It's taken me the better part of a month to describe to you that my Costa Rican vacation, which I had been approaching rather gingerly at the outset, ended up being just-the-thing. I got to see some local "reality." I got to do a little bit about it. I also got to see some great (non-human) natural beauty, too, and I got to relax. We spent my final weekend in a cabin/hotel on the beach at Jaco.
Over the mountains on the way there we stopped at Doka Coffee Plantation for a tour, for obvious reasons. Our tour guide gave us a coffee tasting first, and I impressed myself by being able to compare tastes of four different roasts and a peaberry coffee, with coffees I know from Starbucks. Auntie Susan said to our tour guide, "My niece works for Starbucks. Have you heard of it?"
"Actually," said the tour guide, "We sell 75% of our beans to Starbucks." Suddenly I remembered why the name Doka was familiar. I took an excessive number of rather geeky pictures of coffee-processing with which I will not bore you (or myself during the upload), and felt clever because I knew a lot about the process to begin with. Every once in a while one needs to feel clever, I find, even if the feeling isn't accurate.
The day had managed to stay beautifully sunny and glorious much later than it had any of the other days--until we got in the car to continue our journey to the beach. The rest of the trip was hair-raising for a lot of reasons, and probably would have been worse if I could have seen the dramatic drops off the side of the road in the dark and the rain. Sarita pushed on valiantly until we got through the mountains and then pulled over so Auntie Susan could drive the rest of the way. At which point the roads became wide, straight, well-paved, and dry, almost like magic. Fortunately Sarita missed the experiential irony of this, as she fell sound asleep almost immediately in the back seat.
The beach was lovely--and that is about all I have to say about it, because we didn't do ANYTHING--except go for a walk, get pleasantly and occasionally pummeled by some waves, and read in hammocks and lounge chairs. And then it was time to go home. So--happy and wistful and rested--I did.