|Yep, it was this for lunch my first day in San Jose--not during the package tour, though|
All of us in the tour were famished after the trip to the volcano and the hike down. We wanted to have lunch before we did anything else. In the tour bus, the guide, Alberto, called for a vote and we were unanimous on lunch first. Yes, democracy works!
The buffet lunch was extraordinarily superlative for one reason, and one reason alone: fried bananas.
I love fried bananas. I first had this Latin American/Caribbean preparation in Venezuela, twenty-five summers ago. Perhaps to the very date, for all I know. Mucho Gusto!
I served a whole lot of fried bananas on my plate, along with a few other items. I tasted one. I had reached the heavens.
"These bananas are so awesome. I can easily make a meal out of it" I exclaimed to my lunch table partner, Jill. She was also in our tour group, at the end of her Costa Rican vacation. Roberto and Luis were at the table nearby and were too focused on food to talk. Yes, we were all famished!
Jill--a strict vegetarian--was now excited. "Where did you find it?" And off she went.
I was more than halfway done with them when I remembered to take a photo. And a lousy photo at that; stupid me!
Jill came back with a lot of fried bananas on her plate, and a cup of coffee. Now it was my turn. "Where is the coffee? I love having desserts with coffee."
I followed her suggestion. The coffee pots were empty.
Empty! In Costa Rica!
The woman who was ahead of me said "looks like I got the last few drops" pointing to the very little she had managed to get from the pots. She sounded British. But then I am not good at discerning accents anyway. In graduate school, I once asked a visiting professor which country he was from--because of his different accent--and he said "Boston!"
I saw a staff person who then led me to another coffee pot. Panic eased. I sat down to finish the fried bananas. With coffee, this time.
I was almost done when that same British sounding woman sat down at the adjacent table.
"Hey, find the coffee?" I asked her. She hadn't. I led her to the coffee station. She was profusely thankful. I suppose we coffee drinkers are alike.
When she returned, Jill, she, and I started chatting. Yes, her mother is English.
"How was your vacation?" she asked us. The way she asked, it seemed like she was assuming that Jill and I were traveling together.
To some extent, I even enjoyed that a stranger thought that the young, slim, pretty, blonde was with me. Welcome to the imaginary world of Walter Mitty! It is a fascinating world.
Interestingly, as I recall the events now, while we joked that Jill was Canadian and not an American, I wonder if Jill, too, intentionally let that observation slide without specifically underlining the correction that we were strangers on a bus. If she is like me, there is a little bit of honest awkwardness in admitting to vacationing alone because there is no significant other in life. However confident I am in myself, I know there is that void. It is always there, like the scar on my forearm.
This was an inconsequential lunch chat and there was no point clarifying anything. Who cares; life is full of non-consequential conversations anyway.
For that matter, most of our lives have no consequence at all. In the cosmic sense. Our lives won't even register a blip on a cosmic register of events and, yet, we fret and fume and worry about the minutiae in our lives. We then even poke our noses into other people's minutiae. We humans are strange!
"It was awesome!" I said with quite an emphasis, in response to that Brit's question. I wasn't exaggerating at all. It was truly an awesome Costa Rica vacation. Truly one of the best I have ever had.
"If you say awesome, you are definitely an American. Only Americans use "awesome" that way. I love that" the beautiful British blonde said with one of the widest grins ever.
Smiles and grins have been a constant this entire vacation. Awesome!