More of San Jose, and Things We Learned

Sunday, May 8

After I wrote last night’s post, we had the Trumpeter. An old man, possibly blind, and definitely in a wheel chair, parked himself right outside our window and proceeded to regale the street with trumpet playing – VERY loud – and singing. With the windows closed, we could not hear the singing, but we sure as heck could hear that trumpet. Despite several calls to the front desk, no one did anything about it and he was out there playing until midnight. I managed to get to sleep before then but Mick did not.

This morning we had breakfast at our hotel, and yes, Mick took his Melitta filter cone & filters and we got a carafe of hot water and made coffee at the table. We know now to ask for the grande carafe which holds several cups of hot water.

Then it was off for our city tour. It was a private tour, just the two of us with our guide Christian and driver William in a tour bus big enough for at least 20 people. We got to see several different areas of San Jose and learned more about the history of Costa Rica. For example, they got rid of the army in 1948, after a civil war over a corrupt election when the old president (who lost) didn’t want to step down. The people prevailed, and since the army had essentially been used as a tool against the Costa Rican people, they eliminated it. Since then the money has been used instead to support education, health care, and other services for the benefit of the people. Pretty cool.

At the end of the tour, we were delivered to a shop where we learned about lost wax casting and how it is still done today, and had the opportunity to shop.

After we got back to our hotel, the management flagged Mick down in the lobby and offered to move us so we would not be subjected to the trumpet music again. Apparently it is not uncommon for musicians to play like that in the street at night. Our new room is very nice – an upgrade, with a jacuzzi tub next to the shower. And it’s on the other side of the hotel from where we were. Our new view is lovely – across San Jose to the mountains beyond.

So after we moved, Mick went out to explore some more and I went to the hotel gym. Heaven! I really needed that workout. We got back to the room at about the same time, and he jacuzzied while I showered. Then it was off to dinner.

Our guide from the morning had recommended a restaurant called Nuestra Tierra, just a few blocks from the hotel. When he handed us our menus, the waiter directed us to the pages with their specialties. What a surprise, these meals were all twice as expensive as the others on the previous pages he had skipped right over. We asked for water “con limon” without thinking to specify tap water as opposed to bottled, and the waiter didn’t ask. He just brought us two bottles of Fiji water, at about $4.60 each. As we were looking at the “Other Meals” section (the cheaper meals at about $13 each), he tried to tell us those were appetizers. We insisted on ordering from that section anyway, and surprise! they were plenty of food. Actual full meals, and quite delicious. He was not very happy, and pretty much ignored us until we flagged him down so we could order dessert. Tres Leches, which we really liked. It was different than the Puerto Rican kind we have had before.

However, when he brought us the limons with our water, some of the slices were orange and tasted just like lemons! I had given up on being able to get lemon-flavored citrus (you always get limes), so I was thrilled. When I asked him, he told me they are “Mandarin limons”. Who knew?? They look just like other limes on the outside. So on the way back to the hotel we stopped at Walmart (yes, masXmenos) and sure enough, they had several kinds of limons, including Mandarin limons. So I bought a little bag of them for less than $2. I am SET now.

Tomorrow, we have no set plans. I expect we will go to the Central Market, and who knows where else?!

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