Costa Rica, Part 3

 ... we experience culture

by Russ Priestley

A small portion of the 35-acre Tilajari resort showing a heliconia, tropical plant of the banana family
with brilliantly colored spikes of flowers.
(Photo by Barbara Bennett).

After breakfast at Tilajari we boarded our trusty bus and began a day with the average Costa Ricans. If any of us had reservations concerning the genuine warmth and friendliness of all Costa Ricans, those feelings were dispelled on this day.

We visited a tropical flower farm where the owner and his assistants gave us a tour, in open horse-drawn wagons, of the acres of breathtakingly beautiful flowers in bloom. From there we went to a primary school situated on top of a hill in La Fortuna. We, as a couple, were off the bus first and were greeted, "Buenos dias," by one of the youngest students. Other smiling students stood on the wide stepping stones leading up to the school. Each student greeted and led a couple into the school where folding chairs formed a semicircle. Each of the escorts sat alongside those whom they greeted.

Our little guy clung to me like a grandson and he noticed the bulge in the pocket of my pants. He was elated to find it was a camera and he wanted to look through the view finder at the other students who were performing in the middle of the room. It was a simple aim and click camera which I had not wound to prepare for the next picture. This was the safest way to carry it, unless I wanted a photo of the inside of my pocket. Several other students wanted to look through the view finder, then one of the older students with more savvy got hold of it, wound the sprocket and took a photo of his classmates.

The students selected to entertain performed dances and sang their national anthem. Before leaving we passed the hat and donated some money which is much-needed by any school. This mingling with school children was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. When departing, we were sent on our way with the waving and smiling of many happy school children.

Our next event was well-planned by Grand Circle In groups of eight, we were dispersed to visit and have lunch served in a typical home of a native rancher. They had 30 head of cattle and obviously some chickens. A delicious meal of baked chicken and veggies was followed by a two-milk cake. We had heard of this and also a three-milk version and got to discussing it after lunch. With our limited knowledge of Spanish and theirs of English, we received the answer finally when the husband went to the kitchen and brought forth two empty cans. One was evaporated, the other, condensed milk. The third milk is whole milk, but our cake was delicious, using the two milks. We gave the couple our sincere thanks and were picked up by our tour bus for the trip back to Tilajari.

The next morning we left for Guanacaste on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and passed within sight of several volcanic mountains. We toured along the north side of Laguna Arenal,  a man-made lake approximately 28 km. or 17.5 miles long. Our route took us through Liberia, but we were not off course because this one is in Guanacaste Province. We ended our day when checking in to the luxurious Hotel Flamingo which is only a few walking steps from the Pacific Ocean and it was time for a view of the spectacular sunset.

(Photo by Barbara Bennett)

Please return next month, starting August 1, when this travelogue will continue.

Editor's note: To read Part 1 of this series click here. To read Part 2 of this series click here.     

July 3, 2003  

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