I forgot to mention we visited the National Cathedral yesterday. Breathtaking. Originally built in 1635 it was destroyed by an earthquake, rebuilt, destroyed again, rebuilt, destroyed yet again, and then erected at a new site, where it has been ever since. On one side, there is a grotto, where people collect holy water to bring to their homes.
I also saw an African tulip tree. Large tree with orange-pink flowers. It started to rain as we walked to the bus. What a surprise. While we were on the bus, I spotted more tulip trees and called it out. We have "sightings of the day." There is a list of items to spy from the bus. For instance, a tulip tree, or a pregnant dog, or three people on a motorcycle. We still have not spotted that last one.
So today, after my post, we had a delicious breakfast, fresh bread, guayaba jam, fruit (I will never enjoy papaya and mango as much as I do here) and coffee. I don't really like coffee, but when in Costa Rica...You see the trees everywhere!
We visited a dairy production facility. On top of a very steep hill. All of us rode up in the bed of an old pickup truck. Sturdy vehicle, it got us all up there. I have to say, though, the ride did a number on my stomach, nerves of motion sickness?? The cows were kept in an enclosure at the top of the hill. Mulberries were produced along the slopes. The vegetative parts were harvested to feed the cattle. The operation strives to be sustainable. The manure is collected and used in vermicompost and a biodigestor.
We walked down, so I was calm enough to enjoy the scenery, not as focused on holding on for dear life. There was a colony or oriole nests in a large tree. The orioles here are beautiful black birds with bright yellow tails. They build large hanging nests. I also kept seeing these blue butterflies, but they just move too darn fast!
Then lunch. Again, rice and beans, and plantains. Surprised? We stopped in town for calling cards and an extension cord and the professors picked up some fruit from a stand. Mamones, or "suckers." Little green fruits with peach flesh, almost a grape consistency. You peel the fruit, and suck on the flesh, but don't bite! There is a large pit. Tart fruit, but kind of addicting. The only problem is you do all this work and get your fingers all sticky for so little!
On our way to the ruins, one of the few in Costa Rica, we spotted an Alcoholics Anonymous building (though this was not on our "sightings" list).
We made it to the ruins, after driving past it, at 3:35PM, 5 minutesn after close. They were kind enough to let us in. I was quite thankful. I've been very thirsty, and drinking a lot of water. In the women's restroom, there was a big furry spider...I used the men's.
The native peoples had a sophisticated aqueduct system. They built circular wooden houses on mounds, the foundations of which remain to this day. We saw a katimundi, which is a small mammal in the raccoon family, and a toucan, among other things. As we left, the weather changed. We had sun all day, then the clouds rolled in and by the time we reached the lodge, you couldn't see very far in front of you.
Looking forward to another delicious dinner here.