Countless Cracking Costa Rican Crabs.

I decided (after a slight push from my parents) to get vaccinated for yellow fever. Why not, I mean. It’s amazing how easy it was. You go to a pharmacy, explain what you need in broken Spanish/invented sign language,  and ignoring the government’s instructions (about picking up your certificate somewhere far), you just get it then and there. So now I’m vaccinated and ready to go into the ‘jungle’! Or at least some full-blown nature reserve.

Indeed, later on we hopped on a  bus, then another one, and admiring whatever there was to admire outside the window, we hopped off at the oldest reserve’s entrance.

‘Wait, did we just not pay?’

‘Uh-huh’ said Heske, not impressed.

Ok… I looked over my shoulder – the bus was already gone. Well, 1000 colones stays in my pocket, I’d guess it was a rip-off anyway. We started rushing ahead and had a lovely encounter with the ticket-selling-track-explaining Swiss our-friend-look-alike. We hiked up rather fast, soaking up the satisfying beauty. However, there is always a dilemma in such amazing places: do you want to watch the ground not to trip over, or your surroundings not to miss anything breathtaking?

Heske, with her artistic eye, kept pointing at lizards and crabs that I might miss. Oh goodness! And I DID have my lenses on! But also, she was in front. Once we switched, with each of my steps over a mix of dried and freshly fallen leaves, I would hear tens of other, much lighter feet on the ground. All the fauna at the bottom of the forest was protesting against us disrupting their daily Costa Rican whereabouts. Silly crabs would hide under leaves on the path for us not to see them, but obviously it did not protect them from being stepped on. And crashed (by the other tourists).

Getting caught in infinite lianas and tiny spider webs on the way, we reached the beach. How smart of us not to take any sort of swimming suits! Since there were only 3 other people at the entire beach, we stripped down to just underwear and run for a bath through unbearably hot sand.

Besides swimming suits, we did not bring enough food either – but it only made our carrots and leftover pasta taste better. We survived, easily distracted by the scenic landscapes.

Fiona

Cabo Blanco (Costa Rica), May 18th ‘11

The ‘two blondes’ visual

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Traveler’s luck.

Cóbano turns out to be a cute, small, seemingly cliquey town with mangoes lying on the sides of the (very few) roads and birds singing constantly. I get really comfortable the minute I cool down from all the emotions and with a sunset already at 6.30pm, we take a ‘night’ walk.

Now, you see, I lived in India for two years, but it already seems so long ago. I almost forgot how it is to lock myself in a non-ventilated bathroom and have a wave of heat sweat up your whole body; step just next to a frog ; and have ants and mosquitoes everywhere. It feels homey, it feels like India all over again (only way cleaner). The night is uneasy, hot, sweaty, and very long. I wake up dizzy with a running nose. Allergies? I forget all about them once I smell fresh pancakes. This IS paradise.

Besides: afternoon=beach! Even though I arrive at the bus stop on time, I have to wait half an hour before the Montezuma directed van lazily rolls up on the street. ‘Oh, good to see you here. I was afraid you’d give up after 15mins.’ – says Heske, who was supposed to get on at another bus stop. You see now, THAT was traveler’s luck. If not for the bus being so late, she would not have walked to my bus stop, and I would probably end up in Montezuma alone. The bus turned out to take some unusual route and did not even pass the stop she was supposed to be waiting at.

We start off with a short hike towards the waterfalls – in flip-flops, skirts, and with handbags. What amateurs! The swim, though, is amazingly refreshing and unbelievably picturesque. ‘What a paradise’, I think to myself again. Montezuma, though touristy, has surprisingly few people. The beach still unveils few shirtless visitors, a ‘green’ smell and two blonde girls deciding to dive into the wild ocean. The water is not only extremely salty (oh yea, how unexpected), but the waves keep pushing us down, and the sand swirls angrily with foam. So there: we get our dip and realize it’s high time to leave. The only thing left is to make sure we’re going out of the water with the same amount of clothing pieces as we entered in – even though the sand grains and little shells desperately want to leave with us as they’re hiding under every string of the bikini that’s still tide on.

Since we are 10mins late for the 4 o’clock bus (why wasn’t this one late?!), a walk on the shore seems like a great idea. We pass a few surfers, postcard–like landscapes, and let the little fresh springs and waves wash over our feet from time to time. It is such a paradise.

Later, because Heske is practically a local, we get some handy money-maker to give us  a ride home under a cloudy sky, forgetting all about buses. ‘Un dolar a Cóbano’ and we hop in. Few minutes after we reach the house, it starts raining cats and dogs. Traveler’s luck, I say.

Fiona, May 16th ’11

The ‘two blondes’ visual

Getting there

Very fast and mumble-ish Spanish wakes me up. Am I there yet?

Oh wait, I am still to board the plane – I realize in a second. My head is spinning, I need coffee. However scruffy I appear, I decide to leave my backpack behind and go explore. It’s still NYC, I should be able to get anything even just before 5am.

When I get back, the only other guy that seems gringo* amongst all the “Hola! Pura Vida!**”-screaming Ticos smiles at me pointing to his own cup.

Good coffee, very strong.’

I smile back being too sleepy to respond and leave him with a slight nod. True, the coffee kicks in so powerfully, I don’t even finish it.

The plane is comfortable, and I wake up in five hours in the happiest country on the globe (as the billboards say). Feeling the somehow-familiar, humid, hot air that surrounds me with my first step out, I know. I exactly know I’m in the right place, right time and not much else matters at the very moment. Excitement pushes adrenaline through my veins and in a very springy, confident stride I get myself out on the streets.

Buenos dias, senor, puedo tener un taxi al estacion de buses?’

I ask with sparkly eyes, not worrying about my broken Spanish. ‘Claro que si’ he responds with a hopeful perspective of getting quite some money out of me and I end up glued to the car’s window. How beautiful!

After a taxi, a bus, another taxi, a ferry with a wonderful breeze, and yet another bus I stand in Cobano too excited to stay in one place, holding onto a telephone card in my shaky hands.

No answer. Damn it.

I’m not giving up, though. After four more tries, I suddenly hear blissful ‘Are you here?!’. Few minutes pass and my friend Heske and I are jumping around in a hug, screaming in the middle of the mini bus station. I’m here.

Fiona, May 15th ’11

*foreigner

**typical greeting amongst Costa Ricans meaning ‘pure life/just life’