Subscribe to Our Costa Rica Experience

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Monday, March 15, 2010

Salsa Dancers and Chirping Bats!

Monday, March 15, 2010

         The palm fronds are shivering in the brisk ocean breeze today and a wispy fog has begun rolling up off the Pacific. This place has us intoxicated with sensuous pleasures and the manana lifestyle makes the discipline needed for writing a blog difficult to muster at times, like today. Still, there are things to convey and excitement to share so I shall attempt to cover the last few days for you.
         We have had quite a lovely weekend, in fact, with a Saturday evening out dancing and a delicious Sunday chicken dinner here at home. There have been sunny days with abundant birds to watch and time for sunbathing with a good book and luxurious evenings of watching the bats flit around catching mosquitoes. I read online recently that of the 200 varieties of mammals in Costa Rica, over half of them are bats! We hear them chirping above us and hope they are not making themselves too much at home in our upper floor.
         On Friday, we made a trip into town after a long wait for the bus at the corner below the chalets. The wait was not that the bus was late but that Layne had mis-read the schedule! But eventually, and for only about $1.25 for both of us, we arrived at the downtown parada (bus station) ready to explore. Our first stop was Kay’s Gringo Postre, the local expat gathering place and eatery owned by a pleasant couple from South Dakota, Kay and Tom Costello. (Thanks to for this photo.)  Their breakfast is extravagant and delicious! Not perhaps as cheap as Tico fare but a satisfying repast for sure. One of the main attractions of Kay’s is the lending library, a vast selection of fiction and non-fiction that spans three walls of the dining area. It’s all based on the honor system: you bring a book, you take a book. If you don’t have one to bring, you take one then you have one to bring back. It works!
         The main purpose of our trip to town, however, was to check out the organic farmers’ market we had learned of and to put in our order for the next week. It’s a sad truth that most Costa Rican farmers have turned heavily to pesticides. With this climate and rich volcanic soil, it does beg the question, Why? But Montsanto and Dow are nothing if not marketing geniuses and the lure of bigger and better fruits and veggies appeals to all but the most savvy gardeners. You will recall the push for increased crop yields that was billed as The Green Revolution back in the 70’s and 80’s, promising a magical means to feed the burgeoning world population. Sure, just add poison!
         According to a 2007 study done at the University of Toronto, pesticides used in lowland farming in Costa Rica and other countries are carried on air currents to higher elevations where they precipitate out in the form of rain. They then accumulate in the upland ecosystems and are now suspected as a cause in the declining amphibian populations in the cloud forests of this beautiful country. (See more here:
         As former organic gardeners ourselves, clean food and free-range meats are very important to Layne and me so we were thrilled to learn of this small organic effort here in Atenas. The lovely proprietor, whose name we failed to get, holds her market in their open-air garage, taking weekly orders on a printed list of offerings. Lucky for us, she had a few extra items this week so we were able to pick up two packages of homemade ravioli, one huge organic chicken and a half-pint of delicious homemade Smoked Chipotle Salsa. Using the last of this yummy salsa last night, I concocted a tasty sauce for some plain old chicken thighs and leg sections we had bought at the Super Mercado. We decided I had won the Iron Chef challenge for pulling together a bunch of unlikely ingredients into a successful dish.
         On our Friday visit to town, we had learned that Kay and Tom were hosting a St. Patrick’s Day dance on Saturday evening at the cafe. So off we went to celebrate the Irish with good music and good company. The DJ-hosted song selections were by request and ranged from rock-and-roll to Latin, with some 50’s classics thrown in. The crowd was mostly Gringos but a few Ticas were there as well. One Tica woman’s beautiful daughter and her Tico boyfriend came along late in the evening and danced salsa like finalists on Dancing With The Stars. They were a fantastic sight to see! We made a few new friends and enjoyed the evening immensely. We understand that Kay’s hosts a dance once a month so you’ll no doubt find us there again next month with our dancing shoes on and our spirits high.

No comments:

Post a Comment