Thursday, July 18, 2019

Walking Food and Culture Tour

 We began the tour by visiting the first coffee processing place in San Jose.  According to the guide, coffee plants were originally grown in San Jose.  Eventually, the coffee trees were moved out of town to a higher elevation.

At one point, the government offered land with coffee plants  to people who worked the coffee plantations for 5 years.

This coffee roaster/grinder is wood fired and the original one used long time ago. It is still used today.  I am not a coffee drinker but one of the people on the tour with me said the coffee was awesome.

They grown one type of coffee for export and others that are not considered as good for the locals.

One of the first stops was at a fruit and vegetable market.  It has been there since 1950 and since the government could not afford to build it, the farmers built it with their own money.  We stopped at this person's stand to try several different fruits and they were so good.  I ended up trying a few I've never had including the Jocote which is best ripe, a sweet lemon that is not acidic, and another fruit that puckered my mouth up easily.  It was a good start.

According to the guide, many Costa Ricans believe in going to partitioners who prescribe herbs and roots to solve health problems.  Because they believe in it, they feel it works.  It is intregal to their belief system.

This shop is called a "Witch" Shop because you can get potions, candles, incense designed to help people.  The bottles contain lotions you put on after your shower to help stop gambling, stop your wife from being loud and naggy, etc.  If you prefer, they have candles which you can burn to do the same thing.

The contraptions you see above are the ones used by most of the population to make coffee.  At the last stop of the tour, the gentleman used one to make a pot of coffee for all the coffee drinkers.  They say the darker the cotton filter is the better coffee you get out of it.  The others with me said the coffee was really good.

These statues celebrate those who worked to raise the crops.  The man in front and the women directly behind him (she is hidden) wear shoes while the rest do not.  Historically, those who could afford shoes were considered rich so these two are the rich ones.  The rest are workers. The woman in the back left is expecting and has a child but she would have worked as hard as the rest.

This is one of the older churches with its beautiful architecture.  We stopped through to check it out while a service was going.  The center seats were for the rich while the poor sat in the side seats which were not as nice, nor as comfortable.  This seems to be a common theme throughout the place. Even the post office boxes were sized according to if you were poor, middle class or rich.

This is the outside of the National Theatre built between 1890 and 1897 by using monies collected from taxation.  It was quite expensive to build because much of the materials used in it were imported from Italy and other European countries.  In fact, there is a painting over the stage done by an Italian artist who'd never visited the country.  The Governor send his requirements and the artist painted it based on his interpretation so he had all the workers with shoes and the guy holding the bananas, just held them up.  He didn't have them on his back as was traditional.

Below is where in the past they would have music played with people dancing around the building.  The men formed one ring around the gazebo while the women formed another ring between the men and the musicians.  They would dance, each group moving after a bit to dance with a new partner but if a couple connected their eyes at paid attention to them as they met again and again in the dance, they'd get to know each other better.

This is the Cacao fruit from our last stop where we at Costa Rican tamales and had the original type of hot cocoa they'd drink.  They explained how they make cocoa from these fruits.  The tamales were wrapped in banana leaves and boiled till done.  This gives the food a chance to acquire flavor from the banana leaves.  At the end, the host made a hot chocolate with solid chocolate, hot water, spices, and a bit of sweetener.  It was thick, not very sweet, but very very good.  So different from American hot chocolate.

Tomorrow, I'll have some pictures from the tour I'm taking to see several land marks and visit a couple of museums including the museum of gold.  I hope you've enjoyed the pictures.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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