Friday, July 13, 2007

My 7th Winter (6 years) in San Ramon, Costa Rica

Winter is clearly a relative global concept. Here in San Ramon, winter means temperatures in the 70’s …. fresco. After 25 years of New York State winters … snow, freezing temps, days without sunlight … I’ll take this anytime.

Without freezing temperatures and extreme swings of light and darkness, there are 2 seasons in San Ramon with little variance of hot and cold. There is basically 12 hours a day of both daylight and darkness year-round. The winter is characterized by a few hours a day of rain most afternoons….while summer has months at a time of sunny days with no rain.

My Ithaca, NY life has darkness at 4:30PM in December and 9PM in July which puts a real strain on my body and emotions. I feel healthy and balanced here. My summer visits to Ithaca, NY are now totally exhausting by 8PM and I try to avoid winter visits for obvious reasons.

Many Ticos prefer the winter season here as everything is lush and intensely green with plants and other species boldly alive. For travelers, it’s a good time with fewer tourists, lower prices and less competition for hotels and other activities.

The winter strategy of locals is to wake up early, wash and hang your laundry by 8AM and then proceed with your errands and other outside projects. When it starts to rain at 2 or 3PM, it’s time to go home and take a nap to the sounds of the raindrops hitting your roof. Very peaceful … tranquilo.

When the rain stops, there is electricity and freshness in the air. I don’t know how to quantify it but the evening air is charged and inviting. Time to change into your nicer evening clothes and join your friends at Rincon Poeta ( or another favorite restaurant.

It is a joyful experience to see my friends and neighbors and enjoy drinks and dinner together in San Ramon centro. San Ramon has retained the local boca (small plates) style of eating, which helps me not gain weight. For between $1 and $2, I can enjoy fish, chicken or shrimp and salad. Janet and I rarely spend more than $10 for all the guaro, beer and bocas we desire.

Tomorrow … Another Day In Paradise.