Wednesday, March 28, 2012

iPura Vida!

" way...I am sooo scared! I can't do it, there is just no way!" cried out Autumn as we ascended the metal structure that stretched 400 feet into the air. There were tiny guard rails to give one a sense of protection, but only falsely. When we reached the top, after having put on our harnesses, we all looked down and couldn't believe just how HIGH we were. We had to drive with a tractor/shuttle back into the forest a good 15-20 minutes, but it didn't seem as though we were very deep. The view was spectacular!!! We were up there with two guides and about 10 other people, some had this experience before, others were as green as we were. The guide was quick to strap Autumn and Lindsey on the line and away they went...aaagggghhhhh!!! I could hardly believe they allowed a 5 year old to fly across the forest canopy attached with just three ropes, I could hardly believe I allowed her to go, gees!!!! She screamed, Lindsey screamed, they LOVED it!!

We had a wonderful time in La Fortuna, the town about the same size as Grover Beach situated at the base of the Volcano Arenal in the middle of Costa Rica. It's a perfect place to settle into and lots of travelers find themselves in La Fortuna for a lot longer than they had originally anticipated because it's so laid back and "flojo".

Monday, March 26, 2012

Gorgeous sunset at the volcano!

We had a marvellous day walking through the jungle complete with a waterfall dip, suspension bridges and a visit from the white-faced monkeys from the canopy. We met a couple who came to stay for a week and have been here almost two months, anyone can see why!

The temperature has been perfect, perhaps around 75 degrees. We just returned from an evening hot springs swim, the girls had a blast!

Along the base of the volcano with our guia Miguel, beautiful scenery!!!
Getting used to new money can be challenging, at least at first. Perhaps due to inflation, there are two more 0's in every transaction. Therefore, a bottle of water costs 650 colones which is really only about $1.30 or so. The girls are having a blast with the money, exchanging it, feeling it, asking if it's fake..."you're rich!" said Sage this morning. With thousands of colones in my purse it feels that way :) Too bad it can only buy a few beers...

What is even more riduculous is my ability to work on this computer outside, at the base of this gorgeous volcano!
We made a plan to make our way to the Volcano yesterday for a few days, then on to the beach. This place is amazing, eveywhere you look there is something beautiful, especially the wildlife, the birds, the plants, the people are fascinating. Traveling brings that heightned sense of awareness that can usually only be attained by chemical means. :)

We spent our last morning in the fancy hotel eating ourselves silly at the buffet, swimming in our freezing (who knew?) yet refreshing Las Vegas sized pool and locating a taxi to take us to the bus station.

Ahhh...the bus station. I love taking local buses, it gives one a real sense of who lives here, what people act and smell like. In a taxi or any private transportation, there is too much insulation, not enough connection to anyone or anything. Of course it has it's benefits, it's place, but not now...this is too much fun. The girls had a million questions about the bus, the people on it, where we were going, and how long it would take. We met a cute little two year old named Laura who sat with us for the first hour of the ride to San Carlos (on the way to La Fortuna, the city below the volcano). Autumn had a blast with Laura, reading to her and playing all sorts of games. She had to use any spanish she could since Laura didn't speak a lick of english. If we lived here for even 6 months, the kids would speak perfectly. It goes to show you there is no substitute for living in a foreign country to learn a language, in slightly isolated San Luis Obispo, it's too easy to take to easy road out, even in a bi-lingual school, bummer.

We moved up the hillsides, into the mountains in our bumpy high-velocity bus. The drivers move through tiny towns and around sharp corners as it they were in a scooter, but they do it with style, a ride of it's own! The hillsides, sparcely sprinkled with speckled black and white cows, were a perfect view from our back seat row on the bus. The sharp scent of shit and diesel seasoning the air every so often is a good reminder that even paradise isn't always perfect!

Costa Rica!!

Leaving home for vacation is always a fabulous feeling. So much left behind and so much to explore, there is nothing like it.

We began our journey yesterday early in the morning, making our way to LAX with three excited little girls in the car! Less than four hours later we found ourselves looking for something to do along Century Blvd to pass the time before our flight. We had already eaten, so we decided to join crowd at Ross, a choice place for kids :)

Our first flight was on time, we were able to check baggage for no extra cost and off we went to our gate. $40 later for 2 of the smallest pizzas we have ever eaten, we were on our way to la Ciudad de Mexico! We had to make it through customs and recheck our baggage before we could go onto San Jose. The girls were troopers, very little was good! The excitement trumped sibling rivalry, I wonder how that doesn't work more often?

Jeff had booked two nights in San Jose the night before we left. Good thing because we arrived even later than anticipated, at almost 1 am! There were a few taxis waiting for late travelers, but no free shuttle for our hotel as the website mentioned.

March 24
Relaxing, enjoying the pool and this extremely nice hotel!