Archive for the ‘photos’ Category

I was a terrible photographer

21 February 2016

Thank goodness for digital media. You can see right away that your photos are terrible and delete them immediately. Back in the 80’s, we had film. My first camera was an Instamatic that took 110 cartridges. The viewfinder was to the side of the lens, and there was a place on top to attach a cartridge of flash bulbs. What a waste of plastic (I’m thinking of the flash bulb strips, but really the film cartridges were also a waste).

Anyway, on my visit to my parents last week, my dad tried to get me to take a box of stuff back home with me. I took some letters and some photos, and left the rest to be mailed at a later date.

Here are three photos from that box. They are from a family trip to Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA.

I don’t remember exactly what year that was, but I remember that in Charleston the tour guide joked that it was fitting that the yanks (us) were sitting in the back, and pointed out the doors painted “Haint blue” (it hai’n’t green, and it hai’n’t blue. Sort of a dark teal color.) I also remember that there was a problem with the first hotel room and we either changed rooms or maybe hotels.

I remember that in Savannah we stayed in the Hyatt, which was much fancier than our usual motels, but my mom worked with Hyatt in Buffalo in her job in either advertising or PR (I don’t remember which it was at the time, she did both for the same company at one time or another) and got a deal or something, and we also got a wine and cheese platter as a surprise in the room. I think that trip marked my first experience at a Japanese restaurant, and I remember liking the “tofu soup” (miso).

I am amazed looking at the photos that I saved, however. I must have saved them all. Some are incredibly blurry, and I still saved them. Some are completely unidentifiable, just darkness, or very very blurry people. A bunch have already going into my recycling box at home, like the photo of a nearly blank wall with a calendar open to October taking up about 1/8 of the frame. Also, the one that seems to be an empty board game box with STAY ALIVE in large letters printed on the inside (and possibly the instructions for the game) but the photo is overexposed and possibly double-exposed, so it is hard to tell.

Other photos are carefully labelled with names. For example, this one:

I think this photo is from 1983 or 1984. The “nobody in particular” probably means I did not actually know that kid’s name. He looks like he could be Douglas Welch, maybe. [2/22/16 Douglas Welch confirms that it is indeed him] Why did I want a photo of the library ladies at school? Why are the other kids in the photo at all? In fact, Woinam shows up in a surprising number of photos.Why?

Here is a photo that was printed in May, 1980. I was 9 years old.


I like this photo, but I have no idea where it was taken, or who it is. I have another sort of near photo of a person from that event, and several photos of some far away people from that date, one of whom might be Julie Huberman. There’s a blurry photo of a woman at the edge of a frame, as if she doesn’t want to be photographed. There is also one of some kids on some sort of parallel bar apparatus. What was that and why was it there?

I do know that May of 1980 would have been nearly the end of 4th grade, and I was at Waterfront School, so this was probably some sort of class trip. But the rest is a mystery.

Throwback Thursday

23 January 2014

At my new job, I found out I am somewhat distantly related to one of my coworkers, who is descended from the Mohawk Brants who settled in Canada after the American Revolutionary War. What a surprise! So conversations with Joe (he even has a family name!) got me to thinking about my ancestors, and I dug through the photos my parents have given me to find some from that side of my family. So here are Joseph Brant Poodry Jr., Joseph Brant Poodry Sr., Joseph Brant Poodry III, and me, in 1972 or possibly 1973.


Note that my rebellious dad is the only one not wearing a hat. Kids in the 70’s, geez. Also, great-grandpa is wearing a tie (a bolo tie, but it counts), grandpa’s got the top button undone and has no tie, and my dad looks like he has TWO buttons undone. I obviously think this is hilarious.

This one is of great-grandpa Wyman Jemison, his daughter Lucille Poodry, Joseph Brant Poodry III, and me, in 1971. 2014_01_22_21_44_43

I actually sortof remember Grandpa Jemison, in that I recall being at a large meal that he presided over, and I remember being told that he was deaf. Plus, he lived to be 99 years old and died when I was in 5th or 6th grade. I have been told that he said the blessing in the Seneca language, but I don’t remember that. I don’t remember Joseph Brant Senior at all, though obviously I met him.

So a little more detail: My grandmother Lucille was turtle clan, and my grandfather Joseph Brant Poodry Jr. was snipe clan. I am directly descended from Mary Jemison, who was a Scots-Irish immigrant whose family settled too far west in Pennsylvania. She was kidnapped from her homestead near Carlisle (later the location of an infamous Indian School) and taken North where she was adopted by a family that had lost a child in war. Mary Jemison had at least three husbands and there is a statue of her near her log cabin in Letchworth State Park by the Genesee river gorge. I am also related to the family of Ely Parker, the subject of the book Warrior in Two Camps by William Armstrong. Parker was a lawyer and engineer, but is noted for his role as secretary to General Ulysses S. Grant. Parker wrote up the surrender papers that ended the US Civil War.

Family names indicate I am related to Joseph Brant, who was a Mohawk war chief during the American Revolution. He fought against the colonists (darned illegal immigrants!) and after his side lost he settled in Canada with many Iroquois. Which brings us back to my newly-discovered cousin Joe. Pretty cool.

Oh yeah. We are also supposedly related to Red Jacket. Red Jacket was on the opposite side from Joseph Brant. He stayed in the newly formed United States of America and negotiated land in this country. However, in his time he was renowned for giving really good speeches that were so awesome people stayed awake to hear them and didn’t fall asleep listening. Here is my dad and me at the Red Jacket statue in Forest Lawn cemetery in Buffalo, NY. The oval on his chest is a peace medal, depicting George Washington and Red Jacket shaking hands. Ely Parker is buried right by this statue.



World’s Largest

16 August 2011

Miyajima Island, in addition to being the home of the iconic “floating” O-torii gate and the source of momiji manju, is home to the world’s largest rice paddle. I would never have known this if our tour hadn’t included a stop there, but I am really glad it did! We spent two nights on Miyajima island, climbed to the top of Mt. Misen, and avoided the ubiquitous deer who love to beg for food. While we were there, there was a typhoon hitting parts of Japan and the island experienced  some strong winds and a little light rain.  The winds prompted the operators to close the ferry to Hiroshima and the ropeway up the mountain, and most of the restaurants and shops were closed as well.  This was nice, because there weren’t crowds of people and it was quiet and pleasant, but on the other hand there was not a lot of choice for what to have for lunch.  The two places open for lunch both served Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, so that was it.

Map of the side of the island that faces the mainland.

Keiko walked out at low tide to get a close-up view. Can you spot her?

At high tide, it does look sortof like it is floating.

Momiji manju are cakes (manju) filled with yummy filling and shaped like maple leaves (momiji). But one shop sells them with Hello Kitty on them.

This rice paddle is over 7.7 meters long (over 25 feet) and is made from a tree over 200 years old. And no, I've never been to the largest ball of twine.

The view from Mt. Misen. You can just barely see the ferry dock at the lower right.

A deer begs one of our tourmates for some of his ice-cream sandwich. The deer are not above chewing clothing and snatching pocketbooks.

Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki include pancake, cabbage, noodles, and omelet (invisible on the bottom.) There may be meat inside, too.

The finished okonomiyaki has been flipped so the omelet is on top. I got mine with oysters, another specialty of Miyajima. It was so big though, I could not eat it all.


I photograph everything

29 July 2011

When walking with the tour group in Japan, I would sometimes fall behind due to stopping and taking photos of things.  If something catches my eye, I like to take a picture. I have a bunch of photos of  interesting signs, most meals I ate, vending machines, store shelves, lotuses, pigeons, stray cats, lots of roofs, roof gutters, and one of my favorite categories: things on the ground.  Here are some things I saw on the ground in Japan:

A Tokyo manhole cover

The floor of the stairway to a basement Internet/manga cafe

Another Tokyo manhole cover

Salt at the entrance to the ryokan/onsen in Hakone

Yet another manhole cover

Tatami border in the temple lodgings in Koya-san

Flowers on the ground at Koya-san

Maple leaf design in the pavement by the Miyajima ferry

Paper cranes we left at the Children's Monument at Hiroshima Peace Park

Design on street in Gion district, Kyoto

"Street sign" in Gion district, Kyoto

Japan goals

29 July 2011

I had a mental list of things I wanted to experience in Japan.

  • Stay in a ryokan
  • Relax at an onsen
  • See Mt. Fuji
  • Eat takoyaki
  • Eat taiyaki
  • See the Akihabara district in Tokyo
  • Get a Japanese ear-cleaner
  • Ride the shinkansen
  • Get a Daruma doll for Greg’s job search.

and I am glad to report that I did all of these things!

We stayed in ryokans every night, though the temple lodgings at Koya-san were technically a shubuku not a ryokan.  At Hakone, our ryokan was also an onsen, and on the women’s side at least there were 5 pools/tubs.  We saw Mt. Fuji from several vantages at Hakone, as well as from the shinkansen on the way to Nagoya to get to Takayama.  In Takayama I ate taiyaki, and in Osaka I tried takoyaki.  On our free day in Tokyo we visited a bunch of famous districts, including Harajuku, Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Akihabara.  And at Nara, home of the largest Buddha statue in Japan, I got an ear-cleaner. I picked up the Daruma doll at a souvenir shop (not a temple) toward the end of our trip, but I can’t remember if it was in Nara or in Kyoto.

What the heck is all this?

The ryokan in Tokyo, with our futons ready for us

A ryokan is a Japanese inn, with tatami floors that you may not wear shoes on, futons that are stored away during the day and set out at night, and complimentary green tea in the room.

An onsen is a hot-springs bath, open to the public.  There is a space for putting your clothes, a place to wash yourself, and one or more pools for soaking.  There are lots of rules, like no clothing allowed and no towels allowed in the bathing pool, and you must rinse off all soapsuds before entering the pool, and at the Hakone onsen they didn’t allow any metals in, by which I think they meant take off all your jewelry.  I guess the minerals in the water might have reacted with it.

Leave your clothing in a basket

Wash yourself all over

Enjoy a hot soak with a pretty garden view

I know you know what Mt. Fuji is.  The most important and revered mountain in Japan.  We did not climb it, we just posed for photos with it.

We were lucky that the clouds retreated for our photo opportunity

Takoyaki is dough balls with a bit of octopus inside, cooked on a griddle with lots of hemispherical depressions in it so the dough balls come out round.  Taiyaki are fish-shaped snacks filled with red bean paste (or other fillings) and cooked on a griddle with fish-shaped depressions in it.  If a Japanese word ends in -yaki, it is probably yummy, like sukiyaki (usually beef and vegetables in a sweet sauce), or okonomiyaki (a pancake-ish dish with egg and meat and vegetables in it).

Keiko took this photo when we shared takoyaki. We got them "wit" (as we say in Philly) everything - brown sauce, mayonnaise, bonito flakes

Taiyaki-the kind with red bean paste

In Tokyo, there are many neighborhoods with their own distinct characters, like in many large cities around the world.  Akihabara (also known as Akiba) is “electric town” where you can buy almost anything relating to electronics, video games, anime and manga. There are girls in costumes on the street corners (they won’t let you take a photo), giant gaming arcades, the nerdiest-looking guys (also known as “otaku”) who you will never see in the fashionable districts like Harajuku, and shops devoted to single types of item, like fluorescent light bulbs, or wire!

One of the wire shops in Akihabara, Tokyo

We rode the shinkansen (bullet train) numerous times as we traveled between cities.  They are pretty slick.

A shinkansen arrives at a station. Or maybe it departs - they look the same at both ends

A Daruma doll (Dharma) represents the founder of Zen Buddhism.  It is used to represent a wish or goal, and one draws in the right eye when making the wish and one draws in the left eye when the wish is fulfilled.  I wanted one for my husband who is hoping to make a career change this fall, as a fun representation of his goal.  We are not Buddhists.  This morning I drew in the right eye, and when Greg gets his new job I will fill in the left eye.  Traditionally Daruma dolls are burned at temples at the end of the year, but I think we will keep this one.

Japanese ear-cleaners are not q-tips.  They certainly have cotton swabs on sticks in Japan, but the ear cleaners are usually bamboo and you use them to carefully scrape the wax out of your ears.  My mother-in-law says they are very effective!  You can get them shaped like samurai swords or like light sabers, but I chose a more traditional style.

Can you tell which is the ear cleaner and which is the Daruma? Daruma dolls are weighted so if you knock them over they turn upright again

I’ve got a lot more Japan-related topics to write about, so be patient!


1 November 2010

UFO abduction carved on a pumpkin

I decided to do something a little different with one of my pumpkins this year.  I think it worked out well.

The 3-Day

18 October 2010

Over the past three days I walked 55 miles.  Yeah, not 60.  But that is OK with me.  My feet still hurt.  But it was amazing and I’m glad I did it!  I might even do it again!


At Willow Grove Mall, ready to start walking and warm up!


On Friday morning, my teammate Stacy and I met at the Willow Grove Mall, which is where the walk started.  It was dark and cold out, but thank goodness not raining!  (It poured on Thursday.)  We were given the day off by our principal (so we didn’t have to use up any personal or sick days) and our classes were covered by fellow teachers who volunteered their time (i.e they didn’t “blue card” the time so our principal didn’t have to pay for coverage out of the building budget).  Thanks, everyone who helped out!

At the opening ceremony, we got pumped up by the music and cheered on by the crew and volunteers, and Stacy and I were on TV as we walked past the TV cameras.  That was really nice because Stacy’s kids got to see her on the news!


One family supported us with a huge bra display!


The first day took us through the northeastern suburbs before entering Philadelphia and arriving at Fairmount Park.  We passed through Abington and Springfield (MontCo), walking through residential neighborhoods who had been warned ahead of time of our passage.  There were families cheering for us from their porches; people offering water bottles, baked goods, and candy; homes decorated in pink—we felt great!  In addition, there were designated “cheering zones” where families and friends had gathered, and there were volunteers who cheered at other places along the way.  As we passed through Manayunk and were walking down “the wall” (bicyclists ride up it in the annual bike race), for example, we passed by our favorite cheer team, “high five,” “woo,” and “hooray.”  Wearing matching green t-shirts and striped black-and-green socks, these three gave personal high fives (and high tens), woo!’s, and hoorays to EACH walker and kept us going!  We walked past them twice each day, and they gave us something to look forward to as we approached the end of each day’s course.


Stacy and "high five"


We arrived at our original camping spot (Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park) at the ends of days 1 and 2 to be loaded on buses to our indoor (and therefore warmer) campsite: the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  We camped on the ground floor and had meals on the upper floor.  Thank goodness for escalators!  Also thanks to the Temple University football team for carrying our baggage from the upper floor where it was stacked to the lower floor where we camped!

Breakfasts and dinners were served by women in costumes (bathrobes, fuzzy slippers, hair rollers at breakfast!) and when our hands were full of plates and cutlery, boy scouts and girl scouts carried our drinks to the table for us.  Country singer Candy Coburn serenaded us (well, it was a lot louder than a serenade, I guess) and sang her song Pink Warrior, which is the theme song for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  It makes me tear up, though I am not really a fan of her music.  There were areas for medical help, for buying NewBalance or Susan G. Komen merchandise, getting a mechanical foot-and-back massage from Energizer, and signing up for the 2011 walk (I didn’t sign up…yet).  Showers were provided in trucks parked out in back of the convention center.  If you got to the showers at the right time, there was no line!


In the bus line on Day 3


In the morning, there was no need for an alarm clock.  The room we camped in started getting noisy before 5:30 am, though the buses didn’t leave until later to get us back to Fairmount Park, where we began walking on both Day 2 and Day 3.  There was plenty of time for breakfast, and Stacy had the people at medical wrap her feet since her arches were bothering her.

On Day 2 we walked through the Main Line, passing through Narberth, Ardmore, Lower Merion, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Havertown.  We were cheered on at Suburban Square and lunched by the duck pond at Haverford College.  It was very familiar territory for me, as I have lived in both Narberth and Ardmore and I’ve driven on Lancaster Avenue and Montgomery Avenue more times than I can count!


By the giraffe enclosure at the zoo


Day 3 was all in the city, starting with the zoo!  Very cool!  We also walked right by our Convention Center “home” and by many tourist sites including City Hall,  the National Constitution Center, Elfreth’s Alley, Headhouse Square (where the farmer’s market was in full swing), South Street, and Geno’s Steaks and Pat’s Steaks!  We saw many of our fellow walkers stopping at the local eateries and pubs (including both Geno’s and Pat’s) and I have to admit Stacy and I did stop into a South Street bar for a beer!  Some other walkers came in for shots while we were finishing our drinks.  A slightly premature celebration, but we felt we deserved it!

We finally arrived at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, to be greeted by hundreds of cheering families and of course “high five,” “woo,” and “hooray!”  After walking through the throngs of people who had walked in before us and who had lined up to continue the high-five’s, we were given our victory shirts and long-stemmed roses.  Wow.  It was an amazing experience, and Philadelphia’s walkers raised $5.7 million for the cause.  A Susan G. Komen official announced it, along with the fact that even in these tough financial times the foundation has been able to award over $59 million in research grants this year!  Thank you to all of you who donated!  You rock!

PS you can see the rest of my photos on flickr:


13 July 2010

One of our vacation days at Lapa Rios, we spent the morning on a boat watching dolphins!  This was definitely one of the best days we had in Costa Rica, and since they were all pretty darn good that says a lot!  We were charmed and captivated by the bottlenosed, spotted, and spinner dolphins we saw in the Golfo Dulce.

The day started early, and we had ordered fruit and ginger cookies from the kitchen to take along as a snack.  They gave us way too much fruit, but we ate some of it.  We were driven to Puerto Jimenez, where we had the opportunity to use the Lapa Rios Office bathroom before boarding our boat.  Soon we were in the midst of a pod of dolphins!

They came right up to the boat, even mothers with babies!  They blew spray into our faces, turned to check us out, and zig-zagged off into the distance.  Sometimes they raced the boat, other times they played in the wake.

It was MOST exciting when the dolphins leaped out of the water, sometimes right nearby!  This happened first only a few moments after our guide told us that the dolphins could leap six feet out of the water.  Suddenly one did, right next to us!  It is VERY tricky to capture the leaps in a still photo, but we had three cameras capable of video with us, and one that can shoot 30 frames of still shots per second.  So we got a few good shots, a lot of photos of splashes, and this collection of video clips I’ve assembled (and edited down from way too long to watch):

Lapa Rios

13 July 2010

When we went to Costa Rica, we spent the first 5 nights (after an initial night in San José) at Lapa Rios, an ecolodge in the Osa Peninsula.  To get there, you fly on a 20-passenger plane to Puerto Jimenez, then drive for 45 minutes to an hour over bumpy potholed dirt roads fording several streams.  The ecolodge is situated on a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Golfo Dulce, and has a 1,000 acre reserve that they maintain free of development.  There is no phone, no internet, no televisions.  There is electricity, and there is “hot” water provided by solar heaters, there is a pool and indoor plumbing (as much as anything is really indoors at Lapa Rios).

We loved it.

Inside our bungalow

Falling asleep, we listened to the waves of the ocean and the beeping of the tiny red frogs that we never saw, and the chirps of insects.  It was pretty loud, but I had no trouble falling asleep.  We woke early to the sound of howler monkeys and bird squawks.  Breakfast does not start until 7 AM, but there is an option for early morning coffee brought to the bungalow, plus coffee and banana bread are provided at 5:30 at the main lodge, and a cold breakfast can be had at 6 AM if you order it the night before.

The view from the hammock on our bungalow's deck

Every day, a variety of hikes and tours are available to sign up for, with your bungalow number and the number of people in your group.  Most of the tours are limited in how many people may sign up.  In addition, the front desk staff can arrange outside tours through other providers.

We chose the early morning bird walk with Danilo, the medicine walk with Guillermo, the Osa trail hike with Ulises, the night walk with Danilo, and the sustainability tour with Andres.  In addition, we arranged for a dolphin watch on the Golfo Dulce.  The medicine walk and the sustainability tour were the most educational.  The night walk and the early morning bird walk netted the most photos of wildlife.  The Osa trail was where we saw puma tracks, of a small puma.

Guillermo demonstrates burning sap on the medicine walk.

The first evening, we attended a talk about the wild cats of Central America.  Ricardo (the guy who gave the talk) is a researcher (think poop analysis and camera traps) who obviously cares deeply about his work: documenting, studying, and preserving wild cats.  The puma is the second largest of the wild cats in Costa Rica, and its paws have oval pads, which is how Ulises identified the paw prints we found on the Osa trail.  We also saw camera traps along the trail, so it is likely that this small puma was caught on camera.  Maybe we were, too.  The tracks were pretty fresh, but heading in the opposite direction that we were going in.

Interestingly, one of the strategies for preserving the wild cats is to enlist the help of poachers.  The poachers help set up a camera trap, and then are paid $100 for every cat photographed by the camera trap.  Thus, the poachers have incentive to keep the cats alive.  Unfortunately, research grants don’t cover payments to poachers.  Find out more at the project website:

Puma paw print on the Osa trail

The weather in the Osa Peninsula in late June is humid, warm, and prone to afternoon rain.  The day before we arrived at Lapa Rios, they had torrential downpours, and people arriving at the lodge had to swim one of the streams because the car could not ford it safely.  They were met on the other side by another car.  We saw a lot of mud, and it caked our hiking boots and stained our clothes.  We also got very sweaty.  While Lapa Rios itself gets a lovely ocean breeze, the hiking trails in the rain forest do not.  Happily, there is a lovely swimming pool, and all the cool water showers you could possibly want.  We showered several times a day to wash the mud and sweat off.  However, it took forever for anything to dry, whether it was our towels, our clothes, or my hair.  There were some sunny mornings when we could lay our damp things on the deck and things DID get dry, but with all the showering and clothes changing we decided to splurge on laundry service on our last full day at Lapa Rios.

The sticky mud of the Osa Peninsula

As I said, they have a lovely swimming pool.  It has a salt water chlorination system and we found it very relaxing.  An added benefit–show up at the pool and start swimming, and shortly a staff member will come and ask you if you would like a drink.  Pool towels are provided in a cabinet, Brazilian recycled-plastic lounge chairs surround the pool, and bats reside in the poolside shelter.  I remember the times I stayed at hotels with my parents, when I was a kid.  I always wanted to swim in the pool.  As an adult, I generally don’t care about such things.  But I was very glad of the Lapa Rios pool.  It was the perfect place to cool off after a hike, when the cool shower in the bungalow just wasn’t enough.

All this writing and I haven’t even gotten to the food.  The food at Lapa Rios is wonderful, and happily they have half portions available so you can manage to eat all the way to dessert!

Breakfast can be simple fruit, or yogurt and granola, or local fare like pupusas or corn cakes or the breakfast version of casado.  There is always coffee (we take ours con leche, with milk) and juice (I preferred blackberry while Greg usually chose mango).  At lunch, a juice of the day and a chip of the day are featured for tasting.  Lunch offerings include a soup of the day (with chips), plus an entree and dessert if wanted.  Entrees include salads and sandwiches (with chips) in addition to casado, fried rice, tortillas, or pasta.  I love chips.  I like potato chips, plantain chips, taro chips, yuca chips, whatever kind of chips that are offered, I love them.

At breakfast, it is also time to order the dinner entree.  This is because if they know what you are having for dinner, they know what to order from Puerto Jimenez, from the local farms, etc, and they don’t have so much waste.  It is a good system.  Generally there are two soup or appetizer options and three entree options, plus two dessert options.  One entree is always vegetarian, so Greg’s choice was easy.  You arrive at dinner and find a candle-lit table with the right number of place settings, and your server arrives to ask if you would like a drink from the bar.  A small appetizer is provided, and the bread of the day.  Then, the server knowing already what you ordered, your soup arrives.  Similarly, your entree.  It was hard to have room for dessert, but we made an effort for coconut-chocolate pudding!  One layer of chocolate pudding, one layer of coconut pudding, garnished with dark chocolate shavings.  YUM.

Lapa Rios was definitely an awesome place to spend a chunk of our vacation!

La comida tipica de los Ticos

7 July 2010

We recently returned from a ten-day vacation in Costa Rica, having had a fabulous time.  While future blog posts will detail our adventures, this one is about the typical foods of the “Ticos,” which is what Costa Ricans call themselves.

Refreshing blackberry and cas juice punch

Cas fruits

First of all, they have lots of fruit available in Costa Rica.  It is sold in markets and by the side of the road, and is eaten plain or made into juice in a blender (often thinned out with water).  We had coconut water, blackberry juice, mango juice, tamarind (don’t drink too much, it is a laxative), cas, and guanabana.  Also, a typical juice is mixed carrot juice and orange juice – a delicious combination!

Guanabana drink

On our drive from San José to Monteverde, our guide asked our driver to stop at a crate of mangoes at the end of a driveway.  Our guide, Marco AKA “Tex,” bought some green mangoes from the woman who came out of her house once we’d stopped.  He peeled them with his knife and sliced them up, distributing them to us.  Green mangoes don’t taste like ripe ones, but they don’t taste bad.  A little sour and peppery.  Then the woman sent her son back to the house for some salt, and we tried the green mango slices dipped in salt.  This is a common way of enjoying them, and it was very good!  I can see the appeal of green mango pickles, which were described to us a few weeks ago by a woman we met at the science party.

Guanabana fruit - maybe 30 cm tall?

For breakfast and lunch, Ticos often include rice and beans in their meal.  The rice and beans are often accompanied by avocado, soft cheese, and fried plantain.  If it is breakfast, there will be eggs.  If it is lunch, there will be a piece of meat, chicken, or fish, plus a side salad often made with cabbage.  The lunch meal is called “casado” which means “married.”  We enjoyed this meal as breakfast several times each and lunch several times each, with my vegetarian husband substituting eggs or fried cheese for the meat at lunchtime.

Casado con pescado (with fish). The dark thing in the center is the fried plantain, with skin on.

The casado is always accompanied by Salsa Lizano, a condiment made in Costa Rica of  vegetables, salt, spices, and sugar.  It is tangy and very good on rice and beans, eggs, chicken, and other common foods.  We made sure to bring a bottle back with us.  It is possible to buy Salsa Lizano on, but it is pretty expensive for a bottle of sauce.

Casado con pollo (with chicken), after adding Salsa Lizano and taking a couple bites. The plantains are under the chicken.

On the second day of our trip, my lunch was accompanied by a lemony slaw of cabbage and tomatoes.  Unfortunately, I could not buy a recipe book at the hotel, but I found a similar recipe online and adapted it.  The lemon juice “cooks” the tomatoes (like it does the fish in a ceviche, which they also serve in Costa Rica) and they taste good to me, unlike raw tomatoes usually do.

This is my homemade casado con vegetales (with vegetables) that I made for our first dinner at home.  I fried fresh potatoes instead of plantains, and the cabbage-tomato slaw I made did not fit on the plate.