Sunday, November 7, 2010

Costa Rica Update

After getting stranded in San Jose for two nights instead of making the drive to our villa in Manuel Antonio on the Pacific Coast, we finally arrived in our villa last night. That sentence makes our trip sound much easier than it actually was. But, an adventure isn't truly an adventure until things go awry, not as planned. Garrett, mom, dad and I all arrived in San Jose on Thursday around 3pm. The plan was to spend the night at an eco-friendly hotel in San Jose until the next day, when Vanessa, Sally, Joey, and Anna were arriving from LA. Instead, there was a hurricane that swept through the Pacific and Caribbean islands, which flooded towns and caused roads to collapse. This meant that we had no way to get to Manuel Antonio. After a lot of frustrating phone calls with our host, we finally found out that we could get to the villa after 36 hours of thinking we would never actually arrive at the villa and also not get an entire refund.

We are very grateful that everything worked out. I'm also grateful that everyone is now safe and able to repair their homes. We drove through a really poor town that housed many of the people who worked on the palm tree plantations and all of their houses were under water. It was definitely a sad drive through and we donated some of our clothes to them to help them recuperate from their losses. Our drive was through very winding, mountain roads. Coffee beans are grown on the side of a steep mountain. It is very scary and sad to know that those workers do not get paid much money. It made me feel better that I do not drink coffee. The roads were so bumpy that Vanessa and Garrett both felt nauseous that we had to stop for Ginger Ale at a street mercado.

When we arrived in Manuel Antonio, our driver was told the road was down and we had to wait at the bottom of the mountain road for our host to come pick us up. The adventure just kept getting better and better. Whenever we thought we were close, another curve ball would be thrown our way and we our original plan was thrown out the window as our future was not in our hands. After 4 hours in the car, 1 hour of waiting on a street in Quepos, and switching from one tour van to two random SUVs, we made our way up an old gravel mountain road that had not been used in over twenty years, but was being used since the main road had collapsed due to the five days of rain. We finally arrived at our four-level tree-house style villa at 730pm. We received our tour, put the boys in the crow's nest at the top of the house, and settled into our beds.

Now that you know all the background, you're probably wondering how the heck I am running here. If not, then you don't know that this blog is typically about running. In Manuel Antonio, I am able to run up and down the mountain road. There are several hills that are much steeper and longer than my running legs can handle, so I'm forced to walk. There also are not any sidewalks and ticos drive pretty crazy here, so I need to be very aware of the cars on the road. Fortunately for me, though, the closed mountain road is still accessible for pedestrians, so that means I have an entire mile of road that is free of cars. I've been able to run about 6 miles per day, which is what I had aimed for. I would like to get in more than that, but it's tough on my legs to do so many hills. At least it feels like I'm working out when I'm not actually doing a scheduled workout. My parents have run behind me for each of the runs, so it always helps to have company. We've also been walking at least 3-5 miles a day since the beach is about 1.5 miles away and since we have been walking to the grocery store. We've been a pretty active bunch of people on vacation.

Well, that's all I've got for now. I'll see you all when I get back to the States. Hopefully I'll be in the same running shape as I was before...


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