Tuesday, January 12, 2016

1/13/16 3/tres (or 1/6/16) (Cahuita National Park, CR)

The day started with huevos (eggs), pan (bread) y, claro, arroz con frijoles aka rice and beans. Then we loaded into the bus and were off. It took us about six hours to get to Cahuita, our destination on the coast. On the way we saw mountains, the rain-forest, went up and back down the mountains and started seeing the farms that so characterized this part of the country. When we stopped at a lovely little bodega (open shop) for a bathroom break, we had the chance to smell the chemicals in the air that hadn't been apparent on the bus. We were right next to a plantain plantation and it was a hard thing to miss. The fruit we bought was amazing though. We had many fruits I had seen or heard of like mango, granadilla, starfruit and apples (from Washington just like the ones back home) but one fruit stood out to me as something I had never seen or heard of before. It looked like a pale pink bell, like how the fruit of a cashew looks but without the seed. I was understandably nervous about eating it as cashew fruit is poisonous but I was assured that it was safe to eat. When I asked, I was told that it was called la manzana de agua or water apple. Still nothing I had ever heard of. Scratching the delicate skin reviled pure white flesh and a watery perfume. My fellow fruit seekers found much the same and with a shrug, I took a bite. Some fruits are hard to describe but I'm pretty sure I have the perfect comparison for this one: it tastes exactly like a flower smells. It was interesting but not my favorite. I pawned it off on the person sitting behind me and went back to the front of the bus for my favorite tropical fruit after the mango; a granadilla. It looks like frog eggs in a plastic tear shaped orange but it is amazing. It's a member of the passion fruit family and I love it.

We arrived at our hotel only to discover that we were over dressed. Very over dressed. Where the morning in San Jose had been cool, here it was scorchingly hot and humid. We had the afternoon off so we all headed over to the nearby beach to take a dip in the cooler ocean (the water was still warm, being the Gulf of Mexico, but the air was much warmer). Apparently waves are uncommon and ours caused strong rip currents but we still had fun riding waves in the red zone. Where there were rip-currents. I didn't get caught in one but apparently the group of people who had split off from us did. Which is rather terrifying. But we saw monos caniblancas or the white faced monkeys (who are little devils who will steal your lunch in a cunning con involving one acting as a distraction and the other actually going for the food. It really works.). That's always a fun spot. We had dinner at a local restaurant and enjoyed a wide variety of food, including rice and beans of course. On the way there we found a tree with a sloth in it. Which is about as exciting as it sounds as you are happy to see one but it looks like a really raged football stuck to a branch (see below photo). Still. Sleeping that night involved turning on the air-conditioner to high and checking under the pillows for scorpions. I think I'm gonna like it here. (I mean it, I'm so thrilled with everything and couldn't be happier unless I had a summer job. Which I don't. Yet. My positive affirmation for the day.)

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