The other day, I was back at my favorite blog spot, at a yellow-topped table at the Farmer's Market with a cup of hot chocolate topped with the tiniest bit of whipped cream, thinking about my trip to Costa Rica. After landing in San Jose, a friendly taxi driver talked me out of a red taxi ("They have a monopoly-they discourage competition!”) and brought me to the Aranjuez, an unassuming little hotel in the heart of San Jose, where Sophie and Malekai met me.
After checking into my large, sunny room, we ventured out into the downtown traffic in search of some dinner. We found it at La Glorioso (this is the wrong name, but the food and drink tasted "glorioso" to me, especially the Cuba Libras!). Then we walked up and down the city streets, taking care to stay out of the way of careening cars, buses and the ubiquitous red taxis that sped by with little concern for stop signs.
Eventually, we reached a shopping area reminiscent of the Santa Monica Promenade, where we took pictures of large, ceramic birds mounted on "balls" that seemed to be part of some ad campaign, but which we liked for the colors and scenes of birds and Costa Rican wildlife they portrayed.
I loved the murals in San Jose that seemed to surprise you around every corner and the pink elementary school that looked like a palace. But the most surprising discovery was the little hotel, Cinco Hormigas Rojas, or Five Red Ants, which I mentioned last time. Here is a picture of Sophia and Malekai trying to find the entrance, a la Alice down the rabbit hole.
The next day, we took a bus up into the hills to the town of Heredia for the Britt Coffee tour. The first stop was a kind of sculpture garden with six large metal heads of fairy tale characters. Next to each was a tablet with a cautionary tale for children that made Grimm's fairy tales look like Sesame Street. But I loved the faces. My favorite was La Llorana, pictured here. (I sense a doll from this one!) After the tour, we took the bus from San Jose down out of the mountains and east through the jungle to Limon on the Caribbean coast, where we made a right turn. A woman told me that after several days of heavy rain, there had been flooding and indeed, the ocean was wild and alarmingly close to the highway as we made our way through several small towns to Puerto Viejo and the Lizard King. I had a great room there and found a new friend, the Raggedy Ann Sophie rescued from a thrift store in Limon, whom I named Margarita. She turned out to be quite photogenic, as you can see here.
During my week in Costa Rica, I had some delicious meals with fresh fruit right off the
trees, drank lots of Cuba Libras, heard some great stories and saw (and heard) monkeys thick in the trees at the National Park in Cahuita, where we took a side trip one day and hiked on a sandy trail with the ocean to our left and jungle to our right.
On my last day in Puerto Viejo, Sophie and I jumped in the ocean and then had a photo shoot with Las Tiradas, who at one point, piled on the ATV and tried to take off into town with Suki at the helm!
The next day, I flew out of San Jose thinking about "green,” murals and "street art," some new dolls I want to make, and with a pang for this beautiful, strange country that has stayed with me long after I got back to L.A.
Until next time.
Have a great week!