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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Charity Chili and All the Fixin's

The 5th Annual Atenas Charity Chili Cook-off is almost upon us and it's all hands in the kitchen. Scheduled for Sunday, February 12, the event is expected to attract over 1000 people this year and raise much more than the $3500 they donated last year to the children's orphanage in Atenas, Hogar de Vida. Ordinarily, being the chili chef that I am, I would be joining in the cooking fray, hoping to win recognition for my mini-world-famous chili con carne. Instead I've been recruited to serve on our Tico friend Marcial's team, along with neighbor Jackie, another fine cook, to help promote Marcial's excellent Italian sausage. (Check out our new Facebook page, which I helped Marcial set up.) Needless to say, our recipe relies heavily on the wonderful flavors of that meat.

In preparation for the big day, we have had several "trial run" dinners lately where Jackie or I have prepared our favorite recipe using the sausage, with Marcial overseeing the process. He actually has virtually no experience cooking chili so he's relying heavily Jackie's and my expertise. As a result we have enjoyed some very tasty chili lately, along with the pleasure of the company of Marcial and Sadie and Jackie and Neil and occasionally our other local friend Marc.
Neil "rolls" a good one

At the dinner party last week here at our house, after the chili was consumed Layne turned on the Wii game console and set up a bowling tournament for the gang. It's amazing how realistic that system is. Other than the weight of the ball, it "feels" like bowling and requires all the same movements and adjustments as in the real game. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, including Sadie who took her turn bowling with intense seriousness and in spite of her inexperience, compiled a respectable score. But the real contest was between Neil and Marcial, who as you can see, both got their game on. Although Layne and I remember the fun that night, we don't remember the winner!
Marcial bowls as Sadie looks on

On Saturday Layne and I joined our friends Leonard, Sally and Kevin for a bus trip into San Jose for a meeting of the Costa Rica Democrats Abroad group, which is affiliated with the overseas branch of the U.S. Democratic Party, Democrats Abroad. It seems there are enough United States expats living in various countries to comprise the population of a whole other state, some four to six million of us around the world with an estimated seventy thousand here in Costa Rica. I'm happy to report that Costa Rica's Dems Abroad group is one of the fastest growing clubs, according to the Democrats Abroad website. We met a number of new acquaintances who share our passion for progressive democratic values and learned some ways we may be of help to the group in social media marketing, voter registration and get-out-the-vote this year.

After the meeting, Layne and I walked from the Holiday Inn where the meeting was held a few blocks over to the National Theater, crossing through a lively city life scene on the plaza next to it. We wandered into an Apple store nearby where Layne bought a cable so we can watch movies through the computer, displayed on the television screen. Then we headed for the National Theater. A friend had recently given us an historical five thousand colones note, featuring beautiful artwork that is displayed full-size in the National Theater. I wanted a second copy so I could have the front and back framed together as an addition to our small Costa Rican artwork collection. We had been told there were street vendors selling them around the theater. And sure enough as we emerged from inside the theater, there was a young man with a handful of the notes, selling them for only 500 colones each, about a dollar.

With purchases in hand, we headed for Coca Cola, the large bus station from whence our Atenas bus departs. After asking directions from sales clerks in a shoe store, we found we were headed more or less the right direction. So we soldiered on and gradually the street scene became more like that around the bus staion, a bit rough and tumble with discount clothing stores all along the way. At a street vendor's stall, I asked again, Donde es Coca Cola, señor? One block down and one block over and there we were, just in time for the 2 p.m. bus. Another excellent adventure in our ongoing exploration of the land of Pura Vida! 

1 comment:

  1. Nice article... Really enjoyed reading it.... Thanks, Stephen