Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Surfing in Tamarindo

This past weekend I took my first surf lesson in Playa Tamarindo. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be; I think my biggest challenge was overcoming the hangover that was ruining my balance. haha! The waves at Tamarindo are really small, making it a really popular spot for beginners. With the help of my instructor, I was able to stand up on my first try and actually stay on the board. However, over the course of the two hour lesson I did manage to take a few less than graceful falls. It was nothing painful (minus swallowing salt water). Overall, I think it was a successful first attempt and I will definitely continue to try to be a surfer, which shouldn't be to complicated living in Costa Rica.

As far as everything else, I've been busy at work this week trying to catch up, write tests, grade tests, etc. before I leave for my "visa vacation." In case you didn't already know, I have to leave the country every 90 days to renew my tourist visa. So, I have next week off work and I will be traveling in Nicaragua with a few other interns. I'll keep you updated! Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Independence Day

I had another great weekend outside of San Jose! This past Monday was Independence Day, so we had a three day weekend. I traveled with 5 others to Montezuma and Santa Teresa, which are beaches on the Pacific. We left from San Jose early Saturday morning (7:30 am), but didn't get to Montezuma until around 3 pm. The traveling was more complicated than I expected, but definitely worth it. First, we had to take a bus to Puntarenas, which was packed and we were lucky to have seats, then we got off the bus and onto a ferry. We got on the ferry around 10:30, but it didn't leave the dock until 12 pm. After the hour ferry, we got back on the same bus for about an hour, transferred buses one more time and finally made it to Montezuma. It sounds more complicated than it actually is, but as they say here, pura vida. In other words, just go with it.

Although the beach in Montezuma is beautiful, it isn't the main attraction. Most people go to see the waterfalls, so as soon as we checked into a hostel that's where we headed. The path that leads to the waterfalls was fairly treacherous; it was a good workout to say the least. We stayed at the top for awhile to jump in, swim, and relax. It was really beautiful and one of the coolest things I've done thus far in CR. 

Sunday we took a bus to Santa Teresa which is a well-known surfing beach and by that I mean well-known by serious surfers. The waves are brutal, and even though I do want to take a surf lesson, Santa Teresa is definitely not beginner friendly. The beach there is really big and it was nearly deserted. We spent most of our time lounging in some hammocks that we found and walking along the shore.

We left Santa Teresa Monday afternoon. The travel time back to San Jose didn't seem as long as getting there, maybe because we were able to watch a beautiful sunset from the ferry. I got home around 11 pm, which isn't too late, but it made for a long Tuesday. Hope to here from you all soon!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cancelled class...

My advanced class was cancelled last minute this evening.  In other words, only one person was going to be able to come and she decided to work late.  So far, it's been a slow week for teaching; everyone seems to be preoccupied with work or out of the office.  I'm using the extra time to read through my Costa Rica travel guide and hopefully finish reading Three Cups of Tea before this weekend.  Also, a new intern arrived yesterday from Germany and she is staying with me until she can move into her place.  We work in the same area of San Jose, so I showed her around today after my morning classes.  It's strange to think that I was in her shoes only a few months ago, overwhelmed by loud car alarms, non-existent crosswalks, cracked sidewalks, lack of street signs, and the abudance of fast food chains from the North.  Welcome to San Jose!  At least I can laugh about it now, right?  Time goes by fast...or does it?

Well, besides the obvious (teaching, working out, reading, and becoming increasingly frustrated with US politics) this past weekend I went to Cahuita.  It's a small town on the Carribean coast in the province of Limon.  I left Saturday morning with two AIESEC interns and two non AIESEC interns.  We got into Cahuita around 11 am and didn't have any trouble finding a hostel.  On our way to Cahuita it looked like it was going to rain all day, but it cleared up and we were able to spend all day on the beach.  We spent the majority of the afternoon at Playa Negra, which really wasn't that negra.  The sand was dark, but not black at all.  There isn't much surf in Cahuita, so it was a nice beach to go for a relaxing swim and observe the numerous sand dollars.  I probably spent a good hour looking for one that was already dead, but it was a failure.  

By 3 pm we were ready for a change of scenery, so we headed to the national park on the other side of town.  Then, Saturday night we went out to dinner and enjoyed live music at the only bar in town.  Sunday, we went back to the park to check out some of the trails.  We walked along a trail that follows the shore; well, more or less because sometimes you can see the ocean and sometimes you can't.  It was about an hour and a half walk until we reached a long stretch of beach that we had all to ourselves.  The walk was really enjoyable, minus the fact that the hostel owner told us there were lockers at the entrance to the park and when that turned out to be false we had to carry all of our belongings.  We had another great day of weather (despite the rainy season), so there's really no reason to complain!

The ride back to San Jose was pleasant...no traffic jams, no accidents, we even had AC, which really is something to be excited about (Limon is hot and really humid).  As for my future travel plans, next Monday is Independence Day so I will probably leave early Saturday morning for somewhere in Guanacaste (Northwest province).  Then again, I just found out that a lot of people will be out of the office Friday, so leaving Friday is a possibility as well.

Until next time...