First off, sorry I didn't post last week. In preperation for my big trip to Panama I did very little of anything interesting. I did however do as much "white girl" stuff as possible. I went to the only mall in Costa Rica with a Forever 21, Starbucks and a Chili's. Kaitlin and I had a great day and both spent more money than we probably should but it was nice to get to as close to America again as possible.
But now for the real story, last night I arrived back from what can probably be noted as my best vaction ever. Especially my best vacation away from a 4 month long vacation.
Last Sunday we set off in a big turist bus to a remote part of Costa Rica called Tortuguero. Meaning turtle. It's a little water surrounded part of the country that you have to get to by boat. We stayed at the greatest little resort where we had the option of taking a few little tours and extra activities. Although some of them were included I decided to indulge myself with an hour long massage and a sunrise walk to see baby turtles go from the nest back to the ocean. Although the walk resulted in no baby turtles it was wonderful to see the sunrise on the beach even if it was through the uncommon fog of the morning. My massage however was 100% successful. Exactly what I wanted after the last two months of the hardest working out I've done in years and what has been one of the most exciting and stressful semesters I've had thus far.
Early Tuesday morning we began our journey farther south into Panama. The boat out of Tortuguero back to the road took and hour, then our first bus ride was about three. As we reached the border we got a series of stamps and stickers allowing us to enter the country. From there we still had one of the scariest hours on a bus and an addition hour on a boat before we reached our destination in Bocas Del Toro. It's a beautiful island off the northern part of Panama.
Panama resulted in the adventure of a life time. With only being in Panama for a couple hours, we of course decided to go out that evening. We found a little bar and as we were dancing and enjoying a couple of drinks we observed that the bar had a perfect little cut out in the deck that was perfect for swimming. After a little convincing and a bit of liquid courage we jumped in. It turned out to be one of the most fun thinks I've done in college. Swimming and hanging out all night was fun and only slightly disasterous. Almost none of us left that bar with out some sort of cut, either from the barnacles that lived in there or from the sunken ship below us. All completely worth it.
The next day is one for the record books! USAC had planned for us some of the best tours I could have ever dreamed of. We swam next to islands in perfectly clear water and relaxed on the beaches. Unlike most people I can not enjoy snorkling so I just took my chances at seeing fish without having to breath through a stupid little tube. I did pretty well if I say so myself. The day was spent soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the company of some great people.
That night we definitely didn't let go to waste. There was another bar across the water that was the time of our lives. The bar had swings that directly went into the ocean as well as great music and people. The bouncer as we walked in took a great liking to me and right before we left told me that if he saw me again he would marry me. People tend to be very forward down here. We enjoyed the water a lot that night jumping straight out of the swings just as we did as kids. There was often a lot of pushing one another in. Thankfully we had designated our director as the keeper of our things so nothing go stolen. We had also come much more prepared than the night before saving our clothes from getting sopping wet again.
The next day wasn't as exciting as the first as it was very overcast and even rained on us a good part of the day. Making the boat ride not that enjoyable. All of our belongings were soaked so keeping warm was troubling. Thankfully at the end of the day when we stopped at our last location the sun finally came out. Although we had spent most of the day in the water anyway, to stay warm. It was much more enjoyable as soon as the sun came out.
That night was our last in Panama, and since we were exhausted from all of our previous adventures we decided after dinner to call it an early night. In the afternoon we had found a local restaurant called fat boys that specialized in desserts and fresh peanut butter as peanut butter is rare and incredibly expensive down here we took full advantage. We enjoyed our treats on the balcony over our hotel over looking the water. We passed out rather early that evening.
As I don't sleep very well here I woke early and had coffee on the deck just enjoying some alone time, before what turned out to be the longest return trip in history! The main road between the province of Limon to San Jose had been washed out by the rain while we were gone so we had to take an alternative route home. Turning into 13+ hours of traveling yesterday.
Needless to say I was incredibly excited to reach my little room in the city.
We haven't planned where we are going next weekend, but I'm done with weekends in the city so it's off on a new adventure.
I hope you enjoy my pictures!