So I know its been a pretty long time since I last posted. Sorry for that, I’ve just been real busy and it hasn’t been at the top of my priorities until after this past weekend. I’m going to give a short recap of the last month and then tell you about this past weekend. If you’re rushed on time, check out the Domincal weekend, Montezuma, and Tirimbina up to present. There all labeled.
HALLOWEEN – Since I last posted the week days have been more or less the same, minus some key nights like Dia de los Muertos and pizza night with Javier’s family, one epic Halloween party, and the national soccer game. A fellow Veritas student who has been living down here with his dad for about a year now decided to have a Halloween party for all the gringos and some Ticas as his dad’s “house”. I wasn’t planning on doing anything for Halloween to be honest, but since this offered me a new experience besides the normal bar scene, I decided to go.
Now this house wasn’t just any house, and would be better described as a mansion from those classic house party movies, located in Escazu, commonly known as the most wealthy parts of San Jose and the greater Costa Rica. The house came with dance floor, jacuzzi, back yard with slip’n slide, infinity pool, and an amazing view of San José. The night was a long one for everyone, being reliant on the two SUV’s the host hired to drive everyone back and forth, and the last car getting back around 430 in the morning.
I went for the free and easy costume of a lifeguard.
Día de Los Muertos – Later on that week, the majority of my friends from NAU went to our resident director’s house to celebrate Día de los Muertos with his family. They are from the south of Mexico, where this day is one of the most important of the year, so they went all out in preparing food, la ofrenda, and telling us all the ways Mexicans celebrate this day. Rosi made some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever had, and surprisingly I had never tried mole until that day (what’s with that abuela?).
Pizza Night – My last week day I would like to highlight was last Thursday, starting with a presentation of a fellow NAU graduate who participated in the NAU Abroad program with Javier over 7 years ago. After spending some time in Mexico and becoming perfectly bilingual with accent and all, he has become a poet and writer more or less, with a large concentration in politics and issues such as immigration. Later that night, we passed the evening making home made pizza’s at Javier’s house with his family (it’s always a luxury to have the opportunity to cook, so we take it whenever we can).
Soccer Game - Finally, the national soccer game against Guyana was great. I would like to point out that Costa Rica is definitely not renown for its soccer skills globally, but being a Latin American country the pride for their team still runs deep. This was a rare opportunity, because being ranked what they are and with their amount of support, Costa Rica almost never has the opportunity to host a national game, unless of course they play countries like Guyana, who are actually worse. It was the usual sporting event lack the beer inside the stadium (I believe selling alcohol inside of soccer stadiums is ilegal in most Latin American countries to discourage the regular brawls and physical heckling of players with food and trash). We won I think 7 or something, so it wasn’t much of a game, but at least it gave all of the fans to perfect the “wave”, which I have never seen work so well and so many times around in such a large stadium.
Monteverde – The weekends have been more traveling, seeing, experiencing, more traveling, and more experiencing. Monteverde, the classic cloud forest of Costa Rica, was the blood raising weekend. Besides the awesome cabinitas we stayed in overlooking the forest with a pretty amazing sunset in the background, the highlight of this weekend was the zip-lining. Pictures should do it justice.
Dominical – The next weekend we had nothing planned, so last minute two of my housemates and two of our friends from NAU and myself headed off to the tranquil surf town of Dominical. Dominical is a Pacific beach town more or less still untouched by the eco-tourism that’s bombarded Costa Rica, so it made for a real easy going weekend. We spent out days on the beach, body surfing, and on Saturday we walked to the water fall which of course had a rope swing. Although we had to trek back 4 km in a downpour, the whole experience was fun and had a sense of adventure for us, with no organization or planning needed. Friday night we had it all planned out to make rice with eggs, beans, and some vegies but of course the giant propane tank ran out. So we walked out onto the beach, started a fire, and made our food the old fashion way, minus the lighter and all the store bought food.
Montezuma – The next weekend the whole group went to yet another beach town called Montezuma. Two of my housemates and our friend Sam and I decided to enjoy our Friday night resting, saving the money of a hostel and a dinner, and wanted to sleep in our own beds rather than in a hot sticky hostel bed and left Saturday morning early, which turned out to be a great choice seeing how the Friday night bus broke down, took almost 10 hours in total, and they didn’t get to there nice and clean hostel beds until 12 that night. Anyways, after the bus, ferry, bus, and minivan ride we arrived to Santa Theresa by 10, checked into our hostel, and we were on the beach by 1130. And that sums up that day… beach, hanging, beach, and hanging. That evening we made the usual rice, beans, and something else and met up with some Ticos we had met earlier for a bonfire. These ticos were pretty new to the community, so hanging out with gringos was better than hanging out with nobody… But they were great company and we enjoyed ourselves by the ocean and stars.
Sunday we made our way over to Montezuma where we walked to the famous waterfall which was huge, hiked around the area, and napped and read in the afternoon. At this moment, the majority of the group decided to make the trek, but my housemates, some girls, and myself stayed the extra night since we had Monday off. And of course we didn’t want to bail on our adventure to the mysterious cemetery island. So that night, the five of us (minus a housemate who wasn’t feeling to hot) stocked up on the essentials, marshmallows and boxed wine, grabbed a cab, took it to a town in the middle of nowhere, and headed for the island. This cemetery island could only be reached when the tide was lowest, when a natural bridge is formed. We trekked about 1/3 of a mile out and found that we weren’t the only ones there. Like the full moon lit cemetery island the sunday before Halloween wasn’t enough, the entire time we were there a man stood alone off in the distance on the edge of the water. We did our quick walk through the cemetery, with probably about 25 or 30 graves and about half as many giant black vultures.
After that we embarked on our adventure back, about 4 miles through dirt road in the middle of nowhere. After passing the giant old tree we could walk through, we took a detour to make our marshmallows on the beach, where all but one of us ended up falling asleep. At about 2 o’clock in the morning we woke up and finished in about 45 minutes, crawling in our hostel beds knowing we were waking up at 530 to take the same van, bus, ferry, bus trip back to San Jose.
Almost there sorry for all the catch up.
Osteonal – After a weekend of relaxing staying back in San José, I had a field trip with my Environmental Impact and Social Development class. We went to a beach called Osteonal, which is one of the 8 beaches in the world where Arribadas happen, in which up to 500,000 Hadley turtles arrive over a 4-8 day period to lay millions of eggs. Unfortunately, we were one day early to see that, but we still got to see a mama turtle lay her eggs and help lots of baby turtles to the water. An overall gratifying weekend, plus we got private transportation!
Rafting and Tirimbina – This past weekend may have been my favorite weekend so far. When I found out we were going to be rafting the Sarapiqui river, I immediately hit up my friends at Tirimbina to see if I could bring some of my friends for the night. The jefe, Carlos, hooked us up with an amazing price so almost all of us decided to stay the night. Rafting was a good two hours of consistent rapids and getting wet, with as always an enthusiastic and funny guide. After that, we headed to El Chante where I had spent many a nights to eat one of the best lunches I’ve ever had with mountains of food (glad I figured that out after I spent 7 weeks there). We headed to Tirimbina, got our rooms (mine with Air Conditioning) and headed into the forest to give everyone an idea of what it looked like before entering in the night.
However, after the long day of waking up early, rafting in the sun, and then a few beers at lunch my housemates and two of the girls crashed. But it all worked out well anyways with those who were left standing. I ran into Emmanuel about to go out and catch bats for the tour, so the few of us left standing went out with him, helped him catch the bats, saw an armadillo, and convinced him to take us to the island where we were able to touch a sloth climbing on the bridge.
That night those who were still up with me went to El Chante with the other volunteers and investigadores along with Sergio and Emmanuel for some beers. The majority of the conversations were in Spanish, but everyone was able to hold there own and we had a jolly ol’ time.
Sunday we all woke up for our included breakfast of gallo pinto, eggs and all the works. With an incredible amount of luck, this day happened to be the one day of the year where Tirimbina opens its doors to all of the community for free, including the tours that I had not expected to do due to lack of money. We jumped in on the natural history tour with a Tica family and then went straight to the choc0late tour where they got to try all the steps of making chocolate as I have described in a previous post. This was definitely the icing on the cake. Some of my friends couldn’t stop thanking me for the incredible weekend, and I can’t express how good it felt to when today in class a few of them said it was there best weekend yet.
Everyone but Kelsey and I left on the 1 o’clock bus, and we stayed behind to just hand with my friends. One of the best parts of this weekend was that almost everyone was working on Sunday (minus Tati, Flaco, y Francini) so, although I don’t like to say it, if this was my last chance to visit Tirimbina I got to spend some time with all of my friends and say goodbye. It still is hard to think that I’ll be leaving such good friends, more like family, in a country so far away from me. When I was riding the bus home, watching the kids on the porch looking back at me, the man riding his horse down the side of the road, and the local men sitting outside the little market just bullshitting with each other, I was honestly imagining myself living out there, simply working in Tirimbina, walking into the forest every day, and everything just seemed right.
That said, now I’m back in the barred life of the city of San José, looking on to my next adventure. For those of you who don’t know, I plan to leave for Peru right after my family leaves to return back to the states. At the moment I have no definite plans, but I hope to make it to Bolivia and see what I can before returning back to the real life of the United States. I hope that I will meet people as genuine as my friends and have as great of a time and learn as much as I did as when I was in Tirimbina.
Thanks for reading. Like always, I’ll try to keep more up to date on my posts, but as always, no promises. Thanks for reading, or at least for looking at the pictures. Have a great week.