Dec 25, 2010

Christmas in Costa Rica

Since I'm away from home and family this Christmas, and my 90-day tourist visa is about to expire again,  I decided to take advantage of the paid holiday on 12/24/10 and head back to Costa Rica.   Arrived in Golfito around 2 pm and spent a few hours getting settled in and wandering around town looking at the lights and Christmas scenes.   They were few and far between, unlike the situation in Boquete.  These days the park in Boquete is ablaze with lights, a huge Christmas tree, and decorations on the adjacent municipal building    Here, there are a few houses that are lit up, but otherwise it's business as usual.  I went to both supermarkets in Golfito, and had one tough time finding bottles of champagne to purchase.  

Why was I looking so ardently for bottles of champagne?  Because I'd been invited to a potluck brunch for Christmas Day.  And since I hadn't the ingredients nor the inclination to cook anything, I agreed to bring some drinks.   Hands down the preferred beverage was mimosas.  After getting the manager's assistance at the chinese supermarket, we managed to locate only two bottles.  They were of Concha y Toro, a Spanish champagne, that would have been 300% cheaper in Panama.  Luckily orange juice was plentiful.  

The brunch was a lot of fun, although I forgot to take my camera.   It was held on a fishing dock, overlooking a huge catamaran and a few other sailing vessels tied to adjoining piers. Attendees were a mixture of expat locals and cruisers that happened to be in town at this time.    A Canadian couple,  a few southern Californians--(Santa Barbara), an Australian woman, an Irish lady, more Canadians, a couple from Kansas, one New Yorker, and me as the northern California representative.   It was unfortunate that I didn't take my camera. The scene was so unique.  In place of Christmas wreaths, mistletoe and holly, we had a gorgeous centerpiece of tropical flora---orange heliconia and red ginger flowers, palm fronds, banana leaves, and branches from an unnamed green and yellow speckled bush outside.  The tiki totems all donned Santa hats. Multicolored rope lights blinked cheerfully as we listened to traditional and Hawaiian Christmas CDs. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm day.  The tide was low, which I learned after commenting  about several potted  plants perched atop 20 foot cement pile-ons.  I was told they get watered and tended when they are at waist level.  The mood was mellow, the company pleasant, and the food a cultural mix. I had the most delicious hearts of palm I've ever tasted.  Having only sampled the canned product, eating a fresh version  from the farm of one of the gringos was a true treat.  Fresh palm heart has a crisp, velvety texture and is nothing liked the canned version.  We also had tamales, grilled ham w/pineapple salsa, sushi,  traditional  potato salad,  multiple veggie dishes & cheese casserole.  And banana bread, and homemade cinnamon rolls, and tropical fruit salad, and muffins.   In addition to the Spanish-champagne mimosas, there was California wine and Old Milwaukee beer.  Not your customary Christmas fare, I admit.  But much better suited to the heat of the tropics.

The Reason for the Season

And last but not least, just found this video on my son's Facebook page and thought it worth sharing. Hope it works...