Mario and I drove to Majela’s home where Barbara is staying. Then Majela drove us to the the church for our bus ride to San José. Majela asked Barbara and I to give our jewelry to her to keep for us while we were in San José.
The first place we visited was the National Theater. We had to wait a while for the English speaking tour guide. So we walked around outside. Barbara and I noticed this unusual looking bird. We asked the man at the door what it was and he said it was a pigeon that was all puffed up to dry itself off.
Before we began our tour, we took our usual group photo.
The guide began by telling us about how the building of the theater began. In the late 1800s the wealthy coffee merchants who had traveled to Europe wanted to build a theater in Costa Rica. The construction of the theater was funded by a tax on the coffee exports. The construction was taking a long time and one coffee planter begged the government to remove the export tax on his product and and instead tax all exports (mostly including rice and beans). This is an important point because since it means that all Costa Ricans helped to pay for the new National Theater. The construction took from 1890 to 1897. The theater is considered a theater for everybody.
We walked through the doors and were greeted by a man in costume who said he would take over for our guide. He said he was Senior José Antonia, the man who designed the theater.
The guide turned us over to him to continue our tour. Then when we entered the theater, our guide rejoined us in costume and José Antonio introduced her as the First Lady of Costa Rica, Señora Rodriguez.
The two of them continued our tour.
We continued our tour with the two of them.
The chairs of in the theater were brought from New York City.
They showed us a video of how the chairs are removed by a mechanical wheel designed in 1895 that is pushed by 12 people.
We sat in the box seats of the theater which are not the best seats for viewing the performances. The people in the box seats come to visit with each other. The best seats for acoustics are on the top floor which are the least expensive seats.
At one point the woman acting as Señora Rodriguez excused herself and when we walked from one room to another we found her laying on the floor. She said she feel from the mural on the ceiling. When she stood up, she was holding two bananas. What a kick.
They proceeded to tell us about the Allegory of Coffee and Bananas by Milanese Artist, Aleardo Villa.. They joked about a couple of the the mistakes in the mural and explained that since Aleardo had never been to Costa Rica, he didn’t know that coffee was not grown near the coast. She was holding the bananas because the depiction of the bananas in the mural are painted upside down. Nevertheless this mural is very famous and is featured on the 5 colón bill
I copied this photo of the mural from the web.
When we got home Mario and Auria pointed out another mistake in the mural. There is a woman holding a basket as she is picking coffee beans. That basket should have been tied around her waist to leave her hands free.
I didn’t take many photos but here are a few.
There are two waiting rooms (one for men and one for women). This is the men’s.
This is for champaign.
As we were leaving, they showed us this sculpture which depicts motherhood and poverty.
I am leaving out many of the details of this absolutely delightful tour. The two actors were wonderful.
We stopped for a snack at the Theater restaurant. I had delicious soup and a smoothy.
We walked through the streets in San José and went to the indoor market where Barbara purchased a coffee dripper device. We did not spend a lot of time at the market. Somebody pointed out this drain cover.
The translation of these words are, “The sea starts here, don’t liter.”
We went out for lunch and then to the Museo de Jade. It has one of the most important Pre-Columbian jade collections in America. The pieces that are displayed come from all the archaeological regions of the country. There were many halls No photos were allowed.
After we arrived home I had the privilege of taking Mario and Aurea out to dinner. We had a delicious dinner at La Terraza de Luna in San Pedro.
Mario pointed out that the walls of the restaurant have photos and the names of the people of this area painted onto them.
Then the owner brought me a small can of paint and asked me to put my name on the wall.
Apparently the names on the wall are from more than the regional people. What a kick. It was a great ending to this day.
February 24, 2020 at 8:16 am
I love traveling vicariously with you.