Costa Rica 2009:
Day 9 - Central Valley


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Costa Rica 2009: [Day 1 - San José] [Day 2 - San José] [Day 3 - Tortuguero] [Day 4 - Tortuguero] [Day 5 - Fortuna] [Day 6 - Fortuna] [Day 7 - Guanacaste] [Day 8 - Puntarenas] [Day 9 - Central Valley]

Saturday, June 27: Another sunny day in Costa Rica! We never saw a drop of rain at this resort, even though it is common for afternoon rainfall. It really is amazing how excellent the weather was for our entire trip.
After breakfast, we saw this iguana hiding in the rafters of a covered walkway. We're pretty sure anything this big is an iguana.
We checked out of the hotel and we were off again, headed back to San José.
We finally got a shot of the ubiquitous Imperial bar signs we saw everywhere. Every bar that didn't have this logo on their sign sported a "Pilsen" logo instead, so we're guessing that it is a Pepsi/Coke kind of rivalry.
Our first destination was the town of Sarchi, ...
... home of the largest painted oxcart in the world, so they say.
We went to a large souvenir shop featuring oxcarts in all sizes indoors, and of standard size outdoors, such as this one.
In a small, adjacent garden, additional oxcarts were on display. This one is the "Flirtatious Oxcart." You probably didn't know that oxcarts can be flirtatious. Well, they can. It says so right on the sign.
This cart dates back to 1898 when oxcarts were used to transport coffee and sugar cane.
Orchy blends right in with a colorful oxcart display.
This is a banana blossom at the very bottom of this bunch of bananas.
This tiny pepper plant was located in front of our lunch restaurant located next door to the souvenir store. These look exactly like the Marble peppers Debbie planted in 2006.
We had a delicious lunch with complimentary soft drinks and beer, so we all tried new sodas.
After lunch, we watched a dance performance. The dancers offered four styles of dance, ...
... each with a different costume.
Here's the tango, obviously.
The dancers were really terrific and made even the most elaborate moves look effortless.
Afterward, guests were invited to be photographed in the special Caravan Dancing Show oxcart, so in went Jill and Melinda.
When tour guide Shirley was finally persuaded to pose, she faced a sea of cameras as everyone wanted to get a final picture of her.
After lunch, we made a brief stop at Cathedral de la Mercedes, a church made from metal imported from Belgium in the 1890s.
The inside is light and beautiful.
Our final stop of the day was at Café Britt's visitor center.
We had an hour to kill before the 3:00 coffee show, so we spent time in the gift shop ...
... and in the cafe. It was raining out, but all the attractions were indoors. Having purchased our single bag of coffee and having no interest in coffee drinks, we passed the time by sipping on hot chocolate instead.
The coffee show was quite informative. It featured three actors who gave information about coffee in both English and Spanish.
When they asked for volunteers to help taste the coffee, we knew Beth needed to be up there, since she was the biggest coffee fan on the bus. Julie also was gracious enough to volunteer.
Around the time that the actors started donning costumes to act out the history of coffee's migration around the world, Jill summed it up by saying that things took an odd turn. Entertaining, yes, but definitely odd.
Somehow it culminated in a stage full of dried coffee beans, then a mock wedding ceremony, ...
... followed by all of us being escorted back onto our bus.
A short time later, we were back at Aurola Holiday Inn, the hotel where we had begun our tour and home for our last night in Costa Rica. José helped us off the bus one last time, ...
... and we got one last shot of our bright red bus.
In our rooms on the fifth floor, we chilled Jill's bottle of champagne (her winnings from Day 7's dance contest) and toasted to a successful vacation. Not all of us remembered where to look for this photo, but then again, not all of us were raised in the age of digital cameras.
At our farewell dinner on the 17th floor of the hotel, we were treated to one final performance: a rain forest fashion show.
The fashion show consisted of six models representing beautiful things for which Costa Rica is famous. Here's the monarch butterfly, ...
... the toucan, ...
... the orchid, ...
... the macaw, ...
... the tree frog, ...
... and gold treasure.
Every model was gorgeous but not nearly as beautiful as our girls, so we got them all up on a staircase for a photo.
Here's one last gathering of the kids, who nearly always managed to find a dinner table for ten. From left to right: Melinda, Janet, Evan, Corey, Kevin, Spencer, Jill, Cheryl, Katie, and Julia.
We took one last look at the sparkling San José skyline, ...

... then gathered in the lobby for a group photo.

** THE END **


Costa Rica 2009: [Day 1 - San José] [Day 2 - San José] [Day 3 - Tortuguero] [Day 4 - Tortuguero] [Day 5 - Fortuna] [Day 6 - Fortuna] [Day 7 - Guanacaste] [Day 8 - Puntarenas] [Day 9 - Central Valley]

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