Woo wee, I strong armed my way to an internet cafe so that I wouldn´t get too far behind on what is happening down this way, because things are doing just that, happening.
So I left off on our trip to the cloud forest, which is going to have to get short shrift, which I feel a little bad about. Our bus ride out was pretty unremarkable until we had to stop so that our bus driver could fill in a huge pothole that might have otherwise swallowed the bus. We arrived in Santa Elena which has the simple mountain town vibe, ala Cameron Highlands, Truckee, and you know, Aspen... ok well maybe not Aspen. Anyhow we had somehow settled on a place called Casa Tranquilo as our ¨the¨ place to stay. We wandered down there checked out the rooms which were very ¨frontier rustic.¨ As we settled in Eva read to us from ¨the book¨ (our nickname for the lonely planet costa rica) and we found ourselves overwhelmed by dinner options. After some discussion, which was really just getting distracted from the task at hand, we chose not the Super Pollo numero dos (our next door neighbor), but Morphos. Morphos serves gringofied casados at gringo prices.
Thursday was spent meeting our neighbor Roy, a crazy tico, hiking up to Monte Verde and seeing the cheese factory. Thursday also included our discovery of choco-queso. Monte Verde is famoso for their queso. Roy said that the factory was a. not up hill and b. only 15-20 minutes away. Roy must be crazy because it is a. up a huge ass hill and b. took us at least an hour to get to (and I am not including our stop for banana cheese bread). That being said the walk was entertaining as walking on roads in foreign countries often is.
When we arrived at the cheese factory we found out that they had no more cheese samples. I´m not going to complain about that too much, but it was pretty disappointing after such a long walk. Needless to say we didn´t spend too much time at the factory, after watching them stir the curds, and staring at the choco-queso we headed back down the road in search of greener pastures.
Back in Santa Elena we stalked up on essentials: galletas, beets, avacados, choco-queso. I guess now is the time to explain the bizarre cheese obsession. That morning while reading La Nacion we discovered an ad for the cheese in question. I´m not sure that I would have ever contemplated combining the two, but some crazy tico sure had. The product is a bit like if american cheese and milo or nesquick had a baby together. It´s too sweet, rubbery, and somehow gross and enjoyable at the same time. We ate it that night with crazy Roy and David. It´s not too bad with cookies or fried platanos.
The next day at Selvatura, one of the local nature reserves we met some Canadians who had been thoroughly entertained by the idea of chocolate cheese. I think they were in awe of our courage to actually try the stuff.
So I should tell you that Monte Verde is rich in wildlife as well as dairy, and just as soon as my camera and a computer get to the same place I´ll upload a picture for your pleasure. The biodiversity is overwhelming, rather than rushing around and trying to see all of it we took a little tour with bridges and checked it all out at our leisure. Mandy was on the hunt for a sloth, but the only really crazy wildlife we saw were the gringos flying through the air on the zip lines. In addition to the flying gringos we did see some cool looking bugs and a number of chiripi (humming birds) but no sloths.
And that my friends was my time up in the clouds.