Day 1 in Costa Rica:
Today truly is the first day of the rest of my life. We made it to Costa Rica (meaning me and my friend Beth/co-partner in crime at the B&B) and are ready to start this new adventure. First, getting here….
Getting to Costa Rica was not so bad. We had about 15 pieces of luggage between us, nine of which we checked, so getting here was not as inexpensive as expected! Between overweight bags and too many bags (and I won’t assign blame!), it cost us a few extra colones (the Costa Rican currency). Surprisingly, it was not so bad given that we had very nice people both at Dulles Airport outside of Washington, DC and at San Jose airport help us with the bags. And, it only cost $35 for the cab ride to the B&B with all the bags. It was about a 1.5 hours from clearing customs to get to the B&B, though it would have taken less time if we didn’t wait for our driver at the airport who didn’t show up and if we didn’t miss the turn off for San Ramon. At least now I know the route and it is not that bad at all to get to Angel Valley Farm (AVF)—pretty much a straight shot from San Jose.
(Hello friends back home: Andrew, Leika, Jody, Jim, Basem, Suzanne, Brian, David(s), etc.etc!)
Arriving at Angel Valley Farm B&B
Upon arriving at AVF, we quickly realized it is the rainy season. Why you ask? Because it was raining! LOL! I did notice how much more plush it is here compared to when I was here in March during the dry season. I will have to get used to a bit of mud—not my favorite thing in the world—but I’ll deal with it. The key thing is how to keep the mud from the outside getting inside the house. Not an easy task, but we’ll figure it out!
After arrival we chose our bedrooms, at least temporarily. Beth took one of the guests’ rooms and I took the master bedroom which the previous owner slept in. I offered her the master bedroom many times but she was just fine with the smaller bedroom off the kitchen. It has more light and a nice bathroom. I like my bedroom but it is not very bright and airy so I think ceiling fans will be a must at some point soon.
The view of the valley from the B&B was as stunning as I remember it, actually more stunning now that everything is lush. I took a few pictures which I’ll add soon. I think just coming here to relax for a few days and enjoy the view is reason enough—and I get to live here!! Pretty amazing in my book!
The biggest surprise for me was that we had guests, three of them actually! In fact two of them, a nice couple from St. Louis are here for a whole week—cha ching! The other guy is a friend of Jose’s who live in Guanacaste, near the Pacific Coast, and is just visiting for a few days.
So, my first day in Costa Rica at the B&B ended pretty quietly. We had nice dinner at “Mi Rancho,” a nice restaurant across the street from the B&B (but far enough way that you can barely see it beyond the rolling hills). I was sound asleep by 9:45pm. I guess it was a long day given an early flight from Washington, juggling a gazillon bags and so on!
First I won’t be calling each journal entry by “Day One,” “Day Two,” etc., etc. I’ll probably title my entries to reflect something interesting that occurred that day or that week—no guarantees I can update this blog every day, but I’ll try—so I’ll call today’s entry: “Geez, we almost got run over by a Tica woman!” I’ll mention that story in a minute.
I woke up before my alarm went off, at about 6:30pm. Makes sense given that I went to bed before 10pm the night before which was rare for me back in DC. A few guests were milling about already.
The clouds were relatively thin now and the sun was shining pretty brightly. An amazing morning view in the valleys surrounding the B&B with cows mooing and birds of all types calling out to potential mates (or something like that). One of the first things I noticed this morning is that there are about four local dogs that come around in the morning, looking for some generosity (i.e., food). Three of the dogs were just about puppies and very cute. They were all over me but I didn’t mind. Jose said the dogs are after food of course, but I wondered why their owners in the ramschakle place down the hill didn’t take care of that. Oh well.
After breakfast (which Jose cooked because he still owns the B&B until Monday around 10am, then Beth takes over cooking—LOL!) we went for a hike to see some of the development properties around AVF, which Jose owns. There are a bunch of nice plots of land from half an acre to two or more acres available, most with very nice views as well. Beth loved the plot with a big waterfall the most, except it would take a bit of work to build a house that looked right at the waterfall as a lot of clearing is required. However, it is a stunning waterfall with lush rainforest all around, various flowers and even hiking trails. We stopped at Joanna’s house (Jose’s girlfriend and where Jose is living from now on) so the guests could see a new house fully built. I REALLY like her house because it is open, has a good deal of light and looks very spacious for only 1300 square feet.
We did a quick tour of downtown San Ramon around lunchtime. To me, it looks like most Central American towns of its size—about 30,000 people—slightly on the dirty side but fairly nice maintained. It is our town now, so we’ll get used it. It has everything we’ll need from doctors’ offices, several supermarkets, a couple of movie theatres, hardware shops and so on and so forth.
We had lunch at a local place which specializes in pizza and Italian food. The owner was friendly and I was sure to let him know I lived here now as it’s always good to make connections. While our lunch was being prepared, I went across the street to the small bodega. The guy behind the counter as I bought chips and cookies, spoke a bit of English too. Yes, I still need to learn Spanish but I think I’ll survive.
We stopped at one of the supermarkets in town to buy tonight’s dinner which Jose will cook. On the way back from the supermarket to AVF—here’s the story I mentioned at the onset—a Tica woman driving on the wrong side of the wrong ALMOST crashed right into us! Luckily, Jose veered quickly the right and we ended up just about in someone’s front yard. She slightly clipped Jose’s driver’s side mirror. Everyone was fine. Jose said you need to drive defensively here and I sure as heck learned that today. I am going to drive much more defensively than I would in Washington because they do drive a bit crazy here and don’t always stop for Altos (stop signs).
This brings me up to the present time, a quiet Sunday afternoon of our second day here. It’s raining as it will most days but it is calm and peaceful. Beth is napping—good for her as this had been an exhausting week between all going-away parties, getting here and so on. I can sense she’ll adjust just fine though—particularly after we remodel the B&B and a bit, give it the good deep cleaning it needs—and settle into our daily routine.
P.S. Beth wanted me to add something funny. Jose, now our good friend and former owner of Angel Valley Farm, took Beth on an errand somewhere in his car, a nice 1970s LandRover. Well, there is now a seat belt law in CR and Beth is always very good about putting on her seatbelt. However, in Jose’s car, he had the strap, but no place to buckle the seat belt into, telling Beth (pharaphrasing here), “Just put it across the shoulder and front of you so the police do not stop us.” Ah, we do love CR and the people we are meeting!
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