Days 10-14 – 8 May – a whole week in Samara

May 9, 2010 6pm in 2010 trip,Costa Rica,None,Samara Beach,Travel | Comments (4)

Since so much was happening this week, I’ve got a whole week in one blog entry! It’s very long.

4 MAY Tuesday
It’s 9pm on Tuesday and the power went out about 90 minutes ago now, I thought it was worth trying to sleep but it’s not gonna happen! No lights means no electricity and no electricity means no fan. And no fan means no escape from the 100 degree heat. At least with the loud fan on I can get some sleep.

You know that when the lightning and thunder gets to a certain point that usually the power’s going to go out. The rain’s eased off and I can hear myself think again, so the power and the fan coming back on can’t be too far off surely.

I keep seeing these little flying lights around, I’m not sure exactly what they are but they must be some sort of flying glow-worm. It’s like it’s a little moth or something with a little green light bulb attached to its tail. Well that’s what I assume – I can’t actually see what it is because it’s dark when they turn up.

Tomorrow a couple from the school are going to rent kayaks and go out to the island that you can see from the school. They’ve invited me to go with them and I’d love to except they’re super fit people who recently swum for 1 hour 30 mins and I’m worried I won’t be able to keep up with them.

Also today one of the guys from the school, Arthur, asked me if I wanted to go play videogames with him tomorrow. There’s a “shop” here where you can go in, pick a movie and watch it on one of their televisions. They also have playstation 3s and Nintendo Wiis. I haven’t been in yet but might be going in tomorrow it seems. Arthur’s a lovely guy but his Spanish is more advanced than mine and his first language is French so his Spanish has a real French twang to it so communicating is a bit difficult.

Alright, it’s 9:21 and the fan and lights came back on! Now it’s time to find out if that cockroach I could see climbing down the wall got into my clothes. Hmm, can’t see the cockroach, but I can see a big hory spider. Lovely.

5 MAY Wednesday
Today I went on another bike ride, this one wasn’t a guided tour, instead it was just an impromptu ride with two other guys from the school. We went to the same beach that we tried to get to last time but failed. This time it was okay, the rain wasn’t so bad.

Arthur Tomas

The guy on the left is Arthur from France and the guy on the right is Tomas from Switzerland. There’s a surprising number of people here from Switzerland, France, Germany and Austria.

We biked down the beach after crossing a river, and it was very empty although there was a surf school seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Right at the end of the beach there was a road which I assumed was the road we tried and failed to negotiate on bikes last week. A guy on a motorbike came down the road and we noticed the bike was clean so we figured the road can’t have been too bad and I even got up the courage to ask him if it was possible to negotiate the road by bike, and I even understood the answer (for the most part).

We're awesome Monkey in a tree

On the way back we saw monkeys in the trees, the first time I’d seen them since I got here – apparently before the rain started, you could see them everywhere because there were no leaves in the brown trees. I only managed to take one semi-decent photo, but you can see the mum with her baby on her back.

We stopped at a bar located out in the boondocks on the way home and had an Imperial (the local beer) then went back to Samara and had a few more beers right on the beach, which I never tire of.

6 MAY Thursday
We were told today that the water was going off at midday, although I couldn’t quite understand the rest of what my host father was saying. Apparently we have to shower this morning because the water is supposed to be off until the end of Friday. Gah.

Tonight five of us took a trip to Playa Ostional because there are giant turtles there laying eggs. We went at night because there wasn’t a chance to see them during the day without missing class – unfortunately that meant we weren’t allowed to take photos because the turtles don’t like lights at night. But, it looked kind of like the photos you can see on this page.

It was really amazing, we watched one turtle dig a big hole, lay about 50 or so eggs and then cover it up again. It would then make an effort to camouflage the nest, and then it would bugger off back to the sea. It did a real good job of disguising where it dug the hole, because you couldn’t even see it after it had covered it up again and gone.

The two guides had tiny little red flashlights which weren’t much use, and as is the style in Costa Rica, if the guides saw any of the locals that they knew, they would just stop what they were doing and have a chat for a bit while we stood there in the pitch black saying to ourselves “umm, can we have the flashlight back please?”

In fact, that applies to driving as well, whether it’s taxis, buses, guides, or the people in general, if they see someone they know (which is very common in this small town) they’ll just stop whatever they’re doing (stop the car if they’re driving) and have a chat. Very friendly, but not what we’re used to when they’re supposed to be providing a service!

We got back at about 10:30pm and it was straight over to Ladies’ Night at Tabenuco’s bar, which is the closest bar to the school and has plenty of seats on the beach, and local beers for 1000 colones (£1.50). It was a good night, apparently it’s very busy every Thursday with Ladies’ Night.

One thing I’ve noticed a lot in my time here, but really stood out tonight, is that you really often see a hot local guy “a Tico” with a hot white girlfriend, but you never ever see the reverse – there is never a hot local girl “Tica” with a hot white guy. The logical part of me can process that, but the mathematical part of me tells me that something doesn’t quite add up here.

7 MAY Friday
Today I finally got a chance to go kayaking, something I can’t believe it took me two weeks to do. It didn’t quite go as well as I hoped, but was still fun! I put on a lot of sunscreen for the trip, but because it was a bazillion degrees, the sweat started coming and meant that the sunscreen melted into my eyes, and being in the middle of the ocean on a kayak, there was nothing to wipe them with, so I had stinging eyes for the first half of the trip.

We went ashore wherever we were – I saw a sign that said Playa Samara Sur (South) so we can’t have gone too far – and asked some kind people that spoke english for some tissues to wipe my eyes. Being able to see again made the trip back to Samara much more fun!

I went out with Angela and Mike, an older couple who had their own kayak. Because there’s only the beach – no harbour – you have to navigate the waves with your kayak, and they fell out on the way out when a big wave tipped over the kayak, so their kayak was filled with water for a lot of the trip. I fell out when I got back, a big wave tipped me out just as I came near the waves, but that was fine because I was back on the beach!

Out in the ocean would have been the perfect place to take photos, but the kayak is not the best place to have a camera (lucky I didn’t take it since my kayak capsized).

I got back to my house after kayaking and there was a cockroach on my bed – lovely. I managed to not care about them up until now but that before there was a cockroach actually on the bed. Later on in the night I saw my host mum with cockroach spray and I mentioned casually that I saw one on the bed. Well, she called her daughter over and they turned the room upside down and pulled the bed apart trying to find it. When they failed, she told me about how she really hates cockroaches.

One really sucky part about Friday is that for many people, it’s their last day at the school. Today I had to say bye to Angela and Mike and also Arthur who are leaving at the end of the weekend, who have been my best friends while I’ve been here. Mike’s the older guy who was on the first bike tour last week. It’s usually easy enough to make new friends when the new people come in on Monday but it’s still sad to see your new friends go.

Tonight we watched a movie (Fool’s Gold) but it had to be in English because we couldn’t get the remote to work. After a while we realised we were trying a Panasonic DVD remote on a Sony player, and we couldn’t find the Sony remote. Then, it was a girl’s 20th birthday so we went to Tabenuco’s again. Three nights going out in a row, I’m getting too old for this! Although since I realised that I’ve hardly spent any of my spending money, I bought a variety of cocktails from the cocktail menu. One was called a Samara and was blue and smelled like meat, and another had coconut and actual blended ice-cream and was quite possibly the best drink ever invented.

While we were out, Arthur said that there’s no way I look 30, I look more his age. And since he’s 18, he immediately became my new best friend. But then he said that I’m starting to get an English accent, so now he’s no longer my best friend.

8 MAY Saturday
Arthur and I went to Nicoya today on the bus, it’s the closest place to Samara with any sort of population – to me it seemed a bit bigger than Te Awamutu but Wikipedia tells me that it’s double the size. We were due to catch the 10 oclock bus, but then Arthur’s chain on his bike came off (for about the millionth time) on the way to the bus stop and we got there at 10:08, only to find that once again the official bus timetable doesn’t match what was in our guidebook and we were there almost 40 minutes late. The next bus was not for 80-something minutes, so we had a long wait ahead.

I got a bit stressed in Nicoya because I hadn’t learned the Spanish words associated with shopping – for example, when I wanted to ask the shop assistant if I could try some clothes on, I was using the word “to try” as in “to attempt something” instead of “try on”, so I was actually asking her if I could attempt the clothes. Of course, I was met with blank stares.

Then, the bus back was completely full. I’m pretty sure that there are only two obese women in the whole of Costa Rica (seriously, everyone’s so fit here), and they were both on that bus. One woman stood in the aisle right beside me with her massive stomach pressing up against me for a while, and the buses are not known for their spaciousness. She got off quite soon luckily, but then the other obese woman ended up beside me, facing the other way so her bum was in my space for the rest of the trip!

I mentioned the other day that the water went off, well today it’s still not back on, and I don’t really know why. Couple that with the fact that it’s now a gazillion degrees (officially several orders of magnitude than a bazillion) and you have the recipe for a not very pleasant day. It also didn’t help my stress levels in Nicoya.

It was hard enough dealing with no hot water in the shower, but now there’s no shower full stop. We have a massive bucket of cold water in each shower which we need to fill the toilet with each time, and also we have to shower ourselves with it by pouring the water manually over ourselves. I’m not sure how much longer this water is going to last, but it’s affecting the whole street so hopefully it won’t last much longer. Someone else in the street who speaks English told me that it won’t be back on for another 2 or 3 days.

There’s something a bit messed up with the mobile phone system here. There’s no mobile reception in my house but if you’re lucky there’s some at the school. However, the system can’t seem to work out when it’s successfully delivered a message, so every time I go into the school (and back into cellphone reception), I get the same text message from Mum that reads “Yes. No meetings today and working from home”. I’ve received that message 10 times now.

I’m not going out tonight! Three nights in a row is enough. I had a good night tonight with my host family, I was in the Spanish speaking mood and my host mum was not in her “talking at 100 miles an hour” mood, so we had a big chat about all sorts of things. And her daughter taught me the spanish word for “farts”, so that was awesome.

The daughter said something funny tonight, she’s learning some real basic phrases in English and French – these were her pretty much her exact words, keeping in mind she can only speak Spanish:

“Yo sé como decir ‘me llamo Carolina’ en Francais, es ‘How are you?’”

which translates as

“I know how to say ‘My name is Carolina’ in French, it’s ‘[said in English] How are you?’”

I think she got her foreign phrases mixed up there! Hmm, that was surprisingly hard to explain if you don’t know Spanish.

Hopefully tomorrow is my “day of exploring and taking photos of everything”, which it will be unless some sort of get-together comes up, which it almost certainly will.

4 Responses to “Days 10-14 – 8 May – a whole week in Samara”

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  1. Comment by Hannah — May 9, 2010 6pm  

    Sounds fun! Except for the no water thing and the cocktail that smelt like meat.

  2. Comment by Katrina — May 10, 2010 2am  

    FIREFLIES! The flying glow worms are fireflies! :)

  3. Comment by Non geek — May 14, 2010 12am  

    Cockroaches and spiders!

  4. Comment by matt — May 14, 2010 9pm  

    At least since my host mum turned the bedroom upside down and sprayed everywhere for cockroaches, I have not seen another cockroach or spider. Good times.

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