Quite a trip

Trip Start Jan 10, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Monday, April 9, 2007

It started with a broken bus and ended with a party.  Kelly and I didnīt make it on the first bus out of town Saturday morning, but we definitely made it on the 7:30 bus on our way from San Jose to Bahia Drake.  We were ready for a week of adventure and relaxation, a Semana Santa that would release us from the responsibilities of being Teacher.  And then the bus broke down and we found ourselves sitting on a curb sweating in the Southern Costa Rica sun, experiencing heat that I hadnīt in a long time.  We watched as the bus driver repeatedly tried to start the bus which repeatedly made not a sound when he turned the key.  Then, with about three other bus drivers from other routes looking on, he repeatedly lay down on his stomach and looked up under the bus to try and figure out what the problem was.  Then he would open up a little panel and star at some wires for awhile.  I donīt know what he was expecting to find, maybe that the bus would magically start to work again.  But it didnīt.  And while a new, empty, and functioning bus was sitting for about an hour, waiting to take us on the remainder of our journey, our bus driver would not admit defeat.  While he continuously examined the underside of the bus we ate ice creamed and watched as a cute young policeman busted a truckdriver who apparently had crossed the Panama border with a lot of ranom stuff in his truck without getting a stamp in his passport.  It was quite entertaining, though after two hours sitting in the sun, our delirium may have altered our view of things.  Anyway, once our dauntless busdriver FINALLY admitted that the bus was not going to start again any time soon, we continued on our way in the new bus to Palmar Norte.  And then made our way to Sierpe on a little school bus driven by an eccentric soul who was eating some sort of fruit, talking to all his passengers without bothering to look at the road, and driving at the same time.  From Sierpe itīs only an hour boat ride to Bahia Drake, except that by the time we made it there, we were promptly informed that there were no more boats.  But, luckily we met a guy who knew a guy who had some cheap rooms and by the end of the day found ourselves in a great little place across the river from town with our own bathroom, great breezes, and (best of all) only $7 a night.  Things just seemed to be working out for us.  The next day we were introduced to Alex, a friend of a friend of a friend of the friendly Ticos whoīd been helping us thus far, who would take us in his boat to Bahia Drake.  And five hours later we were on our way, with Alex, a friendly if slightly overweight Tico, who decided that I was his new novia.  We cruised along the river and through the mangroves and finally made it to Bahia Drake by mid-afternoon.  The next few days were taken up by various tourist -friendly activities.  We went snorkeling at Caņo Island, which was less then amazing after my experiences in Thailand and Australia, but fun nonetheless.  We went on a night hike with a charmingly dorky couple as our guides, pointing out bugs that they were way more excited about than anybody else on the walk.  But, I am proud to say, that I have taken yet another step in conquering my fear of bugs.  I, the biggest scaredy cat when it comes to creepy crawlies, who will scream and jump on her bed at the sight of a cockroach, held IN MY HAND a whip scorpian.  I was told that if it started to move up my arm towards my jugular to just let the guide know.  And donīt get me wrong, I was scared shitless, as you can see in pictures as I cover my neck with my free hand in hopes of warding off an attack on the jugular, but I did it and no one else would.  Our last full day in Bahia Drak we went hiking through the Corcovado National Park in search of the illusive Tapir.  After six hours of walking in circles in the blistering heat, the charm of the rainforest had pretty much worn off and I was more eager to see lunch than the odd animal our guide had us stopping every five seconds to listen and smell for.  And we did hear many stories of sightings nearby, and we did smell their cat pee odor quite frequently, but monkeys were about the only exciting wildlife that we spotted on our little trek.  At night Kelly and I retired early in our little hostel room, spraying ourselves with 40 deet and listening to symphonies of frogs and other night bugs, hoping that they would stay outside and not join us in our little room. 

And then we hopped on a couple puddle jumping planes and landed ourselves in a place so far from all of my experiences in Costa Rica that both Kelly and I were baffled beyond speach.  The second part of our trip we spent in the bizarre luxury of Tamarindo, a place that many people think of when they think of Costa Rica.  Which is strange, because most of the signs are in English and there were more pasty white gringos roasting themselves on the beach than Iīve seen in my entire three months in Costa Rica.  But it was a beautiful beach, and the condo, nicely lent to us by Mom and Dad, was a welcome luxury.  I mean, air conditioning AND cable!!!  A hot water shower that wasnīt a trickle, a pool right out our front door, and a kitchen where we could cook anything besides rice and beans!  For three days, as we worked on our tans, watched a nightly movie (in ENGLISH!!!!), cooked tastey dinners, watched sunsets, and drank wine, the stress of our normal lives melted away.  And while Tamarindo is not exactly the īrealī Costa Rica so to speak, it was sure a great escape from reality.  The last night, Kelly and I, now joined by another girl on our program named Lucy, drank cocktails as the sun went down, ate fresh fish, drank a lot of wine, and went out in search of a party.  We found it at the Mambo Bar where we danced salsa and listened to regatone with Ticos until the early morning.  And then, in a sleepy haze, we bounced our way along the legendarily bad roads of Costa Rica back to reality.  And though it would have been nice to stay in the dreamworld of snorkel trips, beach parties, and cable tv for just a bit longer, the real world called.  It was time to be Teacher once again and find the every day delights in a life that never ceases to amaze me.
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