Thursday, February 12, 2009

February can suck it.

So I've been meaning to post, but life has been so crazy here; you know, here, in Pura Vida Costa Rica, life has been hectic.
And it's all been fantastic.

So I've never really thought of myself as the "beachy" type, you know? My beaches aren't Southern California beaches, and the culture that gathers at the beach is so different. I love going to Ocean Beach in San Fracisco in my jeans and sweatshirt to walk along the water or picnic or play frisbee and take pictures, or even just to sit and people watch. Rarely do I go in a bathing suit. I mean, it happens occasionally in the summer time, but in college, when I started hanging out with kids from San Diego and LA, I realized just how different our beaches are. They are "beachy." When they go to the beach, it's always and often and they have their routine down. For me, it's just exciting to go. So not growing up the sterotypical California beach girl, I guess I never thought I would be the type for tropical adventures either. I never yearned for Hawaii, never thought of the Carribbean.

...And yet, somehow I ended up spending a semester in Costa Rica...

And so far, it's been the best decision I've made. In two short weeks, (that somehow feel so much longer) the name Costa Rica has even taken on a different meaning for me. I feel that in the US it's entirely synonomous with vacation. I don't know if I ever really took it seriously until I got here.
It's an interesting experience to live in a country that is viewed as completley temporary due to it's vacation destination status. And its interesting to watch Costa Rica struggle to promote it's eco-friendly aspects to seperate itself from the rest of the summer hot spots. I'm failing to articulate it right now, but I'm sure as the months roll on, I'll be able to better describe how much MORE Costa Rica is, and how much the name has come to mean to me.
I just already feel so at home.

Last weekend we went to the beach for the first time since our arrival. We chose Playa Jacó as our first destination - the nationally renowned "ugly beach." Thank god we started there, because it was so beautiful, that I'm almost scared to see what the more amazing beaches are like. But I think it's good that we started low, that allows us to build with the least amount of potential disappointment.
It was every cliche, but also so much more.
We walked up to the hotel which was essentially a row of rooms attatched to an outdoor bar where, even at 10 in the morning, the old farts were already out drinking and leering, their occasional tropical shirts never enough to hide the sunburnt leather they passed off as skin, and their fake Spanish worsened only by their ugly American accents.
But drop the bags and hit the white sand beach. Palm trees swaying and the sky was bluer than ever. The water stretched out crystal clear and the waves crashed in brilliant explosions of white. And after a day and a half soaking up the sun and enjoying the warm water, we became brilliant explosions of red.

It was hot during the day and warm at night. The kind of weather where you only want to wear white cotton and flipflops. The kind of weather where a popsicle or ice water is the equivalent to a gift from God. The kind of weather where you think to yourself, "And to think, it's FEBRUARY." And then you think "Haha! February can suck it!"

Yea. And it gets better. At nightfall we wandered downtown and into some sort of fair or festival. A maze of booths were set up in the square where artisans displayed their handiwork, urging you earnestly to purcase their many wares. In the background a guy plucked and tuned a guitar on a half-lit stage. The bounce-house on the perimeter did little to keep the kids from racing around underfoot, and everywhere it was warm.

After a quick drink in the park that too some of us back to highschool days, we ended up at the "grand opening" of a local club. And lets just say, we are TOTALLY responsible for all future sucess. We literally got the party started and danced the night away. We found out later that it was not, in fact, the grand opening and had actually been popular for a long time. This somewhat diminishes our claim to their success.

Long story short: Great weekend. Beautiful Beach. I finally understand why cliches are cliches. Also, I have finally started to peel. Just in time for this weekend!!! (Don't worry, we're going coffee tasting? I'm hoping there won't be much sunburning involved...)


Mary said...

OOOOH I wish I was there! Good thing you started with Playa Jaco... If you go to the beach again go to Mal Pais on the Nicoya Peninsula.. LOTS of young people, totally opposite of Jaco from what I can tell.. There is a hostel there, and lots of surfers, male and female... Have fun! Pura vida!

Heidi Fuller said...

I saw pictures on facebook. There was sand. There was surf. There was horizon. Where was the ugly? I'm amused by your beach perspective; I keep forgetting how Northern California shapes yours and Malcolm's experiences so differently than Cape Cod shaped mine.