Costa Rica

Having Studied Spanish for 2 years I started working to save enough money to go to Costa Rica on a Study Abroad trip in June of 2007. This was my first trip outside of the US besides a trip as a little kid to Mexico.

It isn’t that I partied too hard but only a few moments stick out from that trip.

Off of the Bus to San Jose having not even unloaded my bags from the car yet, my host mother invited me to a wedding. It was sticky as inside and outside crossed undefined borders in a residential area mixing with Spanish beats.

My “mama Tica”, as me and my room mate called her, sent her 12 year old nephew to the store to grab a few cans of Imperial, the local beer, from the corner store. He returned a few Colones poorer and a few beers richer.

I’m no big dancer but some woman pulled me out of my chair. I guess we were dancing salsa; at least she was.

On an excursion to visit volcan Arenal we were told to exit the tour bus, grab out bags from the luggage hold and cross the small concrete bridge on foot. My buddy Noah hopped out no shirt on and waded out into the knee deep river to help the bus driver spot the shallowest part so he could drive the bus across. As soon as the bus hit the end of the grade leading to the waters edge the bus driver stopped the bus since the bumper slammed into the rocky bottom of the river.

he backed it up and parked on the shoulder of the road a ways back and said we would have to wait for a ride to come from the other side. after an hour a camouflage school bus crosses the river no problem with a much higher chassis.  but they had to take a load of people somewhere and said they would come back for us later.

We wandered up river, throwing stones and returned to see everyone still sitting around. everyone jumped, startled by a huge boom that had just sent smoke and ash flying out of the volcano off in the distance.

After 6 hours of waiting, we take refuge from the setting sun inside the bus with a mission group going to the same hotel as us. Someone in our group took out a bottle of tequila and it was making its way around the bus. I poured into my mouth but with the bottles spout it took a second to get some. Next thing, our teacher, who also didn’t pass up the bottle, was being questioned and I’m the one they are pointing fingers at.

We left them be and enjoyed the rest of the night watching the lava glow red as it tumbled down from the peak.

The following day we went off on horse back with a guide to explore some of the country side. a friend Carla and her horse just took off at full sprint in the complete opposite direction. Eventually she is brought back by her horse so we would continue on  to where we tied up our horses to some trees. We got down and swam in some frigid mountain water   and played in the rapids.

I would sometimes stay on the couch at the house where Noah and my friend Bret were staying so that we could study until late especially when we had a test.  The walk from my house to theirs was about 20 minutes through some pretty sketch streets so I came up with a tactic. I tried to look sketchier than the rest of the people I faced. I threw on my hood walked with hands in my pockets glancing and glaring at passersby. thankfully nothing ever happened on those walks.

One night Noah and I going to meet up with some friends. we were walking on a pretty deserted street. a guy came from the opposite direction on the other side of the street. Noah said he had a bad feeling about the guy a second later we both catch the glint of a blade in his hand. Noah spotted a big rock in the gutter and picked it up holding it in plain sight as if to say,  “are you ready to have your head smashed in.” The guy crossed to our side of the street and kept walking towards us so we crossed opposite him. I felt pretty safe with Noah since he has been trained in a type of Israeli MArticl arts which is about simplicity and efectiveness… ways to overcome much stronger opponents but throughout the trip he always practiced prevention almost to a paranoiac level.

the night got crazier when we got to our meeting point. Were standing with our backs against a van so we couldnt be taken by surprise while waiting to meet up with some friends. A guy walked up to us carrying something wrapped in a towel. the form didnt become apparent until he removed a layer of the towel. but he had basically pinned me an Noah against the van and quick moves aren’t a good idea with a guy who is selling guns in front of a church. Noah’s Spanish was a bit better than mine so I let him talk and eventually we slipped away without causing too much commotion.

A group of us went out to some three story club on Calle de la Amargura. After each getting a full body pat-down we entered. while some of us were dancing I kept noticing a guy watching our friends purse and camera. he moved in and started dancing with her but we were able to warn her. After a long time there we walked the sidewalk trying to find the best deal on a taxi to get home.

Eventually we settled on some young guy whose taxi was like something out of Fast and Furious. Jennifer, Noah and I jumped in back and one of our other friends was up front. the guy revved up and peeled out. We were taking corners so fast the inertia was crushing Jennifer who was screaming to stop the car. from the middle  I could see the speedometer hovering between 120 and 140 kph. The guy had no regard for red lights and obviously none for his or our lives.

Then last week my Stepdad came to meet me and i took him back to Manual Antonio for some fishing and Surfing. We rented a small Isuzu tracker that whipped us around the mountains nicely and led us to meet an american who was living with his wife running a fishing charter.  On the boat I got seasick with in a half an hour; luckily there was one Dramamine pill left in the glove box of the boat. i mainly spend the day laying on the sick of the boat trying not to be sick but the diesel boat motor wasn’t helping.

After a while I started casting out just to kill the boredom i don’t care for fishing too much. my stepdad caught a few fish but none of us had caught what we were after. i felt a tug on my line. after 40 minutes of the two of them screaming advice at me we got the rooster fish  in the boat.

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