After being “abandoned” at the airport by our prearranged transport from the Lodge, we tried to remain positive about our first trip to this tropical wonderland. Soon, with the help of our new friend Alex who quickly came to assist us, we were soon lifted from our sense of uncertainty into a place of sheer magic. We have always loved nature and being in wide open spaces, but there are not enough words for me to describe the serenity of driving ever upward into the volcanic mountain ranges here in Costa Rica. Each turn in the road brings a photographic memory, a gasp or “ooohhhhh” moment that is unique even if you pass the same way over and over. As soon as we entered the bright orange van to begin our journey, Alex made us feel completely at ease which, if you stay here often or long enough, you will realize is the way of the Costa Rican people. Gentle, appeasing, positive and very in love with their own country, they are always willing to share their knowledge, understanding and gifts of the life they appreciate. Our first stop was at a little coffee shop owned by Doka coffee plantation, one of the leading coffee producers/exporters in the country. But as a side note, in the humble opinion of this traveler, there is no “bad” coffee in Costa Rica. And I come from a place where coffee is a big deal. More people in Louisiana drink coffee-and lots of it-than they do water. And all day. I, however, have never been one of those folks, may Community Coffee forgive me. After tasting the coffee in Costa Rica I became a lover. Of course we have realized over time that there are good cups and there are great cups. The great ones usually have “real” sugar in them as well as their famous warmed milk. It is amazing the effect of something as simple as that. But again, the frothy warm milk is what makes a cup of Cafe Au Lait in New Orleans so wonderful, after all. And the ambiance doesn’t hurt. The French Quarter, Jazz music and the smell of Beignets nestling under blankets of soft, sweet powdered sugar is now accompanied in my ‘feel good’ repertoire by the sounds of tropical birds, the smell of salt air and the feel of cool breezes as they drift across a cloud forested mountain. Life is indeed good. For more info on Doka or Tres Generaciones coffee visit their website at http://www.dokaestate.coffee.com. BTW, it can be ordered online and shipped to your home!