Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chapter 77 - After the Absence (the lost chapter)

    It has been some time since I have attempted to write in the blog.  First of all we were having trouble with computers, the only working computers were little notebooks and they were too small for my fingers to type on a regular basis..  We were also having trouble with the internet.
    I took a business trip back to Canada on July 18 coming back to Costa Rica August 2.  It took me a few days to get caught up here and get over the very arduous trip.  Going back to Canada I had a first class ticket and travelled to Dallas, then Seattle, then Kelowna.  Coming back I had only a coach ticket and travelled from Kelowna to Vancouver, waited several hours, then couldn’t find my print of the E ticket.  I tried airline after airline, and finally phoned Melaney and luckily caught her at home and she gave the information that I needed.  Once I had the correct airline, it was roses.  They had all the information that they needed in their computer and I checked all the way through.  I checked the one big duffle bag that I was carrying through to San Jose, and took the small bag and computer bag onto the plane with me.
    Our itinerary took us first to Phoenix ( I waited an hour on that plane because it was the same one going on to Las Vegas.)  I didn’t have to go through customs, that was in South Carolina.  There was a long wait there.  I had flown through the night, and arrived at six A.M.  I didn’t leave until nearly eleven.  I arrived in San Jose at 1:30 P.M.  Also, the only food on the plane was at one point to buy a chicken salad, or chicken roll-up for $7.00 on Visa.  I had anticipated this and had purchased two boxes of granola bars.  By eating a couple every so often, I kept hunger at bay.  At least the airline served plenty of liquids.  They will reduce that soon, I am sure.  In most of the terminals I had a wheel chair service.  I could have walked, but not dragging two heavy bags.  Some of those terminals go on forever.  At least the wheel chair attendants knew where they were going.  It cost a few dollars but not too much.  It was not mandatory to pay the pushers, they have salary, but I am pretty heavy and the pusher had to juggle my bag on wheels.  I could carry the laptop on my lap.
    Well---I got to Costa Rica.  On the last flight we had to fill out customs slips.  I can`t write worth anything, and I convinced a stewardess to fill it out for me.  
   As a backward thought, when I presented my boarding pass at Charleston to get on the plane for Costa Rica, I had some problem with the agent.  She wanted to see my return ticket and of course I had only a one way ticket.  She wanted me to provide some kind of proof that I had the right to stay in Costa Rica.  I told her that I had an application for residency and that was why I went back to Canada, to get some more documentation.  She couldn`t accept that and made a call for a supervisor.  It took some time for the super to get there, and in the meantime, they were loading the plane.  My anxiety level was getting pretty high.  The super finally arrived, and when I told her my story, she just waived me through.  Now the wheelchair....
When I arrived in Costa Rica, I had no problem.  The fellow at immigration gave me 90 days, and I was on my way to the exit door.  They didn`t do any more to check my bags than run them through a scanner.  The wheel chair attendant had been very helpful.  I paid him $5. At the baggage claim, and told him I would give him some more if he stayed with me to the exit.  He had translated for me when it was needed.  When we arrived at the exit door, I could see Melaney through the window and I gave him calones worth about $15.  That was more than his wages for the day.  He was very pleased.
   MEL took my bags, and I walked to the car.  She was ticked because the attendant at the exit made her go further around the corner from the door. She tried to tell him that I needed help, but he indicated that she could not stand in the proximity of the exit.  I had no trouble walking that far, and Mel had no trouble with the bags.
    When we arrived at home, we were both relieved and happy to be back home again, and I have 90 days to get my paper work back from the foreign affairs office.  I had put a postage  paid envelope with the correct address on it, so it should be back in about six weeks.

Chapter 76 - Mango Mango Mango

         I have never seen so many mangoes,  They are everywhere.  We have so many trees here but there are mango trees everywhere.  They are in the front yards, the back yards and anywhere that a big tree will grow.
Here at the orchard, we have several varieties of mangoes.  Behind the house are two trees which bear very large fruit.  This past three days we have been paring and slicing mangoes for the freezer.  I did up another basin full of fruit this morning and had to take out the two litre milk cartons that I have been filling with water to keep the freezer full.  Now it is filled with mangoes (and a few incidentals like chicken and fish). By the time we get tired of eating them, we can let them rest for a while, and then dish into the freezer.
This week I made a pot full of chutney.  I seem to always make things by using up ingredients that I have in the fridge.  This time I had four cups of water boiled with a cup of sugar.  I had made this nectar for the hummingbirds but my feeder failed and I put the nectar in a jar in the fridge.  This amount of liquid made the chutney too juicy, so when it was done, I scooped the fruit out with a slotted spoon and there remained a nice portion of well flavoured remains.  I cut up a large portion of chicken into it, cooked the chicken and some rice, and we enjoyed a tremendous curry.  This was enough for two large meals.  Mel really enjoyed it, but I told her I could never duplicate it.  That is the danger of cooking the way I do.  I make something really tasty and I may come close another time, but it is never the same.
Yesterday a couple of men came to the orchard and picked a truck load of mango.      They used a long flexible pole to pick the top fruit.  It looked like it may have been bamboo.  They filled crate after crate and finally loaded up their truck.  It was agreed to leave the two trees by our house.  That will be more mangoes than we can possibly eat.  This week we should take a box full to church.  Tomorrow I have to make something with pineapple.  I am making pizza tonight and using one carton, but I have three more cartons in the fridge that I cooked last week.  I use the half litre cartons from yogurt as fridge containers.
I will have to check to see if the ice is melting.  I also store water in gallon milk jugs.  We were told ahead of time this week that the water would be shut down for some hours.  That was much more convenient than it has been.  It didn't take us by surprise.  The municipality has been laying new water lines along the roadway in front of our home.  They have been making connections this week.  These lines are much bigger than the puny pipes that we have been using.  Modernization is coming to the rural areas.  It is slow, but we see progress.