Sunday, July 25

CR: Parte 四: Around Town

A stitch of the plaza (or "parque" as they call in CR) in Palmares on a Thursday afternoon.

On Wednesday, the pain and swelling in my ear was increasing, but I was still attributing it to TMJ issues.  When I woke up on Thursday, I knew it was an infection, and now it was in both ears.  So Mamá Isa, my mami tica, got it all figured out to take me to her ENT guy in San Ramón.  

 Torii leading across the parque to the church in San Ramón
Go figure.

Long story short, we didn't have much luck there, so we came back to Palmares to see Dr. Solórzano, a regular doctor.  He was great, personable, chatting me up about his trip to Niagara Falls, Toronto and Quebec.  And he prescribed me antibiotics and 400mg of ibuprofen which got to work right away.

View of el centro from Dr. Solórzano's street.  
I'm pretty sure I have the same shot from 1993.

Wheel of a traditional Costa Rican carreta.
At the mountainside cabina of Isa's sister's husband's family.

On Friday, my goal was to get into el centro to take lots of pictures.  I got a bit thwarted, but had a lovely afternoon with Mamá Isa and the tías.  The following is a hodgepodge of pictures from the trip to the doctor's on Thursday, el centro on Friday and footing it around with Yobana on Saturday.

View from the cabina, which was gorgeous, by the way.  
Pool and all.

Carreta at the cabina

El centro
From in front of where Cuco's used to be.

Pollitos y Perritos

Looking towards the former Cuco's, el colegio y Espíritu Santo

El colegio
It looked like they were taking advantage of the two-week vacaciones to do some renovating.

Yoba starts up the driveway.

The Hood

Little Pink House
That used to be behind a church.

Yoba stops to talk to a relative.
They're everywhere.


Panadería and Parque

El Quiosco
In the center of el parque

La Iglesia
The two cupolas (?) are being reconstructed as they were beginning to fall apart.  No services, and the street in front of the church is now a calle peatonal, but you can be sure that there are still kids hanging out there at night!

Walking down to town.

A view of Espíritu Santo on the way into town.

Circle of Strength

The Ringsted Boys, a group of Danish gymnasts, were in town for a taller (workshop) and performance later on Saturday night as part of a larger Latin American tour.  Yoba and I broke up our walk with a stop in at the gym to see what was going on.  Here, Vero and her fellow gymnasts try to avoid being pulled out of the ring.

The little kids had their own ring.

Campos y el Mercado
Next to el parque.

I took a lot of pictures of restaurants and signs for future use in the classroom.
A soda is a little restaurant that sells pretty much what you see there.
Misspellings and all.

Oh, how I love to be surrounded by mountains.

Mini pineapples at home.

Vueltas danesas

The daneses wow the crowd with their strength and control.

Vamos, España!
On Sunday, the day before I left, we went to a soda to watch the World Cup final. 

And that was Costa Rica 2010.

Friday, July 23

CR: Part Trois: La Playa!

Joseph tries out the hammock.
I wouldn't if I were you, Jo.

After stopping to have lunch and watch the Paraguay-Spain game at a restaurant in Liberia, our first destination in Guanacaste was Nacazcol, near Playas del Coco.  We rented a private villa from a family acquaintance and spent two nights there.

Mis hermanitos making quesadillas for dinner.

After a stop at the grocery store, making dinner and settling in, we hit the pool for a nighttime swim.  When we got back to our place, Yoha was the first to go in for a shower.  Soon we heard her calling frantically for Glen, and we went to the bathroom to find the shower hissing and spitting steam.  After some futile attempts to clear the shower head of buildup, what I'm guessing was the heating unit in the shower head suddenly sparked and blew out.  So for the rest of the stay, we had to shower in our bathing suits under the outdoor showers in front of the house.  At least we had those!

The next day, our plan was to go to Playa Hermosa for the day, but as luck would have it, we ended up talking to the guy from across the street who had brought his horse over to graze in the lot next to us.  He told us about a little beach with difficult access that not many people knew about.  So after much up and down and rocky roads and trial and error, we finally found Playa Penca, a beautiful little beach which we shared with only one other group of folks.  Truly a treasure.  We also came upon Playas del Coco in a roundabout way during our meanderings, and decided that we were much better off NOT going there.  Words from the wise.

Playa Penca from above.

Vero after her "Pre-Presentación"
Fotógrafa:  Yohana

On Monday, we left Nacazcol and headed to Playa Flamingo.  We had a free night's stay at Flamingo Marina Resort, a definite upgrade from our little villa - hot water, clean kitchen, and, Glory Be, screens between our eating area and the mosquitoes.  If the link looks a little like a party place, it kind of was.  Turned out there was a group of Study Abroad kids staying there, and the flirting and Happy Hour imbibing turned into banging on the next door over and being really loud outside our door at 3am.  But I'm not old or anything.

Glen in our new kitchen.

But the place wasn't all parties.  It was a really nice place, with some rooms, some villas, etc.

Natural shelter at Playa Flamingo

We made a quick lunch of sandwiches and brought them all down to the beach this time.  I realized that this was my second time at Flamingo, and I'd surely go again as it's a lovely beach, lined along the road with droopy trees that act as natural beach umbrellas and clothes lines.

We spent a few hours there, long enough for me to get properly thrashed about by the waves (rather unpleasant, actually) and possibly be the inspiration for my subsequent ear infections.  But we (or at least I) thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

View from our room of some of the pools at the hotel

After the beach, we checked out the hotel pools.
Our room is hidden behind the palms on the left

View from the pool deck.

Looking out from the hotel beach.

The next morning, our last, we checked out the hotel's private beach.  Cute and pretty, but not for swimming.

Joseph gets to climbing again.
A tricky situation when he was ready to get down.

Joseph finally gets into the beach spirit.


Finally it was time to head back to Ol' Palmares.  In the rain.  With a repeat stop in Liberia for soccer and lunch at the same restaurant, and McFlurries which are not, in fact, stirred up like in the US.  It took us probably 5 hours to get there, when it theoretically takes 3.  But between the bad weather, unpredictable road conditions (with killer potholes) and slow semis on the two, sometimes 4-lane highways, and a stop to get souvenirs, things just got stretched out.  Thanks for driving, Glen!

Heading home in the rain

Next:  Around Town in Palmares

Monday, July 19

CR: Part Dos: Vamos a Guanacaste

This next series of photos is even worse than the first, as, with the exception of one, they were all taken out the window of the car as we sometimes sped, sometimes crawled along toward the beaches of Guanacaste.

A view you don't get in Palmares.

I've been trying to figure out the extent of the usage of el voseo in Costa Rica.  I was first told that vos was used in San José, while usted is used in las provincias.  However, it doesn't seem to be that cut and dry.  In any case, vos appears to be the dominant form in signs and advertising.  To be sure, is not widely used in Costa Rica.

Typical roadside bar/restaurant.

Inspiration for the name of the region, and the national tree of Costa Rica.  They also provide excellent shade for cattle.


Bienvenido a Filadelfia

As Guanacaste is relatively flat and expansive, cattle ranching has historically been the main source of income in the province.  Of course, where there is cattle, there are horses with which to herd them. 

Next Up:  La Playa!