Saturday, January 24, 2009

Back to San Jose

We traveled back to the city yesterday, making stops in the Orosi Valley and at Cartago the first capitol of Costa Rica. The two churches we visited with worlds apart. Orosi church was small and quite old. The windows, statues, and pews were all beautiful. We saw unbelievable art work in the museum and had a delicious lunch in a restaurant. We have had several ‘typical’ meals which consist of rice, beans, vegetables, meat (chicken, beef, pork), and plantains. This one was the best. Of course there is also always dessert and we predict (and lobby) for the favorite either ice cream with sauce or arroz con leche (rice pudding). Yesterday it was jello and ice cream which was a first and something I easily passed up.

The church in Cartago was huge and also very pretty. It sits in the center of town with a large plaza adjacent. Not only is Cartago the first CR capitol, but it also is the location of the miracle of the Virgin of Los Angeles. This is the story of a small girl’s vision and has developed into a huge pilgrimage. Thousands of people travel to the church, some walking from as far away as Guatemala, for the August 2 service. The people sleep in the plaza and all around the square. There is a display inside the corridor before entering the church with all the ‘por favors’ that people leave for blessings. They look like the Milagros we know and saw at the Mission north of Green Valley, AZ. The girls would enjoy seeing charms in the shape of feet, hands, etc. plus such things as baby beds, hearts, necklaces, bracelets, etc.

On to San Jose and our hotel right in the center of the city. It has been modernized and several of us got suites with a common sitting area with flat screen TV and two separate bedrooms that were quite large and nicely decorated. Too bad we didn’t stay there for 5 nights. Our last meal was full of stories, email address exchanging, and good-byes. I feel this must have been an unusual group as we all truly enjoyed each other and looked after each other. My dear friends from NY have invited me to visit; they have had very full and interesting lives and both are in their 80s. We couldn’t believe how well they traveled. This morning some of us had breakfast before leaving the hotel but not before planning to meet next fall in Ashville, NC. Hope it happens.

San Jose a Solas
Well, it’s a little different being here alone. I was waiting in the lobby for Javier’s brother when he showed up. Apparently there was car trouble so Javier took me to the Hotel Boutique Jade to leave my bags and then on to the Butterfly Garden. It was small, but there were lots of butterflies and flowers with even a small waterfall. I was the only one there so took time and lots of photographs. Then Melissa, the person in charge, showed me a movie about butterflies in Spanish. Oh, well, I caught some of it. We talked about my planned trip to the Doka Coffee Plantation and she asked if I’d like to see the whales, I think on the Caribbean coast. Of course there isn’t time, but she insisted on taking my email to invite me the next time.

After a trip to the Supermercado for a few things, I unpacked totally, made a pile of things to leave here, and washed some of the damp clothes. Ate a lovely dinner in the hotel restaurant and now “Something About Mary” in Spanish. It’s still hilarious and I’m picking up some new words. Somehow I managed to negotiate the language enough to get around, use the bank, take a taxi, and order cena. It’s still a bit too quiet and I’m being very careful to let the front desk staff know where I’m going. They’re quite friendly. More adventures to follow, I’m sure. Buenos Noches.

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