Thursday, March 31, 2011


the favorite saying here is pura vida . . . the pure life. it translates to 'this is the good life'. everyone is extremely friendly and always willing to strike up a conversation. this town reminds me of lahaina, hawaii, 30 years ago.

yesterday our teacher took us up to the famous montezuma waterfalls. on the trail we came across a clan of white faced monkeys. they played like kittens on the rocks and trees in the river. i got some great photos . . . and then the alpha male came up to me and yelled at me while shaking his tree limb with his hands, so i took his picture too! after that we scurried away. (post script comment . . . after i was able to view these photos on my pc at home i realized the alpha male had a mommie with an infant on her neck. look closely at the monkey on the right)
then we swam in the pool under the waterfall, and joe scrambled up under the falls and jumped off through the water with edgar. boys will be boys.

last night we had a romantic dinner at 'la restaurante de artistas'. we sat on big pillows on the sand and ate at a low table. the theme is mediterranean, with beautiful candles everywhere . . . and a few bugs. we split the fillet mignon, hummus, brochettes, a glass of wine, and a beer, all for 30 dollars. as you can see it's not so cheap here, but considering the excellent quality (grass fed beef) and the romantic atmosphere on the beach it was a good deal.

today we headed back up the waterfall again but this time we walked up the road and went to the top waterfall (there are three) and boy was that spectacular. this time joe and i both jumped off a 20 foot rock into the deep pool. there is simply nothing like hiking through a humid jungle toward the sound of cascading water, and then jumping in cool fresh water. i hope this waterfall is in heaven. afterwards we climbed straight up a wall using roots as hand-holds and foot-holds . . . joe was not impressed. we emerged on top of the cliffs overlooking the end of the peninsula. there is a mango farm there and we tried to snatch a mango, but none were ripe.
back at our hotel is a fresh water pond which spills out to the ocean. it is so incredibly refreshing to dip into right before we head up to our room.

hugs and kisses, heidi and joe

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

arrival in montezuma

hola mis amigos y mi familia tambien,

we made it! joe says to say he is alive and well. he is sitting across the street at his favorite bar having a costa rican beer ¨rock con limon¨. actually i like it too, and i don´t like beer. it tastes like lemonade.

it was your typical red-eye flight. we slept on the floor at the airport in houston. the arrival in costa rica was a bit of a shock. the airport was very nice with awesome shops. a taxi took us to our cute, but dumpy little hotel. it had a clean tiny pool and not so clean tiny room. i folded my blankets over and over again until i could make the bed soft enough, and then i slept on top of them. we walked all over town and ate delicious food.

the drive over the mountains was a scenic four hour trip. we then boarded a ferry to cross the nicoya gulf (an hour and half). very pretty ride with our new friends from the taxi-bus ride over. after another hour and half we arrived in montezuma.

montezuma . . . hmmm. it´s hard to describe this town. it is a hippie town. the locals are not costa ricans for the most part. the common language is spanish but english is almost equal. the town consists of expatriates from everywhere. surprisingly the biggest groups are the italans and the argentinians. in every store and restaurant you hear french, german, italian, english and of course spanish.

at night the heat dies down, and the people come out of the woodwork. tables magically appear with crafts and jewelry. the crafts consist of woodwork and marijuana pipes. the pipes are actually the most interesting. they are all either hand carved from wood or stone, or they are blown glass. the nick-name for this town is montefuma. if you like the ´grateful dead´ and ´bob marley´ you´ll love it here. most of the visitors are here to learn yoga, surfing, fire dancing (poi), or spanish, or just to veg out on the beach.

joe and i are here for the spanish classes, and we lucked out this time. we have our own instructor, edgar. he is actually a tico (name for costa ricans).
yesterday, after 2 hours of class work we did our ´lab´ by walking to a big surfing beach, stopping along the way to cool off in a natural fresh water pool. unfortunately i got heat exhaustion anyway and was sick for the rest of the day. but today is a new day and i feel great. today we went the opposite direction and hung out in the shade on the beach and played trivial pursuit in spanish. i won.

our room at our hotel is an adventure in and of itself. no airconditioning. its over 90 degrees Fahrenheit and close to a 100 % humidity. with two fans directed at our bed and sleeping on top of the sheets (no blankets provided), we made it through the night. almost no stores or restaurants have airconditioning . . . except the internet cafes:) our shower is cold or boiling depending on how many people in the school are taking a shower (at least it's not the dreaded widow-maker type). the kitchen is actually a space on the upper patio that is fenced in by chicken wire to keep the monkeys and other critters out.

i´m running out of time so i will say good bye for now. we love you mom and mom. we are safe and having a wonderful time.

hugs and kisses to all.

Friday, March 25, 2011

We're off on another adventure!

Goodbye friends and family,

We are heading south tonight. We'll catch a midnight flight to San Jose, Costa Rica. Tomorrow we'll settle into our little hotel for one night in Alejuala, near the airport. I suppose we'll walk around until we can find some dinner and then hit the sack because we've got to be up early Sunday morning to catch our school van for the final leg of our journey.

According to the maps we will be climbing up over the volcanic rim of the valley where San Jose is, and down through the rain forest to the port of Puntarenas. There we will cross the Gulf of Nicoya to the Nicoya Peninsula (with our van) on a ferry. Once there we will drive the remainder of the way on questionable roads to the little hippy town of Montezuma.

Montezuma will be home to us for 3 weeks. We will be staying at the school hotel which has a shared kitchen. Each room has it's own bathroom and shower. I'm a little nervous about the showers . . . they are the 'widow-maker' type. We had that type in Guatamala too. The water is heated by electricity through the pipes. If you accidentally touch the shower head while it's wet . . . ZAPPO! Apparently it won't kill you, but I bet the victim let's out a stream of cuss words, as they flounder around.

Our 'home' will be next to a river with several famous waterfalls. We hear that the sounds of the river help drown out the sounds of the partying in town and the Howler Monkeys in the rain forest surrounding our hotel. I'm not sure why they're called Howler Monkeys because they actually growl so loud that they record the howling for scary T-Rex scenes in movies. Wonderful. Yes I've packed my earplugs.

Spanish classes start Monday morning sharp. I'll write as soon as I can find an internet cafe.

Lots of love, Heidi and Joe