Monday, October 18, 2010

Costa Rica -- Day Two and Three are a blur

"... and we're driving, in my car ... " ~lyrics from a Cake song

Jesus! We've done so much driving in the last two days.

We landed in San Jose, Costa Rica on Sunday afternoon, found our rental car company, rode in the shuttle van to the office, and I drove out in a manual four-wheel-drive SUV. (It's been fun using a stick shift again ... which reminds me of another Cake song ... )

(following a plantain truck on the new road to Caldera)

We drove from San Jose west to the Pacific coast, and then south down to Uvita. Osa Mountain Village was supposed to have housed us in one of their villas while we were there, but the villa wasn't ready yet -- I think the rainy season slowed down construction a little bit. They found an awesome place for us to stay though: Cristel Ballena. One of the admin/sales people from Osa Mountain Village emailed me and asked me if it was ok to reserve this space for us. It looked way too beautiful to be in our budget, but when I asked him, it turned out to be less than it would've been if we'd stayed in the rental villa. So I confirmed the reservation through the Osa Mountain Villa dude. (Can you hear the foreshadowing?)

We reached Uvita in about three hours of driving from the airport. It gets dark early here, so at 5:30 p.m. we are driving slow, trying to find the entrance off the highway. We find it, we drive up the long driveway, park the rental rig, drag our sweaty, stinky, travel-worn, haven't seen a shower in 36 hours asses into the recepcion and. find. it. full.

At this point we are ready to sleep in our car, we just want a shower and brush our teeth, maybe some food.

We explain the situation. They explain the situation.

Apparently there was a reservation, but they had no credit card info or contact info to hold the room. They held the room until 4pm with a family waiting in the restaurant just in case we didn't show. So they finally released the room to them.

I would've done the same thing.

They were so gracious. So accommodating. Totally bent over backwards so far I'm still feeling guilty for it. See, they have this spa. It's a lovely suite of rooms that has a waiting area, a huge bathroom, a massage area, a place for other spa-like treatments, and a manicure station. And then called someone up at 6pm to come into that room, shove everything in there up in a corner behind a curtain, and bring a king size bed in.

We are mortified at all the effort put into this. But our evening is marvelous. We were given complimentary drinks while we waited for the manager (who also came in special to talk with us), had dinner in the restaurant and had a delightful waiter who made us pineapple flambee in the dark (!!!), showered for many hours (not really), had a romp in the king-size bed (!!!) and slept forever.

The next morning, well-rested, we had a complimentary breakfast (it comes with price of the room -- which is only $67/night!).

(the view from our breakfast table)

(this is Paul-well-rested) <3

After breakfast, we drove into Uvita and found a realtor to chit-chat with. We talked about different locations, which towns he recommended living in, schools, and factors and tips to consider if we decided to move here. Then we drove down to the Osa Mountain Village office and met up with Ricardo. He's the sales guy/realtor for OMV. We talked to Glenn, who is designing all the greenhouse verticle growing systems for the village. It's way high-tech and super simple at the same time. And then Ricardo hopped in our rental 4x4 and we rode up the mountain in first gear (the road's still unpaved) to see the property and the building sites.

 (a ginormous mango tree)

 (a pineapple growing wild on the property)
(Ricardo let one of the workers know that he was low on plaintains and when we were done with the tour, we found these by the SUV, waiting for him.)

The goal for the food production at OMV is to be able to grow all the community's food. Whenever you need something, it will be available for you. There will be a "market" on the property, but when you "shop", you just collect what you need with no money changing hands. Your $150/month in "fees" covers all the food your family can use.

(the first set of villas in construction)

 (This villa is a four bedroom unit.)
(The site for the community center.)

(Ricardo is cutting up a citrus fruit for us to taste -- it tasted a bit like grapefruit to me.)

(one of the zip lines on the property)

(the start of a small nursery ... plantings will be provided for any resident that wants to grow something in their yard.)

(a mango tree that sprouted up in the middle of the road)

(a tiny chicken coop ... for the time being. chicken will be one of the foods OMV will provide for its residents.)

(a "marker" for future tilapia ponds -- another food provided)

(building materials that now stand in the future location of a big tilapia pond that will house mature fish ready to be caught and eaten. any resident is welcome to go fish and catch dinner!)

After the tour, we drove into a couple of the neighboring towns and Ricardo showed us a bakery one of the community residents owns, a few supermarkets, the place where the farmers/saturday market is held and introduced us to an American woman that opened a private elementary school in Uvita. Then we went out to lunch.

We're meeting up with the landowner, Jim Gale, tomorrow and will check out Dominical -- a town close by that supposed to have some night life. Hmm. We shall see. Also, I bet we check out some beaches tomorrow, too.

With thoughts of starting up businesses like coconut ice cream shops, bookstores and yoga studios, I am ready to slip into bed next to Paul -- who has been sleeping for an hour and half.

Our only real concerns so far have been: the kids being bored. Sure there's zip lines and waterfall rappelling (cool! maybe we'll run that business, too!) and having your own machete to harvest bananas whenever you want them, but what about going to a Spanish high school where you can barely speak the language?

Maybe we can bribe them with their own personal lap-tops and Skype accounts ....

Anyway, bedtime.

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