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Archive for September 25th, 2009

And So It Begins

After a long day of flying (two layovers…UGH) Kelly and I arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica around 9 p.m.  My friend Leticia has family in Costa Rica, so her lovely cousin Yesenia offered to pick us up from the airport and host us in her home for our first two nights.  This was a great way for Kelly and me to ease into a new city and culture at the start of our trip. 

Yesenia and her son Andres live in Santo Tomas de Santo Domingo de Heredia, a small community outside of San Jose, surrounded by mountains and coffee plantations.  Our first day in Costa Rica, we got a coffee plantation `tour´ from Yesenia´s dad, ate a cheap lunch and played with Andres at InBioparque (a biological park),  had coffee and yummy pastries at a mountain cafe, and were basically spoiled rotten by Yesenia.  She served us a delicious breakfast of the typical Costa Rican tamale and made us ravioli and tomato sauce from scratch for dinner.  We hope all of the food is Costa Rica is this good! 

Kelly and Yesenia´s dad on the coffee plantation

Kelly and Yesenia´s dad on the coffee plantation

Our yummy lunch at InBioparque

Our yummy lunch at InBioparque

Kim, Andres, and Yesenia at InBioparque

Kim, Andres, and Yesenia at InBioparque

Us and Andres at the Cafe

Us and Andres at the Cafe

The view from Yesenia´s house

The view from Yesenia´s house

The next morning, Yesenia drove us to San Jose to catch a bus to La Fortuna.  Downtown San Jose is complete chaos.  After asking several locals for directions and receiving five different answers, a taxi driver graciously led us to the station.  Kelly and I would have been totally lost if it wasn´t for Yesenia.  We were so happy to have her as our guide. 

We then had a bus ride from hell to La Fortuna.  What should have taken 4 hours ended up taking 6 and a half because of some stalled cars in the road.  It was crowded, hot, and rainy and I swore we were going to plunge off the side of the mountain two or three times.  On top of that, an American that we befriended on the bus had his backpack stolen from the overhead compartment.     Fortunately, Kelly and I had a seat so we didn´t have to stand up the whole time and we did manage to make friends with 2 guys from DC and 2 Swiss girls. 

All of us ended up staying at the same hostel in La Fortuna, Gringo Pete´s, for less than $5 a night.  For a private room.  For both of us.  Awesome.  One of the DC guys made us a yummy chicken curry dinner (seriously, food has been handed to us since we´ve been here) and we spent the night drinking and playing games with everyone at the hostel.

Some things about Costa Rica that we´ve noticed so far:

-There are no numerical addresses here.  Their addresses are `the house at the end of the street, three houses from the bakery, next to the house with the green roof…´

-The coffee is delicious.

-It gets dark by 5:30 p.m. year round.

-There are bugs everywhere, but they are friendly.

-The traffic in San Jose is horrible and people drive CRAZY.

Today we are going to see the Arenal Volcano and take a swim in the hot springs.  We´ll bring everyone up to speed in a few more days!

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