Sunday, July 15, 2007


San Rafael Campo de Oro

We heard there was a cabalgata today in San Rafael, so we figured we'd go for a ride in the Jeep to check it out. The Jeep has been in San Jose for the past year at Mark's house, and Jim drove it back up the mountain when he got back from San Jose on Saturday. It looks great because our friend John painted it and fixed all the rust spots last year for us. Jumper came with us for the ride.

We drove to San Rafael, but didn't see any evidence of a cabalgata, so we stopped to ask for directions, and someone told us to keep driving; it was further down the mountain. We kept going and going, and still didn't see anything, so we stopped again for directions. A guy walking by said he lived in San Rafael, and hadn't heard about a cabalgata, but had seen some of his neighbors riding away on horseback earlier, so he thought maybe it was further down the mountain. So, we kept driving and were about to turn around figuring we had missed it when we stopped to ask someone driving a small truck if he had heard about the cabalgata, and he said that was where he was heading, so we followed him.

Good thing we found him because he turned onto a smaller road, and headed up a different mountain. After another fifteen minutes or so driving on a progessively rockier road, we finally approached a few other cars in the road who had stopped to park, and realized that we had arrived. There weren't many riders; I'd guess at the most about 50. Normally the cabalgatas are held in the dry season, when it's a lot easier to ride. We walked around and looked at the horses, and the ride finally started at about 2:15 pm, about 2 hours past the scheduled time, which was unfortunate as it started pouring around 2:30, so everyone would have a two hour ride in the rain. I imagine that most people don't care, as they start drinking much earlier in the day, and I'm pretty sure the beer truck follows the riders.

We stayed for a while in the crowded community center and listened to the music, and then decided to head home. We only saw a few people we knew, and we were the only gringos. We were just past the center of San Rafael when Jim noticed that the Jeep was overheating, so we pulled over to see what the problem was. As soon as we raised the hood, a car going in the other direction pulled over to help us. Turned out it was our friend Manolo's cousin Raoul and his wife Marleny, on their way to Las Juntas. Raoul knew a whole lot more about cars than we did, and we were soon on our way back home.


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