Friday, August 31, 2007

Fixing a flat

La llanta que no funciona—the tire that doesn't work.

Our first flat in Costa Rica (and surely we'll experience another!) happened to our rental car on our fourth day in the country. We were just getting ready to head out the slower-than-molasses gate in our neighborhood when a guard pointed out that one of the car's tires had gone completely flat in the short distance from our house to the gate.

We all got out to inspect the tire, and Dan began removing the offending wheel to put on the spare. Thankfully a construction worker stopped by and finished changing the tire so Dan didn't have to get filthy, since he was dressed nicely on our way to meet the principal and teachers at the girls' school.

The interesting part of this experience was that we got the car to a repair shop and they fixed the tire, put it back on the car, and put the spare away in the trunk all for a mere three bucks. Three bucks! Living in the central valley isn't always cheap, but our tire solution was a great deal.

When it rains, it pours

During the wet season, rain in the central valley of Costa Rica is nearly a daily event. We wake to gorgeous, sunny mornings with birds serenading us just outside our windows and palm trees reaching to bright blue skies. Then around lunchtime from our home in Santa Ana we can see the clouds start rolling in and down the mountains, knowing it's just a short time until the rains reach us here. Sometimes the rain is soft (como pelo de gato—like a cat's fur), but lately it has been pounding, accompanied by large bolts of lightning and booming thunder that shakes the valley.

Even some Ticos have told us that this year's downpours are more intense than usual. Last week it rained so hard that I had to pull over from driving down the mountain because visibility was nearly zero. Once the rain let up enough to resume driving, I made it home (nearly jumping out of my seat once at a huge clap of thunder and driving through some big puddles, nothing too deep). It was truly a gullywasher.

When I finally got home from my white-knuckled ride, I told Dan
(with plenty of drama, to be sure) how bad roads were. Shortly after, he drove to the gate to watch for the girls' bus to bring them back from their second day of school. What he found was an SUV caught in the underpass with water nearly up to the top. The driver escaped through his sun roof while others (including the kids on the bus) were stranded, watching.

Some people worked to unclog a large sewer drain and eventually to pull the SUV out of the area. Dan said when they opened the SUV door it was like a movie, with water gushing from the vehicle. Apparently all that was missing to complete the drama were a few fish to flop out of the car as well.

I love listening to the rain at night. I love seeing the lush green mountains in the morning. I just don't want to find myself stranded in my car with a few fish swimming around for company.

I just can't wait...

We've been in Costa Rica now for two weeks and are still waiting (getting a bit impatient, admittedly) for our air shipment, which contains my trusty computer.

I didn't want to start my blog on Dan's laptop, yet I'm giving up the fight and am going to compose a few entries now before much more time passes.

So here we go as I begin with notes and observations about our lives in the beautiful (and currently green and rainy!) central valley of Costa Rica...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Camp Grandma and Grandpa

While Dan and I were in Costa Rica looking for a house, the girls stayed for a week in Wisconsin with their grandparents. They had so much fun!

They went to Wisconsin Dells, went canoeing with Grandpa and Uncle John, saw fireworks, had a golf ball/lemonade stand in Grandma and Grandpa's yard on the golf course (they had awesome homemade signs and made almost $25; see the picture and click on it to make it bigger), spent a couple of afternoons at the pool with big water slides, went out to eat loads of times, spent a night with John and Shannon and went to the local fairgrounds with them, went to the park and the zoo, had a picnic at the river, etc. etc. etc. And of course they saw deer, pigs, lots and lots of cows, a fox, lots of hummingbirds close up...What a vacation!
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