Riding a Bus to the Rio Chirripo Retreat

We were up early this morning to put out luggage for the bus at 7 am. Breakfast was watermelon and pineapple again this morning, but tasted great nonetheless. Great pineapple here in Costa Rica, it makes it easy to enjoy eating fruit. I do miss oranges though. At home in California Phillip and I have been eating oranges all week for breakfast together, and we haven’t had any oranges or orange juice since arriving in Costa Rica yet.

Interesting how we crave what we are used to. But that does beg the observation that if you can make yourself used to something, anything, then you will crave it or continuing to follow the same routine. That probably works for eating raw foods as well. So let’s hope that when we return home from this trip we will be continually craving raw fruits and vegetables.

In any case, my plan when I return home is to continue eating raw foods 100% through the marathon on March 2nd, so that I can experience and report on what it is like to run a marathon after eating raw foods exclusively for 3 weeks prior.

Bus we took to Chirripo on 5 hour rideThe bus ride to Rio Chirripo Retreat took a little over 5 hours. As we left San Jose, the cityscapes turned into landscapes and the country around us became so much more beautiful. We stopped a couple of times, the first at a great spot on the mountain with a view to which the pictures here don’t really do justice. At 10000 feet, the air smelt and felt great.

The second stop was about 45 minutes from the retreat, in the town of San Isidro, the closest large town to the retreat. We bought a bit of fruit for a snack. These were nectarines and grenadios that we enjoyed the hot sun for a few minutes in the park in front of the church.

Grenadios are a new fruit that Phillip and I hadn’t seen before. Sort of like a passion fruit, but bigger, orange yellow on the outside, with green goopy seeds on the inside that are sweet and tart at the same time. It looks like of like eating brains. Pretty tasty though.

Despite the snack, we were quite hungry when we arrived at the retreat at about 1pm, and lunch made an amazing impression thanks to the appetite factor. It was banana smoothies (just bananas and water) at first, followed by bananas wrapped in lettuce leaves (if desired), and papaya. Even better papaya than at the hotel (and I thought that was pretty good).

Phillip said he was craving bananas, and just ate the smoothie and some bananas. I think that might have been Phillip’s first-ever mono meal. I thought it was pretty cool that it’s what he naturally wanted. And I was loving the fact that I could eat as much fruit as I like.

Bus parked in back of the retreat centerAfter lunch Dr. Graham led an orientation session. We each had an opportunity to introduce ourselves, and it was pretty special to hear other people’s reasons for coming to the retreat center for the walking tour. It’s a great group of people, and I like everyone here.

Dinner was simple. We started with an orange juice and mango smoothie. I understand it was about 60% mango and 40% orange juice. The mango portion was actually squeezings I found out later, ie. after cutting the mangos down the sides of the pit (to create the big “halves” that we ate later in the meal), they saved the middle bits that still had flesh on them. They squeezed these by hand to create the mango juice and fiber that went into the smoothies.

Oh, so I just gave it away, but the second course were the big pieces of mango. Best mango I’ve had in a good while. The ones at home are hard to find this sweet, even when I let them ripen for a long time in the kitchen.

Third course: Chayote diced up (a squash-like vegetable that when diced this way looks kind of like rice), covered in a blended sauce made from the tomatoes and red peppers I saw drying in the sun earlier. Really nice taste in the tomatoes. The Chayote is rather flavorless, so the taste really comes from what you put on top. Quite a pleasing combination when you wrap it in a lettuce leaf and make a little burrito.

At the end of the meal I wish I’d left a little of the orange juice and mango smoothie to drink like a little dessert. I still had that urge for dessert and it would have fit the bill perfectly. Overall, meal satisfaction however could be rated as very high.

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