It’s 6 am and the only two things up are myself and the sun. Oh well, since I had a pool I’ll just go listen to some tunes while I eat Costa Rican leeche. That’s the life!
At our hotel is a bar that is covered in a wooden canopy. On this structure people have tagged their names, quotes, and dates with chalk to commemorate their Costa Rican trip and experience. I thought about my experience throughout the last week and a half . . . diving into the unknown, jumping off of scary heights, embracing the unpredictable, and being comfortable with the uncomfortable. The only three words that came to my mind were:
The above quote is from Julius Caesar referencing his campaign in Britain. I thought it was so apropos to my trip: I came for a new experience. I saw new places, culture, and people. I conquered my fears and expanded my mind : ) PURA VIDA!
MOMENT OF ZEN:
One of my teammates on this trip is a Math teacher from Germany. He is super cool and he wrote the above on the same structure as my quote. I’m a geek and LURVE mathematics! It is something about taking the square root of a negative number and it shows the 3rd dimension . . . . . . . ah I can’t explain it. It sounded really cool coming from a Math Teacher though. I remembered that we can’t take the square root of a negative number. However, some mathematician somewhere said:
The point is NEVER let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything. Even if it feels like the world is against you and everyone is telling you that you are wrong and stupid. Never give up on yourself. I’ve learned that one of the greatest joys in life is proving people wrong. Especially if that person is Y-O-U. “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.” PURA VIDA to all of you and to Henry Ford. : )
After breakfast, we jump on a bus (love getting change from the bus driver!) and head to Manuel Antonio National Park!
According to Wikipedia, Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most impressive parks in the world. With diverse animals, beautiful beaches, and lush environments, this park is one of the most famous attractions in Costa Rica!
So the minute we step into the park we see something that everybody marvels at . . . . monkeys!
There were families of monkeys flying from tree to tree! It was tough trying to listen to our guide because of these agile creatures jumping from branch to branch. Too bad my lens wasn’t strong enough to capture a closer shot.
Other animals I saw were spiders, snakes, bugs, lizards, and crabs!
After taking some sweet shots we come across a beautiful beach! It’s here that we decided to take a break from the last hour hike into the park.
And guess what shows up in droves . . . monkeys!
I had monkeys running around my feet! There were about eight monkeys jumping within reach! Love this country!
I LURVE beaches! Ever since I was a little kid I enjoyed running from the sandy beach straight into the water. Today will be no different! PURA VIDA!
After taking some more shots with my friends, I ventured off to check out the rest of the beach on my own. When I got to the end of the beach I discovered a staircase that led to a breath taking viewpoint of the entire beach. I looked down and thought “that sandy beach looks like a blank canvas.” Project time! I remembered my inukshuk structure from a week ago and thought it was time for another creative masterpiece.
MOMENT OF ZEN: I climbed down as quick as I can to start my new project. However, I soon realized that I didn’t have a branch large enough to start my art project. I neither had my knife with me to fashion a useable quill (of all the f*cking times I relied on it this was the time I left it in my bag) , nor had the time to search the area for one. I was about to abandon my idea but guess what washes up on shore? A branch long enough for me to use! Awesome! Sometimes life can bring you lemons, but sometimes life can bring you sweeter opportunities. Just like the quote from Tom Hanks in the movie “Cast Away” — “I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” Pura Vida!
Something else I will take with me from Costa Rica . . . this wicked tan! Being Filipino I’m already dark to begin with. But with this hot Costa Rican sun I am sinunog (“burned” in Tagalog)! Check out the below pic. You can barely see me!
And for our afternoon adventure (yes, there’s always room for more adventure) we went kayaking! The bus drops us off from Manuel Antonio National Park to some swamp (I think) and we jump in kayaks and go! The experience was a peaceful guided tour of a secluded part of Costa Rica.
We see lush jungle, birds, bats, and of course . . . monkeys!!!!
According to Wikipedia, the capuchin monkey can be found in Central and South America, as far as northern Argentina. They eat fruits, nuts, insects, spiders, and other small vertebrae creatures. Capuchin monkeys are very intelligent. They can be trained to help quadriplegics in the same manner that seeing eye dogs assist the blind. Capuchin monkeys travel in packs of 10-40. On our kayaking adventure we saw about 10 monkeys together. Our rafting guide was coaxing the monkeys to come closer to us bu saying “Venga Venga Venga” (“Venga” means “come” in Spanish). This made us think of that damn song. : )
After our adventure (our last eco-adventure of the trip I’m afraid) we headed back to the Hotel California to enjoy our stories of monkeys, indulge in happy-hour, and see the Costa Rican sun set over the Pacific. : )
MOMENT OF ZEN: I’m very grateful for the people that I’ve met throughout my life. Some have stayed for only a brief period, some have stayed for years, but I’m thankful for the way they have shaped me into who I am (either through pain or happiness). So celebrate those who have washed up on your shore of life — either intentionally, or completely by accident. You never know who will be there when you find yourself ship-wrecked and stranded. It’s always a good idea to have people who care about you help set you back on course, navigate your voyage, and explore new shores. : ) PURA VIDA!