27 December 2010

Our Tropical Christmas - 2010

We just spent a wonderful Christmas vacation in Costa Rica where we ate more than our fair share of Christmas Tamales.

The garden is looking fabulous. Mario, our gardener, is doing a wonderful job. All of the trees we planted in May have doubled or tripled in size and the lawn is now well established. We didn't have a Christmas tree this year, but we did manage to string up lights on the casita.

Here is John standing next to our Cashew tree.

Mario has managed to bring this little Mango tree back to life. Jenny planted it about 3 years ago and it had been struggling.

The Almond tree is really starting to grow and should provide good shade on this side of the casita.

Our Valencia Orange has tripled in size and is already producing fruit.

We attended many holiday parties and dinners and made lots of new friends this trip. Our neighbor Max threw a party for his employees and clients. We met a couple, close to our age, and had such a good time with them, we arranged to met for lunch a few days later. We went to the Machu Picchu restaurant in San Jose. The food there is outstanding and you should try to go there if you get the chance.

One evening Mario and Dinia invited us over for homemade Chicharrones. Mario and Dinia are really great folks. They embody everything we love about the Ticos. The friendship they have extended to us is just wonderful. They provided us with transportation to and from airport. Shortly after they dropped us off at our casita, they came over with a huge basket of fresh fruit and a week later they showed up with more. They went out of their way to help us with a number of things we needed to get fixed around the casita. We are so grateful to count them among our friends.

We celebrated Maritza's and my birthday one evening with her, Vinicio and the rest of her family. It was great to see all of our extended family. Like all kids, their grandkids are growing up just too fast.
One of the best parties we went to was hosted by our friend, Eliercer, near Grecia. This is CR at its best! He and his church members put on a Christmas Fiesta for the area poor. Well over 100 kids, babies to pre-teens, waited for hours to get into the Fiesta. Once inside, they were entertained with games, a clown, "dreamsicles" hot dogs with slaw & all the dressings, ice cream, soda, piñatas full of candy. Finally, each child received a nice toy present and a bag filled with apples and grapes.

After the kids party we had "Olla de Carne" for lunch with Eliercer and his family. Then we went to see friends in Alajuela for afternoon coffee and more food.

We spent Christmas Eve with my Tico "son" and his family where we enjoyed a roasted pork leg with all the traditional trimmings. We watched the little ones pass out presents to everyone to open and then it was time to tuck them in bed so they could wait for the Niño Jesus to arrive with their "special" presents.

We had a wonderful time and we were so sad to see our vacation come to an end. We were in the midst of packing on Christmas Day for our trip home on the 26th, when Eliercer and his family surprised us. They showed up in the late afternoon with Christmas Tamales. We brewed some coffee in the chorreador and I made up a platter of cheeses and crackers. We sat outside on the casita's porch to enjoy the impromptu fest with good friends in perfect weather. ¡Pura Vida!

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