On life's journey, whether traveling around the world or walking around your block, there's lots to learn about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, so lets dive into a new ocean together!

Friday, June 20, 2014

16 Days in Costa Rica ~ Part 2

One of several long, dirt roads we traveled
A challenge, an adventure in faith.
There will always be the unknown.
There will always be the unprovable.
But faith confronts those frontiers with a thrilling leap.
Then life becomes vibrant with adventure!

Costa Rica ~ Part 2

Our flights from Columbia, SC to the Liberia airport in north Costa Rica went smoothly.  After renting our 4-wheel drive we headed down a nice two-lane highway for Playa Panama.  We missed our turn, thanks to me, the Map Whisperer, so it took us a bit longer than the twenty minutes the friendly car-rental Costa Rican had said. Note: car rentals are inexpensive, but the INSURANCE will kill you. We opted for everything since we were traveling in unfamiliar territory, but we opted not to have a GPS, thus the Map Whisperer was created (me).

Casa Conde Del Mar, Playa Panama
Costa Rica

I had the huge pool all to myself
most of the time.
After lunch, a long swim, and delicious dinner, it was around eleven o'clock that evening when I began the search for my mini-iPad.  Dumped everything out of my purse.  Nowhere to be found.  Mini-panic.  Called Delta.  Only recordings.  Sent email.  Concerned.  Prayed.  Helped.  
Beautiful beaches abound
Bright and early the next morning, after a yummy Costa Rican breakfast, we drove twenty minutes back to the airport (no wrong turns this time).  Rob was cool the whole time.  Delta greeted me with big smiles and handed me my 'lil i-Pad within ten minutes.  Whew! Yay!  Note: ALWAYS double check the pouch in the airplane seat in front of you.  I always do...except this time. 

Day 3 we headed inland for the rain forests of Monteverde.  Most of the roads were good.  Except one.  Turning off the main highway, we traveled on a two-lane road that led us through a small town.  My eyes were glued to the map when Rob turned left instead of staying on the safe-looking road.  When the pavement turned to dirt,  I softly said, "I'm pretty sure I told you the wrong way."  The Map Whisperer was willing to take the blame.  MW's translation: Please turn around.

"This is the right road," Rob stated like a professional tour guide.  Slowly, the road narrowed.  Suddenly there were mini-bolders sprinkled with pot holes as big as mini-ponds.  "Are you sure I didn't tell you the wrong way?" I asked.  Silence.  The map was of no help, so I threw it in the back seat and gripped the door handle.  I was determined to be the good wifey...quiet, calm, soothing, comforting, all the while wondering why there was no one else on this narrow, scary road.  Then behold!  We saw cows!
We were not alone after all on
the Rocky Road to Monteverde
A few miles later, a tour bus came rolling down the hill, heading straight for us.  Rob swerved to make way for Mr. Tour Bus Driver.  We might be on the right road after all, we were both thinking.  Then a few more miles up the road, a second tour bus came barreling around the corner.  Rob pulled over, stopped, and looked at me and said, "I was beginning to wonder about this road."  "Me too!" I announced, still shaking.  We laughed as he jerked the shift into gear, pressed a few magical buttons, and 4-wheeled off to Monteverde.

Clouds gathered overhead.  Thunder and lightning.  Then the rain fell.  Then I had to go pee...well, I needed to go to the toilette.  We drove through small villages, but no Costa Ricans in sight.  We passed a zip-line resort.  Closed.  "Can you hold it, or do you want me to pull over?" Rob asked.  "Pull over and do what!?!?" I answered.  "Then you'll have to hold it," Rob answered as he dodged another pot hole.  He was too focused on the muddy roads to sympathize with me.  Dang.

"Look!  Pull over!" I said as my eyes beheld a little mobile trailer that had a flashing sign in English, OPEN.  I ran in, pointed to the bana sign.  The sweet Costa Rican angel said, "Si."

We finally pulled into Monteverde at dusk. I wanted to kiss the ground, but stayed focused on the map that led us to the quaint, cozy boutique Hotel Los Jarnines.  "Yes, that is the main road to Monteverde," she replied when I asked about the bumpy road.

We were hungry so we found a small, romantic restaurant...just what Mr. 4-Wheel and the Map Whisperer needed after a long day on the Rocky Road to Monteverde.  Faith for the day and food for the evening never felt so good.
Loved this quaint restaurant

Delicious food, romantic atmosphere
Coffee plantation showed us how to
make coffee, sugar, and chocolate!
After two days of touring a coffee plantation and sightseeing, we drove the same road back down the mountain, but this time we knew it was the right road.  Note: Life Lesson: Even if our road is rocky, when we know we are on the right road, it makes all the difference.  

The sun was shining as we headed back to the Pacific coast.  I have to admit, the Map Whisperer did a great job for the remainder of the 16-day journey.  There were a few more dusty roads along the way, but the most fun was eating on the beach at Lola's Restaurant, where Rob met Miss Lola in person:
The dirt road to Lola's on the beach

Rob sneaking up on Lola!
As we drove down every highway I noticed small houses built right next to the roads; doors and windows open for any breeze to flow through the small hot rooms; covered porches lined with chairs, sofas, and tables for families to lounge.  Clothes hang in almost every  front yard.  House have high, rod-ironed, bob-wired fences surrounding their property to protect against theft.  I was impressed with how neat they keep their property.  Costa Ricans appreciate their belongings.  A good lesson for all of us.

The nationals are friendly, kind, and humble because they live "Pura Vida" ... the "Pure Life" ... a simple, pure, and happy life.  It is evident in their faces.  

Our journey continues next time in Part 3 ~ Faith, Food, and Friends.  Until then, I wish you Pura Vida!
Playing on Playa Pirates, Costa Rica
Stand at the crossroads and look...
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Jeremiah 6:16  NIV