Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.

Leave a comment

Off to Grecia and San Rafael – Feb 19th

I enjoyed having breakfast this morning with Emilia, Elise, and Pablo.  Pablo is such a joker and I will miss him.

We gathered on the corner to say good-bye to those who were not coming in the bus with us.

I am going to miss Emilia so much.

We stopped along the road to see the view of the Cerro de la Muerte  which is also called Cerro Buenavista. It is a mass of 3 491 meters of altitude that is part of the Cordillera de Talamanca,  We took a couple of photos.

I think this is the 1st time we did a “Act Crazy” shot.

In the past the Ticos took the Oregonians on a hike to the top but some people complained.  I saw people up on the trail and wished we could have done that hike this year although I am pretty out of shape from not getting much exercise over the past couple of weeks.

They stopped at a place for us to use el bano and get a snack.  Quiro said we could have anything we wanted to get to eat.  I chose ice-cream.


Lee let me have a bit of her guacamole which was also delicious.

Barbara, Ann, and Quiro bought some food for an Indigenous family that was sitting outside.  I took a couple of photos.

When we arrived in Grecia, Quiro and Marco greeted each other.

I found out that Marco Murillo and his wife, Auria Montero were going to be my hosts.

We took a group photo at the church.

Omar took a photo of me near the church.

Grecia’s church, Iglesia de la Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes, is a very interesting structure in Grecia. The church is the center of most towns in Costa Rica; the towns social core, the origin of all directions. However, Grecia’s church is unique – both because it is RED and because it is made entirely of prefabricated metal sheets.

After hugging Quiro, Daysy, Omar, and Elizia, I left with Marco.  He speaks English so we were able to converse all the way to his house which is actually in San Rafael (an area 30 minutes outside of Grecia).  Marco told me that the whole area used to be coffee farms and there were very few homes.  He pointed out the school he attended as a child.  His home is located on what was his grandfather’s coffee plantation I was awestruck when we arrived.  This place is absolutely stunningly beautiful.

Marco took my suitcase up to my bedroom (or should I say bedroom suite).

Then Auria served lunch for me.  Wow.  What a beautiful meal and it was absolutely delicious.

We had wonderful conversations while I was eating lunch.  I learned so much. Marco told me a lot about Costa Rica.  He learned English when he went to the Florida State University in Tallahassee.   He was a math instructor.  This is just a bit about what I was told:

  • How he and Auria met and married over 45 years ago.
  • Auria previous work as a teacher then becoming the  administrator for the entire district.
  • The refugee populations in Costa Rica – mostly form Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Elsalvador
  • 2 families from their Parish in San Rafael.  Auria talked to people on the phone about organizing how to get their homes rebuilt.

Then Marco took me for a walk around the grounds.  He explained that the coffee plantation was divided between himself and his sisters by his mother.  He had this house built on his portion of the property.  Marco told me a story about the tree in this photo.  When he picked coffee on his grandfathers plantation, he and the other workers would hang their lunches on this tree and then eat them under the shade of the tree.  It is about 75 years old and when he had his house built, he made sure the tree stayed.  We took photos of each other.

Then we took a stroll around some of the property with Marco pointing out the vegetation and fruit trees and me taking photos that, of course, do not capture the beauty of the area..


Then I had time to take some photos of the house.  This is the entrance.

Their cat and dog play with each other.

The kitchen…

The staircase to my room.

Part of the living room areas.

I had a bit of time to get organized in my room and then we left for the “Welcome Party” in Grecia. On the way Marco pointed out one of the places where the coffee pickers / farm workers live.

The party was in the outside area where Ann is living at Aurea’s home.We had a wonderful dinner and great conversations.

I took some photos of the Oregonians and their hosts.

Barbara with Mayela

Sue with Armando and Rosarita

Ann and Aurea

Lee and Felicia

Janice and Fredy and Rosannia

Mario, Auria, and me

I love the sound of the sound of the gusts of wind blowing through the trees outside my window tonight as I am getting read for bed.

I am looking forward to four more days in San Rafael and Grecia and time to get to know our hosts.

Leave a comment

BambuTico and Farewell Party + Feb 18

At breakfast I tried a new fruit called Pejibaye which is a national fruit of Costa Rica.  I heard about it the other day from Sue and Ann.  Emilia and Elise put mayonnaise on it.  It had a strange, kind of stringy texture.  I only ate a small piece of it.


After breakfast we drove to a Bamboo Factory named BambuTico.

Lee interpreted what the great granddaughter was telling us.

  • It is a family business that was started by the great grandfather of woman who was giving us the tour. He was growing bamboo for pleasure.
  • Her father realized that they could turn this pleasure into a business.  In about 1980 the Retana Quirós family started making furniture and now have expanded and now grow 72 species of Bamboo.
  • In addition to handcrafted items, they sell raw material, do construction, and created Bamboo furniture.
  • 7 of the 10 children work

The family learned a lot from China and other Asian countries about the processes they needed to use and then adapted them for their own needs.  On our tour we learned about the process of growing, cutting, immunizing, and cleaning the bamboo for use.

When we were looking at the handcrafted projects, Susan was enjoying some time with their dog.

I took a few photos as we toured the factory.

They fire this wood to make it bend.

He is cutting a notch in the bamboo.

Then the pieces can be bent to make a form.

The forms are put together into a square shape.

And use to make a piece of furniture.

Quiro is holding a black bamboo.  The seeds for black bamboo come from Indonesia.

An interesting fact is that bamboo actually has veins. They inject chemicals into one end of the bamboo to treat for insects.  Then the chemicals travels through veins in bamboo.  The insecticide is colored so when it comes through the veins they can tell it has reached the other side.

As we were touring the factory, I took a photo of Quiro’s wife, Daysy, and there son who joined us at the factory.

After the factory we went to the home of José Rojas and Flor Herrara for afternoon treats.  They bought this place in order to have a spot to entertain their friends.  The pumpkin soup and other treats were delicious.

Chemo Jose Maria and Antoniela served the treats to us at the party.

Eliza took Sue and I to see an orchid growing along the road.

I took a photo of Eliza and the orchid.

Emilia, Elise and I went home to get ready for the farewell party in the afternoon.  Emilia gave me this beautiful bamboo cup that she purchased at the factory for me.

The Ticos in Peréz Zeledón threw an amazing farewell party for us at the home of Dunuvio Bedoya and Blanca Rosa Barrautes.  They created these beautiful bouquets of real fruit on each table.

For some reason the photos that Emilia and I both took lack quality but I am posting them for memories.

Speeches were given praising us and the lasting friendship being formed among all of us. Maria Elena made a poem out of the word, “Amego” describing all the wonderful characteristics of friendhip.

This is Marena Elena, Quiro, Blanquita, and Daysy.

Omar, Eliza, Emilia and Elisa were having a great time.

I held the Costa Rican flag.

The six Oregonians had our photo taken with Elise…

… and again without Elise.

Susan with her host, Elvie.

Lee, Ann, Omar and I

Sangria was served along with several treats.  The time I have had with Emilia and Elise is imbedded in my heart.  I can hardly believe that this is our last night together.

This man sang for us and we danced and laughed and danced and laughed  and danced.and laughed for hours.

The fun loving nature of the Ticos in Peréz Zeledón is infectious.  Eliza and Omar were dancing.  I love to see them together.

Chema José Maria  and  Antonieta

The men and women are fabulous dancers.  We all had so much fun together.  I wish I had taken photos of every person at the party.

We were served a delicious dinner and then we sang and danced some more.  It was hard to leave this wonderful time of laughter and joy.

Emilia, Elise, and I were on our way home when I realized that I couldn’t find my cell phone.  I must have laid it down when my Oregonian friends sang a silly song for the Ticos. I couldn’t believe I had done that.  Emilia and Elise were very tired.  Emilia pulled the car into a parking lot by a bar and texted her cousins.  She had to make several phone calls to try to figure out who had my cell phone.  Catalina (one of Emilie’s cousins) and her boyfriend, Mario came out to the car.  After many calls, she discovered that Lee had my phone. and we called her at the home where she was staying. Lee could have brought the phone to me in the morning, but she didn’t have the correct cables to charge it.   I was so surprised when Emilia took me into the bar and introduced me to another cousin, Lizbet (Catalina’s Mom) and her father, Sigifredo. The music in the bar was really loud.  Lizbet took me onto the dance floor and we danced.

There were strobe lights and a small band.  The sounds were very, very loud – louder than at our farewell party.

Emilia and Elise went in the car to get my phone from Lee.  Lizbet and I kept dancing.

This is Sigrfredo and Lizbet.

This is Mario and Catalina.

Catalina and Mario also danced.

A man who had been on the dance floor came up to the table and asked me to dance.  I looked at Emilia’s cousins and they nodded their heads.

One of her cousins took a video of my dancing and sent it to Emilia but I can’t upload it to this post.

After a short time they all came up to dance with us so it was a group dancing.  I think it took Emilia and Elise at least 45 minutes before they returned to the bar with my phone. Although it was another adventure and story to tell,  I am so embarrassed about causing this problem tonight.

When we got home, Emilia and Elize had tea and cake and served tea to me as I started to work on this post. It is 1:15 am and I too tired to think clearly anymore so I am finally going to bed with memories and thoughts about the fabulous, fun filled, caring, loving people of Peréz Zeledón on my mind and in my heart.  I know I will stay in contact with many of the people.

Leave a comment

La Playa Ventanas – Feb 17

I have some catching up to do on information from previous days before I start today’s blog.  I learned yesterday about Emilia’s job as a Federal Judge.  She actually had to travel to the country side to hear criminal cases and her travels were often by horseback.  That was quite the job.

Emilia’s house has hot water in the shower.  Yesterday was my first time in Costa Rica to get an actual hot – not tepid – shower.  That was a real treat.

Yesterday when we left Emilia’s house she was telling us that her father was a farmer they raised pigs andI I think chickens.  We passed some farms that were like hers.  Then we were driving by many houses.  She would point to a house and say, “Family of my Mother.”  I lost count of how many people were relatives of her mother.

Last night Emilia taught me how to upload WhatsApp to my desktop.  I never knew it was available on the computer.

I set my alarm for 5:45 last night so I could be ready for 6:00 breakfast.  After my shower Elize and I went downstairs but we didn’t see Emilia.  So Elize set the table for breakfast.  I knocked on Emilia’s door, but then I heard her shower so we knew she was awake.  Elize took rice and beans out of the fridge and Emilia  came downstairs; eggs got fried; and breakfast was quickly prepared.

We didn’t want to be late so we quickly ate and then I quickly washed the dishes and we were off.

Emilia drove to Elvie’s house (like we have done before) to go with Elvie and Sue to the bus.  We all got into Elvie’s car but we didn’t start driving.  There was a bit of panic in the front seat because Elvie could not find the gate opener so we couldn’t leave.  They looked and looked and finally found them.  Elvie had been sitting on them.  We were off to the bus and Emilia realized that she forgot her sombrero.  Elise and I had both seen both of her sombreros in the house before we rushed out the door, but none of us remembered to take one of them.   This was quite the start of a day for us.

The bus ride to the playa was pretty long. but not as long as on Saturday.   I was wishing that I brought my knitting because I was also thinking about how long we were going to be at the playa.  The country-side is very beautiful.  I looked at the beautiful countryside, listened to the conversations in Spanish, and realized that one of the things I enjoyed the most about this group is the delightful laughter of Emilia and Eliza.

Our destination for the day was  Playa Ventanas.  Ann explained to me that ventanas means windows. When we arrived we put our gear under a large tarp that the support Ticos team from Peréz Zeledón had set up for us.  We took a walk to the rock formations where there was a window to the ocean.

The water comes rushing through the window in this rock formation.  We learned that people who are not thinking have walked through this formation at low tide and drowned because couldn’t get out when the tide came in.  We took photos of each other.

Omar and Elise

Ann and I


A gathering on the log.

Emilia and Quiro set up a couple of hammocks.

Sue and Elvie.

I tried out the hammock.

I walked back over to the tented area.  The Peréz Zeledon support Ticos were preparing a snack for us.

This is quite the knife for cutting-up cantaloupe.

They put out quite the decorative spread of fruit.

It was time to test out the water.  What a pleasant surprise to step into very warm water.  Sue, Ann, Lee, Elise, and I had a blast playing in the waves.  We would turn our back to each wave and let it push us up into the air and back down to the water.  I haven’t done that in over 30 years.  What a blast.

Sue and I took a short walk down the beach to some rocks and took photos.

This is a photo of our covered area where we can stay out of the sun.

Before long it was time for lunch.  The Ticos prepared everything at the beach.

I was really expecting to get a bit bored being at the beach for so long, but we were having a lot of fun just talking with each other and walking on the beach.  The treats kept coming.  They prepared an icy drink that was quite sweet.

I took a few more photos.

I shared my blog with Omar on his phone and he was really enjoying reading it.

Then Eliza came to tell me that it was time for me to come hear the singing. Quiro was playing the guitar and it was a regular sing-a-long – in Spanish..

I took a video and posted it on my Facebook page.

One thing I noticed was that it was all hombres sitting around the table singing together.  I asked about that and learned that in Costa Rica, it is mostly the men who sing together.

Francisco showed me a card trick.

A couple from Canada asked Quiro to sing a song to the woman.  Omar helped him sing a song about a pretty woman.

Then the Canadian woman sang a song for us.

Quiro wanted to hear “A Bicycle Built for Two” sung to him and his wife so we sang it for them.

The day went much quicker than I expected.  Since the sun was going to go down over a hill, they decided to drive us to another spot on a beach to watch it.

I took a photo of Omar and Eliza …

I emailed a photo from Omar’s camera that he took of Eliza and the sun…

… and took a shot of the sunset myself.

This was a much better day than I had expected.

We had a laugh when the bus arrived in Pérez Zeledon.  The bus stopped for the 1sts group to get off near their homes.  Elvie got off the bus so obviously Sue followed her.  Then I tapped Emilie on the shoulder and pointed to Sue because we were riding in their car and I didn’t understand why we weren’t getting off at this place with them.  Emilie called out Sue’s name and told her to get back on the bus.  It turned out that Elvie was just going to get her car because she had parked it at somebody else’s house.  We all laughed about the the confusion.  The Ticos had this all arrangement all down pat, but Sue and I did not understand.

When we arrived home, I had another great hot shower.  Emilia put all of the clothes I had worn over the past couple of weeks into the washing machine and wow – there is even a dryer so they will be all dry and ready by the end of the evening.

Emilia made pasta for dinner.  Then a couple friends (Liner and Les)came over. I was uploading photos for this post.  There was a lot of Spanish and some French conversation.  I was included in some of the jokes.  Emilia brought out the cacao; Pablo brought out candy; Emilia brought out cake; I brought out Carmel M&Ms that I have had in my pack (unopened) since we left LA.  We  laughed a lot.

It is the end of another great day.


Leave a comment

Toplandia, River, Family, More Feb 16

I met Emilia’s son, Marco, this morning before we left the house.  Emilia made Pupusas for our breakfast

We drove to a place called Toplandia.  I started to take photos as soon as we arrived.

Toplandia was created by Manuel Barrantes who is committed to the ecological well-being of planet earth. It  is an example of how a man, using imagination & ingenuity, can construct a dwelling within the land’s natural features. He began 14 years ago to create this amazing series of mined tunnels which connect many rooms.  They were all excavated using hand tools, buckets, and wheelbarrows.

Manuels daughter, Beatrice, gave us a tour.   She told us that her father created the rooms.  When they discovered hard rocks, rather than removing them, they incorporated them into imaginative wall carvings. Her mother, Lidiette Guillen, helped to created the sculptures on the walls.  .

I took many photos as we wandered through the tunnels and staircases.

This is a kitchen.

A bed in the wall.


Another tunnel

Several of us wanted to sit on this bed.

There was a well in the middle of it.

The Flintstones made me laugh.  It seemed a bit out of place.

Emilia and Eliza

Eliza and Omar

We did a group shot in one of the rooms.

Under the pink cover on the table is a well with fresh spring water.

I loved the sign that said, “Positive Energy”

The walls have many designs on them including stars.

Beatrice turned off all of the lights and the stars were illuminated in the dark.  We sat there for several minutes just feeling the place.

Lee read to us from the book that was on the table.

Each of our Tica host made a statement.  Emilia said that she, Elise and I are forming life long friendships.  That is exactly what it feels like to me.





There was a hallway where the sculptures were all of symbols of Costa Rica,  Some of them were the bull, a  manatee, the flag, a sphere, and the national bird.  I learned that the national bird is a Yigüírro.  There are so many very colorful birds in Costa Rica.  This brown bird is chosen as the National bird because it lives everywhere in Costa Rica.

The words to the Costa Rica Natioal Anthem were on the wall.  The Ticos sang it to us.

There is a functioning sink in one of the rooms.

Touring Topolandia was a wonderful experience.  It is hard to believe that they created this wonder in such a short time.  If you think about the tunnels and five levels that are in this wonder, the entire route is estimated to be about 400 meters and the maximum depth under the earth is about 16 meters.

We ate a fantastic lunch in a Hawaiian restaurant.  I wish i had taken a photo of my plate that had fish, beans, rice, salad, hearts of palm and more on it.  I can hardly believe how much i am eating in Costa Rica.

After lunch we went to relax at the river.  I think it was called Rio Caliente but I am not sure.  We took several photos as we relaxed along the rocky shores of the river.


Our day of fun was not over.  We went to the home of Emilia’s Uncle Oscar and his wife Elizia…



There were many other people visiting.  We walked around their beautiful garden.  The photos I took do not do justice to the beautiful garden.

We are fed constantly.  First they served some sweets.  Then Elvie brought out the cake she had bought to serve to Sue the first night she arrived but they didn’t have time so she kept in in the fridge. Elvie asked Sue to serve it.

All of the food here is so delicious.  As we were eating somebody noticed this bird outside of the window.  What a treat.

I took another photo of Oscar and Elizia before we left.

The hospitality and caring of the Ticos is so wonderful.  They do everything they can possibly do to make us feel welcome and know that they care about us.

On the way home Emilia made a phone call and we drove up the hill to a restaurant where her God daughter, Marijoríe works to buy dinner for us.  I couldn’t believe that we were going to be eating again. It was fun to watch them cooking in the kitchen.

This is Fabiana.

This is Marjorie.

We could see the city lights from high above in the restaurant.  We could even see fires in the distance where they are burning the sugar cane fields.

When we got home,I started working on the blog,  At 8:00, Emilia served the dinner she purchased.  I  sure hope that am not being rude by not eating very much.  The food they serve is delicious but I just can’t keep eating so much food.

Tomorrow starts very early (6;00 AM breakfast) so i am off to bed. It is already 11:30.


Parque de las Esferas Indigenas de Piedra and Boating on Rio Sierpe – Feb 15

Before I begin writing about this amazing day, I am going to clarify about Emilia’s car not being towed.  This morning I asked Pablo, Emilia’s brother what Licda meant in front of her name on my schedule.  He said that she was a federal judge.  That is perhaps why the police did not tow her car last night.  It could be that when they looked up the license plate, they recognized her name.  Emilia was a criminal justice judge.

We had a long (maybe 3 hour) bus ride today.  We passed fields of pineapples and the Ticos explained about how they burn the fields in between plantings.

At our first stop we noticed this moth on a bench.

The photo of my hand with the moth better identifies its size.

They were selling ice-cream at this stop and I could not resist.

We had a very interesting experience today on the bus.  A police officer entered the bus and wanted to see everybody’s passport.  It could be because we were not far from the Panama border. I carry my passport every single day, but not today.  I chose not to take it today because I had not needed it yet and we were going on the boat. I have not idea why I didn’t take the laminated copy of my passport that I have in my suitcase.  I was not the only one without a passport or a copy of one but I was very thankful that I had taken my driver’s license with me.  He spent time checking each of us.

The officer was very nice – so nice that he actually allowed us to take photos with him. It was Elise’s idea but Barbara and I followed suit.

The museum connect to the Parque de las Esferas Indigenas de Piedra was very interesting and we spent some time inside learning about birds and animals of this area and reading about the stones in the park.

We walked through the area.  The temperature was very high and all of us were very, very warm.

Several of us liked watching the cutter ants building their nests which we called, “Condo Nests.”

I took a photo of the seeds from a Balsa Wood tree.  Elise collected some of these.

There were banana plantations in this area and this structure remains.  It is what was used to move the banana bunches.

Finally we came upon the spheres.  It was easier for me to look up the information on the web than to type everything that I read on the signs

There are actually more than five-hundred pre-Columbian petreospheres (the name for any spherical man-made object of any size that is composed of stone)

The spheres are considered unique in the world because of their number, size, perfection, formation of organized schemes and abstraction outside of natural models. Its great value is that they were made under technological and social conditions considered very difficult today. However, the indigenous societies that sculpted them did so almost perfectly, with very fine finishes in many cases, and with sizes ranging from a few centimeters to about 2.6 meters in diameter. The spheres were produced and used during a period from 400 to 500 AD, until the Spanish conquest in a period close to 1000 years.

The stone spheres were discovered in1939, when the American banana company United Fruit Company began to deforest those territories to grow bananas. Since then they were considered a mystery and the Americans dynamited some of them, because of the belief that there could be gold inside.

Since 1970 the authorities of the Government of Costa Rica have protected pre-Columbian stone spheres and their locations.

The dimensions of the spheres range from 10 centimeters to 2.57 meters in diameter, and their weight exceeds 16 tons. Archaeologists estimate that the stones were located by the natives of the area between the years 300 BC and 300 AD, but the sculptural work has not yet been scientifically dated. 

At present, the stone spheres are considered as the artistic manifestation par excellence of the pre-Columbian Costa Rican sculpture. They were declared a UNESCO site and on July 16, 2014 the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica declared them as a national symbol.

Here are the photos I took.

Taking a photo of Elise and asking her to take one of me helped to show the size of the ones on this property.

.Some were not spherical.

An interesting point is that the stone spheres are closely linked to the collective memory of Costa Ricans, who make reproductions in stone, bronze, steel, glass and reinforced concrete, to locate at the entrance of houses and institutions and indicate that their purpose is more than decorative, it is sense of identity, for its geometric and spiritual symbolism.

We were pretty hot and tired after this excursion.  When we arrived back at the bus, the Ticos had water and mangos ready for us.  Emilia produced bowls of mangos, cantaloupe, and pineapple with forks for Elise and me.

The next part of this day was a trip on the Siepre River.  I really enjoyed this.  Here are some of our photographs.

Emilia and I.

We only had a few people on our boat but here is the other one.

A pelican


Small blue Heron along the shore.

Sometimes we were just cruising and others we sped up quite a bit.

These are the people on my boat.  Ann and I were the only Oregonians.

I worked really hard to get a photo of a sloth.



It was about a 35 km trip to get to the ocean where we docked and had more fruit treats.

I took a photo af Emilia’s, Else’s, and my feet in the tradition of taking photos at PDX.


Then Emilia wanted one of our hands as the symbol of our friendship.


I walked along the shore to get closer to the ocean.  Ann was also walking so I took a photo of her for her grandson, Lulu.


Sue, Barbara and I relaxed in the hammock.

I told them about the foot photo so we took one of our feet.

I enjoyed standing  and just enjoying the views for most of the trip back.

My dinner of whole fish, fries, beans and rice, and salad was absolutely delicious. Wish I had taken a photo.  After dinner many of us danced to the live music that was playing.

The bus ride back was not very enjoyable because I was exhausted and couldn’t find enough room to be comfortable to sleep.  I didn’t realized how cramped the space was on the way to the ocean.

Emilia stopped to get a cake for her brother, Pablo who I met this morning at breakfast.  But the first task for Elise, Emilia, and I was a shower – and it was hot water.  This was my first hot water shower since I have been in Costa Rica.  What an absolute treat to wash my hair in hot water.

It was fun to celebrate Pablo’s birthday with a delicious cake. We sang happy birthday songs to him in three languages (English, Spanish, and French).

Staying up until almost 2:00 am to finish today’s post is a bit crazy, but all my friends already know that about me.  At least I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning.








Leave a comment

On to Pérez Zeledón – Feb 14

This morning I took a selfie of Dunia to send to Vilma.

Vilma and I are communicating via WhatsApp almost every day.

Today was our last day with Dunia and Ruben.  We had a slight snack and tea because we knew we would be stopping for breakfast on the way to Pérez Zeldón.

I have had a wonderful time with them.  Dunia gave lollipops to Barbara and me for Valentine’s Day so we took another selfie.

Ruben also took a final photo for us.

Vilma took a photo of Barbara, Ruben and I.

This is Ruben with Barbara and me.

We road in a much bigger bus today,  There was plenty of room for all 15 of us (9 Ticos and 6 Oregonians).  Dunia was not able to go with us because it would have been hard on her leg to sit for that long. Of course we started out with a prayer.  The singing continued with the Ticos singing many songs of prayers and friendship.  We also sang several songs for them.  There was much laughter and fun happening on the bus.  One of the songs we sang was “We Shall Overcome.”  I was surprised by how emotional I felt singing that song.  We sure need to overcome what is happening in the world today and for us, especially in the U.S..

We stopped at a bay for a picnic breakfast. that the hosts prepared for us.

After more traveling, we stopped again to see Crocodiles.

I saw this waterfowl but am not sure what kind it is.

In the field across form the crocodiles there were a couple of people picking melons.

Lee told me that these pods are from an Carua tree.  They use the pods to sooth glands or soar throats.

The time had passed quickly with knitting and conversation with Ann. I though the six hours in the bus was going to feel like a very, very long time but before I knew it, we were at our destination.

At first when we stopped, I thought it was just another rest stop but the Ticos from Pérez Zeledón were there to greet us.  We were at Dominical Beach.  We said goodbye to the Ticos from Tilarán with hugs and kisses and greeted out new hosts. We are now in the province of San José.

I met my host, Emilia.  I also met Elise who is a lovely French woman who is also staying at Emilia’s home.  Elise is here to find volunteer work in Costa Rica.

The Ticos were preparing a delicious lunch for us.

And we received a gift of chocolate.

The Oregonians from Sun River already knew some of the Ticos from Pérez Zeledon and it was so much fun to see their joy as they greeted each other. I was sure this was going to be a very fun group.

Emilia drove Elise and I to her home.  Abraham (the son of a friend of Emilia) also road with us.  He and I sat in the back seat and we talked.  He was practicing his English. Emilia dropped Abraham off in town.

As we approached Emilia’s home, Elsie said we would be going into the woods.  We drove up a dirt road and were surrounded by forests. When we arrived at the house, I had a great surprise.  We were in the middle of the forest in an absolutely beautiful home.  My photos hardly do it justice.

Here is the kitchen…

… and living room…

… and dining area in the kitchen.

Emilia asked me if I wanted coconut water and I said that plain water would be fine.  I had no idea that she meant straight from the coconut.

Here are Emilia and Elise with  Elise’s  coconut…… and Elise and I enjoying ours.

We took our drinks upstairs to enjoy them on the upstair’s outdoor area.

I was still feeling amazement about where I was going to be staying for the next 5 nights. This is my bedroom.

… and the door to outside from my bedroom…

… and the outside deck…

… and the huge plant in front of the deck…

Emilia showed me how to get the coconut meat from the side of the coconut to eat it.  When I was younger, I did not enjoy coconut water or raw coconut, but I did enjoy it today.

Well the day was not over.  We left for the welcoming party which was at the home of Carlos Gonzalez.  We stopped on the way for Emilia to buy fruit for our breakfast.  Our conversations in the car going between Spanish and French and English were quite interesting.  Now I have put two translation sites on my phone.  Elise knows some Spanish but I am trying my best to have direct conversations with both of them.

I have been having some thoughts about language.  I really wish I knew how to understand and speak Spanish.  DuoLingo helped a bit but I have never been good at languages.  Sometimes I just feel ignorant.  Over the last 12 days, our Spanish speaking Oregonians (Lee, Ann, Janice and Barbara) have been doing quite a bit of translating.  Daniel and Gabriel were helpful to me in Liberia yet I did great with Vilma and Sergio using my phone. Actually Vilma and I are communicating through WhatsApp every day and I use the translating site. for that.  Barbara did a fantastic job of translating when we were alone with Dunia or her husband, Ruben.  And because she was with me, I received much more information from Dunia and Ruben than I would have alone.  It was a lot of work for her to be translating all of the time and I really appreciated that.  Yet, I realized that I really enjoy the intimate work the Ticos and I do having one on one conversations using the website translator and I feel closer to the people.  So what is best is a dilemma.

Emilia stopped at the store for fruit for our breakfast on the way to the store.

When we arrived at the welcome party, Sue told me that the party had been happening for a long time.  I was sorry that we were late although my afternoon with Elise at Emilia’s was wonderful.

At the party the had a big welcome sign for us.

Many of us were singing together.

We were served another wonderful meal. Just as we were about to eat, Emilia received a phone call and walked away from the table.  It turns out that she had parked the car in front of somebody’s gate. When Elise was telling me about it, I thought somebody had broken her gate.  But it turns out that the police called her to move her car.  If I understood correctly, they did not tow her car away or ticket her car.  The actually called her on the phone to get her to move.

Back at Emilia’s house I started to do this blog post.  Emilia was showing photographs for Elise and preparing food for our breakfast.

I learned that Emilia and Elise had prepared Cacao either earlier today or in the days before today.  It is straight cacao so without any sweetener.  This is one block of it but there were several of these….

… that Emilia stored in the refrigerator.  It will be interesting to see what she makes with them.

I am off to bed because I have to awake at 6:00.  We have a busy day tomorrow and i am looking forward to another advernture.

1 Comment

Centro de Rescate Las Pumasa and Farewell Party

Today was a sleep-in day.  I needed it.  It is one of our “free” days and made plans last night with Dunia, Ruben,and Marija to go to Centro de Rescate Las Pumas.

Ruben came over to make breakfast. He told us that he had taken Dunia to the bus in Tilarán she had told us that her eye hurt.  Barbara looked at it and saw a scratch.  Barbara put some eye drops in her eye and we all thought she should see the doctor.

Ruben made breakfast for us.  We had a lively conversation and Guri (Marija’s mom) joined us for a bit.

This is a very relaxing morning.  Ruben will pick-up Dunia from the bus station and said he would bring lunch for us.  Barbara and I tried to insist that we would take everybody out for lunch, but he would not accept.

We really enjoyed spending time just relaxing today.  Ruben brought home chalupa for lunch.  Then this afternoon we Ruben drove us to Centro de Rescate Las Pumas.   Marija came with us.  Guri and Gary came in another car.  Usually I am very bothered by seeing animals in cages.  But all of these animals have been rescued.  Each large cage has a plaque that says from where the animal was rescued and, for some, a mostly a sad story of what had happened to each of them.   They do their best to release any of these animals that are able to be returned to nature.

I took photos mostly by sticking my camera lens into the holes in the cages.  Two of the photos are of a monkeys that was actually outside of the cage and is wild.

Dunia returned from the homeopathic doctor in San José and we were happy to learn that he eye is fine.  She has drops and it is relieved that nothing is wrongWe continued having a relaxed afternoon.

The warmth and hospitality of the Ticos is wonderful.  They go out of their way to make us feel welcome and to assure that we enjoy ourselves.   Ann and I both received gifts from Dunia and Ruben.  I sure will enjoy the desk set of  notes and eating m candy.  She clearly wants the best for us and I will treasure the prayer beads she gave to Ann and me.

Watching the children dance at our farewell party tonight was a delight. There were many girls and one boy. Watching them twirl  and spin brought a big smile to my face.  I loved the way they made eye contact as they danced. Because of the lighting in the room, it was very difficult take  photos but that didn’t stop me from trying.





Of course we needed a group shot.  Ruben took this for me.

I have again been blessed.  Barbara is a wonderful house mate.  I have again had a fabulous host family.  I am staying in contact with Vilma almost every day via WhatsApp and hope to stay in contact with Dunia, both Rubens, and Marija also.

I am looking forward to meeting the Ticos of Perez Zeledon.