“So it is raining all the time, and what – without the rain there would be no life, right?”
“I don’t actually mind those kids shouting in my hostel at 6 am, I shouldn’t be sleeping too long anyway!”
Ah, expectations. Something, that can totally ruin your trip and yet we still have them. I also did. I tried not to. But I failed. At the beginning of my trip, I was just overly excited about everything I thought was about to happen. I imagined my trip as an amazing swirl of excitement, love, fun, adventure and wilderness and I know I promised you all of that in my blog. And you received what? Well, not exactly that.
I am sorry guys, but even though I am 90% of time the most positive person I know, the first 2 weeks of my travels I simply couldn’t encounter the excitement I was looking for. I wasn’t impressed. I wasn’t in awe. I struggled to be. I tried to convince myself. But it didn’t work. Let’s be honest, the first two weeks of my trip were just boring.
Okay, I don’t wanna say that the Pacific Coast and Costa Rican midlands were thaaat baaad. With its vivid parks and fascinating nature, silently burning vulcanos, golden beaches, and gorgeous sunsets, they were a place to be. On vacations. With family. Or boyfriend. Or wine. (Make sure you have lots, please).
But this wasn’t supposed to be MY trip! Having my personal senior-style holiday, I was gradually getting through the stages or resentment, denial and desperation from my unmet desires until I fully embraced the idea that my expectations sometimes just do not come true.
However, at the time of almost giving up my incredible, lovely and wild vision of travel, an unexpected “something” happened. And it brought my whole trip to the new level. To the point 0. Right to the start.
What was that? I crossed to Caribic.
Oh, my. If I could simply describe the moment when I got off the bus in Puerto Viejo, I would say I felt like “Alice in Wonderland”. Or “Peter in Narnia”. Or “E.T. on Earth”. Absolutely overwhelmed by all the unknown and unseen, all the beauty that surrounded me, I knew my soul belonged here the moment I put my feet on the ground.
Scents of heaven, colors of paradise
It was a love at the first sight. Initially purely visual, I felt an irresistible urge to grab my phone and make pictures. Thousands of them. Pictures of sea, pictures of palms, pictures of people, dogs, birds, dragons, simply of anything that would come into my way. I was walking around with my jaw dropped down, carried away by the flawless combination of colors, scents and rhymes, and for some reason, every color I saw got suddenly brighter, livelier and friskier. (And yes, I am sure I didn’t take any drugs before that). Altogether with the vibrant essences of grilled “pollo” (chicken), fried patacoñes and a little bit of weed, all my senses has gone to vacation in paradise. The only thing that left was to live. Right there, right then. To live the moment, like nothing else mattered.
Salsa, jazz and rock’n’roll
When it comes to music, it didn’t take me long to realize what kind of vibes were going on in here. With Jimmy Hendrix popped up in the radio, a boho chick singing Janice Joplin loudly in the kitchen, and with painted Jim Morrisson gazing at me from the shower door, I put on my long red skirt and loosy Rolling Stones t-shirt and headed down to town in order to sink into the groovy and pulsing Carribean night. Mellow tones of jazz were melting into lively reggaeton beats and the whole town was drifting on a wave of warm bongo sounds. People were dancing in the streets, blending the essences of their perfumes, of their bodies, heart to heart and lips to lips. What else needs to be told in here?
We, the western people, are being taught (and we honestly believe in it) that the democracy we have is the only unique system that allows us to be totally free. But are we? We know what it is to have rights and rules and liberties and laws, and we know how to follow them – but to be genuinely free in our hearts and minds, that is something to be learnt from Costa Rican and Panamanian people.
During my first day in Panama, I was lucky to be hosted by a guy called Jorge, who in spite of being one of those people who we usually call “ordinary”, had the most vibrant energy I had ever experienced. Together we explored the hidden beauty of Red Frog island, swam topless in the sea, played the guitar, sang Spanish lovesongs, drunk much rum, had a nice food, danced salsa and talked about life and values until early in the morning. I am sure we broke too many rules and laws on that night, but at that moment, on that place, they simply didn’t exist. At that moment, it was only us and the essence of existence and unity in all. One must come to the Caribbean to meet his inner peace. Just as much as I did.
Pura Vida – Love and Peace
The popular motto which has its origins in Costa Rica, describes pretty much the way of living both in Costa Rica and Panama. Pura Vida (or A Pure Life) is a philosophy which represents a simple life in harmony and peace with the nature and fellow human beings. People in these countries are modest, have a strong belief in God, and will be the first who give you a hand if you need help or advice. They are they are a true example that living life simply is the easiest way to joy and happiness.
Living on the edge – or how we almost died
Okay, so this is the story that happened to me and which I sweared I was never going to tell anyone. Not even to my best friend. And especially not to my parents. However, as the time passed, I got a bit “over” the whole situation and telling you about it just feels like the right thing to do at the moment. (Mom, Dad, if you read this, then stop. Now.)
The other day in Bocas, me, my host Jorge and another couchsurfer Alice, we went in our tiny boat to another island for a party. The boat was small and the sea was wavy, and what was even worse, the roof on the boat was falling apart. On our way back, the whole thing lost its balance, fell to the side and the boat started uncontrollably spinning around in a circle. I got scared and looked back on Jorge to see what was happening. However, there was no Jorge in the boat. The other second I realized he was drown in water, clenching to the rope tighten to the boat, which was pulling him ruthlessly against the ocean. I got freezed in panick and unable to make a move I watched Jorge being helplessly pulled round and round. Fortunately, Alice kept her head cold and rushed to the backside to help Jorge back in the boat. Next second, I saw him trying to cramble up in with an agonizing cry. He managed to pull out the safety pin in the motor and the boat suddenly stopped. For few seconds, the time froze and the infinite silence was disrupted only by Jorges panting breath. He was injured and bleeding from the cut on his arm. It took us maybe ten minutes to overcome the initial shock. Silently, we went home. “My two friends died this way,” told us Jorge joylessly and at that moment I realized how lucky we were to be alive.
Indians and San Blas
Now back to the shiny and happy version of me. Imagine you are living on one island with true indigenous Indians. Impossible? Not really. Go to San Blas! Apart from the fact it is probably one of the most beautiful places on this planet, you can meet there the loveliest Indians ever. With a group of friends we spent a couple of days on the tiny island called Coco Belo and we couldn’t be happier! Camping in tents, having an amazing barbecue and sharing rum with our Indian friends, the world became a heaven on Earth.
Sloths! Sloths! Sloths!
Seriously, have you ever seen them? You couldn’t believe the face they have. They just look like the most chilled out animal ever. Smiling 24/7. Look!
I swear they have to be either on drugs or have a very satisfactory sex life. Now, letting go of their face…. Have you seen the motion?!?! I have never seen such a graceful way of moving around. Like a fuzzy Audrey Hepburn hanging from the tree. You must check it out here. I promise you they will become your favorite animal right away.
All of this and even more can be encountered on the lovely and sunny coast of Carribean. To me, it was not only a beautiful place – it was a place that simply got under my skin, brought me goose bumps and stayed written in there forever and ever. Pack your things and go – too much beauty waiting for you and no time to waste!
And finally, one spoiler alert at the end: Make sure you don’t fall in love with the place too much. Falling in love is easy, but the farewell might then break your heart =).