Day 5: Monday, May 16, 2005
Cahuita continued. Woke up around 5:15 am. I'm now used to the idea, the practice, the reality. Yum, awesome, orange juice. Cafe Britt, coffee of Costa Rica. I'm at a bar at a local restaurant, ordered a big breakfast for ¢1600 ($4). Reggae music plays. Life is certainly slower here. I could get used to it I think. Lots of Bob Marley pictures up. Last night I was walking into town (like 1 block because this town is so small), and I saw the two Canadian girls eating. I said hi and paused there. They invited me to sit down so we hung out for a couple of hours. I was definitely attracted to Isandre. Julie I'd found out, had a boyfriend at home. I ordered rice with shrimp. It was a big plate with little shrimp. Good, too much though. This Caribbean vibe is wonderful, very conducive to relaxation. No one is in a hurry, certainly not the waitress/restaurant folk. This definitely gets me excited to visit Jamaica.
There was a thunderstorm last night. I've noticed just about all roofs are made of corrugated sheet metal. Must provide instant (great) drainage. Probably inexpensive. Why not. Durable. There are quire a few dogs around. Snorkel in t-minus one hour. Hopefully they'll say the weather is good. I'm staying in the shade to save myself from the three hours of sun and snorkel. I figure I can spend the afternoon (or a couple of hours) at the beach.
I think a jungle walk is also in order. The Canadian girls are going horseback riding today. I've learned you can do much of the same throughout the country. This leads me to whether I should spend a third night in Cahuita, or head to Puerto Viejo tomorrow. The vibe is nice here, I'd be weary of leaving, what if nothing measures up the rest of the trip? Though as I think this thought, I realize it is clinging. Clinging out of fear. The last thing I should be doing. We'll see how I feel later. No need to get ahead of myself.
I saw some hummingbirds earlier. I was chilling in a hammock. Senses fully awake:Sight – the palms, sky, clouds, morning sun Hearing – the crashing ocean waves, birds chirping Taste – the salty air Smell – the sea air again, the plant life Touch – the feeling of the slightly damp hammock against my back, the light breeze, warm sensation of sun on skin
I imagine this is how it's like on the beaches of Thailand, Bali, etc. I am reawakened to the possibilities of life, travel, community, humanity, compassion, companionship, love, laughter, present moment, awareness. So much to take in. An assault on the senses. One can only surrender and breathe it all in. Tactile, touch, important in travel and exploring. Grab the earth, take off your shoes. Feel, experience.
It's interesting, cyclical nature. Kai got a marketing job in Boston. He's effectively closed the chapter in his life of travel and meandering. Bob's 1-1.5 years off was shorter, however ended as well, with him back to work, Qualcomm, driving a Boxter with a girlfriend. Nesting, settling, he seems happy. Chris has a job. My brother is finishing up work/NYC, about to enter Marine Corp boot camp in South Carolina. And me? I'm working, though, reminded of unfulfilled time in the world, backpacking, freedom, independence, experience, trials, stories, camaraderie, and wanderlust. You only live once. I've yet to meet someone who has regretted their time off. Traveling, seeing the world. As I told Wes, I feel myself, inner core, self-esteem, strengthening with each day of this trip. I will follow through. Things are just as they are supposed to be. No need to rush, rushing creates anxiety, undue suffering. I am building a spiritual practice to sustain me, strengthen my core beliefs. The prospect of long term travel, discovery, so exciting. Life is impermanence, ever-changing. To travel long, will to end. I should not be afraid that it would. Life is about the journey, not the destination. So do are all experiences, relationships. Grasping, clinging, leads to undue suffering. Mindfulness, awareness, recognition of this happening is my practice at work. Suffering is human, cannot be avoided, however through practice, can be avoided.
Breakfast was big plate, 2 scrambled eggs, slice cheese, slice ham, slice tomato, 2 pieces toast, rice/beans, OJ and coffee. I wrote all this at the restaurant.
I'm back at the lodge, sun is up, waves crashing, snorkel in 30 minutes. I think present moment mindfulness can allow a moment to last an eternity. If then, through practice such awareness can be constant, or at least semi-regular, then life becomes a series of never-ending moments in time. It's a little hard to believe.
It routine a bad thing? Cahuita is wonderful, would more than two nights here lead to routiness, or lack of the same level of stimulation I am currently experiencing? These questions are ok to ask, though. I have to be careful not to allow anxiety to result. Anxiety about whether I stay or go. It would serve no purpose. I will have to decide when to go anyways, why worry about, why worry I can make a wrong decision. There is no right or wrong decision. I trust myself, and therefore the decision I make will be the right one, regardless of which direction it sends me.
I think there is condensation under the plastic face of my watch. I need to take a crap. Ants run on the tile floor, so busy, fast, and small.
Rain, rain, crashing waves, dosh, locals talk, I sit, still taking it in.Day 1, Thur, arrive San Jose Day 2, Fri, San Jose (hike Poas) Day 3, Sat, San Jose (raft Pacuare) Day 4, Sun, San Jose to Cahuita Day 5, Mon, Cahuita (snorkel, hike) Day 6, Tue, Cahuita to Puerto Viejo Day 7, Wed, Puerto Viejo (?) Day 8, Thur, Corcuado ?
Being alone isn't always fun when traveling. Sometimes it can be lonely. It's okay to feel lonely though. It's normal, natural, human.
I went snorkeling today. Snorkeling is as tricky as I remembered it. You really have to focus on breathing through your mouth only. I got a lot of saltwater up my nose. I think I would've enjoyed it more had I been better at it. I did see fish, blue, yellow/black stripped, white/black striped. And coral, the coral was cool. Underwater architecture. It's really a different world down there. I was on the tour with 6 people from Utah I believe. We stopped on the beach for fruit, fresh pineapple, watermelon, and mango. There were lots of hermit crabs. And monkeys, white faced, like 8, 10 of them. Apparently they're used to tourists feeding them, so they're sort of comfortable with people. They were adorable, really like little people. Some of the others feed them, and were petting them. A few reasons why that wasn't so much for me, disease and ? Don't want them too used to, dependent on humans. Before we got back on the boat, another local guide picked up a young red-tailed boa constrictor, maybe one to two feet long. It was a cute little one. Two of the monkeys came over to look from above a tree branch. The humans were looking too. It was a funny scene. Apparently, monkeys don't like snakes.
Back on the boat, back to our starting place. I'm walking back to the road and a local points downward in front of me and says something. I take a few more steps, and then look down to see a very big, long snake straight in front of me on the path. I walk around it. A little kid runs no more than two to three inches from it. Laughing. I couldn't tell if he knew or saw it there. We then watched it slither into the grass. Later, I'd find out it was non-venomous, and would eat the venomous snakes, therefore as snakes go, it was a good one.
Took a quick shower, and then headed into the park. I was headed on a jungle hike alone! Considering the snakes I just saw, I was nervous. There were quite a few people on the trail though, so I became used to it. I walked about one and a half hours (stopping just short of the snorkel snack shop) out, and about one hour back. I'd say that was a thee to four mile hike. Didn't seem that long. The jungle was all-encompassing. The beach and waves were 10-20 feet from the trail the whole time. Got some pics of ants, spider, lizards, white-faced monkeys, hermit crabs, regular crabs, and the trail and beach. By the time I got back, it was raining. Bought two wooden pens and a carved turtle from a vendor. ¢4000. I realized I could've bargained, however, and extra dollar to me doesn't make a difference, it might to him. I said hi to the Canadian girls. Showered. Went to Ricky's Bar, met Annette, a middle-aged blonde who had been living in Cahuita for about a year and just ten days ago, partnered up to take a stake in the bar. She came to Costa Rica (and Cahuita) with $5,000. She was able to live for a year on that! $100-200/month for beachfront home. $15/week on food. We talked for about 30 minutes. I had a Cahuita rum PiÃ±a Colada. Apparently tonight is the Costa Rica national championship soccer match, Alajuela vs ? I'm not in the mood to watch it now.
After talking to Annette, I went upstairs to Relax, an Italian restaurant. I had Imperiale, Guacamole with chips, Pepper steak and chocolate cake. ¢7100 colones, or about $16. That was a splurge for me. The cream sauce on the steak was good, especially with the rice; the steak was rarer than medium I thought. Cake was good. That dinner must've taken one and a half hours. The guacamole was absolutely awesome. The dinner was where I started feeling impatient and lonely for the first time. The slow service is charming, however, not when you're in a bad mood! I thought back to how much fun the previous night's dinner was with Isandre and Julie. I suppose a little perspective can help one realize how precious those experiences can be.
Tomorrow I'm going to snap a few pics, eat another nice breakfast, and take the 30 minutes bus to Puero Viejo. I'll stay at least one night, and then figure out how to get to Corcovado in the least time possible. I think I may head into Panama for a day or two. I think Annette believed it to be faster than the 12 hours or so it'd take to get to Corcovado via San Jose. Plus, it's another country on my trip.