Adventures in travel with Robert Watcher and Anne Watcher
27 visitors currently online
Most online - 312 on Wed Feb 16, 2012
Admin LogIn

Journal | Adventures in Nicaragua & Costa Rica - Travel Virgins

Cashews, Cashews

by Anne Watcher on Friday February 22nd, 2008 at 4:46pm

Who doesn't love to munch on a handful of roasted, salted cashews!! So tender, oily and extremely good tasting. But have you ever wondered or seen how they grow. Walking along the road today coming home from lunch we came across a cashew tree with cashews in various stages of development.

The true fruit of the cashew tree is the cashew nut which in the botanical sense is a seed. It grows from the accessory fruit commonly called a "cashew apple" which develops from the receptacle of the flower. In Central America the "apple" is called "maranon" and ripens into a yellow and/or red fruit, 5-11 cm long. It is juicy and sweet but too fragile to be transported. It is used for many products like jams, chutneys, juices and even distilled into liquor.

The dark green nut shell contains urushiol-an oil that causes a painful rash similar to poison ivy and the seed must be removed before consumption. These painful rashes are common among process workers. Even "raw" cashews have been cooked just not roasted therefore keep their pale colour. Cashews have a very high oil content and have about 180 calories per ounce.

The cashew shell is useful containing a liquid that is processed to make two primary end products: solids that are pulverized and used as friction particle for brake linings, and an amber-colored liquid that helps to create a type of curing agent and resin modifiers.

Spread out from Brazil by the Portuguese the cashew tree is now cultivated in any sufficiently warm and humid climate. Main commercial production comes from Vietnam, Nigeria, India and Brazil.

Ripe Cashew Nut and Apple

Green Cashew Nut and Apple

Cashew Apples for sale in Grecia market

The cashew tree down the road

The Famous Widowmaker

by Anne Watcher on Friday February 22nd, 2008 at 10:56am

This lovely contraption graces our shower and is the only source of hot water in the cabina (unless you boil it on the stove). Essentially it is an on demanded water heater and a smart idea I think although I doubt the open wires even with electrical tape would pass CSA approval. They are found all over Central and South America.

In general the people here are shorter so unless you are a real tall lanky guy or gal - don't let the name fool you, it can be a widower maker also - you're safe. Just don't fiddle with the wiring and stand on the steel drain cover at the same time!!

It works quite well and the faster the water goes through, the cooler the shower. So a nice "water can flow" type shower is the nicest and warmest. So far, so good!

Do you know the way to San Jose?

by Anne Watcher on Thursday February 21st, 2008 at 9:35am

We finally do (even though the song is about that other SJ) and below is a picture of me there to prove it. Take the Alajuela-La Garita-Turrucares bus, get off at Alajuela bus terminal, walk up one block and get on the San Jose-Alajuela bus and 1/2 hr. later you are there. Oh that's right you're not in Costa Rica, ok well fly here first then find your way to Norma's in La Garita and then follow the above. Man I should be writing for the Amazing Race.

It really doesn't matter where we travel but I seem to get off the bus and my two essentials in life are there, fabric and food. Just around the block from the terimal was a great fabric shop and kitty-corner to that was McDonald's. Go figure!! San Jose has a more metropolis feel to it, high rises are plentiful and it bustles with activity.

Straight off the bus


Friendly staff at Mickey Dee's

Street - under construction - but love those colours

This stone sphere is located in a San Jose city park located across from the Hospital San Juan de Dios. Because of it's prominent position in the park and due to the fact that it is cemented in we are assuming this one is real.

Hospital San Juan de Dios -very large and colourful

Lunar Eclipse as seen in Costa Rica

by Anne Watcher on Wednesday February 20th, 2008 at 11:22pm

Rob took these shots of the eclipse tonight and was really wishing he had his tripod. But with a little improvising my shoulder and then later my head worked not too badly. It was a little cloudy at the start but then cleared off just amazingly.

Lunar Eclipse Costa Rica
Lunar Eclipse Costa Rica
Lunar Eclipse Costa Rica
Lunar Eclipse Costa Rica
Some people will do anything to get that shot!!!

Some people will do anything to get that shot!!!Unfortunately Rob does not have any software for layering composites, so he sent a selection of the files from last night to a friend in Canada so that he could arrange them into a sequence. Should make a pretty neat panoramic print.

Lunar Eclipse Composite

Lunar Eclipse CompositeLink to the full size version of the file

Stone spheres of Costa Rica - Las Bolas

by Anne Watcher on Wednesday February 20th, 2008 at 8:42am

These stone balls were discovered in the Diquis Delta of Costa Rica in the 1940's while clearing land for banana plantations. Since then hundreds have come to light, some as small as a few centimeters, others over 2 m. in diameter. They have been know to weigh up to 16 tons. Almost all of them are made of granodiorite, a hard, igneous stone. As always many theories are circulated as to their origin.

The picture below is taken across the street from where we are staying at Norma's. They are about 1.5 m in diameter and they grace both sides of the entrance to a beautiful home. Based on our research about these spheres we are not prepared to say whether they are authentic or not. If we find out for sure either way, we will report back.

The Stone Spheres of Costa Rica by John W. Hoopes

Journal | Adventures in Nicaragua & Costa Rica - Travel Virgins

Journal Posts of Interest

Chorotega Pottery - Tinajitas Pottery

San Juan del Sur - Pacific Playground

San Jacinto Mud Pits

Directory Listing