Thursday, December 13, 2007

April 18, 2007 - Saturday drive and visit

(I had a small problem transferring this from the computer to the internet; solved now, but this entry is later than I had hoped for)

Last Saturday we went with our Tico family to visit their friends in San José de la Montaña. This is a small town in the province of Heredia. If you have a map of Costa Rica, you can follow along – it was a pretty long trip... We left Orosi at 10:30 in the morning, and drove through Paraíso to Cartago, where we dropped off one daughter so she could shop and visit cousins (and gained sitting room in the back seat in the process :)). From there, we drove around the edge of San José, through San Pedro. This town has the Latino University and the University of Costa Rica (UCR), and we took a small driving tour. They are in the process of building a new Engineering-school building, so I got a little thrill. We hit a few small towns, then stopped in Heredia. We saw a few landmarks we recognized from our last time there – it certainly brought back some good memories. We parked, and walked to the central market to get some snacks. While there, Teresita pointed out some of the more unusual fruits and vegetables, and I was able to ask about how to cook some of them (I finally have enough Spanish to ask, if not to fully understand the answer, so don´t look for new dishes from me any time soon). José Miguel went to the pharmacy for a leg brace – he had strained it the week before while climbing around the mountains catching songbirds (his hobby, and perhaps a way to make some extra money). We left Heredia and drove through Barva to San José de la Montaña. We arrived at about 1:30 (3 hours, in case you weren´t looking). Irma and Manuel (the friends) offered us lunch (yay!) - arroz con pollo and something else (I asked the name, but didn´t write it down, but it was goooood! I´ll have to find out how to make it before too long). We sat around and talked (ok, *they* talked, *I* listened – and picked up a good part of the conversation). At one point during coffee, the lights flickered, and José Miguel, who works for ICE, asked some questions about the electricity. Not too much later, he and Manual were outside looking at the electrical connections with a ladder, and fixing things. At the end of it all, the lights came on strong. José Miguel reminds me a lot of Dad – if he knows there is a problem he can fix, he is happy to drop everything and work on it. Rick played his guitar for a bit, and Teresita took a short nap (she had a touch of food poisoning from the other day – not her cooking), then we all drove over to Irma´s son´s house for more talking and listening :).

We left San José de la Montaña a little after 7:30, and got home in Orosi about 2 hours later. I can´t imaging making the trip by bus! We would have to take several – minimum is probably one bus from Orosi to Cartago (1 hr), walk to another bus stop and take one from Cartago to San José (or perhaps an express to UCR), another to Heredia, then one to SJdelaM (or perhaps to Barva, and get picked up).

While we were there, we noticed a couple of things:

- when we passed a church (perhaps just the particular one in Cartago which houses La Negrita?), everyone in the car made the sign of the cross and kissed their hand (thumbnail) (similar to what some soccer players do before a free kick)

- José Miguel said grace before lunch at the friend´s house; it was long and heartfelt. I don't know if this was because the friends were more religious, or if we never noticed at our house because we don't always eat together. (note: a couple of days later, we heard him say grace just for himself)

- when the large dogs at the son's house started barking, there were a lot of “jokes” thrown around about the dogs attacking Nicaraguans (Nicas in the “jokes”). Jokes to them, but a hard nut for us. We had heard before that Nicaraguans were not well-regarded, but it was still surprising to hear good people laughing about them getting attacked (even in theory).

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