Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An American Dream in Monte Verde, Costa Rica

One Type of American Dream:  New Experiences

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We drove to Monte Verde to make a dream come true:  to experience a cloud forest, a completely different type of forest than a rain forest.

Up in the mountains, we felt tiny stings on our bare arms.  It was the tiny, cold droplets of the clouds that drifted over the mountaintops.  This moisture collects on leaves and runs off to the roots, creating a unique eco-climate.

Look closely in the center of this fig tree, you'll see the silhouette of my head.

We took a canopy tour.  You're now looking down 50 to 100 feet at the tops of trees growing below.

My brother, in the blue jacket, said to the guide of the canopy tour, "We're all plant nerds, so please go slow."

A plant that looks very weird to my eye.

More strange plants.

We really are plant nerds!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

San Jose, Costa Rica

The American Dream of Time with Family

Family is the most important thing to Costa Ricans, I think it's safe to say.  We saw people sitting out on their porches, just hanging out in each other's company.  Costa Rica is one of the happiest countries in the world.

My family took a day trip to San Jose, under my son's adopted family's wing, to explore the capital of Costa Rica.  Sculptures of birds accented the parks and pedestrian malls.  We had ice cream, a nice cap to a warm day.  

My son and his girlfriend Indira with a bird sculpture.

Will's adopted mom, Marta.

A theater.

The whole family (except me, thank God).

Another bird.

Indira's sister Sheyla and her boyfriend Abraham.  He turned out to be a real caballero (gentleman).

Friday, May 11, 2012

Heredians Love Their American Dream

The American Dream in Heredia

My son's adopted city, Heredia, is twenty minutes from San Jose.  I felt lost mostly, since, as a foreigner, every street looked the same to me.  Small shops line every street, and Heredians love to shop apparently, playing out their "Americas" dream.

Heredia is a delightful city.  Its high elevation means great weather.  The Parque Central in Heredia has an historic fort, an art museum, a beautiful fountain and a lovely historic church.

The fort.

My son and adopted family on the steps of the art museum.

The fountain at sunset.

 La Inmaculada Concepcion, a majestic church built in 1796.

Interior of the church - side entrance.

Rear door.

The altar decorated for Christmas.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Delightful Indigenous Folks We Met

Indigenous Peoples, aka Native Americans in Central America

We hired a guide, Jackie, and explored territory near Cahuita where the indigenous BriBri peoples live out their lives in simplicity, tending cocoa plants for cash, raising chickens, living in palm-thatched huts as their ancestors did.  Jackie taught us some BriBri words, and I only remember "Evishkena," which is "hello."

A BriBri chief talked about ancient spiritual practices.

A puppy owned by an indigenous family greeted my sister the traditional way.

Lying in the hammock is "Abuelo," or "Grandfather," a 111-year-old BriBri man.  He asked Jackie, our guide, sitting on the floor next to him, to send him someone to teach him English.  The walls of his hand-made thatched hut come only to the waist.  The house is open to the wind and rain, but the temperature is always moderate.

Abuelo was only reachable via this handmade bridge.

A BriBri woman, Abuelo's daughter, ground up the cocoa on this concave rock.

After the roasted cocoa is ground up, she makes little round balls of it, wraps them individually in cellophane, and sells them to the people that guides like Jackie bring to them.  It was the most delicious chocolate I ever tasted.