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Marlon’s house in Escazú, Costa Rica

Our first couchsuring host in Costa Rica, Marlon, was the perfect host.  How wonderful to be staying with a Costa Rican family!  The family consists of Marlon’s Mom and Dad, Marlon, and his sister, Laura.

Marlon’s mom kept us well fed. Every meal in Costa Rica has rice and beans as part of it.  The breakfast is called Gallo Pinto, and is rice and beans with a special sauce (Salsa Lizano) and an egg with some roasted bananas on the side.  We all really enjoy this and both kids have requested that I make it when we get home.  Marlon’s mom even cut my hair for me.  I haven’t paid for a haircut in almost 17 years (some of you might be saying that I should ;) ) and she helped make sure I didn’t break my streak.

Marlon and Adam guitar

We hung out with Marlon all day.  This included a guitar concert from him.  He’s an accomplished classical guitarist, and as many of you know I’ve been trying to learn to play classical guitar for many years, so it was a treat for me to hear him play, and to even play a bit myself.  Even Adam got to try his hand at strumming.

Marlon took us for a nice walk around his town, Escazú where we saw nice views of the city of San Jose ringed by nice mountains.

We stopped to get some homemade “ice cream” (which was more ice-based than we were used to, but was delicious and refreshing).

Two other things we noticed about Costa Rica from this walk was the litter and the cages around the houses.  Apparently burglaries are very common and almost every house is ringed by a high fence.  Some have razor wire on top, and some are complete cages.  Every window has bars on it, etc.  Marlon’s house had three locked gate-doors to go through before getting in to the house.  You can see a bit of what these “cages” look like behind the ice cream picture.  I’m somewhat astonished by what appears to almost be acceptance of crime rather than doing something about that problem; I’m told it’s easier just to build the bars to keep the criminals out.

The other thing that I’m astonished about is the litter that’s all over.  On the walk we saw small litter almost everywhere, and in many places there were piles of trash that people had just dumped.  It was sad, as the countryside is so beautiful.  As our travels continueed, we saw the same thing almost everywhere.  It seems to be widely accepted also, as we were told that some busses used to have signs on them that said, “Don’t drop your trash in the bus, put it out the window where it belongs”, and we saw people doing just that while on busses.

Nevertheless, our introduction to Costa Rica, via Marlon, had some wonderful natural beauty, including his own back yard, which had an orchard.  He and the kids explored it at length, and we got to see some new and interesting insect life — they sure do grow them bigger down here in the tropics!

We are so thankful to Marlon and his family for being our first hosts outside of the US.  We had a lot of fun with them (we even taught them to play Uno). They took such good care of us and we are grateful that they welcomed us into their home.

Charm in the suburbs of San Jose

Charm in the suburbs of San Jose

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