Tuesday, April 21, 2009

No me gusta saltar de bungee

I know, I know...it´s been a while since my last post, but sometimes I have to actually be doing the things so I can then tell stories about them; and sometimes the free internet at the hotel is slower than turtles making babies (which is incredibly slow and this conversation topic has actually come up several times in the last few days. I happen to be a wealth of information about it because one time at the zoo Grace and I saw it happening - my friend Danielle actually has a picture of it- (ask me if interested)). Anyway, the point is that it´s really slow so now is the first time I could write.
Here´s a bit of information that will GREATLY help you if you ever come across this situation: The equatorial sun at noon can burn right through abundantly applied SPF 45 sunblock. So Christian and I got burnt to a crisp our last day in Bluefields because we went out to Rama Cay, which is this little island just a short panga ride from Bluefields that looks like a scene out of Mad Max. We walked across the island from the panga on this weedy, overgrown road, to get to the beach. There were people along the side of the road under these little thatch-roofed, bamboo lean-tos who were breaking up rocks into gravel. Yes, it´s true. Don´t ask me why, by apparently a job there is to break up medium-sized rocks into small rocks. So then we went to the beach and swam in this really warm, perfect Carribean ocean for a few hours to celebrate our last day in Bluefields. We´d had to move out of the BlueEnergy house that morning because it was filling back up with the people that are supposed to be staying there (fair enough). We spent a rough night in the nastiest hotel we´ve stayed in yet (it´s one of those situations where you have to be there to see how nasty it is), and Christian had a little run-in with a prostitute, but we escaped with our lives and belongings and got the boat the next morning at 5:30am. We were supposed to make it back to San Jose in 1 day, but ended up staying the night in Managua because of buses not running. The place was like paradise! I took a shower with (cold) water coming from a real pipe over my head! No more bucket baths for us, guys! We´re high on the hog these days! Also there was this restaurant that had whole meals without either rice or beans! That is the first one the whole trip! So after a luxurious night with 2 fans and tv in English with Spanish subtitles, we had recovered our sensibilities and headed to San Jose. It is amazing how much healthier everything is here compared to Nicaragua. The people, the animals, the landscape, everything. It´s just very obvious how much more money this economy has than apparently the rest of Central America.
After a cushy busride in a giant tourbus where our knees actually fit behind the seats and a rude reminder that we weren´t in Nicaragua anyomre when we tried to get a lunch and it was $8 each, which is appalling, we arrived in San Jose. We stayed at the Hostel Galileo. Everyone working there was awesome (although I´m not afraid to say they had some of the worst cases of hostel feet I´ve seen on our trip...hostel feet are feet so completely filthy on the bottom you can´t really see the skin. It´s from walking around barefoot at a hostel, and around there it might be a badge of honor) and we had many fascinating conversations including internet look-ups to support theories (did you know there is a guy who used silver cadmium to cure a skin condition and now all the skin on his whole body is blue for the rest of his life? It´s true. There are also wolfmen with hair over their entire bodies and a woman with 6, 050 piercings over her whole body). We also learned about the application of the whole "Pura Vida" philosophy which is the motto of Costa Rica. You might think it means Pure Life or something equally as inspiring, but from the point of view of a business owner (specifically the 24yr old American couple that owns the hostel where we stayed), it means that when you have a plumbing issue the plumber will come 12 hours late and then make the problem worse by busting a pipe, thus dumping shitty water between your first and second floors, but "oh well, pura vida". It´s a fantastic place, though, when you´re not tring to get anything done. Now it´s like a joke to them and every time someone begs for money they apparently scream Pura Vida! at them.
But I digress. We came back to Costa Rica to get Laura, who is visiting for a week and is without a doubt one of my favorite people in the world. We agreed to give up our Viajero (traveler) status for a week and become tourists with her. We picked her up from the airport on Friday and, not having a plan from there, we set about waiting for a great plan to inspire us about where we should go. We didn´t have to wait long because there were 2 people, Matt and Dilia, stopping through the hotel who were renting a car the next day to go to a "rave" in Puntarenas the next night. Puntarenas, you may recall from an earlier post, is the little port town that smells like pee and has the ferry to the Nicoya Penninsula. We also realized that the days of raves are long over, but maybe they were still big in Central America, right? Anyway, what else were we going to do?
After a 6 hour delay (Pura Vida, right?), we were off like a herd of turtles to a "rave". So on the way to Puntarenas, Matt was saying how there was bungee jumping that we were going to pass right by. He´d taken Dilia the day before, and we could go if we wanted. We debated for about 2 seconds and decided that of course we wanted to jump off a 265ft bridge (apparently the biggest in Central America) into a canyon with a rock-filled river at the bottom. So Christian went first and gracefully just fell into oblivion with no problems. I was supposed to go next but after looking down, and crying, I decided Laura should go next. She held the guy´s hands and fell backwards, and of course loved it. I´m getting progressively more scared the whole time, and I will not even pretend I was tough because the whole scene is probably on the DVD that they gave me. I cried the whole time: I cried before I went, I cried on the platform, I held the guy´s hands and fell backwards into nothing with only a rubber rope tied to my feet and crying the whole way. I cried when they were pulling me back up, and I cried quietly in the car for at least the next hour, not talking to anyone. I do not like bungee jumping. I do not like it, not one little bit. Í am apparently the only one anyone has ever met that doesn´t, but I make no apologies.
So by the time we got to Puntarenas I had recovered my mood and senses and we ended up going swimming in this wonderful, warm pool, then went to this party where we were the only gringos, but everyone was cool and we had a great time. We ended the night by skinny dipping in the ocean and then went to bed right at dawn. After breakfast the next morning we said tearful goodbyes to Matt and Dilia, and Christian, Laura and I went on our way.

1 comment:

  1. I cannot stop laughing at the bungee cord story. Hilarious. Also, please don't let Christian jump off any more bridges. Thanks.



Chuchi - this is probably my new most popular word. It means snobby or fancy, but is used in the Peace Corps as anything nicer than dirt roads and shacks, or for a person, anyone who showers with hot water. Living in the city, I am super chuchi for here.

Fuerte - literally means strong, but because the culture is based on talking around everything, it´s when a person says anything they want in a direct way - it means asshole

Puede ser and otro dia - literally means "could be" or "another day", but because noone will directly blow someone off, both of them mean "never" and are the answer to a question of when something will happen

Deseas, en tus sueños, Que Arriba Perra/o and Es lo qué es - these are the terrible translations of American sayings that are not used here and don´t really translate, but we say them anyway. Literally they mean "you wish", "in your dreams", "What´s up bitch/dog?" and "it is what it is"

Qué guapa - this means "what a hard worker" and is used by Paraguayans every time I do ANYTHING manual, including carrying a dish to the sink or sweeping out my room. I don´t think they have high expectations for Americans and work.

Saludos - sending saludos by way of a mutual friend is how people tell each other they have a crush on them. The most serious kinds are given with a pinch on the arm and they mean business.

Thumbs up - this is done everywhere here and is a simple answer to pretty much any question. I will probably have carpal tunel in my thumbs when I leave here because I do this so much.

No se como comer esta - this is how one refuses food in Paraguay. Literally, it´s "I don´t know how to eat this" which creates an internal struggle for me each time it´s said because I want to be a smartass and explain that, just like any other food, you put in in your mouth and chew, but I don´t think that´s acceptable here.

No Más and Un poco - this is said after almost every phrase for no real reason other than to make everything sound like it´s not a big deal, even when it really is. Literally, it´s "No More" and "A Little", so the translations are something like "Sit down no more", "Come here a little", and "Do you want dinner no more?"

Cocido - this is a hot drink mixed by carmellizing sugar with a little yerba, adding just enough water to wet it, and then adding more sugar. It´s served by the thermos-full just before bed.

Mosto - this is to sugar what crack is to cocaine. It´s a "tradional" drink capable of putting even the sweetest tooth into a diabetic coma, and is served continuously at fun gatherings like funerals.

Ch-ch-ch-ch - this is the sound Paraguayans make to get each others´attention - like "Psst" . It´s especially used for catcalling, and they have nothing to follow it with - they just want you to look.