This week I had the most delicious Granizado in Heredia. It is a delicious dessert that includes a slushy, ice cream, and different types of milk. It was a delicious treat complementing the hot daytimes of December here. Our goal was to find some clear nail polish to finish off some of our paintings for class, but everywhere was too expensive. At most places, one small bottle cost 3000 colones, or a little under 6 dollars. The Granizado was much cheaper (and worth every penny) than anything else we found. It was a nice little surprise we found on our trip.
We also found the town completely decorated for Christmas. I guess one of the biggest differences between a country where government and religion are separated versus Catholicism being the national religion is that cities can decorate. The post office has a huge bow wrapped around it to look like a Christmas present. There are also nativity scenes and decorated trees on every corner. The city looks beautiful with all the decorations and festivities.
The main event of the week was rafting. We divided into groups of around 5 to be on the same team. My group was “Las Llamas” (the flames). We even made our own chant” Quien somos? LAS LLAMAS! Que hacemos? QUEMAMOS!” (we burn). It was a lot of fun and our group was crazy. Our guide had us go through some of the rapids backwards and would have us put or paddles in the center of our raft as a high five.
The river we rafted on was called Rio Pacuare, which had up to Class 3 and 4 tides. Our guide emphasized the fact we had to have good foot placement to avoid falling in, and it was amazing how well that worked. At times I could feel myself close to flying out of the boat, but my feet were always lodged into the footholds so well I would just fall right back into place. It started pouring in the middle of our journey and the water felt like little needles as we soured down the river. It made the whole experience feel more authentic, like we were actually rafting through the rainforest. The water turned the color of chocolate though and got a lot dirtier. It was a little gross looking. We paid to get a CD of photos, and of course I was making an unintentional horrible face in almost every photo. They are great for a pretty good laugh.
The last activity of the week was essentially a Christmas festival in Heredia. The whole center was lit up with trees and decorations while kids ran around with light up wands in their hands. The night ended with a parade of children’s bands. It felt as if all of Heredia was in the little block of downtown. The food was great (we had more Granizados) and everyone seemed to have a good time. Christmas season is upon us, and Ticos sure know how to celebrate! Pura Vida!