Saturday, 15 November 2008

Monteverde: Flat Tyres & Coffee

Disaster strikes! We woke up this morning to discover that we had a flat tyre on our hire car; from what we guessed was a slow puncture. I started to change the wheel but Olivier wasn’t happy that the spare tyre was a tarmac only and not an all terrain tyre like the others. As it was only a slow puncture Olivier went to borrow a pump from the owners of our B&B so that we could inflate the tyre sufficiently to get us to a local garage. The only pump the owners had was a comically small bicycle pump! Half an hour, and several turns from each of us, later the tyre was sufficiently inflated for us to drive on.

We drove to the nearest garage where we were told to come back in a couple of hours as he was fixing an American style yellow school bus. After lunch at the Tree House in Santa Elena we headed back to the garage where he whipped the tyre off and quickly determined that it was a faulty valve and not a puncture. The wheel was fixed and back on the car in under 10 minutes. We were charged the princely sum of £1.50 which goes to show how cheap this country can be when you are not paying a tourist tax!

In the afternoon we went to the Don Juan Coffee Plantation for a tour. It was very interesting and we had a tour around the plantation by a young guide who took us through the various stages of coffee growing; planting, harvesting, grading, removing the husks from the coffee beans, drying, removing the skins of the beans, roasting and finally tasting the coffee. Did you know that a light roast has more caffeine than a dark roast? Or how to grade a coffee bean? Well neither did I. You got the impression that the plantation was more of a tourist attraction these days – selling tours and the coffee they produce from their 5 acres to tourists - then a commercial coffee growing operation, but it was enjoyable none the less.

For dinner we went to Chimera. It is the sister restaurant of Sophia that we visited yesterday, and we were given a 10% off voucher for Chimera as we were leaving last night. I was going to do an in-depth review, but have decided that it is so similar to Sophia that I won’t bother; so just read this one. The key differences are that it is less formal than Sophia and styles itself as a tapas restaurant so the dishes are smaller, though not all designed for easily sharing.

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