Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Laundry with a View...

Dear Friends,

  This is our fourth day in Costa Rica and things have been very busy. We have been buying groceries, getting our transportation arranged, and making preparations for the arrival on Saturday, of a hiking group we are hosting for a week. There really hasn't been much time to absorb where we are, but this morning I had a real "Costa Rica" moment. I was hanging out some laundry to dry. A fine mist was being blown up from the trees below the house by a strong wind. The sun was shining, but the temperature was slightly chilly if you weren't standing in the sun. The mist wet my face and arms as I hung out the clothes. I was muttering to myself that the clothes would probably never dry if the forest insisted on breathing out mist all day. I looked up from the line and saw a sight that reminded me of why I love this place so much... there in front of me, stretching from horizon to horizon was a rainbow.

  This is "rainbow season". The heavy downpours of the rainy reason are past, the sun is out and the thick mist expired by the rain forest hangs in the air against a blue sky dotted with clouds, it is the perfect recipe for a rainbow! I dropped the clothes pins I was holding and ran for my camera. It is a good thing I did since seconds after I took this photo the winds blew the mist away towards the lake taking the rainbow with it.
  After breakfast, we went with friends to Liberia, a small city 1 1/2 hours from where we are staying. We needed supplies that we can't get in locally so we all piled into the car and made our way down the mountain. The road from Tilaran to Canas, (a town at the foot of the mountain), is steep and serpentine. It affords a lovely view of Volcan Tenorio and Volcan Miravalles off to the west. Huge boulders of volcanic rock lay nestled in the deep grass on the mountain side that faces Tenorio... a stark contrast of black rock against the verdant green grass is a reminder that the now sleeping volcano, was not always so quiet.
 Once down the mountain we made our way through the busy, narrow streets of Canas and pulled onto the Pan American Highway, which stretches from Alaska to the southern tip of South America, (according to Guinness Book of World records the Pan American Highway is the worlds longest motorable highway). The temperatures are hot and the air is dry on the flat lands due to the aggressive deforestation of this part of Costa Rica in the past. Now laws have been passed in Costa Rica to prevent further damage to the rainforests, but here the landscape has been forever altered. Even in it's altered state the landscape is a sight to see. Pasture lands stretch from the highway to the base of the mountains to the north. Mango groves and commercial teak wood forests lay to the south. Horses and Brahma cattle graze unfettered along the highway, bicycles and pedestrians appear at intervals along the way, indicating a small pueblo resides behind a curtain of tropical foliage along the road. It is a straight shot from Canas to Liberia and the time and miles click by quickly.
The veranda at sunset.
  We stopped at Pippo's Italian Restaurant Supply near the Liberia International Airport to purchase good imported cheddar cheese, polenta, wine and amaretti cookies. The locally made "Tico cheese", (uncultured milk curds pressed into cakes and then cut into slices), is inedible in my opinion. I must pack lunches for 13 people that can sit in the vehicle at ambient temperatures for hours while we are out hiking to volcanos and waterfalls, so I swallow deep and pay $35 for a kilo of cheddar cheese...Yikes! After a few other stops for supplies we went to an open air restaurant for lunch and a cafe con leche made with rich mellow Costa Rican coffee, then we headed for home.  The sun was low in the sky when we returned home, but I got back in time get a photo or two of the sunset to share with you. Day is done, the deep dark of the rainforest has overtaken the veranda, the wind whistles across the top of my wine glass as I bring this missive to a close. I miss you all and hope that this finds you well. Until next we meet, Pura Vida


  1. Oh my goodness! If I lived there I would spend the better parts of each day and night lying flat on my back! The sky, the sky, the sky! Oh, the sky. Then I would turn round in circles. I would od on color. I bought a rocker once, with the intent being I'd color it a certain way. Well, I spent too much time rocking to paint it, but that rocker in your awesome photo reminds me of my intentions. :)

    I am so glad you're there, enjoying this part of your life.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

    An avid limner, I am. :)

    This is so neat. A first for me.

  2. Elle...thanks for sharing! You paint beautiful word pictures and to top that off I get to see actual pictures too!! Look forward to reading more about your life far, far away.

  3. Hi Elle, wonderful post and great photos. Thank you for sharing your trip with us. Hester

  4. I recognize that porch and boat! :) Miss the people that live there. :)

    You'd be surprised.. I use to hate tico cheese.. but have come to like some people's.. a lot of it depends on who makes it. :) However, I'm also thankful we've learned how to make mozzerella so we make about a pound of that per day. :)