Saturday, October 11, 2014

Beach Bummin'

Well, my "few days" that I was planning on spending in the beach house turned into a full week. I had a feeling that it might happen, but no regrets! My friends/former classmates and I have been having a great time here in Santa Teresa, a small surfer town on the southern portion of the Nicoyan peninsula. We're currently living in a nice little place just about 100 meters from the beach. We even have our own pool and AC! Since it's "low season" for tourism, my friends were able to get a really good price for the house, so we're enjoying the luxury for the time being.
Getting down here to Santa Teresa was quite the adventure. Gerardo, a TEFL student of ours from Samara, is a taxi driver and offered to drive us from Samara to Santa Teresa. During dry season, the journey only takes an hour and a half, but since it's rainy season there are many roads that are impassable, so we had to take an alternative route which took just shy of four hours. Gerardo's vehicle was a small SUV that tightly seats seven (which was perfect, because including Gerardo there were seven of us) and had next to no trunk space. Not to worry though, Gerardo had a rack on his roof where he some how managed to tie 8 pieces of luggage and a surfboard with a single rope. So, we packed into the car with our smaller bags in our laps and made the four hour journey to Santa Teresa. Nearly the entire journey was on small, dirt roads that winded through mountains and over rivers... literally, we drove through rivers. Although it was a long journey, I can't really complain because the scenery was stunning and the company was great. I even had my first crocodile sighting, which was very exciting. After hours of pothole ridden roads, we pulled into the tiny beach town of Santa Teresa. We even invited Gerardo into the house have a beer with us to thank him for driving us (don't worry, we paid him too).
It's been a great week in the beach house. After 8+ hours a day of TEFL training and teaching, it's been nice to relax. Because we have a former chef (Matt) among us, we've spent many mornings and evenings putting together some pretty elaborate and tasty breakfasts and dinners. The best part is that we've been able to save a lot of money by picking papayas from the tree in our yard, knocking down coconuts from trees on the beach, and cutting down "cuadrados" which are similar to plantains with our friends machete. It's been a blast trying to be resourceful and making dishes with local flavors, not to mention I've been learning a ton from Matt. Because of him, I now know how to break down and use an entire chicken. Thanks Matt!
Cooking has been a blast but it's not all that we've done this week. Because of the on-again-off-again rain, we've been spending a fair amount of time both in and outdoors. Indoor activities include job hunting, setting up interviews, watching movies, reading books, updating blogs, etc. Outdoor activities have included laying on the beach, watching our friend Ben surf, looking for coconut trees that are short enough to reach the coconuts, swimming in the pool, slackline-ing on the beach, and hiking/exploring. One of the highlights of the week was on Wednesday when we went in search of some sea caves that were supposedly a thirty minute walk down the beach. We we're also told that the caves were near a fishing port where we could buy fresh fish caught that day. So four of us ventured out into the rain in search of the fish and caves. In the end, it took us an hour and a half to get to the caves and the fishing port. Unfortunately due to the rain, the fishermen didn't fish that day but they told us to come back another day to get some tuna, mahi mahi or red snapper. We found the caves at the end of a path that had turned into a creek due to the heavy rain that was dense with jungle trees, vines and branches. We had another stroke of bad luck because the tide was so high that we weren't able to get into the caves.  However that's where the bad luck ended because the caves we located on a pristine, untouched, white, sandy beach surrounded by nothing but sea rocks and trees. We spent some time on the beach and were even graced with the presence of a family of white-faced tree monkeys called "mikos." After some time on the beach, we made the hour and a half trek back to our house and rewarded ourselves with some coconut water from coconuts we were able to collect on the way home.
Cassie, our slackline expert
All in all its been an excellent week and I don't want it to end. But, sadly today is my last today in beautiful Santa Teresa with my friends. Tomorrow, at 6am I'll be boarding a bus that will take me to San Jose and eventually taking a second bus to Heredia. I don't like the idea of leaving my friends because we've become so close these past five weeks. What makes it even harder is knowing that they still get to be together for another three weeks, while I'm alone in a new city. But, all fun must come to an end. I have two interviews on Monday which will kick off the next chapter of my time in Costa Rica. Although it's scary to start over, I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds for me in Heredia! Until next time, pura vida to all.

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