Friday, June 15, 2012

Costa Rica

In Costa Rica I was always exhausted. My whole body felt like a boulder trying to roll uphill. My mind was mush, my humor and gumption gone.

But that was because Costa Rica was the most fun I've ever had. From 5 in the morning to 11 at night we were running, hiking, swimming, eating, laughing, and exploring a tropical country of exotic people. There was no time for rest when there was zip lining and boogie boarding and chocolate making to be accomplished!
Our Costa Rica group consisted of ten-a hard number to accommodate in restaurants and small rented cars, but an excellent number for fun times :)
Costa Rica was the most fun trip I've ever been on! I mean, other trips were more educational or cultural or beautiful, but this country was just one excitement after another. Never a dull moment in this rainforest! The whole country had a taste, a spicy and juicy experience that left your mouth craving more. The was a kindness and an ease everywhere, people were content with what they had (except for the LOTS of petty thieves. They're going to be the exception to that statement) and they were willing to share their lifestyle with whoever was interested. Costa Rica was beans and rice, green parrots, ferns and saltwater, it was the humid, hot sun and tanned skin. Everywhere you turned there was some other wonder to be explored, something unknown to be eaten or bought our touched or climbed.

Okay, my gushing without purpose needs to stop. Yay structure! Hooray format! Here's your word, picture, and experience:

This is my one picture, obviously, because . . . I mean look how much FUN I'm having! I'm in the warmest ocean ever, at a beach in Limon, and you can't tell in this picture but I'm boogie boarding for the first time. I feel like Costa Rica can be perfectly embodied by these warm, crashing waves. They're beautiful to watch, an amazing work of nature, but the waves are better when they're experienced. Sometimes it's tempting to sit back and watch life-it's safe that way, comfortable. But, as this picture witnesses, it's so much more fun to jump in and risk the rip tides and the sharks and the drowning and hope for the best outcome: a memory of a commitment, a chance taken. Costa Rica is an entire country of chances at happiness, at excitement, and without jumping in the water and throwing caution to the wind, it will just be a lovely place with good food. A distant memory, not a place that changes you. Allowing that influence, that culture and language and all the wonderful things unique to this region of the world, allowing those things into your person can be frightening, but more likely than not, you'll end up with your face turned to the sun, eyes closed, laughing joyously. 

In a word (a nearly impossible-to-choose-word), Costa Rica would have to be described as Rapid. The definition is moving, acting, or occurring with great speed. My trip to Costa Rica was fast-paced and packed with activity, experience and new friends. This word is kind of contradictory because much of the culture of Costa Rica is very laid back, go with the flow, but to me, the country itself was rapidly developing, rapidly exciting, rapidly moving and changing, like the ocean. 

Alright, the excerpt from my Costa Rica journal is as follows:
"We finally arrived at the 'Reserva Biologica Tirimbina', or the national park, basically, for our cocoa tour. That's right, people, an entire TOUR about chocolate. Excelente. We went and paid 9,000 colones and they immediately told us to grab our  boots. Our . . . uh . . . huh? Yep, we borrowed these big black galoshes to 'protect us from snakes' . . . foreboding. And then Willie, our guide (and chocolate expert) led us on a trail through dense, natural forest just so alive and thick it was breathing. I loved it, truly. We were able to spot a few wild sloths, very exciting (they're swimming with parasites and the stupidest mammals on the planet. . . what's not to like?!). It was a bit of a hike, a very humid one, FULL of bugs locally called 'bullet ants' that bite AND fly AND jump AND crawl up your pant legs. Gracias, Galoshes. Eventually in our adventure Willie stopped suddenly, whipped out a tiny vial, and plopped it down on the thick compost, successfully catching the world's smallest and best-camouflaged tree frog! How did he SEE that, we all wondered."

Hasta Luego everyone! 

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