Friday, April 8, 2011

April 7th, Puntarenas Costa Rica and April 8th, Sea Day

Friday, April 8th, 2011
Sea Day on the way to Acapulco. 
Blog post for Thursday April 7th, Puntarenas Costa Rica....
Yesterday we were in Puntarenas Costa Rica and took a rafting trip down the Coribici river in the Juanacosta province.  After we returned we only had time to get ready for dinner.  After dinner we had planned to go the the comedy show.  I ended up staying in the room and falling asleep early.  Dad came in about midnight or 0100, then did laundry for an hour (according to him).  Here’s how the day went....
I was still feeling a little lower GI discomfort that morning and wasn’t sure if I should go on an all day long excursion.  But after eating an early breakfast geared towards GI health (mostly liquids, cottage cheese and yogurt....mmmmm, good bacteria) and test of the “system”, decided that things were going to stay where they should and went on the trip.  
We took and hour and 45 min bus ride to our rafting location.  I like trips that travel through the countryside as you get a good look a the country and the guides tell us information we wouldn’t know otherwise.  Such as, last year Costa Rica received almost it’s yearly total of rain in about a week.  The guide said it “was crazy”.  I can’t even image.  The cemeteries here stand out because all the graves are above ground and many are stacked on top of others.  They aren’t “buried” because of they could be washed away during the rains.  That is also why the termites build their nest up in the live trees.  They only eat the dead material, but dont’ want to risk being washed away.  Many fences in the area are made using live trees, same reason, and the termites won’t eat them.
I didn’t think Costa Rica was as pretty as Panama.  It could be because we didn’t gain much elevation and weren’t in the rain forest.  The coffee plantations were located in upcountry, would like to see that area and the coffee some time.  Perhaps my opinion of Costa Rica would change.  Other products of Costa Rica are orchids and rice.  My tours are starting to blend together and I can’t remember what else I learned on this tour.  That is why I try to blog each night.  We did see a lot of the Brahman cows that are used here for meat.  The poor things are so skinny I can’t believe they taste good.  I like their ears, they look like the bunnies with the long floppy ears.
Costa Rica has a local saying “Purna Vida”, meaning “life is good”, and it is everywhere.  When the guide says it, it sounds like “Poona vida”.
On the raft trip Dad and I ended up on the front of the first of five rafts.  This was a good thing because our raft often saw critters first and then poor creatures retreated into the environment.  My goal on this trip was to see crocodiles and monkeys and both were accomplished.  We met to two pods of Howler monkeys that  howled at us as we approached on the river.  You could easily hear them before seeing them.  I took a video with my favorite new camera, hoping that the sound will come through after I get it on the computer (see below post).

 The monkeys were hard to get on “film”, and mostly guessed at what I was snapping at.  The monkeys were often seen lying on the upper branches of trees with their four limbs hanging off either side of the branches.  They were all black in color.
Besides monkeys we saw lots of iguanas sunning themselves on the shore.  Some were very big and pretty, with green coloring and black stripes.  Other lizards were smaller, black, and like to speedily run away as we approached.
The birds were a disappointment, no macaws here, only things we see in Oregon all the time: Osprey, kingfishers and cormorant type birds.
We saw two crocodiles but I’m not sure I was fast enough to get them on camera.  One was swimming towards the shore in a still water area.  All you could see was his two eyes moving through the water like a stick with two eyes. 
The second crocodile was a beauty laying up on the sand, parallel to water and under some branches.  Unfortunately I didn’t see him until he was just passing me so my look was short.  Very beautiful creature though.
Our raft trip lasted about an hour and half, traveling through almost continuous class I and II rapids.  We barely got wet and didn’t have to do any paddling.  The day was sunny with a very strong breeze.  The sun was so intense on our skin!  I was glad that I chose to wear my long sleeved fishing shirt.  I like the shade it provided on my arms. Our shuttle returned us to the put in location where we had lunch at the local restaurant.    The lunch was the best excursion lunch I’ve had.  I decided that I felt good enough to eat, and dove into it.  Delicious grilled chicken, black beans, rice, fried plantain and vegetable sticks.  I tasted Dad’s Costa Rican beer, Imperial, but didn’t care for it.  We were served mango juice with our lunch, and it was fantastic.  They followed up lunch with a dish of “chocolate chip cookie ice cream”, it was delicious too.  
After lunch we boarded the bus and headed back to town.  We passed the local bull fighting area and soccer fields.  At one point we passed a large tyrannosaurus rex, don’t know why it was there, but it would have made a good photo op.  We stopped at local souvenir store, which all tours seem to do, and I bought a small swatch of fabric with an applique design on it. Some of the designs are very beautiful, but expensive.  I was lucky and found this example for $5.  The coffee here was more expensive than Panama, so I didn’t buy any to try.  I might try to find some “Britt” brand online.
I think most of us napped on the drive back.  I was glad to pass the time more quickly as my GI started feeling a little unhappy.  I think the poorest part of Costa Rica was the area near the ship.  It was surprising how quickly the area could change from most house appearing inhabited to it looking like only every 3rd or 4th house was taken care of.  These “houses” were very basic and well worn.  Most had corrugated metal roofs that were rusted.  All the houses had bars on the windows and doors, to keep neighbors from stealing from them.  The guide said that you can often tell what part of town you are in by the bars on the windows and doors.  Although in better neighborhoods, some have them because they can be very decorative.  I think I would have them for the piece of mind.
That’s all I can recall about Costa Rica now.  
Appetizer: chicken and eggplant empanadas with bell pepper relish (oh so delicious, it was larger than a normal appetizer and I ate it all.  It alone could have been the main course).  Mango and pear soup.
Main course: Roasted lentil burger with melted cheese and fried egg, sweet potato fries, sauteed mushrooms.  (ooooohhh sooo good!  I’ll make this some time).
Dessert: Sugar free hazelnut and pumpkin pudding with vanilla cream sauce (didn’t like, didn’t finish) and chocolate banana ice cream.
I ate too much at dinner, and on the maybe still slightly sensitive GI system, didn’t feel great afterwards.  I went back to the cabin, read and fell asleep early.  
Today, Friday April 8th -- Sea Day
Wonderful day to sleep in, very rested.  Had a good strong, half hour walk on the promenade before breakfast.  The morning air is pleasant, in the 70’s with very little humidity.
After breakfast I found my new favorite spot to hang out.  The promenade deck is the deck used for walking, but along the sides are lounge chairs that are much more comfortable than the chairs on the lido deck.   Other perks include the fact that it’s quiet, no music or conversations....people are here reading and looking at the ocean.  We are only a few decks above the sea and being outside I have a clear view of the ocean and can feel the breeze.  I chose the port side because there is no sun on me here, no lathering in sunscreen.  I love this place and that’s where I’m typing this from now.  The only down side is the moisture.  The side table and arm rests are moist from imperceptible sea spray.  So the laptop is swathed in a beach towel.  Hopefully, thats enough protection.  
I reluctantly headed up for lunch with Dad and ate quickly to make it for line dance lessons.  Great fun, I might be getting the hang of this.
After lunch back out to promenade deck, only this time I chose starboard because the sun had moved to port.  The afternoon was warmer and the humidity climbed up a bit, but still tolerable.  I kept an eye out for dolphins, but was always to slow to look up when people started talking about them.  I did see several groups of flying fish, a large “flock” of smaller silver ones and one or two larger blue ones.
I took another power walk before heading up to get ready for our formal dinner.  Too bad I started a blister on one foot from that last walk.  It made my heels a little hard to walk in.  Over all though, very minor “shoe” issues this trip.  The madeira croc’s have been the best shoe I’ve brought.
My dinner choices:
Appetizer: potato latkes with smoked salmon, and sour cream....Yum!!!
Soup: Orange and Lipton tea soup.  Good but tasted like prune soup.
Main course: Grilled alaskan halibut with vegetables.
Dessert: Banana cream pie, basil mint sorbet.
Tonight, don’t know what my plans are for the rest of the night.  The “Movie Under the Stars” is Robin Hood, might watch that.
Tomorrow is another sea day. We are currently off the coast of El Salvador and will arrive in Acapulco at 0800 hrs on Sunday morning.  I miss Randy, really wish I could talk to him.  Hope all is well back home.  As of tonight at 2015 hrs we have traveled 2753 nautical miles from Fort Lauderdale Florida, 433 n.m. remaining to Acapulco.
Buenas noche.

The first sounds are the guide trying to get the monkeys going.  They didn't need that much help.  As I point the camera up into the tree from below, you can see 4 dark monkeys in the tree, one of them is moving.  You can also hear them at that point.  As yes, the monkey's sprinkled us!


Grampy and Grammy said...

What, you miss your hubby....what about me? I wish I was with enjoying all the yummy food. I can't wait to see pictures :)

CVOChristi said...

Hey I miss you too. It's for you that I'm posting what I had for dinner. I think of you every night at the table.

I did hop on the scale here the first night so I could "judge" where I'm at, and I'm happy to say I'm down a pound. Which means I can just keep on ordering two desserts!

Make up for it by taking the stairs from the 5th floor to the 10th or 14th floor often.
See you soon!