San Ramon:Hammocks, hot springs and cattle auction

Trip Start May 21, 2003
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Trip End Oct 29, 2003


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Tuesday, June 3, 2003

June 3: Chale's mom, Judy, picks us up and we head to San Ramon....about 2 hours from San Jose. So, after settling in, Chale and I head in to town for some bocas(it literally translates as mouth, but ticos use the term to describe appetizers). Here is where I'm introduced to the mayo and ketchup combo(see pic)...at first, I thought it was gonna be gross, but now I don't think I can go back to ketchup alone. After eating way more than I should have, it's home for a good nights sleep.

June 4: I wake up early and have morning tea with Judy, then go lay outside in the hammock(strung between two mango trees). She brings out fresh mango, grapes and fresh squeezed carrot juice....are you kidding me? A girl could get spoiled like this....I was in heaven! After a bit of relaxation, it's off to the suesta(cattle auction) where Chale wants to buy 10 cows for his ranch. We meet up with his partner, Pedro, Saray and Alex. Here's where I get my first Costa motorcycle experience...very fun! On to the suesta where I kind of get to help pick out the cows, which was good, but we're sitting front and center (see pic) and the guy with the electric cattle prod is freaking me out a little bit. His job is to hold this electric stick and poke the cows with it to get them in and out of the ring; however, when he notices that I am a little shocked by the whole thing, he starts to prod them more. He would prod them, look at me, smile and prod them more...what a sick f***! I have no fear, though, karma will get him in the end and he'll be that cow one day! Then, I meet Serenya(see pic), who is a 10 year old girl that I find out is raising money for her church. I notice she keeps walking by me and staring like she wants to approach me. Finally, after giving her a little nod, she comes over and hands me this piece of paper...its all in spanish and the only word I can make out is Catolico..which I assume means Catholic. After having Chale translate the paper, it becomes clear that she is raising money for her church. It's a competition of sorts...whichever little girl raises the most money gets to put on a pretty dress and is honored on the opening day of the church. So, I hand over 1,000 colones ($2.50)...she can spot a sucker a mile away(I blame that part of me on my dad...anything a little kid sells, we'll take at least 10)! So, she leaves, works the rest of the crowd for about 30 minutes and after that, she was stuck to me for the rest of the day. We ate lunch together, had poppies(suckers) and refrescos(sodas)....it turns out to be the best 1,000 colones I've spent in the last three weeks b/c I get an all day long spanish lesson....after we said our good byes, we load up the cows(see pic) and head home...but not before picking up the best ice cream that Costa has to offer. If you are ever in Costa, you must visit Pop's...it's the very best. We get home, change and head for the hot springs...the only hot springs experience I've ever had is in Hot Springs, AR...I soon find out that Hot Springs could not hold a candle to this place. It was only $4...you hike down into the woods and cross over a little river where you sit in this super hot water that's piped directly into the pools...so refreshing after a long, dirty day at a cattle auction. Then, we hurry home for ice cream. First, it's a mix of coconut and chocolate for an "almond joy" effect, which is Chale's favorite...good, but I'm really more of a sherbet fan, so I had mora(raspberry) and guanabana sherbet. Yum! Then, another good nights sleep.

Can we add this in for good measure ...Chant is rotting away at Betonsports during this excursion....

June 5: We get up and leave at about 7:00 and on the way home, Chale brings up the fact that this place looks like hobbitville in Lord of the Rings...he hit the nail on the head b/c that's exactly what it looks like...so lush and green. I start to think about how much I really don't want to go back to the city. Don't get me wrong, San Jose is fun, but it's really more like a necessary evil.
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