Presentations,Sarchi, Poas, LaPaz & Tortuga Island

Trip Start Jun 23, 2008
Trip End Aug 10, 2008

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Alajuela,
Monday, July 21, 2008

So on Friday I had my presentation. Which had to use four of the past tenses, and we had to talk for a minimum of 10 minutes. Which is way to long to talk in another language. So I did mine on Germany, complete with pictures to destract everyone from what I was saying. I guess it went over pretty good, i got nervous so i eneded up forgetting a lot but I had notecards so maybe I made a decent grade. After class a small group of us decided to go to Sarchi. Which is famous for their handpainted, ornate, colorful ox carts and wheels. It was my idea to go because I really wanted to see these carts/wheels. So after class we took a cab from Veritas to the Coca Cola bus station. On the way we asked our taxi driver if that was the right one and it ended up not being right but it took us to another one that had a bus that went to Grecia and there was a bus in Grecia that took us to Sarchi. So after two bus rides and not really sure where to get off we finally made it to Sarchi. We really knew nothing about this town other than it had the carts/wheels. So we got off at what we thought was the right stop, but ended up being the wrong side of town. After wandering around for a while and visiting a few shops we found out where to go. We went to this shop that is famous for their carts. It was amazing watching these guys intricately painting the carts and wheels. And they were all so beautiful I wanted to buy several. So I ended up buying one big wheel, this is probably 3.5 feet in diameter which is on its way back to the US right now. I'm pretty much in love with it and I can't wait to get it back and put it up in my room.
Friday night was ashley's "birthday". Her birthday was actually july 5th but since it was the day we arrived to San Jose no one knew, so we were out celebrating. We went this this really posh bar/small club called Five in a really nice part of town. Since there was a group of 10 American girls we got ushered to the front of the line and the bouncer kicked a group off of some sofas to let us have that area. It was only 6$ to get in and open bar from 9 until 12. It was probably the most fun that I have had since I have been here. Since it was small we didn't have to worry about losing anyone and the people there weren't sketchy because it was a nice bar and i'm pretty sure there was a dress code.
Saturday we had to be up and at Tierrasol (CEA office) by 7. It kind of sucked since pretty much everyone was hung over and only had a few hours of sleep. So we made it there on time, and had to ride a big tour bus for an hour before stopping at a coffee plantation. There we had almost an hour to wander around and take pictures. Im pretty sure CEA gets some kind of commission for taking us there because a majority of the people bought so much coffee. After that we headed to Poas Volcano. Since we were at such a high altitude it was suprisingly chilly. We had to hike 15 minutes on a well paved trail to the crater. It was so foggy that we couldn't see anything, so we were just staring into whiteness. So a group of us headed to a lagoon that was another 15 minutes uphill. The lagoon is an extint volcano and has the most amazing blue-green water ever. Which made this stop worthwhile. After that we left Poas and headed for La Paz Waterfall gardens.
When we arrived at La Paz we went to eat at their cafeteria style resturant.  Which had two buffets with salads, american food, italian food and typical costa rican food.  The cafeteria wasn't really cafeteria-esque.  It was really nice, and had waterfalls and trees and a huge fireplace.  The La Paz also had birds, where you could walk through and see different types of toucans, parrots, macaws, etc.  They also had monkey, snake, and butterfly exhibits too. After that we hiked down to four different waterfalls.  Which was nice because we just had to hike down, but it sucked because it rained the entire time.  The waterfalls were pretty, but honestly they all kind of look the same. After La Paz we left to come back to San Jose.  And since we had to be up early on Sunday we just hung out and watched movies.
On Sunday we had to be at the CEA office before 6.  We all loaded up onto a bus and rode for about 1.5 hours then we stopped for breakfast.  Where we had 1.5 hours.  Which was absolutely ridiculous.  They should of just picked us up at 730 and gave us a donut or something on the bus.  Anyways, the breakfast was so-so but I did get to hold a toucan.  After that we rode the bus for another hour before arriving to Puntarenas.  There we got onto the most awesome boat ever.  On the front it had to big net type things where you could lay out and when you got to going fast water would splash up.  There was also two pools on the front deck where 4 or 5 people could set in.  It even had a bar too.  There were servers who would bring you drinks and fruits.  After about and 1.5 hour boat ride we FINALLY made it to Isla Tortuga.  The side of the island we were on was private so there wasn't very many people and you didn't have to constantly worry about your stuff.  So a group of us decided to go snorkling, and it was only 10 extra dollars.  The water was alot clearer than at Manuel Antonio and we could see tons of fish.  You had to be extremely careful not to touch the rocks because there were fish that would jump out and fin you. Also, the guide would dive down and catch starfish and bring them up for us to hold. He found 3 different types, and I have pictures of all of them.  He also found the most disgusting creature ever, the sea cucumber.  It was a big slimy blog with bumps.  After snorkling we had lunch.  And it wasn't just your typical sandwich lunch. It was a 5-star ordeal.  First we were servied Ceviche, which is similar to pico de gallo.  Its spicey and has choped up vegetables and fish. It was also seved with white wine.  Next there was salads.  For the main dish, we had grilled chicken with the sauce, rice, and platano chips (which were suprisingly good).  And for dessert with had this cake.  After lunch we swam in the ocean, which was alot calmer than most of the other beaches.  Then a group of us decided to do the banana boat around the island, and it only cost 5$.  It was fun, except for falling off because I always seemed to get pushed back down by someone else.  Luckily we all had on helmets so it wasn't to bad.  After that we swam around until we had to leave to go back home.  The boat ride home kind of sucked because it was rainy and lightening some. Our bus ride home wasn't to terrible because the bus had tvs and dvd players so we all watched Forrest Gump, and I had to admit I liked it more this time. When I got home I was so tired I just fell asleep.
Today was actually a fun day of classes.  We talked about random things like Facebook (in spanish of course).  And I found out that I made an 87 on my presentation, which I was pretty excited about. In a little bit I think we are going to go find this outlet mall that we saw in San Jose.
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