Walden World

The wacky and wonderful tales of Beth's and Catherine's global adventures. And all things Walden too.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Coffee Tour From a Weird Circle of Hell

We have been at the gorgeous Costa Verde Inn in the mountains of Escazu for the last week. The grounds are covered in gardens of lime trees, palms, mangos and other fruits. Countless birds live in the trees including, next to the pool, two very hungry and rather plump, shouting Yellow Tanager chicks who spend all day demanding that their parents feed them. I note the parents have been avoiding the nest lately. If I were them, I'd spend all my time at the local pub too.

There is a fantastic blue tiled pool and hardwood hand made furniture throughout the grounds; this is a really great place. Plus there is cable TV for C and she is currently lying in bed (it is mid day) watching a British show on the history spices of the world. Apparently ancient Roman cuisine actually tasted good! The breakfasts also rock with the two lovely Ticas making a fresh breakfast of whatever you want each morning; five to six different kinds of fresh fruit, eggs, gallo pinto, granola...

The only real drawbacks have been the frequent power outrages which have hit San Jose the last three nights. However one can't say it isn't romantic, sitting in the main hall on leather sofas, the wood beamed roof high above, while the hoteliers light a blaze in the fireplace. The downside is eating as we've been forced to order in from the limited restaurants which had cooking gas. Have you ever had a Costa Rican pizza? Let's just say onions figure prominently.

Yesterday though was the strangest activity that we've yet undertaken. We decided to do day trips from Escazu for the last week in light of the excellent premises, this compared to the stifling jungle cabin in Cahuita that C withered away in, like Alec Guiness in the sweatbox in 'The Bridge Over the River Kwai'

Thus we went on a "coffee tour". Now coffee tours are a dime a dozen here and all turistas take them. We however have managed to avoid them until now; but now we were running out of things to do. Thus assured by the hotel that the tour was excellent and would feature traditional dancing and costumes we signed on.

Of course because the little tour bus contained C and I, the clutch promptly broke and we spent the next 2 hours stalling and restarting our way slowly to the plantation in Heredia.

Upon our arrival at the Britt Coffee Roasting Plant and Plantation we were dispatched to the large gift shop and implored to purchase roasted beans while being doled cups of coffee liquor and forced to taste all myriad of chocolate covered banana scraps and coffee beans.

The shop was flooded with American high school students who took advantage of the free internet connections to send friends ecards featuring Britt Coffee propoganda. We were told our tour would start in ten minutes in the garden. Our private tour turned out to be shared by the flood of US students as well as I think 100 hundred very elderly Americans from Arizona.

The coffee tour, it immediately became clear, was some kind of whacky, vaudeville cabaret Costa Rican style. Thus a man who resembled a Tico version of Gilligan and a woman 'straight man' began a Jerry Lewis-esque comedy masque. Unfortunately for the assembled Americans Latin American humour diverges significantly from the Protestant kind, focusing rather pointedly and repeatedly on the woman complaining about her spouse's lack of 'ahem' potency as well as his laziness. This for two hours. Later it was followed by a strange costume and light show involving a number of popes, the king of France and medieval doctors all played by El Gilligan, the sex starved girlfriend and oddly enough, the plant manager who decided that he would rather do rapid changes of whacky costumes, then pay attention to the roasting process.

Thus for $27 each American C and I endured the oddest "let's put a show on in the barn" event I have yet witnessed, slack jawed in awe the entire time. "Am I on LSD?" I kept wondering as costume change after costume change unfolded rapidly before us.

On post mortem C tried to figure out whether we had been on a lamer tour. I suggested the cheese factory last year in Monteverde was pretty bad, they just showed me the vats and then made you eat cheese; and the Guiness tour in Dublin was pretty bad. They sat you down for a 10 minute sound and light show with broken old manequins in moth eaten period costume illuminated by spot-lights while a grainy taped voice-over told you how Arthur Guiness started to brew beer, after which you were frogmarched off to the gift shop; end of tour.

At least here El Gilligan, the actor wannabe plant manager and the love starved actress had gone to a great deal of effort in a manic, pratfall, sex joke kind of way to keep the students, elderly Arizonians and C and I entertained, if that's what you would call it.

And as for the coffee; gee come to think of it I'm not sure they even mentioned coffee.


Blogger tiff said...

It's been so long, I'd forgotten it was Alec Guiness in "Bridge over the River Kwai". And then you mention Arthur Guiness. Coincidence?

-- T.

9:38 pm  

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