Sunday, March 13, 2011

Costa Rica, 1999-Montezuma (My First Blog)

Getting ready to leave Costa Rica. It's been an eventful nine days, which I intend to write about today on my four hour bus ride to Liberia. But being here again has caused me to reminisce about my other trips to this country. Back in the day--I wrote emails to a list of friends. I guess I have always been a blogger at heart. Amazingly, some of them are still in the my inbox (attached to replies). I thought I might post a few of them here.

In September of 1999, just after I had left my three year gig working at Mattel, and my sister Moira had recently returned from her years in Spain and India, we went to Costa Rica for a couple of months. Somehow I remember staying in San Jose for a month, and then traveling...but we must have done some traveling at the beginning as well, because this is one of the first dated emails...

Sept 1, 1999 Wednesday
Montezuma Beach

Our travel day, consisting of a taxi, a bus, a ferry, and another bus--was almost 12 hours in length. We passed the time waiting for the ferry in Puntarenas (the port town) with a Canadian guy we met on the bus named Mike. He's just back from spending 3 months on an isolated island doing a study where they tagged wild pigs and then followed them around all day. He seems a bit undershowered, but amicable.
Our room is behind an Italian restaurant named "El Luz Mono" (The Monkeylight). Off season, for a moderate price ($15) we can share a sizable room with a private bath (no hot water of course), and they say they'll bring in a table tomorrow so I can study. Moira says I am a bit of a Princessa, but I don't think she minds the more deluxe accomodations.

Sept 2, 1999 Thursday
Montezuma Beach

Regarding our planned daily schedule. I woke Moira up bright and early this morning; we were in the water by 7am. By 7:07 we were feeling little stings all over. We quickly headed for shore, to find find mosquito bite-like welts all over our bodies. With some resarch we found out that until the water reaches a certain temperature (usually around 9 or 10am) there are "Pulgas del Mar" (Sea Fleas). The welts seem to be subsiding rather quickly, but even so--we'll be swimming warmer waters in the afternoons from now on!

Sept 4, 1999 Saturday

Yesterday we took a snorkeling tour to East Tortuga Island. Due partially to the great amounts of rain, visibility isn't great, but is relatively clear near the rock formations...
...Some technical difficulties with the motor boat on the return leg of the trip. Something with the gears in the steering column. (I got a good first lesson in walkie talkie speak in Spanish). In the end they detached the steering attachment and steered manually from the rudder by wrapping the anchor line around the motor to move it. It made for a bit lengthier and choppier trip but everyone made it back...
...Glad to be back we went to look for food, but were so quickly and aggressively accosted by this guy named Swenn from San Diego who has lived for the last ten years in Japan teaching English "at the University level" (we found all of this out in his first two sentences) that we beat a hasty retreat and splurged on a meal at our home base. El Luz Mono is a fine restaurant, run by Italian expatriates, with whom Moira flirted so successfully that by the end of the meal they were plying us with alcohol filled deserts and free shots until we could take advantage of another table paying their bill to escape into the pouring rain and back to the relative safety of our room.

Sept 5, 1999 Sunday
Still Montezuma

A day trip today to "Cabo Blanco Strict Nature Reserve". The ride was short, even with the small detour to jump the driver's friend's jeep. Having always owned an automatic, I was fascinated to learned you can just tie a rope to a manual vehicle, put it in gear and pull it a short way and it starts!
The reserve is very interesting, we saw various monkeys, birds, butterflies (there are so many here) and birds. The trails were incredibly muddy, at times we were sinking to above our ankles (I am loving those Tevas you guys).
Mike joined us for the hike. We are finding him less pleasant. He kept picking up insects and then throwing them a bug's mile away from where he found them, then told us this story about the German guy who had so rudely complained when Mike threw a beer can at a dog the night before... by dinner we were avoiding Mike, Swenn, and the Italians. We picked the most remote table at the most remote restaurant (not that remote, there's only about four), but about halfway through Swenn found us and seated himself alone at the adjacent table and proceeded to stare ceaselessly. Too hungry to run,and over Moira's protests, I broke down and invited him over. He's not all bad--just really dysfunctional. We had a nice discussion about fucked up childhoods and life in Japan--but declined to go bar hopping after...It might be time to start thinking about returning to San Jose!

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