We're baaaa-aaaack! Didja miss me? Didja? Huh? Huh?
We had a blast. Costa Rica is a beautiful country, and the people there are very proud of it and very aware of what a fragile ecological balance beam they must walk to promote tourism but still protect the things that make it so attractive.
I guess you all heard that within an hour of our arrival, the country was hit with a 6.2 tremblar which beats my old record of 4.7. What can I say? We really didn't mean to hurt anyone! Honestly, we were so busy going through customs and immigration we did not even feel it. We were not witness to any destruction other than what we saw on TV as we never went north of San Jose. The only thing I saw that was obvious was a few areas of rock/dirtslides down some of the mountains on the side of the roads.
I'd heard from friends that had been to Costa Rica that the roads were really bad and that it took hours to get anywhere. There is mixed truth to that statement. The primary roads are just fine. The problem there is that the area is so mountainous that you are constantly on a curve, so your speed has to be kept in check. Fortunately for us, we had arranged to have a driver meet us at the airport, so we were able to just enjoy the absolutely breathtaking views around every single curve. I say fortunately, because those secondary roads? The ones where everything you want to get to are on? Holy shit is all I can say. Some of those car rides were as exciting as any roller coaster I've ever been on, and waaaaay more bumpy. The secondary roads are not paved, they are (I guess) just dynamited and bulldozed out of the mountains resulting in the rock version of a dirt road. In any case, I was glad the Innocent Bystander did not decide to try to rent a car and find stuff ourselves, because I think we would have spent much more time in our room than we did if we had.
Our hotel was up at the top a hill accessed by one of those secondary roads. It was a lovely room with a beautiful balcony view of the little surf town Jaco and the Pacific Ocean. The room was completely in tile and was nice and light and airy. The only problem we had was the humidity was so high and the room was not air conditioned, so we were constantly covered in a film of 'glisten' (read SLIME) for me and just plain SWEAT for him. For some reason, when we had researched the climate, we had prepared for the 'cool mountain breezes' and temperatures in the low 70s, max. I had three pairs of cargo pants and one, count'em, ONE pair of shorts. I also only took one package of men's plain white t-shirts thinking "Keep it simple, stupid." Stupid being the operative word in this case. Plain white t-shirt plus chubby curly headed gringo chick fresh out of the shower coated in 'glisten'? Not a purty sight, folks. I had thrown a couple of tank tops in my backpack to sleep in, so I ended up wearing those and doing laundry in the sink at night so it all worked out, but let's just say that my fashion statement for the trip was 'late hamper'.
Vista Hotel Pacifico itself is very small. It is run by a Canadian couple, Jan and Greg, who built it six years ago. There are a total of only nine rooms, so it is very intimate. They have a common area around the pool and office area where they serve a light breakfast of fruit, pastry and breads, yogurt and granola, juice and coffee every morning, so we were able to interact with the other guests, as well as Jan and Greg's dog Mika and their cat Whiskey, while we watched little parrotlets and Quaker parrots and these gorgeous little yellow bellied bandit looking birds that sounded like they were calling "Look at ME". We met people from Canada, Boston, Austria and Germany without ever leaving the hotel, and those were just the ones that spoke English. It was interesting talking with them, particularly the couple from Germany. I think they were rather surprised by us, particularly when they found out we were from 'the South'. Hopefully when they left, they had a different impression of what we, as US Americans, are like than the impression they seemed to have at the beginning, which they said they formed while watching coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
That was something about this vacation. I learned SO much. About the environment, about my husband, and about myself. I learned about relationships between birds and frogs and butterflies and crocodiles and people. I learned that my husband will jump out of a tree down a mountain for me. I learned that I retained MUCH more Spanish than I ever would have given myself credit for. I also learned that we as US Americans, can be very arrogant, and need to pay a LOT more attention to the relationships between ALL these things, including each other.
I have to go pick up El Juevo now, so I will tell you about some of our adventures tomorrow. One of which starts off like this: