Subscribe to Our Costa Rica Experience

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Domingo (Sunday) Exercise Plan: Walk, Swim, Eat

       With the dawning of another beautiful day here - five in the last week - we’re beginning to think that we may have seen the worst of the rainy season. Of course, we’ve been told that October can be the nastiest month so we’ll see. Meanwhile, it’s definitely a day for the swimming pool so this post will either be brief or will be interrupted with a swim.
         We do deserve a day of rest since yesterday found us lugging bags of supplies and foodstuff downtown for the Atenas Cultura International Food Festival, then serving bowls of Texas Chili to dozens of appreciative attendees, Tico and Gringo alike. One thing about these local events: they are ever so festive with lots of adorable children and friendly adults, colorful costumes, loud Latin music and traditional Costa Rican dances. This free two-hour festival was no exception as representatives from some of the many countries or regions of the world who reside here in Atenas took the opportunity to offer a native dish for visitors to sample. There was sushi from Japan, eggplant from Iran, lemon curd from the Napa Valley, wines from Argentina, cheese and bread from France, salmon dip from Indiana, barbequed pulled pork from the Midwest, my own Texas dish and, of course, Costa Rican dishes such as ayote custard desert made from pumpkin. Since this was the first time the event had been staged here in Atenas, organizers had no idea how many people might attend but we were all pleasantly surprised at the large turnout. My pot of chili with optional toppings of grated cheese, red onion, cilantro and hot jalapenos was a big hit, with many tasters returning to my table to tell me both in English and Spanish how much they had enjoyed it. In fact, I was encouraged by several to enter the chili cook-off, which will be held in February. But I didn’t get a rave review from everyone. As one little boy who had tried the chili earlier wandered back by our table, I asked if he had liked it. With the painful honesty of a four-year-old, he shook his head slowly side to side, his cute face turning to a frown. Oh well, I guess you can’t win them all!
         On Friday night we experienced a 5.9 earthquake here in Atenas, and from the U.S.Geological Survey report, the epicenter was located not far away, although about sixty miles deep. It’s the first quake we’ve had since moving to Atenas but having lived through several major temblors in my life, I knew immediately what it was as the house started slowly rocking. The first sway was quite minor and I thought it was over but then another wave pushed it up the scale a bit and the shaking continued for a few seconds longer. At that particular moment, I was typing a comment on Facebook; I just kept on typing, adding to my note the fact that we were right then in a quake. Perhaps that’s too nonchalant, eh? The funny thing is we had just had a conversation with a local Tico who bragged that Atenas is particularly safe from earthquakes or volcanoes because it is located some distance from any of the active volcanoes in Costa Rica. So much for that theory!
         An hour in the sun and a few laps in the pool later, I can now continue. Layne and I took such a long hour-and-a-half walk this morning, I had little energy left for swimming but the sunshine felt wonderful.
         Our Sunday morning walk was strenuous as we covered probably 4 miles or more. Once I had called my mother and Layne his sister, we took off down the main street here in Barrio Los Angeles, heading away from town this time, instead of uphill toward the main part of Atenas. We recently learned of a Center for Sustainable Development Studies out that way, a school which offers environmental studies abroad, here in Atenas as well as in Australia, Mexico, Kenya and Turks and Caicos (wherever that is!). We set out thinking perhaps we could find the school if we just kept walking. And indeed, we almost made it. Just as we decided we had gone far enough since we still had a return hike to go, I asked a couple walking along the road where the school was and learned it was less than a kilometer further. Perhaps next time we’ll make it all the way.
         We have a few friends who live here in Barrio Los Angeles so we thought we might see one of them. At the Food Festival yesterday we learned that French couple who offered homemade cheese and breads also lives near us. In their business, they provide a “personalized gastronomic menu” in which they prepare a gourmet French meal in your home.  It turns out that the woman, whose name is Nathalie, taught sustainable agriculture in college in Paris, France, so she shared our interest in the local school on sustainability.
         On our lengthy walk, we spied a stunning green lizard along the side of the road. I snapped this picture just before a car drove by and scared him away into the bushes. There were some beautiful homes along the road as well, most hidden from view in gated estates, a few for sale or rent. As we passed a rushing creek alongside the road, I spied a limb with several bromeliads still attached, which had fallen into the water. My intrepid darling Layne stepped carefully down onto the rocks and retrieved a couple of the wet plants for me. We’ll see if I can revive them. Apparently they grow almost anywhere: Check out these growing on telephone lines above the road. I guess that’s the tropics for you!

1 comment:

  1. Hee, hee, the refreshing optimism of the newcomers regarding the rainy season's early demise. :) Still a couple months to go!