First, an update on the bats.  The next night we got out maybe four more but knew there were at least two more.  Night three of this experience got rid of one, and night four got rid of what seems to be the last one.  This afternoon we vacuumed the loft and downstairs to get rid of any bat poop, cat hair, etc.  No more are visible so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Getting cleared for entrance into the American Embassy was a bit interesting.  When going through the metal detector even my earbuds were taken, though all items were returned later.  Bill had his iPad as he had information on it he might need but had to leave that along with the rest of the sequestered items….guess he might activate a bomb.  When entering the room where he was to wait for his appointment I had to remove my sunglasses….they even watch eye movement.

As Bill didn’t want to drive to the Embassy we had a taxi take us there, just a few minutes away.  He waited for us about forty-five minutes to take us back to the hotel.  The total was fourteen dollars.

For anyone who might want to come visit the drive to/from San Jose is about five hours taking the coastal route.  This route is easier to access the airport as the more direct way over the mountains means driving through San Jose.  That can be nerve wracking.

While in the capital we did shop at Wal-Mart.   Although we disagree with their practices, it is the only place here where we can find more products we want/need.  We bought a GPS so now we have CR directions.  Addresses here are not very specific so we may still be challenged.  For example, our address is 1 km. north of the school.  At least we can get to villages, find gasoline, stores, etc.   Still no oven thermometer, though.  I did get a hand held mixer!   I also found aluminum free baking powder as well as a box of baking soda.  In regular stores it comes in small packets.  My big excitement was finding substantial napkins – Vanity Fair!  On the way back up the road to the beach we bought a quart of organic coconut oil from a local woman who was so pleased to get some money.  She was recommended to us by a fellow expat.

Wednesday we lunched with two other American couples our age at an expensive hotel/restaurant, Monte Azul.  It is on Condé Nast Traveler’s Hot List….ooh la la.  Their website is monteazulcr.com.  Four complete lunch options were offered which we ordered ahead of time.  Bill had watermelon gazpacho, Greek pizzeta, and guava sorbet.  I selected tomato gazpacho, pizzeta with chèvre, arugula, and caramelized onions, and the guava sorbet.  No other dessert choice was given.  I had a glass of wine, and Bill drank two.  The total, which included taxes and tip, was $72.  Yikes!  The food was good but….

During lunch we were entertained by some relatives in nearby trees whose visit was enticed by a stash of bananas.

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Our new friends are welcoming and fun.  Jeanne (who lived in Berkeley in ’68…) and Chris have lived down here for several years.  He runs a company that makes fly fishing nets.  Www.brodin.net.  They lived outside SJ until recently as they prefer a more remote location and had a house built.   Bob and Linda Anderson are teachers from Virginia Beach, though Linda is a retired science teacher.  Bob works with intellectually disabled high school students and will retire in two years.  They built a house in the next village a few years ago and spend summers here.  We had toured their property a year and a half ago when looking for a rental.  Although it is a great place, it was not available for an extended time.  It turns out it is just as well as their Internet is far from great.

Thursday I made corn tortillas for the first time ever.  Having watched two local women a week ago I decided to go forth.  They seemed to look like and taste like the sample we had had.  Despite constantly adding a bit of oil to the griddle they did stick a bit every time.

Friday morning we hiked up the road and down the trail a teenager had cleared for us with his machete to Billy’s waterfall.  We didn’t stay very long because while sitting on a rock admiring the gushing water I saw a tick on my sleeve and then another one, a different type, on the bottom of my pants.

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After our Spanish lessons on Friday I continued with the culinary creations.  First I made chocolate chip cookies.  The brown sugar here isn’t quite the same so they taste a bit different.  For the chocolate I had cut up a part of a bar with 70% cocoa, and I melted the coconut oil to replace the butter.  The more cookies I ate the more I liked them!

My next effort turned out to be really yummy!  I had found the recipe while still living in that other place…..Roanoke.  It is Quinoa, Cheddar, and Zucchini Bake.  Though cheese here isn’t aged very long it certainly did well in this case.  (In Monteverde, north near Lake Arenal, there is a cheese factory.)   I found a squash that is close to zucchini.  The recipe called for a third of a cup of herbs which I do not have so used turmeric, black pepper, and a bit of salt.  I also added a clove of minced garlic.  (An interesting note is that a clove of garlic here is called a tooth.)  When we sat down to try it I was pleased it reminded me of quiche!  Much better for us, though.  If you are interested here is the link to the recipe.  A reheated corn tortilla went well with it.

This morning we needed exercise so walked down past our village center.  On the other side of town there is a coffee collector where the locals put their beans for pick up later.

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