Summer is over here in Costa Rica – usually December through April – and it’s cooled off. Back in November, we saw for the first time an abundance of inexpensive table fans for sale and we all bought them. Expecting a summer hotter and drier than usual, which proved to be true, we out one in every room. Now the season has ended and those cheap fans are dotting the garbage piles in town to be picked up by the trucks Wed. morning and carried off to the land fill. Our own are still working fine but this climate is tough on equipment: humidity and salt air. It begs two questions, “Is cheaper better?” and “Do we have a choice anymore?”
The raging Mala Noche river received a lot of rain last night, a real good soaker. And this morning it flows for the first time since November. After the “first flush” the bay is brown with soil eroded from the river banks above. Not so this morning.
Although it’s unfortunate that a lot of soil is lost in the bay, we take it as a good sign that the ground is saturated with rain water working its way down to the watershed. In a normal year, we would have two or three flushes by the first of June but after our drought last year, we have a lot of dry earth to soak.
Our cashew fruits are ripe on the tree. About the size and shape of a small apple, this juicy fruit is called Maranon in Costa Rica – the n needs a tilde but I can’t get my keyboard to cooperate. The fruit is juicy with a lot of texture and the skin is a little waxy. Makes a great smoothie but I like to eat them fresh.
Each fruit is host to a single cashew nut hanging from the bottom but beware. An un-informed friend of mine recently tried to eat one raw and broke out into a fiery rash that lasted nearly two weeks. Don’t try this at home. The nut is correctly processed through a number of steps including fire to get rid of the skin, shell, and caustic coatings that my friend encountered. I’m amazed they’re not even more expensive to buy than they are. Gretchen processed them once and later offered them to us. “Would you care for ONE cashew?”
We’re getting ready for a change of seasons. Marielos came today and polished our toenails.
We drank a little wine and chatted while she worked.
Then off to the pool to admire the results.
Six for a buck! Sweet juicy Casaba Melons, fresh from the farm on the way to Nicoya. We get the ones that are too ripe to ship. And if we don’t buy them in time, the really ripe ones get fed to the cattle. I love March.
Story-teller, Carolina Quiroga, who uis from Columbia via USA, Janashared some latin tales with the children of Samara yesterday at the Natural Center. Presented in Spanish, it was also good practice for those of us who are still earning the language.
Jana Siimes entertained us during intermission with her soprano saxophone.
Carolina was a pleasure to watch as she engaged the children with her animated expressions and brought them into the stories she told. This event is part of the Festival International Puro Cuento and presented here by Festival Arte Samara. Events like these are precious in Samara. We thank Festival Arte Samara, who brings something fun to town about once a month.
In Costa Rica, Spring precedes Winter. We might be seeing right now the first signs of the coming rainy season. Rising humidity – we’ve 4 cloudy starless nights in a row – and precipitation – Tina says it rained the other day in Santo Domingo, just 4 klicks away but I didn’t feel a drop – have encouraged the trees to bloom.
The Sandal is usually the first and easily recognizable with its clumps of small salmon colored blossoms, possibly my favorite.
The Roble Sabana – Pink Trumpet tree – comes in white and pink with trumpet flowers on a dark striated bark. I always thought these were two different trees until I took a closer look.
But a third one, quite rare, had me baffled – bright fuschia. Maybe you’ve seen it on the way to Nicoya, west side of the road. I can’t find it in any of Steve’s books.
Closer examination solved the mystery, I think.
It’s actually a Verenero – Bougainvillea vine – wrapped around an Indio Desnudo – Naked Indian tree. Huh?!
The other surprise is that all of these trees, that usually come into flower in succession over the Spring weeks, are all blooming at once this year. Even the bright yellow Cortez Amarrillo – Yellow Cortez – and the flaming red Malinche – Poinciana – have open flowers right now. What does that portend for our coming Invierno – Winter?
What I love about Costa Rica: If you can beat the ants, there is free food lying in the ditch beside the road. Today we made breakfast while walking the dog. This mango was perfect.
Albeit, brief, the rain was welcome relief today. Maybe there’s more to come. The skies still look pretty dark.
Two more noggins protected. We gave helmets to these young motorcyclists when we saw them outside the grocery store this morning. We buy used helmets for a couple bucks at Goodwill and bring them in our luggage. They take up little room and almost no weight. Leave no child unlidded!