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Costa Rica–Hiking Day, the waterfalls, surfing, poi, and Video Chat

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I awoke and greeted my day feeling tight, but not sore. Don was still sleeping. We actually fought over the covers when I got back from using the bathroom. It was funny, actually. *giggle* I leaned over, kissed him, got dressed and headed down back to The Bakery Café for my morning coffee. He wanted to sleep in, and I didn’t mind having some time to reflect on things.

You see, the thing about being down here is that I’m afforded time to delve deeply into myself and really think about things. Often, I’m in such a rush, making lists, juggling so many things! It’s like I handed over all of the balls I’d been juggling and stepped away for a break. It is quite refreshing. It is also a bit unnerving because I’m constantly paranoid about forgetting something. With each passing day, though, I’m letting go of it more and more. I’m more in tune with my body. I’ve not been completely vegetarian on this trip. More often than not, though, I have been. But in the evenings, I’ve had some animals. It’s ok. I’m still feeling good and not feeling heavily weighed down! Like I said, no juggling. Just thinking, relaxing, and doing a giant EXHALE.

I wrote for awhile until my breakfast was ready. I nibbled it up, sipped on coffee, worked out the kinks with Skype, because tonight, we were going to talk with the girls and I wanted to be sure everything worked like it was supposed to! Don joined me and we had 15 minutes until Poi class started. I crossed the street to the bookstore and talked with the lady from Connecticut who owned the shop. I handed over my postcards, paid her the postage, and just like that, they were “mailed'” and on their way to their destinations! I crossed the street again, went up to the table, grabbed my bag, then headed over to class.

Today, I had to focus on working on my forward and reverse figure 8s, doing a basic butterfly maneuver, and keeping my head straight, instead of lowering my chin. Over and over in my head, split time, legs apart, and….SMILE. I whacked myself a few more times today than the first day, but that meant that I was actually taking many more chances with my poi. This made me feel good. We also had a new classmate join us, Leah. She’d been taking classes before, and decided to start up. She has extended her original stay from 1 month to another month. Apparently, this is quite common down here. We have to get back and can’t stay another week! Smile

After an hour and a half of dancing and twirling the practice poi, we had to head back up to the room, to change clothes because it was time to go to the waterfalls. They said it was about a half an hour hike to get there and to wear hiking shoes. The locals, Pablo and Edgar, were in flip flops. We hiked and hiked and hiked until we got there. When I say we hiked, I meant we HIKED! Over tree roots, on top of rocks, around rocks, rock climbing, balancing on a tired, worn out old rope against the boulder, through mud, until…..there it was! This beautiful waterfall, and only 4 other people were there. Granted, as we walked up, the middle aged woman was stripping off her top and yanked off her undies. I threw Pablo a look like, um…are we SUPPOSED to get naked? (I’ve not ever been skinny dipping and I supposed now was as good a time as any to do it.) He grinned and told me that I didn’t have to, unless I wanted to. I didn’t want to, just yet. ha ha! Instead, I took a dip in the cool, refreshing waters, swam to the waterfalls with Don and let nature wash my crazy, wild hair! We hung around there for a bit, then swam back, dried off and made the trek back.

Good thing too, because it was time for surfing! We ran up, grabbed our rash guards, made a quick snack of tortillas with avocado, then headed out to Playa Grande. We had to hoof this leg of our hike because we were 20 minutes late! This terrain, similar to the one to the waterfalls, is not for anyone out of shape. Lots of hills to climb, rocky beaches, beaches with shells, soft beaches, mud, and rocky terrain. Not as dangerous as the other, but a solid hike, and definitely a workout. I don’t think I’ve ever sweated this much in my entire life and I’m not one to really sweat!

Just like before, we went to the turtle sanctuary, dropped off our personal belongings, I grabbed Surf Betty and began to comb and wax her up. She’s a monster, and I had to carry her solo out to the beach. Truthfully, I was winded with that small hike, nearly 400 meters. Then, I got into the water. It is warm just like yesterday, but the waves are much bigger. The current, where we were surfing met coming from two different directions. This day was gonna do something, that’s for sure!

This time, I was was Gee-jay (short for Guillermo). Don had been promoted to the advanced class (no surprise). Geejay was determined to get me up. I’d paddle, I’d push up, and only get to my knees. Then, he sternly coached me, breaking down the mechanics of it all. Refusing to let me use my knees any more. He said, only get on the board if you pop up. No more knees. Unacceptable, Bianca. Don’t take shortcuts! If you know me, you know that’s the kind of coaching I respond to. It’s harsh, but for whatever reason, it works. Then he said something that made sense, pop up like you are jumping high. I said, like I’m jumping on a tall box? A really big box, like 3 feet high? Yes! Exactly! So I did just that and that, my friends, is the first time I was up on a board riding a wave.

The next time, he said, now concentrate on legs apart, they were too close together. And don’t walk on the board, it is very dangerous! (I’ve been watching too many surf videos with people who do their walks on the board. Meanwhile, down the beach, Don was rocking his waves and Pablo was surfing a wave while doing a headstand!! Nevermind the ear infection he’s had since last week! Crazy guy!) I rode two more solid waves for a little bit and I was quite pleased. I was rocked a couple of times, but for the most part, I had much success. I was very, very happy. I have to admit, I actually wore a bikini! The thing about Costa Rica, no one cares. I was actually encouraged to buy and wear a much teenier bikini. Don was nodding his head yes, but I don’t know if I am that brave. “Welcome to Latin America” is what they responded when I said, “but it is so small!!”

After we were done for the day, the tide was coming in much quicker than before. We were very lucky because it hasn’t rained since the evening before. Had it rained, we would not have been able to go to the waterfalls. Also, because it hasn’t rained, the sun has broken through more because there aren’t clouds to filter it. Seeing the sunlight through the jungle really is quite incredible!! On the hike back, I noticed an entire colony of crabs!! It was awesome! Next time, I’m totally going to take a photo. These crabs were brilliantly colored red and blue and they were the size of a small child’s fist.

As with all of my walks, I’ve been putting flowers in my hair. It’s been fun. I nearly lost my traveling rock and my water bottle when the water rushed in. Luckily, I clutched my rock and my water bottle was found about 10 steps away from where I was standing, once the water receded. Also, on the path, there are many white and purple flowers. It’s like walking down the aisle on your wedding day. I feel fancy each time I walk over them. Oh, and there are always a million different colored butterflies on our path, not as many lizards of varying sizes, and a couple of monkeys. Oh and birds, although, we only hear them, don’t see them. Today, in the surf shed, I saw a bat! ha!

When we got back to the room, I willingly took a cold shower and I liked it! That’s how hot and sweaty I was. We are sure to stay plenty hydrated! I also spent some time french braiding my hair. It’s been unruly, so I wanted to try something new. I have 4 french braids in my hair, then I joined the two on each side into a larger stacked braid. Right now I have what appears to be two french braids, but they are really 4. I hope it holds up. I like it out of my face.

After we were cleaned up, we had a phone call from our family. Skype, unfortunately, was unavailable, so we used Tango on our phone. It isn’t as great of a connection as Skype, but we did get to see and talk to our girls for a little while. We even got to sing to Mari! Gosh, we miss our Sugarbean and Sugarbaby something crazy!!

After the phone/video chat, we needed food! We went to Sano Banano and noshed ourselves food drunk. Iced tea (Costa Rican style) and pineapple/mango smoothie for starters, Vegetarian quesadillas for an appetizer, Chicken Curry & Pollo Casado, finished off with warm chocolate cake. Yum! We could’ve stayed for the show 2 Nights in Paris for free, but we wanted to go back to the room.

First we stopped at the market to pick up some diaper cream or zinc oxide for Don because the sun has not been his friend! We also got some more tortillas and avocados, and a bit of baby oil to massage out the knots in our bodies. We both have lots of bruises on our bodies. I have a gnarly one on my left knee, and a scuff on my right foot. Don has a rash where his ribs protrude. He has a rash guard, but it isn’t enough. Worth it, though. You can say we are bonafide surfers now. He’s better than I am, but I’m just glad to be called a surfer instead of a knee boarder. ha!

We chatted up our classmates a bit and prepared ourselves for another day. We are nearing the halfway point in our trip.

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