Our first stop after arriving in Costa Rica was the town on Quepos on the Pacific Coast. We caught a bus from San Jose at the ungodly hour of 6AM, and arrived there just after 9AM after a nice ride. After dropping off our luggage and our first breakfast of Gallo Pinto (rice and beans, very nice), we set off to explore a bit, visiting the local fishing port and wandering around the town. We spent the rest of the day recovering from our two days of travel, and trying to adjust to the heat and humidity, which frankly I welcomed, hoping to erase memories of those -20C nights in Utah.
Over the next three days we checked out some of the local attrations. The beaches and national Park at nearby Manuel Antonio were a big hit. Plenty of people but also plenty of scenery and wildlife. Tana and Zane took a surfing lesson and were quite successful in gettting up on their boards and riding the waves. We visited the park and saw Howler and White-Faced Monkeys, as well as Sloths, Racoons, Iguanas and other lizards. The beach there was also very nice, we parked ourselves in the shade under a tree. Above us in the canopy was a mother sloth with a young baby. Luckily there was no falling sloth poop to report.
On our last day here we engaged in some of the more adventurous activities. The ladies went Horse Riding through the rainforest, and the boys did a "canopy tour" which involved riding ziplines through and above the forest canopy. Some of the lines were about 500 meters long and 100 meters off the ground. It was quite fun and really not too scary. We also saw more monkeys and a hummingbird nest with 2 baby hummingbirds in it, among other things.
We have been practising our Spanish. Sometimes we can even make ourselves understood.
This morning we catch the bus back towards San Jose, where we will begin our two weeks of Spanish Language school tomorrow. Wish us luck!
From the shivering mesas of Utah we proceeded to California for some classic warm and sunny West Coast weather in Santa Barbara, Pasadena, and San Diego. We ran some errands and caught up with as many co-workers, friends and neighbors as we could. As usual there was not enough time to see everyone, so we apologize to those of you we did not see. We also visited our cats, who actually seemed to know who we were even though it has been four years since we left them in Uncle Lane's expert care. Highlights included Sunday afternoon at Cold Springs Tavern with Tom & Kenny (Glenn), Legoland (Zane), and Hanging out with friends (Tana). We also ate and drank too much (no surprise there). The ever-popular Cajun Kitchen wins with 4 visits in just under two weeks. The weather was true to form and it was great to wear shorts again. We knew it was time to go when the rains began to roll in. Our last full day involved driving from San Diego to Los Angeles, through some of the most intense rain we have experienced. We left Legoland when the park was closed due to rain, and even 30MPH on the highway seemed a bit fast for the conditions. We passed through the storm without incident and arrived in Los Angeles to clear skies. Many thanks to all of our hosts for your great hospitality!!! No photos from California, as I gave the camera some time off.
Happy New Year Everyone! Hope your holidays were great and 2010 will be kind to you and your families!
For the holidays it was off to the homestead in Castle Valley (Caboose, Love Shack, and Barn) Utah where we celebrated a wintry Christmas with family and caught up with neighbors and friends. Oh yeah, do not forget the Turducken for Christmas Dinner! (and the Eggnog, and the Whiskey Sours, and the Margaritas, and - well, you get the picture)
We had never spent any real time here in the middle of winter before, and wintry it was. We "enjoyed" snow and very cold temps (lows of -20C/-14F, highs of -12C/ 10F). It was very beautiful with snow on the red rocks. The herd of Bighorn Sheep we saw along the Colorado River was a nice bons as well.
In spite of the temperatures (it's a dry cold), we took advantage of the calm and sunny days and managed to get in a few hikes and even some sledding. (Thanks to Mitch and Tory for that!) Otherwise we sat around eating and drinking too much.
We also squeezed in a brief jaunt to Glenwood Springs Colorado to meet friends and soaked in the outdoor hot pools as thick clouds of steam swirled around us. Also, we ate too much there as well (this is becoming a theme, no?)
Next stop, California - hoping for warmer weather!