Thursday, June 15, 2006
How Kevin Fell Off the Mountain
The day I took this video the wind was quite strong on the upper slopes of our farm. You can hear it blowing. Kevin didn't actually fall off the mountain, but he did slip and tumble and slide into a boulder. The view is fantastic from this point. You can see the Cloud Forests in Santa Elena and Monteverde in one direction, and all of Guanacaste in the other direction. It's so quiet up there except for the sound of the wind and the bird calls, which is why we have named our farm Cancion del Viento.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Back on Track
We have had a busy two weeks. Kevin finished second grade at the Cloud Forest School, Catie graduated from Prepa, we went to Tamarindo for a weekend and we had a 5 day visit from our friends Mark, Susan, Adam and Eva from Lake Highland. And my computer crashed, and I just got it back today.
Kev had had a rough two weeks, which is one of the reasons I haven't written much lately. He came down with swollen glands and had to take antibiotics, and then got bronchitis and had to take more antibiotics. He missed about a week of school, which wasn't fun because he missed a couple of field trips. He did make it to the Bat Jungle, which he enjoyed. You may notice that he is wearing a sling in his class picture. When we were hiking on our farm he fell off the mountain and ripped a muscle in his arm. It helped the pain to wear the sling, and it looked pretty cool too. Just as this arm was healing, he fell again and hurt his other arm. He's all better now! We brought Imperial (his horse) home a couple of days ago, and he's enjoying taking care of him and riding more.
Cate's graduation was on Friday at the Galeron Cultural. She graduated with the 6th, 9th and 11th grades. She is officially ready for 1st grade! It was a very nice ceremony, and afterwards we all went out to dinner at Mar y Tierra and then had dessert at Sofias.
Cate lost her second tooth today, and is waiting for the Ratoncito leave her some money. Apparently the tooth fairy doesn't make the rounds here to collect baby teeth, but a big rat does. If the Ratoncito does show up no doubt Jo will attack him. Last night the neighbor's dog snuck into our house through Jo's cat door, and Jo sounded an alarm that must have woken up the neighborhood. Jo is very protective of Catie and sleeps cuddled up to her every night. He now has his paperwork to come back to the U.S. with us. We just have to have it stamped by the Ministerio de Salud in San Jose. In case anyone was wondering, Imperial is staying in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica plays Ecuador on June 15th. Go Wachope! The World Cup fever in Costa Rica is incredible. There is so much national pride that Costa Rica is playing. The game airs here at 7 am, so I imagine that we'll combine breakfast at Maravilla with watching the game.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
We sent Alex's old Jeep to Costa Rica about a year and a half ago, and it has been at John's in San Jose. John's workers took out all the rust and repainted it, and it looks fantastic, especuially with the big off-road tires. Jim had to get it registered in San Jose before the inspection expired on Monday, and then he drove it up to Monteverde last Friday. Yesterday we had the winch soldered on, so we are ready for some off-road driving. Luckily, most of the normal roads here fit that description. We went to a party last Saturday night at a friend's house in Monteverde and drove our next door neighbors home in the Jeep. Mark was visiting, so that made 8 of us riding in the Jeep! It was a lot of fun.
Jim's friend Mark came for a short visit on the weekend. We all bought some beautiful jewelry from a Chilean guy on his way back to Guatemala. Kev got a Chilean arrow head on a leather necklace and Mark got a shark tooth crowned with turquoise and a garnet. I got a really different necklace made from two pieces of amber framed in silver and mounted on a seed cover.
We did some walking on our farm, and we're looking forward to fixing up the road on the farm enough so that we can drive in soon. When I walk along the road by the farm it feels like I'm on the top of the world, as it's the highest elevation as far as the eye can see.
We went up to the Cloud Forest Reserve on Sunday with Mark and visited the Hummingbird Gallery. I see hummingbirds (colibris) in front of our house every day.
The road up the mountain from Liberia is a little better than the road up the mountain coming from San Jose. I imagine that the distinction might be lost on a lot of newcomers who probably ask themselves "They call this a road?!". The turnoff to Monteverde is about 2 hours from Liberia on the Inter American Highway; it's a left hand turn shortly after crossing Rio Abangares and passing the right hand turn to Amistad Bridge. There's a small square white concrete bus stop on the left at the corner, with a sign pointing to Las Juntas de Albangares.
The road up the mountain at first is deceptively good; it's paved and striped and only starts to deteriorate as it passes through Las Juntas. Follow the signs through Las Juntas for Santa Elena and Monteverde. In a leafy, shady part of town you will pass by a public park with an old gold mining train (gold is still mined in Las Juntas!). Keep an eye out for a sign on the right that will indicate a left hand turn to Monteverde. You will then pass over a narrow bridge and keep to the right while passing the blue statues of the miners in the middle of the rotary.
Once you pass through Las Juntas the road is paved for a only a short distance, and then you'll be driving a lot slower to avoid hitting potholes, knows as huecos. This is the green season, which means that it is raining a lot almost every day and the water is hard on the roads. It will take about an hour to get from the highway to Santa Elena. The views when you ascend the mountain are breathtaking, and worth the bad road you have to take to get there. There's a reason the store in town sells a popular t shirt that says: "I survived the road to Monteverde!". One of the first businesses you pass is the Don Juan Coffee Tour. From here, it is another few mintues to the center of Santa Elana.