Monday, March 30, 2015

San Ramon, San Jose and a personal audience with "San Pietro"

One of the many lovely things about having a family that is supportive of your adventuresome wanderlust is that they’re keen to make sure you have a “safe” place to stay whenever/wherever possible. So I’ve gotten a lot of messages like “Cousin Betty’s college roommates son lives _______ - he said you’re welcome to stay there when you pass through on your way to San Diego.” It’s really sweet and for the first time, we’ve actually been able to visit one of these 5-degree of separation connections.

My Uncle Brian in Arizona put us in touch with his friends Lon (American) and Rosemary (Costa Rican) who are living in San Ramon, Costa Rica. And so after our night at the fire station, we took a ride around Vulcan Arenal and then headed to San Ramon.

Before I get too far ahead of myself: Yes, we skipped that peninsula full of beautiful beaches that so many of you recommended that we stop at. :( No one was more disappointed about that than me, BUT we found out that the Ferry Express will stop running on April 20! And there have been a couple of sailings that haven’t gone due to bad weather, so we want to be on the April 13th ferry. Otherwise, we’re left with the Stahlratte option. While lovely, it is NOT in our budget, so we’re now “racing to make the ferry.” Oh well - at least we’ll have tons of reasons to return to Costa Rica. We like it here ;)

Anyway, we arrived at Rosemary’s house in San Ramon and she, Lon and her lovely teenage daughters made us feel instantly welcome. They toured us around to several nice spots in the area and made sure we tasted all of the local specialties from coconut cookies, to Costa Rican string cheese to ceviche served in a bag of chips. And with Rosemary’s incredible Gallo Pinto and eggs for breakfast every morning, I think we each gained a couple of kilos.

A yellow fever vaccination will be necessary moving forward (Panama, Colombia, etc.) so off to the pharmacy I went. In the US, it would have cost $140 at Safeway to have this done. In San Ramon it cost $80. And NO, I'm not crying in this photo!!! (If I have to get a rabies booster, that may be another story )

Visiting the local markets in San Ramon to gather ingredients for lunch

Partners in Crime

Had too much fun with these lovelies! And thanks to them, my Spanish improved every day we were in San Ramon.

Ceviche in a bag of chips!

Lon from Tucson, Az, Rosemary, me, Rosemary's daughter, Angelica and her friend.

From San Ramon we headed to San Jose to meet up with a former colleague of Roel’s, Marie Ange. We had a really nice time with her and she gave us some interesting insights into what life is like in San Jose for a foreigner. In case we get any ideas for the future… you know

Roel and his former Dutch colleague Marie Ange. Sometimes, it's a very small world.

On our way out of the city, we passed a small motorcycle shop and the owner came running out waving his hands in the air just about at the time Roel shouted ‘HE HAS AN AFRICA TWIN’!!! So we found our way back on the one way streets and not only did he have an 1990 Africa Twin, he had a 2008 Transalp, and several other beautiful rare bikes that one would not expect to see in Costa Rica. Pietro kindly let us ogle his collection for a while and even brought us back to his rare and precious parts room. While glancing around the parts room, Roel’s eyes fell on a chain guard that looked awfully similar to his decayed original Honda one. His Dad has made several replacement ones out of metal since the original died, but they seem to eventually crack and rattle to the point where Roel has to replace them again. Pietro insisted that Roel take it and a VERy happy Roel installed it on the spot. WOW. What are the chances!?

Pietro and Roel with his beautiful Africa Twin

Roel preparing to install his new chain guard, courtesy of Pietro.

We rode off into the sunset and found a nice place to camp next to the Pacific on our way to Manuel Antonio National Park.

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