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Archive for July, 2008

Adios!

So Long, Farwell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye
We woke up to sunny skies & gentle winds – the kind of weather that just makes you want to stay for one more day. Or another month. As the above photo indicates, we were sad to go.
We had one final breakfast at Mitra and waited for our shuttle to take us back to the airport. The ride was nice – we had the same driver that dropped us off at the beginning of the week – so we were able to catch up and tell stories about the week.
Exhaustion had set in, but the adrenaline & excitement from the week’s activities kept us going for a bit longer. We spent a few hours hanging out in the open-air at the airport, doing crossword puzzles and waiting for Delta to show up and take us home.
There’s not much more to say. It was the most incredible, ultra, extreme trip of our lives, a week that we’ll never forget! That makes us happy.

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Day 6: Saturday, June 7
The 6:00am wake-up call came so soon. 😦
Today we took a float trip down the Corobici River. We rode in a raft simliar to the type one would use for white-water rafting, although there weren’t very many rapids on this river. We shared the boat with our tour guide, Julio & a professional rower, Arturo. There was one other boat on the trip with a family from California…the Mrs. in the family was a little scared.
They took us down the river through swirling, turning paths, avoiding the ‘rough’ areas – although our tour guide insisted on taking the oars for a few minutes and proceeded to get us stuck on a rock. As the pictures in the slideshow (below) show, they would row us up right next to all sorts of spots & creatures, where we saw bats, a variety of exotic birds, crocodiles (big & small), monkeys, iguanas and other beasts.
*The most fascinating creature of all was what our guides referred to as the “Jesus Christ Lizard.” Why? Because the lizards run across the surface of the water. It was incredible. The trip was like being in a live action filming session of Planet Earth on the Discovery Channel. After the river tour we enjoyed a nice lunch on the outer deck of the cafe built by the river, looking over the water and enjoying a nice breeze.
# # #
*Side Story: I can’t remember which night it happened, but it came to me as we’re composing the blog. Remember the tiny lizard from one of the earlier posts? Well, these little guys sometimes make it inside your room and just hang out on the ceiling. I remember it quite well from my trip to Belize in high school.
Well, we came into our room one night and were getting ready to take showers before we went out for the evening. As I ‘fluffed’ the floormat in the bathroom, my eyes spotted a little green friend scampering across the tiles – little as in about 2″.
I said, “hey look!” and Kelly said “get it out of here! AAAAAHHH!” It continued to wiggle across the floor, looking for a way out. Kelly says, “Throw it outside!” Well, I’m standing in my underwear, and I say “I can’t go out there like this!”
We set aside any further debate and discussion as I jumped into a pair of shorts and snatched up our new lizard roommate, shuffled out the door and down the stairs – and tossed him off to join his brethren in the evening hunt. Whew.
# # #
*We made plans that day to go out for tapas for dinner, but it didn’t happen. When we made it back to the hotel, a proper nap seemed in order. Well, it was about 5:00pm when it began, and it wasn’t until 6:00am the next morning when we awoke. Yep. We didn’t mind. This would be the only time in our lives that we’d get away with sleeping for that long.
Day 7: Sunday, June 8
The final full day. A little rainy in the morning, nothing out of the ordinary. We spent the morning packing and setting aside only the items we’d need for the remaining day-and-a-half. A quick walk down to the beach was nice, especially when we discovered a path that lead us to a second beach with sand that was almost black. We filled up a couple of water bottles with the shells & sand from the beach and headed back to grab our things for the final excursion.
We got a ride in a shuttle/bus out to Tamarindo, the launch point for the snorkeling. After we were all on board the catamaran – which took several trips on a small, motor-powered raft – the group set sail for a private beach and a day of snorkeling, dining and soaking in the sun.
Through conversation with a couple from Chicago, I learned that the hulking, cauliflower-eared, tattooed band of macho-wrestler-dudes on the boat with us were actually stars of the Ultimate Fighter: Latin America show. Apparently they had won the challenge the day before and were rewarded with a day out on the boat to drink and do flips off the starboard. The others had to stay behind at the hotel and clean the rooms. I’ll bet there were some good fights afterwards…
We put on our snorkeling gear and headed out towards the private beach & nearby rocks. Unfortunately, a storm from the previous evening had kicked up enough sand to make the water completely murky, and we could barely see any fish. Back to the boat…
At any rate, we enjoyed a delicious lunch of fresh pico & guacamole, tuna, chicken, salad, fruit & other goods. All very delicious. There was plenty of Imperial to go around as well. The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing on the boat, watching the ultimate fighters clown around and do flips & dives off the boat.
*Side Story: The entire week, out of my frustration of not being able to communicate with the natives in Spanish – they preferred to practice their English with us – I would often speak to Kelly in a ridiculous high-pitched voice while spitting out random phrases in Spanish. Apparently this was one of the funniest things she ever heard, because on the boat I leaned over to her and whispered, “Mira!” (Look!) followed by a couple of seconds of silence, and then “Agua!” (water) – and then she nearly fell of the boat in laughter. You had to be there.
Moving on…they pulled up the anchor and put up the sails as we returned back to the home base, watching the sunset all the way. When we arrived back at the hotel, we had a bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries waiting in the room. It was a bittersweet ending to an amazing trip.

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Day 5: Friday, June 6, 2008

Our second excursion, a day of snorkeling, was canceled due to the morning rain. Since we were both fairly exhausted after yesterday’s ziplines, waterslide, horseback riding, mud bath & hot springs, we decided to sleep in for a bit. After a few extra hours of snoozing, we walked over to Mitra for a breakfast buffet and geared up for a day by the pool & the beach.

The beach was the perfect cure for our fatigue & sore muscles from the excursion. We swam around, splashed, tried to take some good pictures – Andrew’s pale body reflected heavily in the camera lens – and just watched the waves. There were also pelicans and other birds dive-bombing the water, snagging fish and other salty snacks.

Once the tide started coming in a little too high, we switched to the pool and enjoyed a pizza from the poolside snack bar. The pizza in Costa Rica was incredible – made with delicious, fresh white cheeses and cooked perfectly in a wood-fired oven. We also sat and “people-watched” for a bit, caught up on reading, listened to music and watched the orange squirrels. Yep. There’s a picture in the slideshow.

Later that evening we went out for some Italian food (it was one of the restaurants at the resort where you could make a reservation) and it was just ok. Andrew’s chicken tasted like eating a whole sprig of rosemary. Luckily the wine was good.

We decided to have a drink at Mitra and catch up with our new friend Pablo, the multi-lingual bartender, before we headed out for the evening to meet up with some folks we had met. The spirit struck us – and we hopped over to the dance floor and shook to the salsa for a couple of songs. Actually we slow danced…but it was graceful nonetheless.

Afterwards we joined up with two other American couples that we had met at the resort – also honeymooners. Mark & Stephanie were from Hot Springs, Arkansas; Nikki & Anson were from Alabama – Anson is in the Army. Stephanie wasn’t feeling well so she & Mark jetted, but we stayed out with Nikki & Anson to shoot some pool & share wedding stories.

***It turned out that Anson, like myself, is a self-taught guitarist. I had just finished reading a great book earlier that day, “Guitar Man,” and recommended it to Anson. We had so much fun with the two of them, but we were sad to find out that it was their last night in Costa Rica. I sent my book with Anson to “pass on the wisdom” and wrote our address inside the cover. I told him that if he wanted to pass it on to someone else, feel free. Maybe it will come back one day.

We ended up staying out later this evening than any other night of the trip – and were dreading our 6:00am wake-up call for the next day’s excursion. Oh well. We’re on vacation.

http://s296.photobucket.com/albums/mm181/zenderpuravida/?action=view&current=1045da40.pbw

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