As wonderful as the experiences over the past four months have been, we moved around a lot. So, living on a mountaintop in Costa Rica for a two-month stretch soothes my soul.
We flew into San Jose in the evening of April 3rd and were greeted by Scott, our host, holding a sign, “Bob and Jane.” Being met at the airport, not having to navigate to the house sit after traveling all day is one HUGE gift. Thank you, Scott! We drove the hour and a half to the house and were greeted by Linda offering fine wine. Again, a gift.
We settled in for a great night’s sleep, and then Scott and Linda taught us about the house and the area. We went to the spectacular farmer’s market and Linda introduced us to her favorite vendors and showed us around town. Our orientation set us up for a wonderful stay in Costa Rica.
One benefit of house sitting is instant friends. Joanna and Victor invited us to a free concert in San Ramon. Sesquiáltera – Música Antigua Iberoamericana, performed, captivating the audience. From the moment the concert started, I was in. Take a minute to listen. My favorite is Credidi de 6.
So, the concert started at 4:00 pm, which created a small “issue.” Sunset is about 5:50 and I’m not a big fan of driving at night on these country roads. Driving in daylight is harrowing enough. Think driver’s ed simulator times ten and you have a good idea of driving in rural Costa Rica. Anything or anyone can pop out at you at any time.
Perhaps it’s a mom and child walking in your lane. The roads have no shoulders, just rain ditches, so the people have no choice but to walk on the road. I get it, but it makes driving tricky. My hands haven’t been at 2 and 10 since my driver’s test in 1977.
One day, Bob and I were coming back from town. We rounded a hairpin turn and there in front of us was a truck with a flat tire and a motorcyclist helping with his bike parked across the road. Another time, a mom was pushing her toddler in a plastic toy car up the hill, of course in the driving lane.
And another time, a frail elderly man with a cane stepped out in front of our SUV. We stopped to avoid hitting him, and he just got into the back seat. He calmly told us to take him to the grocery. So, we drove him to the grocery.
Add in numerous dogs treating the roads as their backyards and you get a pretty good impression of driving in our area. In the three-plus weeks we have been here, my hands are still at 10 and 2, but my shoulders are no longer up to my ears.
Thank goodness we are driving an SUV as we took the gorgeous valley route to Punta Arena. The road was labeled “route 742”, which led us to believe it was very drivable. Google Maps presented it as a good route to the beach. Well, it did get us to the beach.
The first 30 minutes were what we expected with a mix of blacktop and smooth gravel roads. All good. As we continued on route 742, the road became a bit bumpy. My focus became avoiding potholes and soon included avoiding large rocks protruding from the road. Our driving speed slowed to a creep.
Now, the views were spectacular and moving at a creep let me take it all in. The scary moment was coming face to face with a rickety makeshift bridge. Driving a 2 ton SUV over a few pieces of sheet metal to get to the other side of the river didn’t make my to-do list that day. Well, I had no choice.
My first instinct was to floor it and get over it really fast, but I reconsidered. Slow and steady was the way to go. I wanted to close my eyes, but not a good plan while driving over a bridge. So I pushed the accelerator and low and behold, the bridge held and I’m here today to tell the story. OK, I’m sure the bridge was safe, but it’s not what I’m used to.
We spend most days enjoying the house. I’m taking advantage of Linda’s amazing kitchen and relaxing into the calm of the house and the spectacular view from 3000 feet, which, on a clear day, stretches all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Next up, a hike into the mountains and a look at San Ramon.