11.26.2002

Costa Rica, Part V

After returning from horseback riding, we of course returned to the sunset bar for our last night of viewing. We were definitely in the mood for pizza this night, so after a few drinks, we walked down to a pizza place not far from our hotel we noticed several times as we'd pass. Maybe we were just craving pizza or something, but it was close to some of the best pizza I've ever had. Unable to continue drinking, we hobbled back to our room to enjoy the view from the hottub on our balcony.

After lounging around the next day, we finally checked out and were taken to the small airport to fly back to San Jose. I'm not really sure it this was an airport, it wasn't really more than a road in the middle of a small grass field. Both our mouths dropped when we saw we'd be riding in what seemed the smallest plane ever invented. The pilot was very reassuring, so much so that Sweet Dave actually put away his barf bag and attempted to sleep. The view was spectacular and it was interesting and a little bit weird to be able to see what the pilot was seeing and doing, being as he was two seats in front of me.

We landed and were reunited with our great driver, Jorge. He took us back to our first hotel for our last night. We were planning on possibly going into the city, but after relaxing a bit, decided against it. We instead walked down to a very cheesy souvenier shop and bought one last thing. We also had our last meal and started getting quiet thinking about leaving the next day.

We were scheduled to be picked up to go to the airport the next day a little after noon. As usual, we were up by 7, pouting and quiet because we didn't want to leave. When just a 4 or 5 days before we couldn't believe the amount of time left, then now it had flown by so fast. We did leave, though, returning home by 10:30 that night with about 18 loads of laundry to do.

What an experience.

plane.jpg Our teeny tiny plane.

The End.

11.25.2002

Costa Rica, Part IV

We awoke early the next morning, ready to hike through the national park and see some more of the rainforest. We had been told earlier in the week to wear pants on the hike, but thankfully the guide suggested otherwise and we wore shorts. We were accompanied also by a guy from New York who was staying in another hotel. The guy literally talked non-stop for the next four hours. I'm not kidding.

After acquiring the amazing ability to tune the other tourist out, we were treated to an awesome tour full of iguanas, lizards, ants on steroids, sloths, monkeys, crabs, birds, and various other unknown noisy animals. We were also treated to the sweetest, freshest pineapple we've ever tasted while watching several white-faced monkeys watch us. When we were close to leaving the park, the four of us were stopped dead in our tracks by the sounds of a jaguar/lion/seal animal not too far away from us. Sweet Dave almost ran and I stood there with my mouth open looking at the tour guide hoping he knew what exactly it was. He did know what it was and in fact, turned us around and headed toward the noise. Come to find out, it was a small, contemplative howler monkey. We found a whole family of them very close to a road traveled pretty often by park vehicles.

That afternoon we were finally able to do some shopping after catching a quick bite in downtown Quepos. As a matter of fact, we were able to just about knock out all of our shopping in one store. And after napping for a little while, we headed back up to the sunset bar for our nightly take of the view. After a few hours, we walked down to a bar down the road whose main attraction was the 1980s huge C130 airplane that had been converted into a kitchen for the restaurant/bar. The place was no doubt owned by an American and we later found out a sore subject for the locals who considered it very tacky. Then came the torrential downpour. We tried to wait it out with another beer, but finally gave in and paid a taxi to shuttle us home.

The next day was scheduled to be our horseback riding tour to some waterfalls. The talkative guy from the day before informed us that it would be an excellent tour, so we were definitely looking forward to this one too. After a short ride to the stables, we were assigned our horses and on our way to the falls. Along the way our great tour guide pointed out plants that we were most likely very familiar with but had never seen. After some pretty funny trotting episodes, about an hour of being on a horse, Sweet Dave was now walking like an original cowboy once we got to the falls.

The water was very cold, especially after being used to our hot springs and heated pools, but I managed to get in and get used to it pretty quickly. Then our tour guide told us we were going to climb the waterfall to get to a larger one above it. Climb the waterfall. Right. I thought he was either kidding or crazy. He then grabbed our camera and started climbing, and we reluctantly followed him. The whole way I'm thinking, "I can't believe I'm climbing a waterfall. No one is going to believe this." When we finally reached the top waterfall Sweet Dave and I sat down on some rocks for a picture and a very relaxing natural massage from the falls on our backs and legs. We then climbed back down and jumped off the last rock into the pool that was freezing cold just minutes before.

After drying off, we got back on the horses and were led back to the stable. There we were treated to fresh coconut right off the tree and were able to see many other exotic plants. We were then shuttled to the tour operator's house for a nice, relaxing lunch to end the tour where Sweet Dave shared his ice cream and I shared my beer with a toucan.

monkey.jpg One of the monkeys watching us eat.

howler.jpg One of the howlers.

sloth.jpg A sleepy sloth.

...last part, next time...

11.22.2002

Secret Santa



Time's running out, don't forget to sign up!

11.21.2002

Costa Rica, Part III

After three nights at the volcano, we were ready to head to the beach for the rest of the vacation. After four days of local Costa Rican food, we were also getting the craving for hamburgers or pizza. The weird thing about eating in Costa Rica is the menus are either local food or American food. So after four days of rice, chicken, and beans, we were definitely ready for a change. I'm really not sure how the locals do it - I guess they're not used to so many choices.

The drive took about 5 hours with a stop at a great place along the water for lunch. Sweet Dave and I both decided on local beef dishes for lunch and were happy with our choices. This was our first view of the Pacific Ocean - it was very pretty. Being used to the flat beaches of Florida, it was a nice change to see cliffs, rocks, and forest right up to the edge of the water.

We had pretty high expectations with the last hotel we chose in Quepos. We had reserved a suite at a hotel boasting a 270 degree view of the water. When we were lead to our room we definitely weren't disappointed. The view was absolutely breathtaking. So much so that I almost fell down the steps because I was looking out in awe of everything. Our room was just as amazing.

Luckily also, we arrived about an hour before sunset, so after we finally stopped saying "Wow.", we headed up to the sunset bar and started saying, "Woah." We met the guy who would be our bartenter for the next three nights and got a lot of advice of what to do while we were there. We got so excited about all the tours he was talking about, that we went up to the front desk that night and made reservations for the next two days, a hike at Manuel Antonio National Park and horseback riding to the waterfalls.

coati.jpg Our breakfast friend.

roomview.jpg The room view.

barview.jpg The sunset bar, at sunset.

to be continued...

11.20.2002

Costa Rica, Part II

There was this weird phenomenon occuring as we were trying to go to sleep this first night. Our room was positioned about 40 feet away from the main bar, restaurant, and pool which we of course didn't mind. There was this loud chatter of people like there was a party going on at the hotel. I opened the back door of our room which faced the bar area, and (here's the phenomenon) the volume of the noise went down. I opened and closed the door a few more times to make sure what I was hearing was correct, and it surely was. Our room was positioned in the sound vortex which amplifies sound in closed spaces. That was odd.

We awoke to tropical birds singing and chirping and a wake up call of horrible Latin music blaring. We had to get ready relatively fast as our driver would be there in 30 minutes to take us to our next stop. We did have time, however, to experience our first Costa Rican meal of rice and beans for breakfast. I was not too excited about this, but as it turns out, it was very good. And definitely filling and energizing.

Jorge had some surprises for us along the way to our next stop, Arenal Volcano. He first surprised us with stops at two enormous waterfalls. The first we were able to walk right up to. The water was so loud you had to yell to be able to hear eachother. The second waterfall was at a stop about 30 minutes later from the top of a mountain across the way. I also, terrified, let a tarrantula crawl around my arms here. The last stop before our hotel was to an iguana hangout. We dropped bananas on the ground and the iguanas came crawling down the trees to the water for some food. All except one. He decided to jump from limb to limb and almost missed, so he stayed hanging by his front claws on a limb about a foot above the river. We coudn't decide if he was a scared of falling or trying to stay motionless so his friends wouldn't see him and laugh.

To get to our hotel, we had to drive completely around the volcano we were staying next to. The mountain was lush and green on the side we drove to, then gray and dark after we drove around to the side with lava flow. Our hotel, we learned, was approximately 2 miles from the volcano although the clouds and lush secondary forest made it seem further.

While there we visited the local hot springs several times where the pools were an average of 46 degrees celsius. We also hiked to the lava walls of an eruption from a few years ago and once night fell, were able to see lava flowing down the volcano. One amazing part of the hike was the difference in terrain which changed about every 200 yards. We went from a tall grass field, through secondary forest, to a lava wall with in 15 minutes of hiking. As we were walking you could hear the rumble of the volcano every few minutes.

waterfall.jpg Waterfall stop #1.

waterfall2.jpg Waterfall stop #2.

iguana.jpg One of the iguanas.

volcano.jpg The volcano and Sweet Dave.


more to come...

11.19.2002

Costa Rica, Part I

The purpose of catching the 6:30am flight was so we could get to Costa Rica and a resonable enough hour to be about to spend some time in San Jose the first day we were there. But Sweet Dave and I both weren't happy about waking up at 4:30. We both usually get to work pretty early, but there's just something about that extra hour that makes the alarm clock a good candidate for a new punching bag.

The flights were relatively uneventful, good food, good drinks, nice views. And we were in San Jose by 1:30pm - little did we know it started pouring outside the minute we got to the immigration line. We met a couple in line that seemed to have a similar itinerary so we were looking forward to seeing them and possible hanging out a little. After trying to understand what immigration was saying about us, getting our passports stamped, and grabbing our luggage, we were off on our exciting adventure. We were greeted at the exit by our new friends Jorge, our driver for the week, and his nephew Stephan. Jorge seemed to be in his early forties with almost perfect English. We tried a little Spanish out on him and he complimented us on our efforts.

After about a 15 minute drive, we were at our hotel looking at eachother both thinking, "Wow, were really in Costa Rica!". There's just something about being so far away from home that's very exciting to me. Since it was raining we did have to stay in the hotel for the rest of the day. The hotel was beautiful, though, mostly open air with all kinds of tropical plants and birds. There was a light rain, so as we walked around we felt almost like we were in a small rainforest.

We unfortunately had to sit at the bar for a lot of the night trying out some of the local food and beers. Oh, and I almost forgot, watching American football.

room.jpg The view from our room.

parrots.jpg Parrots at the front desk.


Stay tuned...

11.18.2002

BACK

So we're back - back from an amazing honeymoon in Costa Rica. Now like all of our vacations, we want to live there. This one's a little different, though. This vacation totally changed our outlook on a lot of things. I will be posting later about all of our adventures, but for now, here's a quickie:

My favorite 5 things about our trip to Costa Rica:
5. being far away from home
4. the animals
3. the environment
2. the people
1. the experiences

By far, the best trip of my entire life. What a way to begin a marriage.

11.03.2002

Going

Well the Halloween "all-drag" party was a smashing success. Sweet Dave and I did the trailer park common law married couple thing. We were Billy and Angel, paper mill worker and housewife with eight horrible children, complete with 2 six packs of Old Milwaulkee and 6 tattoos between us. I will post some pictures ASAP - we looked pretty hilarious. "Angel" really enjoyed having breasts all night and I must say I had a pretty nice package myself.

And for the record, this is ridiculous.

I have been called out of town for a couple days, so postings here will probably be few and far between. Unless I get lucky and have a connection in my hotel room. Anyway, check back.

11.01.2002

PoliSci Lesson

"I need to be able to move the right people to the right place at the right time to protect you, and I'm not going to accept a lousy bill out of the United Nations Senate."—George W. Bush, South Bend, Ind., Oct. 31, 2002

Apparently, we have a new Senate.
The Friday Five


1. Were you raised in a particular religious faith? Not really. I think my mom was made to go to church and she didn't like it so she didn't make us as kids. I did go to church pretty often with some of my friends, but of course back then it was more of a social thing.

2. Do you still practice that faith? Why or why not? Nope. I'm not sure, I guess I just don't believe you have to go to a place and give money to show that you believe in something. I practice just being a good person every day of my life and most of all, try to live it to the fullest every day.

3. What do you think happens after death? Reincarnation.

4. What is your favorite religious ritual (participating in or just observing)? Don't participate or observe.

5. Do you believe people are basically good? Unfortunately, yes. That usually ends up making me angry pretty often. I catch myslef so often saying, "Why can't people just be nice?" So I don't know which is worse, believing people are good and getting burned, or believing that people are basically bad and not getting burned. I guess I still believe in the "do unto others..." thing I was taught as a kid.