Friday, May 18, 2012

Memories that Matter

 As I lay here in bed, laughing about missing toe nail clips and pots of coffee on the beach, I think back over the past week and all the amazing people I have met, and I am amazed. “You are never alone when you travel.” My friend Lis was given that bit of advice before she began her trip through Latin America, and it is absolutely true. You are never alone when you travel. You meet the most amazing people. Some of whom are smart, and some funny, and others kind of irritating, but all of whom create your experience.

In Montezuma, at La Luna Llena, Lis and I met the first of our ever expanding gang. A friend of mine says, “never trust a person who doesn't share food”. Well if that is the criterion for trusting someone, then Jeff was a fast friend. We met him at breakfast when he fed us toast and peanut butter, and instigated a rousing discussion of American healthcare. He was a very level headed guy, and funny, and pretty much easy to be around, which is more than I could say for Lis and Sabira that morning. They held the perspective that the American medical system is shit, and also that private insurers should be forced to take a financial loss through being required to insure people with preexisting medical conditions, while still maintaining that the medical system should not be run by the government. In general it was quite frustrating, and made me feel like they have a general lack of perspective (which is not at all the case), but it was still good because it allowed us to become friends with Jeff, and to meet Shane (female) and Amy, two fun princesses from Mass/Cali who had shushed us from their room the night before, and complained because it wasn't expensive/nice enough.

The next day we found Lis's friend Sasha, another sweetheart from Australia, and spent more than 2 hours trying to leave the hostel to hike to the waterfalls (100 ft. 50 ft. and 10 ft.). This was a bit frustrating considering how long it took for us to decide on a restaurant the night before, which in truth we did not do because everything closed before we could make up our minds (luckily for us, the pizza man had pity and made us an amazing pizza after hours). Finally we managed to leave town and head to the waterfall, which involved a very steep climb up a very dangerous and high cliff side. The climb was fun, but the water was even more fun. After several goes on the rope swing, we hiked up to a more private pond, which was murky enough to allow me to skinny dip. While we were in the pond, we met the lovely Caroline, a sweet and bubbly lady from England, who would later be integrated into our group.

From Montezuma, we took an hour boat ride to Tortuga island. I don't usually pay for tours like this, but this one was well worth the $35 it cost. We got to go snorkeling twice, which was absolutely amazing, we got to ride the ocean in a boat which was beautiful, and for lunch they took us to a beautiful beach where they prepared a fresh fruit platter, and casado plates with potatoes, toast, chicken, rice, and beans, as well as free beer and soda. That night, we had an amazing plate of food including the best guacamole of my life, met up again with the lovely Caroline, and decided to build a fire on the beach. Unfortunately for us, it decided to rain that night, and we were caught in a sudden torrential downpour. We sought refuge from the rain at Caroline's hostel, but were quickly kicked out by the staff, so we decided instead to head to the local park and have a drink. It was here that we first used the term Pikey Strumpet to refer to Caroline, and it was also here that Jeff decided to instigate a best fake beard competition with leaves.

The next day, as we made our way by bus to Santa Teresa, Caroline decided to join us, and we also made a new friend named Crazy Carlos. The trip was a bit confusing, and we ended up losing Jeff for more than a day, and also we got off the bus at the wrong spot and had to hike 2 kilometers before we found Lis. Our time in Santa Teresa was pretty laid back, consisting mostly of swimming in the pool, amazing food (fish tacos, burritos, and beef kabobs on a baguette with every kind of vegetable and sauce imaginable). I got to do a photoshoot with Kelsey, a surfing instructor/apartment manager with a masters in mechanical engineering and a background as a pole dancing instructor. Apart from meeting a lovely group of spaniards, and cooking amazing pasta dishes at Don Jon's restaurant/hostel there is not much for me to say about Santa Teresa, except that it is wonderful and I am so grateful for the people that I have met.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Trip Down Memory River

Some of the better Graffiti in San Jose

Lis on the left, and Rachel on the right.  Lis is my new buddy from Florida, and Rachel is a cool chica from Canada who now lives in Panama.  We went exploring San Jose together.

Lis noticed this.

On the right is Anita, and on the left, Anita's baby, debora, and Juan's wife Sandra.

Juan is measuring the lancha (a big boat) that was almost destroyed when it sank to the bottom of the river.

Juan Ruiz, one of my best friends, holding baby Deborah.

The first rule of Costa Rica is that plans will change.  The second rule is that plans will change again. I kept this in mind when I left San Jose to visit Delta.  Ana Moshenek, a crazy missionary woman that I have known for years, asked me to come by her farm so that Juan could take me out to Delta, but when I arrived I found out that Juan would  not be returning to Delta for at least 4 more days.  It never occurred to Ana that when I said that I wanted to go to Delta and see Juan and my neighbors, that I actually meant it.  She decided that what I really meant was that I wanted to go to Palmas and spend several days working for her and visiting with Juan.  Well, at least she got the part with Juan right.

For two days, Juan and I sat side by side in Ana's boat, the "hospitalito" cleaning and rewiring a mechanism that controls the motor.  This would  have been a simple task except that the mechanism was full of dirt and sand, and that half of the wires had faded to the point of being an indistinguishable shade of white.  Nevertheless, after two days of tinkering and fiddling and trying things out, we succeeded in fixing the control.  

Apart from working, we spent quite a bit of time sitting around the comedor, an open air dining room and living space, enjoying the fancy new electric lights, and telling stories about sisimiki, the Costa Rican version of bigfoot, as well as playing with baby Debora and discussing the jaguar that came to the edge of the yard each night for a week.  

All in all it was a good trip, but I am glad to be off the river.  I came here on vacation, and time with Ana is never a vacation!

Friday, May 4, 2012


Avengers plot summary:  Some big bad aliens led by the crazy character from Norse mythology try to destroy the earth.  Iron Man and the Hulk save everything.  Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawk Eyes help.  

Basically this is one of the best movies I have ever seen!  And to top it all off, I got to see two guys fighting in the street on my walk home!  Tomorrow morning I will begin my trip out to delta to see my old neighbors.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Getting Started

After quite a bit of travel and quite a few headaches with Spirit Airlines (and one really great conversation with a young boy named Sean on the Greyhound bus), I have made it to San Jose, Costa Rica.  I hardly remember how to keep a blog, but one thing that I know for sure is that today has been a good start to my adventures.

It has been four or five years since I first met my friend Meghan.  As a young man, my father and I stayed with her on one of our many visits to Costa Rica.  Maybe it was the way she talked about Jesus, or maybe it was her tight jeans,  but probably it was how she had picked up and moved to Costa Rica to do what she felt like she should do.  Whatever it was, I quickly developed a crush on her.  Normally a crush like this would not be noteworthy, but this one was unique in that it allowed me time to grow.  I saw Meghan just enough over several years to keep my interest, but not so much that I had time to make a move and ruin my chances as a young and immature man.  This is the foundation that made it possible for me to finally ask her out to dinner at a little Italian restaurant, and ultimately begin what promises to be a rewarding and healthy summer romance.  If circumstances (A.K.A. permanent addresses) were different, it would be nice if this could be more than a summer romance, but for once in my life I am trying to go slow and be realistic.

What will come of this?
Maybe nothing.... but dinner and a movie tomorrow night should give us an idea.


Mountain Man
Andrew Bishop