Costa Rica (Day 1: San José & San Rafael de Heredia)

Our trip to Costa Rica started April 6th as we flew out of Houston right into the capital of “Tico Land.” We traveled with our close friends, Elba, Andrea, Nilla, and Mario, whom was native to Costa Rica. We were able to stay with some of Mario’s friends in downtown San Jose, before we traveled out-of-town to a cabin in San Rafael de Heredia. Mario’s family and friends welcomed us with fried plantains (a staple dish in Costa Rica) as we celebrated our arrival at Antoine’s beautiful home. A typical phrase in Costa Rica, “Pura Vida,” is commonly used, and translates to “Pure Life.” I noticed it being used in a variety of situations – a form of greeting someone and as a way of celebrating life. The phrase seemed synonymous with “Hakuna Matata,” as if we were to say, “Life is wonderful – enjoy it.” We said it to everyone, and everyone said it back.

Our first day consisted of  a lot of driving – driving around the city, driving to Antoine’s, and then driving to the country where we would be staying at Favio’s cabin. Both Favio (a judge) and Antoine (an architect) were Mario’s childhood friends. They greeted us with the excitement and spirit of what I can only explain was “Pura Vida.”

At the cabin, I took it upon myself to fetch oranges from the trees (in an attempted to earn my keep.) I had the use of an unusual tool – a long pole with a hook attached to it, as I attempted to hook the fruit with the blade. In a funny state of irony, we discovered said “oranges” were deceptively lemons. That tart, sour lemon was the first and last bite of fruit we had that morning. We also picked beans from a coffee plant that was nearby in the yard. Favio welcomed us into his home (in San Jose) for breakfast. Together we sat down to a lovely spread of arroz blanco, frijoles negros, huevos, y cafe (white rice, black beans, eggs, and coffee, a traditional Costa Rican breakfast.)

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  (Trip continued on Day 2)

NOTE: All blog posts, articles, and photographs are the intellectual and creative property of Melissa J. Koziol. Thank you for reading!

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