Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friends on the Finca

One reason that we chose to come to Uvita, of all the places in Central America, is that we have friends here who run a farm / biological field study center. The road up to their "finca" has been destroyed by this year's unusually rainy season, so we haven't been able to spend much time up there until recently. Finally we went up to Finca Carolina this week and spent a night in the jungle.

The adventure began with the ride up the aforementioned road. George had already dubbed Andrew's trusty Subaru "The Ghetto Blaster" because we could always hear him coming to visit us way before he arrived. So, now we were to ride up an extremely steep, muddy, and washed-out road in his car which had the entire exhaust system "wired" onto the chassis of the car. Well, about half-way up the road, the wires broke, and the exhaust system was dragging the ground. Classic photo below, I think.

After assessing the situation, they decided to tie the pipes back under the car in order to get it up the hill. George's boy scout training comes in handy once again! Note the lack of a muffler in the photo below.

The boy-scout knots held, and we were able to resume our uphill adventure.

Here's the Subie clearing one of the last mud pits. Ah, if only photographs could capture sound, this image would be complete.

Having successfully arrived at the finca, we were treated to our favorite dinner: homemade wood-fired pizza. Noah fired up their cob oven and fixed tons of delicious pizza with our favorite toppings. In this photo, the fire is still heating the oven and the pot of tomato sauce is cooking in front of the fire.

George, who loves pizza and cob ovens, was inspired by their cooking technique. Noah slid the pizzas into the oven on banana leaves rather than using a pizza peel and cornmeal. Then he turned the pizzas with a machete, and toward the end he removed the banana leaf in order to crisp the crust a little. What talent! Here's Andrew cutting the pizza with the ever-useful machete.

We voted it the best pizza on our trip! It was also the first pizza we've had that was served on banana leaves! YUM!

We headed back to our screened bunk-house with full bellies and let the sounds of the jungle sing us to sleep. In a seemingly short period of time, we were awakened by the early morning sounds of the jungle. In particular, howler monkeys that start their howling at the crack of dawn, followed closely by the roosters.

We had some fresh juice and pineapple slices, then Andrew took us on a hike through the jungle, where he shared some interesting jungle facts with us. Nicholas was quite the guide too, as he found several tiny frogs for us to see.

We also found an amazing tree with huge buttressed roots. In this photo, Adalaya is standing in front of one of the massive meandering roots, and her hand is on another.

Here we are, happy in the jungle!

We hiked down to the river, and their gorgeous waterfall, where the sun was just starting to light up the water.

It was a good time for a swim!

Andrew swam with the kids up to to waterfall,

and then they let the current carry them back down-stream.

Such a beautiful place, and so nice to be with friends.

When we returned to the farm, Daniella had prepared an amazing "typico" breakfast for us of gallo pinto, home-made tortillas, fried cheese, and scrambled eggs. We were treated like royalty!

We walked around the farm after breakfast, and it was so fun to see what luscious food will grow in such a warm and wet place: coconuts, bananas, cashews, vanilla, pineapples, and so much more!

We had a great time at the finca!

Andrew, Daniella, and Nicholas are off to San Jose in a few days, and Andrew will be heading back to the States. We've had a lot of fun with them and hate to see them go (although we did get to see them go, in the fully-packed Subaru with the exhaust system strapped to the top - I wish I had a picture of that!). We will miss you guys, and we wish you all the best in the upcoming year!

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