Well, I officially made it home!! Today may have been the longest day of my life and I have not slept now for over 36 hours, but it feels really good to be back. I had some crazy mixed emotions about it, but right now I feel good. Except for Holy weather shock!! I am freezing!! Ok, I am off to bed...I am sure I will be talking to you all very soon. And, I will have lots of more pictures up soon, so keep checking!
Location: Costa Rica
Today was one of those insane Costa Rican moments...
One of my good friends down here, Hannah, lives with a fairly prominent family and today for lunch, one of the Costa Rican presidential candidates, Ottón Solís, (the election is in February) came to her house for a little meet and greet. I went with her and we got to talk to the may be future president of Costa Rica! It was such a great experience because it was just his little group of 10 or so press people and the neighbors around her house and they just had a little intimate lunch and discussion session. Never would have happened in the States! This was the best part...he asked us what party we were affiliated with and we told him Democrat and he said ¨Good!¨. Love it!!
Location: Costa Rica
It may be a bit early still to start celebrating, but I would just like to point out that I managed to avoid getting dengue!! Emily -1, mosquitos -0! Of course, I still have four more days to lose that, so we shall keep our fingers crossed. In other news, I has a wonderful last Friday night in Puntarenas. We got a big bunch of girls together last night, we got dressed up and we went out to a nice dinner on the beach. Afterwards, 4 of us walked the strip along the beach and ended up sitting on the sidewalk watching people and reminiscing for a long time about our whole experience. It was wonderful! It is going to be very weird to go back and expect everyone to know what I am talking about, when they really aren`t going to have any idea. Luckily, I made one really good friend down here that`s from Reno. We have already planned our ¨get together and talk about the Punt¨ sessions. Other than that, not much to report. It`s been a long, slow weekend, but that could just be because I am getting anxious to go. Two days of finals and a day of packing and then I`m on my way!
Location: Costa Rica
Ok kids...guess what?? I am going to be back in Reno in exactly one week from today! Aren`t you all excited for me??? I know you can`t wait to see me:) I don`t have much new to report. This week has been full of lots of sun and beach time (I vow to come back with a great tan!). Tomorrow, I am heading to San Jose just to do something for the day and this weekend I am hanging out with my family. Next week, I have finals on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I pack, and I leave for the airport at 3am Thursday morning!!
Location: Granada, Nicaragua
I don`t think I could have asked for a better end to my travelling experience (I still have another week, but I will just be here, so it was the end of the travelling). We went to Nicaragua this past weekend. We had a wonderful time...good group of girls, well planned and just an all around good trip:)
Thursday, we left Puntarenas at 4:30am to meet up with the bus to Nicaragua. It turns out the bus didn`t actually come until 7, so that was a little annoying, but it all worked out. We got on the bus, made it through customs without complication (Meghan got the red light, but the guy looked at her and just laughed and sent us all back to the bus without searching anything) and headed to Granada, Nicaragua. In all, the trip was about 7 hours of travelling and wasn`t bad at all (nice bus, air conditioned, etc). We finally got to Nicaragua and took care of some errands we had to do (bank, hotel, return bus ticket). Side note: The money ended up being a huge problem all weekend. First of all, it is 17 cordobas to a dollar, which is difficult enough, but secondly, the bank gave us 500 bills and NO ONE had change for it! It was a mess! Anyways, Thursday we just wandered around Granada and checked out the city. Granada is the oldest city in Central America, so it had a lot of the old buildings and all cobblestone streets and everything, so that was interesting. We got to climb up one of the towers of this old fortress and watch the sunset, which was absolutely amazing! For Thanksgiving that night, we got the name of this really nice Spanish restaurant and we went and ate there. It was a little more expensive, but really good and definitely worth it for Thanksgiving.
Friday morning we had decided to go to Ometepe, which is a huge island (including 2 different volcanos) in Lake Nicaragua. We hopped on the bus in Granada, which turned out to be an old school bus, completely packed with people. That was an interesting experience. As soon as we got to Rivas, we were trying to get off the bus and we were all being grabbed at and assaulted to take one of the taxis. It was pretty unnerving. We finally got a taxi and went to San Jorge, where we caught the ferry to Ometepe. This ferry may have been one of the most interesting experiences of my life! It looked like a little tugboat. They packed about 50 people onto this boat (we had to walk down this old wooden plank that wasn`t attached to anything to get on...very scary!) and then they started throwing on bags of frozen chickens. They must have put on at least 10 bags full, and I was really worried that our little boat was going to sink! Then, on the way, the lake was really rough and there was water splashing over the sides all the way. I was soaked when we got there! Once we got to the island, we found a really helpful taxi driver that took us to this cute little beach. It was a nice hotel there, so we were able to stay in a really nice new cabin for four of us for $25 total. Loved it! Plus, they had free use of kayaks, which was awesome. We got up early Saturday morning and kayaked on Lake Nicaragua...it was completely surreal!
We ended up leaving early Saturday morning to head back to Granada. The trip back was a lot less eventful. We actually got on a real ferry and made it pretty quickly. Once back in Granada, we did a little shopping and then headed out to Masaya, which is supposed to have a cool outdoor market. The market was fun, but it was a lot like the markets I have been to a lot in Mexico, so it wasn`t all the new for me. The other girls loved it though! It was Meghan`s birthday, so Andrea and I headed out to find a cake when we got back to Granada. That was an interesting experience! But, we finally got it figured out and we were able to totally suprise Meghan and have a Nicaraguan cake for her:) Later on, we went to eat at this place we had heard a ton about...The Bearded Monkey. It was a hostel too, but they didn`t have any more room, so we just ate there. It had probably one the coolest atmospheres of anywhere I have been before. It was full of back packers and there were all kinds of different languages everywhere. It was really neat!
Sunday, we caught the bus back to Costa Rica and the trip went really well. We got back into Puntarenas by 7pm. All in all, I was really excited about the trip because all weekend the four of us girls did really good with the language (no one spoke English!) and the travelling (with crossing the border) and having planned really well. It was good stuff!! Now, I just have another week here, then finals next Monday and Tuesday and then I come back!! I`m not sure if I really want to anymore!
Location: Costa Rica
Well, it all hit me at once yesterday...I am leaving paradise in 16 days!!! I want to come home and see everyone so much, but I don`t want to leave this country either....such a predicament!! On another note, I had another awesome weekend. We went to San Josè again on Friday, just to hang out and get out of the Punt for a bit. We went to a real movie in a movie theater on Friday night...amazing! The best part? It only cost $3:) Then, we went out again to El Pueblo that night. We were 4 blond girls walking in again, and again we got attacked by ticos who wanted to dance with us. It is fun to get so much attention! We danced all night and it was a blast:) The next day we wandered around the city for awhile, ran some errands and had an amazing lunch. We got back to the Punt late on Saturday afternoon, and I pretty much just slept the night away. My host uncle was here, so I talked to him for awhile, which is always entertaining. Then, Sunday, we hung out on the beach all morning. The weather is finally getting beautiful here! I love it:) And, I got some good news this morning. My spanish teacher changed our test this week to next Monday, so I am going to be able to go to Nicaragua on Thursday. So, while you all are enjoying Thanksgiving, I will be sitting on a bus:) Eat some turkey for me, k? Love you all!!
Location: Costa Rica
Well, I bought my bus ticket to Nicaragua yesterday and now it turns out that my Spanish class has a test on Thanksgiving day (i know, how crappy is that??). So, we went to talk to our teacher today, but she said it is not up to her, we have to go talk to the director of the program. Turns out, he won`t be here again til next Wed. So, we finally get our teacher to call the director and he says he will have to think about it. I am going to be very frustrated if we can`t go to Nicaragua because of some stupid test we can`t take a day early!!! Just thought I would vent to everyone for a bit. That is all! I am off tomorrow for San Josè and I am sure I will have a fun story for everyone next week. PURA VIDA!!
Location: Costa Rica
I just keep finding more fun pictures...I added some more to the lastest, more random pictures. Check those out! Also, I haven`t even added any of the pictures from my own camera because I can`t download them here, but I just filled up my memory card, so their will be lots more to come when I get back.
Location: Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
This past weekend was my tropical marine biology fieldtrip. We went to the Caribbean coast to Puerto Viejo in Southern Costa Rica. We left Friday morning at 6am and the bus ride there was a long one! We were within about 2 hours and I got really sick on the bus. I`m not sure what it was, but I think I ate some bad food or something. Those two hours were hell! I felt like I was going to die. But, it passed very quickly and by that night, I was fine again. Anyways, other than that, the trip was a lot of fun. The town of Puerto Viejo is very small and has a huge Rastafari influence. I felt like I was in Jamaica! Lots and lots of hippies...I loved it! This is sad, but food usually is the highlight of every experience, right? Well, this weekend was no exception! Saturday afternoon, we went to this little cafè owned by a couple of Americans with a little baby. Side note, but interesting...the baby`s name was Buddha...how do you live up to that one?? Anyways, I had the most amazing sandwich! It was wonderful:)
Ok, enough of that...the rest of Saturday we didn`t do much...played on the beach and rested. That night, we went out to the beach where a live raggae band was playing. They were really good and we sat and danced for awhile. The next morning, we got up early and went out to do the snorkeling (you know, the CLASS part of the fieldtrip...I love my life!!) Unfortunately, it had been raining a lot and the water was pretty cloudy. We tried a few different places, but we didn`t have much luck seeing stuff. We finally gave up and spent the afternoon wandering around the town and relaxing. I really liked the town...and I found a pair of the hippie pants I have been looking for!! That night, we walked across the street from our hotel where they were having yet another dance party on the beach. No one was very energetic, so Jenna and I left everyone and just went off and danced on our own. It was lots of fun! The next day, we went and played on the beach for a few hours and finally headed back to Puntarenas. I was dreading the bus ride back, but it actually went really fast and was really fun. We had an iPod adaptor, so we just plugged that in and the whole bus sang along to classic rock songs the whole time. I actually think the bus ride back was my favorite part of the trip! The whole trip was pretty amusing to me, because it was a school fieldtrip and the only class related thing we did was snorkel for two hours. And, I get a credit for it!! Now, I have 3 weekends left here and then I head back to home:) I`m actually really excited to go back and see everyone again. 23 days!!
Location: Monteverde, Costa Rica
This weekend was quite the adventure weekend! We had a school trip to Monteverde Cloud Forest, which is in the mountains about 2 hours east of Puntarenas. We left early Saturday morning and got to Monteverde, a cute little tourist town, around 11, had lunch and headed out for our morning of adventure. Those of you who know me well are going to be so suprised, but very proud of me as well! We did the canopy tour zipline thing through the rainforest (well, actually, mostly above the rainforest!) It was one of the scariest, but also funnest, things I have ever done. In total, there were 11 cables. The longest was about a half a mile and the highest was probably 500 feet above anything. After being completely freaked out at the first one, I started to get the hang of it and really enjoy myself. And then came the 9th cable...I thought I was going to die! First, we had to climb up this big hill and at the top of the hill was this huge metal tower with a circular (tiny!) staircase that just kept going and going. That climb was the hardest part of the whole tour! Anyways, at the top you are swaying with the wind, completely unstable and a good 100 feet off the ground. It was so intense! But, it was so much fun once I left the tower...that one was super fast! I was really happy that I did it because it was something that I would never have done otherwise! That night, we went into town for dinner and ate at this little restaurant called The Treehouse that had a huge tree growing through the middle of it. The food was amazing and we had the best milkshakes!!
That night, we were staying at this pretty sketchy little hotel and as soon as I walked in with my roommates, we saw a bunch of huge spiders on the walls! Needless to say we freaked out! It was pretty funny...we were total girls! We ended up pulling the beds away from the walls and putting them together in the middle of the room and spraying the bases of the beds with bugspray. It was quite the scene! We definitely didn`t sleep very well!
The next day, we went on yet another ¨nature walk¨ through the rainforest, but this one was actually cool. We didn`t have a guide, so we were free to wander and it was a lot different than the other forests we had seen. Monteverde is a lower montane forest and is a lot colder than the lowland rainforest, so it has different vegetation. It was cloudy and misty that day, so I really felt like I was in a movie scene...it was pretty surreal.
The whole weekend was lots of fun. Unfortunately, I got back and realized that I had lots to do. It`s going to be a busy week for me!
I put up some more random photos...enjoy:) A few are from the ziplining...
Location: Costa Rica
Well, I put up some pictures from Halloween although they aren`t that great. My camera is still not functioning so they are borrowed as well, and I had no control over content. Anyways, I originally wasn`t going to do anything for Halloween, but the restaurant next door to the school decided to throw a little party for us gringos. So, at the last minute Jenna and I threw together costumes and decided to go. Now, what was the easiest thing to pull together so late? Obviously, we were going to be high class call girls. We pretty much just dressed up really nice and wore lots of makeup. Then we got our amigo Ian to come in and pose as our ¨coordinator¨. He really made the outfit. We made him a colones sign for his neck with tin foil and a bunch of tin foil bracelets and such. Everyone at the party was dressed up and some people had gone all out...I was very impressed! I wish I had better pictures so you guys could fully appreciate it. All in all, it was a really fun night. The best part was just watching all the Ticos walk by looking at us all like we were crazy. They don`t do Halloween down here, so we were definitely oddities. Well, I am off to Monteverde this weekend, so I should have another fun update for you soon:)