Esperanza, or a town called "Hope". A friend of mine has a big finca (farm) up in the cool mountains somewhere between Santa Cruz and Playa Garza. He invited us up to see the toros (bulls) in Esperanza, not far from his finca. Esperanza is a very small and rural place. The downtown consists of a couple of houses, a soccer field and a sala (large place for congregating - in this case, bar, restaurant and dance floor). I'd say the population is less than 50 people.
It was nice to get off the beach for awhile and escape the hustle and bustle for a visit to the Costa Rica of yesterday. I picked up a group of hitchhikers on their way to the event and they actually offered me money for the ride. At the beach, they would have begged me for money after the ride. Very different world where people are proud and independent, yet humble.
We stood on the bed of my pickup, drank beers, told stories and watched the toros. It was a great day with cool breezes, lots of sunshine, cold beer and no rain. Laila fell in love with the horses and a very kind caballero gave her a riding lesson. I gave him a beer in return. He bought me one later on after the event.
(Click the following links for some Quicktime phone video) The corral was constructed on a hillside with an amazing view of the surrounding valleys and mountains. Carla hung out with her cousins while Laila, glued to me for the day, and I watched the show and clowned around.
After the event we headed to the sala and had chicharones con ensalada de repollo (fried pig skins drenched in fresh lime juice, with cabbage salad) and beers. I climbed on to the canasta (roof rack) of my pickup, kicked back in the sun with a cold Pilsen, and took it all in. I even made a few phone calls to friends back home to rub it in. It was a great day. The real "pura vida".