The Mustard house

These first four days of our vacation we have rented Casa Mostaza (Mustard house) in San Ramon. You can tell from this photo

Mustard house

that the house is mustard color, hence the name. San Ramon is the area to which we are planning to relocate. We’ll be at Casa Mostaza until Sunday afternoon, when we’ll got to a VRBO (vacation rentals by owner) condo in downtown San Jose.  We’ve never been to San Jose and are looking forward to exploring a little.

This morning we are going to the ‘gringo breakfast’ in San Ramon, but first we need a car!  It is 9a.m. and here is Pedro arriving with our borrowed car. He is charging us only $25/day which is an amazing price. He has a couple of cars, but we need his 4-wheel drive because of the road we are living on.  Here is a photo of the road sign at the top of our hill and it is NOT an exaggeration!

Check your brakes!

The gringo breakfast happens every Thursday morning and is an opportunity for all the gringos in the area to get together and visit. Café Delicias is a nice little restaurant and the gringos have been meeting here for so long that the staff can bring some folks their orders without them asking for it.  We have been to the breakfast once before, so we see a few familiar faces.  When we walk in, I announce, “We are Jeff and Jane” to the group of about 25, and a man next to me stands up “It can’t be!” he practically shouts. It is our friend Butch and he is as excited to see us as we were to see him. (We thought Butch and Margarita were on vacation, so we hadn’t told them we were going to be down.) And there’s Norman, my friend Annie’s husband.

We order breakfast. I have a vegetarian skillet and coffee, Jeff has a skillet also, but I can’t remember what kind. Breakfast is hot and huge.  As we begin to visit with those around us, a woman, Linda, sits down next to me  and gives me a hand-drawn grid paper map of the town of San Ramon.  She also has her card and a brochure about a local group called the “CAA” which stands for the Community Action Alliance. (More about that later.)  Linda is extremely nice and informative. Next to Jeff is Susan (married to Ben, who takes Linda’s seat later). Susan has brought a newcomer to the group. She introduces Dale and I ask how long he’s been here.  “17 days” he says. Okay, now get this…Dale is 82 years old and being alone in the States, he has uprooted himself and moved to San Ramon. I hope I’m that adventurous at that age. I ask him if he’s experienced any culture shock and he says “not really.” He and his wife lived abroad for several years in Hong Kong and he said the biggest culture shock they ever experienced was returning to the U.S.

We mention that we are interested in a long-term rental and Susan jumps right in. There is a house that just went empty in her neighborhood. She describes the area, the house, and says that this little neighborhood was built specifically for long-term rentals. This is where Dale has settled, too. Hmmm….Jeff takes down the information and we decide it is worth checking out.  Jeff has his heart set on an ocean view and I want monkeys in my yard. This neighborhood has mountain and valley views, so no ocean; and sloths but no monkeys. It is worth checking out anyway.

After breakfast we walk back through the town’s main square which is quite crowded. There is some sort of concert going on. I’m not sure if it is a school group or what, but we sit for a while and listen to the music. What a fun thing to stumble upon.

We need a few groceries and drive  to MaxiPali, one of the local grocery stores. We pick up just a couple of things like milk, cereal and eggs, beans, rice and tortillas, cheese and pasta and two cute little packets, one salad dressing, one pasta sauce.

Aren’t these cute little packets?? And just the right size, too.

We don’t get any fruit or veggies because la feria agricultura (farmer’s market) is tomorrow.

I’m proud of us (of Jeff actually) as he’s found Las Delicias and the grocery store without getting lost. We’re getting good at this!

Returning to Casa Mostaza, we unload our groceries and I make a big pot of rice and beans to go with our tortillas for dinner. Jeff contacts the owner of the house that Susan and Ben told us about at breakfast and we arrange to go see it tomorrow morning.

In Costa Rica the sun comes up around 5:30 a.m. and sets around 5:30 p.m. year-round; and since this is the rainy season the fog rolls in around 3:30.

As we eat dinner, Jeff has a beer and I have my Cubra Libre – a canned Rum and Coke that you can buy at the grocery store(!)

Ron y Cola

We watch the Thursday night NFL game: Denver Broncos vs the Cardinals. The game is in Spanish, of course, and since the Broncos are decimating the Cardinals, we switch to the Boston Red Sox playoff game, also in Spanish.

While we watch, Jeff looks up the cabins where Susan/Ben and Dale live along with a couple of other housing possibilities on his iPad and I work on my cross-stitch. Suddenly it is really late, and we have got to go to bed! Tomorrow we have some “can we live here?” errands to run; and Pedro is coming by at 1 to take us on a “tour.”

Hope to see you tomorrow!

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