When we set out that morning, we were following instructions that said a visit to Nano's Waterfall would take about 30 minutes. Little did we know, we were headed towards a day of stories and jokes that would become one of our most cherished experiences of the trip.
|Photo credit to Jessy!|
The walk up to his land took us straight up the mountain and required lots of oohing, aahing and stopping for photos along the way. We hit the 30 minute mark and were not even halfway to his place yet!
A bit steep, eh?
And then we found a sign that confirmed we had follow the right branches of the mountain path/road. We yelled hello, but no Nano appeared. We found his house and his inventive outdoor kitchen, but still no Nano.
We found his cute kitten, but no Nano.
Eventually, after backtracking towards some voices we heard, we found a French documentary film crew (totally normal, right!?) who were also searching for Nano.
Luckily one of the crew members had been to Nano's before and had an idea of where Nano might be. Yep! We found him weeding his banana plants with a machete. With his machete and his bandana, he looked a little like a Costa Rican pirate!
We figured out within about 5 seconds that we were in a for a treat. Nano doesn't speak a lot of English but he is able to speak plainly enough and with enough pantomiming that he can be understood even if you don't know exactly what he is saying. He quickly abandoned his farming work to assume the role of hilarious tour guide. Here he is playing the "she loves me, she loves me not" game with a banana flower. Apparently. the juice from the flower stains your clothes, which is why his shirt has dark marks all over it.
After a bit of touring of his farm land (coffee, bananas, plantains, kitchen garden), we made our way down to the waterfall area. Nano kindly held the rock wall up for us.
We spotted fossils in the stone near the waterfall.
We knew ahead of time that the waterfall wasn't one with a pool big enough to swim in so we didn't wear our swimming suits. At Nano's playful urging and with a promise of cool, clean, refreshing water on a hot, hot day, we took our shoes off and headed in. We got soaked from head to toes in our clothes and didn't regret it for a second.
|Photo credit to Nano!|
After we finished playing in the waterfall, we made our way back up to Nano's house. I think we were fortunate to get a lot of information on the coffee industry as well as the challenges and economics of being a coffee farmer thanks to the presence of the film crew. If you can read French (or use google translate), you can read all about their plans for the finished film here.
Nano explained to us how the coffee varies quite a bit depending on what level of coffee you are buying. The low end coffee is packaged with sugar to make it palatable. The high end coffee is exported. The middle quality is what you drink if you have money.
While we learned about selling coffee beans, Jessy bonded with Nano's cat.
While hanging out at Nano's house, which is completely off the grid, we were treated to coffee and fried plantains that he made on his cast iron, wood heated stove. Rum was an optional addition to the coffee because it makes the cheap coffee taste good.
|Photo credit goes to one of the French filmmakers|
We were so glad to head out this way because we got to see a whole slew of new and interesting things, like this non-native Rainbow Eucalyptus tree that Nano planted.
Nano also plucked a coffee berry off of a plant and showed us that each berry has 2 seeds (beans) in it.
Nano's comedic flair held true from the moment we met him that day to the moment we said goodbye. After thanking him a million times for the amazing host he had been, we parted ways only for him to call back down to us a minute later. He yelled down to me that if I ever get divorced, he'll be up on his mountain waiting for me!
The way he sent us down the mountain provided us with a whole new set of panoramic views, overlooking the town of Orosi and the larger Orosi Valley. I never did figure out exactly which peaks were regular mountains and which ones were volcanoes, but they were all beautiful!
We had gorgeous rows of coffee plants accompanying us on either side of the road for a while and spotted some neat plants and bugs, like this bright one that was more than an inch long.
And, in case the magic feeling of the day had not yet fully made its presence known, our final bit of journey down the mountain included a pasture full of curious horses looking down on us. White ones. Like a freaking fairy tale.
It has been about 2 months since I got back from this trip, which is long enough that the memory of the terrible illness that befell me on the way home and persisted for a week has faded away (nothing to do with the country, but likely related to repeated encounters with a group of sick German tourists). The photos and stories I have shared here are the memories I hold on to from this trip as well as the memories of time spent getting to know my sister better. I'm not sure where I might travel next, but I do know how lucky I am to have the option to dream up a trip and work to make it happen. Thanks for sharing in the reliving of this journey with me!