We did not get up with the sun…we are not on “tico time” yet where everyone gets up early. There are a couple of reasons people here do this: 1) the sun comes up around 6 a.m. and sets approximately 5:30 p.m. pretty much all year-round. Costa Rica doesn’t observe daylight savings time and life revolves around the natural order of things. But we are up now, 9-ish, and Jeff has made coffee. I step outside in my shorts and tee-shirt, coffee cup in hand (delicious Costa Rican coffee, by the way) and listen to the birds. It sounds like millions of birds. Oh, and look, there’s a hummingbird.
We have only one thing on our agenda today and that is to drive into San Ramon to the feria agricultura (farmer’s market.) Today, Friday, the market is open from noon-6 and tomorrow 8-noon. We definitely need to go today because we need food. When we travel, I always pack dehydrated peanut butter and this morning was delighted to discover I had grabbed my bag of chocolaty peanut butter – kind of a dehydrated nutella. For breakfast I had two pieces of peanut butter bread and Jeff had some of the cereal we bought at Walmart yesterday.
For lack of anything else to do we decide to take a walk and start up Calle Morales (our street) which is rough gravel and rock. As we walk by the Hacienda, owned by Nancy and Alex, who also own our casita, we stop to introduce ourselves to the couple who are renting another of the properties. We meet Harvey and Annette and continue on our way. The walk is steep and the steepest part is paved which is nice. I glance into the yard of a gringo house we pass and see the largest chicken I have ever seen in my life – I thought it was a dog! I’ll bet it lays eggs the size of dinosaur eggs.
When we reach the end of our street, we decide to walk further (up!) the Magallenes road toward the autopista (highway). As we pant our way up, an older couple is walking down. “Hola” we all exchange greetings. People here are very friendly and it is important to wave at passing cars or greet others as you pass them. The woman stops and asks “Do you speak English?”. Why yes, as a matter of fact we do. Turns out this couple, Emma and Francisco, are Nicaraguans who have lived in Toronto for the past 35 years and they are moving to Costa Rica. “We just bought a house,” she tells us, “would you like to see it?” Of course! Naturally, the house is back down the road but not too far. It is a teeny tiny Tico house – maybe two rooms.
The kitchen has a tiny electric 2-burner hot plate; the minuscule living room is outfitted with 2 lawn chairs. They are just moving in. Their pride in their house could not be more evident and we exclaim over the view from their property and we sit and visit for a few minutes. We’re happy to meet some non-gringos and now that we know where they live we’ll look for them whenever we go by.
We continue our walk, back up the hill, to the autopista (highway) about 2 kilometers from our casita. Then we turn around and walk back. Back down Calle Morales (our street) instead of turning left to our ‘driveway’ we walk past a partially closed gate that marks the beginning of new construction area. There is a set of houses – more like casitas- that are being built and they are weird. First of all, they are wooden, there are huge termites here, and second, they are on stilts, which you’d think with Costa Rica’s numerous earthquakes cannot be a good design. Jeff figures they are being built as rentals. We walk around on the “not quite” roads before heading home. We need to get to the farmer’s market.
I’m excited that we drove from Magallenes to the feria agricultura in San Ramon without getting lost! We’re trainable. I know I’ve described other farmer’s markets in past blogs so suffice it to say that we got a LOT of wonderful fresh fruits, vegetable and cut flowers for not a lot of money! The most expensive thing we bought was some red snapper. It was one of the few fish we could identify and bought one whole one and asked the kid behind the counter to filet another one. He was completely flummoxed but we made ourselves clear and he did it. (Thanks to Google translate!) Though we’ve eaten plenty of them we’ve never cooked a whole red snapper, so this will be an experience.
We spend extra time at the feria – walking around, looking at everything. It is truly amazing. Jeff brings the car down from where we parked on the street so we can put our groceries in the car – I’m not carrying that watermelon and pineapple up the hill!
At home, we start putting stuff away. I chop up 3/4 of the watermelon and all of the pineapple to keep in a large bowl in the refrigerator. Then I take one of the two giant heads of lettuce, a tomato, cucumber, and carrot and create a large green salad to also have handy in the refrigerator. We have mushrooms that we’ll add at serviing time. I have 2 cucumbers, a head of lettuce, more carrots, broccoli and green beans left. Lots of everything.
While in the kitchen I decide to go ahead and cook a large pot of gallo pinto (beans and rice) and using my handy homemade spice box season them with cumin and cayenne. A quick meal with our corn tortillas. YUM!
This afternoon we’ve been invited to our landlord’s hacienda for a sunset and drinks gathering. Did I mention that it has been VERY windy here? This has a good side and a bad side. The wind keeps the air clear of fog so we can easily see the peninsula at Puntarenas 30 miles down (we can see the cruise ships go in and out) but the wind also makes it chilly up here. We didn’t know that enero (January) is this area’s windy month and we’re happy to have learned that. Luckily, I have the blue jeans, wool socks and fleece sweater I wore on the plane down to Costa Rica and put them on before we go to the party.
We walk up to the Hacienda and meet several other folks who have arrived. I really want to describe the Hacienda to you, but 1) I’m not sure I really can and 2) I don’t think you’d believe me if I did. When you first enter the house, you walk over this little tile bridge in the foray, under which is a small lap pool. The main area is the size and has the look of a huge hotel lobby – the bathroom even has a sign that says “toilet.” Apparently Nancy and Andy do a LOT of entertaining!! The kitchen is huge, as is the eating area; the table seats 10-12. The best part is the back deck. It is gigantic and gorgeous views! We meet all the other folks, some of whom we’ve met on previous trips, have drinks, ceviche, guacamole, homemade tortilla chips and a good time. The sunset, though, is a non-event as the wind has stopped and the fog has rolled in.
It is fun to hang out with everyone. Andy’s brother, Henry, is a sailor and sails his 42 foot catamaran back and forth from here to Canada; he and his little dog, Shiner, are visiting now. There is interesting conversation and too soon it is time to head home. Always thinking ahead, I have a flashlight in my pocket and we walk down the hill.
As we go to bed the wind is blowing hard again. So hard, in fact, that leaves and tree branches swing in front of the motion sensor security lights and the lights flash on at unpredictable times. In the night both Jeff and I get up because the wind is banging the shower door (remember, it has no roof) and we stuff a rug under it to keep it quiet.
This feels like it was a very lazy day, but turns out we did do more than I thought!
See you tomorrow!