Monteverde was not kind to Reggie. Whilst the town was low enough to generally be below the cloud, it did have a habit of briefly descending. We then got a few minutes of drizzle, enough to wet Reggie but not the gravel road past the hotel. A car would then drive past and a damp Reggie would be enveloped in a cloud of dust, much of which seemed to stick. I’ve never before seen a silver car look quite so brown!
A quick check of the rental agreement revealed that there was indeed a cleaning charge if the car were to be returned “excessively dirty”. With no further details as to what was required (did this refer to the interior only or the exterior as well?) we figured it was best to find a car wash on our way back to Alajuela.
We dropped a sparkling Reggie off the next morning and took a taxi into the centre of San José, where we’ve had a day and a half to explore. The city is really nothing to write home about, but we’ve visited the National Museum of Costa Rica and the Jade Museum.
The National Museum is housed in an old fort that became redundant when Costa Rica abolished its army in 1948/9.
As with so many national museums, the story was told in chronological order starting with nomadic hunter-gatherers and moving on to the development of farming and settlements etc. When we visited Guayabo, we were told that the artefacts recovered there were all in the National Museum, so we had been hoping to see them. Unfortunately, nothing was marked in terms of where it was found……
We saw some pretty dull ceramics and LOTS of metates – used as surfaces on which to grind stuff but also, in more decorative form, for ceremonial use and placed in tombs.
Outside we saw some stone spheres – made by precolumbian groups in the South-West of the country, no-one seems to know why. Perhaps the best way to show you were affluent was to have expensive, difficult to make, pretty pointless stuff sitting outside the entrance to your house? There was also a Krupp cannon from the 1880s.
The Jade Museum was something else altogether, a presumably multi-squillion scooby (as Mark calls Costa Rican colones, the local currency) modern building housing not only jade but also lots of the really good artefacts, both stone and ceramic, that we’d expected to see in the National Museum.
The museum was a lot bigger than we’d expected, with exhibits very well organised by theme across 5 floors…. We were both thoroughly museumed-out by the time we finished it, so the remainder of the afternoon was spent wandering round the city centre. Here’s a statue that represents the Costa-Rican peasants who built the country. Mark decided that as he’d already been photographed as the fifth Beatle on this trip (when we were in Jacó), it was time for me to become a campesino…..