At 8am this morning, I left Jaco, the busy, noisy “Daytona” of Costa Rica.
I hopped in a motor boat taxi, sped across the Nicoya Gulf and by 10:30am I was taking a dip in my hotel pool at Playa de Montezuma. It was an easy commute except for the all-too-common need for a sports bra while cruising through the choppy seas of the Pacific. Also, it was the first time on the trip that I had to hoist my backpack/suitcase with wheels actually onto my back. The reason? We actually had to wade into the ocean with our bags to get on board one boat and then climb into a second boat about 50 yards out to sea—I’m guessing the waves were crashing too much for the boat taxi to come ashore. And of course there was no dock. For awhile, I was second guessing this large purchase wondering if I should’ve just brought my regular rolling small suitcase. At least this confirmed the need for this huge backpack.
Our dinghy wasn’t much bigger than the first boat. It held all our bags, three crew muchachos, and four passengers—a couple from my home state of New Jersey and another solo traveling girl from Big Sky, Montana. The one hour ride over to the other coast was a little bumpy, but the breeze was a welcome change from the hot, stagnant air.
So now, I’m lazing about at the pool at my hotel in Montezuma. This tiny beach town at the southern tip of the Nicoya peninsula has a funky laid back vibe. Apparently it has seen its hippie/artist times and now attracts Euro backpackers, vegetarian rasta types, and even UFO seekers! The beach stretches for miles and is virtually deserted—especially now in the low season. My hotel, Hotel Los Mangos, is just a few minutes walk from the center of town down a bumpy dirt road. It appropriately sits underneath dozens of mango trees. There are several private ‘bungalow’ rooms sprinkled through the property. I have a tiny colorful room in the main building of blues and yellows and share the bathroom just outside with one other room for just $20 a night. There is a porch in front of the rooms with rocking chairs that are great for sitting in to watch the surf below and pelicans soar above and cool off with the ocean breezes.
The best part is the pool. It is up on a hill where you can see the ocean and towered over by palm trees. It is surrounded by stone and even has a waterfall going into it, which gives it a very natural feel.
This town is very relaxed and a very good place for me to catch up on some reading and writing. It’s funny how little I have to worry about now compared to back home in ‘real life.’ I really want to appreciate this. At home I had my job and all its daily responsibilities, plus my other job teaching part time at Columbia College. I had my condo to pay for and worry about plus my other condo which I leased out to renters. I had my cat to take care of plus constant relationship issues and all around other responsibilities and ‘to do list crap.’ Here my job is to figure out how to get from one place to another, find food, find lodging and take in all there is to see and learn. That’s it. Oh—and the packing and unpacking is already becoming quite tedious, but I’m trying to look at it as one small task that’s just part of my new existence.
So here I am, finally relaxing at the pool. Sometimes I have trouble relaxing. I’m so used to always going and going that I get bored very easily when there’s nothing to do. Here in Montezuma it’s super relaxed and I laid at the pool for hours trying to let go of my inner anal, tightly wound self. I felt good doing nothing and thought I was slowly accepting ‘doing nothing’ UNTIL I came back to my new cute room to find big nasty ants crawling in my bag and all over the walls. Yuck! One thing I hate is bugs. Just one is enough to send me into a tizzy, but they were everywhere. I literally killed about 15 or so until I went to the reception desk across the grounds. In broken Spanish, I managed to communicate my problem and walked away with a can of bug spray to eradicate these ‘hormigas.’ Well, it temporarily killed some, but that didn’t stop them from continuing to come in from cracks in the ceiling. In the room next to mine, two girls from California said they have ants too and it’s just from all the trees and stuff. “That’s why we have these,” said one brunette as she pointed to their mosquito nets.
So here I was all relaxed and happy with this hotel after a nasty one in Jaco last night and now I can’t stop scanning the walls for movement. Great. How am I going to sleep now? I took the can of ‘raid-ito’ and literally sprayed the perimeter of my bed and also made a line around my big backpack–kinda like you would find at a murder scene. My pack was on the floor because, like in most places I’ve stayed, the furniture is sparse or non-existent in these rooms. As I write this, I’ve killed about 8 more ants. This sucks and now I’m completely un-relaxed. I don’t think I will learn to love bugs on this trip—I just don’t think this is possible to change. And now they will probably will be crawling over me as I sleep. Fun.
After a restless, hot, itchy night I awoke this morning to hear the cleaning lady next door. In Español, I asked to change my room to the one she just cleaned.
“Quiero cambiar mi cuarto porque hay muchas hormigas y no me gusta insectos. Esta bien?”
My new room actually has an ocean view (and therefore ocean breeze—which in this heat is more important). I don’t know if it will be any better, but it can’t be any worse… I hope.