So the next day we got up, and ate some breakfast at an overpriced hotel in town. We never went back there after that. Like Marty said, it was much more expensive than we anticipated. It wasn’t quite as expensive as US prices, but higher than we had heard from our friends who had been there in years past. I imagine it has a lot to do with the fact that Costa Rica has become quite popular, not to mention our falling dollar and the Europeans who vacation there and drive the prices up. Our hotel was still quite cheap all things considered (bugs were a free, an added benefit). From then on, we had a breakfast at one of the local “soda’s”. Soda’s are usually family run and you can get pretty cheap, good Costa Rican food (breakfast, lunch and dinner). We were partial to this one Soda that was close and had great service. Just kidding about the service, the girls working there hardly smiled at us, but they did have two cute dogs.
Which brings me to my next topic – DOGS! Everywhere! Much like the Philippines, dogs roamed the streets, the beaches, the restaurants…except in the Philippines they pretty much looked the same (kind of like a dingo). However, in Costa Rica you had all types and practically every mix of breed. Some were pets, but most were wild – not wild in the sense that they were dangerous, just on their own. Dogs don’t live very long down there and aren’t viewed so highly like they are here in the US. Even though we never give table scraps to Tassie, we did down there. The dogs would beg, but not forcefully. I imagine they had learned the hard way what happens when they truly beg. Many had mange, or were hurt in some way and it absolutely broke my heart. I really love dogs. Although, as Bill pointed out, even though they may have a hard life, they also have a very fun life – most dogs would love the opportunity to run free, chase whatever, play in the surf, etc.
That day we also went to the beach so Marty and Bill could surf. I had intentions of taking a surf lesson, but honestly the waves were really big. I also envisioned some nice open water swim workouts, but there was no way it was going to happen in that water. So I bodysurfed the first day and got totally tossed around. I lost my hair tie so my hair was all in my face and then immediately after, the top of my bikini came undone!! So I’m trying to hold that up and get the hair out of my face while wave after wave knocked me over and under and all around. I wasn’t scared or anything – I’ve been in plenty of rough waters and am totally comfortable in the open water, but it started to get old so I made my way back to shore. I finally was able to retie my bikini and I headed up towards the beach with my fins in hand (Marty had bought me a pair to make body surfing easier). So now I’m in less than shin deep water, fins in hand, bikini righted, and directly in front of the one beach bar when a wave comes and completely takes me out! Very embarrassing! I scrambled up quickly and got out of there.
Later on we walked down to the house that Jamie and Judy were staying out. This place was sweet and right on the water! It was about a 25min walk for us which we did several times during the week, on a dusty dirt road without a sidewalk, but that’s how it goes in many countries. They also had a nice tide pool which us girls liked to sit in while the boys surfed or body surfed. The group of people down there was super fun and we had a real good time with everyone.
I think it was that night we went into the next town to find food. They had rented a Rav-4 so all 9 of us piled in there, quite a squeeze. We went to a Middle Eastern restaurant where the guy who served us was white but definitely had an accent. Someone asked him, “Are you German?” to which he replied, “No, the opposite…I’m Israeli!” Woops! That was a fun night although some people don’t remember much of it after downing too many Imperials.
We also went on a canopy tour which took us to the Montezuma waterfalls. This was very fun – you’re zipping along very quickly, with the jungle underneath and ocean in front of you. The one guide didn’t speak English very well, but he asked me if I was a cyclist after seeing my Livestrong tank top. I said yes and I found out that he was the current Costa Rican master’s national champion! He said some more things that I didn’t understand, but I’m guessing he was probably a pro when he was younger. I have no idea where he trains since most roads in the small cities are unpaved and he worked in Montezuma (which is a small unpaved, backpacker town). We did get a picture of his trainer – and never again should any of us complain about ours when you see his!!
Stopping during the canopy tour at the falls was nice and refreshing. We jumped into a deep pool and then the guys who were all braver (and dumber) then the girls jumped off the waterfall. This was VERY high and some of them walked away with bruises. No thank you. I dove in off some rocks and managed to split one of my contacts in two causing me much pain and suffering making the tour a little less fun. I finally fished out one part and got the other part out later in the day. My eye was not happy with me. I decided to wear my glassed from there on out.
We hung out in Montezuma a bit before and after our canopy tour, and then Marty, Bill and I went back there on Tuesday (the rest of the gang left on Monday). It’s a cool little city and I managed to get a neat handmade necklaces – but the prices! Sheesh, these people on the street were trying to sell things to us for $35! I can go to Target and get cool costume jewelry for less than that. And since I’m complaining, might as well talk about the water – like Marty said, a lot of sewage runs down the rivers into the ocean, and since Costa Rica just had a tropical storm go through the other week, much more sewage than normal was running into the water. This made for some bad smelling ocean and gave you the heebee jeebies about what you were swimming in. Gross.
Okay, time to wrap up because this is getting long and frankly, I’m tired of typing. All in all, Costa Rica was a fun, relaxing vacation, but I don’t see Marty and I going back there. There are other places we would rather check out, and I think we’re a bit spoiled after seeing so many awesome places when we traveled. I’m glad we went, nonetheless.
So, onto our return trip. We took a cab back to Tambor to catch our tiny flight back into San Jose. I had to go to the bathroom and the only thing at the “airport” was a portolet. I’ve been in thousands of them throughout my life with all the racing and really could’ve cared less. And it was locked up so I knew that random people weren’t using it and I thought it would be okay. I was wrong. The smell almost knocked me out when I went in there and then…there were MAGGOTS swimming in the toilet water!! I’m almost vomited on the spot. I have never seen that and never want to again. Little plane was fun, except for the very windy landing where we werepractically coming in sideways, then our flight out of San Jose was delayed because Miami International was closed (?) We figured we wouldn’t miss our connection since everything was bumped back, and we were right. Unfortunately, we didn’t get into Orlando until 11pm when were supposed to get there around 8, and then after waiting for the bags, and getting a shuttle to Bill’s car, we didn’t get home until 12:30. I had trouble falling asleep and then we had to get back up at 4:30 so we could go BACK to the airport for 6:20am flight into Raleigh. I think I got a total of 2.5 hours of sleep and a little shuteye on the flight back home. I was pretty tired yesterday but had to go into work anyways. I was planning on getting up to swim this morning (since I haven’t swam in almost 2 weeks, or biked…) but my eyes just would not open! I think I really needed to catch up on my sleep! So that’s it. Enjoy the pictures below. If I think of anything else to tell about our trip, I’ll just blog about it later :)
Hanging with the gang at their sweet house
In Montezuma before the canopy tour
In the back right, our guide's bike trainer!
All dressed up for the canopy tour
Waterfall the boys jumped off of
Hanging in the tide pool
More tide pool
Typical road in Costa Rica
Jamie with everyone's drink of choice
Hitching a ride into town for dinner in the back of truck
Shortcut to the beach
Marty taking an outdoor shower at the house
Cute little doggies at the local soda
Another professional beggar