May 29, 2009

New Web Site Blog Thingy – Que Pasa Monteverde

This is a site where Jen and I a putting random stuff about living in Costa Rica. It’s rated PG-13 as to no offend too many people. Just like PG-13 movies, it can be a little boring and cheesy at times and you’ll be waiting a long time before you see any decent titties, but if you are interested at all in what we’re up to, you might check it out. Here’s the link:

Monteverde Dirt – Big, Hot and Sticky San Luis Lollipop

Los Tornos – Santa Elena – San Luis – Santa Elena – Los Tornos. Note to self: never do this ride when it’s really sunny – wait for clouds, even rain – or stay home and booze.

So, this is a great ride - again for a dirt road ride (not much single track here in Costa Rica) but it does have some monster climbs and descents and if you plan it poorly like I did last week, you will be taking on the monster-est of climbs in the blazing sun……oh, don’t forget it’s like 400 percent humidity too – so if you are not used to it after living in like zero humidity the past 15 years, think twice about this ride Holmes.

Not sure of the mileage of this one but I’m guessing it’s around 25-ish.

The ride from Los Tornos to Santa Elena is pretty strait forward, lots of ups, a few downs, loose rocky shitty roads that this area is known for. From Santa Elena you basically head out of town towards the Monteverde Preserve, but about half way there you will see a small road on your right to San Luis. Take it. It immediately drops into an abyss and is actually paved in a few sections otherwise vehicles would not be able to make this grade if it was loose rock. It’s a great screamin’ downhill that is really easy to loose control – one of those deals where you a cruising along just fine and then you’re like “oh wow, that’s a cool bird” and then you snap out of it and realize you’re going WAY to damn fast and you’re like “sheeeeeeeIEEEEETTTTT!!! – and then you barely pull out of it.

Anyway, at the bottom of this canyon is the small town of San Luis (beer?) where there are a couple of small pulperias (tiny stores usually in somebody’s living room) to get some fuel. Once you cross the river at the center of town you are now in for a treat: about 1.5 hours of non-stop climbing back to Santa Elena. For me last week, it was brutally hot and my legs were actually dripping sweat – so plan accordingly. The halfway (ish) point of this climb is the intersection with the main road from the Pan Amercicana to Santa Elena – hang a right to get back. From this point it’s less steep but less shade as well. As you are climbing, just remember – there is BEER in Santa Elena, and LOTS of it!

Monteverde Dirt – Reservas, Preservas and Cervezas (I know, that don’t rhyme worth shit)

From the town of Santa Elena to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve is a short trip, great for a beginner or half-drunk intermediates and experts. Lot’s of beer drinking opportunities along the way – bars, restaurants and stores – or pack it with you, it’s an easy ride and a six pack of Imperial isn’t really isn’t all that heavy when you consider the energy and sheer enjoyment it’s gonna bring you.

It’s probably only 3 or 4 miles each way and the hardest part is the short grunt out of Santa Elena – at least wait until you top this hill before you start drinking. After about ½ mile the pavement ends and you’re on dirt, or more likely mud – hey, man it’s the frickin’ rainforest, what do you expect. It’s pretty much dirt road all the way, however there are a few trail opportunities that parallel the road but nothing very exciting. The turn around point is the parking lot at the Monteverde Preserve, where you can get a tourist-priced beer in the cafeteria thing or sit out front with your own stash and wait for the Quetzals to show up (I’ve seen em here, twice). The Hummingbird Gallery (100 yards back towards town) is worth checking out too because it’s free and you can check out some pretty cool birds at very close range. The return trip to town is mostly downhill, but it’s worth taking your time and checking shit out. We saw an “agouti” on this road last week. Great warm up ride for the area and one of the few without tons of monster climbs.

Taco Review #1 - Bertha Mirandas, Reno NV - Biggest Little Taco in the World

So when eating on my food per diem for work (well, this is when I used to have a job) I always felt like I should maybe treat myself to a good meal – like at a place I would normally not go because it was a little out of my price range. Fortunately for my previous employer, I realized that the best food to be had is a little shit-hole places located in the worst part of town where you can get a hooker AND a carne asada plate and STILL be under the per diem! - now that’s smart shoppin’! Take for instance Bertha Mirandas in Reno NV – located right off the strip in a crazy neighborhood full of pawn shops and bail bonds places, there are plenty of dives, but Berthas is actually a pretty nice place – looks like an old Victorian house that was probably around servin’ up tacos to hungry 49’ers on their way to Virginia City.

Not really a taco stand and not really taco stand caliber tacos, but still damn good for a sit down place. I ordered the shredded beef taco plate (typical rice and beans on the side). The tacos were solid – beef: yes it was shredded and tender and moist and de-lish, topped with a little jack and lettuce and some tasty, but not spicy at all, salsa. Single-layer tort configuration which worked well with no tort bustage which is typical of single tort chinsey-ness. Rice: good rice, much better than the slop they serve up in New Mexico – loose and dry
Beans: Decent but nothing special. Beer: Three Bohemias. Any place that serves Bohemia automatically gets an extra ½ point in any on my reviews.

Berthas Taco Plate:

Carne: Bueno 4.0/5.0
Toppings: Lacking a bit 3.2/5.0
Salsa: Tasty but not spicy 3.6/5.0
Torts: White corn, good 4.2/5.0
Location: Easy to pawn a watch if you need $$ for tacos 4.2/5.0

Overall Score 3.84/5.0

Taco Review #10 - Taco no Mas

BEST TACO EVER!!! No, unfortunately this is not the eatin’ type – this is my cat “Taco” who we just had to have put to sleep. This was not the way I wanted to spend my first week living in Costa Rica. Taco had developed some stones in his urinary tract and bladder but by the time we got him to the vet it was too late. It was a bummer of a few days for us - and his buddy Pickle was pretty bummed as well. I couldn’t eat tacos for a whole week. Poor little guy.

May Random 10

Metronomy – Peter’s Pan
Beck – Que Onda Guero
The Residents – Lord, it’s Lonely
Benny Goodman – I Ain’t Got Nobody
Amy Winehouse – Rehab (Hot Chip Remix)
MGMT – Kids
Jack O’ Fire – Moanin’ at Midnight
Elba Remalho – Odile Odile
Tortoise – TNT
Alaska in Winter – Close Your Eyes, We are Blind