Yesterday we went to Café Britt which is one of the largest coffee farms here in Costa Rica. It’s actually close to us (5 km but about 20 minutes) and we enjoyed the feeling of knowing where we were going.

We were lead through the coffee growing process and a history of coffee growing by three incredibly talented tour guides/actors. They kept up this cheesy but funny banter switching from Spanish to English so easily you barely knew they were doing it. We ended up in the theater where they showed an interactive video during which they dressed up in costumes and again had everyone laughing (and learning). It really was funny and they had Max (2) and Jacob (18) both cracking up – hitting such wide age groups takes talent.

After the tour we were given a buffet lunch in a lovely open-plan restaurant. The kids (and parents) all tucked into pumpkin-ginger soup, hearts of palm and beetroot salad, and salmon with mango chutney. Had I given them similar fare at home I don’t think they would have been as excited. We finished it up with tropical fruits and of course wonderful cappuccinos and iced coffees (for the younger ones). I have to say we did eat one tropical fruit that made all of us, except Mark, gag. A tiny, apple shaped fruit called a nance that was slightly mushy with a big seed inside and tasted exactly like moldy cheese. Mark actually ate about 5 saying they grew on you and he quite liked them but then he also was the only one who liked durian while we were in Malaysia. Given that smells so bad it is illegal to take into public areas or airports you get the idea of his taste buds.

The little ones discovered two goats in a pen and Charlotte howled in distress at having to leave her new “fwends.” But we had to beat a hasty retreat as the skies were opening. We found out why the ditches are so deep and wide here – the crazy amount of water that can come down in such a rapid time makes the ditches look like white water surf spots. Waterfalls pour out of walls and careen down roads. It’s very impressive but I am glad we made it home before the bulk of it started.

Today we went out on a quest to find a phone card since the skype phone I bought in the US worked just fine for two days and now cannot connect for some reason. It’s very annoying and an expensive test phone! Skype is working OK on the computer and it is fun to chat with my mom and oldest son who is home dog sitting. In fact we managed to completely confuse the poor dogs with my calling their names and telling them to “sit” while connected to my home computer and video cam. I’m also keeping an eye on how much house work oldest son keeps up with!

Anyway we did track down a phone card at the Hyper Mass in Heredia. Boy was that exciting — we were in Walmart! Yep they have made it here too. I will say not all the products were marked Equate and (shhh) it was quite nice to find some toiletries that are familiar. The store actually reminded me of Carrefour stores in the Middle East and Asia more than a US Walmart but I still had to try and ignore the idea of traveling so far to be in such a familiar place.

We are planning a few days away so hopefully will have more exciting travel news than the shopping of today.