Time to revive this dying blog! For those who have been oh-so patiently waiting to hear from me in Costa Rica, I apologize and thank you simultaneously for not losing interest. I have yet to even provide a simple status update via email, but the last few weeks have been wonderfully distracting and therefore not conducive to writing. I will henceforth, however, make a much more concerted attempt to make this an active dispatch unit worth your regular perusal.
That being said, here’s the plan for converting what could easily be a very lengthy post into a much more timely read: I really want to talk about the last three weeks in mucho more detail, but not quite just yet so instead, I’ll put you in the here, the now, the snapshot de este momento. Cause it’s gowna be a doozy of a holiday!
But first, a quick debriefing of the standard operating procedure issues:
1) The Living Sitch – Make no mistake about it. I live IN THE RAIN FOREST. Outside my window are colossal trees drenched in green mossy tinsel. My tiny, albeit comfortable, house has a thin aluminum roof, a fact which deserves mentioning because once the jungle rain drops on steroids reign (yes, it’s rain that reigns) down upon it with incredible force, the sound it produces is similar to that of gunfire. Kinda hard to sleep when nature war is being waged eight feet above your head.
Then there are the spiders. Spiders and I usually follow simple rules in order to co-habitate peacefully: If they’re all up in my grill, and not actively moving in a direction that is out of my grill, they’re getting a close up of the daily wadded news. This applies to normal, not-big-enough-to-eat-a-baby sized spiders. Most spiders here don’t fall under that category, though.
Sure, the breaker gets tripped when the microwave and the toaster are on at the same time. And sure, I’ve had only a handful of what I would consider to be hot showers since I got here, but these things are ultimately of little consequence because…
2) El Trabajo – …is great. Last Friday, a work day mind you, I got to raft one of the top ten rivers in the entire world. I literally spent the entire day paddling through Jurassic Park on the Pacuare River (pictures to come). It was beautiful. It was insanely fun. And best of all, it was encouraged. Everyone here is all about making the most of the experience. The Monday of the same week, my boss and coworker went to Bocas del Toro, Panama for five days to get their SCUBA certification and dive with one of our courses. I’m sure sifting through an infinite supply of redundant emails and talking about the weather, or how the weather used to be, was fun as well though. A real knee-slapping good time for all you daily grinders, no doubt.
More on these two topics later. They’re important and deserve more than a paragraph, which is why they’ll get more. Just not now. I’d rather explain why this Christmas will be unequivocally unlike any other I’ve ever had and furthermore, why it’s going to make me miss everything about every other Christmas in the past.
I spent most of the day in what we call the bodega (Spanish for warehouse) and here is a step by step outline of what I did inside:
1) Get all-access keys from Carlos, which is the same as wielding a magical outdoor wand.
2) Open food storage room and pluck countless free items from the shelves. *Side note: I now have unlimited access to cereal and milk. If you know me AT ALL, you know why this perk alone is worth any combination of death spiders or tepid showers.
3) Open surf board locker and proceed to put it in a travel bag.
4) Open sleeping bag and tent locker. Grab.
5) Open camping gear locker. Find fresh canisters of butane, a portable gas cooker, and a lightweight pan. Grab.
6) Recite Vince Gill Christmas ballads at a healthy decibel level, only to be overheard by Esther, the company accountant who already thinks you’re the whacky new gringo. Be embarrassed but only moderately because, well, you kind of are the whacky new gringo anyway.
All of these steps are leading up to what will surely be a memorable holiday trip. Tomorrow morning I head out for a remote farm located in a pueblo that you definitely won’t find on Google maps – 5 hour bus ride followed by a 2.5 – 3 hour hike. The Lopez family is huge and has been working with the organization for a long time now, and apparently they love to have staffers visit for a big Christmas feast. I have met a handful already, but definitely not all 18 of them. According to some people here on base, they own something ridiculous like 600 acres of untouched primary rain forest. Yeah, it’s on that kind of a scale.
So, in essence, I’m going to wake up Christmas morning in a sleeping bag on their dirt floor, speak nothing but Spanish, and share the best time of the year with a warm, welcoming Costa Rican family that I barely know. We’ll probably feast, do chores together, play soccer, and then explore their amazing property. All of which makes me very happy. Trees and ornaments and presents and candy canes and stockings and even electricity begone, for you have no place in this Costa Rican Christmas of mine.
After that, I drive to one of the coolest national parks ever invented. Rincon de la Vieja is supposed to be unbelievable and if the pictures are at all accurate, it should be a couple days of volcanoes, hot springs, crazy wildlife, and bubbling mud pits. I just picked up a tripod for my camera, so be ready for some wicked photos.
After that, I go to the beach to properly celebrate 2011. We have a secondary base in a town called Manuel Antonio, where I’ll be stationed free of cost for sure-to-be wild parties, surfing, and general carefree-edness. It’s about to be a perfectly exhausting week and a half.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Enjoy your delicious eggnog and sugar cookies! Enjoy your families!
ModernDayMagellan, over and out.