Friday, March 30, 2012

Costa Rica: Thursday (Jueves)

Jean joined in on a yoga class, which she said was great. Instead of yoga classes at home, which are often packed with sweaty people in a dark rooms, this was on a huge wooden platform just above a bubbling brook. With a gentle breeze, running water and plenty of birds chirping, she says it was very relaxing.

I did not partake in the yoga class because, well, I'm a guy, and real men don't do yoga, and Francesco and I went out for a ride. He's a super nice guy and quite an avid rider. Despite the fact that he's still recovering from ruptured achilles tendons--in both legs (about 6 months apart from each other and about 10 months ago for the most recent one), he was getting ready to lead a two-week bike tour across the country. He says it's a pretty mellow pace, but the roads in Costa Rica can make even a relatively short ride quite brutal. READ MORE>>>

Anyway, he had a loop in mind to take us along the lake for a bit, then climbing up along the ridges to where all of the wind turbines are. As expected, there was more climbing, but unfortunately, his carbon seatpost cracked.

This happened after only a few miles, and essentially ended his ride. He couldn't carry on because with his recent achille's tendon surgeries, he is not supposed to spend much time standing while pedaling. He got a ride back and he was able to give me easy to follow instructions to keep going on my ride and still get back to Mystica without getting lost. It was still a fun ride and I'd take Jean on it the following day.
Where Jean did her yoga stuff.

Where I did my biking stuff.

Not good.

Calling for a ride...

The wind was CRAZY along this ridge... the perfect spot for a wind farm.

I like riding bikes.
When I got back, Jean and I headed out to do a little exploring and found ourselves at a local microbrewery, Volcano Brewery. I got a nut-brown ale which was pretty good and Jean got a red ale which she didn't really like, and it wasn't very red.

It's always cool to have a volcano in a photo. That's a fact, look it up.

After lunch, Jean and I, and Barbara and some of her friends went on a trek to find petroglyphs. We took the same rough roads down, down, down, but the intersection we were looking for didn't look like we thought it would. In fact, Barbara even went past it at first, and had to call to confirm directions. The way we were supposed to go, on our ill-fated bike ride, had not looked very inviting, so I had honestly thought the "road" was a rancher's driveway or something. Anyway, the road ultimately brought us to the promised gate, which would then take us to the petroglyphs. Now, if I've made you think the roads are rough by now, the next section of "road" was in a class all by itself. We were told that we'd need a 4x4 to get in and out, and even with the 4-wheel drive in our rental, I was dubious. Anyway, about another kilometer in from the gate and we arrived at a family's home where we were greeted by some great people. Jean and I were very fortunate, in retrospect, that we hadn't found the house on the first day.

My pics did NOT come out very well... the flash I was using flattened
the depth of the rock carvings...
Without Barbara, our inability to speak Spanish would have caused us to miss out on quite a bit. Barbara interpreted and we learned that this family owns the land and that they had originally thought that the government would have offered some assistance (financial) to make the petroglyphs more accessible. But, it has not. I am embarrassed to admit that I forget the man's name who gave us the tour, but he was great. He led us down the path to the rock art, gave us some explanations, answered our questions (through Barbara), and then led us down some other trails on his property. He showed us some of the things that he grows, including tamarind and sugar cane, and then, once back to his house, he offered us some flavored water and home-made corn bread. Then, he gave us an impromptu concert by singing and playing his guitar. While he was singing, chickens and turkeys were clucking and gobbling in the background and all in all it was a great experience. It would have been so much better if Jean and I could speak Spanish, but without Barbara, we wouldn't have had even half of the experience.

Tamarind seeds...

I don't remember what these were, but I drank 'em up anyway...

When we were done, surprisingly, our little BeGo scampered up the jeep trail quite nimbly and we were on our way back to Mystica. The "drive" back was nearly as arduous as the ride had been the day before, but much less tiring. We got back to Mystica in time for another great dinner.

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