11 September 2022

Costa Rica Trip 2012

  1. Thanksgiving in Costa Rica! Nov 16, 2012

    Thanksgiving time!!! Since we do not have any family within twenty hours of flight, the tradition for the Roys is to go to South America! It is Costa Rica this year. I am hoping that Sharmila will like Costa Rica so much more than Chile from last year that she will change her mind from settling down in Zapaillar in Chile to some place in Costa Rica. That way it will be much easier for me to visit her when she settles down 🙂 Especially for Thanksgiving 🙂 🙂

  2. Fun Begins Nov 16, 2012

    And the fun begins… the ladies have already had multiple fights… fortunately among themselves… 🙂


  3. First Spanish Lesson! Nov 17, 2012

    First Spanish lesson: Imagine this: Sharmila has all soaped up her face in front the bathroom sink, already running late for our volcano trip, quickly opens an eye a wee bit, locates the tap marked “C” and opens it is full blast to get a cold wash. In a few seconds, she lets out a scream!! A few commotion-filled minutes later, the two Texas born daughters explained to her that “C” stands for “caliente” (hot) not “cold”. That would be the one marked “F”. Later, over laughs, I asked her if she learnt her first Spanish lesson. She promptly replied “Si” !! 🙂

  4. Elephant Ears! Nov 17, 2012

    That is one single leaf!!! The locals call it “elephant ears”. The elephants are like, “That’s not us dude, that’s your Prince Charles” 🙂


  5. “Narkel Naru” Nov 17, 2012

    “Narkel Naaru” ( special coconut sweets made in Bengal) in a roadside stall in Costa Rica!!


  6. Life Cycle of a Coffee Bean Nov 17, 2012

    From coffee plantation to coffee cherries to coffee beans to Sharmila’s cup… — at La Casa Del Cafe.


  7. Volcan Irazu Nov 18, 2012

    Top of live volcano Irazu. Near zero visibility…

  8. Lunch with a view Nov 18, 2012

    Sitting down for lunch at Sanchiri. Behind is a sheer drop of 4000 feet into Rio Reventazon. In fact you can see the river in the distance… — at Sanchiri.


  9. Sunday night date Nov 18, 2012

    Sunday evening. Like every Sunday evening, it is a date night with Sharmila. With a few twists… Instead of our usual Milton’s, it is a sports bar at Alajuela in Costa Rica. Instead of Meiomi Pinot Noir, it is a Costa Rican sugarcane based local drink Guaro. Instead of Alexis, Nate, Austin et. al. at the bar, it is Estaban, Andrea and all. One thing still remains the same. We are watching NFL!!! — with Sharmila Roy at Bar El Almendro.

  10. Costa Rican politics Nov 19, 2012

    Talking to the locals here during the day trips, I learnt some fascinating things about Costa Rican politics. Some of the ideas, I would contend, are more advanced than many developed and developing countries.

    1. Costa Ricans are obsessed with avoiding corruption in politics. If you are elected president, after one term, you have to wait out two terms before you can be president again.
    2. If you

    are a congressman who wishes to stand for re-election, you have to resign from the house at least one year before reelection!!
    3. Outside of the three usual bodies – Executive, Legislative and Judiciary, there is a fourth body – Electoral Tribunal who takes over all law and order (e.g. Police is moved under this body) two months before election till one month after election to maintain fairness.

    Some other tidbits:
    1. The president appoints 2 vice presidents. Nobody has been able to tell me why.
    2. Costa Rica disbanded the Army (Navy and Airforce also) half a century back to focus on diverting the money to economic development!!!

    For a country of 4.3 million where over 1 million are immigrants, it appears they have made impressive progress.

  11. What was that again? Nov 19, 2012

    “Put the sanitary papers in the trash bin, not toilet” it pleads… IN A MEN’S TOILET!!! No less!!

  12. Crocodiles!! Nov 19, 2012

    The art of not falling off a cliff: if it helped us from getting eaten by a volcano yesterday, it certainly helped us from getting eaten by these crocodiles today!! — at Río Tarcoles.


  13. Beautiful Drive Nov 19, 2012

    The kids are both reporting in sick… change of plans… heading to Los Suenos to check in. The drive is beautiful…


  14. Room with a view Nov 19, 2012

    The prospect of no more driving anywhere, chicken fingers, soda and Netflix – just what the doctors ordered. The kids feel fine suddenly. With this view outside the room, I am not going anywhere else either 🙂 — at Los Suenos Resort – Costa Rica


  15. It is always worth doing it twice… Nov 19, 2012

    There is something about 90 degrees, sitting by the beach that screams “One drink is not enough” 🙂 — with Sharmila Roy at Los Suenos Resort – Costa Rica.


  16. Am I in Burdwan district? Nov 19, 2012

    It’s like Costa Rica has its own Burdwan district!!! “Togor-phool, bot-gaachh, rongon-phool and khejur-gaachh” !!!


  17. Sunset Nov 19, 2012

    Just finished watching the sun set at Villa Caletas!


  18. Costa Rica education system Nov 20, 2012

    Both the girls are down with stomach virus. That was a great opportunity to meet a lot of locals – while running or just making friends with the resort staff. Today I was focused on learning about the education system. Again, fascinating….
    There are 50 universities! For a country of 4.3 million, that sounds like a lot. However, most of my questions were around K-12.
    1. Education is mandatory for

     every child. The country today has seven schools with one student and one teacher!!! If any family is way out in remote areas, the govt will open a temporary school. Even if with one teacher. Talk about “No child left behind”. Got an interesting perspective from such a teacher. She explained her life not just as a teacher – but for those 8 hours she also has to be the classmate – since the child has nobody else to play with! Wow!!
    2. To not differentiate between rich and poor, uniforms are mandatory. Private or public school.
    3. Usually, there are two shifts. (My mom in India use to work in shifts in school, now I remember). I saw quite a few kids trudging along the road after first shift yesterday.
    4. Everybody has to learn two foreign languages. Nobody knows why French is one of them for the first three high school years. Everybody agreed it is of no use!! New language introduced in syllabus – Mandarin Chinese!!
    5. There are more teachers than policemen!!
    6. Saw a few of the schools on the trip. Definitely nowhere close to the facilities that the US schools enjoy – but I give them full points for trying with limited money that they have.
    7. While there is a fixed school calendar – in high school, you can earn your in-year credits faster by studying hard. Then you get some time off (shorter year) that you can use to learn new things or go for vocational training. (Cannot stay at home though!!! )
    Rahul Guha, it seems the literacy rate is between 95-97%.
  19. 5K run Nov 20, 2012

    5K run. That would be the 11th country I put in a 5K run after US, Canada, India, Spain, Portugal, Germany, England, Peru, Chile and Argentina. I had to stop twice – partially due to the heat, humidity and hills. And partially because I have never seen so many colorful birds in one run….

  20. Macaws Nov 20, 2012

    Snapped these two in the tree. As I was trying to focus on them, a local helpfully explained to me that these macaws mate for life and are therefore always seen in pairs. My first reaction was “Mate for life?? First, respect the stamina! 🙂 Second, don’t even bother applying for a CIA position” 🙂 🙂


  21. Iguana! Nov 20, 2012

    This one is 4 feet long. Literally begging for food from the folks by the pool…


  22. Wet bar! Nov 20, 2012

    Somebody hit the bar early…


  23. Casado… Nov 20, 2012

    Settling down for a typical Costa Rican dinner “Casado”. As close to “thali” as it gets!!!


  24. Herradura or Zapaillar? Nov 21, 2012

    Yesss!!! Sharmila likes Herradura area as much as Zapaillar in Chile and is willing to consider settling down here instead of Zapaillar. As she pointed out, it is only 4 hours of flight instead of 9 to Atlanta.

    Next few years Thanksgiving will be in Guatemala followed by Jamaica, Miami and then Valdosta, Georgia. If you get the drift, by 2018 I will have her convinced to just stay put in Atlanta 🙂

  25. Longest highway ever… Nov 21, 2012

    On the top of Cambroneros mountains. This is Pan American Highway – we had taken this same highway in Peru as well as Chile! I am told you can drive on this highway from southern tip of Chile all the way to San Francisco – provided you figured out how to cross the Panama Canal!


  26. Rainforest… Nov 21, 2012

    It is called a rainforest for a reason… — at The Springs Resort and Spa, Costa Rica.


  27. Natural Hot Springs!! Nov 21, 2012

    The girls wasted no time in getting into the natural springs… The 18 spas get heated by a vein of the Arenal volcano running just under us… — at The Springs Resort and Spa, Costa Rica.


  28. Room with a view… Nov 22, 2012

    604072_10151350398136804_1392960294_nRoom with a view… — at The Springs Resort and Spa, Costa Rica.

  29. Horseriding Nov 22, 2012

    Girls ready to trot away…. — at Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica.


  30. Breakfast companion Nov 22, 2012

    Our companion for coffee this morning… — with Sharmila Roy at The Springs Resort and Spa, Costa Rica.


  31. Ziplining… Nov 22, 2012

    In the Skytram. Sharmila Roy is harnessed up to hang on to the zip line. I was there to make sure she did not weasel out 🙂


  32. Thanksgiving… Nov 22, 2012

    Thanksgiving evening: Sharmila Roy and myself sitting by ourselves with champagne facing the imposing visage of the Arenal volcano in the dark night and catching up on our life… When visiting our traditional family involves a trip to the doctor for a malaria shot, invariably “family” takes a larger meaning in life. And for the last twenty years “family” has mostly meant the friends that we made in our journey thru multiple countries, states, cities, jobs….To all those friends, we say Thanks!!! Thanks for making the journey so enjoyable that we have seldom cared about the destination!!!

  33. Hasta La Vista… Nov 23, 2012

    Hasta la vista, Costa! Pura Vida!!
    Or as we say at home – Yibbidee, Yibbidee, Yibbidee. Th-th-th-that’s all folks 🙂 — at San Jose International Airport, Costa Rica.

  34. Behind the waterfall… Nov 24, 2012

    602522_10151350665951804_1233836913_nNov 22, 2012

    The river… as seen from behind the small waterfall…



  35. Gallo Pinto! Nov 24, 2012

    Nov 23, 2012

    Had traditional Costa Rican breakfast today – Gallo Pinto! It is basically a lot of rice and beans cooked together. Had with fried plantains, potato dish and stir fry vegetables. Rough translation of Gallo Pinto is “Indian lunch” 🙂 I was ready to go back to sleep after eating breakfast!! This also explains why Costa Rica is always adjudged the happiest country in the world 🙂

  36. Costa Rica vacation memories Nov 27, 2012

    Costa Rica Flora

    Costa Rica Fauna

    Costa Rica Ziplining

    Costa Rica Pictures