Today is a transfer day from La Fortuna to Monteverde, so the majority of the day will be spent on the bus.
We woke up this morning to the sound of rain drumming on the roof of the hotel. Unlike Canada, even though it is raining and is early in the day, the air is warm and comfortable. As per usual, we
had breakfast at 7 am and loaded the bus and left at 7:45. Breakfast this morning consisted of pancakes and fruit with fruit juice and coffee. The food at this particular hotel has been all right, but the portions are quite small and this morning the majority of the pancakes were on the dark side. The students have been really good sports about the food and I haven't heard too much complaining.
Our first stop of the day was a German bakery which served a variety of pastries including their specialty, apple struedel with ice cream. I had chocolate cake. We purchased a variety of junk food and drinks, used the washroom and then got back on the bus. The road up to Monteverde is in pretty rough condition, although it has improved in recent years. It took almost 2 hours to travel the last 40 km. The road started off as very bumpy concrete and then changed to rock/gravel. At places the grade was extremely steep and there were some places where the road was washed out and was down to one lane. The roads in CR are not a high
priority. Pablo tells us that in CR the first priority is health care, second is education and highways are pretty close to the bottom of the list. There are some places where mud slides have covered roads and the hastily created detours have become semi-permanent structures. As I mentioned y
esterday, Pancho, our bus driver is absolutely amazing. Today we crossed a bridge where there was literally only an inch of space on either side of the bus. By patiently inching forward he was able to squeeze the bus around a very tight corner onto the bridge and across (see photos). Amazing!
Our second stop of the day was at an elementary school, where we were entertained by a group of students who performed traditional dances. They were dressed in brightly colored costumes and put on an amazing show. The children are so beautiful and appear to really enjoy performing for their guests. The school itself is in terrible condition. Other than a couple of chalk boards and a handful of desks th
ere was nothing that would indicate that the building is a school. The teacher teaches traditional dances to the students and has them perform for tour groups to help raise money for supplies and to rebuild the roof of one of the buildings which was destroyed in a recent storm. The children are very accomplished dancers. We were informed that they recently won first place in a dance competition with over 100 school participating. After the performance, our students got involved in an impromptu soccer game with some of the village kids. The ball handling skills of the local players was really quite amazing. Both Pablo, our guide, and Pancho, our bus driver are former soccer players.
We arrived at Hotel Villa Verde in Monteverde at 2:00 pm and went straight to lunch. The food here is amazing and the portions are huge, a welcome relief after the last hotel. This hotel is quite rustic and does not have TV or Internet. If we want to use Internet we need to go to the town which is quite a distance away. This hotel has a disco which is very popular with our students. There are several EF Tours staying here so the disco was opened and students danced to music until 10 pm which is when students need to be in their rooms. We've all had a fantastic day.