Zapatero

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This morning I woke with a hope of going to a farm with the girls. We were supposed to meet in the morning in Heredia but due to lack of internet connection and absence of cell phone I ended up taking an hour bus trip and coming back. It has been a month without a cell phone; a pretty cool, ancient feeling. It makes you communicate better, plan things more effectively and think ahead of time. Sometimes it works but sometimes, like today, it didn’t.

I took the bus back to the center of San Jose. Sundays in Costa Rica are dead and empty days. The majority of stores are closed, people are either at home or church. From time to time, here and there, there are little gatherings and music.

On the way back home I stop by supermarket Christal to get a crispy baguette. When I arrived, Catalina told me that the guy on a bike full with a bunch of stuff in front of our house fixes shoes for only $2. I was hoping to fix my newly bought sandals that lost its hills cover in the first two hours of walking. Caramba! ***With his permission I took a picture. 

It’s always like that: anything that doesn’t happen always brings something else, even cooler.

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Limon and Cahuita

After meeting this really cool Haitian girl Christela at Volcano Poás last weekend we decided to take a weekend trip to Cahuita, the Caribbean town on the Atlantic side.

She planned and reserved everything. All I had to do was say “Yes, I am coming!” With a bunch of sweets, bread, and chips in our backpacks a super nice Mexican girl Mar, her mom Marta, and an American girl Ksenya occupied the back row of a bus. Five hours later there we were – in CAHUITA!

When we arrived to the bus stop a huge painting of Bob Marley inside a barber shop caught my attention. Red, green, and yellow colors dominated in the town. Foreigners and locals were riding bicycles. A light breeze of sea, smoked fish, and marihuana were flying in the air. And all we could hear was – REAGGAE. It was chill.

I love this place I thought. We headed towards the town to look for our hostel.

-What are you looking for? Asked a skinny black man in Perfect English.

-Secret Garden Hostel, we said.

-Follow me, I live next door.

***In my head I was thinking. Hopefully he is not going to take us to HIS Secret Garden. After a few weeks in San Jose I started to be very cautious about people, walking in a dark, keeping my bag in front of me, and acknowledging any comments.

We arrived to the hostel where were welcomed by a skinny Dutch lady who spoke pretty good English and very broken Spanish. We got our keys, changed and got the information about the most important – a party.

A bunch of older white people and beautiful dreadlocked locals were singing, dancing and of course smoking at Reggae Bar on the other side of the village. The kids were running around playing soccer, the dogs were coming in and out, the grill was steaming and the party cooking. We had our bottle of Imperial, bounced for a few hours and headed back to the hostel as on Saturday we were off out and about to the National Park of Cahuita early in the morning.

It took us about 5 hours to walk 10 km, climb a palm tree a few times, play in the ocean, and take a picture of every bug and bee we saw on the way. After a long hike we had more rice and beans, 5 beers for 3800 colones, and life reggae music at Coco Bar. I was so much fun that we couldn’t resist to come back after a siesta to dance some merengue and more REGGAE.


*** I have to say that so far I haven’t had any luck dancing with any one in Costa Rica. Maybe I just got spoiled by all the Cubans and awesome Americans who can dance?

On Sunday morning we were up at 7:30 am, made 15 scramble eggs, packed, checked out, and took a bus to Puerto Limon. There, everything was closed besides a church and shoe stores. Was not worth going. 

Courage, En Pied and Jaco

I gotta tell ya: « It takes a lot of courage to travel by yourself.” This weekend I went to Jacó, a surfing beach on the Pacific side.

I woke up at 4:45am, had a plate of gallopinto (rice and beans), got dressed and took the bus to San José. Not knowing where to go I run around looking for el Terminal Coca Cola to buy a ticket for $2065 colones ($4) to Jaco.

-One to Jaco at 7am, I said in espanol.

-We only have 7:45am “en pied” or the other at 8:45am.

-En pied?

-Si, en pied.

A bunch of ideas went through my head. Does this bus just go to Pied? Not to keep the line I gave the cahier $50,000 colones (about $100) and got the ticket for 7:45am. He gave me the change and I rapidly stuck in my pocket. Who cares to count, right?

While waiting at the bus stop there were a lot of gringas and I was dying to ask where “Pied” was.

When the time came to board I climbed on the bus and sat behind an obviously American girl. Two minutes later I realized that people were looking for a seat number on their tickets. I looked at my ticket and all it said was:

“En Pied.” Hm…

I leaned forward to the girl:

-Excuse me. Do you speak English?

-Yes!

-Is there supposed to be a seat number?

-You are En Pied! Standing!

CARAMBA!

I took my backpack and moved behind. The bus moved. 10 minutes later an older gentlemen from the front seat waived at me.

– ¿Yo?
– Si, si, tu!

I grabbed my pack and slowly, as a drunk salesman moved to the front of the bus.

A bus driver turned around:

-You don’t have to ride “en Pied”, you can seat next to me.

That was a VIP spot! I could see it all: mountains, volcanoes, bikers, runners, even crocodiles! Needless to say, I got to practice my Spanish with the nicest tico bus driver. That lasted for about an hour until the seat next to the ginga who helped me with that entire “en pied” thing became vacant. We started talking.

When we arrived to Jaco, two other girls met us at a ticket office to buy the return tickets. There it occurred to me that the cashier gave me change as if it was from 5000 colones ($10) and not 50000 ($100). Here is a lesson: COUNT YOUR MONEY BEFORE WALKING AWAY!

We headed to Taco Bar and had a delicious breakfast for $3. Then we headed to the beach where I got to know the girls and we got hit on by 5 ticos with a bunch of beer.

Here are the most common questions in Costa Rica:

-Where are you from?

-How old are you?

-Do you have a boyfriend?

Well… even with moving my ring to the left hand and saying that I have a serious boyfriend in Ukraine they wouldn’t leave us alone. We had to take off ourselves. The girls went to the bus stop and I went to find a hostel.

As much as I hate shopping I hate looking for hostels. I walked to the first one by the beach and got a room for $12. Then I went for a walk. While strolling on the main avenida I saw a cute guy with a backpack. We exchanged looks.

When I went back to my hostel guess who was my roommate?

-Do you smoke weed? He asked.

Who is this man? – I thought to myself but with open heart and sincere smile we ended up talking for at least 2 hours. He was a 24 yo Swedish truck driver who came to Costa Rica to surf.

The Sunday was spent on the beach and I GOT BURNED! Ouch ouch ouch… It was a real pain to get back home on the bus. When I got back there was a new a girl who arrived to Catalina’s house. She is 18 and did not speak any espanol!

After telling Catalina all about my trip she said that the cashier didn’t give me the wrong change. There is no 50000 colones in Costa Rica. Only 5000. AZUCAR! At least it will teach me to pay attention.

With pain, courage, and open heart it was a great weekend!

Cheers!

Getting around Costa Rica and San Jose

Costa Rica doesn’t have street names or numbers. The address would be something like this:

From that tree that was there 15 yrs ago, head north about 100 meters to the white house with black little dog. From there turn left and walk south-east 200 meters until you see a Pharmacy. My house is the pink one with white columns.

Early in the morning after having a cup of delicious Costarican coffee and a plate of gallopinto (rice and beans) I went for a short walk. Good thing I remembered that I passed a random green house and our house had white flowers in front. If not I would be still walking in the neighborhood of San Jose until someone would ask if I were lost. And even then I would never be able to explain where I live… NO IDEA!

I guess it’s time to learn my north, south, east, and west.

Tomorrow is a big day! I am going to start a Spanish class at 8 am. The biggest thing is that I found a DANCE class! Hallelujah! I will go and try out to see where they can place me.