Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Arenal Trip

When Big Bro Karl was here, we all trundled up to see the Arenal Volcano - what a sight! The weather certainly cooperated, and so did the volcano! :-)

Since we had to wait until I was out of school, we couldn't take the direct bus from San Jose to La Fortuna (last one is late morning). So, we took the bus from San Jose to San Carlos, then switched to the bus to La Fortuna. We stayed a couple of kilometers North of town, at the Roca Negra Inn - definitely recommended. We walked to a soda for meals, and a bit further to a grocery store to load up on breakfast and cafecito stuff. The innkeeper arranged a tour of the volcano for us - they were full of good advice, very dependent on what was important to us. We elected to skip the hot springs this time, but only because we knew we'd be back.

We spent Thursday through Saturday relaxing, watching the volcano from our front stoop, swimming in the pool, and walking around a bit. Coming back to San Jose, we took the bus to San Ramon, then switched to the San Jose bus. That was a mistake - ugh! Definitely the direct to SJ is best, the next best is the La Fortuna-San Carlos-San Jose route.

For more pictures, click here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mora Crisp

I'm not really sure *what* to call this! If I say it is a squash crisp, that just sounds awful! Makes you wonder how pumpkin pie got its start.
So, try this on for size...

Mora Crisp

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar or SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 4-5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

  • 2-3 cups peeled and chopped chayote (green pear-shaped squash, with a texture almost like green apples)
  • 1/2 cup mora pulp
  • 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C).
  2. Mix filling ingredients, fill 9x13 pan
  3. Blend all topping ingredients in a bowl until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling.
  4. Cover w/ foil
  5. Bake in preheated oven 40 minutes.
  6. Remove foil, and bake 10 more minutes or until browned and bubbling around the edges.
Serve warm, with ice cream, chiverre empanada, and a little dulce de leche

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Weekend in Puerto Viejo (French)

And now, in French! (corrections to be made (Canadian), I'm sure and additions...)

Mon Week-end (Stilted English Version here)

J'ai eu un long week-end long.

Ce jeudi, mon frère, Karl, et moi avons pris le bus pour à Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Dans le bus, il y avait des gens de beaucoup de pays. Nos voisins, autour de nous, parlaient ont parlé l'anglais, le français, l'éspagnol, et l'allemand. Après 4 heures de route, quand nous sommes étions presque arrivés, un homme est sortisali - j'ai remarqué, avec surprise, que je l'ai connu le connaissais! Malheureusement, nous avons eu seulement le temps pour une salutation rapide.

Ce soir-là, nous avons dîné au restaurant "Café Ivan." Pendant que nous avons parlé avec la propriétaire, j'ai pensé "j'ai déjà écouté cette histoire." Donc, j'ai dit "Est ce que sa mère habite ici aussi?" Alors, j'ai fait la connaissance de sa famille électroniquement (seulement par les blogs)! Que le monde est petit!

Le jour suivant, nous sommes allés à pied à Playa Cocles, en suivant la piste de la plage. J'ai demandé aux gens de la plage s'ils ont connu connaissaient un bon professeur de du surf. Deux hommes nous ont présentés à Santiago; lui et Karl ont fixé une leçon. Karl a appris faire du surf, et je leurs les ai regardés. Karl a fait du surf, et il est tombé. Mais les femmes lui l'ont regardé. Donc, il ai fait du surf plusieurs fois. Il est devenu fatigué, et il a eu mal partout.

Cet après-midi-là, je suis restée à la piscine. J'ai jeté un coup d'œil vers le haut, et j'ai vu... Joe! Mon ami! Il a pris des vacances aussi! Que le monde est très petit!

Samedi, Karl et moi avons loué des vélos et des tubes respiratoires, masques, et nageoires palmes. Nous avons acheté des provisions au supermarché, et nous avons fait du vélo à Punta Uva. Nous avons trouvé un lieu dans endroit à la plage, et nous avons fait de la plongée avec tuba. Karl n'a pas eu de problème, mais mon tube respiratoire s'a s'est mis à fuir. Donc, j'ai fait de la plongée seulement quelques fois. Heureusement, je me suis détendue.

Samedi après-midi, Karl a dit à nos voisins français es à l'hôtel que j'ai appris un peu de français. J'ai rougi, et j'ai buté sur les phrases, mais j'ai parlé! Pendant que je lui leur ai parlé, un très bel homme m'a regardé, et il a retenu sa respiration jusqu'à ce que j'ai fini. (jusqu'a j'ai fini je finisse)

Dimanche, mon week-end a fini. Parce qu'il a décidé rester, mon frère m'a mis dans le bus, avec un grand sourire...

My Weekend in Puerto Viejo (English)

(here is what you get when you take a class in a foreign language - information, but kinda stilted...)

I had a long weekend. (French version here)

Thursday, my brother, Karl, and I took the bus to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. On the bus, there were people from many countries. Our neighbors spoke English, French, Spanish, and German. After 4 hours, when we were almost there, a man was getting off the bus - I noticed, with surprise, that I knew him! Unfortunately, we only had time for a quick greeting.

That evening, we ate at the restaurant "Café Ivan." While talking to the owner, I thought "This situation sounds familiar." So, I said "Does your mother live here also?" What do you know! I knew her family electronically! What a small world!

The next day, we walked to Playa Cocles, along the beach trail. I asked people at the beach if there was a good surfing teacher. Two men introduced us to Santiago; he and Karl arranged a lesson. Karl learned to surf, and I watched them. Karl surfed, and he fell. But the women were watching. So, he surfed again and again. He became tired, and sore all over.

That afternoon, I stayed at the pool. I glanced up, and I saw... Joe! My friend! He was vacationing too! What a *very* small world!

Saturday, Karl and I rented bicycles and snorkel equipment. We bought food at the supermarket, and we rode to Punta Uva. We found a spot on the beach, and we snorkeled. Karl had no problem, but my snorkel leaked. So, I only dove a few times. Contentedly, I relaxed.

Saturday afternoon, Karl told our French neighbors at the hotel that I had learned a little French. I turned red, and stumbled through some sentences, but I spoke! While I was speaking, the *very* nice man watched me, and held his breath until I was done.

Sunday, my weekend was over. Because he decided to stay, my brother put me on the bus - with a huge grin.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Puerto Viejo Vacation - Surfing

Thursday, Big Bro Karl and I hopped on the bus for Puerto Viejo (de Talamanca) - he is visiting us for a month, and *the* big thing on his list was to learn to surf :-). So, ten o'clock (or a bit later) saw us on the road, and 4 1/2 hours later, we landed!

That night, we asked around for who and where would be a good place to learn surfing, and so Friday morning we walked South about 2 kilometers to Playa Cocles. There is a beautiful trail that runs between the beach and the road - it is shaded and quiet, and you get to peek at the ocean here and there.

A dog followed us almost all the way, but she got distracted by an iguana almost half her size - she ended up catching it and then dragged it off for her lunch - mmm, mmmm good!

We got to the beach, and started asking around - a couple of surfers pointed out Santiago, the surf professor. They even walked us over to where he was just coming in from surfing, and introduced us :-). Between Karl's poquito Spanish, and Santiago's little-bit English, they made arrangements: 1/2 hour lesson on the beach, followed by 1 1/2 hrs in the water; board included, one-on-one, starting - now!

Beach lesson is over! time to get out there!

This is your wave!

Wheeeee! Oooops!

Gotta try again....

'Cause, you know, people are watchin'....

Mixed Fruit Smoothy

- 1/2 c pineapple
- 1/2 c papaya
- 1/2 c zapote
- 1/2 c mora pulp
- 2 finger bananas
- glass of water
- dash allspice
- (optional) powdered whole milk or ice cream

The smoothy is nicer if some of the fruit is frozen.
Makes 3 large glasses.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

National Theater

On Tuesdays, at noon, you can see short productions (usually music) at the National Theater in downtown San José. We went, deciding to take our chances on whatever was on - and we got *lucky!* FLAMENCO! One of the hottest dances, paired with fabulous guitar, flute, drums, and husky, gutsy singing.

We got there at 10 minutes before noon, and all but the upper floor was sold out. At c500 per ticket, it is pretty popular. We were mesmerized, and so didn't notice what time it ended - but it is less than an hour, as many Ticos come to see a show on their lunch break. This same group "Soy Gitano" is playing a full performance this Saturday and Sunday evenings - definitely see it if you can!

Karl had an especially nice time, since (as usual) the prettiest girl in the theater sat next to him...

Info on "Gitano"