We need to take the van and we are leaving at 3 am. Oh yeah, I’m not traveling with anyone that understands English! (Francisco is a construction contractor that has worked with Mike (my boss) for more than 10 years and Ricardo, who is a student in the Master’s Commission program.) We drove until the first sign of daylight before we stopped for breakfast. …or at least I think it was breakfast. (A bowl soup that contained brown sugar and water along with a chunk of fresh cheese on the side and the cheese was nothing like cheese in the states. Straight curded milk!) As I understood, it was a very typical meal for the area. We spent the next few hours traveling on extremely windy roads through the mountains. Bogotá is 8,600 feet above sea level and Cienega is just barely above sea level along with the fact of crossing another mountain range. This is definitely not a good trip to take for anyone with a weak stomach.
We made another stop later in the morning for a bathroom break and brunch. No, of course they don’t know what “Gallo Pinto” is, a very common breakfast in Costa Rica and about the only brunch meal I understand. I stumbled through ordering and got scrambled eggs, rice and a plantain patty. Meanwhile, Francisco and Ricardo laughed a bit with me but both showed incredible patience with my version of Spanish, or Spanglish is more appropriate. We finally hit flat land mid-afternoon when we stopped for a late lunch-early dinner. Oh yes, I know how to order a steak in any language, well at least English and Spanish, along with yucca sticks, which are similar to French Fries but better.