This week started with me in a dentist’s office, which is usually a bad sign. I’ll have to give you some background info for this to make sense. About two years ago, I started having problems with one of the caps on my front teeth. When I went to the dentist to fix it for me, he said I had an abscess, that the caps needed to be redone, I needed a bridge across the front four teeth and gum surgery and handed me a proposed bill of about $7,000 (that’s after our rather good insurance coverage!). So I did what any young, broke person would do: I thanked him for his time and ignored the problem for two years.
I’ll confess that one of the reasons we chose our hotel in San Isidro was because of the English-speaking dental clinic across the street. There are some times in life when you really need someone speaking your language – I didn’t want to be guessing what the man-with-the-drill was intending. So, I made an appointment. And rather than the week of miserable recovery and thousands of dollars I was expecting to spend, he gave me a different diagnosis. He fixed the troublesome cap and gave me a root canal to fix the abscess. Total cost for both issues and the consultation: $220 and about 1 ½ hours. True, I still don’t have movie-star teeth. But my vanity doesn’t need appeasing that badly (you can buy a lot of nice clothes with the remaining $6,780).
We found a store called ConfeTico which sells an insane variety of candy. Costa Ricans have the sweetest sweet-teeth (tooths? That’s an impossible grammar sentence. I should probably re-write it, but I’m not going to) on the planet. I think it’s a result of craving something that doesn’t taste like rice and beans. Anyways, we gave the kids each dos mil colones (about $4) to buy whatever they wanted and they acted like, well, like sugar deprived kids in a candy store frankly. It was pretty fun to watch, though I was mildly horrified – $4 buys you a crazy amount of candy and chocolate in a place like that. That was basically our gift to the kids for our anniversary (nine years baby!). Hannah and I went to the beauty parlor and had manicures and pedicures. That was the best pedicure I’ve ever had and remember, I’ve been walking barefoot everywhere for months now so my feet were naaaasty. Cost for both of us: $12. We all got dressed up and went out for dinner at the swanky place in town. All in all a good day.
We toured an organic farm called New Dawn run by a guy named Ed who has literally written the book on medicinal plants in CR. I actually bought his book in Hacienda Baru; then realized he lived in San Isidro and called him up. He gave me his signature tea formula: a blend of pau d’arco, turmeric and ginger, guaranteed to cure whatever ails you. It’s potent stuff, and I’m sure the cleaning staff at our hotel was cursing me as they tried to scrub it out of all the cups later. By the way, you can use turmeric roots like pretty yellow-orange crayons and draw pictures with them, though people will laugh at you.
San Isidro has a movie theater and we took the kids to see Alvin and the Chipmunks 2. I think some movies are better if you only understand half the dialogue.
When we left San Isidro we made our way over the optimistically named Cerro de la Muerte (Mountain of Death) towards Heredia. Heredia was wet and cold – all the way down to 20 degrees! I was freezing and had to find a jacket from way at the bottom of my suitcase. (Feel free to curse and grump a little at this point in your reading.) Here we had the worst hotel experience I have ever had, which I won’t detail for you in case you have a weak stomach. DO NOT STAY IN THE APART-HOTEL ROMA, ROOM #7. That’s all I have to say about that.
From the hell-hotel we went to Cafe Britt Finca to take their tour which was fantastic. More theatre than tour, the actors move you around from the plants to the factory to an actual theatre and use costumes and plenty of humour to teach you about the history of coffee. The kids were in hysterics. The milk-and-sugar laden espresso may have helped with that a bit. The company also makes chocolates, so this was a big hit. Last night we arrived at the Hotel Bouganvillea which is one of the nicest hotels we have stayed at in CR and a huge relief after the last one. We are paying for it, but that’s ok every once and awhile.
We were planning on leaving for the Caribbean side of the country tomorrow and have arranged to rent a little house in a town called Hone Creek. However, Aidan just talked to a gentleman at the front desk of our extremely helpful hotel about renting a car to get us there and was told that the rainy weather is occurring all the way down the coast and that many roads are washed out and travel is currently not recommended. Oh the joys of travel in a country where horses are a major form of technology. We’ll get an update in about an hour and then we will know whether we can go, or whether another night here is a better choice. Maybe we’ll go back to the coffee farm – it’s my new Happy Place. As long as the kids are only drinking decaf.