Costa Rica: Snapshots – Johnny’s

One of the great things about being on vacation is we get to try a variety of food – all cooked by other people.  One place we enjoyed in Monteverde was Johnny’s, a pizza place with beautiful teak walls and open light space.  We were lured in as well by the name, our son’s.  Roberto, an older Costa Rican who spoke excellent English, was our friendly, well-trained waiter.  I had the veggie burger – one of the best I’ve ever had.  Barry opted for the  lunch special pizza.

We loved the attention to detail, the open seating, and the tasty food.

photo 1

Stairway to the second floor of Johnny’s – on our last lunch there

We liked sitting on the balcony.

But thinks can quickly change.   We’d heard fire sirens and smelled smoke earlier that morning.  And as we walked toward the Cloud Forest, we saw the fire hoses.  I kept saying, “I hope it isn’t Johnny’s.”


The hose for the water ran over two blocks – up hill.

It was Johnny’s.  The owner was there talking urgently into his cell phone.  His wife held him, her arms circling his shoulders.  The restaurant, opened since 1993,  was completely destroyed.  We passed the still smoking, charred remains.


The smoldering remains of Johnny’s

The owner and his family must have put everything into what had been a beautiful restaurant.  Roberto and the other employees are out of work.  Does Costa Rica provide unemployment insurance?  Did the owner have insurance?  No one I asked seemed to know.  The owner, staff, the community are all impacted in this loss.  😦

Elizabeth, a Monteverde resident, says that things in Monteverde have a way of working themselves out.

When you go to Monteverde (and I return), I hope that we find a rebuilt Johnny’s.

Pura Vida, Renée


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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

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