Not really roughing it.

Trip Start Jan 22, 2006
Trip End Jun 23, 2009

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Where I stayed
Arenal Backpackers Resort

Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Saturday, April 15, 2006

I made it to the Jeep-boat-jeep tour with plenty of time to spare. We (a Canadian girl and I) loaded in the minivan (not quite as rustic as I had thought) and were off... to go pick up a lot more people. Eventually the van was packed and we were winding our way up and down the mountains that surround Monteverde. The views were fantastic! Then it was on to the boat to cross Lago Arenal. It was a beautiful boat ride with a view of the volcano (at least the bottom of it... the top was covered by clouds). Then back in a minivan and on to La Fortuna. We dropped off a family at a super fancy hotel/resort and everyone kind of snickered when the driver said "Arenal Backpackers"... Yep, that's me! I was suprise to find that my friend Maria (see San Juan del CRAP entry) had arrived before me. With the start of Semana Santa, she thought it would take her all day to get there. We started our La Fortuna adventures by going swimming in the hostel swimming pool... yes, my hostel has a swimming pool. I love Costa Rica hostels! Yes, it was a bit more expensive than I had been paying (a wooping $10), but sometimes you just need a little luxury. We also met our new roommates. Suzie (a bubbley Australian girl), Kurt (a nice Swiss guy who came there with Maria) and Emily (a not so interesting English girl). The first thing Emily does when she walks up, after I gave her a smile and a hi, was start complaining about leaving her swimming costume (I love how the English call them costumes :) in her last hostel. I try and joke around with her about how I really like English terms like costumes, and trosers and pants (underwear), but she was just not having it. Then I tried to get her to smile in other ways but it was not happening. Finally she left. Maria and I then headed into town to eat at La Parada (which was suggested by our ultra-nice receptionist) and work on the internet. Later that night I met everyone for dinner at La Parada and a new Austrian girl was with them named Luna. As we talked I asked her how she could afford to ride her motercycle around the world (that is her plan), and she told me she was the Princess of Austria. I stopped listening before I she said that she was just kidding, so the whole dinner I thought we were eatting with Royalty! I mentioned it to Maria and she almost peed her pants laughing before she told me that Luna was joking. I am so gullible.

The next morning Maria had wanted to go to the waterfall, however, a killer headache put a stop to that. Instead, we headed down to La Parada for breakfast and I went to the internet to organize my round the world ticket stuff, cause today was the deadline for my reservations. I was worried that the money wouldn't transfer in time, but all was okay and I made my first money wire. So now I have flights that get me to New Zealand, Australia and Kuala Lumpur... it was way cheaper than buying them seperate. Maria and I then had a big lunch at La Parada, before heading back to the hostel for our jungle hike/hot springs tour. We also met a new roommate, Alajandra from Argentina. She was super nice and I talked to her a while, before we all headed out on our tours. Turns out Alajandra was with a different tour group. So we said see ya later and Suzie, Maria, Emily and I were off. As we drove toward the trailhead, Susie and Emily were talking about Alajandra and somehow the conversation turned to me being scarcastic, and how if English isn't your first language scarcasum doesn't translate. I was shocked! First of all I had no idea when I was being scarcastic, and when I would joke around with Alajandra it was about me and with a big smile and laugh. As we stopped on the side of the road to see a sloth, I told Maria about it and she was a bit offened... English isn't her first language and she understands scarcasum. We arrived at the trailhead and started our walk. We were a group of about 9 women, who all asked very interesting questions. It was a great hike. The forest then opened up to the base of the volcano (clouds covered the top). We were able to see big hills that were created from the lava flow from the last explosion and a beautiful sunset. Once back in the tour bus heading to the lava view point, the sunset was a bright red. Emily said "red at night shelters the night, red in the morning shelters the morn" (or something like that... help me out English friends). And I was like, What was that? I have never heard that and wanted to know where it came from and what it ment and everything... cause I thought it was interesting. Susie chimed in saying it was an old English saying, and as I was saying "oh", Emily was like "yeah, an American wouldn't understand". My heart sank. I was so caught off guard. She was just so rude and I had no idea why. What did I do to her? I just decided that I was going to try and be nice to her, but also try and avoid her. My evening changed at the volcano lookout point. First of all, as we stood there in the dark looking up at the black sky, all of a sudden big rivers of bright red lava would shine out of the dark and flow down the side of the volcano. You could see the red hot rocks flying through the air and tumbleing down the side. It was so amazing! Then the little Costa Rican girl next to me struck up a conversation. We talked the whole time we were there. She was visiting with her aunt during Semana Santa. She had traveled a bit and wants to go to France. I told her I had been there, only Paris... and that is when I found out that Paris and Country are pronounced almost exactly the same in Spanish. It was very confussing, but we got a good laugh out of it. She made my day! We then headed to the hot springs. They are built up real fancy and we felt like we were sneaking in somewhere... we are just dirty backpackers. The pools were really hot and very relaxing. They even had a swim up bar, where Maria and I splurged and got $5 drinks. Once back at the hostel I was exhausted and just wanted to go to bed.

The next morning Susie and Emily left for Moteverde (thank god). Maria, Alajandra and I had breakfast at La Parada, before heading up to the waterfall. We got our tickets and looked out on the viewing platform, before heading out on a little hike. Our guide on the volcano hike told us about a crater lake that was about a 2 hour hike up too... and we wanted to see it. So after recieving veague directions (take a right after the water tower) we headed out. The road eventually ended and we had to go through a gate to continue on. But when we asked some men on horse back, we figured the 'no tresspassing' sign was just for show. We then came around a corner and the trail started heading up hill. We hiked along and sweat buckets before we entered the cloud forest and the tempurature cooled off a bit. We also hiked a bit with a Colombian guy, who was pretty nice and had walked all the way from town... 3 1/2 hours. Anyway, after hiking for 2 1/2 hours, we finally made it to the top... then we had to head back down in order to get to the lake, since it is in a crater. This part was really scetchy. It was really steep and super muddy and slick. If you lost your footing you would have slide all the way down the hill... which all though fun... would really hurt! Maria gave up trying to stay clean and sat down in the mud and made a controled butt slide to the bottom. I managed alright. I so hot and sweaty and very excited to get in the crater lake for a nice cooling swim. Alajandra jumped in too, however, Maria passes cause she didn't want to change into her suit... weird-o. We then had to climb back up the muddy slope and down the volcano. Once back at the entrance to the waterfall, we were so tired that if we hadn't already bought our tickets, we would have skipped it all together. But we walked all the way down and Alajandra and I went swimming again in the stream. The coolest part was floating on your back, looking up at the cloud forest and mountains that surrounded the valley. It was breath taking and made me smile and laugh with joy. Awesome! We then had to drag our tired bodies back up the hill, while being escorted by a stray dog with a big bloody gash on his head... he didn't seem to care that it was oozing. Yuk! We then headed back to the hostel to clean up before having another great dinner at La Parada... we love that place. We were all alseep by 9:30, we were so tired.

Maria took off this morning at like 6 am, I then packed my stuff up and had breakfast with Alajandra before jumping on a 12 o'clock bus to San Jose. I wasn't even sure the bus would show up, due to Semana Santa... but it did and I am off, again.
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