I have caught the travel bug. Sigh. I cannot complain though. To have the opportunity to travel to places I have read about is a privilege. I don’t take it for granted. Mbanu!
PS. I am trying to choose between Malaysia and the Philippines for my next trip. Suggestions, advice, tips are very welcome.
In the meanwhile, Pura Vida baby.
In Costa Rica, dawn comes early, earlier than in any place I have ever been. By 4am, the sun has already begun its ascent and the mountains are ready for a new day.
The flight from New York is short and uneventful. Just how I like them. But yes, I will NEVER fly Spirit Airlines again. No matter how much my Ijesha genes contest this. It won’t happen.
San Jose is warm. I was wearing a hoodie (the uniform of American travelers) in NYC. I take it off immediately I land. The immigrations lady is warm and smiles at me as she makes an effort to pronounce my name correctly. I already know it is going to be a great trip.
In Cuba, people were so warm and I thought it was because they have stayed so untouched by the rest of us. I am used to people being warm. I lived in Toronto for a year for heaven’s sakes. Torontonians taught me it was okay for city people to be kind. A lot of Canadians flock to Cuba in winter months but they are only a fraction of why I felt so accepted, so at home in Cuba.
In Costa Rica, the people were even warmer. I was kissed soundly and hugged enough to last me a year in NYC. . Not one person was rude to me during my time in Costa Rica. Not one person did I smile at that didn’t smile back. Not one person caught my eye for longer than a few seconds and didn’t say “Bella” or “lindo’. I felt beautiful in Costa Rica. In ways I have never felt in the US or Canada. In ways Nigeria…okay we won’t go there.
I tried to see as much as possible in less than a week. It was impossible. Bridges, dams, mountains, valleys, rivers, volcanoes, forests, plantations, beaches, waterfalls…these are a few of the things I was so very blessed to have seen.
It is hard to take a bad photo in Costa Rica. I was laughing so much all the time, I was so relaxed… All the tenseness and cold of NYC a distant memory…
It is also really hard to pick a favorite story from my time in Costa Rica but this one is top three:
On our 4th day, I and my friend went to Arenal Volcano/La Fortuna. While the sight of the active volcano was simply breathtaking, it was La Fortuna that tore me all up inside.
At first glance, I almost dropped to my knees and lifted my hands in worship. A waterfall, so close to the volcano, surrounded by forests so that it seemed like its source would always remain a secret to man. Phew! I climbed the many steps down to swim in a waterfall for the first time in my life. If I never work out again after all that walking in CR, I will be okay. The pool the waterfall formed was breathtaking; cold at first and then perfect. I got out of my clothes faster than any man can make me (he he he). I screamed, I laughed, I danced with my friend and strangers. No matter what happens in this life, I will never forget the feeling of that waterfall. Just like I will never forget the entire trip.
We were one of the last ones to leave. With us was this family; the parents and their son and daughter. The girl couldn’t have been more than 5, the boy, maybe 3 or even 2. Yet they could speak three languages- French, Spanish and English. They gave me parenting goals, let me tell you. They ended up giving us a ride to our hotel and telling us their story.
12 years ago, while backpacking separately as young people from different countries, a beautiful French girl met a handsome Mexican boy and they fell in love in the mountains of Costa Rica. 12 years and two babies later, they were returning for the first time to the place where it all started.
We made new friends from all over the world; Australia, France, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and of course the Americans. And that for me was the best part and made it worth every penny.
One word to describe Costa Rica then? ‘Eden’. I found Adam and Eve after all, with their Seths. So ‘Eden’.
Song of the Day: The Calling – Wherever You Will Go