12 Days In The Dirt on The Red Clay in Nosara at Colibri with epic sunsets. 

I’d wake up early each morning, drawn to the jungle – feeling the call.  After a quick cafe’- we’d be full on jungle on our walk to Colibri. When you leave the jungle trail – a dirt road leads you to the ultimate red clay playground in Guiones… this is the playground where you enter the courts to be evaluated and challenged by your opponents & tennis pros. Some mornings half a dozen spectators would watch as I was pushed to my limits. Fortunately this is a game that you tend to play up when you’re pushed harder. I imagine the show some mornings left the crowd speechless as I chased tennis balls side to side & deep and short. I got to know that real estate real well over the next 12 days.

12 mornings straight we entered the courts – regardless of weather conditions. Maybe the first 3 mornings we had gusts up to 25 KPH. Randy did his best to redistribute the clay and water it again after 30 minutes of play. I’ve often said “it’s the people behind the scenes that keep the clay and the courts looking so good” . Colibri is really lucky to have a dedicated steward to maintain their courts. It’s also true that he greeted us with a smile everyday.

Colibri has 3 amazing tennis professionals. Enrique Naranjo Mora – the director of tennis who is an amazing ambassador for the sport; has competed professionally and has been involved with the Costa Rican Davis Cup team. He brings the team from San Jose to Nosara for a week most months. Enrique joined us for dinner at Jade . You can feel his passion for the sport. He’s a great conversationalist and explains tennis incredibly well. At one point, he told me about teaching different personalities. He was spot on when he diagnosed me (as a risk taker on the court). He explained it very mater – of – factly as he talked about Wall Street finance guys. Funny- I never really thought about the differences of an engineer opposed to a doctor or Finance guy…. but it made sense and I related to my own approach to risk & reward both on and off the court.

Camila Bernal was a top female tennis player in Chile. I love watching Camila play doubles with my fiance’ Carroll Ivy. Last year Carroll brought 2 girlfriends to spend a week with us at Jade. Kristen Bender & Jen Fox are a very competitive team at Dupont Country Club in Wilmington, De.  Carroll & Camila gave them hell as they battled early morning after morning. Camila knows doubles well & can crush a return pretty much anywhere she wants on the court. It was great to see the 3 friends play up to meet the demands of Camila.

I had a private lesson with Camila this last week. At one point- she wanted to correct my stance and approach to the net when I’m volleying. I stand too tall – so she asked me to put a belt on attached to ankle cuffs so that I couldn’t stand up straight. I had no idea how difficult it was to stay in the position while being active at the net. To say the least – she taught me a lot in 1 hour & I felt better prepared for my next doubles match.

Harry Hamilton is probably one of the nicest tennis pros I’ve run into on the courts. Harry is a teaching professional. He has a very Spiritual approach to tennis and life in general. A couple of years ago he taught me mindful ping pong. It’s funny how much I find myself playing mindful ping pong and having a great conversation with a friend. About two years ago, after playing in Italy with him for a week, he gave me a tailored tennis plan. It’s funny how I go back to the few instructions he asked me to focus on & they are some of the key areas where I have improved my game. 

One evening, Harry & Camila stopped over for dinner. The highlight was watching the two of them play ping pong on the yoga pavilion. Camila has a 2 handed back hand that I have never seen before. I think Harry & Camila would have played all night if Mau hadn’t called us for dinner. 

I approached the tennis director about Jade sponsoring Colibri & being more aligned for tennis retreats. I know that the experience Carroll & I have is amazing and others would love to play tennis daily and have a life shift while spending a magical time on the beaches of Nosara, Costa Rica. I suggested a banner on the wall of the court. Enrique one upped me & offered Jade to put both of our logos embroidered on  fresh towels that would be available daily to the players. How could I resist – this is exactly the kind of association we were looking for. These tennis pros are “like minded” and love the sport as much as we do. I’m ready to bring more people to Nosara to play tennis.

I have to say though- the highlight of my trip was asking Matty, my property manager at Jade, to play tennis with us our last morning. He jumped at the opportunity & put on his skater sneakers & t-shirt and headed down the jungle trail with us. Matty is one of these ambidextrous people that you never know what hand he’s gonna use. After about 3 mins hitting the ball with his right hand – Carroll suggested that he try with his left hand. Wow- I couldn’t believe the difference. He was hitting the ball incredibly well- I couldn’t believe what i was seeing. Funny thing – Carroll brought the racquet he was using about 4 years earlier for guests to use. The racquets were her mothers old racquets. Her mother is a lefty & a legend on the tennis courts. (still playing pickle ball a couple hours at a time ) Alice will be a young 91 next month.