On a beautiful Saturday afternoon in August, returning from a delicious US$14 lunch (for four people) in a quaint little town called San Pablo Leon Cortes, we stopped the car on the side of the road to admire some gorgeous tall blood-red, never-seen-them-before flowers that adorned the front garden of a humble Costa Rican house.

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The master of the house was seated on the front porch chatting to a male friend beside him and we politely explained from the car that we were admiring his flowers. He gave us that big Costa Rican smile and jumped up proudly to tell us all about his garden.

His wife also came out and as is their custom, spoke to with us as if we were members of the royal family or some other equally distinguished guests.

They proceeded to pull off some seeds from the tall sunflower like plants, put them in a little bag and ignoring our protests, even ripped up a 10″ plant from the garden to give us a ‘regalito‘ – a little gift.

My 15 year old son and my 12 year old daughter are visiting from the United States and my son stated that if the same thing had happened in America and we had stopped outside someone’s house, the occupants would first assume that we were there checking out the house prior to robbing it…

I hope that he’s wrong about that but we all agreed that it’s highly unlikely that we would have received the same royal treatment that we have come to regard as normal in Costa Rica, a place of stunning scenery, sunshine and smiles.

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