A decision made a journey forward but this time not alone; I have had the fortunate pleasure of meeting a couple from Holland who would become my travelling companions for the next 5 days. Marlot & Matias, a young 30ish couple full of life, passion, stories, living in the world without conditions, living the life they chose to live regardless of societies expectations; somehow I believe they were put on my path for a reason.
Border cross like no other … we took a boat, another boat, a bus dropped off at what would be the border crossing, a location that looked very sketchy, a few people sitting around watching as tourist arrived without a clue of where to go or what to do. A short walk to a broken down, deteriorated building with three glass wicket windows, cracks in most of the glass windows, people dress in full uniform, upon my turn I was asked for my passport, my finger prints and a picture, passport stamped and turned away. From there we had to walk up an enormous flight of stairs, up to this point I have been able to pull my extremely heavy backpack, step by step I pulled this 50lb bag up the stairs one by one grunting and groaning until a nice young boy came and pulled my case to the top of the stairs for me, I followed behind sweating profusely. At the top of the stairs a woman sat behind a desk, again a glass window broken in several places, $4, to enter the country. Next stop was literally walking across a bridge into Costa Rica luckily all on paved roads pulling my sack behind me still sweating profusely. Finally, another building, customs, passport, filling out of a customs form, stamped and sent on our way. From there we had no idea where to find the bus to take us the rest of the way, luckily there was a nice woman from USA travelling on her own who had done this crossing before, she navigated the way and we found our bus, another bus ride right to our new residence. A two bedroom bungalow that we could call home for the next 3 nights.
The next few days would be filled with exploring, adventure, parties, dancing, laughing, deep conversation, and lots of fun!
Our first stop the Tree of Life Wildlife rescue centre.
Next up an evening at the popular Reggae Bar with my two new companions. We arrived to find dancing and drinking 70-80 year olds partying their faces off, locals, a birthday celebration for a local turning 21, white, black, Hispanic, German, Dutch, Canadian, you name it; all different ages, all different cultures and here it was the music, the relaxed vibe and culture of this Caribbean village that allowed all these different people and cultures to mix, to be together under the same roof to simply enjoy the evening. We danced, we talked, we enjoyed.
Next up the local bus to Porto Viejo. There are two ways to get around in Costa Rica and Panama, tours, locally known as the white bus, or figuring it out and getting around on your own, the local bus. We had scouted out the local bus station the day before and noted the departure times. In comparison the tours can cost anywhere from $30 and up and the local but $2. For me it was a gift to have had Marlot and Matias with me for a couple days as we ventured around being travellers. Apparently, being a REAL traveller means you get around on your own, you do not rent a car, you walk, you bus, you carry your own shit on your back and you move from one location to another. It was left up in the air if I am to be considered a REAL traveller because I am staying so long at each location. From my perspective I am indeed a REAL traveller no matter how I get around, simply being on the road by myself is an adventure and a challenge each and every day. The treat in having a couple of companions for a couple days just allowed me a little more confidence in my ability to take the local bus with the local people all by myself! Travelling alone is an experience everyone must have in their lifetime so many wonderful opportunities to meet people, to share experiences, to step outside of your comfort zone, to conquer fears, to build confidence and to cross it off the proverbial bucket list.
Porto Viejo is a little bigger than Cahuita, a tourist town filled with various shops selling the regular tourist fare. A black sand beach filled with families, tourists and locals. I wandered off on my own to take a breath and gather my thoughts. I sat and watched some local children play, a young boy with his tiny white dog on a leash continuously pulling him into the water and making him swinm, the poor little dog swimming for his life time after time after time. A local girl came around selling fruit in coconut shell along with home made chocolate for $1,000 colones, I couldn’t say no to fruit and chocolate on the beach. Not too long after I sat a local man came and sat behind me and started a conversation asking me all sorts of questions about myself and where was my husband? He talked about his girlfriend who was far away and whether or not he should wait for her, he was lonely and wanted another girlfriend. It turns out we were the exact same age and I think he was hoping I might jump at the chance to be his next girlfriend, I did not, I politely closed the conversation and went back to my thoughts. Joining up again, the three of us wandered around the town, in and out of the shops, talking, laughing and enjoying the day.
A Day to Remember …
Good friends, Good conversation, Good people … feeling blessed!
Finally, Cahuita National Park, a treasure, a jungle that snakes along the ocean an incredible beauty. Monkeys & sloths in the trees, iguanas and snakes slinking along the ground and the most fascinating thing of them all were the ants. Thousands and thousands of ants working together to build communities, I have seen it at Dolphin Bay, at the Caribe Luna cabinas and now at the National Park. Absolutely mind blowing to watch these communities work together bringing leaves and flowers to a hole in the ground building underground communities. In the park we saw a pack just starting to dig another hole, the ants would go inside and pick up a piece of sand and carry it out, dump it in a pile and go back for more. They create a highway, a pathway, thousands of them in all going in opposite directions some on their way to pick up and others on their way back to drop off; continuously working together. My curiosity was peaked and I wanted to know what was under the ground, what could they possibly be creating under there. (see ANT blog for more details).
The National Park is free of charge but a donations are welcomed with three different routes each ranging in distance, we chose the “grannie” route spending some of our time at the beach swimming in the sea. This park has some of the most secluded beautiful spots along the way.
This Gigi was tired after a full day yoga, walk on the beach, bike ride to town and Cahuita National Park exploring. Not sure how much longer I can keep up with these two!