Sunday, May 31, 2009

week 1.5

here are a few more pictures of our central american adventure...
an adorable little poison dart frog, sometimes call the blue jean frog because of its little blue legs. very non-threatening despite its ominous name.
an unfortunately silly picture of brandon, but the only one of us on the entire trip in our "nice clothes". he looks exhausted here, but really it was just bad timing with the flash and all.

after this photo we went to dinner at the fanciest place either of us have ever been. i counted: throughout the meal i had 13 plates in front of me at various times, with the servers changing the settings at each course. we felt a little ridiculous because the waiter literally stood 3 feet from our table to make sure we didn't go without. his objective was achieved because we didn't go without, or even approach wanting for anything for that matter.
through an awesome deal with the raft company, we got a free night at the most posh hotel in san jose, the hotel grano de oro. we cruised in after our raft trip all stinky and dirty and felt more than out of place! we were treated like royalty though and enjoyed all the plushness of the fancy hotel that we knew we wouldn't encounter again on our trip.
painted oxcarts are a big deal in costa rica, but we didn't see many full-size versions of them (tons of miniature trinket versions in the souvenirs shops though). the detail is amazing, although this one is quite modernized with its rubber tires and suspension. never-the-less, they are beautiful!

more pictures to come when i get some more time.

Friday, May 29, 2009

week one

it has taken me some time to sort through our photos; considering that we took over 400 we should not be surprised. costa rica was amazing and we had grand adventures, but it was wonderful to come home to our house and our families and our dog. oh yeah, and english. we really like english.
since i came home to an abundance of work, starting a new full-time job while working two more weeks at my old part-time job, i don't have heaps of time for photos and blogging.  therefore, i am going to put up photos in chunks of time from our trip, with a few details here and there. ultimately i will get them up into our picassa album, but that may take a few weeks.
we had lots of cherished hammock time. so much that we had to bring one home with us.
brats were abundant in costa rica--literally everywhere we went we saw them, mostly in pristine shape!  brandon was happy to have his beloved car--wait, is it a truck?  is it a car?  we never can tell--get some much-deserved credibility.
a cool castle in san jose.
the scariest tractor ride of our lives, although we look quite happy here.  however, if you look closely you can see everyone in the background gripping the railing and brandon's smile is only half-way there. 
the beginning of our raft trip, complete with a doogie howser look-a-like.
all harnessed up and ready for the tour-de-canopy.  i was shaking as i got on the platform but i went before brandon so i was proud of myself for putting my fear of hights and speed behind me as i sailed through the forest.  thankfully no monkeys decided to leap across my path while i was zipping.  sadly, the get-up for canopy tours is not flattering on anyone.
our guide took the two of us to a hidden waterfall where we swam and enjoyed the secret spot.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

strange things

we've been hanging out in montezuma since monday and have had an interesting time. the first night we were offered some marijuana. apparently at this point in our journey we looked hippie enough to fall into that category. the town of montezuma is pretty hippie-ish itself, all condensed into a small block that makes brandon and i both feel clausterphobic. we rented some mountain bikes, which have been a lifesaver as our bungalows are about 3K out of town.

since we arrived we have walked (across the ocean no less!) to an island. the only thing on the island is a cemetary and the place was crawling with vultures so we didn't hang out long.

we have also hiked to the local waterfalls and swam in the ocean a bit. one day we walked for about an hour north of town in search of a waterfall that falls directly into the ocean. we kept hoping to find it but finally gave up and hung out on a secluded beach. we saw some young guys swiming a couple hundred meters down from us and then they walked past us when we were reading, not really a big deal. brandon and i read for about an hour more and kept hearing things in the jungle behind us, like the sounds of sticks breaking. we chalked it up to iguanas and ignored the sounds. i decided it was time for another quick swim before we headed back to town so we left our pack on the secluded beach and went to the ocean. brandon had some weird instinct and turned around to check on our bag only to see a guy tuck down behind a down log, a few feet from our stuff. i was blissfully unaware and enjoying the waves while brandon took off at a full-speed run, leaving me dumbfounded. then i too saw one of the guys we saw earlier make a break for the jungle and take off, thankfully afraid of brandon and without our stuff. it was pretty freaky to nearly loose our things, and made us both jittery for the walk back to town. luckily it was only a close call and the guy got freaked out. we thought we were being careful before but now we are a lot more alert.

other than the drug offer and the near theft, things have been great. we took a boat out to isla tortuga and went snorkeling. on the way there we saw dolphins, turtles, and the waterfall going into the ocean we had searched for earlier. while we were snorkeling we saw two manta rays, an octopus, two pufferfish, and brandon saw some white tip sharks. all that swimming with our backs to the sun also landed both of us some pretty stylish backside sunburns.

we leave montezuma on monday and will take a boat across the gulf, where we will rent a car and head down the coast. we are excited to be home with all the comforts of the familiar, our little dog, and some dry weather.

as for the monkey count: prior to arriving in montezuma i had seen two monkeys and brandon none. after our first morning here we saw more than we could ever keep track of... they are everwhere at our bungalows and like to howl as they pass by our house in the morning. i am slightly more brave than i thought i would be about checking them out, but still not so keen.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

missing items

we have many pictures to post and i sat down excited to do so only to realize that i brought the wrong USB cable and therefore i cannot download any of the photos off of our camera! a bummer for the blog updates but it will make for a great slideshow when we get back home.

instead, a list of what we have done so far in costa rica:
-mastered the streets of san jose--sort of. we did not get lost once so i will credit myself with mastery.
-rafted the rio picuare. we were the only ones doing a three day trip so we got the royal treatment in terms of small boat with only ourselves and our guide, private use of the facilities once the other 25 people who were doing the two day trip left, personal guide to the caribbean rainforest flora and fauna, a hike to a secret waterfall, etc. our guide rey was wonderful and made the trip! we both said we felt like we could have left costa rica after our raft trip and felt relaxed enough. glad we are not doing that though.
-we did a zip-line canopy tour. i even went first! it was fun and the only scary moment was the initial jump off the platform.
-we rode many buses and i have had many near sick moments as the busses are packed with people--literally like sweaty, hot, sardines. this bus riding thing has been challenging as the directions we get as to where to meet the bus are always in spanish and the routes and times change at random. we are getting better and it is really cheap so maybe it is worth it.
-swam in the pacific ocean. we arrived at playa samara last night and went for a swim in the ocean. it was super hot here and the water felt wonderful.
-stood at the base of an active volcano watching lava pour down. what a show that thing puts on at night!

anyhow, now we are in samara for a few days exploring the surrounding area. we are going to go to another beach for the day where there is rumored to be a lady that will custom make a swimsuit which is my mission for the day.

despite the trips initial hiccups--missed planes, delayed flights, and sketchy shuttle drivers--life in costa rica has been wonderful!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


we have arrived safe and sound. we spent the morning sleeping at our hostel (as that was so not happening on the plane). now we are going to get some food and walk around in the sun. not much is open today because it is sunday so the museums and theatres are honoring that. none-the-less, we are happy to let the real adventures begin!

we leave tomorrow for our rafting trip, so we should have fun pictures for the next post!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

still waiting to get to costa rica...

due to flight issues (and some memory issues on my behalf) we were stranded in portland for 8 hours yesterday. stranded is the wrong word however because alyssa and rowan rescued us from spending a day at PDX and allowed us a wonderful afternoon. replacing a day stuck at the airport with a day with our godson was a wonderful trade.

we then waited for our flight from PDX to DEN where we would connect to go on to costa rica. we waited and waited and that plane was 47 minutes late. therefore, we missed our flight to costa rica by 5 minutes. apparently they tried to hold the plane for us, but despite our best efforts and the incredible help of the folks at frontier airlines it just wasn't meant to be. we even ran down the tarmac! talk about stress on a vacation.

from there we caught a shuttle to comfort inn. on the drive there we got in touch with andrew who jumped in his car immediately and drove to our rescue. the shuttle driver dropped us off at the motel and we began walking across the street to hang out a restaurant until andrew arrived. this apparently was not kosher with the driver who followed us down the sidewalk, flashed his lights at us, and pulled up. he then proceeded to yell at us, calling us liars and the like for taking advantage of his shuttle then not staying at the motel. it was really heated, and frankly, a little scary. we managed to get him to bug off and headed across the street to the sanctuary of a "Flying J", where the clerks were super nice and let us hang out for 40 minutes. while waiting in the back tables our shuttle driver came in to get cigarettes, during which time we maintained a low profile to avoid further confrontation.

andrew rescued us from the tacky tee shirts, sugar-filled shelves, and deranged shuttle driver and brought us to yuppie-ville (aka: boulder, colorado). he let us crash on his couches and took us to the best breakfast i have ever had in my entire life--seriously, THE BEST! and now we are rearranging our plans with the folks in costa rica having much success with everyone and preparing for a new set of travel plans. for those of you who know itinerary, adjust the first four days by moving everything back one day.

oh how our adventure begins: wonderful time with rowan and alyssa, unexpectedly running into high school classmates in downtown portland, delayed flights and severe anxiety, a too late arrival in denver, a sketchy run-in with the driver, and then a final midnight rescue by andrew. who knew it would begin this way? the trip is bound to be interesting. fun, but interesting.

so yeah, we should be international travelers starting tomorrow. :)