Costa Rica Cost of Living Update: 1 Medium to Large Zucchini— $1.00
Rob and I just got back from a ridiculously fun road trip. We traveled the country taking pictures, and meeting interesting people. Every year we try to rent a house for a month and explore a different part of the country. But this trip was different. So many of you have reached out offering to share your homes, farms, or resorts with us. It made this journey even more special.
Traveling with Rob is always an adventure, even if it’s just to the grocery store. One of the things that make me crazy is that he will bring a cup of hot coffee with him into the car. Not a travel mug, but a Winnie-the-Pooh cup. Folks, if you’ve never had the luxury of driving on a Costa Rican dirt road, imagine your brain as a maraca. Then take that maraca and toss it off a cliff. It’s not the type of thoroughfare you want when your driver is balancing a hot cup of coffee on his lap.
Inevitably, we hit the first bump and Rob’s coffee flies out of his mug, ricochets off the dashboard, and into my lap. This leaves me in a superb mood and I can’t wait for my “I’m not talking to you” silence to begin. Giving long periods of quiet resentment is a superpower I have perfected over the years. Remarkably, this power has no effect on my husband.
The first stop on our road trip was back to Grecia to visit our friend Darlene. You may remember her from my first book. A lady who built a house with a view over the Central Valley. Of all the things I miss about Grecia, she is what I miss the most. Her zest for life is contagious. She’s always at a club meeting, a dinner party, or out dancing. Being around her reminds me to enjoy life and make the most of what I have.
Rob and I stayed at her house for a few days and that gave us a chance to revisit Poas Volcano. Incredibly, this attraction has a paved walking path up to an observation area, making it easier for senior citizens or people with disabilities to get to the top. When you live in Costa Rica, you learn to appreciate a paved road. If only Rob could drive his coffee up there, he wouldn’t spill a drop.
Poas has been quite active lately, and the best time to see the crater is right when the park opens: 8AM. But this time around we got there in the afternoon and witnessed clouds of steam and sulfuric acid rising up like a phoenix, blowing in every direction and obscuring the luminous, turquoise lake that resides in the crater. Luckily, the wind picked up the steam and carried it away exposing the lake for a few minutes, enabling us to get a few, beautiful pictures.
Although the lake looks like a majestic swimming hole, it’s actually a caldron full of acid. No swimming here, just a fantastic photo opportunity and a memorable experience. Every time I witness this crater, I can’t help but feel vulnerable, which I suppose is the proper feeling when at the top of a volcano. It’s these moments that make my life so rich in Costa Rica. When it comes to the splendors of nature, vulnerability and respect feels warranted.
Our stop in Grecia coincided with the World Cup, specifically the game in which Costa Rica made it to the quarterfinals after defeating Greece. The entire mountain erupted in a roar, and everyone ran outside to celebrate. This was when Rob decided he wanted fried chicken, so we attempted to drive into town. Needless to say, we were stuck in the most joyous traffic jam I’ve ever seen. Everyone was waving Costa Rican flags chanting “ole ola.” I hollered out the window “Costa Rica is beautiful” in Spanish, which is my standby phrase, whether speaking to a teller at a bank, or the boy who is bagging my groceries. They always smile and agree. They must think I spend my days staring up at trees and clouds, which I do because I’m that happy living in this country.
Grecia holds a large piece of my heart. It was here I began my Costa Rican journey, and it was here that the Costa Rican people showered me with kindness and understanding. I unpeeled the many layers of stress that had accumulated over the years in that small town, and learned that happiness is something that was always with me, I just needed to remove the “busy” filters that were masking my view.
Grecia was the first stop on this road trip, and I can’t wait to share more stories with you. Next time, I’ll tell you about Playa Dominical, the place that all but guarantees you a good night’s sleep.