Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.

Iguanas in Filadelfia, Lunch, Ice-cream, and Dinner

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Today was listed as a free morning.   I found out that meant that our hosts would plan to take us someplace.  Yesterday I realized that Susan’s host, Betty, may not have been arranging to go someplace with her so Lee (our coordinator) asked Vilma if she could come with us.  Vilma’s, Sergio’s, and Daniel’s plan was to first go to the playa and then to see Iguanas.

When I got up, I realized that I had a bit of a sunburn from yesterday.  So I said, “No mas sol.”  What I meant was that I would have to stay in the shade at the beach.  I knew that Vilma would also be doing that.  My hosts are so very considerate of my needs and I don’t think Vilma actually wanted to be at the beach.  They changed the plans.

After eating the fantastic omelet that Sergio made for breakfast, we picked up Susan from Betty’s home. Vilma tried to get our selfie but her arm wasn’t long enough so Sergio took a photo of Sue, Vilma, and me in the car.

It took almost an hour to drive to our destination.  First we stopped at a wooden church that was over 100 years old.  It was closed today so I just took a photo from outside.

Sergio stopped to show me a Jicaro tree.  These Jicaro look small but they can get as big as coconuts.  I read on the web that a very tough, smooth wooden shell encloses a mass of seeds and stickiness not unlike what you’d find inside a pumpkin. When green they are really hard to crack open, and the stuff inside smells like a haunted middle-school locker-room. (by which I mean, it is not a pleasant smell) Once they are mature and dry the shell cracks smartly–and the insides smell like a brewery.  The shells are not only used as practical containers, but are a popular canvas for artists who carve them into special drinking cups, and other decorative objects.  Sometimes they are used to make maracas. The seeds of the Jicaro are, in fact, used widely in a local drink.

Sergio was explaining about the use of the jicaro to me.  Sergio teaches his students in his classroom to make bowls similar to the jicama bowls out of clay.  He shared some of photos of his class with me.


They bake the clay in the oven.

Sergio is so dedicated to his students and giving them experiences to enhance their learning.

Next we went to visit an Iguana park in Filadelfia.  The 8000 inhabitants must be quite proud of their indigenous heritage. We visited a very impressive plaza with lot of very friendly people occupying most of the benches in the park. This little town is not on the main road and it is very rarely visited by tourists. The plaza was not built or maintained having tourists in mind.  The park – plaza is in great shape because it is loved and needed by the community.

We walked around the plaza watching iguanas and taking photos.  There is no fence around the plaza and it is very interesting that the Iguanas do not leave.  There are Mango trees all around the plaza and the Iguanas are happy there.

We sat on some benches and enjoyed eating mangos and pineapple that Vilma brought for us.

We tossed the skin of the mangos and pineapple to the Iguana and watched them eat it.  The pineapple was much more difficult for them to eat.  Of course, I think the mangos were the easiest.

On the way home we stopped at a cantaloupe farm but they would not let us go inside.  Sergio stopped on the side of the road for some fruit.  At home Sergio and Vilma made a delicious lunch for Susan and me.  There was potatoes, meat, chicken, cabbage and the wonderful tomato/cilantro/onion mix.


After lunch we rested until it was time to go.  The schedule said ‘coffee” but in fact we drove quite a ways out of town where we could buy souvenirs.  I did not purchase anything.  Then we were offered desserts and coffee. But we noticed that they had ice-cream (helado).  That was delicious.

The six of us Cultural Ambassadors from Oregon chapter of Partners of Americas decided to take our hosts and Tico support group out for dinner tonight.  Twenty-two of us had dinner at Sabor Porteño.  I had Mediterranean fish that was absolutely fantastic.  Rigo, our bus driver surprised all of us with gifts. We all had a wonderful time.  Here are some of the photos I took tonight.

Sergio, Vilma and Nancy


Ann and Sylvia


Nancy and Alondra


Betty and Susan


Betty’s daughter and granddaughter




Janice and Alicia


Ana, Barbara, and Ana’s Mom





I missed a photo of Lee and her host so I will have to get that tomorrow.

After we finished dinner, Sergio was taking Lucy and Randy home.  But instead we stopped for them to buy something at a store and we headed to Sylvia’s house for a party. and dancing.  I had no idea we were going to do that.  When we arrived, Sylvia told us that we were not going to have the party because Ann was going to bed.  I went into the house to ask Ann to come out to the party.  Sylvia, Randy, Ann, and a friend of Sylvia’s daughter did a very small bit  of dancing.  Sergio was very, very tired so he and Vilma went home.  Randy said he would take me back to their house later.

Vilma took a photo of me dancing.

Ann, because she speaks and understands Spanish, could understand the conversations.  I enjoyed sitting with everybody and listening to the lively conversation.  I was nervous about waking Vilma when I got home so Randy and Lucy took me home.

The hospitality of the people who are putting together all of our experiences and hosting us is so wonderful.  I am so enjoying Vilma and Sergio.  I love to hear their laughter.

It is 12:30 am and we are meeting our group for our last day in Liberia at 8:00 am so off to bed.

Author: Nancy Panitch

Traveling has been a passion of Nancy Panitch's life and she loves seeing how people in other cultures live. Her travels have taken her to many places within the United States, Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa. Being around people inspires her and she has much gratitude for the kindred Souls that are joining together with her in body, mind, and heart. She moved from Chicago to Portland, Oregon in 1982. It was one of the best decisions of her life. While in Portland she stays very, VERY busy. She volunteers (Inter-Religious Action Network, Human Rights Council, & ushering for various theaters); attends a Unitarian Universalist church; goes hiking with groups (Cascade Prime Timers & Trails Club of Oregon) and also with individual friends. Book groups, movie group, and bridge groups occupy her time as well. Her quiet activities include yoga, knitting, Sudoku, and reading. She enjoys all of these activities, but making time to see her wonderful 4 grandchildren takes priority over it all. She is happy to share this blog and hopes to encourage others to travel.

One thought on “Iguanas in Filadelfia, Lunch, Ice-cream, and Dinner

  1. I can’t wait till you get to the cloud forest since I’ve not been there in 33 years or so. I do love the iguanas and time in the hot springs so that was good to see.
    Nancy, things are pretty good back in Portland and I only have had one electrical repair to do back at you homestead.
    Weather here is a tad different and I saw some sun today, but got no burn.


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