Our morning wake up call.
We came home the other night to crickets, frogs and ocean waves under a starry, warm night. As we settled down for a nice cold beer, a 4.7 earthquake double whammed us just to let us know, we are home.
Costa Rica was a lot of fun. We hung out in Alajuela or a couple of days and had baptism by fire. Costa Rican's don’t put numbers on their homes or business, and they don’t name streets. Oh, there are names and numbers on maps, bless them, but it isn’t public, so to speak. Directions were ALWAYS “go down two blocks past the soccer field, turn left at the Rollo Pollo and stop across from the Chinese Restaurant and you are there". Aaagh! But we did find our way to the casino down the street from where we stayed. You have no idea what country you are in when in a casino. We heard every language. Disco. Hamburgers and Buffalo wings, and cheap mojitos, and more disco. It was weird though, weird vibes. But this is a country with legalized prostitution (and on the Jaco side, it is slightly less than obvious), so who is to judge what is weird, I suppose.
The Caribbean side is far different (with one exception to the whole country, Puerto Limon, which appears to have earned it’s arm pit of Central America reputation, it’s pretty bad there, but it is a major Central American port, soooo). It’s a long very political/racist/United Fruit type story, how this Costa Rica came to be. But really, there are two countries in one, and listening to feedback from people who live there, I don’t think they’d care to change that too much. But everyone must go to the Caribbean for what might have been, because it is slated soon to start being developed. All the more to go while you can.
Anyway, we headed out to Jaco side of the country on that first Friday after hitting the only “non Ron and Helen event”, the Butterfly farm. Seemingly thousands of colorful, other worldly, butterflies flew around us, and as we were the only two on the 3 PM tour it was awesome. Our tour guide graduated in Tourism, (what else, even in Costa Rica), and loved her job. We are now experts on the life of a butterfly. Who knew they live up to a year or more. Well that Monarch thing should have tipped me off.
We went through coffee plantations, much different from our coffee plants; it is harvest right now there. We hung out at the Ramada time share for a couple of days crusin’ the “town” supermarkets, because they get a lot of US food items that we hadn’t seen in a long time. Helen and Ron asked what we had seen when they showed up on Sunday, and we laughed and described all local food markets in depth. Obviously we have no life, but we saw other stuff too, including the beach. We found a store that was like going to Nob Hill in the city. I swear to G**. They had Butterball turkeys, Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberries, Thai Kitchen, and Snickers. This will give you a clue as to who hangs in Costa Rica for the “season”, due to start end of December. And they aren't poor. We sunk to the lowest level, of course, and scored some brats (Johnsonville!!!). It’s genetic. Retirement does affect brain cells.
Ron and Helen showed up just in time, Larry had already lined up a guide tour for Monday. We were going, no matter what. It was so great to see Ron and Helen, helping them celebrate Ron’s 65th birthday. They had just come off their week building a Habit for Humanity home in Grano de Oro, Cartago. They will write their own accounts of that experience, but the stories they told us were moving, funny, and hopeful. They obviously get so much more out of it than they think they give. But the best thing was just to travel the same road for while, and it was so much fun. We had some great laughs, and adventures!
to be cont.