Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Costa Rica Chica

Me, Colin & Sara - out in El Pueblo

Wednesday, January 11
Costa Rica here we come!! Unfortunately we did not have a direct flight and stopped in Miami and Panama before actually hitting up San Jose. Finally, we arrived at the hostel around 8:30pm. Sara had already checked in and we found her on the computer (free internet access) where she would spend much time while we were at the hostel. We freshened up a little, changed over some American dollars and headed out to El Pueblo, a town that is bars, clubs, restaurants and art galleries. Sara introduced us to the Costa Rican Guaro shot. Apparently, Costa Rican’s drink this rum shot like a tequila shot with some salt & lime. Perhaps I should have read this warning I found on a website before drinking: If you want to experience [Guaro] safely, the main thing to know is to not drink it straight like tequila: a couple of shots may numb various parts of your body you might have planned to use later in the day.
So, at every bar and club we visited we did shots of Guaro and drank a Pilsen beer. After about 6 or so bars I was pretty wasted, tripped, fell, bruised my leg and ripped my jeans. whoops!

Thursday, January 12
God was I hungover. I did not want to get out of bed. Luckily, we didn’t have anything planned so we all slept in and kind of wasted half a day. After getting up we wandered around San Jose, took a dip in the pool, ate some food, wandered around San Jose again and drank Pilsen. We met lots of cool people at the hostel throughout the day and made plans to go out with a bunch of people to Carnival. That plan got nixed so then we decided to go to the reggae bar in San Pedro. We started trying to leave for the bar at 9:30pm. Around midnight we actually made it into a taxi and over to the club. The club was nothing special so we took in the sights and were about ready to leave by 1:15am. This is when we discovered that Sara had left us to fend for ourselves (she was super drunk and didn’t realize). Normally, when out on vacation I always have the address of the place I’m staying at, it’s a good rule of thumb. Of course, in this instance I had no idea what the address was, just the name and the people in San Pedro had no idea where I was talking about. Luckily, I knew that we were by a Holiday Inn which I figured people would know. They did. We made it back to the hostel and stopped at a bar next door for a few more Pilsens.

Friday, THE 13th!!
We all managed to wake up at 7:30am so we could go on a rainforest canopy/white water rafting tour for the day. The drive took about two hours and we ended up somewhere by the Sarapiqui River. First up was the canopy tour which is a series of ziplines and platforms built through the trees in the rainforest. The three of us along with 2 guides and 2 of their co-workers zipped through the forest FAST. It was a definite thrill. We had a huge lunch prepared for us when we were done with the tour and the place we were at was like a tropical paradise complete with a butterfly reserve, exotic birds and hammocks to chillax in.
Next up, white water rafting. The rapids were only a class II so it was nothing too tricky but it was a beautiful day and the scenery was absolutely gorgeous. Our guide was really fun and made us spin in circles, crash into the banks, fall in the water and eat fresh pineapple and watermelon. It was really sad when the whole trip was over and we had to return to San Jose.
When we got back to San Jose, we got all our stuff together and headed over to the Coca-Cola bus station where we caught a bus to Sara’s town, Puntarenas. We dropped all of our stuff at her house, took showers and headed out for a night in this port town. Sara is going to school in Puntarenas so a lot of her friends were back in town for the start of the new semester. We also got to see the ocean for the first time and it was fantastic!

Saturday, January 14th
Today we were going to head to Jaco beach to go surfing. This time, we didn’t have an alarm to wake us up and we missed the 11:30 bus to Jaco. Sara then decided that she didn’t have the money to continue to travel with us so we hung around Puntarenas until the 4:30 bus when Colin & I left Sara to Jaco on our own. I was a little nervous since my Spanish isn’t so great but we made it there OK and even found a cool hostel. The hostel was booked up so Colin & I ended up staying in different rooms but that was totally cool. A bunch of people from the hostel were all hanging out in a common area outside so after we got some dinner and a 6-pack (of Pilsen) we sat down and chatted with the other travelers. Most of them were lucky enough to be spending months in Costa Rica. I was pretty jealous! I think around 11pm or so everyone decided to head out to Monkey Bar which was a place close by. It was PACKED to the brim with Ticos and tourists alike. The DJ was really good and everyone was having a great time. Eventually, Colin & I had to leave since we were waking up at 6am to go surfing!

Sunday, January 15th
6am – ugh, so early in the morning but it was time for SURFING!!!! We got up, got ready and then found out we couldn’t rent surfboards until 7:30am so we went out and got some breakfast. When we got back around 7:15 we were able to pick up some boards and we walked the ½ block to the ocean. There weren’t too many people on the beach and no one else was surfing. The waves were gnarly and strong. I got my ass kicked pretty bad a couple of times when I fell off my board. We also both got sunburned even though we had put on sun tan lotion. After a bunch of good rides, a couple of hard falls, bruising my chin & getting stung by something, I headed out of the water after 10am. Around 10:30 the waves weren’t too good anyway. It turns out that the current had shifted recently and brought a whole bunch of garbage and sea creatures into the beach area so a lot of people were getting bitten by crabs and stung by man-o-wars. I’m glad I didn’t know that before I went out!
We went out to lunch with some of the guys at the hostel and when we returned it started raining. January is the dry season in Costa Rica so it was weird for them to get so much rain. After the storm, I took off on my own in search of postcard stamps and a look around the town.
Most of the people at the hostel had left and those of us who remained were leaving Monday so we all hung out in the common area outside. I finally went to bed a midnight since we had to catch the bus to San Jose in the morning.

Monday, January 16th
7am – woke up, got ready and headed to the bus station. Our bus to the San Jose airport was leaving at 8am. Around 10am we got to the airport, checked in, went through security and finally ate some breakfast. Our non-stop flight home left at 1:30pm. Bye Costa Rica!! I’ll miss you!!


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