Posted by: Patrick | November 7, 2009

it’s good to be back

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Welcome to Costa Rica.

Back to the world of rice and beans with every meal, constant horn blasts from buses, taxis, motos – everything that moves, more pedestrians than cars, holes in the sidewalk that could swallow a donkey, barbed wire tops every wall, low prices, waking up to roosters, being overcharged in taxis, extremely friendly happy people, orange fanta with real sugar, coke in the old school glass bottles, kids smiling at you at every turn.  Not understanding much of the language but getting by just fine.  Oh and the smells!  The scent of the tropics: thick humid air with a few parts burning plastic, sugar cane, unmuffeled diesel, hot garbage, sweet pineapple, plantain and banana all baked under a burning sun.  It’s delightful.  I didn’t know how much I missed it, but I’m falling in love all over again.  Ahh the developing world — the real world.  Where more than four of the six billion people on this planet live.  Not much is perfect, spotless, organized or particularly safe.  It’s all different, metric, Tico, laid back, bus will leave when it’s full, beer is delicious and cheap, no schedule, pura vida!

We arrived on Halloween in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica.  It was Saturday,we checked into our guesthouse and it was nice and cheap.  No problems getting through customs with our one-way flight.  How long will you stay? Four weeks.  Bueno.  Walked around town, safe enough, good restaurants down the street, friendly helpful folks point us in the right direction.   The ATM accepts our card, gives us cash, shows our balance in colones – instant millionaires.  The dollar is still strong in some places, this is one of them.   The next day we explored San Jose, mostly quiet on Sunday, perfect for walking the streets and getting comfortable, adjusted.  Our first real destination was Volcano Arenal, near the town of La Fortuna and El Castillo in the central highlands.  Up early on Monday, four and a half hours on a hot bus that got packed eventually but wasn’t too bad.  On the ride we met Ansgar and Becky, a German couple on holiday for a few weeks.  We were staying at nearby hotels in El Castillo, so we met up for a couple dinners, hikes and hot springs.  Good times with good people. We really enjoyed their company for a few days, it was sad to see them go.  On to the cloud forests and mountains of Monteverde.  This is my first time in Costa Rica, though at times it could be St. Thomas, Nairobi or Kathmandu… it’s good to be back.

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Walking the streets of San Jose.

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A healthy obsession with Jesus.

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Our first 'hotel' in a while. It was nice!

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Volcano Arenal through the trees.


An owl eye butterfly.

An owl eye butterfly.

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With our friends Ansgar and Becky at the base of Arenal.

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A white headed capuchin monkey on the hike to Arenal.

Spewing ash at night, but nothing pyroclastic.

Spewing ash at night, but nothing pyroclastic.

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A rare clear moment of Arenal during the day.

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Hiking down to La Fortuna falls.

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Macro caterpillar!

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Quite the photogenic waterfall, I took a few too many photos.

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It was a long hike down but worth it for sure.

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Pura Vida.

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Responses

  1. Brings back a lot of good memories! Looks like Mooney Falls in the jungle, doesn’t it. Enjoying the blog guys, have a great time on Rincon de la Vieja, can’t wait to see those photos.

  2. Ola!
    I can smell the bananas, the pineapples and feel the sun and the heat…:-(…just reading your story.
    Great pictures! Keep them coming.
    Enjoy this new world , you instant millionnaires…:-)
    Dad/Bernard

  3. Awesome erupting volcano!!! Paragraph 1 almost makes me cry – the roosters and the deisel are my 2 all time favorites. Also love “window glass optional” architecture

  4. hey guys. i’ve been “away” form the posts for a while, so i just spent about 2 hours getting “caught up!” amazing stuff. We came SO close to going to Costa Rica for our honeymoon (moons ago) and now I really wish we had. Can’t wait to see and read more. Travel safe!

  5. great pics, i miss the rica! keep the posts coming.. its been awhile. happy trails
    -steve

  6. hi patrick
    can’t wait to see ya! I love the pics !!!
    can’t wait to talk!! happy thanksgiving!

    -your cuz brianna and aunt trish!


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