Sunday, September 19, 2010

Costa Rican Adventure

Lush green foliage could be seen everywhere as we traveled around  the vicinity of San Jose, the capitol of Costa Rica.  Our hosts, the Costa Rican North American Cultural Center in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy of Costa Rica arranged a variety of events and activities for us to see and participate in.   Women of Color Quilters Network members EdJohnetta Miller, Adriene Cruz, L'Merchie Frazier, Dr. Robert Steele of the Driskell Art Center of the University of Maryland and I had the pleasure of interacting with artists from various parts of Central, North and South America as part of the Redtextilia's First Encounter of the Ibero American Textile Network in the Sophia Wanamaker Gallery.

On day one we took the scenic tour  to Irazu Volcano National Park.  Our knowledgeable, fun loving and generous guide extraordinaire, Maria Teresa Arteaga showed us the sites on the scenic back road to Irazu. I even had the good fortune to receive a gift of wonderful smelling local onions.  I sure hated I couldn't cook with them or bring them home.  But the gift was one more sign of the generous and welcoming nature of the Costa Rican people.

This bovine beauty graced our hotel entryway.  The Jade Boutique Hotel provided excellent accommodations and the adjacent restaurant had delicious food.  We never got around to trying the interior pool.  The temperature was certainly warm enough. 

This was our true home base while trekking in San Jose.  It was 3 blocks from our hotel; another block to shops and a market and within walking distance to the University of Costa Rica, known as UCR.  I loved it since I graduated from UCR (University of California, Riverside, CA).

 This beautiful public art piece is on the side of a building on the UCR campus.  Following are a few additional gems we found on the campus tour. The flags hanging are for Costa Rica's Independence Day on September 16.

This piece is one of my absolute favorites.  The UCR sign with the bamboo fits with my ongoing love affair with bamboo.  We have five varieties in our front and back yards.

This particular piece was inspirational as I begin preparing to create my first outside public art project. 

For a bit of fun there's the Boogie Gator.  That's what I call him and it makes me chuckle every time I see it.  Let's all get on out there and dance.

Winding our way up to Irazu we were treated to scenic vistas at every turn.  Tin/zinc roofs glistened in the clouds.  A typical Monday washday was apparent as clothes were hanging here and there.  Maria Teresa explained the farms had such rich soil because of past volcanic eruptions.  Unfortunately farms were devastated by the1960s eruptions.  See this link for more information

 Ed, Marion and Maria Teresa enjoying the cool morning air.  Thanks Adriene!

This is one of many church studies I hope to complete.  This is the old church.

 This is the new church.

This is a side road that we passed where the farmer in the background gave me the onions.  We had stopped while the main road was blocked for gutter cleaning.  This is the rainy season and I'll have more stories about later on.

There were plenty of cows to see and some could not be contained.  MOOOO!

Ed, Marion and Adriene are enjoying the "Poor Man's Umbrella Plant".  They are huge and beautiful to see.
Reaching the volcano was spectacular.  We managed to reach the summit without rain and saw the craters before the clouds came creeping in.

Buildings on the crater rim.

Side crater with formation that looks like a fish.  The black crater ash has a wooden walkway but parts can be walked on.

Main crater with clouds coming in.

Marion with Irazu Crater in the background.  The volcano is 11,250 ft.  I felt it too with a bit of altitude sickness coming down.

Maria Teresa, Adriene and I walked on this lava field and could smell the sulfur as we walked.  It had a firm texture and was easy to walk on.

It was a memorable tour and an exciting way to start our textile adventure.

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