Sunday, March 05, 2006

Costa Rica

Last week Debbie and I flew to Central America to the country of Costa Rica. We went with our neighbors, the Hickens (Allen and Jani). Allen's brother has a home on the Pacific coast that he rents out to visitors when he is not there himself. We caught a midnight flight in Las Vegas and had a lay-over in Houston and then flew to the city of Liberia in northern Costa Rica near the Nicaraguan border. In Liberia we rented a SUV and drove 3 hours to the west coast of the country. The last hour of driving was on dirt roads and was slow going as the roads were narrow, winding and rough. As we neared the coast the rain forest became thicker and taller. It was the dry season and the some of the trees were drier than usual. This did give us clear skies and hot days while we were there. We finally arrived in Nosara which is a small community. Several homes have been built by foreigners and were scattered in the jungle covered hills above the beach. The beach was undeveloped and stretched for several miles. It was perfect for swimming and most of all surfing. Hard core surfers have known about Nosara since the 1960's. The water is always warm (around 82 degrees). We spent the next 5 days just relaxing at the home on the hill or down at the beach. Both Deb and I rented surf boards. I took some lessons from Gail, our new friend from the USA, who came down to live in Costa Rica several years ago. He surfs every day and it shows with his tanned muscular body and a graying pony tail. I noticed that "surfing bums" look a a lot like "climbing bums". Debbie reminded me of my obligations back in the States as I talked about how great it would be to become one of those "bums". So....For the next 5 days our routine went like this: wake up to the Howler Monkeys (5 am) in the trees.....Eat a fresh fruit breakfast (prepared in front of us and consisting of several tropical fruits) poolside at the villa......Go to the beach and surf until noon.......Find a seaside lunch place and have a local cuisine.......go back to the villa and "siesta" for a couple of hours......back down to the beach for a late afternoon surfing session until dark......shower up and then find a open air restaurant and have a slow paced dinner usually with some kind of rice dinner with fresh seafood.....back to the villa and visit while sitting on the deck looking at the spectacular star-filled sky and listen to the animals in the jungle and then to bed fairly TV, no interruptions, no news.....lots of reading. I suppose that weeks and weeks of that routine would get boring, but it sure was a relaxing few days for us. After the first day of lessons and surfing, Deb decided that she wanted to give surfing a try. The "long boards" or 9 foot boards were a little big for her to throw around, but she found them not too hard to stand up on and start riding the smaller waves into the beach. I caught on quickly and was standing up in now time, but found that catching a 6 foot "tubular" wave and riding it in style was a another thing altogether. I did have 2 or 3 excellent rides during the week, which was enough to hook me for life on surfing. The day before we left Costa Rica we did drive down the coast to another small town called Samara. There we swam in the bay and we did sign up for a "canopy tour" which is a new popular thing for tourists to do. Basically it is a cable zip-line course in the jungle. They have tree platforms set up in the upper tier of the jungle in the larger canopy trees. We had a fun time doing this and saw things from a new perspective. The gear was all made in SLC at Black Diamond and was like putting on a comfortable and familiar pair of jeans for me. It took another whole day just to travel home and did tax my patience. I really could have stayed down there in Costa Rica for months and not missed a thing back home (except our family of course). I anticipate that we will return again some day to Nosara and share the experience with others.