Costa Rica Journal

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azbackpackr
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Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 07 2012 4:29 pm

The countdown is on, less than a week to go! I'm off to Costa Rica on Friday morning! I have probably gained quite a few new gray hairs over the past few weeks, what with all the hassle in getting a correct authentication/apostille on my birth certificate (would you believe the California Secretary of State made an error and the Consulate would not accept the document?) I had to have that in order to get a student visa. I ought to run for President, what with all the problems with my birth certificate. I have had to order THREE of them!

So, look for me hereon this thread over the coming months, and I will post up some photos (and likely even some hikes) from time to time. It will be fun to keep in touch with everyone while I'm there, too!
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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kevinweitzel75
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by kevinweitzel75 » Jan 14 2012 10:42 am

Omg. I'm so jealous. Lol. Be safe and have lots of fun. Looking forward to more posts.
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the road less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
Robert Frost

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azbackpackr
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 14 2012 11:18 am

I just returned from walking with my hostess down the beach, which is MILES long, and then winding back through the town. It's sort of like a Mexican town, but a little nicer, to my way of thinking. But still very Latin American. I did not notice a single person at the beach or in the town who looked American. Since it is Saturday, and very sunny and hot, the beach is crowded with families. I really like the fact that this is a town where Ticos live and visit, but is not too popular with foreign tourists. ("Ticos" are Costa Ricans. That's what they call themselves.)

It's hot, but not horribly so, and humid, but not horribly so. I would say it's around 95 degrees, maybe a little higher. Windows are open, fan is going. My hostess served me cold pineapple and tamarindo juice for a snack and now is preparing some fish for lunch.

The ocean here is calm. Across the water you see the Nicoya Peninsula, and islands. There is some horizon, but mostly you see the peninsula, and to the south there are a couple of really huge mountains in the far distance.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 15 2012 7:09 pm

Well, I'm settling in, and my rusty Spanish is smoothing out a little bit. I sure have a lot to learn.

Puntarenas is a beach town, but not popular with foreign tourists. On the weekend many people take the bus from San Jose to go to the beach here, so the beach is crowded. This afternoon I walked with the other students across the narrow peninsula to the other side, where we boarded a boat which took us around the tip of the point (La Punta de Puntarenas) and out into the Gulf of Nicoya. We watched the sunset from the boat. Here's a photoset I posted up: http://hikearizona.com/photoset.php?ID=18315

I'm having a lot of fun getting acquainted with my host family and my fellow students.

It's hot here, but it doesn't bother me too much. I have a fan in my room. Outside, it's hot during the day and warm at night.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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big_load
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by big_load » Jan 15 2012 7:12 pm

Are there lots of creepy-crawlies?

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azbackpackr
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 15 2012 7:26 pm

Not at my house! My host mama keeps her house clean! However, as in any tropical area, there are times of year when the cucarachas are bad, mostly during the rainy season, which begins in May. I'm leaving in May, however. I still haven't seen one of the giant iguanas that roam the streets. And a girl told me she had rented an apartment that had scorpions, and it was very sketchy in other ways as well, so she moved in with a host family instead. Some of the kids really want to party and stay up late, and living with a host family can put a bit of a damper on those plans.

I just got an ICE pre-paid cell phone and I just signed up for Skype. Not sure either one is something I need right now, though. Oh, well, now I have them. The cell phone will be handy for keeping in touch with other students. I tried to call a couple of family members back home, with the ICE phone, but they didn't answer.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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mikehikes
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by mikehikes » Jan 17 2012 4:42 pm

Do you plan to do any river rafting while you are there?

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azbackpackr
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 17 2012 5:35 pm

mikehikes wrote:Do you plan to do any river rafting while you are there?
I sure hope so! What I heard is that my school facilitated a commercial day trip on the Rio Pacuare last semester, but not this one. So, I plan to ask at the school how I could get a group together to go do that.

The reason may be simple. This is the dry season, and a lot of the rivers I saw from the plane were not really very full of water--lots of sand bars. So, I'll ask, and also will look on the internet.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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New2hyk
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by New2hyk » Jan 17 2012 6:27 pm

I am really enjoying reading 8) your journal. Can you comment on how the prices there are compared to AZ? :-k

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azbackpackr
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 17 2012 7:05 pm

New2hyk wrote:I am really enjoying reading 8) your journal. Can you comment on how the prices there are compared to AZ? :-k
Glad you're enjoying it!

Sorry, but I haven't bought much of anything except a couple of sodas. I am living with a host family and going to school here. So far I haven't needed much of anything. I have bought two bottles of Coca-cola, and they were 800 colones each, which is about $1.56. (Today's exchange rate: about 512 colones to $1 U.S.) The students here complain about $6 lunches, and $2 beers. One girl told me the same $2 beer is about 69 cents in Panama!

Not to discourage you from going to Costa Rica..it's awesome. But I have heard that Panama is a lot cheaper.

Bus transportation here is very cheap, and in Costa Rica, a lot of people ride the bus, so the buses go just about anywhere you want to go. Staying in a hostel and eating food from the store would help your budget, just like any other place you might travel. Food at the store is supposedly fairly cheap.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 17 2012 7:24 pm

Yesterday we rode on this contraption that everyone calls "the banana," which is a long narrow yellow inflatable raft pulled by a motorboat. The guy driving the motorboat purposely makes sharp turns, dumping everyone into the sea! He did this about 4 times! I thought it was a bit rough (despite my affinity for river rafting) and I was extremely glad I was not wearing my glasses or carrying my camera, since they would have been long gone the first time we rolled over! Then he had to help some of us get back on the thing!

Yesterday also, we started class. My primary instructor is a woman about my age, whose Spanish is very elegant and also is easy to understand. She is a very good instructor. She doesn't speak English, apparently, which is fine with me. I can understand about 90 to 95% of what she's saying. At this time I am taking Spanish composition 305 and also a 400-level conversation class. Tomorrow I'll start a 300 class on Latin American Cultures, taught in Spanish, which has field trips.

I just started a Latin dance class today. This is a bit laughable, since I'm not gifted in that department, but it's fun. We tried merengue, cha cha and salsa. Some of the people already had some dancing experience, so they looked pretty fine! The rest of us just club-footed around as best we could. It's humid here, and there is no air conditioning where the class was held, so we were all pretty sweaty by the time it was over with!

Here is the banana, not our group on it, though. And a photo of my room. No A/C, just a fan. Two sheets on the bed, one underneath you and one on top of you. No blankets. I have to say I like the warmth, I like a bit of humidity, and it reminds me of when I lived in Hawaii. Midday it is pretty hot here, but I don't mind too much. If you go to a higher elevation of course it is going to be a lot cooler. I'd say it gets to be around 95 during the day, more or less.
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Puntarenas 1-16-12 002.JPG
Puntarenas bedroom 001.JPG
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 17 2012 7:37 pm

mikehikes wrote:Do you plan to do any river rafting while you are there?
Mike, it looks like rafting season in Costa Rica is during the rainy season, from May to October. At least that is what I see on the internet. I'll ask around, also.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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Alston_Neal
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by Alston_Neal » Jan 18 2012 10:12 am

Boy howdy do I envy you. You've worked hard to get to this place in life, so a big congrats to you... :y:
In Japan they say only old people and crazy people hike mountains...........yep


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azbackpackr
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 18 2012 10:14 am

Alston Neal wrote:Boy howdy do I envy you. You've worked hard to get to this place in life, so a big congrats to you... :y:
Hey thanks!

You'd be right at home in Puntarenas. Lots of loose cats running around, getting into things! ;)

I will post up a long walk on the beach pretty soon, with photos of the sunrise.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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Alston_Neal
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by Alston_Neal » Jan 18 2012 10:19 am

CATS!.......Bon Appétit
In Japan they say only old people and crazy people hike mountains...........yep


Our humble abode..
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Jim_H
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by Jim_H » Jan 18 2012 10:25 am

Liz, what time zone are you in? Are you ahead, or behind AZ? No DST, so that must be nice. I hate DST! Federal government, getting in my business, telling me when to get up early.
:o

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azbackpackr
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 18 2012 10:30 am

Jim_H wrote:Liz, what time zone are you in? Are you ahead, or behind AZ? No DST, so that must be nice. I hate DST! Federal government, getting in my business, telling me when to get up early.
Central time.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 18 2012 11:12 am

Here's the photoset and write-up from today's walk on the beach. I recorded it as a hike, so now I have a whole 2 miles, but no AEG, for 2012!
http://hikearizona.com/photoset.php?ID=18366
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by outdoor_lover » Jan 18 2012 10:53 pm

@Alston Neal
That's French. She's in COSTA RICA! Gatos, Gatos, mi amigo! :D
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"

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chumley
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by chumley » Jan 18 2012 11:49 pm

azbackpackr wrote:And a photo of my room. No A/C, just a fan. Two sheets on the bed, one underneath you and one on top of you. No blankets.
The wall decorations look sparse. I bet a 2012 HAZ calendar would look better than the one there now!
Profound observer

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azbackpackr
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 19 2012 6:13 am

chumley wrote:
azbackpackr wrote:And a photo of my room. No A/C, just a fan. Two sheets on the bed, one underneath you and one on top of you. No blankets.
The wall decorations look sparse. I bet a 2012 HAZ calendar would look better than the one there now!
Yeah, but although I bought 4 of them and intended to keep one, I ended up giving them all as Xmas presents. So, this is a free one from a little mom n pop store in Oceanside near where I stayed for 10 days. I should look for some posters of Costa Rica, with Spanish on them.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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