festival de Las Tortugas" (Turtle Festival). The Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is a popular nesting ground for the Olive Ridley, Green and Leatherback turtles, and Playa Junquillal is one of the country's most important Leatherback nesting sites. Unfortunately, illegal egg harvesting, which has threatened the species' survival for years, still occurs. So the Junquillal Turtle Festival was not only an opportunity for local and foreign residents to mix, mingle and enjoy some of Junquillal's local culture, it was also part of a community-based awareness program, developed in conjunction with the WWF, to help save the Leatherbacks in Playa Junquillal.
FYI, other turtle conservation programs being developed in the area include school educational programs, the organization of local volunteers to do nightly beach patrols to rescue nests before they're poached, and construction and operation of a sea turtle hatchery to protect eggs until the baby turtles emerge.
November was also somewhat of an historic time for me. I began the book writing business. A number of months back I had been asked to write a book on "Volunteering in South America". Finally exhausting my lengthy list of excuses and delays, the time for writing had arrived. What a daunting and difficult task it was. I may have some writing experience, but I soon discovered that writing a book is a helluva lot more difficult than blathering my way through website journals! Nevertheless, a start was finally made.
December brought still more changes to Junquilllal. Property owners, intent on escaping the cold winter weather up north, started their migratory journey southward to their warm Costa Rica homes. Almost overnight Junquillal went from being near-deserted to near-crowded. Well, okay, "crowded" would be an exaggeration, but it did feel like there was actually life on Mars! Restaurants and hotels re-opened after months of being closed, and although there still weren't all that many restaurants to choose from, there were now a few more than just the 1 or 2 that had been open before. It was also great to have some new people to play with, and the beach house became a popular "sunset happy hour" spot. Resident critters notwithstanding, it's still one of the best sunset spots on the planet!
The days of December ticked by with amazing speed. By mid-month friends and family were arriving, making it obvious, even in this hot and sunny tropical climate, that the Christmas season was upon us.