Saturday, February 9, 2008

Off to the Tropics...Costa Rica

From the icy, snowy, frigid cold we arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica on January 3, 2008. Stepping off of the plane let us know we were back in the tropics.

We had another small stent of working for Trek Travel in the city of Allajuela, Costa Rica...33 bikes to get ready for the upcoming Trek Travel tour season. Jacky helped by doing the major cleaning of the bikes and I did the mechanical repairs. Our work area was a small warehouse at Tomasita Chavey's personal residence. This was also the place we set up her lawn. This had many great benefits because Tomasita was like a grandmother to us. She would insist that we have coffee and breakfast with her and her family. This was the same for lunch and afternoon coffee time. We developed a great liking for pinto (red beans, fried rice and cilantro). We didn't so much like the cow stomach though. We learned alot about a traditional style home in Costa Rica. We also met many of Tomasita's children and nieces. Costa Ricans are very family oriented.

Our work schedule allowed us daily rides to explore the mountainous region around Allajuela. The full suspension Trek mountain bikes (the ones that we were fixing for them and borrowed) were a must with the bad roads. When I say bad I mean...narrow, rocky, full of pot holes, no shoulders and huge concrete ditches.

Jacky's sister, Connie, and her family met us in Allajuela for dinner one night. Coincidentally they were there at the same time we were and staying only 1.5 miles away! We were also able to meet up with Jim and Jane Kirchner (biker friends from GRABAAWR) and their family a different evening for dinner. Our friends from Decorah, Doug and Gina Mello, Dale and Jody Ellickson and Tom and Teresa Bockman just happened to be at Doug and Gina's house in Playa de Panama, Costa Rica. Everyone seemed to be in Costa Rica in January. We spent two days with them on the Pacific Coast. It was alot of fun, very hot and relaxing.

Things were reasonably priced in regards to food and transportation. Our bus ride to the Pacific Coast (to Mello's) cost us $7.50 each for a 6.5 hour bus ride. This was not a luxury bathroom, 97 degrees and packed. People were standing in the aisles. However, once we reached the coast (tourist area) the short taxi ride from the bus stop to Mello's house cost $20.00.

The landscape in Costa Rica was beautiful with mountains, volcanoes, coffee plantations and rain forests. The flowers are vibrantly colored. Wildlife was easy to see. Our temperatures were in the upper 80s to low 90s every day.

After camping in Tomasita's lawn for a week we finally found an apartment to rent. It was very reasonable at $15.00 a night and included cable TV! We enjoyed this affordable luxury for a week and then ended our time in Costa Rica by watching the last Packer Playoff Game (-3 F in Green Bay, 85 F in Costa Rica)., chips and salsa, Packers....can it get any better? (Only if they would have won!).

Now, it is time to move on.

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