After spending our first leisurely late afternoon and evening at Rio Perdido, we arose early the next morning heading to a farm near the Nicaraguan border. On our way, about 3/4 to one hour from Rio Perdido, we stopped at the studio of the sculptor Tony Jimenez. Apparently, Tony loves–perhaps an understatement-the female form. With few exceptions, he carves women, mostly giant women, in wood.
He sells smaller statues, even as small as eight inches high, but refuses to sign them partly because they are made from less substantial wood. I bought one about a foot high. Later, in another part of Costa Rica I saw some very similar to mine. When I asked if Tony made them, I was told his cousin was the sculptor.
Although Tony sells sculpture, his front door fascinated me even more. It, too, is carved, a frieze. Even the crossbars on his windows are carved.
We drove along the west side of a volcano for hours. Because of clouds, wind, and weather from the Caribbean, even though we were on the Pacific side, we never saw the top of the volcano. It remained misty and rainy most of the morning as we crossed from the Pacific to the Caribbean side.
I do not recall anyone mentioning the name of this volcano. Given where we were headed, it would appear to be Volcano Miravalles.
When I realized the time and know 5:30 tomorrow morning will come sooner than I may prefer, I decided I had to write something here to fulfill my commitment to write daily for at least one month–three weeks down and one to go. Will I continue? Don’t know yet. Pluses: I have gained quite a few new followers, at least ten, maybe more–have not taken an exact count; it proves that if you stick to something, there are pay offs; and it forces me to think about some things I’ve read or experienced in a way that I might not if I were not going to blog about it.
What are some of those things I am thinking about? First, the weather. We desperately need rain and this statement comes from someone not all that fond of rain. I like the green results but do not like to be out in the rain normally. It is a wonder I love Costa Rica because it rains almost daily at least it did when I was there two summers ago. Fire warnings are even currently posted on overhead flashing signs on the interstates–not daily, but every time the wind rises which here is almost daily. Second, when I think about the destruction of volcanoes–from reading another chapter in Apocalyptic Planet last night, I keep wondering what would happen today if another explosion like Krakatoa in the 1800s occurred. Mass famine I imagine and a bunch of certain types of religious people claiming the end of the world. Third, after spending two boring mornings giving STAAR tests–the state standardized tests in Texas, and another morning left to go, wondering exactly why I still think standardized tests are good. Fourth, wondering how to turn this blog into a sort of website where people who want a signed copy of my new book, On the Rim of Wonder, can order it directly from me on this blog/website (I have had requests already which is, of course, a wonderful thing since book marketing is not all that easy). Fifth, well this will have to wait until another day when my mind is really sharp and we can have a discussion about the effects of poverty and why it is so difficult to escape.
In the meantime, while I was out watering around my house–to keep my xeroscape garden alive (even drought resistant flowers need some) and to, I hope, make my house safer in case of a wildfire, I thought about all the lovely flowers blooming in spite of the dry weather. Here they are in all their enduring beauty.
Of the six active volcanos in Costa Rica (61 are dormant), this month I visited two. Poas, a caldera volcano about 1 1/2 hours from San Jose in the Central Highlands, rises 8, 885 feet and is one of the largest and most active. Its crater contains water and rising steam. Lush rain forests surround the volcano. It rained the entire time I was there.
Arenal rises 5, 437 feet above the surrounding forests and verdant hills. It has been the country’s most active volcano for more than 40 years. In 1968, a large explosion buried three villages and killed 87 people. More recent eruptions have been much less severe. Smoke drifts skyward daily. Arenal is a strat0 volcano, tall and symmetrical. The lake near Arenal is manmade and an excellent place for kayaking in relatively serene waters. The lake provides 12 per cent of Costa Rica’s electric energy.
Due to Arenal’s geothermal activity, the surrounding area contains a number of hot spring resorts, one of which is El Tocano, where we stayed two nights.
This place is delightful and relaxing. The bar tender made yummy margaritas. If you want to drink wine, Costa Rica is not the place. However, the national beer, Imperial, tastes quite good and I do not usually like beer.