Trip Start Dec 14, 2011
Trip End Jan 05, 2012

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Where I stayed

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Cartago,
Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Linda and I just sat down at a little cafe called Vallecito in the little village of Orosi in the mountainous central part of Costa Rica. We got to Orosi about 4:30PM after leaving Tamarindo just after 10 AM this morning.

After we left Tamarindo, but before we left the Nicoya Peninsula, we stopped in the small pottery making community of Guaitil. For generations, the skills of creating fine pottery have been handed down in this village. The pottery and plates are very nice. Linda is excited about the two pottery dishes we bought, which will be useful for cooking and serving. We bought the two dishes from two different places, each operated by a different generations-old family of the tribe native to Guaitil. I found it humorous---and telling---that the two families had different stories for what their tribal ancestors considered the Toucan, which is often depicted in the art on their pottery. The first place said the Toucan represented beauty; the second said it represented freedom. Generations of pottery-makers my ass, they are probably all from Tijuana.

The drive across Costa Rica was slower than hoped. A fair amount of our drive was on the Pan-American Highway, but it is two-lane, laden with traffic and has no turnouts or passing lanes. Much of that portion of our drive was at 25 MPH. Then, going through the heart of San Jose, the traffic was heavy with lots of traffic lights. We expected that, though, and it gave us a chance to catch a glimpse of Costa Rica's capital city. The agony came near the end of our drive when an accident in the outskirts of Cartago cost us a good half-hour of delay at a time when we were ready to get out of the car.

After getting settled into to the tiny Orosi Lodge, we walked the little village checking out the two eating possibilities and the two drinking possibilities. We will eat a little later tonight at the Argentinian/Colombian restaurant, but will have to buy our own wine from the market first because that restaurant does not yet have a liquor license. But, not yet ready to eat, we settled onto the balcony of the Vallecito where I now sit overlooking the center of the village with the country’s oldest operating church across the street

As I am sitting here on the balcony of the tiny Vallecito cafe, I am realizing how much of a tiny family operation this is. It appears to be grandma, mom and two kids operating out of their home which is the top floor of a two-story building. When I initially came up the outdoor stairs to the balcony I did so with trepidation because I thought I might be walking into someone's home. I asked the woman who greeted me at the top of the stairs if they were open and if they had beer and wine (using my newly minted Spanish, of course). Yes, yes, they are open and have beer and wine. Great, I say, we will have one of each, and I sat down on the balcony facing out over the village with my computer. As I did so, one of the kids ran down the stairs and down the street. After waiting for a while on the balcony and not seeing the mother doing anything about getting our drinks, Linda told me she didn’t think they understood my “newly minted” Spanish. Damn! But, about then, the boy comes running back with a grocery sack, which we soon learned contained one can of beer and what looked like a cereal box. Linda was oh-so-delighted when she saw the "cereal" box was actually her wine. I told her that is what she gets for doubting my Spanish.

Just a few minutes ago a group of about 8 people came up the stairs wanting dinner. I didn'r really think this little home operation could do food and was surprised when I heard the woman proprietor say, yes, yes, we have dinner. Well, this sent the whole family scrambling; the kids have been running all over town buying food and drinks---and borrowing things. The family’s young girl just came back with a stack of plates apparently borrowed from the nearby restaurant. But now the customers have their drinks and food appears to be on the way!

I would love to have another beer here, it is a perfect atmosphere and very comfortable, but I don't have the heart to order more---the kids looked exhausted!  
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