Thursday, July 20, 2006

Monday, July 17, 2006

back at home!

I've been having a hard time posting photos to the blog. Check for them here instead: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12391659@N00/

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

getting ready to head home...

First of all I want to paste in something that Danielle wrote about her travels in Argentina (and pretty much all of South America):

As one girl said, in the life
of traveling a day can be a week, I mean honestly you
are thrown into living together and often it works out
that you do absoluetly everything toghether until you
say goodbye, which is a bit strange, it is like making
excellent friends and then turning around after you
say goodbye and never knowing if you´ll speak to each
other again, a sad but wonderful experience, you take
a little piece of each person with you!!! Ok enough of
my sentimental stuff, maybe it´s the wine talking or
the sappy eighty music.

See, she has the same punctuation problem I do, but I think she summed up how quickly you get to know people, especially traveling solo. It{s great but strange too. Thanks Danielle for the quote! :)

Plans for my last full day at the beach...the boat ride I wanted to go on is full but I{m going to go anyway in case there were cancellations because it{s a sunset cruise with snorkeling and free booze! Haha. Well you have to pay to go on it so free is relative. Remember, mom, the more you drink the cheaper it is. I don{t know if that{ll work out or not, if not I{ll head to Playa Conchal and go snorkeling there. Definitely need to get one last ocean sunset in...I sort of did last night but right when things were getting pretty it started raining and blocked the sun, so maybe tonight will be better!

Oh one of the things about Costa Rica is that it{s the simple things...I cannot even tell you how thrilled I was that my hotel in Rincon de la Vieja had HOT WATER!!!! I hadn{t had a hot shower in 2 weeks, then had I think 4 within 36 hours. :) Such a luxury! Although I{m not sure I{ll ever be totally ready to leave, I do want to sleep in my own bed and at some point not have everything I own coated in sand...and my legs look like I have chicken pox from all the bug bites! Still, as the boat guy who did my parasailing tour said, "it{s not paradise, but it{s the closest thing I{ve found"...and all I thought was, what? It{s not paradise? Why not????

Anyway I think it{s high time I head to the beach! The sun comes up at 5:20 here and sets at 6 so I{ve been going to bed and waking up super early. 4am today. Also yesterday I was using my camera to take a video of the beach, and I actually said in all seriousness that it had cooled off to 95 degrees. Scary, huh?

Anyway I am looking forward to seeing many of you. For those of you farther away, check in for pictures this weekend. I have TRIED to attach them but unless my hotel gets its wireless up it just isn{t going to happen here! Did I mention in a previous blog I had a poker dream 2 nights ago? So maybe I am getting ready to come home, after all...see you soon!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

back to the beach

Hola amigos!

Let me tell you, I am mad this computer has too short of an attention span for me to post pictures, cause I have some fun ones! Anyhow here is the weekend update. On Saturday, Aarti and I took the bus to Liberia. From there we EVENTUALLY contacted a hotel with a correct phone number in our guide book which took some time given the pay phone, wrong number, phone card in spanish complications. The park is really remote and so are the hotels near it; thus we had to get them to come and get us because no buses came. So Oscar picked us up in Liberia and it was a bumpy hour long 4WD ride to the hotel. Oh this is great: 4 by 4s in Spanish are called "cuatro para cuatros." Anyway the hotel was very basic but nice because it{s a small, family owned joint and they are so helpful in making plans, asking you what time your meals are and all that. We had dinner there and breakfast the next morning (amazing food and so much fresh fruits and veggies, mom!) and then a driver took us to the entrance of the Rincon de la Vieja park. Here is an educational note: rincon in Spanish is a faraway place, and vieja is old woman. The legend is that 2 indigenous tribes lived there but were enemies, and the son of one and daughter of the other chief fell in love. Sort oflike Romeo and Juliet. Well the father of "Juliet" didn{t like that and pushed "Romeo" into the volcano. Then Juliet ran off into the forest to live alone, but people searched her out because she had healing powers, and the hot springs have something to do with that. Anyway that{s how the park got its name.

We went for a hike and this place reminded me a little of Yellowstone. First we saw "fumaroles" which is this cold water that bubbles from some sort of gases coming up from the ground. Then a waterfall. But we ended our hike at the hot springs which were amazing. A river ran right by them which had icy water but the hot springs were really comfortable, a perfect temperature. I thought they were heated by the volcanic activity, which seemed sort of alarming (remember that silly volcano movie a few years ago with the hot tub?) Well I guess the water is actually rain water that seeps through the rock which makes it really clean, and it is warmed up by some sort of geothermal heating but I don{t know the details. Anyway we soaked in the water for quite a while and ate our sack lunches provided by the hotel, did some sunbathing, and headed back. Aarti had to leave pretty soon after that since she had classes Monday morning, but I stayed another night. I met a really nice couple from the Netherlands that was in the room next door and we chatted for quite awhile after dinner Sunday night.

Monday morning, I had wanted to go on a horseback ride to the crater of the volcano but the weather was not good and it had rained a ton the night before so no guides would take me. So I hung out at the place for several hours and then got a ride back to Liberia, to take the bus back to Playa Flamingo. This was probably my most uncomfortable public bus yet because it was so HOT (no air conditioning) and it just had plastic seats instead of the cushy ones I{d had before. Not fun for almost 4 hours! anyway I got back to Playa Flamingo and decided to spend the night in the Mariner Inn, the cheapest place around. This morning I decided to spend the next 2nights there too, when they said they{d do my laundry it was a done deal! then Thursday will take the private bus to San Jose, spend the night there and fly out Friday. I want to go snorkeling this week and just spend time on the beach! I thought about taking a surfing lesson but it sounds like the type of thing where you have to do it several times to know what you{re doing...sort of like snowboarding I bet. There is a sunset boat ride here that does snorkeling too so I think I{ll sign up for that. I have mixed feelings about coming home but last ngiht I dreamed about playing poker! Anyway my computer time is almost up so I will talk to you all later!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Parasailing adventures!

Hey all! I am now DONE with my 4 weeks of Spanish classes and have 1 week to travel. First, important parental stuff: Mom tomorrow I am going to Rincon de la Vieja National Park. It has stuff like an active volcano, boiling mudpots, and hot springs. I'll be staying with a girlfriend in Hotel Boyeros, phone number 666/0995 if you really need me. Country code for CR is 506. Then 2 nights (probably) on my own in the same park in a place called the Rinconcito Lodge, 666/2764. Then I'll be heading back to the beach, I think Playa Braselito, don't know hwere I'll be staying yet but they have email there. Thursday will head down to San Jose to catch my flight on Friday.

Now that that's taken care of, I JUST GOT BACK FROM PARASAILING! It was totally amazing, i have pictures, of course they are trapped in my camera. The trip was led by a really nice guy who moved here from NY (assured me he's a coast guard and that he put the engine in the boat himself, etc). It was absolutely gorgeous just looking out at the beaches and islands and stuff. Very cool and a beautiful day for a boat ride. Also the other people that signed up didn't show so it was a private tour. I feel even more lucky because I'd been on land for a few minutes before it started to rain...a rather torrential downpour (really, patrick!). Now I'm in a bar with a computer. I swear they've thought of everything here! Makes me want to sell my townhome and buy a little boat here! I try not to think about coming home in a week; way too depressing. I really can't believe I've been gone for 4 weeks already!

It's been a fun week, I've been hanging out with some neat people, Mary from Denver (of all places) and Aarti from Toronto, she's the one I'm traveling with this weekend. It's such a small town you're always running into people. We met the same people, a family from Philly with 4 kids, in 2 different restauratns 2 nights in a row. Also I am happy to announce I survived Ladies Night without injuries this week, though my ankle still really hurts. Argh! This volcano is active but you're allowed to climb it and look in the crater and stuff so hopefully I can do that.

Okay, well I suppose that is it for the time being, hope all is well with everyone! Hasta luego...I will see if I can manage to post some parasailing pics, as well! I've also promised some of you a dead fish and fireworks pictures. Oh yeah...4th of July here was a bit more festive than I expected. The American owned bar here, the Mariner, had a huge party and fireworks. Instead of coming here where we'd have to walk a long way home or have to pay for a taxi, Aarti and I went to Las Brisas, across the bay. It is pretty cool to watch fireworks with a beach involved and it was a really pretty night. Finally cooled off....it's been over 100 most of the week. Anyway I got some neat pictures using the fireworks button on my camera....yeah, seriously. Okay, later everyone!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

"Impossible is Nothing"

Haha I read that on a tshirt yesterday on a guy that only spoke Spanish and it cracked me up.

Anyway, the best laid plans...I got up at 3:30am on Saturday morning to catch a 5am bus to Liberia, Costa Rica. My first public bus adventure! I slept through most of it. Got to Liberia at about 8am, went to the OTHER bus station (why they can{t have just 1 I don{t know)to meet my friends and catch the bus to Nicaragua....which had just left! And it doesn{t run that often, and I didn{t know where everyone was going and all that, so I opted against going by myself. So, what to do in Liberia? Not much, took a cab but instead of returning to Playa Flamingo decided to check out Tamarindo, the surf town, instead. Headed there, hung out on the beach and watched people surf. but I couldn{t swim cause I had my whole weekend bag for Nicaragua and it just wouldn{t do to have all my money and passport and camera, etc. stolen. Then I wandered the town and shopped a bit. Walking back to the beach ran into the other guy in my Spanish class last week who is here with his girlfriend{s family. Hallelujah, the girlfriend{s mom watched my stuff so i could run into the water! It was, I believe, 106 degrees. Then I grabbed some lunch (caesar salad with fish...the fish here is soooo good...and it was the only thing I ate all day because of the heat) and waited for the bus back to Flamingo. And waited. And waited. Dang thing was an hour late...I am not used to the whole "tico time" thing yet. Anyway, made it back here, then almost an hour walk back on the beach to the cabinas I{m staying in. And though I was supposed to move rooms on Sunday, those people are so darned efficient, all my suitcases and such were gone already! So I had to get that sorted out. I was pretty much useless for the rest of the day. Sunday, more time at the beach, pool, and relaxing.

Yesterday back to school, I like my teacher and class this week. One guy from Texas (they have taken over this school, I swear) and a girl from Switzerland. I{ve met a lot of cool people this week being in morning classes. Tonight I{m going with a girl from Toronto (Aarti?) to dinner at Las Brisas and to watch fireworks that are going off across the beach. A restaurant owned by Americans is putting on a fireworks show tonight! It{s weird being in a foreign country on an American holiday! It{s so cool meeting people from all over, but it{s going to make it so much harder to leave! Maybe it{ll give me an excuse to visit England, Switzerland, and Toronto though! And of course, my Costa Rican friends, you all have a place on my couch any time! Hey my patriotic event for teh day was talking Bush and politics with my Spanish teacher...more on that later. For now I{d better sign off, happy 4th of July, I hopw all of you are well, and feel free to leave a comment! ¡Hasta luego!