Literally Leah

sharing is caring, so I obviously care a lot.

The Sun Also Rises… March 26, 2010

Filed under: costa rica — The Under-Analyst @ 11:01 am
Tags: , , ,

And the traveling continues.

“travel day” aka “worst day ever.”  Bus after long bus ride after long bus ride.  Caranas is easily the worst town in Costa Rica, at least that I have seen thus far.  It is a dusty desert place and hot as hell with nothing there!  We had an hour wait and it made me very thankful that I had spent the last two months in beautiful Chilamate and not in this heat dust-hole.   By the time we left Puntarenas I was so crabby, hungry and tired that I could not fully enjoy the large party ferry that carried us across to Playo Naranjo.  From there we had another 2 hour or so bus ride until we finally made it to Santa Teresa.  Sleep.

Santa Teresa!!!!  You are so beautiful.  Sea shell collecting with Heidi in the morning.  The beach is wide.  A swim in the afternoon.  I have missed the salt water, I have missed this ocean. It feels so amazing to be back together!  Why did I ever leave her?

surfers and surfers and beaches and beaches, it's Santa Teresa.

We pack snacks for the sunset.  Gouda cheese and a baguette, I feel like a princess!  A late night dinner of guacamole and an avocado salad.  I LOVE salad, oh how I’ve missed it.  I am thoroughly enjoying this much needed break from rice and beans.  That evening is easily one of the best nights here in Costa Rica.  We go for a night time swim and it literally feels as if we are swimming in a planetarium.  The stars, THE STARS, everywhere in this clear sky.  Warm ocean waves crash over my body as I float looking up overhead, lost in this expansive universe.  This is love and the word spiritual comes to mind.

Jon Mark arrives!  We have the fellowship.  A late start to the day.  Breakfast and we pack up.  Goodbye Santa Teresa, hello Mal Pais.  But wait, Mal Pais is only a mile from here?  I’m pretty sure we walked that and then some the day before on our trip to the bank.  Oh Shit, we get dropped off at a hotel that doesn’t even have any vacancies and now we are stranded because Mal Pais doesn’t have nada.  We send out a scouting crew; Heidi, Casey and Zeke.  Jon Mark, Lee and myself wait with the luggage.  They are gone forever!  It’s hot, our bags are roasting under the sun but no one is motivated to move them into the shade.  We eat yippy bars.  They come back and we decide to go to some place that starts with a C, where we will have a kitchen in our room for Casey to cook and then we can day trip it to Montezuma tomorrow.  We wait for the bus outside of the liquor store and play fusball. A small crowd comes to witness the fun and two guys announce they are from Iowa.  We all embrace and yell a hooray for the Hawkeyes!  We have to run to the bus and this is hard (I often feel like a tall, clumsy turtle carrying around an oversized uncomfortable shell). The little C town isn’t even on the beach, WTF?  We are the worst travelers ever!  We check out the hotel room and there’s no kitchen.  Fail. We go back to the bus stop in this little C town, grab some more beer and wait for the next bus to Montezuma.  We get there and everything is magically better because this place is amazing!! The boys’ room has a kitchen so Casey cooks for us.  It’s delicious.  Heidi and I have the best room because it overlooks the ocean.  We play P and A after dinner. Mid game Heidi (who is President) announces that she is going to take a thirty minute nap and then the game will resume… what? Who does that!?  I demand that I take presidency while she naps, I get mad at Jon Mark for calling me a menstruating bitch so I go to bed.  Heidi wakes me up and says there’s a party in the street and I have to come.  I agree.  The party is fun and the bar Chico’s is crazy packed.  Making friends and dancing and then another late night swim.  Waking up to the sound of the ocean in our cabin room. Montezuma is a success.  Tomorrow: yoga on the beach.


“Backpacking through Costa Rica” March 22, 2010

Filed under: costa rica — The Under-Analyst @ 5:38 pm
Tags: , , ,

the first 3 days…

We gathered at Portones, the fellowship.  A moldy pink backpack pressed against my chest and an oversized duffle bag strapped to my back.  I waved goodbye to my Tico family, wondering if they understood I was never to return.  The others were ahead of me in the game of drink so I quickly ordered a Pilsen.  Heidi and Lee regretfully informed me that they were no longer joining us on today’s journey and were opting to stay and therefore be less of an asshole by giving some (key word is some) notice at the center.  I was a little put off because only an hour previous to this I had given Heidi a detailed tutorial on accepting the fact that on certain occasions being an asshole was necessary if not detrimental to one’s health.  With the blessing of my mother I not only accepted my status as puta but felt the need to appease the other jerks in my party.  Fail.  Zeke, surprisingly, knew not only what bus we needed to take but the time as well.  As I savored the third sip of my second beer he instinctively suggested we gather our possessions and hop over to the “stop” (stops in Chilamate are typically unmarked, like a cryptic speakeasy in the days of prohibition).  Hugo appeared to be suffering from a severe case of melancholy and so I politely asked if he was depressed.  He replied, “No, I’m high.”  Well that’s settled. Just then Zeke yelled, “bus” and I managed to gulp a fourth sip of beer as we mumbled our goodbyes, in the hopes this parting was solely momentary.  Dominating the back seats (agreed it was reserved for the “cool”) we fist pounded and yelled “pura vida” as the scenery of Chilamate passed by at a quickening pace.  Goodbye, I’m sorry to leave so quickly but thank you for allowing me the do some good for the last two months. Chilamate, you are amazing, I will miss you all.  At La Virgen we tapped into the flask-like Bicardi bottle stored in the small zipper pouch of my moldy Eastpack.  Emotions were clouded by a sudden tipsiness and I said a final prayer for those left behind; “Don’t be putas, see you at the volcano!”  Amen.

Day 2 at the volcano:  slight hangover and an amazing breakfast at Café Vienna.  Nuts, fruits, cereal and milk with a fresh fruit smoothie drink and cafe Merange!  Ambitions high we ventured out into the day.  We ended up going to a river, oh the irony of leaving our river town only to find myself in an effing river!  But it was incredibly beautiful and Zeke guided Casey and I down a ways avoiding any potential human interaction.  We crossed at a shallow spot and I thought I would possibly die, my fanny pack around my neck and my flip flops on my hands.  Slippery rocks under feet, jagged edges forced under my flesh.  We made it to a “spot” and decided it was time to take a break. We managed to get back across the river and up over the pasture to the other side where the Tarzan swing was.  The Tarzan swing was amazing!  In this beautiful lagoon like spot with big rocky boulders and a small waterfall.  This rope had a few knots and was secured to a large tree limb.  I watched a few locals do it first and then I went.  Flying in the air and letting go, feeling the water suck me down.  I did it four or five times and wanted to do it more but the boys were impatient and wanted to go.

Day 3-  The big day!  Will Heidi, Lee and Jon Mark show up!??  Yes, and no. I felt sick most of the morning and prayed I would feel better by the time of their arrival since our plan was to go to the volcano soon after.  We waited for what seemed like forever and then, like magic, Heidi and Lee showed up!  Jon Mark didn’t come. His loss. Puta.  I was so excited to see them!  We went to our new hotel, ditched our bags and then tried to organize our trip to the volcano.  We took them to the Tarzan swing although neither of them did it and then we grabbed some dinner at the Volcano shaped tourist restaurant.  We were advised to wait for night time to go up to see Dante’s Peak because then we might see lava.  This was true as it turned out.  But really we didn’t get close to her at all and it was slightly disappointing.  Seeing the lava was pretty awesome, however.  The free hotsprings spot was easily a 9 on the fun/amazing scale.  We saw a sloth cross a road!!!! and slid down a slippery hot springs sewer bridge.  Bizarre and yet poetic.  Someone had brought candles for the spot which made it all seem quite magical.  Tomorrow is Guanacaste, and I am so ready to get out of this damn volcano town and see the ocean and thank you Heidi for coming because as it turns out.. you are my best friend in this country!


Beaching in Costa Rica March 21, 2010

Filed under: costa rica,Travel — The Under-Analyst @ 3:14 pm
Tags: , ,

This took place about a month ago??  I’m so behind on my blogging, but I’ve got plenty of material!

What better way to celebrate Austin’s arrival…Vamos a la Playa

A dirty pink backpack and a green duffel bag hastily packed under the oppressive force more commonly known as a hangover. Austin and I jump on the bus, the first of many, to Puerto Viejo where we enjoy a much needed cup of coffee.  After five hours of bus travel we finally make it to…. La playa!  Yes, the beach!

* I was completely misinformed when told I would easily have access to cheap and fast travel to the beaches while residing in the rainforest.  It’s actually quite time consuming and complicated.  With that said, I was ecstatic to finally leave the bugs and poison dart frogs behind for some palm trees and ocean.

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca (Limon) was everything I had hoped and dreamed of.  An intimate lively little beach town inhabited by hippies, reggae lovers and euro travelers alike.  “two coronas por favor,” is uttered excitedly as we plant ourselves in plastic chairs facing the Caribbean.  The patrons to the right of us are enjoying a fat joint and we watch as they pass it to our waiter.  He winks, inhales and then hums along to the reggae track as smoke coils from his nostrils.

We explore the town, amazed at the colorful restaurants, bars and shops.  Everyone is incredibly friendly and we check into the Puerto Viejo Hotel.  The woman behind the counter looks like the White Witch from the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.  Narnia informs us that its shared bathrooms and showers but that they have a lovely room awaiting us.  Oh?  She throws us the key to go check it out and we are pleased with our cabin like room.  Mojitos at Mojos followed by dinner at some restaurant in which I make friends with a mommy cat who lays on my lap for over an hour as I pet her and smile, happily intoxicated.

The next day is easily one of my favorite days of 2010.  We lazily find our way to a breakfast spot near the ocean where we devour the Spanish style chirizo scramble and laugh at all of the Barcelona futbol memorabilia on the walls.   We rent bicycles from a jolly little man who instinctively chooses a pink beach cruiser for me and a white one for Austin.  We toodle throughout the town with our newly acquired towels in our front baskets.  There’s a road that takes you from Puerto Viejo de Limon to Playa Uva another beach spot and then Manzanillo (another beach town).  We laugh and pedal for most of the morning until it’s obviously time to stop and go for a swim. We stop off at the most amazing place in Playa Uva!!  We meet a couple from Colorado who love us and we discuss work/literature over pina coladas.  (Pina coladas have been the official drink of Puerto Rico since 1978, but alas we are in Costa Rica).   We wade through a small inlet to get to the beautiful beach beyond and this is precisely where Austin drops our bike key (our bikes are locked together against a tree).  Panicked, we search with our eyes and feet, even welcoming help from the Colorado family.  By some miraculous hand of God he finds the key a foot from his, well foot.  The ocean is amazing and warm and big waves roll in, one after the other.  The sun is shining with intensity and palm tree wooded regions surround us beyond. After we have burnt ourselves sufficiently we get back on the bikes and keep heading south on the winding little beach road.  The journey becomes a tad strenuous especially after a loss of a flip flop which clearly cost us time as we had to turn around and locate it (far, far away).  We finally make it to Manzanillo and we head straight to Maxi’s where we drink Coronas and eat the most giant plates of food possible.  Our waiter is a large overweight man who is hard to understand and moves at the pace of a snail.  We name him Omar.  KoKo’s for dinner and a free filet mignon because they forgot about us!?  Yes please.

We awake to the sound of rain on our hut’s roof and lazily discuss the day’s itinerary.  We have an amazing breakfast at Mojo’s and make our way back “home.”  We basically spend the rest of the day drinking rum, playing pool and making friends with people one should normally avoid.  Austin befriends a man who has long stringy blonde hair and quite possibly suffers from a liver dysfunction.  The yellow faced man wears a 9/11 Conspiracy shirt and tells Austin all about how he has proof, just not with him.  I hold a lengthy conversation with a German girl who is thankful for my intervention (a weird French man had been talking her ear off and she appeared to hate his assface).   Then an ex marine enters our world and teaches me how to kill someone with a set of keys.  He is crazy, probably dismissed from service because of killing without reason.  He tells us that he had been training his son back home but had to stop because his son was abusing the other children in the school with his new killing techniques.  Austin and I decide he is insane and should be feared.

We eat delicious pizza and discuss intimate affairs as the rain finally lets up. Time for the reggae fest!  We go and dance and listen to live reggae and it is awesome.  The next day we travel from bus to bus and finally end up hiring a driver (notice how I did not say taxi, he wasn’t) for whom we bought burger king for.  We sat in the parking lot eating our whoppers and he asks if we can go pick up his best friend to ride along.  We say yes.  He picks up his overweight friend and they literally talk and laugh the whole forty minutes back to Chilamate.  A precious ending to a precious weekend.