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Costa Rica: Day 2

Posted on 12-01-2010 by Elise Joan

5 things I'm grateful for today: 1) jurlique hair de-tangler 2) 50 SPF (again) 3) glorious sunsets 4) My super sexy head-lamp 5) my iPhone camera

Woke up this morning and the last thing I remember is blissfully drifting off to sleep, gently serenaded by a melodious symphony of crickets and waterfalls.  Though I could very easily envision myself sleeping for another 5-6 hours, I decide that this would be a wonton waste of a lovely morning in paradise.  As I blearily make my way to the complementary traditional breakfast of fried eggs, rice and beans, I am reminded that I am indeed in the middle of the rainforest.  Outside, there is somehow an astounding combination of sunshine and pouring rain.  I immediately regret not buying the raincoat The salesman at REI was trying to sell me... But I am grateful for the 1$ poncho I bought at bed bath and beyond.  I don't quite need it yet, as breakfast is served on a covered patio overlooking the private outdoor Yoga space... So I sit sipping my orange juice and coffee enjoying a new serenade: heavy drops of rain splashing on wide thick jungle leaves.  The rhythm and sound are complex and unique... More like an obscure Ravel than a well known Mozart rhapsody.  The effect is mesmerizing. But just as quickly as it showered... It vanished.  Leaving only sunshine and cumulous clouds, hanging puffy and white over the tumultuous ocean.

After breakfast, and a lovely conversation with 2 vacationing Brits, I took a nap in my hammock.  That's right. A post breakfast siesta. In the sunshine... Content and relaxed.  A lifetime away from network meetings and Hollywood Blvd.  For a moment in time, my life paralleled that of the stray cat that somehow adopted our resort as it's home.  As I slouched in the hammock, she creeped in the open door of our cabana and luxuriated on Jamie's bed like she owned the place.

After my nap, Jamie & I decided to explore.  No map. No tour guide. No over-stuffed red bus filled with hawaiian shirt-clad retirees.  We simply embarked on a journey with no destination in mind, save maybe a fruit stand and a strip of surf.  We trekked the dirt road and then meandered off the beaten path to the rocky strips of beach near our hotel.  We came upon a small sign that read simply 'bicyclette' and we followed it into the jungle, until we came upon a young boy, riding his red bike with the prowess of an iron man triathlete.  I smiled, mustered my best Espanol and shouted "bueno!  Muy rapido!!".  Now... This may or may not mean "Good! Very fast!!".  I don't really know, as my remedial knowledge of Spanish is limited exclusively to the handful of  'Dora the Explorer' episodes i have watched with my 5 year old nephew Parker.  Despite my linguistic shortcomings, Jamie and I somehow manage to utilize our limited combined understanding of Spanish to bargain our way down to renting bikes for the week at nearly half their listed price.  "Muy Bueno"!

Now equipped with transportation, we hit the dirt trail that (we assumed) must lead to the heart of town.  As we began to ride, I noticed my bike seat was about 7 inches too low, which, (when combined with my 'vibram 5 finger shoes') made me look almost uncannily like a circus clown.  I also noticed that we were riding beach cruisers over terrain which simply screamed for 12 speed mountain bikes.  Moreover.... I noticed my breaks were not EXACTLY the most reliable.  In fact... I had to spin them backward 2 full rotations before they would engage. "Ha!" (I thought) "ALL part of the adventure!".

We rode into town and stopped off for some water and fresh fruit.  Figuring that no self respecting Costa Rican would steal our baby pink beach cruisers, we leaned them against a coconut tree and walked around.   in addition to the many human inhabitants of this region, there is quite a population of stray dogs.  All...... even the vicious looking breeds.... are incredibly docile and friendly. Some look well-fed (no doubt by bleeding-heart tourists like myself) but most are very thin, and scavenging for food.  Even these dogs seem somehow happy, and not at all lonely, but STILL I am compelled to enter a bodega & buy dog treats to share with the many lovable mutts that cross our path. A disproportionate amount of these seem to be nursing mothers, which practically breaks my heart, but they appear to be fending for themselves quite well,and though they graciously accept my compassion, they have no need at all for my pity.  If I ever made a home here, I would have to rescue millions of dogs because I fell in love with each & every one of them. Ridgeback to chihuahua.

On the journey back to our resort, I discovered a new love of bike riding.  The breeze cools down the warm air, making it seem somehow less humid. There is so much lush beauty all around you, that it is difficult to keep your eyes & focus on the path.  With no defined road or rules, and barely another vehicle in sight, you feel a sense of freedom and daring.  I somehow felt simultaneously tranquil and invincible.  Halfway home, as i was racing down a hill, incredibly happy with myself, my bike chain gave way.  I heard a BANG and began plummeting out of control straight toward an oncoming ATV until I was able to swerve, narrowly miss a drop off into a creek, and finally stop myself by dragging my five finger shoes along the rocky path. Happy to still be alive, I realized that- despite this brush with death (or at least.. brush with minor injury) fortune had smiled on me.  I looked up to find that I had crashed right in front of the bike rental shop. And by 'shop', I mean the back porch of a family home where my bike was quickly repaired by a mechanic.  And by 'mechanic', I mean a friendly bi-lingual man who had to be over 60, but whose lifetime of surfing gave him a physique to rival most 30 year olds I know.

After another hammock siesta (yes. One day..... 2 naps) and a dip in the waterfall pool, we take another excursion, this time on foot as we traverse the rocky 8km strip of beach along the coast. We end up down where the fisherman cast their nets and watch for a bit.  The oldest is in his seventies, the youngest can't be more than 10.  the sun sets slowly, and the evening air hangs sweet and thick like molasses. I feel as though I am in another world, and another time......

Back at the resort, I float under the stars for a bit of nocturnal meditation, and then retreat to the open air yoga studio for some self- led candlelight yin yoga.  I am joined by a friendly 90 lb. Dog who has followed me, and curls up near my mat for what appears to be his own meditation.  We breathe together, and my mind lethargically quiets...

Rejuvenated, Jamie and I decide to bike down to Mary's, the only local bar.  And by 'bar'.... I mean open air hut near the fish market. The dirt path is dark, so I strap on my handy (and EXTREMELY fashionable) REI 'headlamp', and valiantly lead the way.  Within moments, we are sipping fresh fruit daiquiris and eating the most DELICIOUS ceviche and barely seared ahi tuna I have ever placed on my tongue.  Caught only HOURS earlier, the fresh fish simply melted in your mouth. I've never experienced anything this delectable. During drinks, our waiter (a 20 year old blonde surfer from the Big Island) invites us to join him and his friends sailing tomorrow.  Sadly, we have already booked a private surfing lesson at the same time... But we thank him and take a rain check.

On the ride home Jamie and I converse about very important daiquiri inspired topics- from boys, to wikileaks, to world peace. And though it may not benefit the whole 'World', We fall into bed content to have found our own little oasis of Peace.... right here under the stars and the mosquito netting.

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