Sunday, December 28, 2003
home sweet home
well, i am finally back home. i feel rested and delighted. i intend to back-blog all my advenures since christmas but for now i'm just trying to warm up as it is so freaking cold out here. The picture above is from the beginning of my trip -- i'm looking out from the pool deck at Si Como No in Manuel Antonio.
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
where am i?
today i am rafting the Rio Pacuare with Rios Tropicales. I´ll be spending christmas eve on the side of a river and chrismas day rafting...happy holidays to all.
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
my next vacation?
this is completely the type of thing i would do -- after all there is so much romance and adventure in sleeping in an igloo... and if it weren´t around $500 a night, i´d so be there. $500 to sleep on a bed of ice. oh my... Check it out -- Ice Hotel.
so my last day in Arenal was a blast (not literally, as i left this morning without a volcano sighting..sigh....) but the day was amazing. my massage and treatments at the Tabacon resort were surreal. I feel totally refreshed and relaxed. The thai massage was perfect -- its a stretching massage, so not really a massage at all. i was lying on the floor in an outdoor bungalow (how cool is that!) and the woman stretches you --think contortion -- and massages your body and you get all warm and languid feeling. she said i was very flexible, hahah. i never think of myself as flexible...after the scrub, reflexology and massage i soaked for a bit in the hot springs. yummy! they have really gone to town and its totally worth it. the experience is very lush, and wonderful.
after my day of relaxation i went back to my hotel, took a nap and then met my new friend Fiona for dinner. we had a blast (again not literally), and *two* bottles of wine....from Casillero del Diablo .... so aptly named...needless to say, i woke up this morning with a terrifc hangover.
i am now back in San Jose, recovering, planning a bit of shopping and then resting up for my two day rafting trip tomorrow. Yeah!! christmas on the riverbed is going to be excellent.
Monday, December 22, 2003
rest & relaxtion
today i am doing nothing. which for me is hard because i like to be planned and have a schedule, and all things considered, some people will probably think that todays plan is really a schedule... but anyways, for me it gives me the mental space of not having "plans"...so anyways, i´m heading over to the Tabacon Hot Spings as soon as i post this for a bit of R&R -- a week ago i would have said much needed R&R, but now that i´ve been on vacation for a week i can´t really say that! i feel relaxed, i feel content, i feel energized. i really do love the outdoors! but today, i am focused on my other passion: spa-ing. its an art really. i´m planning to enjoy a thai massage (no idea what that is, but i have had all the other types they offer and im trying to be adventurous) then a body polish and then some reflexology thing...all of this will be accompanied by soaks in their luscious hot springs and views of the volcano, which is still covered in clouds.
p.s. i´m posting the picture below as i thought it was funny and it has the hot springs in the background. You can read the story here.
Sunday, December 21, 2003
la fortuna waterfall
went to the la fortuna waterfall yesterday, it was very cool. literally. the waterfall was stronger than usual because of the rains, so we were pretty soaked from it...which was refreshing, all of costa rica is refreshing actually....it just has a fresh outdoorsy feel to it.
my friend lia and i decided to taxi in and hike / walk back -- a very good idea. the waterfall was prettty amazing and the 200 meters of steps back out from it were equally thrilling (should have spent more time on the stepper!)...the fun part was that on the walk back we were followed by this little black dog who we´d been seeing around town. he walked with use for awhile until we stopped in a shop and he decided to stay in the shop -- since it was raining outside -- yes we were walking in the rain. its amazing how useful plastic ponchos really are.
after the waterfall we met some friends for the traditional dinner of rice and beans (costa rican food is NOT exciting), and then went to the Baldi hot springs for some evening volcano watching (in this case cloud watching) and some R&R. Baldi was pretty nice, and much cheaper than the Tabacon hot springs ....
horseback ride to volcan arenal
i went horseback riding this morning, in the rain. it was actually fun, and a bit chaotic... we took a route from across the hotel, and then through the hillside farms and into the jungle. the trip came with all the fun stuff (augmented by the rain), including a tromp through a few rivers, hiking (well the horse) up stone covered pathways, and forging through mud a foot deep. it was an experience. i started by asking¨"is it western or english" but it wasn´t either -- it was pure country! the horse had its own mind as we walked, stumbled, and cantered along. we got as close to the volcano as is safe -- but sadly it is still covered in mist... and we discovered a gorgeous lake-gorge that was covered with blooming purple water lillies. orchids and birds abounded.
all in all it was quite an experience. very invigorating, although i´m not as sure that the horses loved it as much as i did, which was the one significant downside.
Saturday, December 20, 2003
i am now in arenal, and i am here to see the volcano....but instead, it is covered in rainy mist and well its likely that my three days in arenal will end without a lava siting.... sigh. also, spending three days in arenal is probably a mistake, this town ¨la fortuna¨ is well nothing...at least when its covered by a volcano!! my plan for today is to catch up things, then tomorrow i am going horseback riding up to the mountain...i.e. the mist, and then in the afternoon i will do the hike up to the crater and to the waterfalls...the following day i am going to spend ¨relaxing¨ at the Tabocon resort....soaking in hot springs and being pampered with my massages and what nots...we shall see how it goes... i´´m a might worried that there´´s no action in this town.
in monteverde i met some wonderful people and had a great time, so it was sad to see it go away... and to arrive here in this overcast town...oh my....where is the sun? i need sun!!
Friday, December 19, 2003
monteverde + disney
when you put these two together you get skytrek. this is one of the most fun things i have done -- a complete adrenlin rush. you know how in the movies, like george of the jungle or whatever, tarzan zips through the rainforest on a rope and flys past trees and little openings and things and you wonder how you could ever do that? well that´s pretty much what you do on skytrek. it´s amazing!
as a note, there are many other canopy tour companies in monte verde. i had initially signed up for another company (the original canopy tour) but switched to Sky Trek. its by far the largest and most extensive, and its wonderful. don´t waste your time with the other ones, they won´t compare.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
new book genre a la bridget jones
i´ve been reading this somewhat horrible book on my trip..the title is sort of irrelevent because this post really isn´t so much about the book as much as it is about this genre of book. i´´ve recently noticed that the genre has taken over and i´´m not sure what the literary name for it is '-- but essentially these are books about women in their late 20´s early 30´s and their search for love (and of course matrimonial bliss). There´s a ton of these out there (Jemima J, Good in Bed, Is that a Moose in your Pocket, Bookends, Shopaholic)...and my friend is thinking about writing one. here´s my thinking of the core elements of this "genre":
* the main character (i.e. the woman) is in her late 20´s early 30´s and her profile is best described with adjectives like ¨independent¨ or ¨kick'ass¨
* she either lives in london (is british) or in some major metroplis (NYC, LA, SF -- i.e. not chicago) and considers herself a ´city-o-phile´ -- up to date on the latest restaurants and trends (although shes probably too cool to go there)
* wicked or biting sense of humor thats a bit self-depreciating
* recently got out of a serious, long term relationship that needed to be over (because it was boring or stale)
* she has a strong set of social relationships (friends), typically one is gay (with uber good fashion sense) and at least one is some sort of ethnicity (cityophiles are afterall diverse). all are upper-middle classish and educated.
* she has a job, that doesn´t realize her true potential and its usually in PR or some literary field
* somehow she has a pretty decent wardrobe complete with at least one pair of prada shoes or manalo blahniks...and at least one black ¨too die for¨ outfit
* she hasn´t has sex in a while b-c of either a hangup wiht her past love or moping, but she reveals that she has some sort of quirky sex trick that prooves her sexual prowness
there are two sub-blots that also define these books
* life altering change: she eiother decide to move, or quits her job, or loses 100 lbs over night
* major misunderstanding: the key plot occurence is that the man she is eventually going to fall in love with is somehow involved in some sort of misunderstanding, the resolution of which will permit them to fall in love and get to wedded bliss. how this misunderstanding occurs, and how it is resolved, is well, what makes each and every book different ...
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
kayaking in the mangroves
i´´ve got some time to kill and a decent internet connection '-- so here goes a blast of blog updates. i´m going to try and date them to the day that they actually occured but well...i don´t generally know what day it is lately so that may be more idealistic that true!
so on weds i had a wonderful day in MA. i went kayaking in the mangroves near damas island. i love to kayak '-- its a great relaxing workout and you get to commune with nature in a subtle way. the mangroves were very cool.
the funny part of the day (outside of the traditional me falling out of the kayak while trying to lean back and then quickly to the side to snap a picture of a white faced monkey) was the newlywed couple that was on the trip with me. oh my were they a riot. the two of them were in a joint kayak -- but had never kayaked together before...and they kept on arguing and getting stuck. what should have been a 3 hour kayak ended up being almost 4 because they kept getting turned around and going backwords or literally getting stuck in shallow water.
after my wonderful morning kayak, i took a nap and a shower and a short swim, then i went over to SiComoNo to watch the sunset. i had a lovely coconut cocktail, watched the sun go down and then headed over to the Sea Glass Spa for a massage and papaya body scrub and mini'-facial. i´m on vacation, right?
the spa treatment was pretty good, i wouldn´t recommend my masseuse (an older white man who introduced himself as ¨thomas¨ but who i´m sure used to be Tom) but the woman who did my body wrap and mini-facial was amazing. Her name was liz and i thought she was great. the look and feel of the place was neat as well.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
is really lush and warm and rainforesty feeling. i arrived. i took a nap. sleep is such a wonderful thing. then i went to manuel antonio national park in search of a few things like sloths and monkeys. i got some awesome pictures, but in the interim here is a post of some of the animals i saw
these guys were literally swinging from the trees finding bugs and munching on them.
flight to costa rica
i decided to take the earlier flight out of SJC so that i could have breakfast with my friend Brooke in PHX. this caused more chaos than i would have thought -- they booked me on an earlier flight to costa rica which is not what i wanted -- but in the end it all worked out and i got on my flight and had breakfast with brooke and got to see her lovely home. it was fun to be in AZ too -- i haven't been in so long.
i slept every moment i had on my flights, completely and totally -- i was toasted from the all-nighter i pulled getting ready to leave. i got inot San Jose, CR and got a taxi to my hotel. the hotel was like an oasis. it reminded me of arriving at the YWCA in india. All this chaos around you and then arrival at a little oasis covered in sparkling lights. In india they had these beautiful star lights, here it was just hundreds of festive lights and holiday decorations. in the middle of what would otherwise be a fairly dark and dank road. the hotel was wonderful -- my room had a santa stocking on the door. all the little touches. staying in nice hotels is totally worth it. the interesting thing for me is that travelling alone i'm being more reflective and calm -- and planned. i sometimes feel like i've got too much planned -- but then i like that too...but its something to think about
now i'm in manuel antonio at Villas Nicolas. the place is adorable and my room is really a mini apartment complete with a VIEW of the ocean -- truly lovely. everything is warm and cozy here...and i feel relaxed already.
in costa rica
so i'm going to try and blog my trip instead of sending out e-mails. we shall see how this goes...the biggest problem with this idea is that i can't locate the 'carrot' arrow things to make the BR tags so my test will probably wrap and wrap...oh well. at this point i've arrived in manuel antonion and i'm feeling really relaxed - just woke up from a nap :-) and now i'm heading in to the park...in hopes of seeing a slot or a monkey. more to come.
Sunday, December 07, 2003
his lordship at the beach
Brizzie loves the beach.