Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Costa Rica

So I'm back from the most FABULOUS vacation ever...did you miss me?

Last week I went to Costa Rica with 6 of my friends from college. Sigal's family just finished building
a house on the Pacific Coast near Uvita, so when she sent out the email invite "SB 1.o" (Summer Break 2010) I was in. (We all know each other from Ski Team - go BUSki!)We arrived at Villa Mayana (aka the H. family's personal paradise on top of a mountain) very late Friday night. The sleepyness that had infected us towards the end of the 3-hour drive was immediately banished by the excitement of vacation.

Count to ten, and we were bathing-suits-on-and-jumped-in-the-pool. Within a half-hour we were well established in the hot tub, just wondering what sights morning light would bring.

And OH MAN. Not to get all "Gather round kids, it's vacation slideshow time!" but you've
got to see this! The house:Sigal, Scott, and I shared this room:The kitchen:The living rooms:The outdoor dining room:My outdoor shower (which surpassed expectations! Why shower inside when you could do it outside???):

The gazebo (where I write this blog right now), that's me reading Anna Karenina in my newest happy-place:

And the pool. YES!
Within the first twelve hours I had accomplished everything I set out to do: Take an outdoor shower, swim in the infinity pool, and drink my coffee overlooking the Pacific Ocean. From there, the rest of the week was just icing on the most glorious cake ever.Following our super-chill Allison-enforced schedule ("You're young! Relax!"), we did minimal activities per day. Here's a preliminary summary:

Day 1 - Hike to the waterfall on their property
Day 2 - Beach walk
Day 3 - Rain forest canopy zip line tour
Day 4 - Venture to Dominical beach
and cave beach (an abnormally aggressive day)
Day 5 - National Parks: Parc Manuel Antonio and Playa Uvita (Whale's Tail Park)
Day 6 - Beach walk and surf

And of course, every day involved extensive pool and gazebo time.

(This is Sigal and JoAnn, our much-appreciated hosts!)

Last night my dad said via telephone: Tell me all about Costa Rica, but only the important parts. Hmm...well...the "important parts"...we didn't do a whole lot, and I mean that in the best way possible! Here are some major events:

We went on a zip line rain forest canopy tour. It was AWESOME. Sitting in the back of a truck, we bumped our way up a mountain, holding on for dear life (best upper body workout I've had in a while!). We were strapped into harnesses (in varying degrees of comfort depending on our respective levels of sunburn...), and told to jump off platforms high in the trees of the rain forest. Ok, if you say so!

I love speed, and flying, and jumping off things, so this was a triple win. We zipped from tree to tree, getting the hang of the brakes and balance systems. Then we rappelled upside down (uncomfortable on my sunburn!!!),

and jumped off a Tarzan swing - Aaaaahhhahaaahhhhh! (That was a literary Tarzan-yodel. Work with me here.)

One afternoon we went to a cove beach with caves. The caves were cool, reaching through the mountain and to the ocean on the other side. But I'm not a cave after poking my head in, ventured on to explore the rocks. I tentatively tiptoed through the tidepools, trying to tread lightly but inevitably sending squillions of crabs skittering away in terror with my every footfall. Then into the waves we went - diving and shrieking and body surfing in the spray of crashing whitewater, wondering if this was the beach where pirates landed, or if the next wave's whitewater was holding a shark...Being myself, I did a bit of running as well. Pool running that is. I usually dislike pooling, but doing it in an infinity pool overlooking the Whale's Tail surrounded by widlflowers and butterflies (did you know that there are more butterfly species in Costa Rica than in all of Africa?) and listening to country music on the outdoor speaker system isn't half bad.
We saw a bit of wildlife as well. A bajazillion crabs all over the beaches, and this lovely guy when I reached for a cereal bowl one morning. Yikes! Bowls = taken. (That is my just-woke-up, slightly panicked face. You're welcome.)My three library travel books came in handy - Parc National Manuel Antonio did not dissapoint (though if you're going, do not park at the first place they tell you to! Wait until you see the park gates!). Within 5 minutes we saw our first sloth, and Scott's life was complete.

As we ventured deeper into the uncharted wilderness (or along the well-maintained path, as the case may be), our vulnerable group of 4 was set upon by a tribe of viscious monkeys.

First the mother with her baby on her back lured us into her trap. Then she called in the re-inforcements and they tried to block our path! Luckily we put up a brave fight and were able to break through their defences and continue on our way, shaken but unscathed.

Ok. That may have been a
teeny tiny bit of literary liscence...if you must see how things really went down you can watch this video, captured in the midst of battle by our fearless leader Scott.:

Once we bypassed the monkey baracade it was smooth hiking to this view:

Basically it was a week of relaxing awesomeness. Ping-pong battles to napping (sometimes at the same time - take a lesson from Alison!).

Hiking and surfing and just playing around. And we all made it back in one piece. 

Including the H. family, there were 11 members of our elite extreme vacation squad. We came from all over: Boston, Israel, London, Shanghai, San Diego, Philadelphia, and DC of course! Like Survivor, our group shrunk as the week progressed. The first to go were Jess and Seth - one to work and one to law school. The next day we dropped Sean off at the Quepos airstrip on our way to Parc Manuel Antonio (another lost to the pursuit of a law degree). On Thursday, Ron's plane took off. And alas, on Friday it was time for Scott, Allison and I to say goodbye to the most luxurious vacation we had ever known.

Not to get all cheesy on you, but I am soooo lucky to have such awesome friends (not because they have fabulous houses, but because I love spending time with them!). Ahhhh, vacation!