Costa Rica

For those who don’t know, Mike and I are in Costa Rica!! We’ve been planning this trip for almost a year, and it’s finally here. We have internet for 24 hours, because Mike needed to do his timesheet online for work, so I’m using the opportunity to update you all.

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I’ve been jotting down notes in a mini moleskine journal as we’ve moved along, so I’m going to just type up those thoughts. No pics right now – can’t find the camera’s upload cable…

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1.23.10 We flew from DC to Atlanta

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A tropical retreat sits on my tray table, the lime wedge nestled between the glistening ice cubes swimming in a cran-apple juice cocktail. The plan is cold, but I thirstily gulp down my beverage and finish it off with a long, satisfied “Ahh…”

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We’re at cruising altitude, having floated up through misty white clouds up to the blue space that stretches out over a bright white blanket. You can’t look at the white canopy without getting spots in your vision. The sun is directly overhead, spotlighting this steel bird as it drifts across the vast sea of pure white.

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I can feel the dizzying pull of a gradual descent. It is disorienting, and I’ve never liked it. My body feels weighty as its mass is forced downward against a pressurized altitude. In this moment, gravity seems both backward and strong as it feels unnatural to be pushed down to earth, yet the strength with which we move is undeniable and irresistable. Back down to earth where we belong, I will miss the empty, bright, stunning heavens we exist in up here. Back down to earth where we are held by gravity and weight, with vision only as high as the clouds, where the underside of the canopy drapes itself above our earth and heads.

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We will fly again tomorrow, rising through the canopy again and down into a tropical paradise. Vacation has begun.

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1.24.10 We flew from Atlanta to Costa Rica

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We’re here in hot Costa Rica where the airport is one, big, covered patio with overhead fans spinning blades that are ten feet long. The breeze whips through, doing only enough to reveal that you are, indeed, sweating, and it’s glorious. Tropical plants line the perimeter and immigration and customs lines crawl along. I now have a stamp in my passport! I also smuggled a banana into the country. Oops. I’m waiting now, outside again, while Mike waits in line to claim the rental car he reserved for us. The wind is pretty steady, my pants are rolled up, my hair pulled into a messy ponytail. It’s January, and I can’t wait to change into a bathing suit and jump into the clear blue water.

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Costa Ricans, so far, seem friendly if not frenzied. Frenzied and slow, if that’s possible. After making it through customs, we entered another patio area that Mike likened to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Lots of yelling, in multiple languages. I was ready to use my rusty Spanish: “Donde esta Avis? Esta aqui?” but didn’t get the chance. We waited for the shuttle (after waiting through the slowest customs line – we tracked them) and are now waiting some more. The Avis building is protected by a gate and a man with a gun. I can’t imagine why that’s necessary…

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This next section is a fleshed-out version of quickie notes I jotted down as we drove through the winding streets to the hotel. The drive took about an hour and a half, past crumbling shacks and dry fields. I’ve bolded all the stuff I listed – the rest is my recollection of the sights 1 day later…

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Not 5 minutes into the drive, we were startled by a cow grazing by the side of the road. No fence to hold him. He was a starving cow, if his tight skin across his ribs was any indication. This is Costa Rica’s dry season, so this was only the first of many emaciated animals we saw amidst dry, dusty, brown fields. The next animals we saw were two oxen pulling a cart. A man led them in front, a fishing pole tossed over his shoulder. In a world with electricity, internet, and motor vehicles, this was a strange sight indeed! Our drive took us past hundreds of rundown shacks where families sat in dilapidated lawn chairs outside. I suppose the air is less stuffy on their porches than inside their houses, because every single house that look inhabited displayed its tenants out front. We got used to this sight quickly, though we felt like we were in a one-car parade as darkly tanned faces turned to watch us drive by. We were surprised, however, to see 4 men playing cards at a table in a ditch. I have no idea what draw the ditch has, but I bet they have a good reason for it. They were surrounded by roosters, chickens, and more emaciated cows and horses. Many houses had fences with barbed wire, or taller cage-like fences all around them. This didn’t shock me, but when we passed a house surrounded by a concrete wall with shards of glass sticking out of the top of the wall, I did a double take. Mike explained to me that this is very common in Brazil, and is an effective security strategy for those who can’t afford better fencing. They stick the sharp glass into the concrete as it sets, and it remains there to keep bad guys out. It does not look very homey. We finally found a radio station with English songs, and stuck to it, despite its wide range of dated and questionable music choices. Another ingenious fence strategy: tall cactus as a fence around meadow land. The cactus must have been at least 12 feet tall. Finally, we passed a place with an English sign! The words? “Pot Farm.” Oh…

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1.25.10 (This morning, as I sat on our balcony overlooking the pool/ocean). Written in my journal.

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Yesterday Mike and I watched the sun set over the ocean. I’ve never seen that before, having never been to the west coast or the Pacific. I may have seen a similar sight over the Gulf of Mexico, but somehow this was different. We are in Costa Rica. Today is our first full day.

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Last night we wandered around the property trying out hammocks, dipping our toes in the winding pool, and walking on the beach. My feet felt Pacific seawater for the very first time. Then we ate dinner outside at the poolside restaurant called “Azul.” Our table was 2 feet from a small pool frequented only by couples getting drinks from the bar. It was twilight and only one couple made use of that area. After dinner, we walked 10 feet to the main pool and enjoyed a few minutes there before I got cold and we headed back to our hotel room for a high class dessert of… little debbie brownies. đŸ™‚

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  1. #1 by Jill on January 25, 2010 - 4:49 pm

    I’ve been thinking about you guys and what you might be seeing in Costa Rica! I’m so glad you’re having a great time–sounds like such an adventure! The part where you described sticking your toes into the Pacific for the first time was very reminiscent for me. It’s exciting to experience new things.

    Have a wonderful time! (and stay away from that pot farm…lol)

    Can’t wait to see pics!

    Love ya lots

  2. #2 by Daddy on January 25, 2010 - 9:34 pm

    That sharp glass on the wall isn’t unique to Cost Rica. There were several places in downtown Ft. Pierce with the same inviting decor.

    The emaciated cattle must be the milk source for Skinny Cow ice cream treats.

    BTW your camera cord is sitting here by ouir computer.

    Enjoy!

    love

    Daddy

  3. #3 by Lacey on January 26, 2010 - 10:00 am

    Laura!
    We are so happy that you, Mike and Baby Icardi (!!) get to chillax in Costa Rica. I look forward to seeing you when you get back home.
    Love you guys,
    Lace + Jame

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