Angels of Costa Rica

April 24, 2007  
Topics: Costa Rica

Originally written for

finally we could put the signs at the entrance of Earth Rose Farm

finally we could put the signs at the entrance of Earth Rose Farm

End of March 2007 we entered Costa Rica. Being spoiled by easy hitch-hiking in Panama, we encountered moving problems as soon as we entered Costa Rica. Three to four hours waiting for one ride was average. A bit frustrating, though the nature views paid off for it.

We were heading immediately towards Earth Rose Farm, an eco-farm near San Isidro, Costa Rica. We were in contact with its owners Rosie and Maji for a long time, but never managed to come for a visit. Accidentally being back in Central America we used the chance to pass by their farm and contribute to its fruitful growing. We enjoyed working there for 10 days.

Being back on the road we had a slight idea of making a tour up to El Salvador and then back to Panama, crossing to South America in June. As usual, everything came different.

Heading towards San Jose (the capital of Costa Rica) we ended up in Cartago (15 miles before San Jose). We got out on a crossroad, where we could continue straight to the active Volcano Irazu. The road supposed to lead along villages, but we passed mainly industrial areas and a lot of truck bars, garages, etc. We walked along the road in the darkness searching for a place to camp, feeling uneasy in this uncosy area. This night we encountered our first unpleasant experience after 15 months of travelling. We were attacked by a desperate drug-addict, asking us for money and threatening us with a big wooden stick. The whole story ended with me being injured on my left thigh. We stopped cars, and what happened since then was incredible.

Small truck driver Rolando picked us up and brought right to the hospital. Saying Good bye he didn’t miss to invite us for a ride from Cartago to a nearby village of Volcano Irazu the coming day. Entering the hospital bursting with waiting patients, we stated our incident and were given treatment within the next half an hour. Being placed in a wheel-chair, X-rays were made, the wound was inspected, and the diagnose of having got a hematoma was given. Approximate healing process: 4 days (which was far underestimated).

During the treatment many of the hospital personell got to know my case. I was given words of apology and compassion from all sides. They all seemed to suffer from my intercourse with a fellow countryman.

We expected high treatment costs, but we were charged NOTHING! A directive by the reception manager.

We were brought to a cheap hostel. The taxi driver narrated the hostel manager our late-evening-walk-in-Cartago experience. His reaction: “You understand that I cannot charge you for your stay now.” We were out of comprehension. “You understood what I said?”, he asked. We nodded slowly. Both, the taxi driver and hotel manager enunciated their sadness about the incident with deep sorrow.

Two days later we left to Palmira Norte, were two weeks earlier a girl invited us right from the street into her house. I needed a place to recover, thus we went for it. We never met the girl again, but her family took great care of us, accommodating us with all we needed. We enjoyed three very calm and lazy days in Palmira Norte, doing nothing but reading and watching TV, as walking still was not an option for me.

Though the leg was not fine then, an inner voice told us to move. We stopped Luis, who was on the way to San Isidro, half way to San Jose. Bingo. “Today is your lucky day”, Luis said after receiving a phone call. “Plans changed and I am going to San Jose instead of San Isidro”. Stars blinking in our eyes. Short time later, during an in-between stop in San Isidro, Luis invited us to stay in his house in the capital. What a lucky day!

Skutch's beautiful grave

Skutch's beautiful grave

On the way Luis brought us to Los Cusingos farm, formerly owned by Dr. Alexander Skutch (1904 – 2004). He is one of the 20th century’s greatest naturalists, specializing in ornithology. He left his farm to the Tropical Science Center (TSC) a couple of years ago, which is meanwhile open to the public. The museum – Skutch’s house in original state – was closed, but we saw the stones on which it was build, the library from the outside, and his lovely grave. The scenery at his farm is amazingly beautiful, breathtaking, and even offers monkeys spying at you from above. The marvellous variety of birds we had to leave behind unseen, as Luis needed to head towards San Jose.

Mariposa (front) and Pinki (back)

Mariposa (front) and Pinki (back)

Luis invited us into his house in San Rafael Abajo, in the South-East of San Jose capital, to recover from my injury. We stayed with him for exactly two weeks, several days even alone. Luis lives with his five dogs in a comfortable 4 room house. In the front part of his garden Rottweiler Mariposa (“butterfly”) and Chiuahua Pinki are on watch, while in the backyard Husky Beluga, Rottweiler-Mix Gill, and Terrier Princessa live in all but great harmony. Four of the dogs are former street dogs. During night, when the street-dog gangs pass by the house, all five are in fierce competition. Forget about sleep.

We are moving on now and we wish to express our gratefulness to all the angels we met since the attack. It is a pleasure to see again that the majority of people are simply great, offering hospitality and showing trust to complete strangers. We love to share these experiences with everyone, hoping to give examples of the real world for those among us humans who are still caught by skepticism and fear towards strangers.