Monteverde, Puerto Viejo, Monteverde

Trip Start Mar 20, 2009
Trip End Jun 03, 2009

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bah! I am so bad at this blogging thing!
I know I promised that I would write soon, but itīs hard to pay for internet when you know if you just wait a little longer you get it for free!
So, the last 2 weeks, eh?
Well, since I last wrote not much else happened in Monteverde. I mostly hung out with my Tico family at their house. We did all head to Curtisī house for some fresh tea, cookies, and a few games of Uno. Curtisī family is super nice.
Two weeks ago was Charlas at the school (Parent/Teacher Interviews). Our group decided to help out the school by painting the recycling bins. They turned out really well! Iīve been trying my hand at art lately and I drew all of the animals on the bins (with everyone helping to paint). Iīve decided to give up teaching and instead start my career as an artist...
Thursday evening we went to Monteverde Melodies, the musical that the grade 6 teacher wrote. It was so cute! The two kids in my family were in it and I couldnīt stop taking pictures of them! Fun!
I slept at Brittīs place that night and her family was kind enough to share with us that it is now scorpion season and all of the stories they have. I havenīt spotted one yet, but I am currently knocking on wood...
The next day we took off for San Jose. We were all so tired so we didnīt do much other than head to the grocery store. Luckily for us they were giving out free shots of whiskey and Coke so we all got a few of those in to help us relax. Nothing like drinking in the supermarket!
We met up with the Pedrogoso group and compared stories of our homes and schools. It was great to see everyone again.
The next day we headed to Puerto Viejo (de Talamanca, there are two Puerto Viejoīs). It is a lovely beachside town on the coast of the Caribbean, complete with many Rastafarians. We stayed at Cashew Hill Jungle Cottages. It is a very safe accommodation located a few hundred metres from the main road, surrounded by jungle. They have about 7 cottages and we took up two of them, Canopy Cottage and Todo Bien Cottage. Todo Bien was huge with two bathrooms and a large kitchen and eating area. Canopy Cottage is smaller and an open air concept. The only thing separating it from the jungle was a steel fence (Although the bedrooms and bathroom were rooms). All of the property is bright and colourful, and as I said before, safe and secure. The property is gated and locked, then within the property are two English Mastiffs (enormous), two Dobermans, and a miniature pincher, then we had our locked gate and our bedrooms locked. Plus it was so relaxing in our kitchen to lie in the hammock and read or chat with others. They even had a salt-water pool to enjoy if the beach felt a little two far. Definitely canīt complain especially since the cost was about the same per person as our hostel in San Jose! We loved it so much that we are thinking about returning again later!
The week was uber relaxing! We spent the majority of our time lying on the beach (Playa Negra, Playa Cocles, Punta Uva), by the pool or in a hammock. We went boogie boarding and played in the waves at Playa Cocles, snorkelled at Punta Uva, and biked between beaches. We spent a ton of time shopping in town and in the markets (our favourite store was LuluBerlu were local artists displayed their creations). We made a trek to the Animal House where there is a couple that nurses hurt animals in order to return them to the wild. There we got to hold/pet snakes (but not the poisonous ones obviously), possums, kinkajous, sloths, and baby howler monkeys.
Matt, Maddi, Annie and I splurged one night and got Caribbean cooking lessons from a local girl. OMG SO DELISH!! By far the best meal Iīve had in Costa Rica! Annie wrote down the instructions so maybe one day Iīll try to recreate it...although I think Iīve said that before...
We also did do a bit of partying, mostly our private dance parties at the house and at Bar Maritzah and Johnnyīs. Johnnyīs was fun as it was right on the beach. Weīve attempted some salsa and I hope to learn more! As it was Semana Santa we were told that the town can get pretty crazy. It wasnīt too bad from what we saw but I think it got crazier after we left. On Thursday all bars closed and the restaurants were not allowed to sell alcohol. That just meant that everyone bought drinks from the back of peopleīs trucks and partied on the street! Pretty fun. Friday night at midnight they could reopen but we all had to head to bed early.
Saturday, we were up early and off on our rafting adventure with Exploradores Outfitters on the Rio Pacuares. Holy smokes was that a good time! We were treated to a delicious breakfast before heading off. Annie, Matt, Curtis, and I were in one boat with a couple from Michigan, Britt, Lindsey, and Brittīs friend Caitlin were with a couple from Toronto (the Pedrogoso group had to leave earlier and did the trip the day before). We shot soooo many wicked sets ranging from Class I-IV. Intense! My only problem of the day was that my contacts were not working so well for me and were burning. I fixed them a bit at lunch (again delicious!). More sets in the afternoon and they other group dumped once (although apparently their guide did it on purpose). Our group did super well and didnīt get stuck once. I think everyone had a great time, although most of them are now nursing some intense burns. Iīm not quite sure how I avoided burning but I did!
Then it was off to San Jose (our rafting company is the only one that picks up and drops off in different places on request, very handy). The next day we all went back to Monteverde. Sadly on the bus a European man had his bag stolen. To be fair, he did leave it on the bus despite many warnings that you should never do so.
Monteverde is pretty much the same. My family also went away for the week so they had adventures to share as well. There was no school on Monday so I took Sofia and Fabricio to Extremo Canopy tour  to watch the others on the ziplines. The plan didnīt work so well so we just waited. Other than that itīs just been hanging out at home!
Yesterday after school we headed to the Strangler Fig. The others had all been there before but Brittīs friend Caitlin whoīs visiting hadnīt as well as myself so we went to climb it. Strangler Figīs are trees that grow around a host tree slowly strangling it until it dies. This eventually leaves a hollow centre as the host tree rots and decomposes. There is one by the school that has grown in a way that you can actually climb up the inside of it. Super neat! Unfortunately, I didnīt get very high as I am pretty afraid of heights but I did well for me!
After we went to Brittīs host familyīs home. They host the Santamariaīs Night Walk. The girls all headed off into the night with our guide Adrian to see what we could find in the night time. It was really awesome. We found a ton of interesting plants and animals and Adrian was a great guide. Some of what we found includes: 2 GIANT tarantulas, 5 sloths, a coati, many sleeping birds (including a very rare bird that Britt spotted that has a thin tail, our guide had never seen one before and was very excited), mating beetles, salamanders that looked like ET, a few lizards including the largest type in the area that is difficult to spot, lots of bugs, army ants who attacked us (Britt got 7 bites, I was lucky and didnīt get any), an armadillo, these neat bugs who have headlights, lots of other bugs, plus many plants and trees. I wish I could actually remember the names of things. I think Iīll have to get myself a book of Costa Rican plants and animals to help me out.
I guess thatīs it for now! Iīm back to school for three more weeks! Weīll see how it goes!
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