Honeymoon: Unfolding/Exploring

While I can’t say that we slept that well after the adventures of getting to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, any sleep was far more restorative than you’d think and we were awake and up the next morning by at least 6 AM if not a little bit earlier. It’s hard to be specific because time goes all weird in Costa Rica, but I’ll get into that more later. One of the first orders of business was to get a little bit of food in us and take stock of the tree house and then get a call in to the airport to see what was going on. The lines were still not responsive and I decided to do something that I’d never thought of and used the credit card to make an international call. I’ll never do it again because it was frustrating and ultimately expensive, but the lesson I’ve learned is that you should always have an international calling card when traveling abroad, so there’s that at least.

I was finally able to get in touch with the airline itself and they confirmed that my bag had indeed made it to the airport and that it was going to be on a shuttle that day so I should have it by some time in the afternoon and I just needed to confirm the address of the tree house. I then had the amusing pleasure to explain to the American customer service agent that addresses don’t exist in Costa Rica like they do in most places. There isn’t really such a thing as a street address, everything is province, town name and relation to a common landmark. In the case of the tree house, Limon province, Playa Chiquita, 200 meters east of the local school. Even though her confusion wasn’t reassuring, I told myself there wasn’t any reason worrying about it because the locals would know what it’d mean and I could only trust in them at this point.

Sylvia was still pretty shaken up from the night before, but with the call done we had several hours to kill till our first tour so we decided to explore a bit.

Yep, the living room has no walls

In the light of day, the tree house itself was clearly not a house up in a tree, but more like a house that had been built in/around a tree. However, one of the bedrooms was up in a tree with walkways connecting it to the main floor, so some part of our expectation wasn’t entirely off. It was a little disappointing considering how we’d built it up for ourselves as this vertical space, but it was still certainly something to look at and the overall quality of the space was actually quite nice. There were two or three other houses and beach access, so we decided to wander around and check out the grounds.

Costa Rica being pretty green is a bit of an understatement

The beach looked pretty nice, but wasn’t really much like any beach I’d seen before. Sure, the ocean is the same one I’ve seen on family trips, but the beach at that access point wasn’t terribly open and it was clear there was a lot of rock going on under the surface so trying to swim there wouldn’t have been terribly smart. I ended up getting bored because I was still in my travel clothes comprised of dirty t-shirt, jeans and combat boots. I think I was expecting the boots to come in handy for hiking or something, but I never wore them again after that day.

Make smarter carry on packing decisions than this guy

Heading back to the house, we got ourselves situated a bit more and just generally relaxed until it was time to meet our driver and go on our first tour at the local jaguar rescue center. At least it was labeled as a tour of the jaguar rescue center, but there weren’t any actual jaguars. The place got started as a rescue center for a single jaguar and has since become something of a home for wayward or distressed animals. It definitely exceeded my expectations, especially considering the wide variety of animals they were taking care of.

Hi, I’m a toucan. I’m mostly friendly and only slightly menacing

Sylvia’s highlight was definitely the monkey enclosure. I definitely had no interest as I don’t trust monkeys as a rule and I was still wearing my horribly filthy clothes; the last thing I needed was to add possible monkey urine to the mix. I’m not competitive either and I’m fairly sure that I would have become subservient to the collective and never come home.

Yeah, she’s smiling now, but she’ll soon realize that she’s been urinated on

Once the tour was over and we’d wandered around a bit to see some of the animals a bit more, we got in our van and the driver asked us where we wanted to go. We weren’t prepared for this question as we assumed we’d go back to the house and asked if we could go into town. After a couple of minute drive, we were dropped off in Puerto Viejo and told to just come ask for him at the cab stand and he’d take us home.

This is about half of what there is to see in town

I wasn’t expecting there to be much to do/look at, but Sylvia wanted to check it out and we were getting hungry anyway so we figured we could have a local lunch before heading back. After filling up on wonderfully Caribbean-style food, we hit the shops to check them out. Most of everything was fairly similar but there were bits of art here and there that was definitely unique. I picked up an overpriced bathing suit at a shop since we still weren’t certain when exactly my luggage was going to show up. We picked up a bit of food at the grocery store and then found our driver and headed back to the tree house.

Since we still had daylight and I had a bathing suit, Sylvia and I decided to hit the beach and go for a walk to find somewhere to swim.

Not a lot of sand on the beach, but definitely a lot of life to be seen

We ultimately ended up walking pretty close to a mile before we found a stretch of beach that didn’t appear to have the rocky formations just under the water so we could actually get in and take a dip. I was still pretty nervous considering I still felt like the ocean was pretty restrictive compared to the beaches in North Carolina my dad’s family goes to every year, but I just tried to relax and enjoy it. After we tired ourselves out, we made the trek back to the house as it was past time when my luggage should have shown up. It wasn’t there, which was disheartening and stressful, but at that point, we were exhausted so Sylvia and I started to get a bit cleaned up at least so we could lounge and just relax.

No longer than 5 minutes passed after she got in the shower than I heard the crunch of someone walking up our walk way to the house. I wasn’t sure who it was, but once I saw somebody holding over their head what appeared to be luggage, I was immediately relieved and grateful at the same time. My luggage had finally caught up with me.

Thankfully I hadn’t taken my shower yet, but when I did, it was the most glorious shower ever; almost as glorious as the brand new clean clothes felt on my skin. When you’ve been in the same clothes for a full day, it’s not fun, but when you’ve been in clothes/boots that have traveled hours in the air, hours in a vehicle and then hours on foot in a tropical location, it’s a lot harder than you’d think to continue enjoying the fact that you’re basically in paradise. Sylvia and I were both so ecstatic, we decided to wander down the road to one of the several restaurants and have a nice dinner to commemorate our first full day in Costa Rica. Well that and to celebrate clean clothes for the rest of the trip. It finally felt like we were on a honeymoon.

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