Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Tasty Slumber Party

A couple weekends ago my mom and I had a cupcake decorating session... and these guys had a snooze.

Then, we took individual shots -

Then, we had to use up the cupcakes... I'm particularly proud of the sunflower.

There were more, but you've got the idea. Fun!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The end of our trip...

Well, it's taken quite a while, but we've come to our last stop in Costa Rica. We were back in San Jose, and I have to say I liked it better the second time.

We went to the mall on a false tip that the IMAX was there. Not a problem, there were other things like this adorable candy shop.

The next morning we commenced the most "cultural" portion of our trip and headed to the downtown where we enjoyed the Pre-Colombian gold museum.

In the same building there was also a modern art display, and my personal favorite, the numismatic museum. (i.e. money!) They had money and coffee tokens from basically all parts of Costa Rica's history. We even saw what is considered the most beautiful banknote ever. I loved it.

The following picture is actually the "roof" of the gold museum. It's under ground, under a square in the heart of San Jose. Kind of cool, really. It was a gorgeous sunny day. Not too hot, not too cold.

Mom and Dad decided to try to check out the National Theater (Teatro Nacional) while Phillip and I headed back to the mall to absorb local culture, but the theater was closed for a private event, so they ended up at the Jade Museum. Here's the theater - beautiful from the outside!

The final touch to our trip was a showing of Avatar, in English, subtitled in Spanish. This picture is dark, but if you can see what it's of, you'll agree that it's worth a try to put it on here. :)

We headed back to the hotel and had a totally wonderful meal - I had caesar salad, rosemary potatoes, and for desert: a crepe with nuts and tequila sauce. Our waiter was really chatty, and I think he wanted to go home with us, it was pretty cute. Sadly, we had to pack because we were going to be picked up at 4:00 am.

Phillip requested a wake-up call for us so we'd have time to wash our hair before the trip, but it never came. Mom knocked on the door at 3:55 and it was a mad dash to dress and get to the lobby for our pickup.

Many hours later, we made it home. There are pictures of our journey, but it wasn't pretty. Trust me.

Loot picture!

So, thanks for going to Costa Rica with me. It's a beautiful country, and right now, since I am wrapped in a down comforter, I would like to go back and sit on a warm beach...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Manuel Antonio or I could soooo live on the beach.

Many apologies for the long break from Costa Rica blogging. I let myself get a little bit busy. But anyhooo, to recap - we've traveled all around Costa Rica and now we're heading to the Pacific coast. Let me prepare you - it's BEAUTIFUL!

This was my favorite hotel - Playa Espadilla. The room was a soft green color that was perfect - all white bedding. Just gorgeous!

And, a short walk from the hotel was the beach. It was quite touristy, but I didn't mind. I was warm!

So, I tried surfing. Let me tell you - I was soooo nervous beforehand that I couldn't eat breakfast. But, I persevered and had a great time! Here I am wearing the top. I totally look the part.

In the following photo you can see the beach - it was just beautiful. The water was warm (tasted disgusting!) and I loved just floating, waiting for the next wave.

Here I am enjoying a break - desaltifying my mouth.

The next day I spent some time in the pool - I had to steal this pic from the hotel website because it was so wonderful that I forgot to take a picture.

Too soon, we were one our way back to San Jose - after a lovely stay at the beach.

Luckily we got to be there for a while before leaving... but the end of the vacation was looming.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fun Weekend

I got online to blog about Manuel Antonio, but I got distracted reading other peoples' blogs and now I'm tired. I promise to catch up tomorrow or the next day...

Here's a fun photo to hold you over:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Moving on to Monteverde

You may want to buckle in for this first paragraph. The road from La Fortuna to Monteverde was the bumpiest I've ever been on! I admit that I lost hope at some point along the way. It took us an hour longer to get there than the GPS said it would (can't always trust the GPS) and we were jiggled every step of the way. But, I snapped this fabulous photo, so all was not lost!

Our best nature hike was in Monteverde. We had a very good guide who talked about mostly interesting things, and he had a telescope so we could see the wildlife - and even get photos. Here's a quetzal - they can be quite elusive and we saw it first thing on our hike!

We saw several howler monkeys - here's one that looks like a little old man. Cute, eh?

This wild animal needs a shower, but appears to be enjoying a trip across a hanging bridge:

Here our guide shows us a centipede/millipede. He explained the difference, but of course after a couple short weeks, I couldn't tell you what it was.

Then we saw a coati. They're like the raccoons of Central America. They steal food and generally make a nuisance of themselves, but they're tolerated, and tourists (me) take pictures of them.

Dad was sick at this point in our tour, so after showers and freshening up, we headed out to find food. We ended up in a little local place that had an extensive menu. I had a grilled cheese sandwich that had lettuce and tomato on it, while mom had fried rice and Phillip had tacos.

As you can see, we sat in the "area de no fumado" (non-smoking section), but the ironic part was that cooking our food created a huge amount of smoke - while the smoking section stayed fresh and lovely.

In Monteverde we spent quite a bit of time watching TV because Darb was sick and there wasn't a lot to do. The hotel was freezing cold, so we watched the Golden Globes from under the covers. I also saw my first episode of Glee there - and I think I'm hooked.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

La Fortuna, or Arenal Volcano

I took the first driving shift as we set off on our own. Three things to know about driving in Costa Rica: 1. Get the GPS, but don't always trust it. 2. Be prepared to pass on double yellows. 3. Nothing is that far away, it just takes a while because of the road conditions.

Once we got to La Fortuna, it was time to eat! We went to La Chosa and had one of the very best meals in Costa Rica.

The next day, we went on a hanging bridges tour and saw some great nature. Spider monkeys, lizards, snakes, birds, and some fabulous seed pods.

Here's a little friend saying "hello".

We were so lucky to be in La Fortuna when we were because it was the first day in about two weeks that you could actually see the volcano. It was such a beautiful day.

We spent some time in the town plaza - my favorite spot in each town we visited.

Back at our hotel, this adorable little guy was waiting for us. Isn't he genius?!?!

My first pool - it was sooooo cold. I think because it hadn't been sunny for two weeks... But, it was a pool, and I loved it!

La Fortuna was my second favorite place in Costa Rica, and by that I mean, La Fortuna was the second warmest place in Costa Rica. Wait, I'm not sure where San Jose would rank, but La Fortuna was pretty great.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Rainy Bit... AKA Tortuguero

After a murderously early wake-up call (although not our earliest while in Costa Rica) we boarded a bus with a bunch of other tourists from places like Argentina, France, Spain, Israel and Japan. I mostly listened to my ipod and slept until we got close to the boat dock and other buses started having to turn back because of flooding. We stopped for a minute and I got some pictures of my favorite cows EVER.

Then, it was on to the dock - though it was more a pond. We had to take off shoes and socks to get out of the bus and onto the boat. Here's the parking lot:

So, getting on the boat proved to be a bit tricky for me, and I managed to fall at the most embarrassing possible moment, giving myself two large bruises, one of which I still have today - three weeks later. Man, I'm good. Dad took this picture. Can you tell I'm thinking, "When can we go home?"

Luckily, I got some sleep and was ready for the nature boat tour the following morning at 5:45. Here I am modeling the latest in rain gear. It smelled. I'm not even joking.

We saw a monkey, iguana, sloth, and some birds but none were close enough to photograph, so you get me, the wildest animal I could find!

Most of our time in Tortuguero was spent sitting on the porch of our room in rocking chairs, reading. The rain on the roof was soooo loud. It was a beautiful place and not cold.

Phillip and I managed to get some good hammock swinging time in. I do love lounging in a hammock. I also got a massage on the beach. There was a roof, but no walls.

Finally, we got to leave. The thing I'm noticing, and feel the need to point out, is that every one of these pictures shows wet things. I was soooo ready to dry out.

But, since the dock was flooded, we had to go another way back - to a place that had a narrow road. The bus that was supposed to pick us up "fell off" the road, so we were stranded.

And it was raining.

We got to see more cows - love them! And I spotted an armadillo. That is rare, according to several people. So, fun things happened while we waited, and waited. The good news is that eventually we caught a ride to the rental car place and headed out on our own.

Tortuguero was my least favorite place in Costa Rica for two reasons: 1. I really like sun. 2. It was like being at summer camp, we ate together, went on field trips together, etc. But, looking back on it I can see that even though it was the low point for me, it still wasn't that bad!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Costa Rica - Do you wanna hear about it?

If so, buckle in. I'm going to try to blog daily until I've thoroughly bored you with Costa Rica pictures and anecdotes.

And we're off!!!

Our fist day was spent touring near San Jose. Here's my beautiful madre waiting for our ride.

We first visited a coffee plantation who sells mainly to Starbucks - so if you're drinking house blend, I may have seen the plant that your beans came from. Phillip and I fully comprehended the gravity of the situation, and it shows on our faces.

Sarcasm? What? <-- That was an oft-repeated phrase on our trip.

Then we got to see a church built of metal because the wood one burned and the brick one toppled (I think). It was in a beautiful square and the weather was gorgeous. Just leave me there! After that it was off to Sarchi, where the oxcarts are made. It's a handicraft that's been around for a really long time, and this family has made them for something like 4 generations.

I thought they were pretty. I also got inspiration for a fabric I'd like to make sometime - check it out:
Would that make a fantastic sundress or totebag? Mark my words. I'm gonna figure out how and do it someday.

So, that's enough for today... See you again tomorrow?