The Roving Richards

A family on the move

Alajuela 2005

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Xandari. This morning we awoke to the wonderful sounds of birds.  We went to the breakfast buffet which was uneventful, and then walked around the grounds while we waited for the rental car to arrive. They have a lantana bush that is just covered with butterflies.  It’s really amazing–you can bet if I lived in Costa Rica I’d have one of these plants in my yard.

We checked again on the rental car and it turns out that Budget somehow forgot they were supposed to deliver it, despite having confirmed the week prior to our trip.  They did eventually come, and we were able to complete all of the paperwork right there and get a little black Rav4.  Once we got the car, we installed the carseats and moved the stroller over to it, and set out for lunch at Ceviche del Mar, a great Peruvian restaurant on the road to Xandari.  We had a great meal, and the kids were able to amuse themselves watching the leaf cutter ants do their thing.  After lunch, we went to Zoo Ave.  We found it with only one wrong turn, and just like last time we enjoyed seeing all of the animals. Genevieve even spotted this caterpillar!  It started to rain and the girls got into a fight over the one umbrella we had brought with us.  We headed out to the Mega Super, where we got diapers, snacks, and another umbrella for Charlotte.  Then back to Xandari for a swim, shower and dinner.  We parked the kids in the TV room watching Discovery Kids while we enjoyed a glass of wine.  At dinner, the waiter Christian asked me if we’d been there earlier on our trip, because we looked really familiar.  I said, no, not this time, but we were here three years ago with Genevieve, and that was what he remembered us from!  We had had quite a conversation about whether he should go to Santa Barbara to work at the owner’s other property (he did wind up going).  What a good memory that guy has!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Today we were going to Pueblo Antiguo, billed as an authentic Costa Rican experience with people in costumes and recreated historical buildings.  Oh yeah, and rides.  Well, sometime between when all of the articles about this place were written and our visit the rides kind of took over.  The Parque de Diversiones now overwhelms what used to be Pueblo Antiguo–they’ve even installed a ride next to the old town square.  The kids loved it though, despite the torrential downpour that occurred right after lunch (thank goodness a lot of the rides are inside).  It was also an authentic Costa Rican experience, as I don’t believe there were any other tourists there!  That’s the thing about having kids, they expose you to the “real” side of life!   Back at Xandari, we hung out again in the main room for a while, and then had dinner.  The kids were getting comfortable enough with the layout to go to the TV room themselves from the dinner table, so we got a lot of peace.

Monday, July 18, 2005

We decided to pass on La Paz Waterfall gardens because there were going to be other butterfly gardens on our trip and I really wanted to go to Sarchi for an oxcart.  Way back before cars the Costa Ricans carried coffee and other goods using these carts pulled by oxen.  The artisans of Sarchi started decorating theirs with intricate designs and soon they became famous for them.  Now they are sold to tourists, of course.  We found Sarchi and saw the people painting the carts.  We bought one for our cabin (not full sized!) and a bunch of smaller ones for gifts, and had them all shipped (They made it just fine in 3.5 weeks as promised).  Then we went to see the rest of the town but there wasn’t much, just a church.  On the way to tour a coffee plantation, we stopped at World of Snakes in Grecia.  It’s a cool place, and Genevieve really enjoyed handling the snakes.  She enjoyed them so much she didn’t want to give them back. Ever try having a tug-of-war with a four year old over a snake?  I don’t recommend it.  After that, we went to the Doka coffee plantation, and made quite a few wrong turns and probably doubled our traveling time along the way, arriving right before our tour was supposed to start.  Unfortunately, we had not had lunch, as we had planned on eating at their coffee shop.  Duh!  It was a shop that sold coffee, not a coffee shop like a restaurant.  All they had available to eat were these pastry things and a couple of pieces of American cheese.  Silly mommy.  The tour was nice, and our guide explained everything, and I re-explained it to Genevieve.  She seemed pretty interested although of courseCharlotte just wanted to play.  We bought a bunch of coffee, and headed back to Xandari which we reached with no problems.  We had a little swim, and coming back from the pool I found this cool caterpillar hanging out on the bird cage.  We had another nice dinner, and this time there were other girls that alsowanted to watch TV so everyone watched the Wizard of Oz but we got G and C out of there before the flying monkey part–just what we would want, the kids afraid of monkeys in Costa Rica!   We packed and had our last night at Xandari  (for a while…)

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