charlotte and max on Sarchi ox-cart

Charlotte and Max on one of the famed Sarchi oxcarts.

Lovely day today as we got to show Grandma around a little. She arrived Thursday evening (well Friday morning at 1 a.m.) more than four hours late due to bad weather in Houston. Yesterday we let her relax a little and only hit the grocery store but today we went into tourist mode. We went up to a neat little town located in the middle of coffee fields and, when following the GPS, accessed by dirt and winding roads. There was an outside market with various stalls of plastic (made in China) toys and jewelry, leather goods, and interesting sweaters and hats which we discovered were made in Ecuador. Charlotte got some lovely little leather sandals which will hopefully stop smelling like wet dog soon! We also bought her an adorable zip up sweater that has little animals appliquéd over it. These are hand knit sweaters and even include little romping llamas – very cute. Prices were OK ($13) for the sweater but once some of the stall owners saw we were open to purchasing then items seemed to increase. Adult sweaters (factory and not hand made) became $30 even though original quote was $10.

Dad and Charlotte on the restaurant playground. Note the swings on concrete — a normal thing here.

charlotte on swing

We were at the tail end of the vegetables but by the debris and number of empty stalls there must have been a good number.

So from there we went on to Sarchi which is the furniture and craft capital of Costa Rica. Lots of artisans work from there and the shops were full of heavy wood furnishings – dark and heavy look to most items but very pretty. We had lunch at a riverside restaurant that we had discovered a few weeks ago when Jacob was still here. El Rio restaurant is next door to a big souvenir shop which is convenient. The restaurant has the same fare as the majority of other places here; corvina (sea bass) in various forms, expensive shrimp in the same forms, salads, soups, and ceviche (something all of us love here). Good food but not great for $55.00 lunch.

We picked up a few bits and pieces in the souvenir shop. There are limited items made in Costa Rica and most of the souvenirs are actually made elsewhere, printed with “Costa Rica” on the front and shipped in. But of course magnets and T-shirts are available and given the low baggage amounts on airlines it’s a good thing to limit shopping now.

The river next to the restaurant has lots of lizards around it.

lizard in Sarchi

Our exit was marked with a thunderstorm that unleashed a huge volume of water on the roads. Quite stunning to see how full the drainage ditches become and how rivers of water suddenly spill out of fields making the roads brown streams.