60. Bringing in the New Year with a BANG

Monday 12/27- It’s been a little bit over a week since we spoke to Jose, our cabinet maker. He has had a chance to draw up plans and we’ve had a chance to think more in detail about what exactly it is that we want. We met with him at the house today to take some more measurements and finalize the plans. Once it was all discussed and agreed upon, Jose asked when we needed it ready by? We told him that Geiner said the house would be ready for the cabinets at the end of January. This would give him a month to get everything built. He looked kind of nervous, and said he would do everything he can to get it done by then, but with New Years in there and the possibility that he wouldn’t be able to get his supplies as quickly as he sometimes does, he said he might need until the first week in February. We told him that we could work with that. Since he was doing everything from cabinets and closets, to doors, beds, night stands, tables, and chairs, we asked him to focus first on the

24. Big City Shopping the 2nd Time

Thursday July 1 -- Since this would now be our 3rd time driving to San Isidro through the mountains (2nd time since we’ve been living here plus the one last February) I felt like I could relax a little bit more and taken in the scenery of the mountains, the small towns and villages we drive through, and actually see the areas that we are driving through. We have read that there are so many cute towns along the way, friendly villages with friendly people, and a much more traditional Tico way of life than you find in Uvita or any of the other coastal towns where the tourists come to go to the beach. (We have even befriended on facebook a woman, originally from the UK who has lived in one of these small towns for over a year. We have yet to meet her in-person, but we will one day, hopefully soon. Hi Red if you’re reading!) One day we will stop in some of these towns, but not today. Today we are on a mission to get some shopping done again.  

We started our shopping at the feria this time. Since we didn’t plan to do any shopping in the down-town area of San Isidro, parking was much easier this time. Instead of driving around until we found a public parking lot, we just drove straight to the feria which has it’s own parking lot. This was so much easier and we wouldn’t have to walk blocks and blocks while carrying everything that we bought. When we got there, I was a little less overwhelmed this time than I was last time. I had a list in my head of what I wanted to buy and how much we would need to last us a couple of weeks until we make it back here again. In addition to all of the fruits and veggies stands, this time we stopped to try some of the other homemade items. There was a guy selling sauces, like dipping sauces- these looked and sounded good. He had a few different flavors and he let us sample them. These tasted good too!! We were going to have to buy one of these and decided on a chipotle flavored aioli one. Now I am going to have to figure out something to cook to put this on!!

As we continued on we passed a stand selling dairy items. She had cheeses and milks, but the thing that caught my eye was the yogurt. Since the feria was our first stop of a long day, there is no way we could buy this and keep it cold enough until we got home, but this looked good and I haven’t really seen much for yogurt in the stores. Yogurt was something that Ramie always had in the fridge back in the US and he hasn’t had any since we’ve been here. Now, I’m not supposed to eat dairy, but I do from time to time (usually cheese) as a treat and I haven’t had real dairy yogurt in over 2 years. But this looked really good!! She had little sample cups and gave one each to Ramie and I… Ok, I’ll cave and try this. It was sooo good! Since there really was no way to get this home, we bought a single serve size cup from here and Ramie and I shared this as a little breakfast treat as we continued to walk around the feria.

Ramie enjoying that yogurt!

Despite having been to the feria twice before, it still took me 2 laps around the whole place to get everything that I was looking for. This time I ended up with 4 cloth grocery bags full of produce and still think that I forgot a few items that were on my list. That’s ok, it was plenty and I would make it work (and buy some at the grocery store if I have to). Having our hands full and being satisfied with what we had, we headed back to the car and then on to the next stores.

We had received recommendations from Loren for a couple more stores to check out since the last time we were here, so we stopped a those. We are always on the lookout for patio furniture for our future house as well as other items that we know we will eventually need to buy, so we stopped at a couple of furniture stores to see what we could find.

Unfortunately, no luck!

You know, with as much outdoor living as they do here, you would think you would be able to find outdoor furniture everywhere! But nope, that is not the case. We found a couple of sets, but not really what we are looking for. I know we still have time before we need it, but I was hoping to find a couple of outdoor end-table type things to add to the patio furniture we have here now. Well, I guess we’ll just keep looking.

After doing all of our browsing at the furniture stores, stopping at a small grocery store that was recommended for some of the things I had been unable to find at the grocery store in Uvita and last time at Walmart, and even stopping at a feed-store type place to check out what kind of dog food we could find, we ended at Walmart where I was able to do the rest of my grocery shopping. Yeah- Walmart again. I know, I know… Walmart? This is somewhere, though, that I think I will be getting a lot of my American-style food and housewares. (If they had Target here, I would consider going there instead hahahah).

On the drive home I got to enjoy the scenery again of all of these little mountain towns that we were driving though. I noticed, though, that you couldn’t see all of the beautiful scenery of the far off mountains any more, it had gotten cloudy. After thinking back to our other trips through these same mountain roads, I realize that this appears to be a pattern. It is clear in the morning when we go into the city, but by noon the clouds start to roll in. I have heard of this happening in some other mountain areas (particularly in the area of the Hill of Death road between San Jose and San Isidro that we drove when we came down from the city the first time) but now we were actually seeing it happen. Neat!! 

 Enjoy the next few pictures of our drive, we sure enjoy it every time we go!






There are beautiful mountain views beyond this piece of property, but you wouldn't know it this time of day!

Another thing that I wanted to pay attention to on this drive was the temperature change. When we went in to San Isidro this morning I noticed a pretty big change in humidity between Uvita (coast, ocean, beach) and San Isidro (inland, other side of the mountains). While I don’t have a way to measure humidity, the car does show me the temperature, so I would have to settle for this. I didn’t look at it on the way in to the city, but as we were leaving town just before 1pm it was 82*.


As we drove up the mountain it got progressively cooler and cooler and the lowest temp that I saw was 72* and that was in less than 20 minutes. 

 Of course, I noticed the opposite effect once we headed back down the opposite side of the mountain toward home, and another 40 minutes later when we were back in Uvita it was up to 88* and the humidity was significantly higher! 

We made it back home around 2pm and discovered that power was still not back on. We did notice that there were guys working on it as we were driving back up our mountain, but some of those cables that we had to drive over this morning, well, we had to drive over them again. Bummer!! We unloaded all of our finds from today and while I really didn’t want to open the fridge or freezer because I didn’t know how long the power would continue to be out, there were some things that I did have to put away. Trust me, anything that could be left out was left out, but the meat for sure had to be put away. As quickly as I could I opened the door of the freezer, dumped in a pile of stuff, slammed it shut again, and hoped for the best. Same with the fridge. Well—now what?! 

 

At that point we decided to go out get a late lunch/early dinner since we hadn’t eaten anything all day. Typically we don’t eat out very often, but what choice did we really have? No power, minimal water, can’t open the fridge… No good way to cook at home.

We went to our favorite little Mexican restaurant (La Choza) that we had discovered during our first trip to Uvita a few years ago. They have the best chiciaron (crispy pork) nachos. I think this is the only thing I have ever ordered there, and unless they discontinue it or change it drastically, it’s probably what I will continue to order every time we go there. They also have really awesome home made hot sauce! We took our time eating since we didn’t have anywhere to go or anything to do, and after dinner stopped at Whale Tail Brewery for the first time since we’ve been here.

 

We discovered this brewery 2 years ago during our trip down here, but they weren’t open yet and we were very disappointed. In February when we were down here we were finally able to stop and have a drink in their taproom. As you know, Ramie loves his craft beer, and to have a brewery here in our own little town is just so perfect. I mean, it feels like being back home in Stillwater and stopping at Lift Bridge whenever we had the urge!

via GIPHY

(I have been known, since February, to call the breweries by each-others names—Ramie can usually figure out which I am talking about by the context of what I’m saying.) Luckily for me, they also serve a couple of mixed drinks too, so since I can’t enjoy a beer with Ramie, I can enjoy an adult beverage while he has his craft brew. 



We had 1 drink here, and decided that we would head back up to the house and keep our fingers crossed that the power was back on. It was about 4:30, and at this point the power had been out for over 21 hours. I don’t know what we would do if the power did not come back on tonight!!

We saw the utility crew guys still out there working as we were driving back up the hills, but they were getting close to the highway, which I took as a good sign (maybe they were working from top to bottom?) As we were pulling back into our neighborhood, Jorge was outside his house right at the gate (which had been propped open since the power went out so we could get in and out). We asked him if the power was back on yet, and he said that it came back on about 5 minutes ago. Hallelujah!! This is very good news!!

Around this time we received a text from Loren, who had gotten a message from the internet company about our scheduled install tomorrow. Well, due to the storm, the whole town of Ojochal (about 15 miles South of Uvita) has no internet. They wouldn’t be able to come out and install our internet for us on Friday like they had planned to because they have to work down there instead. Maybe Monday.

We also later found out that this storm, the heavy winds, lightening, and no rain, is not just a regular part of their weather here. In fact, they have never seen this kind of wind storm here and it really took everyone by surprise how it turned out. Hopefully it doesn’t become a common thing!

A Note About Weather in Costa Rica

Just like in our geography lesson in an earlier post, I’m going to rely heavily on Google for this post. Eventually I will know more of this from experience, but for now we’re still too new to it all.

According to Google, there are 12 different micro-climate zones in Costa Rica. What that means is that a country roughly the same size as the state of West Virginia can be divided up into 12 areas that all have quite different weather and climate. These micro-climates are due to differences in elevation, proximity to the ocean, and many other factors. This is why when we drive 1 hour from Uvita to San Isidro when we go shopping the weather can be so different along the way.

Also- there are really only 2 seasons in Costa Rica- the dry season and the “rainy” season. Although, from what I’ve learned so far, they don’t like when you call it the rainy season. Here it is called the “green season”. This is mainly because it doesn’t rain all of the time. Yes, it rains a lot, but it’s not a complete wash-out for days and days in a row. It is called the green season because after a long hot dry season the rains come and makes everything green again. Between washing the dust off of the leaves of the plants and making new growth take off, things are much greener during this time of the year.

We are in the Southern portion of the country on the Pacific coast. That means that from about May-November is winter or the green season, which leaves December-April as summer and the dry season. If you go to the Caribbean coast, it is kind of the opposite. I don’t know the details, but I think it has something to do with the mountain ranges down the center of the country.

Our vacations here have always been in February which is typically one of the hottest months here. Yep, it is hot! Over 100* some afternoons! Perfect to sit by the pool with a cold beverage. Moving here at the beginning of June was our first experience in the green season. So far, for the month of June, it has rained for at least a few hours per day about 5 days a week. Sometimes it’s in the mornings, sometimes in the afternoon, sometimes overnight. Sometimes it lasts all day, sometimes it’s just an hour or 2. The one thing that I have noticed is that it is rarely a nice slow rain like we are accustomed to in MN. The majority of the time, when it rains it POURS down. The gravel roads turn into rivers, the low areas in the clearings turn into swimming pools, and if you are caught in it, you get soaked!

On average, Uvita gets about 180 inches of rain per year- yes 180 inches, that’s 15 feet of rain. During the rainiest months of October and November they get over 3 feet of rain per month!! Ask me again how the weather is when we get to that time of the year—then we might have constant rain all day and all night. I guess we’ll just wait and see, it will be a surprise for us all! Uvita on the map below is between Manuel Antonio and Drake Bay


Oh, and P.S. Weather Apps have absolutely zero chance down here. So far, it just always shows rain, well, that’s not accurate at all! I think I mentioned in a past post about how in Minnesota they say the weather casters have a hard time really knowing what is going on, they would definitely have a challenge down here!!


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