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Journal | Adventures in Nicaragua & Costa Rica - Travel Virgins

Chorotega Pottery - Tinajitas Pottery

by Anne Watcher on Saturday March 15th, 2008 at 10:50am

The Chorotega Indians, an indigenous tribe of Costa Rica, have been making pottery for centuries. The villages of Guaitel (way-teal) and nearby Ste. Vincente are the last two settlements remaining and they are trying hard to keep this craft alive.

They get the sands for the clay from three different mountains about 4 km. away from the openings of iguana nests. The clay comes in three colours: tan, red ochre and black - with black being the hardest to get. No power wheels or tools are used as they are crafted just the way they were generations before.

We had met a lady in a local restaurant in Santa Cruz and she gave us her cousin's name and where her shop was in Guaitel. So the next day we took a trip through the hills and farms of the Guanacaste region to the village. It is a small settlement of about 200 people, with most working in the pottery business from their modest homes.

Below are the steps shown to us by Elma and her daughter, Jennifer.

Starting with a small amount of clay the base is formed

Starting with a small amount of clay the base is formed.

Steading her hand with the pole, she turns the wheel with her other hand

Using a corn cob she shapes the piece

Using a corn cob she shapes the piece

Corn Cob - one of the simple tools used

Corn Cob - one of the simple tools used

Rings of clay are added to the top to make the original piece bigger

Rings of clay are added to the top to make the original piece bigger.

Using water, a piece of metal and her hands - Jennifer does a basic blending of the two pieces

Adding clay to the top

Adding clay to the top

The vase begins to takes shape

The vase begins to takes shape

the unfired piece is then washed with the clays of different colours

When the desired shape and size is reached, the unfired piece is then washed with the clays of different colours

The three different colours of sand are mixed in mortars with pestles to make clay

The three different colours of sand are mixed in mortars with pestles to make clay

Designs are etched on and the piece is then glazed and baked in their ovens

After the coloured clays have been added, designs are etched on - again with simple tools and by hand.

The piece is then glazed and baked in their ovens

Pottery for sale

Pottery for salePrices:

Small items average $10-$20

Medium size items average $20-$50

Large items go up from there

Some artisans including Elma and her family will ship worldwide.

For more information on Guaitil and the Pottery:

http://www.tourism.co.cr/costa-rica-ecotourism-and-nature/costa-rica-highlights/guaitil.html

http://www.govisitcostarica.com/region/city.asp?cID=44


Not Just Luggage

by Anne Watcher on Saturday March 15th, 2008 at 10:42am

As we sat at the bus terminal in Santa Cruz waiting for our bus, I noticed this being unloaded from a bus which had just arrived. This young man unloaded his belongings complete with engine, battery, gas (in container) and of course his clothing. Shortly after his arrival he was picked up by a friend with a pickup and was on his way.


Unnerving but Safe

by Anne Watcher on Saturday March 15th, 2008 at 10:38am

This looks worse than it was, well kind of, but we won't be repeating this experience soon if we have our way. We arrived late in Santa Cruz so couldn't go to Guaitel the first day so went to this recommended lodging from our on-line bus book. (He really goes cheap). It was a 9 x 9 room, two single beds (very clean sheets and pillows) with bathroom facilities across the yard. They were clean also and the price was right - c7000 or $14 for two.

My first thought was no way but we were tired and out of our element and this trip was about experiencing new things after all. (OK Rob this is far enough with the new!) In reality the husband was a Chiropractor and his office was the room next to ours. His family lived right there and these rooms were in the backyard. In the evening the daughters were out in the open air kitchen talking and playing with the family parrot while mom and grandma cleaned up. In the morning (6:00 am) they were all up, showered, dressed for school or work and having breakfast. That's just the way it is in some places here in Costa Rica.

Our Room

The family kitchen at night. Rob got this shot at 1:00 am because I made him get up

and escort me to the bathroom!


Back to School

by Anne Watcher on Wednesday March 12th, 2008 at 3:47pm

We were told by Michael, our local friendly grocer, that there would be a display of snakes from Central America and the US the next day at the local school across the street from his store. Anyone was welcome to come and see the display so he asked us to join him the next morning. He told Rob it would be a great place to take pictures. The instructor was quite informative, describing how to identify poisonous snakes (the smaller percentage of snakes), why they are valuable and basically why they should not be killed without cause.

Rob however had more fun watching and photographing the kids than the snakes. Many came up to him and told him (through Michael) that they recognized him from the bus or have seen us walking along on the sidewalks.

We learned also that this school has been around for years with many of the parents and grandparents of today's students also being educated there.

Getting basic instructions

Preschoolers came and listened-I think the little boy is wondering why he is there!

Always smiling

The star of the show

Viewing the snakes


Keep Up With the News

by Anne Watcher on Wednesday March 12th, 2008 at 3:41pm

Everyone in Canada likes to keep up with what is going on in the world and it is the same here in Costa Rica. The "La Nacion" is a daily spanish newspaper printed out of San Jose. Even with a limited ability to read the language it is amazing what I get out of browsing through it each day. They report on the news of Costa Rica, international stories and naturally soccer dominates the sports pages. Entertainment also makes the headlines. Last week a picture of "Iron Maiden's" plane at the airport was on the front page and a few days later there were pictures of the huge concert. They even reported the death of Jeff Healey.

Us gringos can also get the "Tico Times" an english print newspaper also out of San Jose. It is a weekly paper, like the local one at home, coming out on Fridays. Unlike a local paper however it does cover news from around the world. They however didn't report on the death of Jeff Healey.

Tico Times Website - www.ticotimes.net/

La Nacion Website - www.nacion.com/


Journal | Adventures in Nicaragua & Costa Rica - Travel Virgins

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