Saturday, April 5, 2008

Animal and train tracks in San Jose, Costa Rica

We are in Costa Rica! Flight was uneventful, despite that we had to sit in 'death row' all the way in the back where they usually stuff the people with wailing babies and you sit next to the bathroom so you are surrounded by waiting people all the time. But the flight was quite OK and on time (peppar, peppar, as AnS says). Even the food was good, and they served Chohula hot sauce with the egg and cheese sandwich. Not too bad! AREA got some nice photos of Caribbean islands from the air that we are saving for another post.

We arrived a bit after lunch time local time and took a cab to the hotel, Hotel Villa Tournon, which is quite nice. We had lunch at the hotel, since we were starving, and then took a cab to Central Market. This was a disappointment. I had visions of a Swedish -style 'saluhall' or bazaar, but it was dark, and most little places sold junk trinkets for tourists. AREA couldn't stand the butcher and fish monger displays either, so we left and walked around a bit. American franchise companies are everywhere, and it was not a city I really like. Just lots of traffic, not much history, and overrun by KFC, Pizza Hut and women's lingerie and shoe stores. They must sell a lot of underwear in this country! Lots of touristy stores too and the only interesting one was an artisan market with handmade local objects. Lots of nice things there! We eventually ended up in a park next to the old dilapidated train station. It seemed to be used mainly as a pissoar these days, at least the curb around it. We left quickly.

Below - strange tower in the city. Old and new, clean and broken is mixed everywhere. The dry season has just ended so many trees are flowering before they get their leaves back. The most fanciful towel arrangement I have ever seen in a hotel. The comforter, however, looked like the one that the Psycho murder wrapped Janet Leigh in - oh wait, that was a shower curtain! But this one would hide blood stains really well.
Remnants of trains past - a few cars were left on a side track and painted as part of a children's exhibit.
Even a caboose. I love cabooses, they are so small and efficient.
Not a caboose, but a cowbooze...? The whole city was overrun with cows designed by artists, like this one below, named The Milk Machine.

And this one, immediately named Cafe Au Lait, by AREA and me.
This was the weirdest, an angelwhite bull with wings eating circuit boards stuck in transparent plastic. Analyze that one!
Dinner was at a restaurant that I have already forgotten the name of, but very pleasant.
It was decorated with real vegetables, like these onions next to our table. Food style was Costa Rican.
The tables had old photos on them covered with thick resin and guess what was on the photo on my place! Yep, a steam locomotive. PP, I am sure you arranged that somehow. There was even a figure caption, which I wrote down on a piece of paper and now can't locate. I will put it in the comments later.

They had fancy drinks too - alcohol-free Pina Colada for the miss, and caipirinha for me. Yes, the lime was colored with green food coloring, but if you didn't think about that, the drink was very good. Oh, and they put sugar on the edge of the glass, which was kind of weird.
We ordered two different things from the menu, and when the orders arrived, they were exactly the same except I have both chicken and beef and AREA had only beef. I wonder if that was true for the other 40 choices on the menu too. The food was served on banana leaves put on a wooden plank, and it was two small tortillas, pico de gallo, black bean sauce, and meat fried with onions and peppers. Very good. The plaintains were a bit weird since they were cooked with cinnamon and too sweet. The corn on the cob I didn't even taste - AREA told me not too. I guess they either don't know how to cook corn, it was frozen, or they need to grow more New Jersey Sweet Corn. In Ecuador the corn was fantastic, so this was surprising.
Now AREA is asleep in her bed, and I am tired too. Tomorrow we are off to Palo Verde National Park, and AREA will also take a trip to Rincon the la Vieja National Park, an active volcano surrounded by forest.


LS said...

The name of the railroad was:
Wharf and Pacific Railway at Puerto Puntarenas, and the photo was taken by Gomez Miralles. It looks like the railroad cars go out on the pier and then onto a ferry.

PP said...

Wow, great photos....and good looking food too! How is the Spanish speaking going?

LS said...

Me habla no espanol. AREA habla un pequeno espanol, et singing in espanol. She will probably be fluent tomorrow.

All is well, more reports later when I have uploaded my iguana photo, if we get the electricity back. Weird, how can the electricity be out and the router work? Hmmm. OK, more reports later. I have seen LOTS of cool stuff today, and AREA has yet to show up with her report of her visit to the Rincon rainforest. Wish you all were here to see this!

Olle said...

Sounds as if you have a great time, actually. There are always touristy shops and such but just ignore them and walk one block away and you will find lots of interesting things. And nice people! Habla bueno espagnol...

O.K. said...

I've seen those cows in Stockholm a few years ago. And they showed David Lynch's contribution "Eat my Fear", something they refused to do in New York where the exhibition was held first.