lunes, 27 de diciembre de 2010

RENO... Last travel post YAY!!i

So I arrived in Reno, after a flight complete with a screaming child and Colleen took me out to meet up with Erik and her lovely sister Erin!

We then headed into Reno, the 'Biggest little city in the world' to meet some friends who were in Costa Rica with me. We met at this giant complex which had a ton of restaurants and a massive casino... just cos we were there we quickly hopped on a pokie machine and I played a dollar... I managed to get bored very quickly and had lost and won enough times to still have a dollar... We cashed out and headed for a restaurant. Everyone else just got desert but I was starving so ordered up a big burger and chips! YUM

We drove back to Colleens place after saying buy to the friends and Erik and fell asleep ASAp (Colleen's bed was pretty much the comfiest thing I have ever slept on).
Bright and early the next morning we left for San Fran.

It was so exciting driving in the states. Erik and Colleen prob got sick of the number of times I said 'its just like the movies'. We made it to SF airport fine and headed to the domestic arrivals level... no sign of Nathan, we called him, he said he was at SFO so we drove around again... still not there, we decided to try international arrivals but missed the turn off so headed through domestic again. He wasnt in international arrivals or departures so as a final resort we hit up domestic departures and there he was! PHEW we were starting to think we were in the wrong airport. The fab four were reunited again!! CHA WHOOOOO

The next four or so days were AMAZINGLY AWESOME

In SF we visited Chinatown, and the Pier and this Chocolate place called Ghirardelli's square before returning to the Pier for tea of Clam Chowder in Sourdough bread bowls! pretty much amazing!! We saw some pretty funny sights but nothing can beat the man dressed as Abu (tights over unsupportive undies with a vest and a cap and a tail)from Aladdin dancing to the beat of another guy playing a small drum kit... so bizzare and gross but mesmerizing!

After driving the windiest snaky street ever we drove back to Reno, having some interesting adventures, such as finding a loo, on the way home.

The following day we floated down the Reno river in tubes... Collen and Erik shared, me and Erin shared and Nathan was the lone sailor, but mainly we all held each others tires so we were one mighty raft. Pretty much the whole of Reno was out for the day but it was super fun chilling and going down the rapiditas. We had this really good takeaway like MDs but better called In and Out, it was pretty awesome, they had a drink option of pink lemonade... huh

As Erik returned to work the next day Nathan, Colleen and I headed out to lake Tahoe, what a beautiful lake. Beautiful BUT freezing freezing cold. We had a yummy lunch, fighting off hungry squirrels, and spent the avo catching some rays and taking a quick quick dip.Then we went to meet up with Erik,and chilled at his Dad's place with Pizza!

Shopping was next on the agenda and we quickly found me a pair of jeans and some good and much needed tops, I think we impressed Nathan with our quick shopping skills even though we were females. That night as Collen's parents were still yet to meet Erik the boys came out for dinner and stayed the night. We had a great BBQ and then chilled and shared some good Flor de Cana and played games and talked to the wee small hours. No one was looking forward to the next morning.

Up early again we dropped Nathan at the airport. Pretty sad times. Colleen and I shopped the rest of the morning finding some cute dresses and just enjoying ourselves. We met Erik after and got ready to drop me at the airport... More sad times. I was not impressed but a flight was to be caught. Yet another screaming child (quite a good contraception method would be to stick teenagers on a plane for three hours with a screaming child or two). And I was back in LAX. I found my way to Qantas, checked in, (they also weighed my hand luggage grrrrrrrr) and before I knew it was on my way back to NZ... Boy was it a cold place in July!!

I arrived home on the 2nd of July and as it was one of my best friend's birthdays I decided to only tell Mum and Dad the day I was coming home (everyone else thought the 7th) so I could surprise her. She was pretty stoked to see me I think :-)

And that was my adventure!! YAY YAY YAY cant wait for the next one though I can wait for the blogging!

domingo, 26 de diciembre de 2010

Mission Impossible... Getting to Reno

So I headed out to the airport... got to the check in counter... all good luggage weight wise but my hand luggage... Since when do they weigh that?? Grrrrr I was only 10 kgs over the 7 kg limit... crickey... some quick rearranging into my big purse and I was away through security...

I sat and waited and waited for the plane, boarding time came... no plane... take off time came... no plane... but the TV screen still said 'on time' hmmmmmmmmm about half an hour after take off time I began to become concerned about making my connecting flight... so started to hunt down some COPA staff... very difficult... went to the help desk... no one there... hmmmm... got back to the boarding gate and more people were starting to ask questions. Eventually a few COPA staff came out to the gate and told us they decided not to have our flight anymore...grrrr so they were combining our flight and the one with the same destination an hour later... however all those with connecting flights out of Panama to the US would not make their connections so would get a connection the next day... THIS WOULD NOT WORK...
I had a connection from LA to Reno and HAD to be there on next day as on the following day we (Collen, Erik and I) were headed down to San Francisco to pick up Nathan from SFO airport.

So thus began my fight to get to Reno.

I was told to go back to the check out counter where my bags would be delivered back to me and from there they would work out a way to get me to LAX...

They told me at first again that I could simply wait for tomorrow, when I told them again that this wouldnt be possible they offered to send me to Mexico??? as if Mexico City and Reno were the same place. They really were not too helpful so as they fluffed around I did some translating for a poor Aussie guy who had a connecting flight from LAX home. We eventually managed to get a flight to Guatemala City for the night where they put us up in a nice hotel, then the next day they flew us early to LAX. I still missed my connection but was able to get a flight later that day. I hung out for about 8 hours in the airport myself but it was ok. I survived! and the aussie guy made his connection so... only a whole 12 hours or so late and a lot of stressful conversations I arrived in RENO!!! to see Colleen's beautiful face waiting for me!

Thanks COPA! You guys are awesome

sábado, 25 de diciembre de 2010

Bout time I worte about travelling with the Irish Lasses

So I have been home for quite a while now and have decided to start writing about the next stage of my travel. It will be a pretty quick overview and probably is more to remind me of the trip than to tell you.

Ok so Leona and I got back to the mighty San Jose and chilled for the day... I do believe a movie and Patacones were involved. That evening as I was typing away at the computer a wee voice said... Is that you Ruth? It was none other than MISS DEBS ADAIR! After meeting her lovely friends, Susan and Laura (aka wee duck) we had a good solid sleep. We hung out in SJ the next day for the girls to rest up a bit then we left Leona at the hostel and made our way to the beautiful Nicoya peninsular. On the way we stopped in Puntarenas and the girls meet my host Momma and sisters, it was lovely to see them again and we also got an awesome lunch out of it (thanks Mama Tica)

We caught the avo ferry over and then hopped onto a bus, the bus however couldnt take us all the way to Montezuma as there was a massive hole in part of the road... so a four wheel drive hire later and we had arrived!

After exploring, cooking tea and learning how to operate the most confusing kitchen in the world we slept (kinda) with the sound of a stormy sea freaking the heck out of wee duck.

It was so lovely to see the sun the next morning and we made the most of it my setting off nice and early to walk to some waterfalls. The first part of the walk involved doing some extreme river crossing, the normal gentle stream was now raging from all the rain the night before and the best place to cross (according to the friendly local) was at the top of quite a rocky waterfall. Thank goodness we all made it across! It was a bit of an introduction to the wilderness for the Irish girlies though!

The rest of the walk to the waterfall was equally as interesting, climbing muddy hills with ropes anyone??

The falls were awesome though, so full of water that it was not safe to swim but amazing to see!

The following day we left Montezuma and made our way back through Puntarenas, stopping to see a beautiful family on the way. A lunch of Patacones and frijoles put in good spirits to make the next leg of the journey to Liberia. We arrived late and quickly arranged transport out to a national park the next day.

The national park was beautiful, it was jungly and then cleared out so you got a view a the entire area. It was such a great day it was very tempting to climb the volcano, but due to sore legs from our waterfall adventure we decide to walk to... another waterfall. This was was stunning, and after such a hot walk it was great to be able to swim. The water was beautiful and clear and the sun came through the trees at perfect spots so it wasnt too cold.

after a snack of mangos we headed back to the main entrance for lunch, a cold beer and more walking through a geo thermal area. By the end of the day we were super tired.

But no rest for the wicked and the next morning we headed off to the Nicaraguan border... ugggggg I hate this border, it is dirty and unorganised and full of slimy bus drivers.. and seeing I had to hang out here for 3 hours once in lines it is no surprise it isnt my fav place. But to get into the Great State of Nicaragua it must be done. So after a few frustrating moments we found ourselves on a bus heading toward the ferry for Las Islas de Ometepe.

We gto the first ferry we could across, got slightly damp from waves splashing over but survived then quickly decided where we wanted to go on the island adn made a bee line for the bus (away from the mob of travel guides). We got a lovely room on the lake front and got set fro a few relaxing days.

The island is such a lovely place, it is just paradise. Day two on the island involved a ton of reading, a walk and a long swim for me across to a smaller island. Half way across I stopped an thought, crap I didnt check to see if there were crocs in this lake (I knew about the rare fresh water sharks but decided to risk my chances)... hmmmm keep swimming...

We had the most amazing meal that night, and the next day set of for another part of the island where we hired kayaks and did some intense paddling,(note to self dont kayak with Madam Debs as you will end up with the brunt of the work :-P)nah just kidding, it was seriously about 3-4 hours of constant paddling and we did awesome!

We left the Island the following day and headed for Granada, it was so nice not to do too much traveling. We hung around Granada for a day just looking at the churches and markets and the carried on to Somoto.

This is the home of a canyon. It was a long trip so we booked an early morning tour so we could get into Honduras the next day. The Canyon was quite different from the last time I did it. It was a lot fuller of water an this meant some great rapids! Laura certainly loved it!!! She got swept down a rapid that we were supposed to walk down and the look on her face as she floated past was sheer terror... but pretty priceless! She did so well!

So we crossed over into Honduras and got as far north as we could for the night. But due to stupidly slow and late buses we didnt make it to the capital city where our bus the next day left from at 7.30 in the morning. GRRRRRRRRRRR

We were exhausted and grumpy and then could only find a hostel room with three beds for the four of us... so we pushed them all together making a giant bed, begged the hostel owners for another pillow (for some reason this took two tries and finally a very angry voice) (we made up for their grumpiness by taking advantage of the hot water showers and all shaved our legs) and bunked down for some brief but much needed shut eye!

An early 4.30 start to catch the 5.00 bus was not very welcome but had to be down, so we all trooped back down to the bus stop we had left only a few hours earlier. We made it to the Capital Tegucigalpa on time for our next bus, and even managed to sneak in a few phone calls to Ireland and some breakfast as well.

The Bus took us to La Cieba, where we caught a ferry out to Roatan... I had to sit on the edge of the deck the whole way as I felt so gross. Was so stoked to be back on tierra firma. In the dark we navigated West End and found a hostel where it was cheaper for us to get a private cabin, we also made an United Station friend called Nancy (quite a hilarious girl). We planned to stay here for a while so we made the Cabin our home!

The next day wee duck and I signed up for scuba lessons, we spent the rest of the day snorkeling the reef! Man God is so amazing I just cant even begin to describe how amazingly fantastic the reef was.

Scuba lessons began with theory... but by that avo we were out for our first prac lesson, sadly Laura had some congestion probs so had to pull out of the course. I got one on one lessons after that so managed to get through the course pretty quick.

I learnt how to use the jacket to help create a good buoyancy, learnt to clear my goggles if the filled up underwater, learnt some emergency techniques etc most of all I kept reminding myself to NEVER HOLD MY BREATHE, I really didnt want any lung blowouts or anything... I quite like my lungs.

By the afternoon of day two I was ready for my first open water dive, I felt almost as if i were in space floating around under water. The fish were amazing and I saw some crazy creatures, including a HUGE moray eel.

On day three I also saw a stingray and a trumpeter fish and a thousand different types of crazy worms. But still no turtle :-( and I had now finished my course, I was a certified PADI open water diver. We were staying for one more day so I decided to book in for another dive praying I might see a turtle.

The next day I went on my final dive in Rotan, (man would I have loved to stay and dive forever, and I saw TWO turtles! Thanks God! On was a larger one eating stuff of the reef. It just sat there and ate as z swam around it, the other was a baby turtle swimming for the surface. It was awesome to turn and see the light streaming through the water and watch the turtle flap toward the light. I was soooo over the moon!

Every evening we would go out and buy stuff for tea and by the end of our Roatan stay we had eaten more cabbage than any rabbit ever has. My word... Then Debs got sick... so in Roatan we were for another day. Thankfully she got better reasonably quick and we managed to move the next day back to the main land and over to the Guatemalan border area to see some Mayan ruins called the Copan Ruins.

After an interesting Coffee plantation tour (a fairtrade cooperative where the women and the men on the area share the processing plant but run different companies for differnt markets (men export, women local) we headed out to the ruins. Not as tall or large as the tikal ruins but a lot more detailed with more inscriptions, the still awed me and amazed me that ancient peoples produced them.Also crazily bumped into a couple that I had met at the Tikal ruins! The english tour book was all sold out so Debs Laura and I took turns translating the spanish guide book.

From here the home stretch began, we made our way back to Tegucigalpa, had a relaxing evening and then began a long journey back to the South of Nicaragua, to a place called San Juan del Sur. It is a touristy beach place but a nice place to rest for a few days. The next day (my birthday...22) we headed out to a lovely beach called Playa Maderas, it is really beautiful and we hung out there for the day. That night we headed out for dinner. We decided on Pizza... well it sure was an interesting evening we ended up having to share our table with three (one of whom was very drunk) Canadians... MY word could this man talk about himself... he was youngish, like 26, but already divorced and the owner of a large successful company, his business partner had been killed by his(the partner's) wife and she was now on the run... it was the most bizarre thing ever, we managed to excuse ourselves from hanging with them and partying with them for the rest of the evening and snuck off for some icecream, served by one of the most enormous people I have ever seen. And then true to our regular style we were all in bed at about 9.00

As the weather the next day was pretty crappy we decided to head out and back into Costa Rica, we stocked up on Nica Rum (Flor de Cana whoop whoop) at the border and then the girls hopped onto to a Tica Bus to San Jose, as I had a few days left I headed out to the Coast to a beach called Brasilitos which was very close to another lovely beach called Playa Conchal. That evening I walked along Brasilitos and over to Conchal, instead of sand this beach had a shore made up of tiny shells! so cool, and the water was he bluest ever!

The next day was spent on the beach, reading, walking, swimming, I hung out till after sunset making the most of my last day on a Costa Rican beach for a long time.

I left early the next morning for San Jose, arrived at a hostel and headed out to collect my massive suitcases. Job for the next day... Packing!!!

So I managed to find a good home for everything in my suitcase and pack and spent the rest of the day chilling in San Jose. That night after tea I headed to bed. Little did I know that this was going to be a horrific night.

I woke up around 1 or 2 to some rustling in the room, one of my dorm mates was in the middle of the room fiddling with himself. I, grossed out, turned over so as to avoid seeing this. Then a thought struck me, I was the only girl in the dorm, what if he was really drunk and was going to try something, so I rolled back over to make sure he wasnt going to do anything dodgey. Well, he had moved to the corner of my bunk, I was on the bottom, and was opening his fly... all my luggage was in the corner, I sat up and saw his whole body relax, suddenly it dawned on me that he was going to pee... I started shrieking and screaming.. NO GET OUT!!! THIS ISNT A TOILET!!! GET OUT! NO NO NO NO NO!! After what seemed like an age of screaming I woke him from his stupor and he did himself up again... well I kept an eye on him and he moved to the other end of the room and began the process over. NO NO NO NO NO GET OUT I began to shriek again like a proper banshee, by now the entire room was awake and confused (probably thought I was sleep talking or something) but the aussie guy across the room from me clicked quickly and while swearing profusely he chucked this stupid guy out the room, took him down the hallway to the loos and left him there. I was so nervous that he would come back and pee on me I couldnt sleep. An hour later I popped out to see where he was and he had passed out on the couch!! Phew...
SO DISGUSTING!! If I hadnt woken up
1) I would have been peed on
2) My bags would have been peed on
3) He possibly would have been smoking something stronger than tobacco, so my bags would have been leaped on by dogs in every airport on the way home...
4) the room would have stunk for the rest of the night

I am one thankful girl that I have a good set of lungs on me!!

The next day I left the hostel at check out time and taxied it out to the airport... it was time to head to Reno!

sábado, 10 de julio de 2010

Travelling in Guatemala... aka 3rd to last post ever!!!

So after my last blog we sat exams… not very intense exams but exams none the les.. then came the hard part saying goodbye to friends, my family and teachers… a few wee tears were shed…One of the hardest people to say goodbye to was Erik’s host momma who we used to go and sit and rock with one or two nights a week. Her family was simply amazing and she was the sweetest lady ever… She was so hppy and content with her life that after an evening wth her you felt at peace and happy too. The other AMAZING person who really helped make my time in Costa Rica even better was one of the teachers, Marielos. She was the most colour coordinated and lovely ladies I have ever met. Her passion for Spanish (she would always talk about how beautiful it was) was catching and she just made you want to learn!! So we said goodbye and then Leona and I set off on our big adventure to Guatemala.

We said goodbye o our friends at the Puntarenas bus stop after loading huge suitcases on to the bus. Thankfully one of our proffesors Arturo had agreed to let us store our gear at is house in the capital while we travelled. As I knew I would be seeing all my good Reno friends in 2 months the goodbye was not so sad… just sad they would not be travelling with me…
And we were off… after stowing our stuff in San Jose we stayed the night close to the airport. And an early morning flight later and we were in Guatemala!!

Getting out of the airport and being surrounded my men yelling directions and questions at us was quite verwhelming so just this once we decided to splash out a little and take a shuttle rather than the local bus to Antigua a cute ancient city an hour away from the bustling scariness of Guatemala city. So we got there and found a hostel super quick cos… we knew we didn’t have too much time in Guatemala and we wante to make the most of it… we raced out straight away and booked a tour for that afternoon (leaving in 10 minutes) up an active volcanp that had lava flowing down the side of it!! We climbed for say and hr and half to two hours to the highest you were allowed to go and stood beside a river (yes an actual river sized flow) of lava… people were attempting to raost marshmellows without being burnt by the instense heat coming off the lava… we didn’t have any with us due to the rushed nature of our booking… anyway it was super amazing… and slightly freaky… even more freaky was that three weeks later it actually blew up killing a journalist… (once again I will upload photos onto facebook… but it takes too long to do so here)

So we slept well after such a busy day and got up and explored Antigua a little… it was a really cute city that you could really just live in so easily BUT time was of the essence so in the afternoon we got onto a bus (a local bus this time) and went off to Lago Atitlan (lake atitlan). We took a boat over to a wee town called San Pedro where we spent two nights. It really was a cute place. Our hostel room overlooked the lake and had a fine view of the mountain we decided to climb the next day. The Indian Nose.
So we were up bright and early to get our hike on… Up Up Up in the scorcing heat… it was so hot and a lot higher than the 0m above sealevel I had been used to for the past 9months… It was hhard going… I quickly ran out of energy… you know the feeling when you are so tired from exercise you are going to vomit…well… I dint vomit but I thought I was going to… quite funny now looking back… I must have been quite a sight… at half way though I ate something and felt better straight away… got to the top… AMAZING view of the lake… The lake was somewhere I had really wanted to go cos we had studied a short story/legend about it and its surrounding Volcanos in a Spanish lit class I had had. The deal is that the indigenous people used to look to one of the volcanoes for predictions over war and peace. When there were clouds over the vlocano it was a time of peace but when they cleared war or an attack was coming. So when the Spanish were on their way as conquistadores the volcano warned the people so they left. The Spanish arrived and saw all this gold just abandoned (to the indigenous people living was more important than riches) and rubbed their little hands together. But before they could get any of the gold the volcano erupted and covered the treasure… obviously not the outcome the Spanish were hoping for…

So it was cool to see this place in real life…

The next day we continued on our whirlwind tour of Guatemala and moved on to a town commonly known as Xela (said shell-a) (its real name is Quetzaltenango so you can see why it is shortened). This was a lovely wee place… We headed off to explore a surrounding town where I had heard there was a womans weaving cooperative. Mum had expressed a desire for a local weaving so I htought why not buy it from a place where I know the weaver will receive a significant amount of money for their hard work. So we went over and I found mum a weaving… we were going to walk around but there was aprocession on and it looked very serious and travel books warned about prying into local religious festivals and what not so we shot back into Xela…

The following morning we explored Xela a wee bit… I loved it... Guatemala sure has some very lovely cities… and in the avo headed out to some natural hotsprings… very warm and we got all pruny sitting in the lovely surrounds… but there is a certain amount of time you can sit in a hot springs for before you need to return so we came back to town driving through local farmland in the lat afternoon… in time to get a yummy dinner cooked…

On the move again we headed toward a place recommended to us called Shamuc Champey… if you go to Guatemala you HAVE to go there. We had to go back through Guatemala city and… so we were on the bus and this man asks where we were going… we say Copan… this other little old man leans forward and says… Copan?? I know where the bus stop is… we can go togther in a taxi… well lets just say that that would not be happening… gosh we had no idea where in the city we were and we were not going to risk being the next days news headlines on the dominion post “Two blond kiwi girls missing after taxi ride in guatemala” I can imagine… so we asked if it was close and he said oh we could walk… so it was either seem very rude and go in a taxi by ourselves… or trust this man a little and walk with him and if it got dodgey get in a taxi as soon as possible… we decided not to seem rude and we set off walking with this man… he turned out to be trustworthy and we got to the next bus stop in no time…

We stopped for the night in a city called Copan… we had tea at a restaurant called “las Monjas” or the nuns… the restaurant may need to reconsider their placement of a ‘nun’ manaquin outside their doors as she looked scarily like the grim reaper… That night we met a young english guy who was heading in the same direction as us and so for the next four or five days we had a travelling buddy called Matthew… a very easy going guy so that was good otherwise he would have got the boot haha…

We got up to Shamuc Champey eventually… longest 64km of my life… and Leona and I explored some caves that afternoon… the were pretty epic… we were given a candle by the guide and spent two hrs underground swimming and jumping into water in the dark… pretty cool stuff!!!

Then the next morning Shamuc Champey itself… it is the most beautiful place ever… I think if heaven was like that I would be a very happy camper and Im sure it will be better… This is a place here a natural limestone bridge has formed ove the river (crating a cave for the river to go through) and the bridge has pools in it feed by contributories… the pools are beautiful and clear and have these freaky little fish that nibble your toes… But the water is a perfect temperature and it is just amazingly calm and beautiful…

We continued on our way and with and extremely long day of travelling… we took a pick up truck filled with sacks and people (we were hanging on for dear life) to this town near Shamuc, then a mini bus back to Coban, then a mini bus to this corner where we changed to another mini bus, then we took a bus to this river where we hoped on a boat then onto another bus and then finally onto a taxi… we arrived in Flores… we booked our bus to Tikal the next day at… 5am!! Yes we went to bed early that night…

So getting up at 5am to see something you would hope that something were freakin awesome and it was… It was truly amazing… Tikal is an area of pre colombian Mayan Ruins famous for its very high temples and pyrimads… they pop out over the top of the jungle and if you are a star wars fan they actual made it onto one of the old movies… once again look on fb for photos or google image the place for a much better idea of what we saw…

We came back and had a lovely afternnon relaxing before we began an intense card game a fellow traveller taught us… we had a quick break for tea… some very yummy pasta and a strange panini… and we were back into the game… it was kinda like phase 10 but with normal playing cards…

Leona and I then decided to pop over to Belize… speaking english again was so strange… we headed out to one of the Cayes called Caye Caulker… beautiful but it insisted on raining for the next two days so we couldn’t snorkle or anything… we did find real baked beans though YUM YUM… typically as we were leaving half way to the main land the sun came out…

We headed down to a sleepy wee town called Punta Gorda… we stayed the night and had dinner at a plce where a tour group or something was and got treated to a cultural show of the local Garifuna culture. There were some cute little girls dancing… boy could they move their hips…

In the morning we hung around the town till mid day when our boat back to Guatemala left. We got a tour of a fairtrade chocolate shop and read a little under the bus shelter where we met a very nice local man… he was quite extreme… had dreads like Nandor… anyway he took us to the wisdom tree up the road where he introduced us to his friends… bought us some pineapple pie and just chatted about life… when the boat left we really felt a little sad to be leaving a country where we had only met nice people.

Back in beautiful Guatemala, back speaking Spanish… everything was right with the world… until we met a bunch of US soldiers on their weekend off after being in the Guatemalan jungle for three weeks… you would have thought Leona and I were next top models the way we were yelled at… GROSS… That night we had an amazing dinner, seafood in a coconut soup… soo yum and then we went to a bar where some drummers were playing… a pretty fun night all in all… Cucaracha anyone??

We travelled to Rio Dulce up a river that was very pretty… flat flat water, apparently no crocs… wide wide areas… WHY WHY was no one sking or wakeboarding???

We stayed in a lovely wee hostel you had to get to by boat… that avo we explored some of the canals on a dugout canoe… great team work experiment… and the next day we went to a hot waterfall… the water pouring over the cliff was sooo hot… and it hit a clod river creating a warm pool… the waterfall fell over a limestone overhang so you could slip under the falls into a cave like thing and it was pretty much a natural sauna… AMAZING… a local lad also gave us a tour of the ‘cave’ and took us through a series of tight tunnels till we poped out on the right hand side of the falls…

Off to Guatamala city again for us… this time to meet a girl who had done an exchange to Freyberg while I was there. It was so good to see Claudia again and her family was lovely… If you want ot see the capital of Guatemala I def recommend staying with a local family… a lot nicer… Claudia was on exams so she hung out with us a bit and we went to uni with her but we also spent time with her family especially her lovely mother…

Then before we knew it we were on a plane again… heading back to Costa Rica for Leona to catch her flight home and for me to meet up with the Irish girls I was going to spend the next part of my adventure with…

viernes, 30 de abril de 2010

Jaco, San Jose, Birthdays and goodbyes...

The sad day came when I needed to sell my surf board in preparation for leaving so me and two friends trooped down to Jaco, the closest surfy tourist town near here to sell it and hang out for the day. We pretty much sold it as quick as possible to get rid of it and spent the day hunting down cool arty things and souvenirs and had a massive smoothie for morning tea and for lunch as well as an avocado and some crackers that I sneakily ate while colleen my other friend ate a muesli bar at a restaurant where Leona was the only one buying food…(yes we know we are cheap and that when i was younger had my parents done such a thing I would have been mortified!!) Then we sat on the beach had the yummiest passion fruit sorbet and came home….

A few weekends later I decided I wanted to buy a bag for travelling in San Jose so Colleen and I went into the capital and then out to this wealthy area where we had heard there was a really nice mall… It was super super nice… for lunch we shared a cinabon roll and got the biggest coffee ever. When ordering coffee we asked how big their cups were and they showed us these tiny wee things so we saked if there was anything bigger… the lady was like well we could charge you for two coffees and put it in this… and whipped out a massive fizzy drink cup!! it was AWESOME!! we both took one look at it and said “that’s what we’re talking about’ so we sat happily in this shiny new mall munching and drinking our treats. We found the bag… YAY… and spent the day wandering and trying on lots of cute but expensive clothes…

The final thing that happened that was exciting was that we had another birthday this week. So we went out for tea. Our fav restaurant was closed so we chose somewhere we had never been before… it was a small pizza place and we were originally quite concerned cos we were the only ones in the place but after an age we got our pizza (it took so long that we think they probably went out back and slaughtered all the animals and grew the tomatoes and onions from scratch) and it was amazing, this was followed by a movie at a friends house and some yummy carrot cake…

Oh this week we also said goodbye to this Catholic feed the homeless drunks thing we have been volunteering for this semester. Costa Rica though it tries to hide its poverty and does pretty well still has issues and me and three friends were blessed to be able to help out at such a cool outreach. Every week our job was to makeup and bag the juice. We always had to add more sugar no matter how sweet we thought it was because the Costa Ricans love sweet drinks… we would fondly term the juice ‘diabetes in a cup’. Anyway the people who ran it were really sweet and they gave us a really lovely farewell party which was so nice,on a sad note one of the cute old drunk men who used to sing to me died from liver poisoning...

This is the end of my blog catch up unless I have a revelation this evening that I have forgotten something important!! I will try and update when travelling but knowing me this may not happen!! hope you all enjoy reading about the last four months  catch ya soon!!
once again see facebook for photos

Semana Santa / Holy week

Here in Costa Rica Catholicism is MASSIVE like in all parts of Central and South America. So instead of having just the fri, sat, sun off like we do the whole week in the lead up to good Friday (santo viernes). On Thursday avo the whole country comes to a stand still until Saturday morning and many masses and processions are held.

So like the rest of the country I had the semana santa off from school… Now what was I to do with it. I had some friends going to Panama but I had gone last semester and didn’t want to spend money and go again. I had other friends who had people coming to visit them and they were going to stay in a house in Jaco with them and so there was me…

I was thinking of going over to Montezuma where I had missed going cos I was sick and that was my plan until… Jack, a fellow year long student asked me if I liked rafting… so he had been planning a week long rafting trip with some friends that were coming down and his girlfriend wasn’t sure if she was still coming and if she pulled out there would be a spot and I could have it… she pulled out 

So on the Sunday before easter weekend we left for San Jose, got off the bus at the airport where our guide met us and took us to his home in a wee city called Turrialba.
We got there and met the guides wife and wee little one year old son… The wife, Andrea was my age and it was really nice to have a friend to come back to at night as all the people we were rafting with were males. We also stayed at their house and they were soooo lovely!!

So for four days we rafted leaving in the morning and coming back in the late afternoon.

DAY ONE: Pejibaye (or pejevalle depending on where you look), the first section we had to do in infkatable kayaks cos it was too skinny to do in a raft. I had never used one before and some of the rapids were reasonably big… came out a few times and got a few knocks but it was fun!! the second section we did in the raft… I liked the raft a lot…. didn’t come out at all!!!

DAY TWO: Upper Pacuare. This was super fun. I did most of it in the raft… when we stopped to play in a rapid tho I did run it in a ducky (what the kayaks were called) and I stayed in which I was rather pleased about… I developed a rather good physics (?) reasoning for why I kept falling out… it wasn’t that I was bad at it, it was simply that I wasn’t heavy enough to keep the boats stable like the boys were haha…

DAY THREE: aka the most amazing day on the river ever!! we ran some awesome rapids including a class five!! it was awesomely cool!! I would love to do it again… the river was called the Reventazon…

DAY FOUR: Lower Pacuare, lots of fun too we had some good play arounds in the rapids and saw some stunning scenery… by the end of the day I was exhausted!!
We drove to Puerto Viejo this night where we slept in hammocks cos there were no beds in the hostels. I was surprised at how easy I slept… plan to bring one home with me IF I have space…

DAY FIVE: hung round Puerto Viejo and the beaches near by till early avo, saw some cool caves. Then I went back to Turrialba with one other student and stayed the night with the guide and wife again, had the most amazing meal, who knew that dried fish soup (the fish rehydrates) could be so good… we couldn’t get back to Puntarenas as there was no public transport on Friday,

and on Saturday we came home to the Punt… what a good week!!, didn’t want to come home because the climate in Turrialba was amazing and I was so over the heat of the PUNT, and I really got on well with my friend Andrea but had to so we did…

jueves, 29 de abril de 2010


This semester our overnight trip with Uni was to Monteverde a cloud forest (yep just like it sounds a forest in the clouds). It was also over the weekend that held our friend Amanda’s Birthday. So a few of us girlies got together and made a banana cake and iced it and then froze it in the tin so it would travel good. It took a bit of sneakiness to get it up to Monteverde without anyone noticing we had a cake on us but it worked out well and we managed it!!!
The morning we left we met early and got some yummy bread for breakfast as it was Amandas birthday…

Anyways we got there on sat morning ad had the best pizza lunch… it was so good… the best part no rice and no beans!!! (yep a little over those). Then we headed out for a forest walk… we were supposed to see wild life but all we saw was a centipede and a stick insect hmmmmm maybe we were too loud… but the forest was cool and very Jurassic parky…we also went to a hummingbird garden… I don’t really (read AT ALL) like birds especially ones that flitter al over the show so I was very close to screaming at times when they got too close to me… we went back to the hotel… had a nap under blankets (because of clouds it was chilly) and then hot showers before going out for din dins… we ate and came back to the hotel for some special coffee and to eat the cake. We stayed up to the wee small hours of the morning playing fun hand clappy rhythm games!!

Breakfast (after another hot shower… BLISS) was fruit, cha whooo, then we got ready to go zip lining. The zip lining was the most amazing thing ever!!! it was sooo high and the lines were insanely long!! the final one was 1km flying over the top of forest!! it was crazy cool.

a butterfly garden later and we were on the bus heading for home… what a sweet weekend!!

The next weekend we were to start spring break and as Erik’s birthday was on the sat we decided to celebrate early and have a fire and make smores on the beach on the thurday night… the boys got crazy lighting palm leaves one fire and waving the around… but a the women of this couple visiting Erik who had had three sons told us not to worry and that it was just a boy thing!!

well next blog will be about my AMAZING time during spring break so hold tight!!!

Oh and if there are losts of mistakes i apologise... learning spanish has screwed with my english spelling and i was never good to begin with anyway, and i am too lazy to spell check...