Costa Rica,  Family

Pictures, pictures and MORE pictures!

Okay, you asked for it!   You have begged for pictures, so here they come!
(Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
We went on an adventure today to see the Irazu Volcano.
On our way there, we saw the most adorable farms on the side of the road.  Yes, literally on the SIDE of the road.  Behind this house there is a huge slope to a lower field.  It is amazing how the Ticos use the most of their land here!
This is where they graze their animals.  We saw horses, cows and goats tied up to the fence, on the side of the road.  Pretty clever if you ask me!

We made it to the park, $15 for all of us to visit and to park.  We put on our rain jackets and grabbed a snack.  When all of a sudden this little creature joins us, looking for something to eat.
I had to look up the name of this animal.  It is called a Coati.  It begs food from the visitors and will even take it from you if you aren’t paying attention.  This little guy tried to climb into my trunk, where I had the snacks stashed.  Up close and personal didn’t feel so nice.  Worried it would attack the kids for their snacks.  Fortunately it didn’t follow us around.
This is the path up to the volcano.  Look how black the volcanic rock is next to the sidewalk. 
It is heavier than sand but is compared to what you would find on Mars.
It was a long walk but we made it to the top of the crater.
This is the edge of the crater. K took this picture!  The plants have what looks like white dust on them.  That is the acid from the sulfur in the air.  Crazy!
E climbed to the top of the wooden fence and took this shot of the green pool inside the crater of the volcano.  Good Job E!  Great Picture!
Next the kids decided to chase a cloud.  They are the little dots below the cloud.

But as they got closer to the cloud (now the dots just under the cloud) . . .
The cloud starts to move away from the children.

But as soon as they walked back to me the cloud returns.  Amazing!  I don’t know if it was the heat of their bodies or their movement that pushed the cloud away?  Either way, my kids moved a cloud todayPretty cool if you ask me.  It was past noon and the kids were HUNGRY.  So we headed home.
But first, I had to stop and take a few pictures.  HAVE I TOLD YOU YET THAT I LOVE IT HERE?  Just look at the green trees and the clouds!
This is the same street as the picture above.  This pictures just has clouds in it.  It goes to show how fast the clouds are moving up here.  Love it!
I feel like Mr. Darcy would come riding down this road any minute, looking for Elizabeth Bennet.  I think I love this place due to my ancestors.  Someone had to have come from Wales because my heart SINGS being here.  I love it so much visiting the volcanoes that I have a perma-grin on my face!  I can’t help it.  I feel alive here!
On our drive home, we came across a quaint little restaurant on the side of the road.  Like I said earlier, the kids were starving! 
They were so hungry that they were WILLING to try this restaurant out with me. 
And once they saw the playground next to the restaurant, they were sold!
While E and I ordered lunch, the other 3 played to their heart’s content.
E even had to join in on the fun!
We had a wonderful meal and a wonderful time today.  All that we had planned to do today was: get out of the house, get some lunch, play at the playground and get some ice cream.  Three of the four things were done and above our expectations (we planned on going to McDonald’s for lunch – this was far better and also made a lasting memory!)
The food was wonderful!  I ordered a chicken dish that tasted just like the Italian Chicken we make in Utah (cream cheese with Italian Dressing packet and soup).  We also had FRESH HOMEMADE FRIES (potato farms all around us), Hot Chocolate, a “Tortilla with Cheese” (their version was to make a corn tortilla with the cheese inside it.  Looked great but not our favorite.  We still ate it though!), a fresh fruit plate, the restaurants version of chicken nuggets (yummy!) and a new food we have NEVER tried before . . . 
Papas Gallo.  It looked a lot like this, minus the tomatoes, and was on 4 mini corn tortillas.  It was SO GOOD that we didn’t think to take a picture first.  Sorry!  E, K and I ate them in under 4 minutes.  Soooooo  Gooooood!  Total bill came to $40.00 but worth the price because of the experience we had trying new food.  (I kept telling the kids, “Close your eyes and TASTE this before you judge it.”  They loved almost everything we ate today.)  Plus, McDonald’s would have been at least $25.00. 
After an AWESOME lunch, we enjoyed our drive down the volcano looking at the beautiful countryside.
Everything is SO GREEN!
Even the little farms are just priceless.  I couldn’t get enough of looking at all the beauty around me.  What our Savior has created is just breath taking.  I was so grateful today that I had eyes to see all this beauty.  I hope to remember it always!
On a side note, we did have quite the adventure getting back home.  Apparently my pre-paid minutes on my cell phone ran out.  That left me with no internet to use Google Maps to get back home.  Poor E thought it was his fault that the map didn’t work because he cleared it to look up something else and then it stopped working. We made it down the volcano and even to San Jose, just fine.  But in San Jose, I GOT LOST!  I mean LOST!!!!!!

The kids kept begging me to call Paul.  I thought, “What for?  How can he help me when I don’t even know where I am?”  San Jose is a HUGE CITY with 2.6 million people, walking around or driving, all trying to get home the same time we were.  I had no idea what to do.

I am a woman, so I finally stopped and asked for directions.  Well, without a compass, how are you supposed to read a map?  And how are you supposed to know what street you are on when there are no road signs of any kind?  Now what?

We had been looking for a Kolbi store (our cellphone carrier here) but we never saw a store, just Kolbi signs in the windows of restaurants or pharmacies.  WHAT??  How does that work?  I wasn’t about to walk into a restaurant and say,”Can you help me with my phone?  The minutes ran out?”  Ya right, in the US we would look like idiots!

But guess what, that IS what you do here!  I finally saw a grocery store (Mas x Menos) and thought I would ask someone there for help to find a Kolbi.  But first I saw a row of taxis.  I asked them how much it would cost for me to follow them to our home near the airport.  They said . . . $30.00!
Remember, I AM CHEAP!  So of course, I said NO Thank You!

But I did ask them if they knew where a Kolbi store was?  The taxi driver pointed to the pharmacy two stores away.  What??  Okay!  I left the kids in the car alone, second time that day, and went inside.  I walked in looking confused and the door guard asked me what I needed.  I said, “Kolbi?”  He pointed to a specific cashier.  The cashier asked me for my cell number.  What?  I don’t know it!  I don’t call it!  AHH!

Well, a nice gentleman behind me (that I had apologized to a moment earlier for cutting in front of his motorcycle to get a parking space closest to the pharmacy) offered his cell phone to me.  I called Paul and asked for my cell number so I could recharge my minutes.  He said, “OH!  I can do that online.  Hold on a second.”  WHAT???!!!!  He could have done this all along?  Now I felt like an idiot.

Had I called him, like the kids had begged me to an hour earlier, I would have been home by now.  Oh well, lesson learned.  PAUL KNOWS EVERYTHING!  I “thought” I was being a brave woman and figuring out my problem on my own.  Instead, I was wasting time and not making much progress on my own.  I didn’t even know my own cell number to charge minutes to my phone.

So, while we waited for the minutes to reset on my phone, I took the kids for our #4 expectation of the day . . . ICE CREAM!  They each chose what looked the best to them and ate it before we even got the GPS to work.

Once we were on our way home, E apologized again for having reset the map earlier.  I told him not to worry because I was thankful I had this experience today.  I had never been through something like this and now I KNOW I can do it!  Also, had we not lost the map and the GPS service, we would have never stopped for ice cream.  The kids all laughed and smiled.  They all agreed that this was a good experience and that today had been a GREAT DAY!!

All our love!!
~  Wendi, E, K, G and L!!  (L blew you all kisses!)


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