Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Pura Vida Mae

For those who have been to Costa Rica before, you will know what the title means. For those who have not, it means "The Pure Life". Mae means "dude". You will hear that more in the coastal cities. They will answer with "Pura Vida" to just about anything.

"How are you?" "Pura Vida"
"How was your meal?" "Pura Vida"

That's the Tico slogan. I think it's a fabulous way to look at life. Ticos honestly are the most laid-back group of people I've ever been around. It's so refreshing not to have to worry about your busy life all the time.

My stay in Sámara was lovely. My host family was precious. I do hope to visit again one day. I had many adventures as well. I kayaked to Isla Chora (Chora Island) which is on the Pacific. I'll tell you what, kayaking on a river and on the ocean are totally different. And you also need a good partner. Bless her heart, mine had never done it before and at times I wanted to throw her overboard. We got there safely without tipping over like the other crew did. I also tried snorkeling which turned out badly. It was way to rough especially for a person that doesn't swim well. My flipper feet weren't the right size and slipped off. I had to swim back by myself and nearly drowned. Panicking in the ocean is not conducive to good swimming. I finally made it without hyperventilating.

Horseback rising was also a must. Even though I'd done these things four years ago when I was there, I wanted to do them again. I was the most experienced rider which isn't saying much since I've only ever ridden a few times. It was all going well until the end. I wanted to gallop on the beach and feel wild and free. So I did. I just had no idea that the other horses would follow suit if they saw my horse. Uh oh. A sweet girl from Canada didn't know how to control her horse. At this point, we were all going super fast. It was getting so dark. I see Stephanie fly past me on her horse, arms and legs flying (her feet had gotten loose). She was trying to stop the horse, but it kept going faster. The next thing I saw was Stephanie flying off the horse and hitting a tree. Her head hit the tree, and I honestly thought she'd broken her neck because her head snapped back. I quickly stopped and assessed damage. She was sitting up and utter shock and disbelief. We call the doctor. I speak for her since her English is not good and since she was so angry. She hit her chin thank goodness. At least it wasn't the brain area as I was worried she might have a concussion. No teeth missing or blood in the mouth. Just some scrapes on her chin, chest, back and arms. She was one lucky girl. What all of us didn't know was that my roommate Sarah from Minnesota also fell. Her horse bucked her off and she landed on her bottom. She will have some pretty bruises from that. So friends, the moral of the story is: don't gallop on the beach.

Rachelle and I arrived in Tamarindo yesterday. It's so touristy which is totally different from Sámara. Our hotel is fantastic! I highly recommend to anyone traveling here on a budget. For $85/night, we get a king size bed, twin bed, dining area with kitchenette, hot water, air conditioning, wi fi, and HBO. The pool is beautiful with a waterfall thing. Breakfast is the best. A huge plate of fresh fruit (7 different fruits) then your breakfast of choice: traditional with eggs, gallo pinto (rice and black beans mixed together), cheese, bacon and a tortilla OR continental with eggs, toast and bacon. Coffee and fresh juice is also there.

Some other students from the school and I took a weekend trip to the Monteverde cloud forest for zip lining and then to Arenal to visit the Baldí Hot Springs resort and a natural wild life resort. It's so cool up there (low 60s at night) and was a nice break from the heat.

I have met so many people that will be lifelong friends. I have eaten well, gotten mosquito bites, and practiced my Spanish. A Tico actually thought I was Latina because of my accent. He said I sounded like a natural. Of course that thrilled me!

Off to explore Tamarindo. Have a blessed July 4th! Yay for America!

Location:Nature Trail,Tamarindo,Costa Rica

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