Saturday, May 27, 2006


Happy Birthday to Me!

We went out for breakfast this morning in Santa Elena, but we first went to the taller to have some work done on the Jeep. The belts were loose and sqeaky and the windshield wipers were too big. We were able to get right in, so we weren't there very long. When we passed by the Ranario we saw Victorino painting the big stone frog in front of the Frog Pond, so we invited him to breakfast at Maravilla. Jim drove to town, Vic drove from the Ranario, and so I wanted a turn to be cool and drive the Jeep after breakfast. Imagine my surprise when I turned the corner at the bottom of the hill leading up to the bank, and the steering wheel came off in my hands! So, we went back to the mechanic, who was horrified to see that there was nothing holding the steering wheel in place. ("Que bruto!" was his comment.) Luckily, he was able to screw it back in place, and off we went.

Friday, May 26, 2006


El Veterinario

Jo finally had his operation today. It was our third trip in as many days to Dr. Villalobos, our veterinarian. He had an appointment on Wednesday at 3 p.m., but when we got there Dr. Villalobos was on the way out the door to see a horse in Monteverde. He had forgotten that it was Wednesday. I frequently forget what day it is, so I understood. So, we tried for Thursday at 3 p.m. Kevin came along so that he could assist with the hernia operation. Dr. Villalobos' office/store is pretty small, so I figured he must do his operations somewhere else. No, he told me that he would do the operation on the same small table he uses to give shots and do exams. He covered it with a little towel, and proceeded to give Jo an injection to calm him down. He waited 8 minutes to give the next injection, which was the anesthesia. Somehow I had had the vision of a little doggie respirator and an IV, but what was I thinking? As he massaged the hernia on his belly Dr. Villalalobs asked, "And he hasn't had anything to eat today, right?" Wrong! He had neglected to mention that little detail. So, he couldn't do the operation for fear that he might cut into his bowels. Poor Jo was practically comotose. We took him home and gradually he got the use of his legs back.

Back to the vet this morning. Kevin skipped school so that he could assist, and Catie decided she needed to watch the operation too. I figured watching the operation would be more instructional than any science class that might have today, so I agreed. Kev sat right next to the operating table, and Catie alternated between inside and out. I sat outside and read the newspaper. Dr. Villalobos called me in to talk to me halfway through. Jo didn't have a hernia; he had a pretty good size tumor, which he had just removed. In Catie's words, it looked like a mushed worm and was disgusting. He was pretty sure that he got it all, and then proceeded to sew up the cut. Catie announced that she didn't think she wanted to be a vet after all.

Cate and Kev went back to school after the operation. Kev was very happy that he hadn't missed his marble party (his teacher puts a marble in a jar every day if the class had been good, and when they accumulate enough marbles they have a party). Cate was happy that she hadn't missed her Reading Buddy from 6th grade who comes every Friday. I was happy to have some time to myself! I stopped and returned the videos which didn't work (most of the time the DVD's from the rental store don't work they are so badly scratched), mailed IKE'S cigars, bought dog food for Dona Marta, bought bread and pastry at the bakery and then went home for a cup of tea.

Jim is returning from San Jose today with the Jeep. He had to get a new battery and new tires, and have a new key made. I hope the rain holds off until he gets up here.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Where's Waldo?

The day before yesterday I was sitting upstairs when I hear a flock of birds making a lot of noise. They sounded like toucanettes. It sounded like they were on top of the roof, so I went outside to take a picture. When I got outside, I realized that the sound was coming from the front of the house, where the garden is terraced with a wild mixture of coffee plants, banana trees, and all kinds of flowering shrubs and trees. Try as I might, I could not actually SEE the birds, which was very frustrating because they were very loud and very near.
It's like this when you hike in the Cloud Forest. Some tourists get very frustrated because they don't see any animals or birds on a long hike in the forest. It's not like a zoo here; the birds and animals are there but they blend in so well with the landscape that they are very hard to see. That's why it's important to hike with a guide, so that you know what to look for.
We actually saw some monkeys when we hiked on our farm when Kent and his family were here. They were playing in some trees across the ravine from the river. I'll look for one of those photos and post it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Jiminny Cricket

The bugs here in Costa Rica are really something special. There are a lot of them and the variety is astounding. I like to read at night when the house is quiet and the kids have fallen asleep, and I have to keep swatting the bugs away as they dive bomb into the light above the bed. When I'm on the computer at night, the light on my desk is the only light on in the house, and the bugs swarm all over the window pane (on the OUTSIDE thankfully) and I'm amazed by the sheer number and beauty of the bugs. Lots of moths that look more like butterflies. Last night there was a bright metallic green bug trying to get in. I also like the lightning bugs that twinkle outside at night - and even inside at times. One of my favorites is the walking stick. I'll post a picture of one that was on our porch.

Here's a picture of the cricket that Jo befriended the other day. I finally put the cricket in the garden so Jo wouldn't hurt him. In addition to bugs getting into the house, birds fly in. Yesterday a hummingbird flew upstairs and was banging against the skylights in a futile effort to get out. Kev managed to capture it in his hands (no easy feat - it was fast!) and when he released it out the window it looked like a magician's trick. I got a picture of it when it was resting on the windowsill.

Kev is STILL sick. He had another fever last night, and was up half the night coughing. This morning he feels better, so he's reading and doing his homework to keep up. We're also reading new book: Prince Caspian from the Chronicles of Narnia. It doesn't help that the weather for the past few days has been cloudy and rainy; the house feels damp and cold. It's chicken soup weather, so I think I'll make that for dinner!

If you also read my son Angelo's blog you will know why I am inserting this link:


  • Saipan is actually a lovely tropical island, and you can read all about it on Angelo's blog.

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006


    Getting Back to Normal

    Cate went off to school today. We didn't get up early enough for her to make the 7:10 am bus, so I drove her to school. Taking the shortcut we are only a mile from the school. It's a treacherous road that rises and turns like a roller coaster, and I have to stop and engage the 4WD before I start the climb. Kev is still running a fever, so he's home for another day. We visited his teacher Jen to get a new pack of homework, and he's home doing it now. He'll just take it easy for another day and hopefully tomorrow he'll be well enough to go back to school.

    Our mission today is to mail Tiana her party dresses! I'll go to Chunches to buy some brown paper bags that I can use to cut up and wrap the box. I figure if Angelo's coffee made it to Saipan that I'll entrust the mail system with T's dresses. I'll also buy some cigars today to send to Angelo.
    The other goal for the day is to make some cuttings and do some planing around the house. Now that rainy season is here I'm told that all I have to do is cut branches and stick them in the ground and they will grow. We'll see if that's true.

    Monday, May 22, 2006


    Wake Up Calls

    Here's what we hear every morning when we wake up:

    Sunday, May 21, 2006


    Granada Trip

    Kev is still sick from an upper respiratory infection. He had a very high fever (104.5 F.) on Friday night, and so it's a good thing that we didn't go to San Jose as planned after leaving Nicaragua. He went to see Dr. Douglas on Saturday morning and got some antibiotics, which have made him feel worse. It's a rough couple of days for him. Cate is also running a slight fever, so we just took it easy today and stayed home and watched movies. Jim took a taxi to San Jose so that he can meet with Mike and get the Jeep registered and on the road. He plans to drive the Jeep back to Monteverde. Alex, it's here for you when you get here.

    The trip to Granada was wonderful, and we all had a great time. It took us a little longer than we planned to get into Nicaragua, as we didn't know that we needed permission to take our car out of the country. We drove all the way to the border at Penas Blancas (about a 4 hour drive from Monteverde) and were told we needed a special form from the Registro in Liberia. So we drove the 1.5 hours back to Liberia and got the form we needed, and then turned around and drove back to the border. The border is little frantic; there are lots of guys hanging around working for tips to show the newcomers what they need to do to cross the border, as well as coyotesI exchanging colones and colones waving huge wads of bills in your face. ("No gracias, no gracias, NO GRACIAS!") As this was our second time at the frontera in one day we knew what to do and it was then a simple matter to cross the border: La Aduana (Customs) signed off on the Permiso and we stood in line and got our passports stamped. We then had to drive our car through a huge fumigator (can't those bugs from Costa Rica also fly across the border?!) after paying $3 for it. ("OK, everybody hold your breath!")

    Then we had to get into Nicaragua. We parked in front of immigration, and were swarmed by men eager to help us navigate through the system. There were no signs posted with instructions, so we "hired" someone to help us. First we had to get a small post-it size paper from an official in the parking lot, and then we had to have it signed by the policia. Our guy helped track the policeman down in a bus across the parking lot, and he scribbled his intials on the paper. Then, to an office inside to pay $12 to Customs, then $7 per person to Immigration and we were off - or so we thought, until we were stopped just outside the border by another official demanding $1 per person for the local government.

    The Pan American Highway in Nicaragua was in perfect condition. What a treat! Unlike the Costa Rican portion, which is badly repaired and full or potholes. The highway passed by twin volcanos and a huge lake, and the smaller road to Granada was lined with flame trees, which reminded me of Saipan. Granada is a lovely old Spanish Colonial city that was founded in the 1500's. Many of the old buildings have been restored or rebuilt, or are in the process of being restored. We stayed in a huge suite in the Alhambra Hotel. There are lots of horse carriages in the city which even the locals use as taxis. We visited the local market and bought party dresses for Catie, Tiana and Cate's friend Ryan. We ate in some great restaurants, and toured the city by carriage, car and walking. The Grandadinos were very friendly, and we would love to go back for another visit.

    Friday, May 19, 2006


    Back From Nicaragua

    We are safely back from our three day trip to Nicaragua. The border crossings were interesting, and I'll write about our trip tomorrow when I'm not so tired. Kevin is not feeling well, and is running a fever. Catie was sick while we were there. They are happy to be home again in Monteverde.

    Monday, May 15, 2006



    Here is a picture of some very good friends in Monteverde: Tina and her children Max and Isabella. Ricardo took the picure. Catie, Kevin and I are also in the picture. We walked through the coffee farm near our house a couple of weeks ago when they came over for lunch, and we are posed in an old coffee cart on the property.


    The Cabalgata in Cerro Plano

    Kevin went on his second cabalgata on Sunday, and I tagged along. This one was right in Monteverde, in Cerro Plano near the bull ring. There is a feria that lasts about 10 days, with carnivals rides, bull riding, dancing and other assorted events. The cabalgata is a major attraction. Kevin rode his horse Imperial, and I borrowed a horse from Don Enrique's stable. I forgot to ask him the horse's name. Some women and a 5 year old boy we hadn't met before rode with us from the stable to Cerro Plano. The other women hadn't ridden much and were feeling a little nervouse, and Don Enrique really enjoyed getting a rise out of them by riding up behind them, whipping the horse on its rear flank and making him gallop. I was actually happy when my horse started to trot, because it felt like we would never get there.

    The cabalgata was scheduled to leave at noon. At noon, there were only a few riders registered, so I figured we were in for a wait. The 6,000 colones (about $12) registration fee paid your entrance (with a big number to wear on your shirt or leg), lunch and three drinks. There was also complimentary beer once you signed up, as well as free chicharonnes and yucca. We waited for the other riders to arrive in a big grassy area where there was plenty of room for the horses to graze. The announcement finally came that we would leave at 2 on the dot! Remarkably, we actually started out just after two. The route went from Cerro Plano down to Santa Elana, then up towards Canitas to the soccer field, then around up by the clinic, and back up the back hill to Cerro Plano. The only really tricky part for me was descending the steep hill into Santa Elana because SO MANY horses were sliding down at the same time. Kevin was in front of me, and I decided that if he could do I could do it.

    Jim and Catie met us back at the fairgrounds, and we had our lunch in the reception hall. It was a very fun way to spend Mother's Day.

    On Tuesday morning we are driving to Nicaragua, and plan to visit Granada, a colonial city. The border is about 4 hours from here, so we plan to get an early start. Our friend Shannon is also coming with us. The kids packed about 3 days ago, so it didn't take much to get ready. I have to throw a few things together before I go to bed. I'll let you know what Granada is like!

    Saturday, May 13, 2006



    The kids are so exicited because Jim is coming home this afternoon. He's been in Winter Park for a month. He arrived last night, but decided not to take a taxi straight up to Monteverde because it is very expensive. He stayed at Mark's house last night and will take a van up later today. The kids are packed and ready to go to Nicaragua for our 3 day trip out of Costa Rica. We're planning to drive to Granada.

    We went shopping in town this morning, and also went to the library at the Friend's School. Catie got some Dr. Seuss books, and I got books byAnne Tyler, Nora Roberts and Anna Quindlan, all favorite writers of mine. Kev got a new waterproof jacket in Vitosi's, and while he was trying it on Brandon came over to say hello. Brandon is Kev's friend who was kicked by a horse in the cabalgata two weeks ago. His spleen was hurt, but he's OK now. We bought him a jacket too as a "we're glad you're OK" present. The jackets are the same, so the boys will look pretty smart in the next cabalgata - which I think is tomorrow in Cerro Plano in Monteverde.

    Cate bought another pair of sandals. So far Jo has destroyed two pairs of sandals. We also got some cute teddy bear sheets for Catie's bed. We're going to take Jo to the Vet later, and then take a ride down to Idale's house to drop off some sewing projects. I bought some material so she could make cushions for the chairs in the casita. She's also going to make some boxers for Kev and some pj's for Cate. I'm figuring out how to get things done here!

    Tonight there is another show at the Galeron Cultural and I can only hope that Nacionalito doesn't make another appearance. It is a recital for all of the children in the area who are taking music lessons. Ricardo and Tina's children Max and Isabela are playing their violins. I'm sure that we will know a lot of the performers.

    Last night Kevin and Catie attended their friend Rosie's birthday party. They had a great time between the dancing, the games and the pinata. I'll post some of the pictures here. They knew most of the kids from school.

    Thursday, May 11, 2006


    It's Raining!

    I didn't realize that when the rainy season (henceforth to be known as the green season) began that it would begin all at once. I guess I thought we would EASE into the rain. We haven't. On Sunday it was bright and sunny, and on Monday it started raining. It has poured every day this week, starting in the early afternoon and lasting all night. The good news is that now is the time to plant. Edwin Santamaria gave me some angel trumpets to plant at our house today. They are called reina de la noche here because the flowers emit a beautiful perfume at night. I'm going to clean up the garden and plant some cuttings. It's still beautiful in the mornings, as you can see in this photograph below that I took yesterday.

    When Kevin gets home from school we have to dig out the water pipe that runs under our driveway. Someone from Public Works stopped by yesterday to ask me to do it. There is so much water when it rains that every home owner has to make sure that the water can pass freely in the drains in front of their houses. Ours is quite plugged up with mud. If we don't clear it out the water will cut a ditch in front of the driveway and we won't be able to get into the garage with the car.

    Today Margarita and I walked in the woods behind the Santamaria's cafeteria. It was a pretty strenuous hike and we heard a lot of birds. I left the dogs at home because on our walk yesterday Jumper chased, caught and killed a small chicken. This will NOT make me popular with the neighbors. From now on I'm only going to let her run free on our farm.


    Living in a Cloud Forest

    Technically, our house is not located in a cloud forest. It's classified as rain shadow forest, which sounds like a Cat Stevens song. However, every afternoon this week we have been living in a cloud. It's pretty eerie; I was driving yesterday and could barely see the road in front of me. At least there isn't any more dust. As you can imagine, it's very damp. I'll post a picture of the "view" in front on my house right now. It has started to rain torrentially again. I have to drive to town to pick up Catie in a few minutes, so I'll be driving in a cloud again.


    The Guest House (Casita)

    It's 6 a.m., and almost time for Kevin and Catie to get up. They both migrated to my bed during the night and even Joe snuck in there and is cuddled right next to Catie. It's a beautiful clear morning. The rains of the past two days have cleared the dust from the air (it hadn't rained in the almost 4 months we have been here!) and brightened up the landscape. I swear plants are already starting to grow again in my garden. So... if you want to come and see the view, here's where you can stay. The guest house is located on the same half acre lot as our house, separated from our house by a little garden area. It has two bedrooms and two bath, a kitchen and a sitting area. The kids want to sleep there tonight in the new bunkbed.

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006


    Happy Birthday Joe Stacy!

    Now if I could only remember how old you are! We'll be thinking about you today.


    Our House

    A friend of a friend wanted to see some pictures of our houses here, and I realized that I had never posted any pictures of the houses in Santa Elena on my blog! I'll put some pictures of the main house on today, and of the guest house tomorrow. The main house is a two story two-bedroom two-bath chalet style home built by a friend of ours from Austria. There is a wrap around porch, and a back porch area where we have an outside sink, storage, and a washer and drier. The first floor has a bedroom and bath, living room and kitchen. The second floor is a loft with one bedroom, one bath and a nook where Catie sleeps and has her books and toys. The house has a beautiful view of the Gulf of Nicoya on the Pacific side that changes from day to day, depending on the weather. Today we are in a cloud, and I can barely see the mountains much less the ocean!

    Monday, May 08, 2006


    Just Another Manic Monday

    I missed putting out the trash by about 2 minutes this morning... if I don't get the trash out before 7 am it's too late. And of course I can't put it out the night before because every dog in the neighborhood would come and make confetti out of it. The kids barely made it to the bus this morning. I said we would have to walk to school (a mile away, 90% of it uphill) if they were late. They made it to the bus stop in time.

    My neighbor Denise had invited me to walk with her this morning, so I went to her house at 8:30 am with Joe and Jumper. We decided to walk up through La Cruz, a distance of about 3 miles or so. Jumper was behaving so well that once we were off the main road I let her off the leash. She approached a few farm dogs along the way who were amazingly friendly, and so I was completely taken by surprise when she saw three small goats in front of someone's house and ran after them. She managed to catch one of them, and was in the process of trying to bite off a hind leg (or so it appeared) when our screams alerted the inhabitants of the house, who rushed to save the goat. Jumper is lucky they didn't shoot her.

    I managed to get Jumper back on her leash, and Denise held her while I went to assess the damage done to the goat. Jumper killed a duck in another neighborhood a few weeks ago, so I wasn't hopeful. Luckily the goat was unharmed, and it turned out that I knew the people in the house. The woman owns the store where we bought our cell phone, and her husband drives the school bus. Oh dear. They were very understanding.

    We had dinner tonight (hamburgers and fries) with Nicollette, Ryan and Jackson at the Santamaria Cafeteria, which is a little restaurant up the street from our houses. While we were there the rainy season started, or so it would seem. It started to rain torrentially, and it is still raining heavily now an hour after we're home. This is really the first real rain we've had since we've been here, and we can probably expect that there will be rain like this every day until we leave in June.

    Sunday, May 07, 2006


    Sunday at the Galeron Cultural

    We had a busy day today. Ricardo and Tina Sander and their two children Max and Isabella and their dog Monty came over for lunch today. We all went for a walk on the coffee tour and all the dogs went for a swim in the stream. Jumper is becoming more civilized - I walk with her on the leash until we get to the coffee farm, and then I let her loose. She plays and runs for about 30 minutes, and then I sit down until she approaches me, and I catch her and put her back on the leash. Thank you Mike Montgomery for teaching us this trick! I have been taking her out every morning once the kids leave for school, and so I think she has learned that she needs to let me put the leash back on her.

    We came back to the house and had fish and chicken for lunch, with rice and salad. Kevin made brownies, and we had them with ice cream for dessert. The fish is one that Jim caught in Tamarindo. I think it was wahoo.

    At 3:30 we went up to Monteverde to the Galeron Cultural with our neighbors Nicolette, Ryan and Jackson to see what we thought would be a puppet show. It was packed! We knew a lot of people there, and the kids had fun because a lot of their friends were there, and they could run and play before the show started. The show started with a huge inflated figure who was shaped like a building and was called Nacionalito. Aha! I figured it out - the show was sponsored by Banco Nacional and this was a plug for the bank. The MC called children up by grade levels and asked them simple mathematical questions, and everyone got prizes. Kev and Catie didn't go up because it was all in Spanish, and then felt somewhat intimidated.

    The room was overly crowded, it was very hot and it was hard to see the see the stage, and as Kev and Cate weren't understanding much anyway, we went and sat outside and they played some more. The adults laughed about the inflatable building person; we figured he would be downing a lot of beer tonight to compensate for how hot he must have been inside that plastic suit. On a somber note, it would appear that Banco Nacional is at least working on community relations/public relations by sponsoring these cultural events, following last year's bank assult when 9 people died and many more were injured in the bank. I think it's great that they are offering these programs in the community.

    It's a school night, so we'll all go to bed early. Most nights we are all in bed by 8 pm. It's light by 5 am, so we tend to go to bed and get up early.


    Now THAT'S A Bug...

    Kevin and Catie and Ryan were playing outside the casita today and found a rhinosoraus beetle. I might just add that bug to the list of things I will miss about Costa Rica. There's something special about a bug that is almost as big as your dog. That's Kev's size 7 boot in the picture with him.

    Saturday, May 06, 2006



    Today was the feria for the Cloud Forest School, where Kevin and Catie go to school. This is an opportunity for the school to raise money by selling food, used clothes and sponsoring games. I volunteered to help with the cachivache, the used clothes sale. At our last parents' meeting, we were asked to come to help out at the school around 1:00 pm on Thursday. Only two other mothers turned up, so we got to work opening bags and bags and more bags of used clothes that had been donated for the sale. The clothes were stored in the prepa classroom, and so we had to carry everything up to the colegio, which under normal circumstances is a pleasant walk uphill through the woods. It was less pleasant lugging several hefty bags full of clothes. We worked until 4:00 pm, and realized that we would need to come back on Friday to finish.

    On Friday morning I picked up my new friend Lidieth and we drove to the school together. Her daughter Rosie is in Kevin's grade, but in another class. We were the only volunteers, and so we got to work separating all the clothes. We had a lot of fun because some of the clothes were pretty outrageous, straight out of the '70's. Some of them looked like they might have come with the first wave of Quackers. (Monteverde was founded by a group of Quakers from the southern U.S. in the 1950's.) We worked until school was dismissed at noon, and then figured we would all go have lunch at my house and come back and finish up.

    The car wouldn't start when we went to leave. This happens with some frequency, and I have to take my wrench and bang on the battery cables, which usually fixes it, and the car starts. No such luck. A teacher at the school, Kevin, tried to jump the car, and when that didn't work, tried to clean out the alternator and then checked the battery water level. That didn't work either. I called the taller where I had taken the car earlier in the week to fix the brakes, clean out the air filter and afix the rear view mirror, and Ramon and Carlos were there within minutes to check it out. They didn't have any luck either. They checked all the fuses, admitted defeat, and said they would be RIGHT BACK with more tools. I should not have believed them. An hour later when they hadn't returned I called the taller to find out where they were, and the manager expressed surprise because he thought they had already fixed my car. They were back working in the taller and hadn't said anything to anyone. ARGHHH! I couldn't get angry; the manager called me Donita and said he would take care of it. Sure enough, the owner Jorge arrived on the scene in about 5 minutes. He deduced that the alarm system had somehow cut off the supply of gasoline to the engine, and said he'd have to tow the car back to the taller. This involved tying my car to his car using a length of fireman's hose. We all piled into Jorge's car and drove back to the taller, towing the Land Rover. Jorge told me he would work on the car in the morning, which he did. He never did find out what was wrong... after giving up on it, he started the car and it started. And he only charged me 15,000 colones, which is about $30.

    Back to the cachivache - I didn't realize that I had the key to the classroom where the cachivache was to take place, and there was an eager crowd waiting to get in at 9:30 am for the sale which started at 10. One of the teachers had to break in, as no one knew who had the key. I got there right at 10, and the sale was in full swing. It was like a scene from Filene's Bargain Basement on a holiday sale day. I had no idea the cachivache would be so popular. It makes sense, though. There is really nowhere to shop in Monteverde, and new clothes are rather expensive. The prices at the cachivache were 300 colones (about $.60) for all the women's and children's clothing, and 500 colones (about $.95) for all the pants, shorts and skirts. Such a deal! I had to leave to pick up my car before the taller closed at noon, and so I couldn't stay until the end of the sale at 1:00 p.m. I'm sure the school made a lot of money even though everything was so cheap because we sold so many things.

    Kevin bought himself two pairs of overalls, 4 shirts (one of them says "WANTED: Will trade sister for new bike", and one is a Life is Good t-shirt), 2 hats and a belt for approximately $6.00. I got 2 pairs of shorts, three shirts, a skirt and two scarves. Catie bought a stuffed cat that has a pouch for the baby kitty. A good time was had by all!

    Kevin and I modelled some of our purchases when we got home.

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006


    Things We Will Miss When We Leave Monteverde

    1. Riding down the main street in Santa Elena on horseback.
    2. Climbing trees at school.
    3. Fireflies lighting up the night in front of our house every night.
    4. The view of the Gulf of Nicoya from our front porch.
    5. Kevin's friends Brandon, Derek and Jose Andres.
    6. Ceviche.
    7. Imperial (the horse, not the beer).
    8. Reading in a hammock.
    9. Going to Sabores for brownie delight ice cream sundaes.
    10. Blue Morpho butterflies.
    11. Seeing millions of stars at night, including the Southern Cross.

    Monday, May 01, 2006


    The Cabalgata

    Kevin participated in his first cabalgata yesterday with Raol and his family. A cabalgata, according to Angelo's AP Spanish 150 dictionary from Winter Park High School, is a cavalcade - which I assume must be a huge group of horsemen, because that's basically what the cabalgata was all about. It took place in La Lindora, a small village on the outskirts of Monteverde, before Los Llanos.

    Kevin went to Raol's stable (El Refugio) first, to groom his horse. Joaquin, Raol's brother, and Don Enrique, Raol's father-in-law, were there already grooming their horses. Eventually, over the next 2 hours (we were early as usual by Costa Rican standards) the group consisting of Raol, his wife Leidy, son Brandon, brother Joaquin and friend Grady assembled, and finally left the stable for La Lindora around 12:30. They let Kevin lead the way, which surprised me. Catie and her friend Ryan and I drove to La Lindora and met them there.

    The road down the mountain is very narrow, and so just picture it with cars and trucks loaded with horses lining the stretch on both sides that passes through the village. There were more horses than I have ever seen in one place, all of them saddled up and tied up along the road interspersed with the cars and trucks. The girls were hoping for cotton candy, but there wasn't any. The main attraction was chicharrones (fried pork skin) and lots of beer. They settled for chicharrones. A sound truck blasting music and announcing different aspects of LA GRAN CABALGATA LA LINDORA! added to the confusion.

    Kev and the gang rode up around 1:00 p.m., and registered. All the riders got white signs with a number which they pinned to their shirts or trousers. Kev was number 155. I asked Raol if the riders had to leave in order and his wife looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Estamos en Costa Rica!". What was I thinking; chaos was the order of the day. The entrance fee of 6,000 colones entitled Kev to ride in the cabalgata, 3 drinks, unlimited chicharones, lunch and a chance to win a bull. The cabalgata finally got underway around 2:30, about an hour after the scheduled departure. The horses left in no particular order, in several stages. They rode for about an hour and half along little travelled roads and through farms in the area, and Kev told me that about halfway through a beer truck showed up and everyone stopped and had a beer. There was also a stop for lunch, consisting of ceviche (raw fish soaked in lime juice and cilantro) along the way.

    The day would have been perfect except that Brandon, Raol's son, was kicked by a horse in his back. We don't know the whole story yet; Brandon was apparently in front of Kev, and had dismounted, when a horse kicked him. A passing bus took him to the clinica, and then later an ambulence took him to the hospital in Puntarenas. We stopped by the clinica to see if we could see him before they left for the hospital, but we just missed them. A nurse told us that Brandon's kidney was hurt by the kick. I've called his house several times today, but the number is always busy.

    Update: Brandon is doing better. He is having some tests done to determine the extent of his injury.

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?