Sarchi and Folklore Evening

Published: October 22nd 2017
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Traditional oxcartTraditional oxcartTraditional oxcart

These were used to haul coffee beans down from the mountains
Geo: 10.096, -84.3475

Today was mostly a travel day as we began to make our way back to San José. Stopping in Sarchi for lunch, we got to observe a few artisans at work, meticulously painting the oxcarts that are locally famous in Costa Rica. These carretas were once used to haul the coffee beans (by oxen, of course) down to the cities from the surrounding farms. Now they are beautiful reminders of Costa Rica's agricultural history. I spoke with one man (se llama Junior) who has been painting oxcarts for 31 years; his son is now carrying on the family tradition. We also visited the park to view the largest oxcart ever built—and gorgeously hand painted in an array of floral colors. Its symbolism of Sarchi's heritage was obvious.

From the hotel in San José, the two Hannahs, Danielle, and Sean and I set off on foot to explore. And what goodies we found! We sipped on deliciously creamy mochas at a coffee shop, sampled and then purchased truffles at a chocolateria, and picked up some whole bean coffee at a gourmet Fresh Market. We also patronized a clothing shop (which also sold big screen Sony TVs), but I couldn't get any of the girls to try on the three-inch stiletto heels from the window display. J

Tonight was also the prearranged excursion to Tiquicia for the folkloric performance. All dressed up, we headed out of town to the restaurant, perched atop a nearby summit. Usually there is a sprawling, glittering view of the city lights of San José to be seen from the restaurant porch, but tonight we had no such luck. A thick, soupy fog hid the city from view. But we were still treated to a delicious meal: homemade chips and pico de gallo, white rice with stewed chicken or beef, mixed greens, warm bread, fried sweet plantains, and coconut balls, not unlike coconut bonbons. We washed it all down with fruit juice or orange Fanta.

After dinner, the young dancers danced for us to traditional Costa Rican music. The girls spun dizzying pirouettes in their full white dresses, and the men tapped their boots and tipped their cowboy hats. When they had completed a few dances and vacated the dance floor, we guessed the traditional portion of the night was over when Usher came on over the loudspeakers. The 50 or so American students who were there with EF flooded the dance floor then, and moshed and jumped and pulsated more than danced. But it was a lively way to watch the trip come to an end.

It was a late night, but in a way, it didn't matter. Edgar announced on the bus en route back to the hotel that for our flight home the next day, "Erin's group needs to meet in the hotel lobby at 3 AM." Ugh! What a short night it will be…

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