Awoke to a sky so brilliantly blue I thought Carmen’s prayers had whisked us to heaven. The first few days I was here I thought she was saying, Gracias Adios (thank you goodby) to me and I wasn’t sure why—finally realized it was three words gracias a Dios (thanks to God). I am picking up on everyone’s facial expressions, if not their Spanish. I now say “si” with my mouth pushed out like I’m French and a furrowed brow many times a day. This is how William’s mother says “si.”
Had a great breakfast, incredible fruit plate, juice, café con leche, bread, fried cheese and fried toast with jam. Forget not fitting into my clothes, I probably won’t be able to get up my narrow-assed stairway in San Francisco.
After desayuno, we walked through a mariposa farm with the most butterflies I’ve ever seen. There were huge brown ones with eye-like patterns on their wings eating bananas with 1½”-2” proboscises. The flowers and plants were from some other planet or possibly just a different dimension. One was as big as Carmen’s 10 lb. papaya with a cream and purple outside and a deep maroon center that looked like a huge mouth. It resembled a giant orchid.
We went to the Lancaster Botanical Garden—Carmen in a skirt and high heels because she was hoping to catch a German man. It is a huge place where I would like to spend hours wandering around with William and sketching plants. Enormous bamboo forest and another wilder forest where I had to help Carmen climb under some trees. I don’t think William’s family think I’m very feminine, though I’ve always seen myself as fairly girly. However, the time to be girly is not when hiking is involved, Carmen. It was actually pretty funny to see her trying to duck under a low branch in high heels and a short skirt screaming for my help…or more likely for the help of the German man who never appeared.
We took a cab around the lake to Orosi, Cachi, back to Cartago and on to Llorente. Another great cab driver – he spoke more slowly than Eduardo so I understood some of what he said. Bought a hand-carved woman for William’s folks from El Sonador and have this strange feeling that William and I bought almost the same thing for them last year. I can’t wait till he gets here—we’re definitely spending a few days on our own to relax, draw, tour, etc….mostly etc.
When we returned, I went to the veterinarian’s to buy dog food—do vets sell dog food in the U.S.? I don’t think so. Then delivered a big bag of something we bought there for some animal (unclear what this animal is but I think it is for a hamster) to a neighbor. The neighbor and her daughter-in-law both think I am very pretty—I thanked them, of course: one can never be told this too many times. The daughter-in-law came right up to me to look more closely at my face and touch my hair. The mother was absolutely adorable. A little sparrow of a woman with a wonderful tinkling giggle, which I heard many times as Carmen related all the mistakes I have made in Spanish.
I have developed a passion for a fruit called anona. Beto told me this word is also used to describe someone who is crazy, though I didn’t really understand why, probably like calling someone a turnip head. I am also enamored with mamonchinos, a type of lychee with little hairs sticking out all over the outer skin which you don’t eat (see my self portrait above). I’d like to sneak into the house and grab some, but it’s impossible without being seen as there is a window from the bedroom where everyone is watching TV, to the kitchen. I remember this window well from when William and I stayed in that room. Talk about inhibiting the “etc.” in one’s life. No one would care if I ate the mamonchinos, but I’ve already had a lot of them and Beto puffs up his cheeks when he sees me eating and calls me gordita (supposedly a cute word for chubby but there really is no cute word for chubby in any language), so I am going to restrain myself.