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Mo’ Costa

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So let´s start this post off with something WICKED EXCITING. This man is a spy for the government of Swaziland. We met at a bar the night before and he had asked me to take some top secret documents to Colombia. Here he is looking over the results of my psychological profile. After I took this picture, he knew he was compromised and swallowed a cyanide tablet.

Actually, Eve helped me get some insurance for my bike and he is the salesman. I just liked this room; clean, airy and bright, like a Central American office should be. We went to get the emissions checked a couple of minutes before this, but I didn´t know if my readers can handle all that excitement in the first two pictures.

I’m pretty sure the way they spelled on the menu was just a translation error. Damn, these things were huge. Let me just warn you about Chinese in Costa Rica – stay away. I would bet there is a good Chinese restaurant somewhere within the borders of the country, but there are none in Heredia. I know I am making a generalization here, but I wouldn´t even recommend going to a Costa Rican Chinese place to satisfy your curiosity about how bad they are. Granted, the oil they cooked everything in was old, but everything else was wrong, including the price.

But damn . . . that wonton is huge.

So in these pictures, I have had my bike for a day, and I need to get out of San Jose. I decided to go up to Volcan Poas and the earthquake zone to help out with the relief effort.

When I take these pictures with my point-and-shoot Sony, they always look OK on the little screen, but a lot of the landscape photos don´t capture the magnificence and detail of the distance. I had the thing set to macro mode for these, but I turned it off later in the trip and have yet to upload those photos to see the difference.

Below is a video taken near the earthquake zone during the earthquake:

Look at this town.

It was last seen being awesome in the valley 20 kilometers south of Volcan Poas where it is right now, being awesome as usual. It is the most beautiful goddamn town in the whole world and the food there is very inexpensive.

Goes by the name of Carrizal.

It’s Friday Homey!

When I turned to take a shot of those two kids running away, I had just noticed them going nuts to the music, and then they stopped. That’s how I would like to be – something exciting is happening, get exicted. When you´re not excited anymore, do something else. Maybe it´s not that simple, but I have had the Zen Koan, “When I’m hungry, I eat. When I’m tired, I sleep,” going through my head for the last few days, and I need to figure out more of that.

Anyway, still on the way to Volcan Poas. I left early, so I had plenty of time to see the sights. This was Friday after school and everyone was having a good time because it is Friday and we are in Costa Rica. I thought this music was pretty good there.

I don’t have video editing software readily available, so you’ll have to excuse my burp at the end. Thanks.

Supposedly, this is a coffee plantation. Still on the way up to Volcan Poas. Before taking this picture, my bike almost falls over on me.

Yes, there is a story behind this picture.

So, I´m at the terminus of my trip and I am still nowhere near Volcan Poas. I came around a corner, and there was a car-sized hole in a barrier of orange traffic barrels like the one you see behind us in this picture and a cadre of policia are just hanging out to the left side of it, not paying too much attention to me. The dutiful citizen inside me pulls the bike over and talks to the cops. They ask me for my red cross credentials, and I have none, so I’m forced to turn around.

I have a problem with the front fender on my bike (already) and they help me fix it. I hang out and try to ask them some questions as well as field some, and I figure that this would be a nice shot for my photoblog in lieu of the pics from the damaged area. As the guy trying to take the pictures taking video (because of the last setting), they are making fun of me for being much taller than them. I fix the camera setting and ask him to take a picture with an adjusted stature, and this is the result.

So on my way back down, I figured that I would take a few pictures of the devastation caused by the earthquake. This was the best of the lot. That house is completely F’ed. They really did a great job of clearing the roads of the debris, but I wasn’t in the shit.

I heard that the town at the epicenter of the earthquake had so many infrastructure issues that the Costa Rican government decided to let it go and relocate the people instead of rebuilding.

This is the market in San Joaquin, right near Eve’s house in Heredia. She knew about it but didn’t go that often. I don’t know why, this place is amazing. This guy just gave me a slice of papaya before I took this, it was a pretty frickin’ awesome papaya. It seemed more bustling before I looked at this video.

I mean, I think the lighting has something to do with it, because the wood looks kinda green as well, but I bought five peppers from this market and they were wonderful.

I know we get salsa and chili from Central America, but I think I’m not in one of the indigenous chili eating areas of this part of the planet. People down hear don´t really like spicy foods in general. I eat peppers like people eat apples occasionally, and as this was happening, a couple of the locals commented on how green peppers are too spicy for them. I didn´t even know that green peppers were spicy. I am going to go under the assumption that the people are wrong and that green peppers aren’t spicy unless my commenters tell me otherwise.

Too often, my dinner consists of Starch and meat, as evidenced by this photo here. These are chicarrones con yuca. Chicarrones are pork skik, the layer of fat underneath the skin, and a some of the meat below the cushion of fat. I remember these being pretty good, with the fat layer being pretty thin and the meat area substantial. The Yuca was dusted with confectioner´s sugar, very tasty. That orange looking thing there, I think you might be able to see the skin of it is green. I thought it was dessert, but it turns out that it was lime species that didn´t get the memo about the requirements on its insides being green as well. These Costa Ricans sure are crafty.

The morning after my dinner of pork fat and clever fruit, I started off toward Panama, determined to get there as fast as I could. At this point in my trip, I am trying not to take pictures of anything, because taking pictures means stopping the bike, and stopping the bike means not getting as far as I might if I didn’t stop. These next few shots were too good to pass up, so I decided to take them.

This Costa Rica place has some wonderful views. This was taken just after Atenas going west in the mountains on Route 27 or 3 or 34, I really don´t know beacuse the street signs are so poor here. I asked Eve what street she lives on and she said she didn´t know.

So there are no street names, the route numbers are not defined very well, and the intersections are nondescript about exactly what you are getting when you get to them. Basically, if you want to know how to get to where you´re going, you better know the name of a much larger town on the same road that’s past your destination and also the names of a few smaller towns that you´ll pass on the way. I’m willing to bet that most of Central America is like this.

Costa Rica is pretty much done as far as foriegn investment in real estate goes. There are still signs all up an down the roads advertising for Wyndham Jaco this and Hyatt Dominical that . . . it´s clear that they´re no longer doing the business they once were. This house is in a gorgeous location, and I can only imagine his views. Plus, it’s over toward the Pacific side of the country, so the weather is a lot better most of the time. This guy got in early.

As I am writing this, I am coming to the realization that this is actulally the first time that I saw the Pacific from the mainland. Even in my trips to California, I never made it out to the ocean.

Just skip to the next post, it gets a lot more interesting.
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