Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Costa Rica, day 2.5

January 17, 2009
It feels like 2.5 days because I'd arrived pretty late at night on a Thursday, so that day really didn't count. Friday was the first day and in the morning we shopped for batteries before hitting the road. Word to those traveling to Costa Rica: Buy your lithium batteries at home. They're curiously expensive here.

This morning we spent at Dominical at some fun 1-3 foot clean and glassy rights and lefts. It felt SOOO good to be in the water. Warm water. No wetsuit at all. I caught one really good drop knee left and Josh got a great pic of me bellying it on a right. We did have to be in Quepos by a certain time to get together with a rafting company to do El Chorro, so we were on a little bit of a schedule. After surfing we were hungry, and we had about 20 minutes to order lunch at a "soda", but 'quick' is not really a word in Costa Rica, unless you're turning to avoid a rock on a river. Instead we bought some snacks at a convenience store. Finding something without sugar (my diet restriction of choice this year) was a challenge. Luckily I still had some organic food bars in my pack, some home-made.

Photos: FaceLevel.com

We hooked up with a H20 Adventures in Quepos to manage vehicles. A raft and two additional passengers were added to our already loaded vehicle. We had six squished into a four/five seater. It smelled a lot better after we got out of the water. I shared the front seat with a gal from the states. She seemed like one tough cookie, but nice. We were let out at a meadow that smelled a little like a pig farm and waited for Josh to park the car downstream and hitch a ride with the commercial raft bus. I made the mistake of throwing my Reef sandals, the kind that are strapped with velcro and quick release tabs, into someone's bag and never saw them again. I could have used them for the hike back to the road.

Photo: FaceLevel.com

Josh believes that no one has ever riverboarded El Chorro, which I just found out translates to "spurt". So here we were, making history on the Spurt. There's some great footage from the Go Pro helmet cameras and from shore that is still being processed, although some is up at teamfli.com.

Not five minutes into the river my legs were trapped between a rock and something else. Eventually the current brought me around and freed me but it was frightening. It shook me and I ended up portaging around a bunch of stuff afterwards. I was a little disappointed in myself - that will always be a blank spot in my memory... but I wasn't used to the board or the set up with this vest. The board has large hips that hold you in and you have to turn it with your whole body, not just your hands like a Kern board.
There is some awesome video of this run at http://www.teamfli.com
Photos: FaceLevel.com

The river was lower than the last time Josh ran it so it was really rocky and technical. I just wasn't ready. In spite of being travel-weary exhausted the night before I didn't sleep much again. Adrenaline. Hate the stuff. Sometimes.

Barba Roja dinner

Patio with a view

Manuel Antonio. Look what replaced the coconut stand that was there in '92.

con seƱoras locales

We had dinner in Manuel Antonio, at this great place with a fine view, the Barba Roja. It was too late to hike out to the lighthouse as we had hoped; the snakes come out at night. I had some beer with my dinner, the local Pilsen. The mahi burger was to die for. Josh was guessing all the hot girls there were from Argentina. From there we made a quick stop in Manuel Antonio. We didn't go into the park as it was late, but stopped at the strip mall and got ice cream. Well the guys did. Dairy is also off the diet. We came home afterwards and cleaned up a bit and around 11:30 pm went out to the only Sat. night disco wthin 40 miles. Loud thumping mixed rasta and disco beats, mostly young people. I felt a little old but it was okay. In spite of all the talk on the way over we mostly hung together. We had a round of shots first, tequila I think, I don't know I just sort of downed it. Then a little beer. I tried to get away from the music to have a conversation with Alex, but it was still loud even in the parking lot, though better, I didn't have to shout too much. There's not exactly any walls to the disco. They don't believe in the those things in Costa Rica, unless you have close neighbors, but even then... all bets are off for privacy. I thought one of our group snored, but it turned out to be the guy next door. I wore earplugs and missed the more entertaining morning sounds coming from the neighbors to the south.

On drive back to Josh's we listened to some found Ipod that had a lot of country and rap and really bad crap. The iPod owner was a gal from Oklahoma. Maybe they just don't have good radio there. Billy Ray Cyrus, for example. Josh said Billy was stupid for letting his daughter date a 20 year old. I said yeah but Billy's good looking and he's a DILF. (I've never heard of the term; it just came to me in a punchy moment.) The stars were out bright and I watched them out the open window most of the way back to the house in this land free of light pollution.

The night before I slept on thin sofa cusions and did not get very comfortable. Kevin graciously gave up a thicker foam pad for me for which I am very grateful. No one wanted for force Josh out of his own bed, having slept on the couch cushions the previous couple weeks for his mom. I was more comfortable on the foam but kept waking up. I just am not a good sleeper in a foreign place, but amazingly I never felt too run down.



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