It’s been a week or so since I last wrote, and I do apologize for not being more timely with these posts, but it has been a bit of a whirlwind down here.

The entire week was packed with master classes, conducting workshops, and performances.  We’ve played with limited lighting, sun in our eyes, kids on tricycles and skateboards, and surprise guest artists in the form of pigeons.  And so I begin.

PAVAS: This was the only school we repeated from the last visit.  Two years ago, it was a one roomed building that also hosted Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.  It is still exactly that.  What did change, actually, was the snack they fed us.  I remember many puzzled wind players, pulling apart slices of bread to find pate smashed in between (not complaining, I frankly love pate).  This time they offered us a bologna sandwich (a bit more American, I daresay), Chips Ahoy rainbow-chip cookies (super American), a very large piece of chocolate that was white with dark specks (Costa Rican I imagine, meant to resemble a soccer ball), a Canadian candy bar called Mr. Big Deal (complete with nutrition facts in both English and French and a Canadian hockey player with a missing front tooth), and a glass of Coke.

Musically speaking, the program has expanded considerably.  Instead of three flutes, for example, we had six or more, and nearly all of them had been playing for at least a year.  We had a full concert with a very excitable and awed audience.  It certainly made me thrilled, even though our performance was not quite up to par.

GRECIA: The plan was to stop at a specific restaurant for lunch before starting our master classes.  In actual fact, we somehow got lost or perhaps just did not know exactly where the restaurant was, and pulled over into a semi-touristy restaurant.

Two notable things: Costa Ricans may or may not (again, touristy restaurant) eat deep-friend pork fat, also known as chicharrones.  A waitress patrolled the very long line, handing out cubes of this.  Unfortunately, it was very tasty.  I think it would do well in certain areas of the United States.

The second notable thing was that there was a very tiny fruit stand just outside of the restaurant selling a papaya like fruit and avocados.  They were not normal avocados, at least normal by my standards.  They were actually the size of half my head.

We had known beforehand that this school had a number of decent musicians already.  Therefore we were not surprised when we found we could quite easily sightread flute quartets.  I personally have no notable stories about this school, except that one of our Costa Rican French Horn players conducted beautifully.  I almost cried.

More later.  We are going bowling now!