We've reached the end of our stay at Rancho Mastatal. We will soon be heading for adventures elsewhere in Costa Rica. As I write this the rain is pounding down on the roof. Clearly we are getting farther into the rainy season as we get more and more precipitation every day. Hopefully we won't get completely soaked on our travels (well, we definitely will when we go scuba diving)!
Last weekend we went on an outing to another town, about 50 minutes away by cattle truck. We joined many soccer players from Mastatal on the ride to La Vasconia for their football match and a chance to see more of Costa Rican culture. The ride there was filled with beautiful views of mountains and valleys and at one point we caught a glimpse of the pacific ocean. The truck we rode in the back of was barely up to the task of getting us there, but we made it nonetheless.
We spent the day watching soccer matches. Mastatal has a men's and women's team, with a mix of ages and including regular players from the ranch as well as those who happen to be here when there is a game. Ray and I did not play, but we watched a couple of games. At the same time, there was a horse event going on on the other side of the road. All day trucks pulling trailers with horses in them arrived. We watched a little bit of the horse evens, mainly when they were showing off the stallions. I'm not sure if it is in all of Latin America, but in Costa Rica many of the horses are trained in the Spanish style of riding which means the horses are fitted with bits that cause them to really arch their neck and they are trained to step high, so it looks like they are dancing a little bit. It also, often, looks like they are in pain as they move along this way, but I can't say for sure. In Mastatal we see people riding through on horses which they use for whatever work they are doing, but these horses are not trained as formally.
It was interesting to be in a really rural area where so many people had come for the festivities and nearly everyone was carefully dressed. In the states most people probably don't wear high heals and other nice clothes to walk on dirt roads and in muddy fields, but in the states people aren't usually as concerned about being well dressed in public. There were lots of people in cowboy-ish clothes, too, for the horse show. It was a fun day and I'm glad we got to see something new and different while we are here.
Time has really been flying by in the past week or so. I'm not sure if its the lack of clocks around that makes me loose track of time or if things are speeding up since we are have gotten used to the routine here. As I was taking my very quick, semi-warm shower this evening, I was thinking about all the little things we have gotten used to in four weeks here. Very few cars on the road, and being in a tiny little town, the showers, the meals, the projects that we work on every day simply for the sake of contributing to the work here and doing something that interests us, the people that we have met, the sounds of the insects at night and more. Of course we haven't been here for that long so it won't be difficult to adjust when we go someplace else in a few days, or when we get back home. Still, I think we have managed to really settle in to this place for this brief time. I have definitely enjoyed being at Rancho Mastatal and I am glad that we have had this much time here. I could imagine staying longer, but I am also excited to take some of what we have learned and start doing it on our own.
We'll see you all in a couple of weeks and I'll try to update you on our travels if I have a chance!!
Anna and ray