Fourth blog in 2 days. I was going to wait on this one, but I figured that while I’m riding a wave of blog momentum, I might as well keep going and finish this last one for Costa Rica. Ugh. Writing can really eat away your soul.
I left Tortuguero on Wednesday morning and hopped on a boat to the small town of Moin. The boat ride was a three-hour journey along a jungle river, and we spotted several giant crocodiles swimming through the chocolate milk water along the way. From Moin, I took a shuttle to the Caribbean beach town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. I know, I know…all I’ve been doing the last couple blogs is rant about how bored I am with beach towns, poor me, always at the beach, blah blah blah. What a spoiled little brat. However, after recharging my city batteries in San Jose and my nature/wildlife batteries in Tortuguero, I was okay with another jaunt to the seaside. Beaches are unavoidable in Central America.
I checked into Pagalu Hostel, which has turned out to be one of the best places I’ve called home since I started my trip (except for the Four Seasons, of course…that was just in a league of its own!). It’s chilled out, relaxed, a quiet refuge in what is known as a party town. Because of this, the clientele has tended to be a bit older. Not that I don’t love and appreciate the youth of the world, but I have met maybe two or three other backpackers on this entire trip that have been over the age of 30. For example, in Santa Teresa there was a 19-year old backpacker staying at my hostel, and I had to break it to myself gently that I could actually be his MOTHER. Ouch. Anyway, I’m a granny in these parts, and quite frankly, I’m tired of feeling old! I’ve heard that South America tends to attract a slightly older traveler (as in late 20s as opposed to early 20s), and I’m looking forward to being able to talk about Duran Duran and The Brat Pack. I’m also going to start making an effort to go for adjectives like chilled, mature, and quiet when checking out hostel reviews to ensure I distance myself from the wild hair young’uns.
Wednesday night some new-found friends and I went out for dinner and drinks, and on Thursday morning, we rode down the coast to the Jaguar Animal Rescue Center. This is a pretty fascinating non-profit foundation whose purpose is to rehabilitate mistreated, injured and/or confiscated animals. They take care of the animals, train them to be independent before slowly reintroducing them back into protected areas. Seeing as my one and only sloth-sighting was a ball of fur high up in a tree in Tortuguero, I jumped at the chance to see one up close. The center boasted a full range of snakes, tropical birds, monkeys, and of course, sloths (I asked where the jaguars were, but just got a laugh in reply. Good question, no?). Anyway, I got to play with some baby howler monkeys and a spider monkey ran off with my crutches.
That evening was a fun night of dinner and wine in the hostel with my fellow old farts. Needless to say, yesterday morning I awoke feeling a bit cloudy-headed. Not a very good way to start a day of blogging. I had a month’s worth of blogging to get through, and I had to force myself to get started. I spent the entire day yesterday slogging through the Guanacaste post, and today I have written three posts! Finally, I’ve caught up on Costa Rica. However, I haven’t even left my hostel since I went to the Rescue Center on Thursday morning.
In other news, the build-up lately of my boredom and burn-out on beaches and Central America in general have led to a massive change in travel plans. I was originally going to do the obvious route south: Panama followed by Colombia and so forth. Because there is no usable road between Panama and Colombia, travelers must either take an expensive flight or take an expensive 5-day boat trip. I’ve decided to do the unthinkable (cheater) and go to Colombia via the US; amazingly, it will actually cost about the same this way, and I’ll get to kill a few birds at the same time.
There are numerous reasons for this detour:
- I want to be with family for Christmas. I’ve spent a couple Christmasses completely alone and in foreign countries, and it’s not fun.
- I want to go to Target. My Boots products are running low, and I want new panties that aren’t sheer pink granny panties.
- I need to replenish my clothing supply. I purposefully packed my crappiest clothing for the trip. If it had holes, it went into the backpack. This is all fine and good for a short, dirty, trip, but this is for a year and I look like a tramp. I’ve been wearing the same stained holey clothes for almost three months now.
- I need to replenish my shoe supply. With my screwed up toe, I’ve been forced to wear my old smelly circa 2009 Adidas running shoes every single day. With all due respect to my fellow countrypeeps, nothing screams “AMERICAN!” more than running shoes, and before this trip I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them outside of the gym. I also have been carrying around a brand-new pair of Chaco’s hiking sandals (another thing I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing, in any circumstance) that destroy my feet whenever I wear them. It’s time to go home, burn this crap, and get some new kicks.
- I need to replenish my travel necessities. Trial and error has taught me a thing or two. Want my sleeping bag. Need my rainjacket. Broke my Kindle, need a new one (I’ve been reading books on my phone!). I’m even considering getting a tablet and roll-up keyboard so that I don’t have to keep depending on internet cafes to write my blog.
I know that all the new additions to my backpack family will make my load heavier, but I’m fully prepared to take it on if it means I look slightly less disgusting and have a few more creature comforts in my life.
So, anyway, the plan is to fly home for two weeks mid-December, take baths, shop, eat southern food, have family time, and then fly back down to Colombia to kick-start my South America leg of the trip. Of course, I can never do anything that’s convenient or easy, so I’m thinking about taking a four-day (!) bus in a few weeks from Panama City back up to San Pedro la Laguna in Guatemala–where I started this whole trip–for three weeks of Spanish lessons at San Pedro Spanish School. Why? Because it’s only $5 an hour there to study (as opposed to $15/hour in Panama and Costa Rica), because I love it there (it’s not on a beach!), because I promised my dad I’d buy him a hammock there, and because I’ve got some time to kill before Christmas. And because I’m crazy. Let’s see if that plan takes effect!
Tomorrow I’m going to get away from this computer and out of the hostel and spend a day seeing what Puerto Viejo has to offer before I head down to Panama on Monday. Barring anything crazy happens to me in the next 36 hours, the next blog will be about Panama, from Panama.