Thursday, January 11, 2007

An Amazing Day!

Oh my goodness!!! Today was a blast. I have tons of cool pictures but I won't be able to upload them until I get home. My tour guide and the driver met me in front of my hostel promptly at 6:30. We then drove across town, learning about town as we went, to the Marriott to pick up two very sweet little old cuban women who went on the tour with me. We then went to a beautiful and enormous coffee plantation where we had a delicious breakfast of fruits, eggs, and bread (and rice and beans which you know I won't eat :) ). From there we went to a volcano, where it was freezing, but there were clouds down inside of it so it was just a big white hole. One of the ladies we were with has bad knees so she got a ride up with her friend and Diego (the tour guide) and I had a nice little talk on the way up. In case you're interested, he was once a semi-pro soccer player, lived in LA until he was 5, returned to Costa Rica where he had culture shock and refused to talk for a year and then promptly forgot how to speak English. He has since relearned english and is studying Biology and Tourism at a local university. Oh and he plans to go back to LA at the end of May (it was a long, freezing, walk). After that we went to a beautiful waterfall and I hiked up and stood behind it. It was really cool. I've always been mesmorized by waterfalls, I'm not really sure why. After the waterfall we went to a little shop that was also a hummingbird garden. The little guys were zipping in and around us while we sat and looked out over the mountains at another waterfall and ate a snack. We then drove for about 45 minutes to a lodge in the rainforest and had lunch. The lodge was amazing. It was smack in the middle of the rainforest right next to a river. I tromped around there for a while by myself taking pictures and looking for poisonous frogs (supposedly they are there but I missed them). We then drove on down the road to our river tour. This was definitely the highlight of the day. We floated down the river for about an hour looking at monkeys, bats, birds, and iguanas and listened to tales of crocodiles and alligators in the water that "won't do anything" according to the tour guide. I have to admit I thought this was a bunch of bologna to impress the tourists. the end of our tour what do you know there was an alligator on the shore. When we first drove up he swam downshore away from us (so I'm sure he was alive) but then he just froze and we got up so close I am certain that we could have reached out and touched him if we were brave enough. I however am not and neither was anyone else. I got some cool photos though. It was now time for the 1 1/2 drive home through the national park/rainforest jungle. We get 10 minutes down the road and the van overheats so we spend the next hour at a road side stand sipping cokes and watching the guys try and fix the van. They eventually did and with the help of some nice German tourists on another bus pushed our van until it started and then came back to pick us up. That was an adventure. We wondered if we may be staying the night there but Diego and Randall pulled through for us. The jungle was amazing. It was just like something on a movie. I can't even describe it but I was incredibly impressed. And then it was home again to relax by the tv and do some SuDoku and eat some churches chicken. It was a great day. Tomorrow I'm headed home and I definitely feel like the trip was a success.

Oh one more thing: I want to know if anyone out there, without looking it up, knows how pineapple grow. I can't believe I didn't know this but I learned today. I will reveal the answer, unless I'm the only person that didn't know, on my next blog entry. Love you guys!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Better Day

Hello again my friends. Thank you for your prayers. Once I got over being scared last night I had a wonderful time. I had two roomies, one of which left today and the other tomorrow, who are both very nice people. Both of them are single women, one from Holland and the other from California, traveling on their own. They made me feel a little better about my 3 day stay when they were finishing and beginning 3 months of travel themselves. Today I spent about 4 hours walking around San Jose (the capitol city, NOT the beach, contrary to popular belief) and checking out museums. There are at least 7 musuems here in the city and I visited 3 of them. I also visited several of the city parks which are absolutely gorgeous here. They are so clean and there are fountains and huge trees everywhere. That was my favorite part of the day, just relaxing next to a fountain and deciding where I wanted to head next. I planned on visiting the National Museum after lunch but that led to another adventure. I stopped and asked a taxi if there was a mall nearby with a food court (sadly I am not an adventurous eater) and he said sure, 45 minutes later we arrive at a mall completely on the other side of town. I have to say it was a very, very nice mall but really I didn't need to drive 45 minutes for some lunch. Wanting to get my money's worth out of the taxi ride I decided to hang around and catch an early movie. I was excited to see Papa John's pizza in the mall (they don't have it in Honduras, they also had taco bell but I'm not a huge fan) so after lunch I wandered around for a hour and then saw the Illusionist at half price on Wednesdays. Yippee! Half price is always exciting. The movie was entertaining and helped use up the afternoon. Afterwards I bought some snacks and headed home. Now I'm watching some tv with my fellow hostel-ites and checking up on my email. Tomorrow is definitely going to be an adventure. I'm going on an 11 hour tour of a coffee plantation, a volcano, waterfalls, rainforests, a river ride (with monkeys and crocodiles) and a drive through a national park. I'm sure to be exhausted tomorrow night (we leave at 6:40) but I will try and let you all know how it goes. I love you so much. Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Costa Rica!

Hey Guys! Im renewing my visa in Costa Rica. I must say this is a little intimidating to me. I know I live alone in a third world country but this is the first time Ive really traveled alone. Im hoping to get some research done for the May in LA program at OC and of course do some relaxing. I just checked into a $10 a night hostel that is actually really nice. My only issue is feeling a little out of place with all the beautiful free spirited Californians roaming around here. They have free internet here and Im going to have some free time so Ill try to keep you updated on my adventures. I head back home on Friday. I got here 2 hours ago and I already miss my boys. I would love some emails and your prayers as Im feeling a little overwhelmed by this whole experience. Im sure I will leave unscathed and with another country under my belt. You guys are great. I love you so much!