It was a long day to Tortoguero. However, it was only about 5 hours of travel. The long hours on the road and then another hour or two by boat made a great recovery day. Once we got to our to our hotel we were able to relax and explore the tiny area we had landed on. There was a great many children running wild through the streets. It was such a protected area; no cars, limited wifi, only quiet. I could see the river on one side and the Caribbean on the other. It was lovely. In the morning we went out kayaking. They were sit on kayaks and I must say that I prefer the sit in type. I survived none the less and saw a great deal of animals. A troupe of howler monkeys that were kind enough to howl for us. We saw parrots, toucans, and many other types of beautiful birds. Once we moved into some narrow channels we were able to see caimans. These are like small alligators. The babies were all nestled in the tall grass and so cute. Well as cute as reptiles could be. The only complaint I had about Tortoguero was that it was stifling hot in the room. The first night my roommate and I slept fitfully bathed in sweat. The next night we demanded a stand up fan to have some relief. It did help.
The time there was over all to quick and we had to work our way back to San Jose for our last night together. It was another long drive recrossing the cloud rain forest on the mountain pass. We stopped at a fruit stand and got a tasting of some amazing verity of tropical fruit. I have to say that the ice cream pods (Inga feuillei) are the most crazy thing ever. They are about a foot long and 2-3 inches wide. Inside there are these “peas” that about about an inch or so and white. They are kind of fuzzy and cover a rather large seed. I felt the flavor was alright though you would have to eat quiet a bit to be full.
All too quickly our time together had to come to an end. I had an early flight and took a taxi to the airport. One thing I have to say that both my taxi rides (to hotel and to airport) were fantastic. Super friendly drivers, Dennis and Alex, inquired about my trip and my enjoyment. Many times you find that taxi drivers can be a bit aloof. My trip home took nearly 24 hours and left me exhausted and ill. While life getting back to normal can be a bit of a buzz kill. There is always the opportunity to look back and then look forward to the next adventure.
Sunburned and sore from rafting we worked our way South East to Puerto Viejo. This is a hippy little town with lots of water activities. We went snorkeling.
There was a concern that the water would be too murky from rain runoff in the mountains. While visibility wasn’t perfect we were still able to go. I saw a giant sting ray, nurse shark, lion fish, among many others. It was very nice in the water. Gave me a chance to sun burn a different side. We also hiked through the Chauita National park. Here we saw sloths, monkeys, and beautiful birds.
It was really cool seeing all these animals up close. They really have no fear of humans. The weather was perfect and my concerns about a lot of rain was unfounded. I even got to go shopping a bit in town. My Spanish is getting better every day. Or perhaps I’m getting more confident with speaking. Well tomorrow North to Tortoguero.
Trips seem to always start out rocky. Mine sure did. A 8 day trip to Costa Rica started out with the 1st flight being 1.5 hours delayed. This would give me only 15 mins between flights. However, with a bit of luck my second flight was also delayed and I was able to catch both! Yay Costa Rica.
I came a day early so I could make the 1st nights meeting. I spent my free time wondering around San Jose. Its is a large city but I was able to walk to down town from my hotel. (2miles) I was able to get some early souvenirs cause I knew we wouldn’t have much time during the trip. At the welcome meeting I found it was only 4 of us!!! Two men, UK and South Africa, and two ladies, myself and a Texan. Also were are all very close in age, like within 12-18 months! How cool is that? Day one started with a drive to Pacuare River; highly known for white water rafting.
There were also waterfalls down tiny goat trails. It rained on our way to the lodge. The rain made the trip just fantastic! The lodge was on a cliffside with some major rapids right below. Yes, it was very noisey at night and I didn’t sleep very well. The next morning we were to raft out about 15 miles. With the water washing off our sun lotion we all got very burned but it was a great ride! Once leaving Pacuare River we headed to Puerto Viejo and to more great adventure.
After a long week of international travel one always feels grateful to return home. At least I do. I think it is something we don’t do often enough; travel to foreign places. While we can get new ideas and prospectives, we also gain an appreciation of what we have. In rare cases we find that we need to change what we have too. All good things toward a happy, health mind and home.
Well, through an evil coworker I was shown a new airline that is promoting cheap flights. For less then a weekend in the states I was able to go to Dublin. I’ve never been to Ireland before and I was looking forward to a long weekend away. So that is how I ended up in Ireland.
I arrived at about 8am. I was able to find the bus to an Airbnb I had reserved. I recently discovered that google maps lets you download area maps. This was amazing and I easily found the place. I was renting a small room that was within walking distance to downtown. It was a very brisk morning more cool then I expected it to be but bundled up and a quick walk kept me warm. I worked my way towards Phoenix park. In the park was the Dublin Zoo. I am a sucker for zoos and aquariums. With such a cold morning most of the animals were
inside their warm homes. However, a few brave creatures were out in the sun soaking up the rays. Jet lag hadn’t set in yet and I worked my way towards downtown. I passed Jameson and Guinness breweries. Followed the River Liffey to a pub for lunch. Beer and soup. Yummy. I continued to wander around looking at ancient cathedrals, Dublin castle, and the Chester Beatty Library. This library holds some of the oldest manuscripts ever found. Antique Bibles, Qurans, and Buddhist texts. The artwork alone was amazing but to actually witness these documents was humbling. To think these writings from BC and AD made it long enough for me to witness them. It was wonderful. Starting to get a bit footsore I worked my way back to my home-stay for a nap.
I did get up for a bit to have a fabulous dinner at a local pub. However, I had an early day for a ride to Northern Ireland. In case you forgot, Northern Ireland is a separate country from Ireland. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and uses the Sterling Pound for currency. Ireland is part of the European Union and uses the Euro. I have to say I had to be reminded of this fact. We worked our way north to the Carrick-a-rede bridge. This bridge was constructed so that fisherman could get a bit farther out from shore. The bridge is constructed of two 2×12 boards and about 100 feet long. I must admit I got a bit weak kneed halfway across but I managed.
After the bridge we went toward the Giants Causeway. Now this is a natural formation of basalt rock. The story goes that a Scottish Giant (the formations go all the way to Scotland) came across the causeway to conquer the Irish giant. Through the wisdom of Mrs. Irish Giant the Scottish one was sent running home with his tail between his legs. The formation and the walk to the causeway is amazing. Huge cliffs and roaring sea add to the the giant atmosphere. We past this ruined castle on the way back to Dublin. Ireland, it seems, holds more ancient structures then I ever expected.
The Bushmill Brewery, which we also passed, was founded in the 1700s and is one of the oldest working brewery in Ireland. Just amazing. Just wow.
The next and my final full day in Ireland I went to all the museums and touristy sights that I didn’t get to on my first day. The natural history museums had some of the most antique specimens I have ever seen. Many from the early 1900s or late 1800s. The grouping of creatures was amazing. Not just one twig of the species tree but whole branches. The National Gallery held such wonderful works of local artists. I brought home a reprint of J.B. Yeats White Horse, among others. My final last half day I visited the Botanical Gardens and the Gasnevin Cemetery. Both were beyond imagination and quite fantastic. The entire trip was perfect getaway. Great way to recharge the batteries. I recommend checking out Norwegian Air in your area. The one bit advice, be aware that the 10kg is for both of your bags. So either check (extra fee) or pack extremely light. Now back to the daily grind. I might have accidentally, on purpose, signed up to work the next three weeks straight. I will be on midnights so that should be fine. I will just be a hermit. Until my next trip… which might be Costa Rica.
I was just away for a weekend to my moms’ to help do chores around the farm. It was a very productive trip but we always butt heads if we are together more then three days. I was there three and a half. Today I packed again for another trip. Yes, I pack way ahead of time. This way I can add and subtract as needed. Anyways, I got wicked cheap tickets for Dublin for a long weekend and couldn’t say no. There is a lot going on right now. Stress is really high. However, to take a moment to myself is much needed. I plan to take full advantage of it.
So I might have peeled out of the parking lot and slid sideways into Walmart’s lot but I made it in one piece. I went through the clothes section in record time finding what I could make work. The person that should have been at the fitting rooms decide that now would be a great time to be missing. I might have limbo-ed under the door and changed into my new clothes. I then walked to the register and give her the tags. I didn’t even get an odd look. Guess its not that uncommon for people to wear purchases out of the store. I made it back to my brother’s school in 15 minutes. Record time! We then sat through the most droll speeches about how great the school is doing and how wonderful the students are. I could have taken a nap. I probably needed one. We finally made it to the diploma presentation time. I was able to make it onto the stage and present it to my brother with out tripping, fainting, or crying. I think that is a great accomplishment if you ask me. There was much fanfare and hand shaking and we were done. It went by in a huge rush. Mom and I returned to the hotel while my brother finished his day. His girlfriend decided that we were not invited to dinner because, “its the last time I’ll see him in…I don’t know.” Peeved and tired, mom and I went to dinner on our own. The following few days followed in about the same way. We went to local sites and did the touristy stuff. My brother still the egotistical person he always have been. It was very disheartening to feel I put all this effort into being here and there was no appreciation shown. Oh well. Family right?! I am very glad to have made the trip. It brought back memories from my time at the same academy. I look forward to seeing how my brother progresses from here. I know it wont be easy. My mom drove back to Georgia in 30 hours. I hate when she does these straight through drives. She made it safe and sound. I flew back and made it just in time for 8 inches of snow. However, today is bright, sunny, and looking warm. It is not warm by any means though. Back to the grind stone, I guess.