North and South

Aha, now we are getting into the swing of things. It is 6:45 a.m. and we’re out of bed and drinking coffee!

Looking out the front windows we see that the view to Puntarenas is fogged in, but there is a rainbow forming. This isn’t any normal rainbow because it is almost flat and lays against the mountains below. A car pulls up outside the house; we don’t recognize the woman driving and she proceeds to try to turn around, completing her 40-point turn just as another woman comes walking up the hill. Walking up is our “down the hill” neighbor, Mae and she is meeting Shannon, who is driving the car. New to Costa Rica, Shannon is NOT about to drive down the hill to Mae’s house and back up – but then she has made this turnaround on a very narrow, steep hill. She looks like she could use a stiff drink.

Mae introduces herself and Shannon gets out of the car. The rainbow has become HUGE and is amazingly beautiful. The four of us go to our upstairs balcony; Jeff, Mae and I take photos. Andy comes walking down the driveway with his big camera. I’ve never seen a rainbow (or actually, it’s a rain-“flat”) like this before!

Mae’s photo of the “rain-flat”

Jeff and I show  Shannon around our casita; she mentions that she might be interested in renting it long term. She and Mae are going to a local art show; a one-woman show and invite us to join them. Unlike yesterday though Jeff and I have plans, so Mae and Shannon head out and we go back inside.

Our plan for this morning is something that we planned to do on this trip and this morning is the only time it will work. We are going to watch church!  Jeff and I are members of Foothills Unitarian Universalist church in Fort Collins and recently (since the 2016 election) membership in our church has skyrocketed; we’ve added an extra service and now the church live streams all three services. We enjoy our church and want to see if we can continue “attending” once we relocate to Costa Rica. So we settle into two easy chairs, fire up Jeff’s iPad, and, sure enough, we can attend church. Nice!  But in the middle of one of my favorite songs, Andy appears at the door. Jeff briefly chats with him  – he has come down to tell us that there is a Bible study group in town if we are interested.  That is the last thing we would be interested in, but we thank him for the information. Jeff mentions that later today we are planning to visit a local sugar factory that a friend told us about but we’re a little confused. One set of directions for the factory direct us to the town of Piedadas Sur, but another guide says the factory is in Piedras del Norte.  So, it is either in Piedadas North or South, does Andy know where it is? Andy says Piedras del Norte but it is only open on Wednesdays. Dang

Knowing now that the sugar factory isn’t open today, we decide that after church we’ll do a little exploring or as Jeff describes it “lets get lost someplace new,”  and we’ll go to both Piedadas del Norte and Piedras Sur. At least we can find the sugar factory so if we do get around to visiting it we’ll have a clue.

Off we go. The drive is very nice and the scenery is gorgeous. The roads are not bad, not great, but not bad. It is easy in Costa Rica to know when you’ve reached the middle of town regardless of  how small the town is, because the middle of town is where the big church will be. Both Piedadas del Norte and Piedadas Sur are very small and in neither town do we see anything that resembles a sugar factory. Hmm…maybe we have the wrong towns?  It doesn’t matter because we’ve had a nice time driving around.  Jeff and I switch driving duties, something we always do so one person isn’t missing the scenery and always trying to navigate the roads.

Heading back to  Magallenes  we stop at a local souvenir shop, El Jardin, to pick up some coffee. As we leave El Jardin Jeff suggests we drive all the way down the Magallenes road to the river.  We’ve done this in the past and it is a STEEP drive but the scenery is great.  Jeff drives and as we go down, down, down the road we realize we’ve made a mistake.  Yes, the road is steep, but it is also in terrible shape with big drop-offs and the asphalt has been torn up in several place.  This road was apparently seriously damaged in the last earthquake.  YIKES! Good golly.  The drive-able bit of the road is at most single lane.  Jeff finds a spot to turn around and we begin the arduous drive back UP the hill. It is very slow going as we look for intact road and with the steepness sometimes we’re able only to see sky! Our little car is 4-wheel drive but is only 4-cylinders and we hope it will get us back up this hill.

Finally we are safely home! Whew, won’t be doing that again. Jeff needed to relax a little afterwards. Here he is in one of the swinging chairs on our porch.

We are planning a fun excursion for tomorrow and though we DO know where the place is located, we’re not sure of the best route; so I message Mae and ask if we can stop down at her house, which we do.  Mae’s house is very cool; she designed it herself and it is perfect for her and her three dogs. We got the tour and loved how functional/industrial everything was…a woman after our hearts! We visited with Mae for quite a while. (For those of you who know me well, you can imagine how excited I was that she had an Instant Pot! hahaha!)  Mae has helped us with our driving directions and it’s dark out now. I pull out my trusty flashlight and we trudge back up the hill. It’s time for dinner!

After dinner we sit and play Phase 10 until I noticed something moving on the floor.

Jeff bravely captured this tarantula with a water glass and piece of paper while I danced around the house going “Oh my god! Oh my god!”  In Costa Rica, it is important to bang your shoes before you put them on in case little guys like this (or scorpions) crawl in; and you should always assume that whatever the animal is that it is poisonous…

We have a fun day planned for tomorrow. We hope you’ll join us…

 

 

 

 

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