Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Costa Rica Trip (Day 3)

December 29: Rescued Animals and Traditional Oxcarts
Today was a transition from central San Jose to the northern La Fortuna. We began with a nice long visit to Zoo Ave, an amazing wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center. The animals on display were all rescued from situations of abuse or neglect. If they are healthy enough, they are rehabilitated and set free again in the wild. Unfortunately, many of the beautiful animals that we admired didn't meet that criteria. It's an honour to get to see them up close, but it's a shame that the actions of humans have caused them to need to stay in this environment rather than being released. We were so impressed with the operation that we made a donation to the organization as we left.

We saw tropical birds, owls, monkeys, big cats, reptiles, spiders, peacocks, iguanas, emus, turtles, sloths, etc. My favorite was the ocelot with its beautiful markings, and I also like the jaguaregui (no photo of this one) that looked like a cross between a small cinnamon-colored jaguar and a house cat. We also admired the tropical fauna in the surrounding bosque ("forest").

We finally learned the name of the big spider that had intimidated Mr. E during our hike outside the San Jose butterfly sanctuary and that we continued to encounter in other wooded areas as well:

Our next destination was Sarchi, which is renowned for its traditional ox carts and the style of design that is still completed in the traditional by-hand manner by highly-trained local artisans. We passed by the largest ox cart in the world in the town square (it's in the Guinness Book of World Records) and had lunch above the souvenir store, where we bought magnets, Christmas ornaments, and a wall plaque for Mom, all decorated in the traditional style. We had actually seen a Sarchi-style ox cart at the Doka Plantation the day before:

The drive from Sarchi to our hotel, Arenal Springs Resort, in La Fortuna was about 3 hours. We made a stop about halfway through in Zarsero ("sarsparilla") to stretch our legs, admire the central church, and wander through the unique topiary garden in the town square. We got to the hotel around 4pm and were greeted with warm washcloths and welcome cocktails -- yum! The resort is composed of small separate buildings that each contain 2 guest rooms or suites along with a network of pools including warm pools heated by the nearby thermal waters as well as some more typical cooler pool areas. Oh, and of course there's a swim-up pool bar area as well!

Once our bags were delivered to the room, we changed into swimsuits and hit the cool pool for some laps before trying out the warmer water. We skipped the pre-dinner cocktail for the moment, but we made up for this later when we discovered the other on-site restaurant, El Rincon Italiano, where we spent a few hours at the bar after dinner, drinking wine and playing cards (Mr. E bought a deck at the souvenir shop, and the back of the cards are decorated with the Costa Rican flag and motto "pura vida") and chatting with the friendly bartender. He was very patient with my halting Spanish, and we watched him cutting up starfruit ("carambola") in preparation for the next day's round of welcome cocktails -- 100 glasses to prepare! We also heard some fireworks as well as a slight tapping or knocking sound that we learned came from the little geckos on the walls nearby. Overnight, we heard strong rain showers and got to see how the plants in our bathroom shower were watered naturally through the gap in the overhang!


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