Sleep deprivation to AMAZING
Good morning beautiful people! I am actually staying in El Castillo at the moment, which is a small village that is about 45 minutes away from the more touristy La Fortuna, but apparently the map program for blogabond has never heard of it. Amy and I have had an AMAZING couple of days here, which is why I feel a need to clarify our location.
Let's see...where did I leave off? Last time I updated, Amy and I were staying at the Costa Rica Love Hostel in Santo Domingo, a suburb of San Jose, hosted by the lovely, kind, and giving Manfred and Maelene, a young couple who opened up their delightful hostel only six months ago. Those days were fairly uneventful due to the fact that Amy and I were dog tired after a red eye flight in which we got no sleep. Usually I am pretty adept at sleeping on any form of public transportation (much to Amy's dismay...I woke up after many overnight bus rides in Peru to find Amy completing a journal entry that she began at 3 am about how much she hated my sleeping self and how the iPod had died and how being awake for over 24 hours straight had left her with homicidal ideation) but this plane ride was pretty ghastly and sleepless. Amy and I were in the very back row in the middle and aisle seat, meaning that we could not lean our seats back or rest our heads against the window...instead, we draped ourselves haphazardly across each other until one or more of our appendages fell asleep (my right arm was much better at sleeping this particular airplane ride than I was) while the flight attendants chatted loudly in the kitchenette two feet away (I can sympathize with Amy's homicidal ideation now). Occasionally, I attempted to be creative by experimenting with new positions; for instance, Face-on-Food-Tray (didn't work well coz the seat in front of me was able to lean back...grrr) and Fetus (in which I would begin to roll forward off the seat every time I nodded off, only to wake up with a start when my face collided with the chair in front of me). But mostly, I laid on Amy, or on top of Amy while she laid on me, and felt my sleep-deprived soul ache. This ride, right after finals week, left Amy and I quite overwhelmed and needing a couple days of rest before setting off for exciting adventures. (Note: Amy would like me to include that this ghastliness is typical of nighttime travel for her, and she is already well acquainted with Fetus and Face-on-Food-Tray. She suggests that next time I try Face-on-Knees in which she hugs her knees to her chest fetus-style and rests her face on them, but wraps the seatbelt around her legs to prevent herself from eating shit against the chair in front of her...my girl is brilliant).
On Saturday morning, Amy and I left Manfred and Maelene and hopped on a bus to La Fortuna, the primary tourist locale for those who want to see Volcan Arenal, an active volcano nestled amongst beautiful rainforest and flanked by the biggest lake in the country. Much to our excitement, this bus was more buslike than the buses in Peru, which were either very expensive or gutted-out vans filled with anywhere from 5 to 25 people, their stuff, and potentially a chicken or two. Amy poked at me to prevent me from falling asleep, and we watched as the scenery changed from more urban Latin America (buildings comprised of various pieces of sheet metal, wood, plaster and colorful tile that surround walled courtyards for houses and "hole-in-the-wall" businesses with brightly colored signs that advertise in Spanish) to more rural Latin America (beautiful green jungle EVERYWHERE with an occasional building). From La Fortuna, we caught a shuttle to El Castillo, which was another 45 minutes along a bumpy, potholed gravel road (if you rent cars in Costa Rica, it is suggested you rent something with 4 Wheel Drive, as the intense rain leaves many of the roads eroded and speckled with mini-craters). The shuttle dropped us off at Essence de Arenal Boutique Hostel, and from the moment we stepped out of the van, I was pretty sure that I wanted to stay here FOREVER. The first thing that caught my attention here was the breathtaking views: located at the top of a large hill, the hostel has gorgeous views of both the Laguna de Arenal (the lake) and Volcan Arenal. It also has a small pool and back porch overlooking these same views, and 88 acres of land which include an organic finca (or farm) where the hostel staff raise their own vegetables and chickens. In addition, there is a fish pond, a natural spring pool, and several jungle-gym-esque structures that my hippie girlfriend has informed me are sweatlodges. We entered the reception area of the hostel and were immediately greeted by Kelly (one of the owners?) and Melissa, two friendly Americans who live and volunteer their time here. Melissa showed us around and asked if we would like to sleep in a room in the main guest house or a semi-permanent tent not far away. Me being me, I wanted the more novel option, and we were led into a large waterproof tent with a wooden floor and one permanent wooden wall that houses two large windows that let in the breeze. There is a full-sized bed in the tent with an orthopedic mattress, a locker for our things, two nightstands, and a lamp for the nighttime. We have a gorgeous view of the valley from our windows that includes a banana tree right and tropical flowers outside the tent. When it rains, we can hear the pitter-patter on the tent and we wake up to the sound of tropical birds singing in the morning. Also, because this is such a welcoming community with a hippie vibe, Amy and I can be a little less vigilant about pretending that we're not gay. Oh, and there are fireflies at night! I LOVE it and kind of want to live here. Forever. They also have a vegetarian restaurant at the hostel that has its own gourmet chef, and for dinner, you are served a three-course meal with vegetables from the hostel garden and a delicious dessert. I'm actually disappointed that Amy and I have made reservations for our next stop already, because I could imagine staying here for a week or more, relaxing and exploring and writing--Amy is working on a novel too, so it would be a perfect opportunity. Tomorrow Amy and I are going to explore the Arenal Observatory Lodge and visit some hot springs. More later!
on July 1, 2012
from the travel blog:
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Jealous. Let me know when you decide to move there. I'm in.
written by Brother Nick on July 3, 2012
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