Sunday, July 10, 2011

Monteverde to San Jose

I've lost track of exactly which day it is of our trip, although I do know it's Sunday.  That's one of the nice parts of being on vacation - time and place doesn't really matter any more.  Life is lived in the moment.  Kind of like my butterflies.

At any rate, we left Monteverde in the morning, heading on a route that appeared possibly easier than the recommended route - dirt roads in the central area leading to a paved road just a bit north of Las Juntas, then south to Highway 1 - the PanAmerican Highway - and then on to San Jose.  The route put us on the PanAm a bit further away, but there was much less time and distance on the unpaved washerboard roads, so we though we'd try that.

As we drove along, we met bicyclists who were in the area for a rally (or race, we never quite figured this part out) - so there were also a lot of motorcyclists and ATVers and pedestrians, all out to watch the bicyclists.  Plus all kinds of people just sitting outside, enjoying a quiet Sunday, and waiting for the cyclers to go by.

We were accompanied part of the way by a blue morpho, who flew alongside us for, well, hard to measure distance on a road like that, but possibly for 20 seconds - which is probably about a year in the lifespan of a butterfly.

The roads were rough, so we couldn't go much faster than maybe 40 km/hr - I think that's about 25 mph?  Slow going, except that it seems fast on a jouncy bouncy road.

Beautiful vistas, valleys filling with low clouds rolling in off the ocean, green green everywhere - really a gorgeous country.

The photos don't really capture how dramatic the hills look - it really appears as if the land was something soft and malleable which was crunched up into hills and mountains by opposing forces - like the hills are the result of North and South America pushing against each other and forcing the land in the middle to bunch up like tough green velvet.  Seriously!

We drove through small pueblas with no name, and occasionally stopped for a cold drink or a bathroom break.  After a while we saw very few people.  And I never did see any monkeys on this part of the trip.

We stopped in the middle of nowhere for some lunch - Richard had a doble hamberguese and I had a tamale con salsa piquante which actually was very good.

Eventually we hit the PanAm hiway, which looks like a regular road instead of a huge international and intercontinental road.  We drove in patches of dense fog, but at least it wasn't raining.

We made it through San Jose and back to our hotel, checked in, and went out for a walk.  I had seen some mosaics when we were driving out of town a few days ago, so we went looking for those.

I love this wonderful double-sided mosaic showing a young boy and a young girl swinging, in silhouette against the sky and clouds.  There's something very whimsical yet poignant about this mural - which was named "Punto de Fuga" by the artist - I'm not sure what the name actually means, I've found various translations, but it seems to be something along the idea of "Point of Escape" or the vanishing point in perspective drawing, or something like that.  I just really like the composition, the flight of fancy, the remembrance of childhood and swinging into air, the weightlessness and freedom.  Actually, naming that freedom and the ephemeral quality of childhood "The Vanishing Point" seems apropos.

Kind of like being a butterfly - which seems to be quickly turning into the theme of this adventure.

And then there's the wonderful mural of a market scene, which I've actually found on the internet to show my classes - but we found it in person, and of course I took a series of photos.

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