Sunday, June 27, 2010

Un Semana en Puerto Viejo

Sunday Morning.Align Right
Sam and I have been in Puerto Viejo for a week and the time has flown by.

In the mornings we are working at Veronica's Place, a vegetarian restaurant and juice bar right in the center of town. Work is varied and at times slow but I'm enjoying it quite a bit. The restaurant owns a farm as well and we've gone twice this week to plant pineapple. The soil here is very wet and clay-like so it is hard for them to grow everything but we were able to bring back a bounty of sugarcane, yucca, breadfruit, plantains, bananas and pineapple to the restaurant.

We have spent our afternoons biking along the coast trying to find the best spots to swim. The spot closest to our house turns our to be our favorite. The reef makes it so there is a natural pool of calm warm water about 8 inches deep. Swimming, reading, drinking coconut milk, its really a nice thing we've got going on here. Sam's even found some people to play music with. On Friday night he joined up with a rock coverband at the local hostel which was quite a scene.

There are a lot of tourists here and we've been making friends here and there. It's a small enough town that we keep bumping into people again which is a nice feeling. On one of our first nights out we were talking to the guitarist in one of the bands because we overheard him say he moved to Costa Rica from SF after talking to him for a while he says: "you guys don't happen to know about a place called 111 Minna do you?"...which happens to be one of my dads favorite hangs and it turns out he knows my family!! SMALL WORLD.

Yesterday we had the entire day off and we biked to Manzanillo and back which was about 26k. It was hot and beautiful each beach more perfect than the last. We got back to Puerto Viejo around 5 tired and hungry. We got a snack at a 2nd story restaurant and watched the Saturday night scene to unfold around us.

We were up again early this morning grabed some coffee on our way to the restaurant (the one downside of the restaurant is they don't have very good coffee which seems like a crime in costa rica where we've had fabulous coffee everywhere else) only to be told that I have to work the afternoon shift today while sam works the morning. So I'm flying solo for the morning with no plan, I might go shopping...who knows. I put some more photos up on the photostream and maybe sam can put even more up later...we'll see.

hasta luego amigos,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tortugero - Puerto Viejo

We have now been travelling for three days and three nights. We left Sarchi, early on thursday morning, on the bus for San Jose. From there we transferred to a bus towards the Carribean. We passed through Carriari, then La Pavona, at which point we were herded onto a small, long boat. This boat took us rapidly through a windy canal that got progressively more jungly. On one particularly sharp turn, a wave of water washed over the back portion of the boat, soaking the sad french couple who we had met earlier. Mon Dieu!

At long last, we reached Casa Marabella, a bed and breakfast run by canadian naturalist, Daryl Loth. The place was simple but very nice and its back deck hung over the tranquil river. Jungle all around. Just steps from a misty carribean beach replete with black sand, palm trees, and lots of coconuts.

Dinner at Miss Mirriams where I had coconut chicken and finally the hot sauce I had been craving for a long time.

Early the next morning Daryl took us out on his electric motor boat to see some wildlife. As we drifted through the waterways, we saw troups of howler monkeys, all three kinds of tucan (appently this was a big deal) a sloth, a whitefaced capuchin monkey, pairs of parrots, a baby cayman, a weaver bird, a large basking iguana, egrets, herons, and lots of tourists. later that day we went on a hike into the jungle and saw the spider monkey, a frog, and many large spiders.

we did not see it but we sensed the jaguar was following us the whole time.

late afternoon, accordion on the dock- then a good typical dinner at a place called La Casona.

The next morning we were just finishing breakfast when a woman who worked at the bnb came in with a baby turtle she had found wandering around town. There are strict laws that prohibit walking on the beach at night unless you are with a guide. Apparently, if the babies see any sort of flash light, they become confused and follow it, thinking its the moonlight reflecting on the water. This poor turtle was certainly confused and tired, so we all went down to the beach to try to release it back into the ocean. Unfortunately it seemed to be hurt on one side because it could only walk in clockwise circles. Each circle brought it a step closer to the big sea, but eventually another woman coaxed it in with her foot. It was a bitter sweet moment because the turtle didnt seem capable of surviving on its own, although of course we probably made some tuna very happy.

we should have taken this as a bad omen, for almost immediately it began to rain. The boat that was to take us south to Moin was ten minutes late, and when it arrived, it turned out to be no more than a small outboard motor boat with no roof. Luckily the rain lasted only about a half hour, but the boat jumped on the choppy water which made me very nervous about my accordion. This ride lasted 3 hrs, and by the end of it we were exhausted, sunburnt and wet (although excited about having seen many crocodiles).

From Moin we took the bus down to Cahuita which is a very small tourist town, whose claim to fame is the first afro-carribean settler to land in Costa Rica. The town has a certain vibe, lots of good food but also lots of crazy locals who sort of prey on the tourists who arrive in town, trying to get them to take this tour, stay at that hotel etc... gets tiring very quickly. But we navigated our way to a large wooden room with a view of the ocean, put down our stuff, ate at a great restaurant, and ended the night at the bar listening to live calypso.

Today we woke up and took the bus to Puerto Viejo, which is a larger town and our home for the next two weeks. Maybe its because the sun started shining when we arrived but we already decided we like it a lot more than Cahuita. Today we will try to rent bikes for the duration of our stay and maybe go swimming.

Tomorrow we start work.

Hasta Luego, Mon

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Un dia mas en la Finca.

Tomorrow is our last day at the farm. We´re planning on going first to San Jose and then over to the coast to visit Tortuguero before starting work in Puerto Viejo on Monday. We´ve downloaded a few photos but are still having some issues posting them directly. Check our photostream on flickr. love and mangos.
Claire and Sam

Sunday, June 13, 2010

An attempt at relaxation...

Saturday we set the alarm for 5 and by 6 we were walking down to Sarchi- we are some of the only tourists in Sarchi so certain people have started to recognize us and know to speak English to us. We have made one friend at the Soda next to the bus stop who told us he hasn´t had the chance to pracitice his english in a long time and Sam makes a point of walking by his shop every time we go into town.

From Sarchi we jumped onto the bus to Naranjo where we got off to wait for another bus to Ciudad Quesada (cheesy city?). We waited and waited and waited then asked some of the other people who were waiting only to be met with a frantic and rapid repsonse of somthing like "I don´t know, we´ve been waiting too you know?" After almost an hour and all the other buses passing at least twice, ours arrived. As we stood in line to get on we overheard someone say "habia un accidente cinco son muertos". There were no more seats left and without the fullunderstanding of what had happened we were a little on edge--talking to some other Americans (for a change) we found out that the bus they had been on in the morning had hit a car that had swerved out in front on it, all of the people in the car had died. We all felt very lucky to be safe and the other American students were really nice to talk to and even offered us their seats after a little while.

Once in La Fortuna we got some coffee from "Down to Earth Coffee" which was really fresh... suposedly harvested only days earlier. At the farm that we´re working on the coffee won´t be ready to harvest until October so although we are getting to know a lot about how to plant and maintain a coffee farm we can´t actually try any of the cosecha (harvest).

There are lots of little cafes and gringo oriented restaurants in La Fortuna and it was nice to grab a salad and sandwich. Still we were happy that our hotel was in El Castillo a little ways away from the main tourist spots. The hotel that we ended up at was a really great deal and we spent the rest of our afternoon relaxing in the pool, drinking lemonadas, and watching and waiting for the volcano to erupt. Funny thing is that all the hotels advertize doing relaxing things while watching lava. If the volcano had erupted while we were in the pool I think I would have tried to swim in the opposite direction as fast as possible. Luckily or not...we weren´t threatened by such excitment and the volcano slumbered away the day. We did get a chance to see the top though which was a stunning sight indeed.

Sunday we made our way back to Sarchi. The bus ride felt twice as long and we were very relievd to finallymake it back to our cabina. While we were gone they had fumagated so instead of live bugs flying around atnight we were met with lots of dead ones (and several zombies)...I guess watching the volcano was relaxing after all....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

update 6/10

We´re back here in Sarchi, checking email and such.

Tried to upload some photos but had technical difficulties. Will try again soon.

This weekend we are headed to a volcano for a night. It will be nice to venture out to a new area after a hard week of work at the farm.

Today we raked the muck in the bottom of a drained lake for three hours... but were in paradise! right? who could complain

we´re looking forward to more adventures and are dreaming about the beach.

longer post to come this weekend.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lunes es la dia de las hormigas

So we haven´t been here a week and we´ve already forgotton how to type in english. It doesn´t help that the spell check is turned on for spanish. ANYWAYS... here we are at the little internet building in sarchi...equipped with videogames and lots of schoolkids watching youtube...not so different from home. But on the farm where we´re staying its a pretty different picture. since we arrived on thursday of last week, we´ve worked four days out of five, doing various farm chores ranging from digging holes (huecas) to planting coffee bushes (plantas) to raking muck from the bottom of a drained lake (mal tiempo).

Monday was the day for las hormigas. We started the day by collecting hundreds of fallen mangos, knocked from their tree by sunday´s tropical storm. Suffice it to say that this added wetness was a boon for the bugs. Before bed sunday night, we were visited by dos cucarachas and muchos hormigas con alas (wings). so we woke up feeling itchy already. After collecting the muchos mangos, sam was instructed to climb in the back of a tractor and move about 15 palm trees in plastic bags. These baby trees weighed muchos and were swarming with translucent spiders and small red hormigas. These hormigas found new home in Sam´s shirt. They pique wherever they walk and are so small that they look like moving dust. Sam hates itchy red bumps.

Soon we were planting these palms along the side of a road. The digging for Sam is fun and meditative. However, he soon stepped on several casas de hormigas negras. These are black ants, which are easier to see but much more pernicious than their red amigos. They soon found their way up Sam´s leg and into his pants. Ants in Pants. Angel (our guia) said ¨take off pants" but in spanish. although sam has not been able to understand everything...this was an obvious instruction and he dropped his pants at once. After killing any ants he could see on his body he set out to avenge his pain. we spent the rest of our afternoon spraying our quaint cabina with bleach and insecticide. Claire was not feeling it. She had been instructed the day before to spread herbacide in the feild and and seen enough bugs die in a 24 hour period to feel at peace with the few that remained in the cabin. Needless to say...In about an hour, there was a mass exodus of flying ants from our sink. They wriggled and writhed their way across our floor and left this world lying on cold cement. RIP ANTS

but the cucarachas are still to be found...