Friday, January 30, 2009

Costa Rica Adventures

Welcome to Costa Rica!

Although Melanie's first flight was delayed, we both made it in at the same time. The airport is small so it was easy to find each other. My flight was interesting, only in the fact that I thought up a perfect Mythbusters episode. Ever hear the saying "she screamed so loudly that she could break glass?" Well, maybe it's not a good Mythbusters show premise, as it was disproved on my flight. It would have been quite an impressive showing though, had it been a larger space (and not sitting RIGHT next to me!!)

We get to the hotel at around 10:30 or so, after an interesting meandering trip, ready to check in and get some sleep. The roads are unmarked, and while our map had lots of good detail, it was still pretty confusing. We stopped at a supermarket to get me a toothbrush (oops) and a few big bottles of water. While walking to the car, two cars swerved around a speedbump in the lot aimed right at me! I stood there in astonishment and scurried off. This was only a view of what was to come while driving!!!! The hotel was a bit spread out so someone walked us over to our room. Or what he suspected was our room. The key didn't fit the lock, and over 10 minutes of rapid fire spanish ensued on a walkie talkie trying to figure out what the problem was. Then his frustration was shared with us, also in rapid-fire spanish. My tired brain just barely comprehended enough to realize we weren't sleeping anytime soon.

Maybe 30 minutes later, we drive to another part of the property to find the door that fits our key. The room was quite cute with a tile floor, and brightly colored walls. It was hot and muggy out, and we were so excited to find we had air conditioning to take some of the humidity out for a bit.

We woke up really early this morning and decided to get on the road. Our next stop, Monteverde, is only something like 60 miles away, and we were curious why it would take four hours. Ha! Had breakfast at an outside little restaurant at hotel, joined by a very friendly dog. (Yeah, I know, but Barb, I didn't touch her at first!) She had a cute pink collar with a tag "Marilyn." After my first cup of coffee it dawned on me that the inside part of the restaurant is plastered with over 100 pictures of the goddess herself, Ms. Monroe. So maybe Marilyn is the reincarnation of THE Marilyn. For some reason, it seems oddly appropriate and twisted all at the same time.

Breakfast was local fare with an omelette and surprisingly hot peppers, queso, tomatoes. Also watermelon, papaya, fresh pineapple, stewed plantains, and they had some other things like rice and beans and potatoes.

Hit the road and again had some challenges navigating. We aimed for the Pan-American Hwy, unmarked, though after a bit we realized it's a route 1. We did end up off it once accidentally (goes to show how small this "highway" is!) Cars passing on the road enter the approaching traffic, and it's the approaching traffic's responsibility to move out of the way to not be hit dead on. Interesting, esp when it's motorcycles coming at you, or trucks! My favorite part of the directions goes something like this "continue past the big reg La Cuera sign, then take a left after the soccer field." Truly. Around 21 km from Monteverde the road turned to gravel, and not for the faint of heart. If you plan to do this trek, be sure to have a steady car, and a steady bra as well! It was as bumpy as any four wheeling I've done, complete with steep drop offs and trees down in a few places. Dad, do not EVER bring your lovely wife here (unless she's muzzled in the backseat with a blindfold!) We passed goats in the road, some loose dogs (that mostly look in great condition, as in Peru), bulls and cows and some horses.

We got into town (Santa Elena) and checked in. Our hotel is adorable! Very cute, beautifully landscaped. The room is very sparse but nice with a nice view. It's much cooler there and windy (probably 60s vs 80s) and so muggy still. No hairdryer in the room, which is probably just as well as with the humidity our hair won't dry anyways. Speaking of which, I'm already looking like I could compete in the "white Diana Ross contest." Um.. yeah. I have curles on curles!

When we checked in we were warned to not leave anything on our balcony, due to the two dogs who live on the property. "they're puppies" she said sheepishly "and they like to steal things!" We heard them barking but haven't seen them yet. There are two cats in the lobby as well, and yes Barb, I did pet them.

Went to a place called Stella's that people on the fodors talk site raved about. I got a pollo empanada (good, but not like Peru!!) and Melanie got a quiche. I heard about the sandwiches there but saw no sign, that is, until after we ordered and someone brought this hulking sandwich out! Just as well (and I'll explain in a moment.) We got milk shakes as well. Saw a beautiful bird outside, sitting on a platform with some watermelon and got a shot!

Got back to our hotel to see if they were able to book us on the El Trapiche tour today (it's a sugar cane plantation, and a coffee plantation.) They are not answering for some reason, so instead we're booked on a canopy tour (the reason I'm glad for the very small lunch.) Mom-- continue reading at your own risk... So in an hour, we're set to do the zip lines. EEEK! I was told that I can do it in tandem, and asked if an option was for the poor soul doing it with me to hold their hands over my mouth so as not to pierce their ears with my screams. I think she thought I was joking...

Tomorrow we are doing an early tour of the Monteverde Cloud Forest, the best time to see wildlife. Then hopefully El Trapiche, and the butterfly farm and Frog farm (why not!?)

I'll probably post later tonight or tomorrow... I think I need to throw up now. :o)