And today was the day we terrorized Darien’s not yet week-long boyfriend, Aaron! He willingly volunteered to spend the entire day with us, sight unseen. Aaron is also a Peace Corps volunteer, and he lives about two ridgelines away from Darien. He hails from Maryland, and had a brief, varied career before joining. His sense of humor was great, blended right in with our motley crew, and we enjoyed spending a day in his company. Not many 20-somethings can quote from Austin Powers freely!!
The early morning was lovely, we spent time walking around Darien’s community, and I got to meet many people, and to go buy supplies at the local Pulperia after visiting the lower school in Darien’s community. It is obvious that Costa Rica places great value upon education, and the teachers very obviously love their jobs.
After picking Aaron up from his host family, we headed into San Vito for some lunchtime beverages for our picnic lunch, bought Darien two more towels and two pillows, and then headed to the Wilson Botanical Gardens. The gardens were started in 1963 by Robert and Catherine Wilson, and then transferred to the Organization for Tropical Studies. The gardens host over 1000 species of plants, and are used as a training ground for scientists as well as for providing education programs for the public. Conservation, horticulture, sustainable development, agroecology and reforestation studies are carried out, and the gardens preserve endangered species. We walked on several trails and saw lots of beautiful flowers and interesting critters, to include my first Tucan. The rain miraculously held off during our entire visit in the gardens, much to my happiness, but we did still get to traverse the muck and grime. I fear the rental will need detailing after we turn it back in. =) One thing I found out is that the Costa Rican version of a “no-see-um” leaves a stinger in you when you are bitten. Wayne and I were covered on our legs with the welts. Darien and Aaron, now native, didn’t have a mark on them! So much for Deep Woods Off. =p
Dinner was a lovely affair at the Casa Botania, a bed and breakfast between the Wilson Botanical Garden and San Vito. It is run by a Tico-Belgian couple, Pepe and Kathleen (who has a baby on the way, due in February). They met while she was leading a Belgian tour in Costa Rica, and he was the local tour guide. The fusion of their tastes and passions is evident in the very beautiful B&B, reflected in their prix fixe three course dinner menu. They also have a beautiful shepherd with soulful eyes who was trying very hard to sneak in to the dining room!
Wayne entertained with his iPhone, and then decided to Skype Eliot, who gave us the most memorable quote of the trip to date. When Wayne said that he couldn’t see Eliot, Eliot’s response was, “Wait a minute, let me get a shirt on.”
After the meal was complete, with halting Spanish conversation (on my part, not Darien or Aaron’s) with Pepe, we headed back out to drop off Aaron, and make plans for tomorrow. It appears it will be the hot springs!