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El Pequeño Pueblo de Mastatal

...all nine buildings of it.

semi-overcast 85 °F

So it seems like people have been the most curious about what the town of Mastatal is like. Well, lets start with perhaps the best adjective - tiny. The entire town is on one dirt road that is basically in the middle of nowhere and it takes about 2 hours by chicken-bus to get to the nearest town with a bank and grocery store. The town has a total of nine buildings including the main house of Rancho Mastatal where I am at. So there is the ranch, 2 'sodas' (or tiny mini-marts/restaurants), a open air bar (really more like a shed with beer), a one-room elementary school and highschool, an internet point, a community building, and a church. Perhaps most important of all it has a soccer field.
The Mastatal intersection (thats the bar)

The Mastatal intersection (thats the bar)

the Soda

the Soda

the community center

the community center


Internet Point

Internet Point

Soccer sundays are the big thing around here. People come together from several nearby villages to spend the entire day playing children's, men's, and women's soccer games. This past weekend, Mastatal hosted soccer sunday and the little town came alive with all the action. There was a food vendor set up by the soccer field and people socialized and lounged in the ant ridden grass all day. Us gringos got prime seating with a scenic view from the porch of one of the ranch's houses. Also this past weekend there was Bingo night at the community center to fundraise for the children's soccer team. It was a big event and locals of all ages got dressed up to come play. I personally was horrible at it because I could hardly understand the numbers being called out in spanish with a farmer accent.

DSCN8883.jpgDSCN8888.jpgDSCN8894.jpgbingo night

bingo night

Bingo!

Bingo!

Gringas

Gringas

The local people are really friendly and seem to cope quite well with the constant barage of gringos who pass through the Ranch year round. Right now one of the semi-perminent residents of the ranch is heading up the construction of a community library with a completely sustainable design; I really hope to get involved with that at some point. Usually many of the gringos participate in the sunday soccer games.

Last weekend on our day off a few of us took the short hike to the nearby waterfall/swimming hole. It is absolutely beautiful and perfect for some much needed relaxation after a long week of work. A local guy convinced me to climb up the waterfall and jump off into the water below, it was terrifying and fun at the same time :)

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Posted by HanaRose 14:46

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Hola Hana,

Fantastico! It sounds like you are having a great time there. It's good that the locals like all of you but remember that you are their bread and butter quite often so they kind of have to like you. Actually, without the ranch many of them probably couldn't really make a living there. It's the way of touristas everywhere.
I'm curious what kind of soda they drink, being a soda lover myself?
Everything is growing like mad here. We've had tons of rain almost every day and also heat so the veggies sure like that! We are eating tons of lettuce, garlic scapes and peas-sugar snap, snow and shell. The black caps are almost ready, in fact, we may pick tonight. It looks like a bumper crop for sure. Grandma and I went strawberry picking and I got about 6 quarts which I froze most of. They were not the best flavor-wise but acceptable. Dick and I had to go get Si's old mattress and box spring in preparation for his move this weekend. His garden is actually doing really well also so it is kind of sad that he has to leave it. He is hoping to go back every week or so and pick some stuff as he is friends with the neighbor. How is the tree nursery going? They are a bit slow growing compared to veggies.
Dick and I went to see the Syracuse Jazz Fest (all free) and saw Richie Havens, Gil Scott-Heron and Boz Scaggs- all guys from the 60s or 70s which you may or may not know. They were all awesome and we stayed until midnite(!!).
Curious is doing well and is out most of the day but hasn't caught anything yet that I know of. Lee has been getting his hair cut gradually and he looks really cute with it short all over. We still have the back end to finish off which is the hardest part.
I'm helping Si move this Friday when I am done with work at 1:00ish.
Love, Mom

by Andrea Martin

Mom, the issue of tourists here is one I would like to discuss more with you in the future. Its not quite as simple as you think, before we came here the locals lived a simple but fulfilling subsistence farming lifestyle and now that gringos are constantly here things have changed quite a bit and not necessarily for the better.
The Soda is a family restuarant/snack bar/store, it does indeed sell soda (just normal coke products) but that is not where the name comes from. Every town in Costa Rica has a Soda just like every town in the states has a gas station.
The tree nursery is great, I am mostly woking alone there which is nice to get away from the ranch bubble sometimes and just be with the plants. I still haven't done any forest planting yet though.

by HanaRose

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