Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Costa Rica

This is a personal blog I keep for my own entertainment and story telling and is not affiliated with Face Level Industries or any of its subsidiaries. This trip to Costa Rica was the prize for the winner of Face Level's 2008 Riverboarding Championships, Alex Koutzoukis, and made possible by Josh Galt and Face Level. The content herein contains reflections from my own bad memory and sometimes skewed perspective, assisted somewhat by the order and dates of photographs and videos. Those photos and videos were taken by myself, Josh Galt, Kevin Yount and Alex Koutzoukis. I do believe I gave heed that anything that happened in Costa Rica wasn't going to stay in Costa Rica; it was potential material for my blog. But since it's my blog, this is mostly about me, and might not reflect the opinions or memories of the others. That said, I have the utmost love and respect for Josh, Alex and Kevin and will honor any requests for edits or corrections. 

I arrived in Costa Rica January 15th, fairly late, and the wait to go through the luggage xray was longer than the flight. Or so it felt. Can't see out the doors to know if my escorts are waiting. I was very relieved to hear my name and see the familiar faces of Josh and Kevin, whom I hadn't seen since the Gorge Games the July prior. We stayed near San Jose in Heredia. We camped out in the living room of a quaint house on an old coffee plantation; friends of Josh lives there, Andres and Serena, and they had some really delicious chicken waiting.

January 16th.

Relaxing on the patio.

Loaded up the car, bid farewells to our hosts and hopped on the narrow road to the airport, which stalled about 1 km from it because of this. The traffic just did not move although I'm sure the car was operable and the motorcycle not heavy; they were just sitting there at the curb. We sat here for quite a while - that's our rig with the gear. One more person's stuff had to fit in but somehow we made it. Alex had already gotten out of the craziness of the customs inspection and was waiting for us, although we didn't notice him right away.

Progress was somewhat slow on the narrow winding roads mostly because of busses that plodded along at about 25 miles per hour up the hills. They were nearly impossible to pass; to do so was to ignore the blind corner. About a 50 foot straightaway was all you had to work with, and our vehicle, loaded as it was, was somewhat gutless. But it gave us plenty of time to figure things out like the fact that Alex doesn't think all Britney Spears songs completely suck, at least her later stuff. Fortunately he didn't have any of her on his I-pod, which replaced my I-pod because most all my songs are similar male vocals in the same key with deep lyrics and somewhat mellow compositions. Except for the stuff like M83 and Ulrich Schnauss but it didn't seem like good driving music at the time.

Later in the trip, I did offer up one music rule that was unanimously approved: No Jack Johnson. I do admit (now.. haha) to owning one album, and even talking to him in an airport, but his irritatingly trite lyrics and simple melodies can try the simplest of minds.

We made it to Jaco and I didn't recognize anything about the place at all. When I was there in October of 92, I just remember stopping by and meeting up with another couple of travellers who happened to be down there who we knew. Tom was having a hard time because they were also traveling with this other couple who was more about the journey than the destination, and Tom wanted to surf. Like me. I did surf at Jaco and it was dark sand and big waves that closed out. There were one or two restaurants there but I don't remember a whole lot else. Now there are high-rises and a dirty touristy kind of ghetto. Basically the place sucks; you shouldn't even surf there because the water is so polluted with sewage. They built for tourists but forgot the infrastructure. Hungry, we picked a restaurant that looked safe and had a view of the street where we could keep an eye on the vehicle. Can you see it in the background?

Photo: FaceLevel.com

Conversation revolved around the temperature of the earth and how in 2012 there is supposed to be some cataclysmic event. Alex was of the opinion that there is global warming going on and the others of us are less convinced. Climate change, yes, cycles, yes, but pollution that is causing all these crazy weather patterns? Not likely. The poor kid is outnumbered but we will be kind to him.

After lunch we looked at the suset and took some pictures. The most brilliant part had already past but we still got in some pink. There were small surfable waves and only a couple souls were braving the eColi.

Now the road was dirt, with river on one side down 20-30 feet and no guardrail. The bridges are a little crazy; railroad ties with metal and not much else to hold it together. I do remember some crazy bridges. I just don't remember the dirt road, I thought it was further south, but after 16 years it's hard to recall exactly what things looked like.

We made a stop at a fruit stand and ate some of the sweetest pineapple I've had. We had to tell the proprietor that we wanted one that would be eaten the next day to avoid an overripe fruit. Overripe pineapple. Not something you really ever find in the Pacific Northwest.

In Dominical we stopped briefly at a store then headed up this ridiculously steep hill to Josh's place, which is a gorgeous feat of architecture perched with a view of the ocean, although it is night and we can't see it. There is a small but deep pool and we go for a swim, and discuss the current state of the sport of riverboarding and the variety of personalities in the sport. I lament that I don't have women to compete against, although I don't mind competing against the guys as long as I beat one or two of them :).

The crickets are chirping loudly, bats are flying overhead and I am showered. I hope that I sleep better tonight. I did not sleep well the night before heading to Seatac in anticipation of the whole thing. I did not sleep very comfortably on the couch last night, although it was better than the thin floor mats. I'm still pretty pumped full of adrenalin and I don't think there is any alcohol here. So far no one has even ordered a beer.

Tomorrow we riverboard on a first descent of El Chorro. Should be fun. If I can get some rest!

Next (day 2)


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