Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Arriving in Monteverde

We arrived in San Jose New Years eve day and were met by Susannah´s father-in-law Ben, his girlfriend Branata and her daughter Maria Paula. They were so sweet and let us stay at their very nice house outside of San Jose. The kids swam in their pool and played then we all went to a party at their friends house and saw some fireworks. The kids were good sports about staying out so late but were super tired.
The next morning we swam more and packed up then took a Interbus shuttle to Monteverde. The drive takes almost 4 hours mostly because the last 38 km are on a steep very bumpy road that takes forever. I was glad we werent in a big bus. Kids took turn sleeping and playing name that animal guessing games. We had another couple in the bus with us from NY and when we stopped the van to look at howler monkeys our kids couldnt belive they had never seen monos in the wild before! It started blowing really hard as we reached the top of the mountain and was raining by the time we arrived in the pitch dark at 7. The family we are renting from picked us up in their van and explained in spanish that there was a small problem with the lights. Well what that meant was that their was NO electricity in the house yet (they had just bought it recently). Fortunately we had packed sandwiches and had 2 headlamps. The kids felt like we were camping and were great about it. The next day the family showed up to try to get it to work but to no avail. Three days later we finally got power only to loose it 2 hours later when the wind blew the power lines over. The house is huge and very sparesely furnished but the kids love it (especially for running around on rainy days which our first 4 were). There has been a huge storm throughout all of Central America that is finally over. It is also pink and very close to the school.

The school (Cloud Forest School or Centro de Educacion Creativo) is 100 meters up the hill and a beautiful CRMS like place. It looks out over the Gulf of Nicoya and has great cloud forest trails and fabulous playgrounds. The first 5 days we just got settled, hoped for power and warm water. So far we have visited the Childrens Eternal Rainforest (which most school kids have contributed to at some point), the Cheese factory (delicous ice cream and carmel too!) and the butterfly garden (with an insect house where we petted tarantulas). There are tons of tourists in MV which is a bit hard to get used to and it makes it a little harder to practice spanish because all the service people speak english. It is a very beautiful place though and the kids are loving it.

We finally have power but not hot water yet. We boil water on the stove for kid baths but dave and i are doing cold showers. Which would be fine if it hadnt been chilly. After 7 weeks on the road we have gotten very flexible though. I will write more about the school and our volunteer work next time I can. This brings us basically up to date.

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