Adios Costa Rica

Trip Start Oct 07, 2013
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11
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of San Jose,
Thursday, January 30, 2014

Our time in Costa Rica has come to an end and I'm not sure what to think. We had scheduled an extended stay in this relatively safe, beautiful, and hospitable Central American country in order to work our way through a list of five things:
 
1- First and foremost we wanted to get a bit of a start on conversational Spanish (DH because she heard that learning a new language wards off altzheimers, and me because of the number of Spanish speaking countries we're hoping to visit in the near term). Our very strict Spanish teacher was insistent that we treat the language with due respect and learn the various rules, irregularities, and pronunciation before making him cringe with our mangled conversations. As a result of this added processing time (mentally translating, conjugating the verbs, and confirming the pronunciation) our conversational Spanish is painful to the audience- most people in Jaco would quickly jump to English which greatly limited our practice. It's a work in progress but all in all I would give ourselves a C+ on this one.
 
2- Jaco is supposed to be one of the best places to learn to surf in the world. But then we showed up. DH was constantly in a life and death struggle with her board- she added two or three new bruises every time we went out- not the dainty little bruises a Princess gets when she strikes the servant (me) a little too hard but the big disfiguring bruises Smokin Joe Frazier used to dish out. I didn't get beat up as much but by the time I managed to push, pull, and drag myself to a standing position the wave had normally lost all of it's energy, and I would start to sink vertically much like a captain going down with his ship. Neither one of us will be working the surfing circuit any time soon (do they have a masters category in surfing?). A solid D- on this one.
 
3- Traveling as a full time hobby has been great but the diet is not always the best and it's very hard to fit in a regular exercise regime. As a result we wanted to use our extended stay in Jaco to drop some weight and get back in shape. Working out in the Jaco gym was painful given the heat, humidity, and copious numbers of very sweaty people depositing puddles on every machine, but we did manage to get there most days, and we did make good progress. My one-pack is a long way from desired six-pack status but every now and again there was evidence of a two-pack. The pythons made a bit of a comeback and DH was starting to shrink all of my shirts in order to get a better look. DH often has more body image issues than a teenage girl but I think even she was happy with our progress; B+
 
4- There are a number of famous photos where a boxer is being hit and a spray of sweat is coming off of him. That was me every time I hit the tennis ball in the heat and humidity of Costa Rica. We played most days and were hoping to refine our skills- I do think we got got quite a bit better but DH is convinced that we need to get some proper coaching before we hard code our bad habits. Have to give this a C grade which includes the five balls DH hit to the crocodiles in the river adjacent to the tennis court (not sure Roger Federer ever had to deal with a tennis hazard like that!).
 
5- We also wanted to fully explore the Eco-tourism reputation that Costa Rica has carved out for itself. We did get out to see most of the bigger sights and we did try out most of the Eco-sports on offer. Costa Rica does have a well deserved reputation for protecting it's natural resources including many of it's most unusual critters and it does set an example that most countries would do well to copy. I do think they will need to guard against going to far in pandering to the package tourist that wants an amusement park experience and a Big Mac every where they go. And particularly alarming is the countries lack of vigilance when it comes to two of it's more precious resources- standing by while corrupt profiteers seek to feed the insatiable Chinese demand for shark fins and turtle eggs will clobber their Eco reputation very quickly if they are not careful. You can always do more but I would give ourselves a B grade for this objective and we'd highly recommend CR for an embrace of nature.

Even without the straight A's that DH was accustomed to in her school days, we really enjoyed our extended stay here (we'll be dreaming of this as we get back to the more rapid fire traveling that we've typically done). And to all those frost-bitten folks back in the tundra that is Canada, did I mention how hot and sunny it was down here??
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Comments

Amanda on

Deb got all A's at Humber too but then again it "wasn't rocket surgery"

Lorena on

Adios Costa Rica. tku tku.. for your posts and pics. one day hope to see it or experience a little bit.. big hug. keep healthy and safe.

CarolC on

Well it looks like you had a wonderful time and I am sure you would sound very good to me speaking Spanish. Its great when you can just be in one place to work on your fitness, tennis, surfing and languages! I'm looking forward to hearing more of your adventures!

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