Monday, 2 August 2010

Adventures in Costa Rica (rubbish title but I'm running out of ideas!)

¡Holaaaaa Amigooossss! ¿Como estan? Welll as promised a little post birthday blog. My week at home was lovely and it was nice that mum got to meet my Tico family and the americans, she had some Spanish lessons with my teacher and learnt why I love living there. We went to Coca Cola (yes I know, funny name) bus station last monday to catch the bus to Quepos only to miss it, followed by us rocking up to the hostel only for it to be full... lets just say things weren't on our side that day but all was dandy, we were in Quepos. So obviously quickly settled back into the routine of going to the beach, have a spanish lesson, followed by lieing on the beach for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. However as my running trainers had arrived with Mum I was desperate to get them on and get out running, I have no idea why I thought I would be able to go 3 months without running because I hardly survived three weeks. Let me just take a moment to explain the bus ride from Quepos to the beach as i feel this is a detail I have yet to explain. It costs 24p, it goes every half an hour (Tico Time) and takes about 10-15mins to get to the beach, it takes this long because there is a fricking great hill in the way. When I mean hill think of the incline and then double the steepness... maybe even triple it, followed by doubling the length. When you think you're to the top you twist around yet another sharp bend only to see it climb a little steeper and go a little further. So naturally this was the very first place I headed for with my trainers. I'm not going to lie, I felt like I was going to be sick, or faint, or both. Because you need to remember I am in a tropical climate as well, around 30 degrees with heavy rain storms everyday, I can't remember the humidity levels but they're high. Theres a loop. I learnt, thanks to my Spanish teacher pointing it out on the bus one day on the way to class. Basically once you get to the top of the hill (although I feel a more accurate description would be mountain) you take a right and head down an equally steep loose stone track, I haven't fallen over yet, but then I've only been up there three times so far. I am absolutely confident I am going to go flying at least once before the end of the summer. Anyway back to the running, when you turn back for Quepos down this track the view is simply breath taking (ha ha, if there was any breath left to take after running up that hill) to the left I can see the coast stretching up towards Nicaragua in the distance, the sky almost purple, the waves crashing the shores of western Costa Rica, to my right mountains, beautiful clouds and infront of my, nestled at the bottom of this mountain that I am running down, my little village, Quepos. I LOVE RUNNING!! So yeah I took myself on this loop followed by exercises down on the beach front in Quepos, never have I recieved so many cat calls etc for looking so terrible. Following this little exercise session I could no longer walk for the rest of the week, I kind of waddled, a bit like a duck, it was so painful. So this is my new training plan, I have six weeks after I finish travelling to devote to my Spanish, lying on the beach in my hammock... and my fitness. Bring it on!

Wednesday night Quepos disappeared under water for a little while, we went out for dinner and in the time it took us to eat some salad and fish the centre had gone. We waded, nearly to our waists up the street to get back home, it was rediculous. Anyhoo the next day we only got half way to Manuel Antonio before we were all told to get off the bus and walk. There were land slides, and the road had disappeared. It had been replaced with a hole about 4-5 metres across and deep. The three of us trekked down to the beach for lessons marvelling at one nights work from the rain. It was a little alarming! Tony warned me that what we had planned for my birthday might not work because where we were planning to go was bound to have had worse problems than home. He wasn't wrong, Thursday night was another night of storms and the village called down to say there was no chance of us getting through. So my birthday was another day of go to the beach, have a spanish lesson, lie on the beach. It was such an amazing birthday. We had to go back to collect the cake, I had ordered a cake on one of the days before, amazingly it was nearly what I had ordered, it even had Feliz Cumpleaños on it! I took it round to my host familys house and then headed to the internet to speak to my Pitts cottage family in England. It was soooo goood to talk to them and even see them on the camera, but I did wish i had a magic wand to wave them all out here. I had a quick shower and we went over to my host family for a tea party, Edith had prepared a feast, the most amazingly yummy salad ever and lasange, I was positively over excited about it, followed by cake. It fitted perfectly, the Americans were leaving the following day so they were able to be there too. It was so nice having such a fun and happy mix of people from all over the world with different languages brought together for my birthday. I felt very lucky. After a lot of giggling and laughter I said fairwell to the Americans, the last time I would see them for a long time they were a little sad, I translated the card Edith had written to them, which made them even more sad followed by more hugs, I quietly said goodbye and slipped out to my next party. Bambu Jam! :-) Nearly at the top of the hill/mountain that I now run up is an open air bar with live music, a place I love. I met Tony and we headed to a bar in town to chat about my day and have a couple of beers and Birthday Gauro (i think thats what its called) before heading to Bambu Jam. My salsa dancing was rubbish, it turns out that leaving a couple of weeks between my salsa lessons and going out is not a good idea. We met this really nice Russian girl and guy from Southern California and it turned out her birthday was just two days before so we all got excited about that and had another Birthday Gauro to celebrate us having our birthdays. They were visiting just for 4 days but it was good to have met them. The Bambu Jam party came to an end and a few of us headed back to Quepos and another place where we found Jonny and danced for a while, we had such a fun evening and it was nice to chat to everyone and realise that I really was in such a friendly place, surrounded by such warm and welcoming people who all really do want you to have a good time and to be happy.

I had two hours sleep, because Mum needed to see the park the next morning. While in Bambu Jam the night before I had organised with one of Tonys friends to meet at the park entrance at 8am, yep, that did mean being up at 6am. Soo we went to the national park that has been on my dorrstep ever since I have arrived but I have failed to actually go in. It was beauuttiffuulllll! and soo funny to watch the racoons and monkeys steel lunch pack after lunch pack from the unsuspecting gringos on the beach. he he hee! After the park we wondered down the beach to the other end where everyone hangs out to have my first surf lesson with jonny. Lets just say its not as easy as England and I am glad Jonny is the life guard because I did feel a little out of my depth, however he kept telling me to not be nervous, that I was a natural and that I need to stop thinking and just do it. So by the end I was surfing practically every wave, he has warned that next lesson will be harder, my knee, which has been skinned and is multi coloured is a little concerned for the iminant difficult surf lesson, but I am sure we'll be ok... I hope!

Anyway after that we said goodbye to Manuel Antonioa nd Quepows for a while and in the morning were up bright and early for the bus to Jaco. We joined forces with a Dutch couple who seemed to have planned everything so well they even knew where they were going to wait for coffee. Although they hadn't thought of the toilet had they... no. That would be the moment where Lucy stepped in and led the way to Subway where we marched in and used the clients only toilets, me claiming that we were devoted clients of their Taunton and Holland branches. Not too sure that was the best line but we made our quick exit and headed for the boat. It was a speed boat, with an Italian dude at the wheel wearing a slightly camp hat with two helpe3rs who were immensly strong. They seemed to carry two people backpacks at a time, I quietly stood at the back as they did this display of strength, waiting with my pack wondering whether they would manage another bag alongside mine. They didn't. Infact the struggled as they loaded it impressively onto their shoulders and asked "what on earth did I have in my bag, my boyfriend?" We laughed and headed out through the crasheding waves to climb aboard the speed boat. Yep ladies and gentlemen you heard correctly, spped boat. And I discovere yesterday very quickly that my tummy is not a fan of travel by speed boat. Luckily I have a strong stomach and mind so wasn't ill but i sure did feel ill! It was more than worth it though, we saw two turtles, as the italian skipper put it "loving turtles, stuck together for six hours" We ruined their party and headed onwards only to find about 10 dolphins jumping in the waves and playing, I must say I was pretty bloody excited! Followed by not just one whale but a whale and her baby - we were incredibly lucky and crashed through teh "calm" sea towards our destination, Montezuma. Not quite as we expected, it was a tiny place but with a lovely atmosphere, after trekking up the sand to the town we headed off down the main dirt track towards our hostel, Hotel Lucy, where they were very excited to see I was called Lucy. We spent the afternoon wandering round soaking up the laid back atmosphere and had the yummiest pizza everrrrr!! We sat in the hammocks in Hotel Lucy, where it is literally on the beach, the waves crashing up we watched the storm raging out to sea when i noticed a twister. Steadily it grew, and grew, and grew until I was concerned enough to ask the dude at the desk if a) it was a twister b) if it was a normal occurance and c) whether we needed to RUNNNNNN!!! he calmly said yes and that it was a lot bigger than normal before turning around, promptly loosing his cool calm collected self and got on the phone to someone, only to rush back out and stare at it, looking very concerend while gabbling away. Thankfully after a while it disappeared and we weren't about to fall victim to a big menacing storm so headed off to bed.

The next morning we left the surfers paradise (yeah if you're looking for a surf place in Costa Rica, put this one on the list!) by the more relaxed route of ferry because I could not face a return by speed boat. The ferry was lovely and we tucked into bread which mum had ordered with her new spanish skills and took loads of photos. Another couple of buses and we are back in San Jose for the night, going to dump a load of stuff and head north for the volcanos and Monte Verde cloud forest, ziplines etc. Should be a fun few days but I have now been typing for far tooo long and need to go eat. I hope you are all happy and smilely and loving life in England, if not come here. Muchos love people xxxxxxx

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