Thursday, September 24, 2009

creepy, crawly things

All three of these were in my bathroom last night.  By the time I took a shower, they had all migrated there.  The gecko was on the ceiling above me and the two insects were in opposite corners of the shower on the floor.

My host father found this in the living room the other day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Romeo & Juliet

Last weekend some of us went to San Jose (capital) to see Romeo and Juliet at the National Theater.  We met at our university so we could take the bus together.  I had just arrived there when I realized I had forgotton my ticket for the play.  Since the bus we were taking goes by my house, I left ahead of everyone else so I could hop off to get the ticket.  I then ended up waiting 45 minutes at the bus stop until the bus came that had the rest of the group.

Once we arrived in San Jose, we went to the hotel/hostel where we were staying.  This place was really cool-all bright colors and open air.  There were three parts to the place: the main house, chalet and annex.  After settling in and getting dressed up for the theater, we went out to eat.  I had fajitas that were delicious!  We then walked over to the theater.  We went through a plaza area where there were literally about 100 couples sitting.  Everywhere you looked there were couples-apparently it is the place to go.

"A home away from yours, Welcom to Kap's Place, Pura Vida"

entrance hall

chalet kitchen

common area outside of our rooms

The theater was absolutely beautiful; hopefully I will be able to get some better photos of it when I go back next week.  We sat in the nosebleed section-3rd balcony.  The ceiling above the top row was only about 5'6" high.  This is because we bought the cheapest tickets at 5000 colones ($8.60).  The play was good but we were all very tired after (one girl even fell asleep during the play and I have to admit that I was tempted to also).

After this we went back to the hostel and hung out for a little bit, watching some Latino show where older ladies were dancing in some type of competition.  I think this was only amusing because it was 1am.  Sunday morning we just relaxed, checked out all the brochures they had about things to do/see in Costa Rica, and then headed back to Heredia.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

el Dia de la Independencia

Yesterday was Independence Day (no school!) and I went to downtown Heredia with some friends to check out the festivities.  We watched about 45 minutes of the parade and decided to ditch that to find some shade.  The parade seemed to repeat itself: each school had a banner followed by little cheerleaders, xylophones and drums.  They were still working their way through all the local elementary schools when we quit watching.  I think after that they had the high schools.  After the parade we sat (in the shade) in the central park and watched people.  The little girls with their traditional dresses were very cute!  We then went to get some lunch.  I had Subway (the first fast food I have had since arriving here).  Some of the others went to a pizza place and we found out that the owner there is from the U.S. and talked to him for awhile.  I came home around 2:00 and just bummed around the house the rest of the day.  It is nice to have a day off every once in awhile.

"Costa Rica: a country of peace"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Manuel Antonio

Last weekend some students decided to go on our own trip. We went to Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific Ocean. We rented our own bus and filled it to bursting with 29 people. The trip was about 4.5 hours (up, down and around like usual). We stayed at the Backpacker’s hostel. The room I stayed in had 5 bunk beds and was attached to another room with 4 bunks…and only 1 bathroom! The hostel was pretty cool. The common area is open air on three sides and contained a little kitchen, picnic tables, foosball, a few couches, a stereo and games. Also on the hill next to this area was a rope to swing on.

making pancakes for breakfast
me on the rope swing

We got up at 6:30 Saturday morning and hopped a bus to take us down the hill and to the park. Most of us paid for a guide to take us through the park. The guides are very knowledgeable about the plants and animals. They carry telescopes with them and set them up often when they spot creatures for us to look at. They are very good at seeing the animals, big and small, that I never would have seen walking by myself. We saw sloths, monkeys, spiders, insects, lots of crabs, a deer on the beach and iguanas.

sloth (my guide took this photo through the telescope)

The beach we went to was inside the park and it was beautiful! We spent the afternoon at the beach, me mostly in the shade. I also went with two others and climbed the rocks along one side out to a point. I climbed the large rock there and that is where one of the guys took the picture that I have on my profile.

Some of us decided to walk back to the hostel. When you ride the bus, you don’t realize how far it is. It is almost all uphill and took us about an hour. We picked up some food from the grocery store and ate dinner at the hostel. I spent the evening at the hostel with several others and watched the futbol game (Costa Rica vs. Mexico).

"Still more monkeys than people"
playing uno at the hostel

The next morning we went back to the beach for a few hours and then returned home. I was happy to see everyone on Skype Sunday night.  I also really enjoyed looking at the pictures from family camp.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


This one is for my dad.  We made camarones y arroz con coco (shrimp and rice with coconut).  I know that I like fried shrimp, but I wasn't sure about this because the shrimp is only cooked for a minute to get the flavoring on it.  It is still basically raw.  Ironically I liked the shrimp but disliked the rice (which I normally love).
The sauce that is on the rice is what we cooked the shrimp in.  We also made fried platano which looked and tasted very different than what I have had at my house.

Guayabo, Orosi and Cartago

On Sunday I went on a field trip with my Latin American Cultures Field Study class.  We visited the Guayabo National Monument.  This area was discovered when people where clearing the land for pastures.  The tribes that made this village lived in the area from 1000 B.C. to 1450 A.D.  There are the remains of the Monticulo Principal (main mound-I have not found a way to add the accent marks and such on this site), the ceremonial mound, aqueducts (that are still working) and a road that is the entrance to the village.  We also saw a tomb where they would bury the dead.  The closer to the center of the village someone was buried, the more important they were.  Also they were important if they were buried deep. 
view on the way to Guayabo

This road reminded me of the road to Hana on Maui. It was narrow, had one lane bridges, usually a drop-off on one side and was all curves and up and down. Our bus driver is very skilled!

monolito - alligator
This rock had the figure of an alligator on one side and a jaguar on the other.  These animals represented strength and power on land and water.
el paraguas del pobre (poor man's umbrella)
view of the village from above
Tanque de Captacion
This is the beginning of the aqueduct system.  The spring that feeds this purification tank is 126m away.  After this tank the water flows (underground) to the tanque de sedimentacion.  The water then goes into the aqueduct were they got their water for daily activities.  There is no water currently in the aqueduct as it has been diverted for use of nearby villages.  The tanks and aqueducts have been designed to keep the flow always the same even in the rainy season so as not to overflow. 
Calzada Caragra 
This road leads from the entrance of the village to the main mound.
Monticulos Rectangulares
These are the only two rectangular mounds and they mark the entrance to the village (there are 48 round mounds total).
coffee fields

Next we went to see la Inglesia de San Jose Orosi.  This church, built in 1734, is the oldest church in Costa Rica still used today.

These original paintings from France lined both side walls.
The last place we went was the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels).
where the people get their holy water
According to the legend, in 1635 a peasant girl found a small stone statue of the Virgin holding the Christ child. Twice she took the statue home and placed it in a box, and twice it mysteriously reappeared at the spot where it was discovered.  The Catholic Church agreed that the Virgin wanted a cathedral built on that spot.
Two side notes:
   1.  I got to try sugar cane
   2. One of the girls from Nevada had Hawthorne Heights on her ipod!