Monday, October 27, 2008


Ricardo has been volunteering in the Habitat office for several months. He is a lawyer in Tampa, and duty was calling him home. He also is Maureen’s house mate, along with Lauren another volunteer at Habitat, and 2 other Americans who are English teachers. Yes, it is a full house…..Jose and Patricia’s full house. They are a Tico couple who started renting out rooms in their large house just this year.
Since Ricardo’s flight was early Saturday morning, he invited all of us for “the last supper” We had a lovely night at SASH, A Lebanese restaurant 5 minutes from our house. With the low mosaic tiled tables and the sheer walls of flowing fabric, the atmosphere was exotic; the sampler platters that Ricardo ordered for the table was a wonderful break from my daily Tico fare. Falaphel, grilled veges, Tabuleh, hummus…..ahhh keep it coming! I also indulged in a couple glasses of a delicious Chilean red wine…..something I don’t do too often here. (I have really become more of a beer drinker, which was a change from my old ways of wine with dinner everynight) AND since Jose and Patricia don’t speak English, we had to speak Spanish. (a situation that I love)
Ricardo has started a blog called the ROIG REPORT, so we can easily keep up with him.
Saturday was a pretty boring day, walk to market for pupusas, coffee & internet at a café, followed by gelato, jewelry and to bed early. Maureen and I planned to meet to go running at 630am….yes, on a Sunday?! I didn’t want Sunday to be a repeat of Saturday so after running we decided we would take a bus to the little town of Sarchi, the country's most famous artisan town. To get to Sarchi is an easy 1 hour bus ride. On the way we stopped in the little town of Grecia for a coffee. Grecia is noted for its unique church that is made entirely of pre-fabricated steel plates and painted red.
According to legend, the
Iglesia de la Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes was donated by some foreign country, and sent to GREECE as a gift, but was wrongly shipped to Grecia. Hmmmmmm The traditional oxcart, or carreta, is the country's most famous type of craft. You will see this design EVERYWHERE in Sarchi.Now it is admired for its decorative qualities, but the oxcart played a very important part in the cultural history of Costa Rica. In the middle of the 19th century, when coffee was first being cultivated in the surrounding countryside, oxcarts provided the only method in which to transport the hand picked beans over the mountains and to the coast. They actually served as a status symbol.
Of course, a MUST SEE in Sarchi is the biggest oxcart ever!
I really had to resist buying a little trinket size oxcart. They were darn cute and there was a turquoise one, but Im trying to stick to my “only buy souvenirs that are useful” rule. So instead I bought a beautiful little painting buy a local artist.
The other thing Costa Rica is known for is their woodworking. People flock to Sarchi to buy furniture and custom made wood pieces. I started developing an idea in my head a few months ago when I saw this jewelry case in a little boutique in Montezuma.

AH-HA! The perfect momento, Jewelry cases handcrafted in Costa Rica. I have it all designed in my head. Imagine along the side of the case. Carved peacock feathers!!! Oh my, how beautiful...I can see it now! Here is the whole case.

Unfortunatley the artesans are not really working on Sundays, so I spoke to the store owner and she said I can either send my design via email, or come back to design it with the artist himself. I just skyped with my friend TJ, who is an unbelievable artist, and I tried to describe how I would like it to look so he could sketch something for me to show the woodworking artist. I will go meet him in person, but it will be nice to have the idea on paper.

I felt pretty sastisfied with our trip. mission accomplished! I wanted to #1 get out of San Jose, #2 get the ball rolling on my jewelry cases, #3 eat something delish. Which we did at "Puerta del Sol"
I love all the colors of Sarchi! I will be going there again before christmas.

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