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Monteverde, Costa Rica

January 26th, 2006

My program has arranged for our group to spend a week of our orientation in Monteverde which is much more rural than Heredia. It took about 4 hours to get here by bus, mostly because the roads are rough and driving is slow going. But, it was worth every bumpy minute, because it is spectacular here!

We’re attending classes at the Monteverde Institute, and living with a new family for the week that we’re here. The closest town is Cerro Plano, which is a very small rural town. The town really consists of one street, along which there are a few hotels and restaurants. It’s about a 20 minute walk from Santa Elena, which is a small town that is only slightly bigger than Cerro Plano.

I love it here! The town is nestled amoung beautiful rich rolling hills, and has some of the most spectular sunsets I’ve ever seen. Everything has a small town feel, and all the pepople here know each other by name. The Ticos here are especially nice, and life runs at a much slower pace than in Heredia. Many of the other students in my group prefer Heredia, because there is more to do. I, however, am a country person at heart and fit in really well here.

There is a pretty booming (relatively) tourist industry here, and there are almost as many Gringos as Ticos. There is plenty to do in the way of nature walks, but not much of a night life.

Yesterday we went on a skywalk, which consists of walking through rainforests on suspended bridges. It was very beautiful, and we had a guide who was very friendly and knowledgable about the flora and fauna. We took a guided tour through a cloud forest today, which was also a lot of fun. The tour through the cloud forest reserve was much longer, and I would only recommend it for those who can walk uphill for more than 2 hours. I thought the latter tour was more interesting than the first, mostly because it was longer and we saw more of the forest. We spotted a lot of birds, including the endangered Queztals (sp?) and various different types of wrens and hummingbirds.

If you’re thinking about coming to Monteverde, I would certianly encourage you to do so, and I have three tips:

1. Bring a raincoat! There are only two seasons here, rainy and windy. It’s the windy season right now, and it still rains at least once a day.

2. Because of the above mentioned rain, bring more than one pair of shoes, and be sure to include at least one pair of hiking boots.

3. Be sure to take the time to stop and talk to the locals here. They are very knowledegable about the area, and love to talk about their culture. Many of them speak English if you need it (especially those who are younger), and if you are trying to improve your Spanish they will take the time to slow down their Spanish and help you with the words you need.

We are going back to Heredia on Monday, so hopefully I’ll be able to post a link for pictures of both Heredia and Monteverde then. Until then Pura Vida!

My New Family

January 26th, 2006

My new family is so nice! I have two parents, whom I call Don Edwin and Doña María. I also have a 23 -year old sister named Rocío and a 14 -year old brother named Roberto.
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Costa Rica Restaurant Review

January 26th, 2006

As anyone who knows me is likely to verify… I like to eat! Occasionally, you can find a comment someone has made about a restaurant they liked (or hated) in Costa Rica, but until now, there has been no central repository of information, recommendations or general commentary on where to get a good meal in Costa Rica. I am going to TRY to change that!
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I Have Arrived!

January 26th, 2006

I have arrived in Costa Rica and it´s beautiful! We stayed in at hotel called Bougainvilla our first night, and it was great. They had a wonderful garden, and good food. I would recommend it to anyone who asked.

I came to Heredia yesterday and met my Tico family, and they are very nice. I have two parents, a sister, and a brother. They are very understanding and patient with my awful spanish. They even tell me it´s pretty good, although I can tell they’re just being polite.

I started to pick some classes today, and I will find out Friday which classes I´m actually in. We are finishing out the week in Heredia, and then we are headed to Monteverde for a week of fun.

This is what I´ve learned so far:

The driving here is crazy! Everyone honks all the time, there aren´t any visible lines on the streets, and people seem to make up lanes and rules. Every time I´m in a car, I´m afraid for my life!

If someone invites you over for coffee, they probably don´t mean it and are just being polite. Unless you have a set day and time, don´t expect to actually have coffee at their house. By the way, the coffee here is the best I´ve ever had.

Also, you can’t flush toliet paper because the pipes are too small and often get clogged. You have to throw it in the trash, which is difficult to adjust to since I’ve been not thinking about where I put my toliet paper for about 20 or so years now.

One last thing for those of you who have ever wondered, the keyboards are different here.

That´s all for now folks.

And THIS is a note from ME, the Admin!

Personally, I thought Christin had beed kidnapped as I have not heard from her! Can you imagine my surprise when I received her email today telling me she wonders why the BLOG is not working? Well that is because she has been faithfully posting here, but I never saw her Posts! They were stuck in the Drafts section. So today, Chitty fans… you can expect TWO more additions to this Blog.

And to Christin’s parents… I hereby beg your apology. Your daughter is alive and well and living in Costa Rica!

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