We pulled into port at just about 7 am which was when I woke up. The meeting time for my tour was 8:15 and I was there very early. The tour I took was called "Sarchi Colors and Shopping".
Once on the coach we left the port at about 8:30 with our driver, Rafa, and tour guide Selma. Selma had been an exchange student in Chicago during high school which is where she learned most of her English.
We drove for almost 2 hours to get to Sarchi which is in the hilly area of Costa Rica so it was not as hot as the forecasted temperature of 97F/36C for Puntarenas. The villagers used to elaborately decorate their oxcarts in this area and the folk painting lives on in the crafts produced here. Fresh, local fruits and Costa Rican coffee was included in the tour.
Leaving Sarchi we headed for Grecia and its dark red, metal church. The story is that a ship left the metal at Puntarenas, Costa Rica instead of Puntarenas, Chile. It sat for a number of years and when nobody came to correct the mistake, the government used the metal to build a school and church.
We learned a great deal about Costa Rica - the crops, the government and the schools (the school year begins in February). Next Sunday there is a presidential election with no less than 13 candidates running. Selma told us that most likely there will have to be a run-off election since a candidate has to get 41% of the vote - hard to do with so many vying for the presidency.
Most of the buildings in Costa Rica have corrugated tin roofs. They help to reflect the sun and allows for the run-off of rain (Costa Rica has a rainy season that runs for about eight months).
On the tour I tried two new things. One was papaya. I am not sure why I had never tried it but it was very good. The other was cashews. I had eaten cashews at some time in the past and decided I did not like them. The ones we had today were local and from what Selma said, processed in a different way than most big companies use - maybe that is why I liked them.
Arriving back to the ship just before 2:30 I had a late lunch in the Lido and then back to the stateroom for a short nap. The ship was running a 2-for-1 special between 5 and 7 on the internet minutes which I took advantage of and was on for 84 minutes.
Tonight was pirate night and about 25 people dressed for the event took part in the Pirate Parade.
View of Puntarenas from my balcony
Costa Rican street scenes
Metal church in Grecia
A living fence (parts of trees are cut off and planted and barbed wire is wrapped around them)
Grecia town square
Smooth sailing until next time!