So I wrote this with high hopes of adding pictures, but this connection is too slow, so nothing is coming on. I'll do it later in the week before we return home, hopefully...
We had an awesome day today, but I'm beginning to think I shouldn't leave home (or the condo, house, apt. hotel we're staying in) without rain gear. Bea invited us to join her on an excursion to some Ticos' homes—native Costa Ricans who are friends of theirs. She was delivering Christmas tamales to two families who live in the mountains up and around from here. We thought it sounded like a great experience, one not to be missed, so we all agreed to go.
First, the men had a crash, pardon the expression, course in how to drive an ATV. Connie and I only had to worry about hanging on from behind them, and we were off. Bea led the way, then Matthew and me, then Connie and Greg on theirs.
Bea gave last minute instructions—like don't hit the accelerator by mistake when going down the hill....
We got about 10 min away from the house when it started drizzling. Bea stopped and asked if we needed jackets, which she'd brought, so Connie and I said yes. Matthew and Greg had hats on, but Connie and I did not... And by the time we arrived at the first house, about 15 min. later, we were all pretty soaked. We weren't invited into the house, so stood outside with the mother and her two sons and talked. I hae a picture of Kendel, who is seriously adorable, in front of his house and gardenk but no pictures want to load again. Neither he nor his mother spoke any English, so Bea translated any questions or comments we all had. We stayed for about 30 minutes, then got back on the ATVs and headed farther into the mountains.
I'm unsure how far we went or how much time we spent on the ATVs, but I do know it never stopped pouring on us the whole time. By the time we go to the second family's home, we were soaked through to our underwear and our hair looked like we'd just stepped out of the shower. The dad and one of his daughters was there, so we sort of chatted with—he also spoke no English, so Bea translated—while his daughter started making fresh tortillas after putting wood in to heat up the stove.
The process in make the dough and press out the tortilla, quickly fry it in the pan, then put one side against the grill where the fire is for a few seconds. They were delicioso! Her mother and sisters were on their way home, along with some sons—they have 9 children! And we got to meet about 6 of them. They served us a lovely lunch of a sweet drink—sugar-water and warm milk, fried pork which was mostly fat, so we sort of took little bits of that, tortillas and cheese. Then they also served us sweet cookies for dessert.
One of the boys, Elias, who has worked for Bea and Bob, ate also, but we never really saw the rest of the family eating. Their farm provides them with everything they need to sustain them—chickens, cows, horses, pigs, turkeys, and fruits and vegetables. The father works the land and has help from several children, and some of them work elsewhere and help financially. Elias, who is 26, has been to New Jersey a few times for work landscaping. They told us many from Costa Rica go to NJ to work.
Our cook, one of the older daughers, is behind me on the left, the youngest is in stripes in front, and the young lady in green is going into 8th grade and is expected to be the one to get to college because her grades are so good. The other children will probably not go past 6th grade since they have to provide uniforms and transportation for them and they're needed on the land. You can see what I found sleeping under the hot stove....he's only 4 months old, and we all had a chance to hold him.
This family was so lovely to us...by the time we left, we were communicating through pictures in our cameras, and they brought our dry shirts for Matthew and Greg to wear back. Connie and I added plastic pants Bea had brought for our drive home, and one of the girls helped me dress since it was pretty tough getting them on over my wet ones. We had hugs and Feliz Navidads all around as we left, and the mother told Bea to tell us that if we come back to CR, we're welcome there anytime.