My husband and I had a delayed return to Dallas, TX after the worst of an ice storm shut down the airports and closed the schools for a couple of days.
We had been in Costa Rico exploring gorgeous tropical parks and nature refuges from our own land base and later through tours which we booked from our tall ship cruise.
Originally, my husband booked the tour in order to view the comet Ison. Since the comet broke up coming around the sun, we were still able to have an astronomy night aboard ship, with a special provision from the captain who had the lights turned off on the foredeck.
Our early arrival allowed us to work from a base at Casa Rio Blanco, a delightful eco-lodge set in the rain forest near Guapiles, Costa Rico. We changed our money in town, ate at local restaurants, shopped at local shops, and drove to the east to the Caribbean Ocean, and later to the west to the Pacific Ocean, where we boarded our tall ship, the four-masted Star Flyer.
While we were land-based, we revived our public school and professional Spanish. My husband had been stationed in the Navy for two years in Spain. I had played as a cellist in the Puerto Rico Symphony. It took a little while to acquire the rhythm of the language once again.
We located a bank, located a “casmaneria” for hand-sewing supplies for me, found a sawmill and got samples of local woods for my husband, and then drove to the Caribbean. Going through Limon, we saw the worst of the conditions of employment by the large fruit growers. There were large muddy, unpaved areas with large containers for shipping. Wire fences with watch towers surrounded living spaces. People walked along the shoulders of the very busy two-line highway.
Turning south from Limon, we followed the coastline to Playa Negro. My husband climbed out on the lava rock and stood at the edge of the ocean. In my “Kacky Muse” costume, I stood nearer the sand.
On our return, we ate at the Coral Reef Restaurant. We had delicious local fish dishes which, to our surprise, were not the hot spices of Tex-Mex, but wonderfully flavored Costa Rican styles.
We also tasted local chicken dishes at a family restaurant outside Guapiles, also not spicy, but also delicious. My husband asked for iced tea, which ended up being boiled and then cooled with ice. We got to compliment the cook, who came to our table. We negotiated all in Spanish, including the compliments. We drank bottled water, having been warned to do so before coming to Costa Rico.
© 2013 Kathryn Hardage
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