Monday was Costa Rica's Independence day and there were no classes. On Sunday night there was a parade of lanterns. All the children in town made lanterns with candles and marched in a parade around town.
Below are pictures of the house I lived in for the first two weeks in Sámara plus some pics I took on the way to school. I have more pics posted on Picasa (http://picasaweb.google.com/jaygraham72)
I will be living in an apartment for at least the next few weeks. I wasn't getting much out of my homestay. They weren't really talking to me much. The longest conversation I had during the homestay was with a drunk neighbor.
The animal life here is interesting. There are a lot of dogs running around. I'm not sure if they belong to people or if they are just "community dogs". The dogs here are, for the most part, intact. The male dogs tend to still have testicles and the female dogs tend to have swollen teats. It's a bit unusual to see that since in the states, most pets are spayed or nutered. I don't know if it's the Catholic influence here or the lack of a Costa Rican Bob Barker. It´s not unusual to see chickens walking around. The roosters usually wake me up before my alarm clock does. It´s also not unusual to see horses walking down the beach and howler monkeys in the trees. True to their names, they make a howling noise that's kind of hard to describe. I´ve attached a short video below with some sound. There are a lot of little crabs running around the beach. They seem to be very skittish and duck into their little holes in the sand if you get anywhere near them. A few mornings ago I woke up and saw a crab in my bedroom. When I turned on the light he saw me and just kind of nonchalantly turned around and walked away.
On Sunday I went on a tour of the Café Diriá coffee processing plant. Coffee is only grown at high altitudes in the mountains. So getting there involved taking cabs up some steep, twisty, rutted roads. It was really interesting to see how coffee beans get processed. It takes approximately four years for a coffee plant to start producing quality beans. The cherries are picked by hand during the day and are processed at night. All of the hulls and by-products are either used the the process or treated and sold. Almost nothing is wasted. After the tour, we were treated to some traditional Costa Rican dances.
On Sunday night, we built a fire on the beach. It seemed strange that we were able to just build a fire. We bought dogs and sausages and ended up boiling them in beer cans since there were no sticks suitable for roasting weenies.
Classes are as hard as ever. Last week I learned verbs in the imperfect past tense. The imperfect tense is used basically to describe actions occurring in the past without a specific reference to when the actions happened or finished. Figuring out when to use simple past and when to use imperfect past is very confusing to me. I don't think there is really an English equivalent for this. Maybe there is and I just don't realize it.