Friday, June 26, 2009

Rickey's Costa Rica Travelogue

Hey folks, this is Rickey checking in from Costa Rica. The next few weeks will be an interesting experiment for this blog. Internet connection willing, I’ll be live blogging from the road on our experiences down here. Also, you get the talented Young Henderson keeping dibs on all things Mets-related. And if that’s not enough, you get Adam’s quirky writings as well (no, he doesn’t know it yet, but he’ll get the memo shortly). Act now and we’ll toss in a complimentary set of steak knives! So ironically, Rickey going on his three-week honeymoon will actually INCREASE the frequency of posts here at RwR. And so, without further delay, we present our first installment of:

Rickey’s Costa Rica Travelogue
Moooo. There are fuckload of cows down here. It’s no exaggeration to say they outnumber the people.

Day 1. We touch down in Costa Rica, specifically San Jose Airport, where we spotted Josh Hartnett disembarking the plane with us. He’s accompanied by a blonde female who he dispatches to pick up his luggage from baggage claim. Apparently when you’re Josh Hartnett and have starred in cinematic masterpieces such as “Pearl Harbor,” you get sullen aneorexic blondes to grab your suitcase for you. We would have taken a photo of him, but this is Rickey's honeymoon, not Josh Harnett's, goddamnit.

A hasty exodus was made from San Jose via rental car (not much to see there) and we headed for Alajuela, a small town south of the central mountains of Costa Rica. The landscape is breathtaking, the roads treacherous, and the drivers maniacal. We booked a room for two nights in Vista del Valle Plantation Inn, an awesome collection of bungalows featuring thatched roofs, cozy mosquito netted beds, outdoor showers, and awesome views of the jungle. (In case you can't tell, we're quite eager to be on our honeymoon). Getting back to the digs, you walk out onto the deck of the bungalow and there’s the jungle, rich green canyons and all. Layers upon layers of dense green vegetation. Promptly after checking in to the hotel on Wednesday, we got ambitious and hiked down an insanely treacherous path to a nearby waterfall. The flume of water fell from a height seemingly half the height of the empire State Building and a hawk lazily circled high above the summit.As night sets in, the bats fly about and chirp. Fireflies blink three times at once while the river roars below and thunder sounds in the distance over the mountains. Trees are gnarled and covered with moss. The ground is soft and entire hillsides have sloughed off, only to be replaced by yet more vegetation. Inside every hollowed out tree trunk some creature undoubtedly dwells. Nature leaves no surface untouched or barren. Every morning the sun rises just slightly off to the left of the bungalow deck and basks the entire landscape in vibrant yellows and oranges. It’s a living depiction of “Dawn in the Amazon.” In the afternoon, a cool rain falls from the sky, and we peacefully read books on the deck, a biography for her and David Sedaris for me, while the soothing drops pitter patter down.

We discovered the food at the hotel to be fresh and new as we ate in an open air dining space resembling a tree house overlooking the valley. It takes the taste buds a little while to adjust to eating meat that hasn’t been injected with hormones and steroids. At first you think the steak is too gamey, but then it occurs to you that’s how beef is SUPPOSED to taste. The coffee here is the bar none the best I’ve ever had, something I’m told that is thanks to the sunny and moist Costa Rican climate. The company was excellent as well. We chatted with two Colorado natives who were seriously considering permanently relocating to Costa Rica. This seems to be a common refrain around here.

Day 2. Thursday, we started off with the traditional Tico breakfast of plantains, scrambled eggs, rice and beans, and an artisinal tangy spicy green sauce (yeah, I know, three days here and I already sound like freaking Frommers). While eating we peered through binoculars at goats grazing on a distant hillside. Then we hopped back in the rental car, a beefy 4WD SUV, (Costa Rica is one of those places where they’re actually useful) and made for the Poas Volcano. The drive up was incredible as we went through tiny villages, past sleepy farms, and up into the clouds. Farmers driving tractors smile and wave and tiny dogs yap at us as we drive by. Imagine that Tintin book set in Peru and you’re on the right track. You go up and down 25% grades, navigate crazy s-turns, while the rolling green countryside flies by and you totally love it. Just absolutely stunning stuff. The volcano was a massive smoking crater emitting enough toxic sulphiric gas to put the GOP minority to shame. After taking in the crater, we wandered around the grounds a bit more, winding our way up wooded spooky paths that seemed torn from some Tim Burton movie. Everything is rich here and teeming with life.
Afterwards, we headed to La Paz Waterfalls and Gardens, a touristy spot with a butterfly garden and some animal exhibits. A yellow beaked bird ate from my hand. Monkeys were fascinated by us. The jungle cats couldn’t be bothered to wake from their sleep. Overall it wasn’t much to write home about really, the star of the trip was the drive up there. Tomorrow we check out of the hotel and head towards Liberia for a one night stay before we settle in for seven days of beach relaxation at Playa Hermosa on the Pacific side.

Day 3. After killing a bug the size of my cell phone last night, it’s safe to say that we’re officially over the "charming rustic nature" of this lodge. The bastard was slamming itself against the bungalow door and emitting high pitched shrieks. Given enough time, he probably would’ve figured out a way to open the door. I swear to god, the insect actually screamed like a baby when I swatted him to death.And so we headed west towards Liberia, where we’re staying the night before embarking for Playa Hermosa. The drive was incredible, but fairly slow. In Costa Rica, it takes 4 hours to travel 80 miles. The roads are that twisty. Also, police set up checkpoints every few miles to nab speeders. If possible, Rickey would like to keep his honeymoon free of incarceration. Driving by scattered villages, we’re struck by how little in this country people have. They mostly live in cobbled together houses under sheet metal roofs. When a storm comes, they don’t file an insurance claim, they just rebuild, and somehow they’re always smiling.

We’re in Liberia now and wanted to go lounge by the pool but then the rain came. So we're hanging out in the room for the moment. The Ticos like to peek through the hotel windows at us. Not much to do in Liberia other than gamble at the hotel casino and catch a movie. We looked into seeing “Transformers” but were informed that it was dubbed in Spanish. I argued that this would only IMPROVE the experience of watching Shia LeBeouf attempt to act, but unfortunately, Erika felt otherwise. So it’ll have to wait until we get back in three weeks. Drat.

Logging on to the internet for the first time in a few days, I see that Michael Jackson has died?! The only english speaking tv channel we get in the hotel is Fox News (oh joy). Somebody fill us in, just what the hell are you people up to back home?

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Haley said...

Beautiful pictures!

Let's see, what's going down here...

1. There was some tornado warning about a half an hour ago somewhere around your neck of the woods, and a few hailstorms.

2. Last night every freaking channel was going on and on about MJ dying. And ervery damned person today wants to tell you how much they loved 'Thriller'. Fucking A.

Poor Farrrah Fawcett.

3. Giant Iguana-men have taken over the government. Stay in Costa Rica, guys.

Mr Furious said...

My magazine just did a travel piece on CR, and I spent more time than was necessary doing photo research—it looks gorgeous down there, and I one day want to check it out.

Bob "Melon" Melonosky said...

No news, eh?

I strongly encourage you to take a sidetrip to Honduras. It's way better than CR, and for a limited time only, there are amazing discounts for international travelers.

lots in costa rica said...

That photos are very interesting and I really enjoy reading your experience. I'm agree with you CR is an amazing country.