Travel Reference
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were falling to pieces and some of the saddle-straps had rotted and were broken. We had to
fix things the best we could with a very tough and flexible kind of creeper which helped us to
get along. It is not difficult to imagine how great was our joy when we reached a small set-
tlement called Buenos Aires, some forty miles from which there is another small place called
To reach San Jose, the capital, from there one has to cross the 'Cerro de la Muerte' (Death
Mountain), which is very high and difficult to climb.
The original settlers of both Buenos Aires and Palmares were criminals who had been
landed at the coast and turned loose. Even to this day the Costa Rican government deports
criminals to these isolated regions, and I met two German priests who were doing their hu-
manitarian work among these people, who live on growing tobacco and agriculture. While I
stayed in Palmares I slept in a small wooden chapel and had a very pleasant time with one of
these priests. He might well serve as an example to the majority of Spanish and native mem-
bers who are a disgrace to the order.
carried the corpse in a small box and some of the men were so drunk that they could hardly
stand. The good priest made the service as short as he could and then literally dragged some
of the most intoxicated out of the place.
The people of this place were held in terror by two outlaws, the brothers Altamira, who
were making things very unsafe at the time. They had killed several men and had assaulted
gency, although I was well aware that we would not stand much of a chance if they happened
to waylay us in the thick underbrush.
Climbing Up to the 'Middle of the World'
I knew that the horses would have some very bad days until we reached the other side of the
ment the people came to give us all sorts of little gifts, consisting chiefly of the finest tobacco
leaves they had picked out of their stock, but I could not accept all that was offered to us, for
the pack was already full. It nearly made my guide weep when I refused some of the offers,
but it could not be helped. I often tried to roll a cigar, but never succeeded in performing this
seemingly simple trick. However, the guide was very clever at it, so we were sure that we
would at least have plenty to smoke for the next week or so, by which time I hoped to reach
ens into a small basket and strapped it on top of the pack.
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