|Howler Monkeys from our estuary tour|
When we got to Liberia, which is in a more arid part of the country, I couldn't help but feel like I was in Texas. The landscape paired with cowboys being advertised everywhere was a big influence, but then we went to a fair. Fairs are like childhood, you feel like you've been transported back in time when you go to one. Some things about fairs are universal: the rides, the dirt that gets in your sandals, and slew of strangers--the best place to people watch. But Costa Rican fairs are far superior to any American one I've seen: their food is AMAZING. Casado (the traditional plate) with chicken that leaves you chewing on the bones and churros that will make you dream about cinnamon for the rest of your life. The strangest part of it all was the rodeo. I felt like I was in a small town in Arkansas as I sat in the bleachers. Even back home I can't understand the speaker while I sit mesmerized by the cowgirl's and boy's as they race their horses around barrels. It shouldn't be so surprising, but this cultural overlap just reminds me how big of an impact cattle ranching has had in Costa Rica. It is the livelihood and thread of each family like it is in any small town back in the states.
|Hugo and the Buttresses in Rincon de la Vieja|
Aside from Costa Rica's less exotic rodeos, the tropical forests and volcanos transport you to a world of magical realism. Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez become kindred spirits as you traipse through the ferns and fronds that inspire magical realism. Most of Costa Rica is windy so it's common find large roots that only tap into the topsoil, but spread out widely to support their large tree. We call them buttresses.
|Rio Colorado in the tropical humid rainforest|
After our trip through Santa Rosa National Park where we visited one of the hottest parts of the country, then dried our sweat off at the top of a windy mountain, we climbed back on the bus. The large picture windows hypnotize you into a daze of rolling hills covered with large trees. Many things pass in a blur leaving you wondering if it was a termite nest or a large bird. Occasionally though, we spot a critter and pull over. First it was white faced capuchins, then just up the road we pulled over for a troop of spider monkeys! The students I'm with are in a class on animal behavior, so they took the opportunity to make observations while I got to oogle on.
|Playa Grande and it's killer sunsets|
Playa Grande is famous for surfing because it has some of the most vicious waves. They'll toss you and make you do cartwheels underwater until you learn how to flow with them or dive beneath. I rented a boogie board and spent half the day immersed in those waves. By the end of it my whole body was sore and my hair had an entirely new texture. I felt transformed, but still ashamed of my light morphology. I feel weak by having such pale skin. Still I know this light skin will keep me looking young and I'd rather have a periodic sneaky sunburn then try my chances for skin cancer.
We got back to the lodge in time for dinner and UGA's famous hot chocolate. The trip was fun and I would do it a million times over again. Still, there is a certain quality to UGA. We kept celebrating that we were going home when really we only have a few days left here. June 29th is our last full day and by Thursday our bags will be piled on the deck to leave.