Saturday, October 14

We caught a flight at - God help us - 12:30 AM. LAX to Houston, a 3-1/2 hour layover, and then from Houston to San Jose, Costa Rica. Here are the four travelers waiting to catch our flight:

Los quatro viajeros - Doņa Teresa, Don Grinnell, Don Guillermo, y... Don Don

We landed at about 11:30, picked up our rental car, and made our way to the little town of San Rafael, in the province of Heredia, about 1/2 hour's drive north of San Jose. Here's a map:

As you can see, we were pretty much at the center of the country. Here's a more close up map, showing the location of San Rafael relative to San Jose:

Notice the name "Alajuela," a little west from San Rafael - that's where the airport is located.

The place where we were staying was a guest house that we rented through AirBnB. Finding it was a challenge. The Ticos have a different attitude than we do concerning street addresses. The streets have names, but the buildings don't have numbers. When we asked for the address of the house, we were told "350 meters south of the Bank of Costa Rica building." I kid you not - that's the address.

Well, we had the phone number of our hosts, and I had Google maps, so we were able to find our way. Complicating matters further was the fact that you can't see the house from the street. All you can see is the gate:

Once through the gate, you drive down a driveway:

...past the host's house:

...and then you come to the guest house:

We were enchanted with the house. As you can see, it's nearly all wood, inside and out. Here are some more pictures:

Stained glass panel in the side door

The living room

The kitchen

Bathroom and stairs

Upstairs sitting room, with big screen TV (it's there, trust me)

The larger bedroom, where Terry and I slept

The smaller bedroom, where Don and Guillermo slept
(except Don ended up sleeping on the couch in the TV room, because the bed was too small)

The patio

The house is actually owned by Emilia, a woman who lives in New Mexico. Emilia's sister Marthe and her husband Wilbert live next door, and their son, also named Wilbert, and his wife live in the house in front, seen in the picture above. I never did get a picture of Marthe, but here's a picture of the two Wilberts, and the younger Wilbert's daughter Isabella:

Marthe and the elder Wilbert have limited English, but the younger Wilbert speaks English quite well, and works as an English teacher - the sign on his house, visible in the picture above, advertises English classes.

After we got settled in, I went out and took pictures. In addition to the pictures of the house, as seen above, I also took a number of pictures of the yard:

The yard, as seen from the upstairs patio

Another view of the yard from upstairs

The yard from the downstairs patio

The vegetation in the back yard included, among other things:

A banana tree

Sugar cane

A pepper plant

There was also an interesting decorative item - a spiral staircase, repurposed as a planter:

At the end of the driveway, past the guest house where we stayed, there were another couple of houses. I never did find out if the people who lived there were related to our hosts in any way, or if they were just neighbors. In any case, they had a pair of rabbits (in separate cages, of course):

There were also several cats wandering around:

I also took a couple of pictures of the neighborhood:

In many places, there was a deep ditch in the gutter between the street and the sidewalk:

Rather dangerous for blind pedestrians. Also rather dangerous for drivers from out of town... like me. Twice, I failed to turn wide enough, and the car's right rear wheel went into the ditch. Didn't damage the car, but it didn't do much for everyone's nerves.

We spent the afternoon resting and relaxing. Don and I walked up to the local grocery store and bought some sodas and coffee, and to a panaderia (bakery) for some bread for the next day's breakfast. We all went out to a local restaurant for dinner:

...and that was it for the day.

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