Monday, January 5, 2015

Exploring Costa Rica, Part two - Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna

Waking up in a total darkness, soon I found my iPhone and turned it on, "wow, it was only 4:55 AM!". So happy that I had a quiet (Last night's rain did not bother me at all), a total restful 7 hours of sleep! Birds already started chirping, humming and even " screaming", yup, all kinds of birds and they, most of they, were so new, so unknown to me. Some people are dreadful when hearing strange sounds, unease when exploring places of unknown, scared of foreigners or exotic food, and even more horrified to learn a new language. But to me, hearing, seeing, exploring, trying and even learning any thing new is a completely mind blowing and mentally challenging! " What does  outside of my habitacion look like?, will I see toucans, any toucan?" I thought  and "how about hummingbird? how many hummingbirds will I see or photograph here?" I found my headlamp from my backpack that was the first thing I packed. If you ever want to explore Costa Rica, you definitely want to bring a good headlamp with you. A flash might do the job. The reason I chose to bring a headlamp in stead of a flash light was that so I can free my hands during my "night hike" :) Let me rephrase, I mean I need to hand held my camera :D . It was still too dark  to explore. So I patiently waited for the dawn.

Carlo's son Alan who speaks some English told me his dad made this farm a paradise! During all these years, he grew variety of plants and fruits. There were nothing here when they  first moved here 24 years ago!

 Do you know Costa Rica does not have address! Even Costa Rica's president Laura Chinchilla (2010 - 2014) one time was asked if she knew what her address was.  She just laughed and said she really doesn't know. Ticos (Costa Ricans call themselves Ticos) use distances from landmark to guide buses, taxi, police and postmen. Because they lack street names and they don't even bother to establish some. But one thing I noticed every where since I've arrived at Costa Rica was this word, "Bienvenido"! Every where is Bienvenido or Bienvenidos. I love this word and this is also the first Spanish word I learned from my Basic Spanish and now I saw it placed just outside my room! I got to snap a shot so I did! You probably have guessed, it means "Welcome". I already fell in love with Costa Rica and I knew it.

I like Tico's relaxed life style and they even put a hammock outside each room. Don't worry, there are more than one hammock. You don't have to fight over one. You can stay inside my hammock because I will be chasing birds and butterflies all day long!

Morning has broken! It was still drizzling before breakfast so I decided to leave my camera inside my room and headed to dining room at 7:30 :)

Carlos, the owner at this eco lodge, showed me the dining room last night with his flash light and I told him I knew where it was ...with my broken Spanish. As the matter of fact I had no idea where the dining room was now so I decided to put on my rain poncho n started to explore a bit. "Maybe I will see some cute Two-toed Sloth!", hoping and dreaming in my head. Intuitively I walked towards a rolling hill, there I saw a free standing yellow building on top of that hill, it was about 300 feet from my room. with an English written sign "Dining room"!Wow I could not believe Carlos put up that sign for me! Silly me, you know I am kidding :) 

Local people love this style of outdoor dining room. Ticos build a rugged dining room with simple material, a kitchen on one side and a huge, spacious, wall-less dining area under a huge tin roof to enjoy nature's everything. My mood was immediately infected by their ways of appreciating nature and wildlife. Alone travelor as I was,  not lonely any more. "Every thing I need is here so close to me, dancing rain, floating butterflies , trembling flowers and indefatigable hummingbirds chasing each other all around me..." I closed my eyes, smiled and wished this moment could imprint inside my mind forever...., Time was not time, time was no longer recognized here. I lost in the ecstasy of my own fantasy. Soon I started noticing something even more amazing (that will be in the Part 3).

Carlos's wife Aneil, who was the wonderful cook,  asked me what do I want for my desayuno ( I love this word, i.e. breakfast). I swear that I told her this "dos toast y uno egg, cafe es bueno"...Photo below was what she made for me, to my surprise, with a large plate of fresh fruit. Lol, I think she made me two eggs with one toast and a pot of freshly brewed Costa Rica coffee! Who care! I am good as long as there is fresh coffee :) These fruit became so much more palatable when Alan told me except for the watermelon, all fruit I had in the morning was from here, grew right here on this fertile land, from this farm I "roosted" my weary body.

Photography is my life. Though it was cloudy and rainy, how can a photographer walk around without a camera? That was the time when my spare camera, my smart phone, came handy! So please be patient with me, most "walking around" photos were taken from my beautiful assistant, iPhone, unless otherwise mentioned.

I sacrificed my binoculars to be my model in the below photo to show you how huge this bromeliad plant is! In USA,bromeliads can grow in a pot, and indoor. Do you see they strive in Costa Rica!

My mother was in a hospital during my field trip. I remembered how much mom loves flowers and I missed her a lot this day and wished she were with me. There are so many different kinds of flowers at Carlo's farm but I knew mom will like this orchid. So I snapped one shot and emailed to her and told her I love her.

To be continued :)

My other adventure stories in Costa Rica:
Exploring Costa Rica, Part 1- Before the trip preparation, books, map, map and driving
Exploring Costa Rica Part 2 - Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna
Exploring Costa Rica, Part 3- Sustainability makes wildlife thrive

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