Archives for the month of: May, 2009
Originally published on facebook – May 25, 2009.

I had my first encounter with a Scorpion today. He was all curled up inside my yoga mat and as I unfurled it he flew across the floor and scuttled under my fridge. He is still there. I am hoping that my landlord comes home soon because I am scared to go into my kitchen, and it’s close to dinner time. I’m pretty sure that this is irrational behavior on my part however I am not taking any chances with a creature like that. This thing is at least 3 or 4 inches long and honestly, I am not sure what would happen if it stung me so I am not taking any chances. Have I mentioned that the nearest medical care is 7kms away by taxi? (Aline, I think that you would happily welcome a nice little gecko into your home (or even your bath towels) after seeing one of these freaking things.) I just talked to my neighbor Kristen, she said they are not poisonous, however it would still hurt like a summbitch if you got stung. She advised waiting for a man to come along and take care of it, I will happily acquiesce. Yes they are as creepy and scary looking as you might think. I was thinking that I was getting pretty lucky in the creepy-crawly department…hadn’t seen any snakes, tarantulas or scorpions before today and now this. Please God, Buddha, Krishna, Gaia, Mom or whomever is listening, I beg of you, no more scary creepy things in my house! After this I would welcome a few land crabs, no problem!

Here’s a photo of what he looked like after he got smushed….

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I am still in Montezuma, It’s been raining every couple of days here, mostly at night. It’s never really just rain, it’s always preceded by a good show of lightening and then it DUMPS. A couple Fridays ago we had a big one roll in, thunder, lightening etc. I watched and heard the storm approach along the coastline then hover directly overhead (I seriously considered the possibility that my house might get hit as my roof is corrugated metal, but then so are most roofs here) and then it moved on down the road. Was pretty darn cool really. I love watching the storms but practically speaking it is a bit of a hassle as the roads become mud rivers and if you walk around in flip-flops you get speckles of mud all up the back of your legs and butt. Also they can come up super quickly and if you get caught out in it you are instantly soaked through, I am starting to recognize the signs of impending downpour now (it gets windy and the clouds roll in dark) but still I bought an umbrella and carry it at all times. I don’t care so much about me getting wet as it’s still nice and warm but I am often carrying my school books (or library books) and if those get wet, well that would suck. A rain jacket is inappropriate as it’s so humid you stick to the inside of it, not so comfy.

During a storm last week I lost power in my place for almost an hour. I was trying to study so I lit candles and experienced the most amazing array of bugs flocking to the light that I have ever seen, all of them appeared quite suddenly and commenced to attempt mass suicide by tealight, many succeeded and their remains now decorate the re-solidified wax. As well lightning bugs (about 1-1/2 inches long) seemed intent upon landing in my hair every few minutes, So I watched them flit around the room, lighting up every few seconds as they fly, trying to duck when they came near. Lightning bugs are new to me, I’ve never seen them before as we don’t have them at home (I don’t think). Their glow is like an old fluorescent green light bulb, they are really kinda neat but it’s hard to study through that, to say nothing of the crazy looking beetles that kept showing up on my bed as well.

I am getting itchy to start moving again yet I still have 2 weeks left go here before the training is finished. I am enjoying it but at the same time quite miss being footloose and fancy-free, going wherever my impulses took me. I am looking forward to getting back out in the world again. Montezuma is a lovely place (probably the most beautiful and unique place in Costa Rica that I have been to anyways) but I have been here for a total of 5 weeks already with 2 more to go and I am ready to move on and get back to a traveler’s existence. Plus I could use a night or two to let my hair down and have some bevs, just not able to do that while in the yoga program as the amount of studying required does not allow for a day spent hungover. As well, much as I like the ladies I am taking the program with I think a little more masculine company would be quite pleasant around now. I think after I am done here I will be heading up to Nicaragua, though I have been kicking myself for not visiting the San Blas area of Panama when I was down there. I have been told by many people who have traveled all through South and Central America that it is THE place for beautiful beaches (you might think I would be bored of beautiful beaches by now, but no, no I’m not!) so I may look into the possibility of a cheap and quick flight down that way before heading north to Nic.

A few words on local forms of transportation: Atv’s or Quads as some like to call them – these vehicles are a major form of transportation here, you often see whole families riding on them, mom, dad, a few kids, the family dog, and no helmets, everybody hanging off the bike, holding on to I don’t know what. In the dry season especially it gets really dusty on these unpaved roads and people wear handkerchiefs around their heads and faces so it looks as if the whole town is out to rob a bank. Sometimes you see people wearing surgical masks, and even ski goggles. The other day I saw a mom and dad sharing a dirt bike and their kid following on his own mini quad, he couldn’t have been more then 6 years old. At least he had a helmet! Pick-up trucks drive around with little kids in the back, little kids maybe 3 years old bouncing around with shovels and hoes, maybe some groceries as well and a spare tire. Guys drive around on dirt bikes, either sitting on their surfboards (both sides sticking out into the road) or holding them in one arm while they steer with the other. I have even seen women on the backs of motorcycles holding newborns. It’s crazy but it’s normal here.

It’s funny how obsessed we are at home with making sure that everybody is safe and can’t get hurt. We enforce all these laws and standards and consider anyone who would do these kind of things at home as being negligent or dangerous or bad parents or perhaps even self destructive and suicidal. Yet I come to a place like this and realize that most of the world is not as worried or judgmental or as cautious as us and it’s refreshing or at least eye opening to see people live in a way that is somehow freer then we do at home. It makes me wonder if we relaxed the driving laws (and maybe other laws as well) we have at home whether we would see a difference in the way people drive (or conduct themselves)? Perhaps I speed only because I know I am not supposed to, if I was allowed to drive at any speed would I enjoy going so fast? Sometimes we break rules because it’s fun, if there weren’t any rules then maybe we would be more careful of our own volition. Here it’s never a local who speeds dangerously by you on one of these dusty dirt roads, it’s always a tourist (you can tell by the rental cars because most of them are exactly the same brand, getting kicks because there aren’t any cops handing out speeding tickets) a local wouldn’t speed because they know how obnoxious it is to be walking down the road when someone roars by and you end up choking on a mouthful of dust. Of course I don’t have any statistics on motor vehicular related deaths here compared to Canada, so maybe I am way off base. I’ll climb down off my soapbox now, but before I do….

Here are some other examples of how different things are here in terms of health and safety: raw eggs are not refrigerated in the supermarket (I know, crazy right, just asking for salmonella or whatever to happen…it doesn’t). Dogs and cats are allowed in restaurants or supermarkets (that’s stray dogs, yup, with fleas and all. The cats often just live there). You can buy booze at the corner store and hang out in the street or the beach or anywhere and drink it (much more pleasant then the actual bar here btw). I believe I have already mentioned (in a previous note) the response to fires on the sides of roads (none). Bonfires are allowed on the beach, anytime of year. The dogs that aren’t strays don’t have licenses and in fact most people just let them run around free, they come into town on their own, they go to the beach, they go get a snack at a restaurant (is this what they mean by a dog’s life? If so I want to be a dog next time). One lady in my class gets a ride home from the school with another classmate and her dog follows the car all the way home, running happily behind. If you go out for dinner and haven’t finished your bevies by the time you want to leave the restaurant they will happily provide you with a to go cup (I love this).

Anyways enough on this one, my thought are rambling (I’m not even sure I made that much sense) and I should be studying so I’ll put this one to bed for now.

Love to all…pura vida!
xoxo

PS – I have been wondering what the land crabs eat and I just found out. One of these crafty little guys just caught a big wasp right underneath my chair….I wonder if they like scorpions?

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Originally published on facebook – May 20, 2009.
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You all want to know about the first week of yoga training so here goes…. Our first day was Sunday (a half day) we show up in the afternoon and meet our teachers. One of them I can tell right away is amazing, beautiful energy, very able, and open, the other I instantly have some reservations about but I think, maybe I’m being judgmental, give it time before forming an opinion, try to find out who she really is. Turns out a few of us ended up having difficulties with her, however we all seem to be working through them and trying to let go of any differences. The important thing is we are here to learn and part of that learning process is to deal with different personality types and to be accepting of them. She has a lot to teach us so we are trying to stay open so we can learn. Don’t want to write too much about this so I will tell you a little about what we have been up to.

During this first class we sat in a circle and introduced ourselves, our names, where we are from etc. We did our first Asana practice together and we did three “communication” exercises. In the first one we had to choose a partner, someone we had never met before, and then we had to sit in front of each other with our eyes closed and meditate on the other person, trying to feel their energy, for 5 minutes. This was pretty easy to do except most of us found that instead of trying to connect into the other person’s energy we ended up just going into ourselves. The second time we had to partner with a different person and do the same thing except this time we had to keep our eyes open, looking into the other person eyes, harder for sure. A lot of people ended up laughing, my partner and I had a small chuckle at first and then we got into it. I tried to think about sending her heart energy, I visualized it as if our two hearts were connected by a loop of firey energy and we were opening to each other. I was thinking about the idea that what you put out is what you get back , energetically, and I was trying to send out pure love. It worked, but after a while I began to feel anxious, uneasy (maybe too open to a woman who was, after all, a stranger) and started breathing quite shallowly. Involuntarily I had to break the eye connection and inhale a deep breath, my hands moved as if to pull more oxygen into my lungs. She noticed this obviously and right away I sensed her sending me calming energy. I noticed her make her eyes smaller and I thought about how I had read that to calm an aggressive or scared cat you can half close your eyes and it soothes them. It worked (I’ve always thought I was part cat) and I felt calmer and started trying to allow the connection to happen again, unfortunately our 5 minutes were up a very short time later. We talked about it a little afterwards and she told me she had felt the heart connection initially as well, and had tried to send calming energy to me when she realized that I felt anxious. Was quite beautiful really and brought me near to tears. For our last exercise we had 3 minutes with a new partner and this time one of us was to try to stay in meditation while the other did anything they could (except touch) to make the other break concentration. Being the person staying in meditation wasn’t so hard at all, it was being the other person, the person who had to be silly, that most of us found challenging (myself included for sure). We talked about our experiences at the end and then finished for the day.

Day 2, really our first full day. We started our day at 7am with a 1-1/2 hour Asana practice. Afterwards we did a little talking about what we would be covering that afternoon and our teachers told us a little about themselves and their experiences both with their personal yoga practice and with teaching. we break around 9:15am and then come back at noon for 5 more hours (this is the typical times we are in class). In the afternoon we cover various things, sometimes we break down poses to learn how to make corrections or increase sensations for our students, sometimes we cover theory like, the 8 limbs of yoga, or philosophy or anatomy (both physical and energetic, eg: chakras) as well we are expected to learn all the Sanskrit and English names of poses (tricky!).We also have to start to learn and memorize sequences of poses like the Sun Salutations.There is so much to learn it is sometimes a little scary. I am struggling with the Sanskrit, my brain just does not seem able to retain this stuff very easily, it appears that it really is harder to learn and memorize once you get older! Old dog, new tricks….. We have started trying to design our own sequences of poses, eventually this will lead to designing full classes, sometime soon we are going to actually teach parts of our sequences to the entire class, good practice for the real world. We are breaking each exercise down and learning how to make adjustments in the poses as well as moves that will help students feel the poses more deeply and bring them into better alignment. We have to learn variations and modifications on all the poses as well as which chakras are associated with them and, as well, what the benefits (physical, mental and spiritual) of each pose are. There is more, much more but I’m kinda done writing about it…lol.

I wanted to share with you about my first meditation experience, because really it was pretty darn cool! We were on a beach in the early part of our day, I made sure to separate myself from the others walking about 30 or 40 meters down the beach so I could feel space around me. We had 30 minutes. This is what I wrote in my journal immediately afterwards….

Meditation #1 – Difficult. Started cross-legged (Perfect Pose). After about 5 minutes my right hip started to really ache. I tried to bear it but only lasted another couple of minutes, then allowed myself to straighten my legs forward. Initially i tried to focus on my breath and count without thinking. (The idea is to count to 10 breaths without thinking, if you have a thought that you chase you return back to 1). I never made it past one. Sometimes I barely made it to one at all. After 5 or 10 minutes with legs extended I brought them back to perfect pose. My right hip started to ache again within minutes. I was still trying to count. I felt it wasn’t working for me, I felt myself beginning to get frustrated so I thought about trying to look at my third eye instead. Very quickly I noticed that everything was yellow. I kept focused on trying to look where my third eye would be behind my forehead and I noticed that there was a more concentrated light there, kind of like a ball. I remember thinking about the fact that the light was yellow and how that related to my golden tree of light (I won’t get into this but some of you know about it already). At some point I became aware that my hip no longer hurt and of course because I became aware of that it started to hurt again. I realized that I had the power to ignore that discomfort, so I did. I returned to the light. At some point a wave of pinkish red rose up and I immediately thought of the root chakra. Then I had a conscious thought, I wanted to work my way through the colours and up through the chakras in my body so I started to trying to see orange and pretty much failed. I guess when I started trying to control the experience I lost the connection. As I was realizing thiswhen my teacher walked by and whispered “It’s time”. So time was up. The first 15-20 minutes seemed to drag on but the last 10 went so quickly. I actually felt like I was doing something even though there was still thought. At a certain point I felt like an observer, being taken on a very cool ride.

So to add to that I’m pleased that at points I was noticing things and thinking them but wasn’t following my thoughts, I was allowing them to happen and then letting them go, this is what I have been told is “proper” meditation (and I was doing it!) thrilling! We are apparently going to do this every day, working up to 2 hours by the end of the program! I am not sure how many of these I will share, it kinda depends what comes up but I thought you might find this first one exciting, I know I did!

The other students are lovely, I relate to some more then others of course but I look forward to getting to know all of them better as this month goes by. I am glad that I have rented my own place away from everybody, it is good for me to have a place where I can be away from them sometimes as we do spend so much intense time together.

We have a lot to cover this next month (written portion – 8 quizzes, 1 midterm and a final exam, practical testing – I don’t even know), it is intimidating and I am worried about how I am going to learn it all and how this teacher is going to be. But I also know that I am going to do my very best to ace this program and to get along with this difficult person. Wish me luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

Namaste….

P.S. It’s now our second Tuesday and the teachers are starting to split up the days a bit more, one will teach the morning and the other the afternoon. It seems to be working out quite nicely for both them and us. The “difficult” teacher is doing better this week, I think she realized that a lot of us were struggling with her personality and she seems to have toned it down in some ways. You can tell she is making an effort to be more accessible and light, so things are looking up! After my first awesome meditation I haven’t been able to get back there, kinda disappointing, I suspect I may be having problems because I now have expectations about what meditation will be like, having had such a great first time. So I’m thinking I have to learn to be more in the moment and not to expect or anticipate what might happen, I just have to let whatever will happen, happen. We are working our asses off, my wrists are in rough shape from all the poses we do. Yesterday we did an hour and a half asana practice, then we did a abs and headstand workshop and then we did 7 sun salutations A and 7 sun salutations B. Today same thing except this workshop was on arm balances. Tomorrow we have TWO, one and a half hour asana practices, an hour or so of breathing exercises another ab workshop and god knows whatever else they throw at us! I think I will be either made of steel or broken by the time this month is over!

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Originally posted on facebook – May 14, 2009.ยท

More random thoughts…..

The sound a gecko makes is like a bird chirping. I love them, they eat mosquitoes.

Land crabs are everywhere in beach communities. They live in holes in the ground and you can see them scuttle down them sideways as you come along. They are colourful creatures, reds and purples and oranges and pinks. On average they are the size of your hand, sometimes smaller. You typically see more crabs out at night and you see the remains of an awful lots of them smushed on the road by cars and atv’s.They have the one bigger claw, that looks quite threatening really as they like to wave it around, and they move exceedingly quickly. They are exceedingly shy, and fast, however perhaps one will pose for me someday (I got one, see below). In Domincal we stayed in a place that was on ground level just a few yards away from the beach. I came into the bathroom one night and found 2 hiding behind the door, I jumped up on the toilet seat and squealed (a very girly action, I shamefully admit), fortunately my knight in shining armour Jon was there and herded one out the door of the room with a magazine, unfortunately the other one took this opportunity to disappear down the shower drain (which did not have a screen, just a hole in the floor). Needless to say I kept my eyes firmly fixed on that shower drain during each subsequent shower! My home in Montezuma has the same thing, the first night I was there I put a bowl over the drain! Every time I showered I would pull it away and keep my eyes open. Now I have a screen held down by 2 very big rocks, this keeps them out of my house! Last night I went into the bathroom and I saw one hanging out just below the screen, he was trying but there was no way those rocks are going to move! It rained yesterday and today they were EVERYWHERE, seriously I walk down the road and can hear them scurrying around in the brush at the side of the road, I see them on the road ahead of me racing in both directions for cover as I approach, kinda funny actually. I’m much more used to them now and realize that they are harmless and really pretty stupid, literally dozens of their smushed bodies are on the roads, fresh ones every day, every hour….

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When it rains it’s like taking a strong shower, in fact the water pressure is often better then what you get in the hotels/hostels. Warmer too.

Falling asleep to the sound of waves is incredibly relaxing, however I have noticed that I have to get up more often in the night to pee, I wonder if these things are related?

Gatorade (or Powerade) is a godsend on long bus rides, keeps you hydrated and you don’t have to pee as often as you would if you were drinking loads of water.

When they do make a rest stop on a long bus ride they never tell you how long you have there, could be 5 minutes, could be 30. Once I was almost left behind, I came out of the bathroom and the bus was pulling away, I’m not sure I have ever sprinted so fast, the driver was laughing his ass off at me when I got back on, I’m sure the expression on my face was priceless.

If you are on a bus making multiple stops they don’t announce where you are, yup that’s right. Everybody else just somehow knows, but I get to look like the stupid tourist who only speaks a little Spanish and ask questioningly of the driver, “es (insert name of destination)???” If he answers “Si” then I have to scramble all my stuff together and high tail it out the door, and make him get up and get my bag from down below. If he answers “No” then I have to struggle to maintain my balance as I try to make it back to my seat as the bus is careening wildly (and speedily) down the road.

No matter how much sleep I may have had the night before, every time I get on a bus, I am asleep within an hour. I’m sure you can imagine how disorienting it is when you’ve just awoken from a nap to find yourself pulling out of a station or away from a bus stop. Was I supposed to get off there? Did I miss my stop? Where the hell am I? Does anybody habla ingles? Por favor? I then spend the next however long staring out the window trying to spot a road sign which might give me an indication of where I am and trying to compare that to my pitiful Lonely Planet map trying to figure out how much further I have to go, finally figuring it out, I’m ok! Then often fading off to sleep again, only to wake up disoriented…..

Maybe if I didn’t get so sleepy on buses I wouldn’t have these problems…..mind you so far so good, haven’t missed any stops yet.

Why do all the hostels think that “free” or “included” pancake breakfasts are a good idea? I swear I am so sick of pancakes and fake maple syrup…….Granola anyone? Maybe cereal of some kind? Seriously…..please?

Pizza is everywhere here, usually thin crust and most of the time quite good. There is no such thing as rice pasta or corn pasta down here, I am screwed, and coming home bloated and fat.

Oh, and beans don’t really agree with me either, how ironic is that? Casado anyone? Uh no, thanks, I’ll pass and you and everyone around me will be quite happy I did.

Casado – For those of you that don’t know a Casado is a set meal of rice, beans, some sort of meat of your choosing (chicken, beef or pork) and what can only be described in loose terms as a salad (usually some shredded cabbage, maybe some shredded carrot too). This is often the cheapest and largest meal you can find anywhere, at any soda or high end restaurant. And no, no thanks, like I said, the beans…..

I’m not sure I can ever eat Arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) ever again.

I have noticed that all hermits crabs like to travel North as sunset approaches, don’t ask me why…. but they all head the same way every day. Maybe at sunrise they all travel South? Will have to get up at dawn sometime to check this theory. Hmmm, not likely.

Howler monkeys sound like what I imagine Satan laughing would sound like.

In the rainy season the river and waterfalls in Montezuma look like the one in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a far cry from dry season when it was like swimming in liquid emerald. If you are up high you can see the mud spreading out into the ocean at the mouth of the river. Yes, it is still swimmable, though nowhere near as pretty.

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I pick mangoes up off the ground where they have fallen and eat them, (as long as the monkeys haven’t bitten into them first). Imagine….. FREE mangoes!

My backpack now weighs in at 30lbs! I’m honestly not sure how I manage to fit it all in there! It’s like a tetris puzzle every time I have to pack up.

5 pairs of underwear are not enough for 4 months. Not when you get laundry done 1-2 times per week. One word….disintegrating.

Why not buy more underwear you ask? Because I prefer thongs and they seem to be impossible to find, seriously are all these beautiful Costa Rican women wearing granny panties?

I have yet to do my own laundry, even though I brought these cute little individual packages of Woolite from home with great intentions. When it costs $2.00 Cdn. to get 1 kilo of laundry done, you just don’t do it yourself. Period. Also most hostels don’t want you to do it in their sinks and typically reinforce this by not providing sink plugs.

Every animal I meet has fleas, LOTS of them (advantage anyone? flea collars?). Sometimes after hanging around with them I do too.

Some hammocks have fleas, you get used to it. Everything else about hammocks…rocks! Though I do get seasick sometimes.

Originally published on facebook – May 9, 2009.

I didn’t talk too much about my time in Bocas Del Toro, because I didn’t stay there very long. I would have liked to stay longer but the weather wasn’t cooperating very well, (rainy) and I felt concerned that I wouldn’t have enough time to see the Caribbean side of CR before I had to head back to Montezuma for yoga teacher training.

So, after the hangover day, which was quite honestly a complete write off, Steph and I decided to head back into Costa Rica. We started our day with a rough boat crossing to take us to the mainland, I always get nervous when the boat is slamming down on the water, I try to keep reminding myself that they are built to be able to handle that, however, this purely rational thought doesn’t really help when all my instincts are screaming get back on dry land you idiot! But we made it, no problem. We got a great deal on a cab to the border which would save us at least an hour of time, and considering we didn’t leave the Bocas until 12:30pm we thought time might be a factor. So we took a cab to the border crossing. Border towns always seem to be so sketchy, they are dirtier then anywhere else and there seem to be more shady characters then anywhere else as well. The cab pulled up in what seemed to be an alley, we couldn’t see where the crossing was supposed to be, I got out but Steph was kinda freaked asking the cabbie, where’s the border, where’s the border? He pointed and then we saw it. Yeah I think the area is a little sketchy too but I figure, stay calm, don’t give off scared vibes, be alert and everything will be fine. We get our paperwork processed and literally have to cross a bridge to get into Costa Rica. This bridge is like the kind of bridge you see in movies where they exchange hostages and somebody always gets shot at, and we have to walk across it! Steph is so nervous the whole time, and I am trying to just reassure her it’s all ok. We get to the CR side and go to have our passports stamped, the official is wearing a surgical mask and rubber gloves, I ask him why and he tells us that the first case of swine flu was confirmed that day in San Jose (CR’s capitol city)…great!

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We catch our bus on the other side of the border taking us straight to Puerto Viejo, I am excited, finally I get to see the Caribbean ocean again! We arrive in PV and find a room at the Hotel Jacaranda. It is an awesome room, we have two double beds with a wall divider between us, separate shower and toilet and the walls are painted with wonderful flowers and flowy patterns. Outside our room we have 2 chairs and a hammock and the whole hotel is a big overgrown garden with colourful tiled mosaic walkways leading throughout. It rains here a lot and both of us are being eaten alive by the mosquitoes, I got three bites on one foot just while we were checking out our hotel room.

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The next day we walked about 2km down a beach side path to a beach called Playa Cocles, we hung out there for a few hours, it was overcast but warm. The water isn’t the beautiful aqua green-blue, I was hoping for but is still lovely. Steph is starting to talk a lot about the swine flu, she’s getting more and more worried. Her original plan was to end up in Mexico sometime in the next 2 months, now she’s talking about ending her trip and heading home asap! I keep telling her to relax, it’s all the media hyping up this crap, but she is convinced that she is gonna get quarantined if she doesn’ t go home fast!

The next day (still overcast) we rent bikes and ride 12km south down the coast to a little town called Manzanillo, we have lunch there at a french place that had the most yummy crepes, then we rode all the way back. At this point I am sick of the crappy weather so I decide that I am am going to leave PV the next morning and head to a town up the coast a bit called Cahuita. The weather is still shit but I’ve heard good things and want to go see it. Steph decides to head to San Jose to figure out what she wants to do, she says that way she’ll be close to an airport if things get worse with the flu deal so she’ll just be able to pop on a plane home. We go our separate ways the next morning and I’m glad about it as her paranoia was starting to irk me. It’s still grey and rainy in Puerto Viejo, but for some reason I think it might be nicer 20km up the coast in Cahuita, no such luck and I didn’t really feel it for the town either. I decide to leave the next morning and head to San Jose, I figured it’s a central place and I would be able to decide where I wanted to go next once I am there. At this point all I want is too find some sunshine again and laze around on a beach before buckling down for a month of intensive yoga training.

I get to San Jose and check in to the Tranquillo Backpackers Hostel, I am in no mood to explore San Jose and it’s almost dark so I hang around a bit, chat with other travelers, do some research on the internet to see where the weather is good and the run into Steph, she is staying in the same Hostel….I say hi chat briefly and then take myself out for a nice dinner. I come back to the hostel and have an early night, have a day of travel ahead….

Next morning I am up and outta there, after my free pancake breakfast of course. I have decided on a small town called Brasilito, it is about halfway up the Nicoya Pennisula near a slightly bigger town called Playa Flamingo (quite touristy, full on expats and over-priced) which is near an even bigger town called Tamarindo (party central for kids). I choose it 1) because of the favorable weather report and 2) because it is right next to a beach (Playa Conchal) that Lonely Planet calls “arguably the most beautiful beach in Costa Rica” and I would like to see that and 3) because I figure I will be able to get to Montezuma fairly easily from there. I arrive in the dark, I check into a hotel that is literally right across the street from the beach. I go to sleep to the sound of waves crashing in, lovely. Next morning I have a leisurely start, I am not planning on doing much in this town except lying around on the beach reading and tanning and occasionally going for a dip in ocean. The beach at Brasilito is nothing to write home about, very dark grey sand. However just over a bluff maybe a 10 minute walk away from my hotel is Playa Conchal. And it IS freaking beautiful! Lonely Planet actually got his one right! Millions of tiny shells litter the beach and they have slowly been crushed down to make the most amazing soft white sand, stunning! The water of the Pacific ocean is turned an amazing aqua blue-green, I didn’t know the Pacific Ocean came in this colour! I am very happy here and spend 3 days just lazing around.The weather was mostly good to me, it rained at night a couple times and on my last day as I was walking home from the beach I got caught in a shower. The rain falls heavily here, intensely, I was drenched in under a minute, but not cold ๐Ÿ™‚ I didn’t try to meet anyone, I didn’t really want to, I just wanted to rest and recharge my batteries. I have been on the move since sometime around the last week of March, I felt like I just wanted to stay still for a while and I got my wish, Very restorative, very beautiful, very relaxing. I am happy I went there!

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Today I came back to my home away from home, Montezuma again. I found a place to live that only costs me $250.00 US dollars for the month. It is about a 5 minute walk to where I will be doing the yoga training so is very convenient. It’s basically a small bachelor apartment, very not fancy. Kinda primitive actually. It was filthy and the first thing I did is go to the store and buy cleaning supplies, re-washed all the dishes, wiped down all the shelves, etc. Then I unpacked, which was kinda exciting because I get to stay unpacked for a whole month now! My new place is about 20 meters up a hill from the ocean, yes I can hear it right now. I have a covered balcony area with a partial view of ocean, a kitchenette, and a bathroom. My living room and bedroom are all one space, but it is perfect for what I need it for. I want to do some improvements, of course! I think mosquito netting is going to be a necessity as are a few clothes hangers and perhaps a toaster. Have to ask if the posts can handle it but I would like to invest in a hammock for the deck, will see what my landlord says. Also my walls are bare, will have to find or make some art or something to liven the place up.

I have been having some problems with my camera, I hope to get it fixed or get a new one. It is being very temperamental about opening and closing, quite inconvenient, and only seems to work properly when I put fresh Duracell batteries in it every half day, kinda ridiculous. So haven’t been taking as many pictures as I would like, however I do have some to download, will get to it soon. I don’t have internet access here at home, will have to figure out somewhere I can go to use for free (I have a couple ideas).

Yoga training starts with a half day this Sunday. Then we go into our regular schedule 5 days a week after that 6am-9:30am then 1pm -5pm……ouch. I’m not sure how much I will have to share with you all about that, but if anything interesting happens I will write. Hopefully I will have a few weekend adventures in there somewhere

Originally published on facebook – May 6, 2009.

A few random things…..

I will be on a bus from somewhere to somewhere else and then all of a sudden notice there is a fire slowly spreading along the sides of the road, burning grass and bushes and fence-posts, leaving a trail of blackened landscape behind. Nobody seems to take much notice of this, nobody is worried, nobody is fighting the fire…..it seems as though this is not out of the ordinary….surprising in a country that has a dry season that is over 6 months long.

Women carry their babies and smaller children here, ALL THE TIME. Rarely have I seen a stroller being used. I’ve seen kids as big as 3 or 4 years old passed out asleep in their mothers (or grandmothers) arms, while the woman stands there waiting for a bus or even buying groceries. These women hold onto their kids for hours at a time! Their arms and backs must be incredibly strong, wouldn’t want to arm wrestle any of these ladies!

When having a meal, most everything comes promptly, except the bill! They never bring it without asking. In fact sometimes it seems like the service staff disappear once I start thinking hhmmmm, maybe I’ll get the check now, poof, they are nowhere to be found!

The bus will stop anywhere, either to pick you up or drop you off, now that’s service! Today I didn’t see the bus coming until the last second and waved just as it went past me, I figured that was it I was stuck waiting another half an hour, but no, it came to a stop about 15 meters down the road and waited for me to get there, (I ran but probably didn’t really have to) the driver even had a big smile for me as I got on.

New, English language books are stupid expensive here, approximately double the jacket list price…this hurts someone like me who reads super fast….usually can trade books at hostels or buy them used for a more reasonable price but I am in a small town right now without any of those options, so…..ouch!

I don’t know how this can be but you can walk from one beach to the next and they will only be separated by a very small little point of land or bluff or whatever you want to call it, and the colour of the sand will change completely. One beach has dark grey almost black gritty sand and the next will be fine and white with all sorts of pretty seashells. I don’t understand how or why this happens, can anyone explain it to me?

Last thought…..mosquitoes suck! Why do they like my elbows so much?

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