Costa Rica

A letter home, February 1998

Amy’s schedule Jan 1998:

Work – work – work – interviews at 10:00, 11:30, 2:00, 3:00 – work, pay the electricity bill….pay the phone bill, take car to the shop… NYPD blue 😉 – take time off from the bookstore to work a second job…. work, move out of apartment…….blah blah blah.

Amy’s schedule Feb 1998:

Watch the sunrise from the top of a volcano, dance salsa all night, wine & dine by candlelight with friends, hike to the cascades, read a book in the hammock, visit a museum, ride horseback through the mountains, swim in the river, learn how to make “Gallo Pinto” in the kitchen of a local restaurant, take a dance classes in the afternoon, drink rum & coke in the jungle….blah blah blah :)

Well, February was great….I don’t think I’ll be able to make it home as planned by the end of March. I don’t know what to tell you I’ll be doing….I change my mind every day. But I think I may be getting home closer to the end of May.

I was in Costa Rica for 2 weeks and it was absolutely wonderful! The first day or two I was in the capitol and sort of wandered around like an idiot too afraid to attempt the buses without any Spanish. I called a language school in town and I thought of staying a few days and trying to learn a little bit. I stepped out into the street Monday morning on my way to the school and it was horrible…pollution, horns, narrow crowded streets, everything bad about a city with NO charm or character……I’d had enough….after a short walk around the block I came back to my room, packed my things and took the journey to the bus station. I imagined the worse and couldn’t come up with anything worse than staying in San Jose another instant!

I took a taxi to the bus station and was immediately swept away to a “collectivo,” a taxi that waits for 4 passengers than charges about $2- for a ride to Cartago…the midway point to my destination. I had lunch in Cartago….a cheese sandwich, because it was the only thing I could decipher on the menu! Cartago had a few interesting sights and so I planned to stay the night. There was a hotel next to the restaurant and with the help of about 5 people in the restaurant I tried to get a hold of the reception to get a room. People kept telling me to wait and she would be down in 5 minutes. After a while I got bored and decided to go ahead and try to find my way to Orosi, a little town nearby I’d heard of. I walked to about 3 different bus stations…all of them pointing the way to the “right” bus stop. Finally I found the stop after a half hour or so….got on the bus….phew….

Nothing in Costa Rica had looked especially beautiful yet….very poor and dirty so far. After about 30 minutes on the bus (mas o menos) we started to descend into the valley. It was SOOO beautiful! Lush green hills with these orange blossoming trees, they looked like fireworks on the mountains! The valley was full rivers & coffee fields. I was very happy to have finally found what I was looking for in Costa Rica.

I’d heard about this place from a friend I met at Sundance and I think it was fate. The place I stayed is a small hostel type of environment with a garden & hammocks. The town was small and absolutely GORGEOUS!! I made about 10 friends in town in only 2 weeks……& many more friends from the hostel. I was told by one traveler, who ended up making Orosi his home, that Orosi is the last untouched haven in Costa Rica. This place is truly heaven.

I met a man who lives in the mountains….really…living in the mountains. He asked me to marry him and after visiting his place a couple days later, I considered the offer a bit more seriously! We hiked to a cascade in the mountains, it was a pretty thin steep trail and almost at the top of the mountain there is a fork where you turn left to the waterfall, then right to continue on to “Nano’s house.” After a shower in the waterfall, we went to see Nano. He has a book for tourists to sign and last year he had about 400 people sign his book from all over the world. He has a horse and after coaxing him over with a banana, he bounced on his back and went galloping off into the jungle! A few moments later he raced back to the “house” and saddled him up for us to ride around. He has 3 sheep and he was playing with them like dogs! It was so charming. He pulled some “misperros” from the trees and we ate them while chatting about life in the mountains (at least I think that’s what we were talking about :) Being up so high in the mountains with Nano was like stepping into a documentary film…..I can’t express how fantastic it was.

There were 4 of us that did almost everything together. Remi, Olivier & Olivier and me. They are all from quebec, Olivier & Olivier (aka Dupont y Dupont, or Hernandez & Fernandez…any of you who are fans of Tintin will understand:) are traveling together on a $50- week budget. A vagabond dog (Mama) adopted us for our time in Orosi and she was so confused when we all boarded the bus back to San Jose without her.

We spent the weekend in San Jose together then went our separate ways with the intention of practicing Spanish and meeting up again at the end of the month.

Now I’m in Quito, Ecuador and I’m looking forward to getting out of this big city and exploring some of the jungles. I thought about going to the Galapagos, but I think I would have to come straight home afterward because it is ridiculously expensive! I hope to spend about a month around here, another month or two in Costa Rica, then maybe a month in Mexico. Who knows, like I said, I am changing my mind every day.

I am taking Spanish classes every day. It’s coming along very slowly! Every time I start to think things are clicking, someone will say something to me and I just look at them with this stupid grin and I have no idea! I understand most of the words that they say, but not the whole context….so I will hear something like “blah blah blah Thursday blah blah blah” I will say that I don’t understand & they spend all of there time explaining “Thursday” and I say, yes, yes, I understand “Thursday” then they look at me to answer! Thursday, yes!! Thursday what?!??!?!?? It’s really very frustrating!

I’m not sure when I will check my e-mail again, I’m leaving the capitol in 2 days…..but please write, I would love to hear from everyone!

Muchos besos!! Hasta luego – Amy

Created with Paul’s flickrSLiDR.