05 [June 10th] – We arrived in Manuel Antonio at about 6:00 pm. It was already dark at that time, how odd! We checked into our hotel and then went to look for something to eat. Our hotel was on the beach, so it was very lovely. We ate at a small pizzeria/Italian restaurant and it was surprisingly delicious! We were very tired from the three hour (or so) bus ride. There were some wild youth on the bus that kept us awake the whole drive, so we didn’t get to nap like we intended. Also, we went to the store to buy some snacks for the park the next day, and I bought a snorkel and goggles! (In purple, of course!)
06 [June 11th] – Today was a long day, but very wonderful. At approximately 8:30-8:45 am I saw my first sloth in his real habitat! On the way to the park there were tour guides trying to sell tours, and the man said we need a guide so we can spot animals — like this sloth! We declined, as it was $20 and we only brought enough for the park entrance fee. So we headed into the park on our own, and it was good. We saw many, many cool plants and such. On the trail I was almost attacked by monkeys! And by attacked I mean it tried to jump on my backpack. It got really close to me, and it was eyeing up the distance between it and my backpack. I then stepped back slowly in order to avoid a literal “monkey on my back.”
We then continued the climb around Cathedral Point. It was very muggy and muddy in the rain forest, and thus, I fell again. This time hurting my left leg. It wasn’t a bad fall, it was as if I decided to slide down the hill instead of walk. After that, we found the ocean. It was so beautiful! Then we made our way down to the beach to swim. The waves were kind of strong, but it was a glorious first swim in the ocean for me. I tried to use my snorkel gear, alas the waves were too strong and the water was murky from the sand moving back and forth… (If you want to see pictures, check out Sam’s blog/Flickr.)
After hanging out at the beach for a few hours, Sam and I made our way back to the hotel. I took a nap, and then we went to get dinner. We went to a Sport’s Bar/Grille called “L Sol” and it was fantastic. Sam and I were both very impressed with our meals. After that, we went to bed rather early.
07 [June 12th] - We woke up/checked out of our hotel around 10 in the morning, and then made our way to town. We toured the little shops and went to the beach for awhile. Then we went to a restaurant called Balu’s. It was very quaint, the tables and chairs were made of stone and just placed in the sand. The waiters didn’t even wear shoes! After we went back to the hotel to acquire our backpacks that we left at the reception desk, and sat by the pool until our bus arrived. After the bus ride we went home and straight to bed!
08 [June 13] Today was a very rough Monday. I was very sun burnt, very tired from all of my injuries/falls, and tired also because I switched rooms in my host-family’s house and the bed was different so I didn’t sleep very well. The staff at school asked if we wanted to end the day early and move our afternoon activity (cooking) to another day. I was very glad for that! I sent out some postcards and relaxed that afternoon.
09 [June 14] - Today we made gallo de pinto and tortillas with cheese. The cheese here is a bit different from Wisconsin, it’s still a little weird for me to eat. However, lunch was great! I made the tortillas and Sam made the gallo. We also had what would be translated to “Sweet Water” which is pure sugar melted down into a beverage. It’s very dulce (sweet) and rico (rich). Sam and I also walked around downtown after cooking.
We walked around the main square, looked at museum hours of operations of exhibits we want to see, and we went to the main market. At the market, I had a strange man approach me and ask me what my name was. Sam was a little ahead of me and I yelled for her because I was slightly frightened by said stranger. He then spoke to Sam in Spanish. (I think he was under the impression that I didn’t know Spanish, or that Sam was my interpreter.) He asked her what our names were, where we lived, and told Sam that he had seen us earlier in the main square and wanted to meet us. It was a very, very, unusual situation. (It gave me the creeps.) ** Mom, Mrs. Licht, and other adults – Don’t worry. Sam was very quick and reacted better in this situation than I did: she told him a different location and gave vague answers to his questions. It wasn’t dangerous, just slightly awkward.
10 [June 15] – For today’s afternoon activity, we talked about our internship options. I am going to be working at a place with children for mine (psychology related), and Sam is going to be teaching English to children and doing other community-service type work. I have three options for locations to work, Jose (our internship coordinator) is going to check out which needs the most help and send me there, which I think is a very practical idea. At these children’s homes, the children are taken out of risky situations by the government (which is similar to Child Protection Services in the U.S.) and puts them in a home with one mother, and up to 9 other children. There is a Social Worker, Psychologist, and other personnel at each location to help teach the children many things and support them in any way needed. I think it’s a great program, and I am very excited to work there.
11 [June 16] – Today is Thursday. For our trip tomorrow, Sam and I are visiting Monteverde, a cloud forest. We hope to do the “Sky Walk” which is seven suspended bridges throughout the forest (very sturdy bridges) that let you see the forest from the tree tops, or a bird’s eye view. (http://www.skywalk.co.cr/index/index.html) Jose said that it is colder there, so I am very excited. He even said to bring long pants and a light jacket! This week has been rather cold here, and in the U.S. as well I’m told, but I doubt it will get that cold. (Especially if we are hiking and doing other activities.)
Wish us luck!